BBR Test Pilot(s) – Global Fat-Bike Day – Sit/Rep

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We asked our crew of test pilots to send us a report of their GFBD celebrations to share with all of you out there in the big fat world. So without further adieu, here’s a glimpse into how some of the Bike Black Ribbon Society celebrated Global Fat-Bike Day Two Thousand and Fifteen!

Dave Krueger – Kettle Moraine, WI

Hi, I’m Dave Krueger. You might remember me from such episodes as “Long Term Review of Trek Farley 8 ” and “Product Spotlight – Framed Wolftrax.”  Gomez asked me to say a bit about my reclusive self for all you nice folks, so here it goes. In addition to being a Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilot, I’m a wrench and fat/road bike guru at Zion Cyclery by day and a Doctor of Philosophy by night (what else would I do with a Ph.D. in philosophy besides fix and race bikes?!). Long story short, if it has two wheels and pedals I’ll fix it, ride it, and race it. And if you need an ethical, metaphysical, or epistemic analysis of a particular argument, I’ll do that too. But enough about me, more about fat bikes.

Me on the left, Andy (didn't catch his last name) in the middle, and the venerable Pat
Me on the left, Andy (didn’t catch his last name) in the middle, and the venerable Pat Smage

This fine 2015 GFBD I decided to head up to the John Muir Trails at Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin for the Winter Color Festival fat bike race. My race de jour was the “long course” at just over 22 miles of single-track (a four lap course). I could not have asked for a better day on my fat bike (well, almost, 1st place would have been kick-ass-er). It was sunny and in the mid 30’s for the start. Everyone was in a great mood and stoked for the fun-ishment at hand. The course itself was mostly frozen  and frost covered for the start. That was good for the dirt sections, iffy for the rocky sections. Those conditions quickly switched as the sun warmed the ground and the track wore in – the dirt turned to grease and the rocks turned grippy. The good news was there was only a few hundred yards of greasy mud; the rest was ripping fast. Did I mention that everyone who turned out for the day was the nicest person I’ve ever met? I agree with one of my fat bike compadres who said that today’s festivities renewed his faith in humanity. Maybe that’s the key, fat bikes for everyone! Perhaps we need a fat bike envoy at the U.N. (Gomez get on that!) Anyway, after two hours of fun (read: full-throttle punishment) I managed to eek out 2nd place. After stumbling off my steed, I was greeted with craft beers and my race officially ended (but the party had just started…). I hope your Global Fat Bike Day was as enjoyable as mine. Cheers and ride on!


Andy & Ken – Manistee County, Michigan

The Freesoil Bike Mafia

Fat Camp hosts Ken Blakey-Shell and Andy Amstutz celebrated GFBD by hosting a ride at the Big M trails where they met up with the Freesoil Bike Mafia for a total of around 10 riders. This winter Ken and Andy will be grooming a 5 mile loop adjacent to but separate from the Big M XC ski trails near Wellston, Michigan. Multi-users getting along side by side! If all goes well this winter, they plan on an additional 15 miles for next year. Riders got to preview the loop in addition to one last hurrah on their usual single track that the skiers will soon be taking over till spring. Later that day, Manistee, Michigan held their Victorian Sleigh Bell Parade in which riders continued the celebration of fatness by dressing up as lumberjacks and lumberjills and riding down River Street on their fat bikes. An estimated 10,000 onlookers oohed and ahhed at the site of fat-bikers from the area hauling christmas trees behind their bikes with “such big tires”.


Fat Camp can be heard the second Saturday of every month. Tune in and listen to Ken water down the complexity of fat bike technology to Andy and rest of the audience. ​


Evan Larsson – Silver Lake, Wisconsin

The day that almost never was.


Global fat bike day. I’ll admit it, I nay-sayed and thought the day would be a bust. The garbage weather leading into the week built up a lack of faith that selfishly consumed my thoughts. Oh, I didn’t plan on skipping GFBD, no no. I also didn’t think dirt was going to be an option. I pictured myself riding circles on some peanut butter limestone absolutely shitfaced. I was going to drown my snowless fatty sorrows with brew and pizza, but all of a sudden a few wonderful words passed across my phone screen. It was a recon message from our Tio Gomez! “Trails are good to go, I was just at SLP”.
SLP is Silver Lake Park, WI and over the past year the good folks at KORBA have done some amazing work on this system. Overjoyed! – I distributed the trail conditions to a few of my BBR brethren. The time and date are set, the Heller Bloodhound is ready, and so am I. GFBD is ON!
Leave no gnome behind became my battle cry when Brother Rob asked me to borrow my PugSSley AND to be picked up from his lovely lady’s residence. Driving up north Rob explains to me that most police departments don’t recognize GFBD as a holiday and that I shouldn’t consume any beverages whilst on the way. So, soberly, we arrive at the park to see Gomez and Angry Andy already riding circles in the lot, so with a quick change into my gear, I unload the bikes, and slam my first beer.


The weather was a balmy 38 degrees at 9am going up into the lower 60’s with the sun shining bright all day! Who would have thought this was December? With minimal discussion we press out into the still frozen singletrack with a “woohoo!” and some “fuck yea’s!” to follow. Tio Gomez slices through the pack of Pagans to lead us into a route of switchbacks and speed! Even though I’ve been here multiple times it always feels new to me. The four of us tighten up on the climb and some shuffling gets me into the lead. I say lead because I’m now first but this ride was not to be a grind session of who can make who puke first. This is GFBD and we’re riding for fun! I’m in no hurry and taking in this glorious day is what keeps the gnomes happy and the yeti at bay. Finding a log over I decided to see how fast I can jump it but I clipped my rear wheel, bucked my ass up, and almost over the bars. Gut reaction had all of my weight over the rear wheel. With my stomach in my throat I still had to ride an endo out to everyone’s amazement. Not thinking about things is a strong suit of mine and makes for fun shenanigans. Just don’t follow me.
Top of the hill and I break out another brew, but in the distance a loud “PANG” cracks through the trees. The sound of a mechanical. Gomez reaches us and says to press on without him, we fight his decision, but his argument is solid. “Keep on riding!” Small spots of water are present on the lower trails but upper trails, like Meat Curtains, was totally ridable and fffun! We rejoin Gomez at the lot to see Brother Gnorme’s motor vehicle but no Gnorme. He must be out previewing his route for the others that are soon to arrive. The sun warmed us up standing in the lot and another cold beer went perfectly with it. More fatty goodness began to pull in the lot and our group of four doubled.

“Enough chitchat let’s RIDE!”, a shout from the herd is heard.


We all dive back into the dirt, but as the temps rise, the ground became a bit tacky. Nothing terrible except now the corners became more of a challenge for everyone. The smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces and the good time were rolling! Top of another hill and I can officially say I’m fucked up. My side quest has been accomplished!!! Just to make sure, I rode like the devil was with me, and shouldered a tree when entering a corner. “Yep”, I think to myself, “That fucker is solid and I didn’t feel a thing.” We rode everything SLP had to offer and as my BAC lowered my hunger increased. Brother Byron, Odin bless him, brought it upon himself to escort a grill and grub for the day. The food was delicious, and sobriety began to retake my actions, but before it did I saw a line. Not a normal line, but one that connected two park benches, a gap, and my bike. I call over to Byron for assistance as he is the closest to the Heller. Byron sets my pedals and I go for it. I traverse the benches with sluggish speed and leap like a drunken squirrel, arms and legs stretched out. With the power of a magnet I connected to my bars and pedals and with a swoosh I was wheeling away.
This is the day that almost got away from us, but with a little luck, some great friends, and a lot of fatty goodness, we all prevailed! Thanks again to everyone who made it fun and a special thanks to Byron for the food. This is what global fat bike day is. Fffattys, fffellowship, and fffun!

Until next year, ride fast and take chances!

-Lt. LarSSon

Angry Andy & Gomez – Silver Lake and Camrock, Wisconsin

Tio Gomez and Angry Andy
Tio Gomez and Angry Andy at Silver Lake

Andy and I drove together to morning session of the Silver Lake GFBD. The same one that Evan described above, so I’ll focus on our afternoon GFBD celebration at Camrock County Park, just outside of Madison, WI. I came up with the plan to hit Silver Lake in the AM and then hit Camrock in the afternoon, when Spinner Ryerson was in the studio recording the Weekly Dose of Fat and told us about the late start over there. I figured we could easily make it up there by two o’clock, but we ended up getting there closer to three. The shelter was buzzing with activity and as soon as we rolled up, I spied my gnome cousin D-Jon and a bunch of the local Madison crowd. They had Trek Farleys there to demo, so I took one out for a quick spin and when I returned, Spinner had made his way back from a ride. There was a big wine bottle of mead being passed around and Earl from Revolution Cycles was cooking some bacon on a camp stove. I saw Steve from Mongoose, The Mayor and a bunch of folks that read the site. Andy and I headed out for a ride and found the singletrack across the creek. Things were getting pretty greasy in the warm afternoon glow. I love going someplace marginally unfamiliar and riding!

Me'n Andy Interpreting GFBD through modern dance
Me’n Andy Interpreting GFBD through modern dance

We finished up our ride and made our way back to the shelter and hung out for awhile with everyone till they all headed to Camrack Sports for a year end meeting of the local trail group – CORP. That’s when Andy and I loaded up the bikes and headed off into the sunset. I basically had the time of my life, doing what I love to do, with old friends and new friends alike. That pretty much sums up Global Fat Bike Day for me…..Fun on Bikes with Good Friends!


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