"Not all those who wander are lost." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Fat Biking Tips & Hints

Caldera 250/500 – Usher is IN!

The Caldera 250/500 start list is blowing up.  I’ve you’re registered, check your email – we just sent out the GPX tracks and cue sheets.  If you didn’t get it, shoot us en email.

20+ people have already indicated their desire to seek the pain cave in the endorphin forest.  And we’ve hit the mainstream!  Who woulda thunk that bikepacking would cross over to hip hop icons and teeny bopper heart throbs.  Usher just hit me up and said he’s gonna crush the 250 and is training hard right now.  He said he’s even gonna work some lyrics into his next single… “What up Habeggar, zig zaggin Coyote Traverse, lungs implodin, best bring a nurse, better yet a hearse don’t need no baggage I’m packin, not heat, just 4 liters, try to step i dare ya, i’ll make you my biatch Caldera…”

Also, Taylor Lautner said he’s gonna do the full 500 to get in shape before the filming of Twilight 7 in October.

60k of climbing ain't ish

60k of climbing ain’t ish

So yeah..  if you haven’t registered, get on the list.  Only registered folks will receive gpx, cues, and official updates.  Here’s some more general route info and other stuff:

  • Stats and Scoop – The 250 is identical to the 500 until it splits apart towards the end of the Glass Mtn Traverse and makes its way back to Mammoth.  Topofusion is telling us these stats:
    • 500 = 480 miles, 65k climbing
    • 250 = 256, 31k climbing
  • Bears – always a potential concern in the Sierra, so bring some paracord to hang food if you’re camping in a potential bear zone – or at least sleep away from your food.  Otherwise, nippy dogs or grumpy bulls are probably a bigger threat.
  • Toughest sections – Probably Coyote climb, Volcanic Tablelands to Bodie, and the Sweetwaters/Mt. Patterson climb
  • Longest stretch without water/resupply – Volcanic Tablelands to end of the Glass Mtn traverse — that’s one tough section with only a water tank for sheep at the start of the Glass climb and a creek in Taylor Canyon or Adobe Creek.  Camel skills required.
  • Water filter – definitely.  Lots of natural water opportunities on most of the route, and in some places, your only option.  CARRY A FILTER.
  • Terrain – lots of climbing, lots of descending.  Mostly doubletrack, some stellar singletrack, some fireroad miles, and not so much pavement.  Volcanic dirt in spots, soft and moto’d out in spots, which leads to…
  • Bikes/tires – run whatcha brung – but fat tires are good.  2.35-2.5’s seem good – my 29+ is gobbling it up.  so yummy.  comfy hiking shoes = important.
  • As always, feel free to contact us at any time, for any reason 🙂
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How To Dress For Winter Fat Biking

Part of the enjoyment of fat biking is being dressed properly.  Simply stated: You don’t want to freeze, and you don’t want to overheat.  Same as other cold weather activities, the key is LAYERING.  The body produces lots of heat.  The only chance we have to regulate body temperature and avoid overheating (biggest problem for beginners), is to layer properly.

RULE OF THUMB:

  • You should be slightly cold when you start your ride.  If you’re warm and toasty, you’ll definitely overheat the moment you start pedaling.  That being said, you shouldn’t be shivering and going numb either.  There is no “perfect” way to dress.  It’s different for everybody and will require experimenting.  Listen to your body.  It will let you know when to add or shed a layer.  Below is a guideline to get you going.

BASELAYER:

  • A next to skin, moisture wicking layer is critical.  It needs to get the sweat off your body and dry quickly.  Oftentimes referred to as a “sweat transferring baselayer”.  Merino wool or synthetics are great baselayers.  In Mammoth, a lightweight baselayer is usually enough, although there are “thermal baselayers” that can be worn in the coldest conditions.  Don’t wear cotton as a baselayer!! You’ll stay wet and clammy which equates to COLD!
  • For your bottom half- cycling leg warmers, full-length chamois or bibs are fine. If you don’t have cycling clothing, you’ll be fine with synthetic long underwear, aka “long johns” (again, not cotton).  Even if your legs feel fine without a baselayer, we recommend knee warmers to keep the fluid warm and your joints nice and lubricated for pedaling.
  • Wearing a chamois will help with saddle comfort, especially on longer rides.  If you don’t have any, it’s not the end of the world.

MID-LAYER:

  • This layer is going to insulate the heat that your body creates, keeping your core warm.  Suitable mid-layers are cycling jerseys, fleeces, light sweaters, etc.  Your legs are working and generating heat, so a bottom mid-layer is not usually needed.
  • Many people like to shed the “mid-layer” first when they start to overheat, leaving their “shell” on over their baselayer – but it’s all personal preference.

SHELL:

  • Jackets made of a “soft shell” material breathe well, and offer some water and wind resistance.  These work great for fat biking.  If you don’t have one, go with a “hard shell”.  They are usually wind and waterproof, but don’t breathe as well, so your sweat won’t evacuate as well.  A ski jacket is also suitable – remember to use your pit zips if you get hot.
  • For your bottom half, you could wear soft shell pants, like those for nordic skiing.  Or else, just having cycling leg warmers or full-length bibs is probably enough considering the heat your legs generate.  If all you have is ski pants, those will work too.  If your pants are baggy, remember to use a strap on your ankles to keep them from rubbing/ getting caught in the chainring.  If it’s 30-40 degrees or higher, and you’re wearing ski pants, skip the long johns.  Just wear regular underwear or a chamois.  Ski pants don’t breathe well, and your legs will get wet and clammy.

FOOTWEAR/SOCKS:

  • If you’re using platform pedals, any sort of winter boot is a great choice.  Waterproof and breathable is nice.  Hiking boots, nordic ski boots, or similar, are recommended.  If you’re using clipless pedals, winter cycling boots like the Lake MXZ303 or 45NRTH Wolvhammer are ideal.  Otherwise, putting winter booties over your cycling shoes will help keep your toes from freezing, but if you have to walk at all in deep snow, you might get snow in your shoes – not pleasant.
  • As far as socks go, a typical “ski sock” works great.  Wool, or synthetic wool will keep your feet warm, help wick moisture, and keep the stink factor at bay.  If it’s not too cold out, or you have really warm winter cycling boots (like the ones mentioned above), a thin bike sock should be enough.

OTHER ACCESSORIES:

  • We recommend helmets.  A bike helmet or ski/snowboard helmet is fine.  Ski/snowboard helmets tend not to breathe as well as a vented cycling helmet.
  • A light stocking cap is a good idea for the head (especially if using a vented cycling helmet).  It’s easy to take off and stick in a pocket if you’re too hot.  If it’s really cold or windy a balaclava can be a great choice.  Even if it’s not cold when you start, it’s a good idea to keep some head/face protection handy if the weather changes suddenly.
  • Mid-weight, full-finger gloves should keep your fingers warm.  Something like “Spring gloves” for skiers/boarders.  Nordic skiing gloves work well also.  If it’s below 20, consider specific Winter cycling gloves.  Thicker ski gloves get too bulky to operate brakes, shifters, etc.
  • Eye protection is a must.  Sunglasses are fine if it’s not too cold- one’s with a lot of coverage are best.  If very cold and/or windy/snowy – go with  ski helmet/goggles combo.

MISC:

  • Don’t forget sunblock and lip balm
  • Hydration – wear a camelbak or bring a water bottle.  If you’re worried about water freezing, put your camelback between your mid-layer and shell.  Rule of thumb, drink 24 0z water per hour.  That’s one regular sized bottle per hour.  Force yourself to drink – when it’s cold, you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Nutrition – bring clif bars, gels, PB&J, banana, etc – whatever your preference is, but keep your body fueled.
  • If traveling alone, make sure someone knows where you are riding and what time you should be back.
  • Have at least a minimal tool kit and spare tube with you.

Hope this helps a little – now go have FUN!!!

Please shoot us an email if you have any questions.