Fatbike Century

Yesterday, I rode a Fat Century.

Today, I am sore.

Started out at a balmy 9 degrees.

The Muk was expedition ready, with a Porcelain Rocket Booster Rocket and top-tube pack, and a set of aero bars…seen here in the hallowed halls of North Central Cyclery.  More on the aero bars later.


I’ll give a full gear report soon.

We lit out around 8am, under clear skies, minimal wind, and cold temps.

The gravel was positively heroic.  Some areas were iced over, but for the most part, it was hard and fast.

Casting a long shadow with the morning sun.

My man Chad, pumping along, early in the ride.

And of course, we took the bridge is out route.

Chad was having some equipment and personal comfort difficulties, such that by 10:00, we had only covered 12 miles.  At that point, we reviewed our goals for the day.  My goal was a fat century.  Chad’s was survival with some level of personal comfort.  Looking at winds that were starting to pick up and Chad’s growing knee pain, we opted to part ways at mile 12.  (He continued on in an alternate direction, for a different, more local ride).

Between ~10:00 and ~3:30, I covered 91 miles.  Just wanted to throw that out there.

While we started with a planned route, when things disintegrated, my route guidance changed.  I blasted West on my beloved Elva…

Which continues in a ribbon of white as far as you can see in that pic.

At the end of Elva, I turned south, and then west across (over) 39/51.  I then proceeded under these rules of engagement:  1) head only into the wind (south or west); 2) ride only on gravel; and, 3) ride until you get over 50 miles.  I’m not sure what roads I was on, but ones that I’ve never ridden.  I’ll have to do a Map My Ride postmortem.

I wanted to be committed to riding a century.  I figured that riding into the wind and getting 50 in would guarantee that I’d blow home.  I stopped for some snacks that I’d been packing around mile 57, and then pointed northeast, towards Paw Paw.

Rolling into Paw Paw, I had to catch some pavement to make sure I went down the main drag, and hit the Casey’s.  That lead me into Bulldog Territory.

In Paw Paw, I hit the ubiquitous Casey’s for some liquid refreshment.  I ended up with a fruit juice and some Gatorade, although the premium “wine by the cup” selection was pretty tempting.

You thought I was kidding.

I stopped in the nearby park to refill some bottles, and cram down the last of my sausage sticks.


You may note only one bottle on the bike.  The other 2 were in jersey pockets.  More on that tomorrow.

I then proceeded South out of Paw Paw on Ogee, then South Paw Paw Road, and then a bunch of other roads.  There was a Sven something, County Line, East Paw Paw, and a myriad of others.  I ended up passing Leland (the town of), and then taking Burma Road up to Pine Road, across to Maplewood, and then up north from there, with a brief detour through Afton Forest Preserve, when I realized there were no fatbike tracks in there.

A badly backlit pic from crossing the LaSalle County Line the third or fourth time.

Aero Bars in Action.

And a few artistic pics, because I needed a break on Crego.

I got lucky with the weather.  Until noon, it was cold (started at 9 and warmed to about 16 degrees), but still.  I’ll take cold and still.  I got in the hard part of the miles (into the light ~5mph wind) then.  About the time I turned around, the afternoon sun brought temps up to 28 degrees, and incited a SW wind at about 12mph, according to TWC.  That was perfect for blowing me home.  So my average speed, while still representative of significant effort, also was the result of beneficial weather conditions.

Fatbike century was a great way to finish out my riding year, because I’m not riding today.  My quads are quite pleased to stick to walking and sitting at the moment.  Everything worked–gear, body, health, fitness, schedule, weather.  I went past Afton Forest Preserve with enough gas in the tank to make a loop and throw down some fatbike tracks in the minimal snow…and I rolled back into town at the end of the century, feeling good–darn good.  I had some fuel left, and could have ridden further…I was in a good zone, with warmth, hydration, eating and output.

With time, I’m getting a better and better idea of how my body and gear perform under varying conditions.  I selected gear appropriate for a wide (20 degree) temp swing and set some challenging goals, and accomplished them.  I could have picked a simpler, flatter, more paved route.  I could have ridden the Vaya and gotten a lot more miles.  I could have done a lot, but I did this ride, and I rode it well.  It was a fitting capstone to my 2012 riding season, and the close on a new personal record for miles in a year.

If you can’t tell, I’m a pretty happy camper, in the realm of my biking.  The size of my bike-comfort wheelhouse has grown exponentially this year, and I can see it continuing to grow into the future.

Have a great New Years Eve.  Gear info will follow later this week.


3 thoughts on “Fatbike Century

    • I’ve had the HuDus for a little over 6 months now, and they’ve seen quite a fair bit of gravel and pave…no complaints about wear. They still look pretty much virgin.

      Running them at 15psi, as I did on this ride, will undoubtedly wear them faster than the 10 or less I usually run, given that you’re concentrating your weight on the center of the tread…

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