Leadville bike race series continues with 50K

The trail system on the Colorado Mountain College campus in Leadville gets a lot of action, and maybe even the most in winter. Not only a solitary getaway in the wilderness south of Leadville, the Timberline Trails system is also used as a racetrack throughout the season.  On March 17, it will bear riders over its eight miles of groomed singletrack for the Cloud City Wheelers’ fourth competition in their Winter Mountain Bike Race Series, the Fatty Paddy 50k, sponsored by Cycles of Life.

As one might guess from the race’s name, those riders will be on fat bikes, pedaling over two laps of 25 kilometers, up both gentle and steep climbs, and pitched continuous descents. This is the first year of the Fatty Paddy, making it the fifth and newest race in the 18-year-old racing series.

The 2018 Winter Mountain Bike Race Series began on Feb. 3 at Copper Mountain and ends on April 14 with the East Side Epic in the historic mining district of Leadville. A guaranteed challenge, each race is around 12 miles long and takes place despite the messiest and iciest riding conditions. Always in the cold mountain air, and sometimes at night, the series is conquered by only the most fanatical of fat-bikers.

The Cloud City Wheelers have been rolling around Leadville since their beginning in 2007 as a local bike club determined to make trails and outdoor recreation in general more accessible to the public. Now a nonprofit organization, the Wheelers build and maintain nearly 100 miles of trails, some adopted and some of their own creation, which are accessible both in the summer and winter thanks to grooming taken care of by the students at CMC. In addition to promoting the benefits and equity of mountain biking, the Wheelers work closely with the schools, local government and other nonprofits to “support education and advocacy to help promote a more bicycle-friendly environment and a more livable community for members, bicyclists and the community at large.”

The funds raised by the winter race series go toward the Cloud City Wheelers’ advocacy efforts and the continued maintenance of trails under their stewardship. After the race on Saturday, a celebration will take place – no doubt the rowdier for being on St. Patrick’s Day – complete with food, drink and fat bike fellowship.

Register for the race until 8 a.m. on Saturday. Check-in will take place at the sponsor bicycle shop, Cycles of Life at 309 Harrison Ave., until the race takes off at 10 a.m. from 700 E. Eighth St. Registration costs $50. If this notice is too short to participate, then think about coming up to Leadville on any other day to take advantage of these stellar recreation trails open year-round. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and, of course, mountain biking in highly accessible high-alpine wilderness awaits.

To learn more about this chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association or to view trail maps, visit cloudcitywheelers.com or email direct questions to info@cloudcitywheelers.com. It’s not too late to join the Fatty Paddy, or to finish off the series at the East Side Epic on April 14.