Snow tires on a bicycle? You bet. It’s a “fat bike.”
If you put snow tires on a specially built bicycle you’ve got the way to travel through the Badlands. Your tourism opportunities just took a turn for better health. South of Watford City at the CCC Campground just off of Highway 85, you’ll find an easily accessed and groomed trail for hiking, xc skiing, snowshoeing or fatbike riding.
Explore. Exercise. Get away from the crowds – unless of course, it is the Poco Rio Frio race. Then you have an additional benefit of getting with like-minded people. Outdoorsy, healthy, happy.
“I think the best part is getting with other out here, friends to share this experience with, “said organizer Nick Ybarra.
Ybarra promoted the event across the region. One week before he’d organized a snowshoe trek on the same track. It packed down the snow that otherwise would be as much a four feet deep. The afternoon work by Ybarra, his family and friends turned the trails in to perfectly groomed trails for riders, showshoers and cross country skiers.
Here’s the story on the fun day of snowshoe packing the trail
So, when riders hit the trail, it was packed and ready for their fat bikes. Riders from as far as Fargo, Hazen and Bismarck racked up miles on two loops through the upper Badlands, one 2.5 miles, the other 4.5 miles.
Around and around the loops they went. The longest ride of the day was 54 miles! Both with their unique challenges such as the portion over the creek that empties in to the Little Missouri River. It’s frozen now, and in the morning, it was glare ice. After snow fell mid-day it became a smooth track easy glide for a short section to break up the heart-racing, deep breathing of the hills riders pedaled up and coasted down.
Riders looped around on the head of the Maah Daah Hey trail. Or they followed the Long X trail, or both. The goal was to make as many laps as possible in the allotted time.
The miles added up…30, 40, 50 miles or more logged at the relief station at the head of the trail. Here’s where riders laughed, ate and powered up for their next set of loops.
Collin Kemmesat is the General Manager of fat bike dealer Epic Sports in Bismarck, and he was as pumped as anyone about the Frio race.
His knowledge and experience could help with any mechanical issues, but mostly he was there to rack up fat bike miles.
Collin has a passion for bikes. “Fat biking has not peaked,” he said. “It’s popular all year around. Winter riding is best when there’s not a lot of snow. “This winter’s near-record snow depth has curtailed some of the fat bike riding. That’s why the packed trail for the race was a great opportunity. Kemmesat said trails along Harmon Lake north of Bismarck, and other trails in the capital city are getting more interest.
Ybarra has taken on the care and use of the Maah Daah Hey trail, organizing a half-dozen mountain bike rides a year on the trail. His goal is to bring back the popularity of the trail as it was 10 or 15 years ago. The 130-mile trail that loosely follows the Little Missouri River to southern North Dakota will become increasingly more well-known in 2017 as Ybarra and his happy bike trail friends put out the word.
Click here to read more about events and opportunities on the Maah Daah Hey
What can we do to help you get started riding or hiking the Maah Daah hey? Name it in the comment section below.