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Duluth Winter Enduro Gets Rad At Spirit Mountain

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Duluth is the new epicenter of getting rad in the upper Midwest, and the upper Midwest is the epicenter of progressive fatbike use. So naturally, the first downhill/enduro specifically for fatbikes took place at the city-owned Spirit Mountain, side by side on the ski hill with the regular crowd of knee droppers and knuckle draggers.

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Put on by the OG of the Lake Superior Enduro Series, Dave Cizmas, the race was three stages on Candyland, Calculated Risk and a combination of other trails for stage 3.

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Starting out, we ripped down the 40+ berms of Candyland, all groomed very well, so the stage was full of high speeds Enduro-Hansi-Launchingand riding high berms. The starting line was full of discussion of tire pressure questions and “whoa, you got a Bluto…. Lucky!” discussion, but the trail was full of shredding, and the half-mile sprint out to the finish line after the downhill had heart rates cranked up.

Stage 2 was on the expert level “Calculated Risk”, which is hard enough in the summer time, but was insane when covered with soft sugary snow and high-speed corduroy groomed ski slopes.  Almost as a prerequisite to finishing the stage, everyone crashed about 6 times on the way down, but caught some rad airtime in the process.  I managed to go down on my knee early on, which hurt, but not too bad.  Unfortunately, it found a rock underneath the snow, and tore it wide open, requiring 18 stitches.  I didn’t know that, so I finished the stage, only to have a friend ask my why my pants were bloody at the bottom.  I guess carnage can happen in the winter too!

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I never rode stage 3 since I was busy with the Xylocain and fishing line, but I was told it was big and fast. A few timing snafus expected of a first year event kept the last finishers flying down in the dark, but the larger-than-expected crowd of riders all agreed it was a great way to put on the first lift-assisted fat bike enduro.

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I think this event is just a glimpse into what winter fat biking can become once we have the right equipment and the large masses of people looking for a good reason to show off their 100mm rims.

Hopefully lift assisted fat bike races pick up, and if they do, invest in some knee pads.

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