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The Dirt: Iditabike; Interbike demo fest; Whiskey Off-Road concerts

Neil Beltchenko rides 350 miles through wind and snow to win Iditabike, Interbike has a new-look demo event, and more.

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Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking, and all things rough and dirty.

Iditabike winner overcomes 75mph winds, waist-deep snow in three-day trek

Neil Beltchenko won the Iditarod Trail Invitational Bike 350. Photo courtesy Tailwind Nutrition

Neil Beltchenko won the Iditarod Trail Invitational Bike 350 race (sometimes known as Iditabike) in a time of three days, one hour, and four minutes. Now that is a long, snowy ride.

Along the way, the founder of Bikepacker Magazine faced waist-deep snow, 75mph winds, and hallucinations. You know, normal stuff that happens when you take on a 350-mile fat bike race in the Alaskan winter. “As the race unfolded, conditions deteriorated yet I found myself with a solid lead halfway through the race,” he said in a press statement by his sponsor Tailwind Nutrition. “Knowing anything could happen in the race, I kept pushing as hard as I could, including literally pushing my bike through deep snow when it was un-rideable.”

The route from Knik Lake to McGrath, Alaska only offers six checkpoints with food and minimal sleeping quarters. Riders are mostly self-sufficient, carrying much of their gear on their bikes.

Interbike’s Northstar Free-Ride Festival will offer public demos and racing

Interbike has renamed its demo event as Northstar Free-Ride Festival. The event takes place September 14-16 in Truckee, California, and will offer demo events, clinics, and races to accompany the annual tradeshow. The public and Interbike attendees will be able to ride more than 100 miles of trails in the Northstar California Resort, which of course offers lift-served riding. As of yet, Interbike has not confirmed ticket prices for consumer attendees, but free lift access will be offered to registered Interbike retailers and media.


Five free concerts at Whiskey Off-Road MTB race

The Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike race is known for its killer 48-mile course around Prescott, Arizona. It also offers up some great live tunes for those who aren’t tying on number plates or those wanting to unwind after the race.

For 2018, the event, which is the first in the four-race Epic Rides Series, the “Whiskey Shivers” will headline the show with the Nashville-based, six-piece band “Banditos” opening on Saturday. The Washington Post called the “Whiskey Shivers” style of bluegrass “apocalyptic Americana” … I’m not sure what that means, but it should be a good time.

Earlier that day, Sugar & the Mint, local band Cross-Eyed Possum, and Vacation Day will take the stage to perform.


Blowin’ up my feed: Fish Rock

My rule for tough rides is the x100 rule: multiply the distance in miles by 100, and if the total feet of climbing is more than that, it’s bad (or good?). So, a 50-mile ride with 5,000 is quite hard. On Saturday, a bunch of crazies in Boonville, California did 9,670 feet of climbing over just 72 miles. Ouch.

The funny thing is, it seems like they had plenty of energy left over for post-race shenanigans.

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Halfway between fun and suffering on the Continental Divide

This week’s flick comes from Chris Shalbot, Scott Rinckenberger, and Justin Olsen, who rode a section of the Continental Divide trail between Idaho and Montana.

“I wanted to put together a trip to show that the simple act of participation can truly be an act of conservation,” said Shalbot.


Washam and Hart win Pro GRT opener

Danny Hart
Two-time world downhill champion Danny Hart won the first round of the Pro GRT in Tennessee. Photo: Dave Trumpore

Caroline Washam and Danny Hart drew first blood in the opening round of the U.S. Pro Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) in Windrock, Tennessee on Sunday.

“It’s been an epic week. We’ve run every day but one,” Hart said, after his first race with the Madison Saracen team. “We’ve tested out new bikes. Mine is a totally new bike. It’s been such a good transition. I’ve just had a good time at Windrock. It’s been a good week, a good routine.”

Michigander Dakotah Norton was second behind the two-time world champion. Luca Shaw (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was third.

“It was a mess this morning,” said Washam about the muddy clay following the rain. “It definitely played mind games, but you got to get rid of [the nerves] and do your race run.”

The SRAM rider won by an impressive 37-second margin over Josefine Björkman (Giant Sweden). Devinci’s Rachel Pageau was another three seconds back in third.


Got some news you’d like to share in The Dirt? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me your news and updates on all things gravel and mountain biking.

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