Travis Reports on The 2017 Big Fat Ride in Anchorage and Iditarod Trail Invitational Start

The 2017 Big Fat Ride and Iditarod Trail Invitational Start by our Alaska Fatbassador, Travis Hubbard.


The Big Fat Ride was held on Saturday, February 25th in downtown Anchorage. A total of 375 registered fat-bikers participated in the ride. The weather was perfect, sunshine and temps in the upper 20’s. We’ve had stacks of snow up here this winter, the trails were in awesome shape, no studs needed.


Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz leading the ride.

The Big Fat Ride is part of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival. Fur Rondy, established in 1935, is a winter festival in Anchorage that includes the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Sled Dog race. The ride started on 4th Avenue which was closed off for the World Championship Sled Dog Sprint races. Anchorage Mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, led the ride on his Surly Pugsley. The Big Fat Ride was hosted by Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) Coordinator Kathi Merchant and sponsored by fat-bike related companies from far and wide.


ITI competitors leading off the Big Fat Ride.


There were unconfirmed reports of a T-Rex on course.


Cruising along the Coastal Trail section of the Big Fat Ride.
(Photo by Andy Romang Photography)

The post ride party was held at the Brown Bag Sandwich Company in downtown Anchorage. There was a bike corral, plenty of cold beer, snacks and awesome prizes raffled off. All proceeds went to Bike Anchorage and Single Track Advocates.

2017 Iditarod Trail Invitational Start

On Sunday I jumped in my truck and pointed it north; destination being The Knik Bar in Knik, AK for the Iditarod Trail Invitational start. Most of us know of this race, if you’re not familiar with the ITI it’s the longest winter ultra-endurance race in the world. Participants can race by foot, ski or bike and choose to go 130, 350 or 1,000 miles.


Alaskan Clinton Hodges III catching a photo-op before the ITI start. He gets my vote for best ITI beard. Clinton finished 4th this year in the ITI 350, Congratulations!


ITI rigs ready to roll out.


Loaded up and ready to venture into the Last Frontier.

As of today, March 7th, 2017, there have been 34 scratches in the ITI this year. More scratches than finishes so far. After 3 warm winters and record setting performances in the ITI the last few years it appears Alaska has shown her teeth. This winter has been more reminiscent of what we are used to. With a good amount of snow and below average temperatures, conditions have been tough on the trail. Between the extreme cold, winds and a virus on the loose we are approaching the record for scratches. Frostbite has been a serious issue. It seems that the reroute of the course from Rainy Pass to Ptarmigan Pass and Hells Gate has taken its toll. The reroute added some 35 miles to the race, but that wasn’t the issue. The snow was horrible in Ptarmigan Pass, the leaders were forced to push their bikes through most of the pass. Some were caught in the pass when the temperatures plummeted to more than -40°F with raging north winds blowing. Kevin Breitenbach, team Fatback, is currently leading the 1000 to Nome with Jay Cable only 50 miles behind. For updates and tales from the trail checkout the ITI Facebook page, and the official ITI site with Live Tracking,

About Greg Smith 1127 Articles
Greg Smith, known to many site visitors as Sven Hammer, founded in 2011 and the site quickly became the #1 online community for all things Fat. You can currently find Greg outfitting Everyday Cycles; a Milwaukee, WI retailer of gear for fatbikers, adventure cyclists and urban assault riders.


  1. Any chance you could send me the first 3 pictures of this post? I’m the guy in the grey/red jacket talks no to Tim.

    • Jim,

      Send me your email address and I can get them to you. Gomez knows how to find me.

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