Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Togwotee Winter Classic Race Video

2013 Togwotee Winter Classic Fatbike Race from Dave Byers on Vimeo.

The 2013 Togwotee Winter Classic Fatbike race was held at Togwotee Mountain Lodge in near-perfect conditions with mild temps, clear skies, and firm trails. 44 racers took the start line and course records were set in the Men's & Women's 35-Mile categories. All video footage was shot using Drift Innovation cameras and K-Edge GoPro camera mounts.

Special thanks to Jay Petervary for a great job filming from various points along the course.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thank You For Supporting The Togwotee Winter Classic

It was over six years ago when I decided to organize the first Togwotee Winter Classic and we had eight fat bike racers show up and slog it out in tough conditions.  This past Saturday, 44 racers from four western states took the start line and enjoyed near-perfect winter racing conditions.  44 is a tiny number of racers in comparison to the fields in events like the Leadville 100 or the Laramie Enduro.  However, when you consider that fat bike are still very new and that Togwotee Mountain Lodge is located at 9,000’ an hour north of Jackson, WY, 44 racers is a huge success in my opinion.

Racers warm up in front of Togwotee Mountain Lodge
Originally, I created this event to grow the niche of fat biking.  I absolutely love riding a fat bike on snowy trails in the winter and I wanted to give people a reason to try it for themselves.  The Togwotee Winter Classic is my small attempt to give back to the sport I love.  As long as I am organizing it, there will never be an entry fee and the event will retain its grass roots feel.

44 Racers started AND finished the 2013 Togwotee Winter Classic.
Togwotee Mountain Lodge has been a key partner for this event.  Keep in mind that this lodge caters to destination snowmobile riders in the winter.  The staff at Togwotee Mountain Lodge has been incredibly gracious about welcoming our merry band of fat bikers into their lodge and making us feel welcome.  This year they basically let us take over the entire Fireside Room for the day with race activity.

As I think back to the flurry of activity that started for me at 4:45am Saturday morning, I distinctly remember a post-race moment:  Fitzy and I were standing in the sunshine just outside the lodge, we were surrounded by fat bikes in one of the most beautiful mountain settings you can imagine, and racers were hanging out and re-living their glorious racing exploits from the day.  Everyone had smiles on their faces.  This is what it is all about for me.

Everyone gathered in the Lodge's Fireside Room for post-race food, beverages, awards, and  raffle
From my point of view as the race organizer, the Togwotee Winter Classic was the best ever.  Thank you to the awesome sponsors, the racers, and friends who supported the event. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Togwotee Winter Classic is this Saturday!

Can you believe the Togwotee Winter Classic is in its sixth year already?  We had eight brave racers toe the line in 2008 and it is looking like we will have close to 50 racers this year.  Awesome!  This race was originally started to grow the awareness of fat bikes in the greater Teton area and the race has always been FREE.  We don't have chip timing or prize money but we make up for it in fat bike stoke!

Since we have quite a few new racers this year, I emailed everyone a short "Racer Bible" and I have included it below.  If you are still on the fence about joining us on Saturday, maybe this will help with your decision.

Racer Bible

6th Annual Togwotee Winter Classic Fat Bike Race
March 9, 2013

About the Togwotee Winter Classic
The Togwotee Winter Classic is a non-profit bike race on snowmobile trails near Togwotee Pass at 7,000’ to 9,500’ in elevation held under extreme winter conditions.

The sponsors, organizer, and anyone having anything to do with this race are NOT responsible for your safety. We can't say this enough.....YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU!

Race Day Schedule
8:15am – Pre-race meeting in the Fireside Room inside Togwotee Mountain Lodge
9:00am – Start, directly across the highway from the lodge
2pm – 4pm – No host Food & Beverages in the Fireside Room
3pm (Or when the majority of racers have finished) – Awards & Raffle in the Fireside Room

Getting There

Drive time from Jackson is about an hour in good weather.

Recommended Gear
Flashing Red Tail Light
Flashing White handlebar light
Headlamp/Handlebar light for navigation in case you are out past sunset
Wind Shell

NOTE:  We recommend flashing head/tail lights because you will be sharing the trails with snowmobiles that can travel at speeds exceeding 60 mph.  Lights increase the chances that snowmobile riders will see you.

Choosing Your Race Distance
You can choose your race distance the morning of the race.  We encourage you to base your decision on the conditions and your fitness level.  Choose wisely.

Weather Link

Should I do the 25-Mile or the 35-Mile Loop?
You should base your decision on your level of fitness and the conditions on race day.  Over the past five years, we have seen every condition from “firm & fast” to “snowing, low visibility, soft, and slow”.  The 25-Mile Loop can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to complete.  The 35-Mile Loop can take anywhere from 4 to 7 hours to complete. 

Will the trails be groomed?
Maybe.  Hopefully.  Togwotee Lodge typically grooms the 25-Mile loop on Friday nights.  However, shit happens; grooming equipment breaks, the wind can drift in the trails, and/or it can snow Friday night.  We won’t know what it will truly be like until Saturday morning.

Will the trails be marked?
We do NOT mark the trails for the race.  However, there are snowmobile trail signs at key intersections these signs will allow you to navigate using the map & cue sheets provided.  Carry a cue sheet and a map.      

How much climbing is there?
There is 2,300’ of elevation gain in the 25-Mile Loop and 3,500’ of elevation gain in the 35-Mile Loop.

Is there an aid station or any support on course?
No. Carry everything you need to complete your chosen distance.

Can I ride a regular mountain bike?
Yes, especially if you enjoy long walks with your bike.

Why is the race free?
We do not charge an entry fee so that we can be considered a “Noncommercial Group” in the eyes of the National Forest Service. 

Why is the race limited to 74 racers?
We limit the field to 74 so that we do not have to apply for a permit with the USFS.  The USFS Special-Use regulation requires a permit for noncommercial group uses of National Forest System lands. Under the regulation, a “group” use is an activity that involves a group of 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators. Noncommercial is any use or activity where an entry or participation fee is not charged, and the primary purpose is not the sale of a goods or service. Some examples of noncommercial group uses are weddings, church services, endurance rides, regattas, camping trips, hikes, music festivals, rallies, graduations, and races.

Togwotee Winter Classic Course Records
Men’s 35-Mile: 
3:43:00 – Cary Smith, March 12, 2011

Women’s 35-Mile: 
5:00:00 – Katie Engelman, March 12, 2011

Men’s 25-Mile: 
2:22:00 – Mike Piker, March 8, 2010

Women’s 25-Mile: 
2:31:00 – Jill Damman, March 8, 2010

For more information, please visit the race blog at:

2013 Togwotee Winter Classic Cue Sheets & Map