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The 7th Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships is a race like none other in the USA. Being held on an all sand course along the pristine shores of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina this course will prove both challenging for competitors and fun to watch for families and fans. With the recent and fast rising popularity of Fat Bikes, bikes with tires wider than 4″, riding a bicycle in the thick sand has become easier than ever. Combine Fat Bikes with an ever changing beach and the competitive spirits of a bunch of athletes and bicycle riders and we couldn’t help but hold the 6th annual race.
The course will start in front of the host resort and presenting sponsor, The Blockade Runner Beach Resort, and traverse whatever mother nature has sculpted for us. Laying out the course with several elements in mind, tight turns, fast sections at low tide, crossing deep truck tracks, climbing up and rolling down naturally occurring berms from long shore erosion, with of course the safety of spectators, the course will be a multi-lap event that keeps racers in sight of the spectators the whole time. By keeping the racers tight the event will encourage spectators to line the course and heckle their favorite racer or cheer for their family member.
The start of the event will be a standing start with the SUPER FAT racers starting first at 12:30pm, the FAT racers following at 2:40pm.
The SUPER FAT and SUPER FAT RELAY category will have a time limit of 2 hours and is expected to cover a distance of 24+ miles *.
The FAT category will have a time limit of 1 hour and is expected to cover a distance of 12+ miles *.
* Sand and wind conditions may make this estimate longer or shorter.
The course will be marked with tape and flagging so that all turns are visible and to help keep spectators from wandering into racers. Racers must still be responsible for not injuring beach-goers. The course will not be closed to spectators but volunteers and signage will help to ensure that bystanders know of the racers presence. As mother nature often does in the winter time, She is expected to shift the sand again for the 2020 edition of the race. The long shore currents can build up rollers along the immediate waters edge as well as cutting a ledge that is close to 3 feet in sections. Some years this ledge has been up to 10 feet which would make for some serious climbing. The age groups are as follows ( (M & F), 15 & under, 16-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+ with awards going to top 3 in each group, Female and Male.
The SUPER FAT RELAY category will be open to team of up to 4 racers on teach team. The categories will be Female Team, Mixed Team, Male Team with awards going to top team in each category. The riders will be racing the 2.0 Hour event and can switch off each lap or do multiple laps before handing their timing chip off to their team mate. There will be a team pit/staging area along the course where team members can await the arrival of their member prior to handing off the chip. Teams are encouraged to wear matching jerseys/clothing so that they can keep track of each other and their competition. The teams can use one bike for the whole race or a bike per racer. A time bonus and special award will be given to any team which chooses to use the same bike for everyone. Corporate teams are encouraged!!
Fans are encouraged to bring MORE cowbells and whistles to jeer and cheer for their favorite racers.
The entry fee for this years event is $65. This includes a T- Shirt and special gift :)
*A portion of the proceeds of your entry fee also go to support the Wrightsville Beach Foundation.
For Fat Bike riders tire pressure is key for racing on sand. Tests have been done with multiple tire pressures and the best, most efficient pressure for a 26X4.6″ tire is right about 8 psi. This low pressure seems to allow the rider to float over the thicker sugar sand while giving enough pressure to allow for speeds over 20mph along the hard packed sand. This course is designed to test the fitness of racers while allowing fat bikers new to sand riding enough practice time the Friday before the event that they will feel confident to test their mettle and their machine. The maintenance required on a Fat Bike post beach ride is as simple as a good rinse. It is advisable to rinse with fresh water and lightly lube your chain. You will use your gears on the beach! If the wind is blowing as it often does it is equivalent to climbing up a mountain. However, when you have a tail wind…. you will be a big ring king.
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