Epic fat bike adventure takes Steamboat Springs racers into the wilderness
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Graham Muir and Kellie Nelson will race into the new year with an epic adventure near Island Park, Idaho.
“It’s the challenge,” said Muir, who owns Manic Training in Steamboat Springs. “For me, (it’s about) trying to inspire the people who come in here, my friends who are out there doing stuff and just trying to keep moving forward as I get older.”
On Jan. 5, Muir will step to the starting line of his third Fat Pursuit race where he will attempt to pedal his fat tire bike 200 miles through the Idaho wilderness near Yellowstone National Park. For the second year in a row, he will be joined by his good friend Nelson, who competed in the shorter 120-mile race last year. This year, she plans to compete in the 200-mile event with Muir.
“I’m doing it again,” Nelson said. “I’m raising the bar a little bit.”
Last year, the two athletes met halfway through the course after Muir had completed the first half, and Nelson had just started her adventure.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
However, freezing cold temperatures and heavy snow cut their rides short roughly 25 miles from the finish line.
Temperatures on the first night of that race, when Muir was on the course, were minus-40 degrees. The temperatures remained cold on the second day, as several feet of snow fell on the race course, making it nearly impossible to ride the bikes. The pair struggled and pushed their bikes for miles at a time in an effort to make it to the finish line, but eventually, they ran out of time and were stopped by race organizers.
“We could taste it, but we just were not quite there,” Nelson said. “I think there is a feeling of some unfinished business.”
Muir and Nelson will be hoping for warmer temperatures this year, but the challenge is what attracted them to the race in the first place.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Muir said of the weather. “Even when I’m standing at the starting line, it doesn’t matter. I’m not worried. Whatever comes, comes.”
The race, JP’s Fat Pursuit, was created to test a rider’s endurance against the elements.
“Doing it again isn’t the question,” Nelson said. “Two hundred miles is significantly more than 120. It sits a little bit heavy with me, and I’m not going in thinking this is a peice of cake. It’s humbling for sure.”
It will be the first time that Nelson has ever attempted to ride 200 miles in a single race, but despite some last-minute nerves, she said she’s prepared for the race.
“I signed up more than a month ago,” she said. “Yes, we have the miles, yes, we have been training, and I’m very committed to this race. But I’ve never done 200 miles of anything before.”
After the Fat Pursuit race, Muir and Nelson plan to stay in the area for a four-day winter camp that will be run by Jay Petervary, who started the Fat Pursuit bike race back in 2014. The camp is designed to prepare participants for the 2019 Iditarod Trail Invitational and includes an invitation to the event.
Athletes must complete the 350-mile race before they get an opportunity to race in the 1,000-mile event.
“They are teaching us how to survive in the extreme winter conditions,” Muir said. “I always put something out in front of me all the time. Having something out in front of me keeps me motivated — especially the big ones.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The city of Aspen is overhauling how it doles out $1.5 million in grants to nonprofits and is looking to volunteers to serve on committees.