Interview Series – Danielle Musto – Salsa’s Speedster

Photo by: Ted Bingham

Fat Bike Birkie 124 copy

Danielle Musto doesn’t just race…Danielle races and Wins! Well, not every time, but she’s been on so many podiums, this season, it just seems that way. I caught up with her earlier this winter and got acquainted with this delightfully friendly and talented champion. Danielle and her husband Scott live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their two dogs, Naomi & Ben, where Danielle is a student at Grand Valley State. Danielle’s first fat-bike was a Salsa Mukluk, but this year, she upgraded to Salsa’s ground breaking, Beargrease, race fatty, with totally fantastic results. She’s competed all across the upper Great Lakes in husband Scott’s Race Series from Michigan to Minnesota and won the Fat Bike Birkie, this weekend. By winning the FBB, Danielle wrapped up the Great Lakes Fat Bike Race Series Championship.

Sven and I had the opportunity to interview Danielle at this weekend’s Fat Bike Birkie and to get to know her a little better. One of the really great things about writing for Fat-Bike is meeting outstanding folks like Danielle.


Photo courtesy of Salsa Cycles
Photo courtesy of Salsa Cycles

Contributing Author, K8 interviewed Danielle about her upcoming entry into the Barry-Roubaix.

As the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series comes to a close, Danielle, will bring her skills to Barry Roubaix. Musto will be participating in the thirty six mile fat bike division to close out her 2013 winter series. According to Musto,”it takes a lot of strength and endurance to race a fat bike on this course.” NO SHIT ? Certainly that is one thing Danielle has in her arsenal along with being a veteran to the field. In 2012, she finished fourth overall in a very competitive and intensely stacked field just shy of 80 other female competitors on cyclecross and mountain bikes. Danielle finished second overall in the fat bike division and is gunning for first as she returns for 2013. I asked Musto to describe the course knowing that many of our readers do not have this race on their radar for a fat bike event. This is an all out, guns blazing, sprint from start to finish paved road, gravel and fire roads bike race. Anything goes at Barry Roubaix and Musto will be well prepared for it…. She plans to race her 45NRTH Escalator tires for the event no matter what the weather condition of Michigan on March 23rd will be. Musto has confidence in them and has raced them all winter long and gives them her stamp of approval. Danielle describes this race as forcing her to use her upper body much more than the other events of the season. According to her, each race in the series has a different format and course, all being extremely different than Barry Roubaix, but allowing her to work on her strengths, endurance and speed going into it. Danielle will not only need strength but this is also a serious race of tactics. She will be racing amongst people on 20 lb carbon cross bikes and mountain bikes. To stay competitive she will have to jump on one train after another on open roads to keep on the tails of people hammering rigs half her weight. The race itself has so many variables of topography and terrain that a fat bike truly is a great selection of bike to race. Musto will focus mainly on her ability to out climb many of the other types of bikes and racers. This tactic requires a ton of upper body strength but she knows she can catch other racers and make up time on the climbs and hang on to whoever she catches for the downhills. As you can assume, it will be the downhills and sand that stretch her back out from the skinny tires.

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Danielle summed it up quite well when I asked her for advice to any new fatbike racers planning to tackle the event. “My advice to newbies tackling Barry-Roubaix on a fat bike is this…don’t go into the race thinking that being on a fat bike will make you slower then everyone on skinnier tires. I spent the day riding in a pack of cross and mountain bikes and it really helped me maintain my speed. Barry-Roubaix is a complete hammerfest with lots of short climbs (and a few longer ones) that seem unrelenting. Although it can be a bit harder hanging with the “skinnies” on the open roads, there are a few really sandy doubletrack sections where fat bikes have the upper advantage. My advice for these sections is to pedal straight down the middle. Last year I passed a ton of racers in this section and lots of people were yelling, “GO FATTY!” It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the course. Being able to float over the sand is so much fun.”     With a combination of workouts from her coach Andy Applegate (CTS) and strength training with Jason Ross (Train Out Pain) it is easy to understand Musto’s success in 2012/13.


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It will be great to see how Danielle finishes things off and she said its been a blast being able to race her fat bike this season.  According to Danielle, after Barry Roubaix she will be taking a little break while gearing up for her summer mountain bike racing schedule.  Follow Danielle’s Blog at


About Gomez 2576 Articles
Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. Nice story and great athlete on a fantastic Fat Bike. Come on out and Ride Fat at the Leadville Trail 100. You would be the first women on a Fat Bike. Another notch in your top tube. Ride Fat, Pedal Hard. Semper Fi, Doc Wenmark

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