Every now and then an event comes along and really grabs my imagination and the Big Fat Bike Fest is that event! The photo’s that I’ve seen and the satellite views of the Homer spit have me captivated. I find myself looking at air fares and scheming ways to get to Homer for the first week of March. I’m almost afraid that if I go there, I may never want to come back to the Big Whiskey!
Last year the first annual BFBF was inspired by all the races popping up around the nation. The Homer Cycling Club saw a void in the fat biking event world. There weren’t many events that didn’t revolve around racing. The Club decided to do a winter event that could help with the winter doldrums; compared to summer not many events happen in the winter around Homer. Getting bikers together to share and, hopefully, spread the word about the new terrain that has opened up to fat bikers is a huge part of the fest. The ride from Anchor Point into Homer provided huge open stretches of firm sand, an abundance of marine mammal activity (even for Kachemak Bay) and plenty of varied geographic terrain: enormous boulders, long driftwood bridges, and stacks of coal shelves to play around on. The Sunday trail ride was cancelled due to soft snow conditions. This year, the fest organizers have alternate routes for Sunday, depending on conditions. The fest had a rock’n social flair all of it’s own. The after party, last year was all out! The Club rented a huge building in old town Homer, right on the coast, and decked it out. They provided a homemade lasagna dinner, there was a full bar, presentations, silent auction, raffle, band, and an impressive laser light show.
I asked Chase Warren from the Homer Cycling Club to tell us what’s in store for this year’s fest and here’s what he had to say.
This year the club has made some improvements to the fest schedule. The ride (for starters) will be an out and back, no shuttles this time. We’re headed East towards the head of Kachemak Bay, with a turn-around bonfire and libations. Along the ride to the south will be the Kenai Mountain Range with views of multiple glaciers. On our side of the bay, we’ll ride below towering bluff formations and coal seams that dump huge deposits along the shoreline. We want the ride to be more communal this year. The out and back makes it so that you’ll run into people along the route, even if you’re the pack leader, and with a mid-point hang out… we hope to bring the group together for a good time for everyone. Saturday evening will be different, as well. We are still including dinner, plus a complimentary beer. We’re also continuing the raffle. In an attempt to shorten the evening for those who want to rest up for Sunday, we did away with the band, silent auction, and speeches. There’s still free music later at the place we’re serving dinner, and another band across the street, so there’s plenty to do for those who want some night-life. We’ll have 2 ride options for Sunday, one trail ride out to Caribou Lake in the backcountry and another beach ride out to the end of the Homer Spit and back. There’s also a complimentary yoga class Sunday morning before the rides begin. This year’s meet and greet and obstacle course will be held at Mariner Park on the head of the Homer Spit.