Fat Bike Tour of Anchorage FAQ
- Why was the Fat Bike Tour of Anchorage added in 2019?
The TOA recognizes that fat-tire biking have become one of the most popular forms of winter recreation in Alaska. The TOA ski race has also seen its participation decline in recent years for a variety of reasons, including inconsistent snowfall. The Fat Bike TOA provides bikers an exciting new event while giving skiers another option if course conditions are marginal or impossible for skiing.
- What gear do I need?
- A helmet!
- A bell or other noisemaker is required to alert skiers and other trail users that you are approaching.
- There is no maximum or minimum tire pressure requirement. Adjust PSI appropriate for the trail conditions. Soft trail conditions require lower tire pressure.
- Dress in layers and adjust as needed. This is a multi-hour race in winter conditions. You are expected to keep yourself warm and safe for the duration of your race. If temperatures are extremely cold, take additional safety measures such as using chemical hand and foot warmers and covering exposed skin with a balaclava or buff.
- What is the Course?
See the maps on the website. The course includes several sections of ski trails but generally follows multi-use trails from the Anchorage Hillside to Kincaid Park, including the Homestead (Tour of Anchorage), Chester Creek and Coastal Trails. The course has a net downhill profile but does include significant hills on the Spencer Loop (for the 50K), near Point Woronzof and from the Coastal Trail up to Kincaid. Race Officials reserve the right to alter the course based on safety concerns or weather conditions.
- How long is the course?
The 50K course measures approximately 49.5 kilometers and the 40K course comes in at about 38 kilometers.
- Can I train on the ski-only trails before race day?
No. The ski-only sections of the course (Hillside Lighted Loop, Spencer Loop, Sisson Loop, Mize Loop) are ONLY open to bike racers on March 6 during the race. Pre-Riding those trails is strictly prohibited. Anyone riding these sections before or after the race is subject to disqualification from 2022 and future Fat Bike TOA races. Those who wish to scout the ski-trail sections of the race course in advance must do so on skis.
- Will there be overlap among bikers and skiers?
The start times are designed to minimize overlap with skiers while giving bikers adequate time to finish before dark. In 2018, only 15 skiers, nearly all from the 25K freestyle race, remained on course at 3:45 p.m. This is when the first bikers are expected on the final stages of of the course.Regardless of overlap, we believe the trail is wide enough to allow single-file bikers to pass single-file skiers.
- What is proper trail etiquette if skiers or other trail users are encountered?
It is the responsibility of the overtaking trail user to pass the overtaken trail user safety. Bikers should notify others of their approach by using a noisemaker (such as a bell) or at least a loud voice (such as saying “On your left”).Bikers should pass in single-file whenever feasibly possible and give as much room as possible to the other trail user. Skiers should move to the right side of the trail. Bikers should also take care not to disturb the classic ski tracks on the outside edge of the trail
- Will there be aid stations?
There will be 2 aid stations for bikers in both the 50K and 40K. They will be located at ANTHC just beyond the Tudor Road bridge (23K for the 50K race and 14K for the 40K) and Postmark Drive/W. Northern Lights (37K for the 50K race and 28K for the 40K). The aid stations will provide a variety of food and drink as well as possibly a mechanic.
- Can I attempt both the ski and bike races?
- Yes, you can! Finish any of the ski races AND either of the bike races back-to-back and receive a special award — plus a reduced entry fee! See details on the web site.
- For physically fit racers, there is theoretically enough time between most of the ski and bike races to start one of each.
- Doublers should arrange their own transportation from Kincaid back to Service HS in time for their bike start.
- Can I change my registration from skiing to biking, or vice-versa?
Yes, participants may change their mode of transportation up until bib pick-up on Thursday and Friday, March 3-4th. Anyone changing divisions must email email@example.com prior to bib pick up. Bikers may also change from the 50K to the 40K or vice-versa through bib pickup. Race-day changes are not possible.
- How long will the race likely take?
- Times are largely dependent on conditions, but the fastest 40K and 50K racers are anticipated to take between 1.75 hours and 2 hours.
- Participants should be capable of finishing by 7 p.m. (Five hours for the 50K and four hours for the 40K).
- The 50K, because it includes the Spencer Loop, is considerably more difficult and designed for experienced racers. The 40K is suitable for riders of all abilities.
- Which division should I register for?
The Open Division is for competitive racers. The Sport Division is for recreational participants. The Masters Division is for entrants age 45 and older (a competitive racer older than age 45 may instead sign up for the Open Division if he or she chooses)
- Where do I place my race bib?
Bike bibs must be attached to the handlebars with the number facing forward. They are not to be worn on the person. A timing chip is attached to the bib, so the bibs must not be altered. The 50K and 40K bibs will be different colors to differentiate riders for each event.
- Will the course be closed to the general public during the race?
No. The course will never be closed to the public. Be aware and respectful of other trail users, including walkers, dogs, runners, skiers, skijorers, bikers and others.
- What can I do if I have a mechanical problem?
A fellow rider is permitted to help fix your bike. Each aid station will also have a mechanic with expertise and tools.
- What if I need to drop out during the race?
If withdrawing, make sure to notify a race official at one of the aid stations. If at the back of the pack, notify a member of the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol sweep crew. After you notify a race official, you will be responsible for getting yourself back to the chalet or your home
- How is the race timed and when will results be available?
Strabel Racing Services will time the race using chip timing. The race winners are determined by the first front wheel to cross the finish line. All other results are determined by chip timing. Results will be posted at Kincaid Chalet shortly after the finish, on the NSAA website.
- How do I transport myself and my bike from Kincaid Park?
Bikers must arrange their own transportation (carpooling is encouraged). At this time, TOA is not set up to provide transportation of bikes and riders.