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Fat bike race series set to debut on Saturday

Alex DeMarban

A sure sign that fat bikes are veering toward the mainstream: Anchorage's first fat-bike mountain race series starts Saturday on a five-mile course off Campbell Airstrip Road.

About 20 people have signed up for the race, the first of six in the Abominable Snow Series that ends March 3. Co-organizer Dan Nordendale expects the number of entrants to double in upcoming races. 

He and a co-worker at Chain Reaction Cycles, Will Ross, created the race partly because fat bikes have rapidly grown in popularity. The bikes are the two-wheeled version of monster trucks, with wide tires allowing the bikes to float over snowy trails.

Other fat-bike races are distance events, such as the Iditarod Trail Invitational, the Susitna 100 and the Little Su 50K -- distance races up to 1,100 miles, largely along the Iditarod Trail.

"We wanted something more consistent with how we do races in town in the summer," a shorter, faster race, said Nordendale.

The race at Moose Ridge Loop, starting at the North Bivouac Trail Head, begins at 10 a.m. Expert riders in the open class will do the loop twice for a 10-mile race. Beginners in the cruiser class will do one loop. The second race in the series is set for Jan. 4 near the Abbott Loop Community Park ballfields off Elmore Road.

In the series, contestants will rack up points based on their standing in each race, with the series winner to be determined March 4. Riders get the chance to drop their lowest-scoring race, so from only five races will be factored into the totals.

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