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Beltchenko And The Bear: A New Fat Bike Winter Ultra

The Bear is a new fat bike winter ultra, set in and around Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Salsa sponsored rider Neil Beltchenko won the inaugural 105-mile race and shares his thoughts on the event, the course, and how his race went.

The Bear: A Fat Bike Adventure in Steamboat Springs” is a brand-new winter fat bike racing ultra in beautiful Colorado. Riders are treated to what, according to race organizers, “is arguably one of the most scenic fat bike races around. Both the 50 and 105-mile distances will take you above 10,000 feet in places with views to the Continental Divide and some of the least seldom seen craggy peaks of Colorado – The Zirkels. The 105-mile course will also blast you up to Wyoming where some of that states finest individuals will greet you with the hospitality only Wyoming can provide.” Tough to come up with a reason not to sign up for that!

Salsa sponsored rider Neil Beltchenko lined up with his Mukluk for this inaugural run and brought home a win. We asked him to go into a little more detail about the event, and how he finished at the top of the field.

Congratulations on your victory at The Bear, Neil! What led you to sign up for this event?

I appreciate that; it was a great event! I signed up because I wanted to try something new. I was looking around at races in the Midwest, but nothing worked out with my schedule. When Jon, the event creator reached out to me and said his event was going to happen pending U.S. Forest Service approval, I was instantly excited. A few months later the race was approved, and it happened. The main draw was that it was in Colorado, relatively close to where I live. Less driving or flights means more time on the bike and an overall more convenient experience.

How would you describe the course?

Ohhhh boy, bring your climbing legs because it’s packed with 10,000-plus feet of climbing. The beauty of that is what goes up, must come down. Overall the route is stunning; it travels through Routt National Forest, into Wyoming and back down into Colorado. It has some out and backs, which was a bit strange, but I learned this was more of a mental challenge than anything. The trails are for the most part on snowmobile trails, which are groomed by the local snowmobile club, and the route has plenty of checkpoints throughout the route, making it an attainable race for everyone. There is also a 50-mile version, which is a quality day ride if that’s what you are into.

For an event with no history yet, how did you plan regarding clothing and gear, which bike to bring, and nutrition?

That’s the draw to me, no history, no resources, just a map, a track, and the organizer’s word, which if we have learned anything by now, is something to take with a grain of salt. :) Like any race, clothing is weather dependent, and it was again for this race as a rather warm, but stormy period settled in. This lead to soft and sweaty times on the bike, but I was able to leave the -25* sleeping bag at home and a bunch of extra layers. I think the important thing is bringing the proper bike and tires. Knowing it was going to be soft, I swapped out my Mukluk’s Alternator Dropouts for a longer wheelbase, threw on the Whiskey Parts No. 9 100mm rims, and some 45NRTH Dillinger 5s. I was set. Nutrition wise, it was pretty easy as the aid stations were extremely stocked with a variety of goodies both savory and sweet. I did throw a bunch of Tailwind Nutrition in my Camelbak by the end of the race, as I was sick of all the food in my toptube bag.

Give us a recap of your race.

We all started at 7:00 a.m. and my goal was to stick to the front of the pack, with the 50 milers. Quickly a lead group of three formed up front, and the pace was rather swift but not full on. It was nice to push each other, but all good things must come to an end as they turned off on the 50-miler while I kept straight at mile 20. After that I was basically by myself, trudging through soft, snowmobile chundered snow. The area north of Steamboat where the race takes place sees a lot of snow – even on this down year, they have seen over 150 inches of snow, and to make things interesting, the Continental Divide got about four inches overnight. With wind and soft snow, I slowly made it to the northernmost portion of the route, which then turned around and came back to that aid station I passed at mile 20.

This way I could see how much of a gap I had on the field, and it was rather slim, so it was time to turn it up a bit. After reaching the 40-mile checkpoint, it was time to climb some more, this time up to the Continental Divide to about 10,000 feet. I started pedaling as much as I could, but this was hike-a-bike terrain. The goal was to climb as much as I could, but once I ran out of gears, hike as fast as I could. After finally reaching the top, I was confronted with some extremely sketchy descents. I had completed the crux of the race, but not knowing how far back the field was, I still didn’t feel safe.

These races are all about saving time, and when I race, I think about that constantly, whether that be pushing a slightly more difficult gear than I think I can handle, not stopping while eating, and most importantly, keeping the stopped time down. A lot of us ultra-riders do this, but before checkpoints, I think about what needs to be done, how much food I need to add to my toptube bag, how much water is necessary for the next section, if I need to adjust my tire pressure and so on. I did that as I was nearing the Columbine aid station, but I took it a step further and decided to think about what I needed to get to the finish line, as I knew the last 40 miles would be rather fast.

Once I arrived at the 60-mile Columbine aid station, I took 15 minutes to get what I needed, adjust my tire pressure and get ready for the 40-mile push. I jumped back in the saddle and continued on route to the second out and back section of the race, this time on a minimally maintained country road. Essentially it is an extremely long descent with a handful of power climbs on a snowy dirt road that is plowed on occasion, but this time was covered in a few inches of snow. It was fast, and I reached the end point just as the sun set. I turned around and started to climb back up to the Columbine aid station, nervously pedaling, awaiting the sight of a light in the distance, hoping I had a decent lead.

It turns out I did. I was nearly done with the almost 30-mile out and back before I saw Chris Plesko and Jefe Branham. After that, I knew I had the race if I could avoid disaster. I had ten more miles after running up to the Columbine checkpoint house to check back in. The last section was fast, even with a bit of hike-a-bike. That final 10 miles was a time to reflect on the day. I felt glorious at this point and was pleased with how everything went. I dealt with a few low moments, but for the most part, the race was an enjoyable experience. I rolled into the Hahn’s Peak Road House at 10:25, just in time to enjoy a beer, some bluegrass, and of course, a normal night’s sleep.

Will you be returning to The Bear? Would you recommend it to other ultra-seekers?

You bet, it’s a great event with a great vibe. The Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse is a fantastic base camp for the weekend too. This is only the beginning of this race. It’s going to get longer and harder. I hope we can get a big group of ultra-riders up in Northern Colorado next winter. Colorado is known for its high altitudes and climbing, and it certainly did not disappoint during the Bear. I would recommend it to any front ranger, aspiring fat biker, or ultra-cyclist.

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Introducing The 2018 Salsa Split Pivot Full-Suspension Lineup

Salsa introduces its 2018 Split Pivot full-suspension trail bike lineup, featuring Deadwood, Pony Rustler, and Redpoint.

We are excited to introduce our 2018 Salsa full-suspension trail bike lineup.

Whether your goal is to quickly and efficiently cover distance, play from edge to edge on any singletrack trail, or find lines hidden amongst burly, big country terrain, our signature geometry and the incredible capability of the Split Pivot suspension platform let you confidently aim for bigger and bolder adventures.

In the simplest terms, Split Pivot keeps your suspension active during acceleration and braking, but climb on board and you’ll immediately notice the following benefits from Split Pivot’s rear axle pivot:

Exceptional bump compliance

Maximum traction

Incredible pedaling efficiency

Predictable braking

Improved bike stance due to the elimination of unwanted suspension movement during acceleration and braking

INTRODUCING THE 2018 SALSA SPLIT PIVOT TRAIL BIKE LINEUP

DEADWOOD

Deadwood is our 29+ full-suspension trail bike. The rolling prowess of 29 x 2.6” tires with true-tracking, sure footed Split Pivot suspension gives “rubber adhesive” a whole new meaning. The 29 x 2.6” wheels paired with 120mm front and 91mm rear travel yields a momentum-holding, flat corner-crushing ride whether racing or connecting widely-spaced points on unfamiliar maps.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR 2018 DEADWOOD MODELS


PONY RUSTLER

Pony Rustler is our “any singletrack in the world” 27.5+ trail bike with the super-capable, aggressive, and ground-clawing stability of 27.5 x 3.0″ tires. Mix this footprint with Split Pivot technology and 120/130mm travel, and you’re dressed to impress while you bust new moves on the high mountain dance floor.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR 2018 PONY RUSTLER MODELS


REDPOINT

Redpoint is our 27.5” wheeled 150mm travel trail bike for tackling the roughest and most remote mountain terrain. Redpoint’s layout strikes that fine balance between trail bike climbing prowess and descending chops. You’ll finish ascents with plenty of gas left in the tank for wide-open runs down the other side.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR 2018 REDPOINT MODELS

Please visit the Deadwood, Pony Rustler, and Redpoint model pages on salsacycles.com for full product spec and pricing information. We look forward to seeing out on the trails!

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New Cockpit Components Including Carbon Cowchippers, Woodchippers, And More

We’re pleased to introduce our new range of cockpit components, including Carbon Cowbell, Cowchipper, and Woodchipper handlebars.

Today we’re excited to present our new and updated road and mountain handlebars, and new seatposts and stems. We’re offering a wider variety of fits and finishes than ever before, so you can dial in the feel and look that suits your riding goals.

Engineer Pete Hall took on this handlebar project with the goal to enhance ride feel and feedback across the board. Collin Grant and Kelly MacWilliams put their creative design chops to work on the overall look of the collection, and Product Manager Justin Steiner thought big picture about the kinds of components that would bring even more to our complete builds. They’re here to get into the objectives, and what they did to achieve them.

First thing you may notice is how this collection is tied together in appearance. MacWilliams and Grant point out, “The new graphic design elements found throughout the entire component line embrace what’s become the language of our heritage – functionality with the right amount of minimalism. By unifying the pieces visually, they add structure to our complete bike builds, and help tell the story that the small details matter to us.”

“Sometimes when you take a step back and look a whole bike over top to bottom, you can’t help but think that the cockpit components didn’t receive as much attention as the rest of the frame or parts did.” Steiner decided, “We wanted to keep that feeling at bay by spec’ing touch points that helped say, ‘This bike is a Salsa through and through.’ I feel like this new collection gets us there.”

For further technical details about each part and available sizes, follow the links to each product’s page.

Off-Road/Road Handlebars

Of all the new bits we’re covering here, handlebars received the biggest reevaluation and revamp. Our off-road dropbars that have carried so many cyclists through extraordinary rides are now available in two grades and finishes of aluminum, and for the first time, carbon. Whether you’re traveling over gravel, minimum-maintenance roads, or singletrack, there’s now a new level of comfort available that’s sure to help you pile on more miles. Pete Hall explains where the “bar” was set and why.

Hall – “We aimed for four main things on the carbon drop bars. Less weight, less deflection, more vibration dampening, and more room for mounting stuff.”

Less Weight – “The Cowbell, Cowchipper and Woodchipper Carbon are all 75g lighter than their aluminum counterparts.”

Less Deflection – “It varies how much per size, but we aimed to actually make the carbon bars deflect less under rider loads (think standing up and pedaling or hard cornering) than on the aluminum bars – on average they are 10% stiffer. This was a combination of the carbon fiber layup and a wider 31.8mm clamping section. The reasoning behind making them stiffer is that the alloy bars already deflect nicely for comfort and having handlebars that are too flexy can lead to a vague feeling when steering and standing up. With the increased vibration dampening of carbon, we could make the carbon bars stiffer without making them too harsh.”

More Vibration Dampening – “While the carbon bars are stiffer under deflection, they do soak up a lot of the vibration from small impacts on surfaces like gravel. This is purely down to the combination of carbon fibers, the resin material, and the properties of carbon fiber. It’s kinda like taking 5 psi out of your tires.”

More Room for Stuff – “We made the 31.8mm clamping section 140mm wide instead of the 120mm width that is on the aluminum bars. This was specifically for adding more stuff to the handlebars and was chosen specifically to safely fit an EXP Series Anything Cradle and aerobars at the same time.”

Added Bonus – Testing – “Cowchipper and Woodchipper carbon are still both tested to the same ISO 4210 Mountain loads as aluminum. These bars are obviously used for mountain biking and our testing and riding reflects that.”


Woodchipper Handlebars

Woodchipper is Salsa’s signature drop bar for off road riding, where its unique shape delivers comfort and control no matter how rough the terrain. Woodchipper Bars bend along three planes to create extra-wide lowers while still maintaining a shallow drop.



Woodchipper Carbon

Carbon, unidirectional finish

MSRP $215.00



Woodchipper Deluxe

7050-T6 series aluminum,
polished

MSRP $75.00



Woodchipper

6061-T6 aluminum, bead blasted

MSRP $50.00

Woodchipper Shared Features:

Sizes 42, 44, 46cm

114 mm drop, 56 mm reach, 25-degree flare, 38-degree drop angle


Cowchipper Handlebars

Cowchipper provides comfort, control, and efficiency for long days in the saddle, whether road touring, crushing mixed surfaces, or conquering the Great Divide. While the Cowchipper retains some resemblance of a traditional road bar, its radical 24° flare in the drops boosts leverage, stability, and comfort dramatically.


Cowchipper Carbon

Carbon, unidirectional finish

MSRP $215.00




Cowchipper Deluxe

7050-T6 series aluminum,
polished

MSRP $75.00



Cowchipper

6061-T6 aluminum, bead blasted

MSRP $50.00

Cowchipper Shared Features:

Sizes 38, 40, 42, 44, 46cm

116 mm drop, 68 mm reach, 24-degree flare, 12-degree drop angle


Cowbell Handlebars

Cowbell blends speed, comfort, and efficiency for high performance efforts on gravel and paved roads. Designed with gravel racing and riding in mind, Cowbell bars feature a 12-degree flare that puts your hands, wrists, and arms into a natural, comfortable position in the drops.

Cowbell Carbon

Carbon, unidirectional finish

MSRP $215.00

Cowbell Deluxe

7050-T6 series aluminum, polished

MSRP $75.00


Cowbell

6061-T6 aluminum, bead blasted

MSRP $50.00

Cowbell Shared Features:

Sizes 38, 40, 42, 44, 46cm

115 mm drop, 68 mm reach, 12-degree flare, 12-degree drop angle


Mountain Handlebars

Hall – “For the Salt Flat bars we went for wider widths, less deflection, and more mounting room. Rustler got bumped up in stiffness as that bar tends to be ridden more aggressively.”

Wider Widths – “Previously, our carbon bars were only offered up to 760mm in width. We now have 750mm and 800mm options. We wanted to provide more choice and recognize that mountain bikes are running wider and wider bars.”

Less Deflection – “We made Rustler 15% stiffer than the old carbon Rustler while also making it wider and lighter. We did add width to Salt Flat but kept it at the same stiffness as the old bar because we were already happy with its previous level. Rustler is about 10% stiffer than Salt Flat owing to its 15mm rise. We felt that bar is geared towards more towards aggressive trail riding vs the marathon style that many riders who gravitate to Salt Flat prefer.”

More Mounting Room – Salt Flat follows the drop bars and widens the 31.8mm clamping section to 140mm wide (up from 120mm) for Anything Cradle and Aerobars. Rustler stayed at 100mm wide as we felt that the use case for Rustler didn’t include aerobars and an Anything Cradle at the same time. Plus, the 100mm clamping section allowed for a more natural rise and more room for controls/grips.

All Salsa mountain handlebars feature our signature sweeps for great control and comfort no matter how long the day, or days out on the trails or in the backcountry.


Rustler Carbon Handlebar

Carbon, unidirectional finish

15mm rise

MSRP $140.00


Rustler Deluxe Handlebar

7050-T6 series aluminum, polished

20mm rise

MSRP $69.00


Rustler Handlebar

6061-T6 aluminum, bead blasted

20mm rise

MSRP $39.00

Shared Rustler Handlebar Features:

750 & 800 mm widths

11-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep


Salt Flat Carbon Handlebar

Carbon, unidirectional finish

MSRP $140.00

Salt Flat Deluxe Handlebar

7050-T6 series aluminum, polished

MSRP $65.00

Salt Flat Handlebar

6061-T6 aluminum, bead blasted

MSRP $39.00

Shared Salt Flat Handlebar Features:

750 & 800 mm widths

11-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, zero rise


A Cohesive Look

One of our other goals throughout this cockpit project was to dial in a new graphic scheme with a cohesive look throughout our entire package of offerings. We hope you like what you see and these additional component choices.


Seat Posts

Guide Seatposts

Our new Guide Seatposts feature a highly adjustable two-bolt head. They’re lightweight and durable.




Guide Carbon Seatpost

• Carbon shaft, unidirectional finish

• Bonded Aluminum head

MSRP $95.00




Guide Deluxe Seatpost

• 2014 Aluminum, polished

MSRP $65.00




Guide Seatpost

• 6061 Aluminum, bead blasted

MSRP $50.00


Shared Seatpost Features & Sizing:

Zero Offset & 18 mm Offset

Available in sizes:

27.2 x 350mm

27.2 x 400mm

30.9 x 400mm

31.6 x 400mm


Stems

Guide and Guide Trail Stems

Our Guide and Guide Trail Stems are lightweight and durable, with a good mix of stiffness and precise steering response on the road or trail.



Guide Stem

· AL-6061-T6 aluminum construction

· 3D-forged for increased strength, then CNC-machined

· 4-bolt faceplate design

· 37 mm stack height

· Bead blasted

· MSRP $40.00

Available sizes:

84/96 degree – 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130mm lengths

75/105 degree – 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120mm lengths

65/115 degree – 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130mm lengths


Guide Trail Stem

· AL-6061-T6 aluminum construction

· 3D-forged for increased strength, then CNC-machined

· 4-bolt faceplate design

· 46 mm stack height

· Bead blasted

· MSRP $40.00

Available sizes:

87/93 degree – 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80mm lengths

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Alaska Calling – Three Perspectives On The Iditarod Trail Invitational

Salsa rider Jay Petervary, Neil Beltchenko, and Jill Martindale share their thoughts leading up to the 2018 Iditarod Trail Invitational, from the perspective of multi-year race veteran, second year rider, and rookie.

Another running of the Iditarod Trail Invitational is set to begin February 25th. The world’s longest winter ultra-marathon is not for everyone, and the racers who line up have goals that are little different than most people’s. The physical and mental skills required not only to compete but to thrive and survive in that environment can only come from putting oneself in it, and an unwavering desire to see, feel, and learn what happens has to remain intact from start to finish. Three of our sponsored riders - Jill Martindale, Neil Beltchenko, and Jay Petervary, are cyclists fueled by that uncommon curiosity, and they’re all heading north in a few weeks to see what the legendary trail has in store this year.

Jill Martindale, Rookie

What does lining up for such a storied race mean to you? Are the pre-race jitters the same as they’d be for any ultra you enter, or is this different?

I am so incredibly excited to have found myself on the roster for the 350-mile ITI! Growing up, I always loved reading about Alaska, and I found myself envious of the sled-dog mushers because of the epic adventures and conditions they came up against. I’ve always loved winter more than summer! I am excited to be lost in winter and traversing across part of a place I’ve never been before. Racing on the Iditarod Trail on my fat bike is an opportunity I am very fortunate to find myself in, and I feel honored to have my name listed with so many endurance athletes who I’ve admired since getting into this whole crazy winter ultra-world. ITI has been on my mind for the last few years and finally qualifying for it, and finally having plans to get out there, and finally making it happen are pretty surreal! The pre-race jitters are a lot different than other races, but I’m strangely comfortable with them. There are a whole lot of details to figure out - airplane tickets, who’s going to cover at work for me while I’m in Alaska, shipping my drop bags out, getting my bike to Alaska, making sure I have enough miles under the saddle, making sure I feel comfortable hike-a-biking, figuring out how to follow the route, renting a car for Dan to noodle around in while I’m out riding up there, worrying about water, what nutrition will work, what is the weather like, how to be prepared in case I have a mechanical, in case my water freezes, in case I run out of food, in case there’s a moose, in case there’s overflow and I get wet, in case I have to build a fire… and I’ve found this whole year, increasingly as we come up to my first ITI, that all of these worries can wad up and feel very overwhelming. I just keep breathing and mentally telling myself that I’m ready - or as ready as I can be. I have some training left before traveling out to Alaska, but other than physically preparing and learning about my gear, the race is ultimately out of my hands. It all depends on the weather! Luckily, I have ridden in a variety of temperatures and conditions, and although Michigan doesn’t get quite as cold as Alaska, I feel like I’ve done the best that I can considering I work full-time at the shop and we don’t have quite as many snowmobile trails around my house.

How does doing ITI affect your racing bucket list?

The weirdest thing I’ve found about doing winter ultras is that you have to qualify for them. At least it was weird when I realized that’s what I needed to do. In retrospect, it means you have to put in the work and the practice to be as safe as possible! When I first lined up to the start of Tuscobia, my first winter ultra, doing the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational seemed like the be-all/end-all. At that point, I had already decided I wanted to get to Alaska and I was banking on enjoying Tuscobia! (If I didn’t, I had my work cut out for me! I’m stubborn and didn’t want to back down from setting the goal to do the ITI!) I chatted with race organizers for a moment to talk about the other multi-day trips I had been on for them to feel comfortable with me skipping the shorter race and going straight for the biggie! The Tuscobia 150 hurt. I was definitely dazed after crossing the finish line. It was long and straight and snowy and the longest I had ridden in the cold! Finishing Tuscobia qualified me for the Arrowhead 135 and finishing the Arrowhead 135 helped get me into Fat Pursuit! I didn’t finish at my first Fat Pursuit, but I did finish my second Arrowhead 135 (and I set a new women’s course record doing it!) By the time I had finished three winter ultras, I finally qualified for the 350-mile ITI! Heading out to Alaska this winter is theoretically one of the last steps towards the 1,000-mile race. All I have to do is finish, and I can qualify for the full distance! It’s no longer my be-all/end-all thing - I’m hooked on winter ultras and want to do them all! - now, ITI is something that is going to help shape how my bucket list looks after I complete the 1,000th mile!

You’ve acquired a wealth of experience racing winter ultras already. What gives you the most confidence heading into your first ITI? And what knowledge are you looking most forward to gaining?

The amount of ITI veterans I have met through other winter ultras has been pretty amazing! Chatting and talking with a lot of ITI finishers, or even multi-finishers has been the most confidence-inspiring thing I could have done beforehand! The groups of folks who I have met are top notch, and it’s a really special community in which everyone wants to see others succeed. Reading about other experiences out there, asking questions and learning from the folks who have been successful before, and staying optimistic about the whole thing have probably been some of the best preparations I could have done to get out there. I’m looking forward to learning more about patience, making some mistakes, and just seeing all the cool stuff out in Alaska!

Of all the stories you’ve read and heard, what part of ITI are you most excited to experience for yourself?

Other than the views, I hear the checkpoints along the way are awesome! I hear there is great food, hospitable people, and cozy places! Ha! Seriously though, I have never been to Alaska before and something about being out there and racing my bike… it makes me so excited! Everyone seems to have amazing stories associated with ITI, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and to earning my own.

What is it about winter ultras that appeal to you?

Each year, no matter what, you’re guaranteed a different race. The snow will always be different, the temperatures will always be different, and there will be new challenges depending on how the trail holds up with all of the changing variables! Figuring out how to give myself the best chance possible with so many different scenarios is exciting and fun - the strategy behind winter ultras is addicting! It also makes me really happy to be out in the cold on my bicycle because I know that there aren’t a whole lot of others out there doing the same thing and that somehow makes the experience just a little more magical.

Getting into them, what have been the biggest fears to overcome?

I think frostbite is a very real fear. I saw someone get hypothermia at my first winter ultra, and that was scary too. With the right gear, staying on top of hydration, snacking regularly, and avoiding fatigue, frostbite or hypothermia can be avoided. That’s a lot of stuff to make sure you’re doing right out in the cold on top of worrying about riding and not getting lost! I love the cold, I love riding in the dark, and I love both riding with others and riding by myself. There’s still some concern going into any winter ultra that I could get careless and wind up with black toes or letting my core get too cold, but the risks are worth the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve carried yourself across the finish line. It’s a good feeling to conquer your fears. I imagine it’s a good feeling to survive them, too.

What bike will carry you on this journey, and what’s in your kit both tried-and-true and new?

I’ll be taking my Salsa Mukluk out to Alaska to carry me the 350 miles to McGrath. I’ve had a rack-less set up in the past, and this year having a rear rack to strap stuff to has been pretty great. The rack also gives me another spot to grab my bike when I’m wrestling it up a steep incline or something like that, and I’m digging it! I think I’ll be choosing the 45NRTH studded Dillinger 5 tires, but I’ll most likely wait a little closer to the start of the race to decide for sure. Regarding warm gear, I’ll be bringing my 45NRTH Wolfgar boots to wear no matter what temperatures will be, because they’re worn in and comfy. My feet also get colder if I’m not staying on top of hydration or as I fatigue, so I think they’ll be the warmest option for a multi-day trip. After the Arrowhead this year, I did place an order for a pair of Mountain Tools over boots to place over my cycling boots when temperatures fall below -25 degrees to help eliminate some of the risks of frostbite. I will be using the 45NRTH Cobrafist pogies paired with hand warmers and several pairs of my 45NRTH gloves. Again, the final days before the race will determine what combination of gloves I’ll be sporting, but it’s nice to feel prepared by having so many options! The 45NRTH Naughtvind knickers and pants are both solid, and depending on what temps we’ll see out there, I can wear them together or paired with a lighter chamois and base-layer options. I have the NiteRider Mako 250 battery operated headlight to use in all the hours of darkness on the trail, but I typically pack a super bright 1100-lumen USB rechargeable light, the Lumina, for the darkest of the dark or for when I fatigue at night and just need a little something to help keep me alert - the odds of recharging that light during the race is pretty slim, but I like having a super-duper bright light if morale gets a little low. I’ve used the Esbit stove and fuel tabs successfully at other winter ultras, and I’m a little concerned that I could be using a better stove option, but I’m hesitant to change what I know when it comes to melting snow so close to the race start. The fuel cubes are relatively easy to use, and although they’re stinky, they’ve worked for me every time. I do have an Arctic Innovations Hydro Heater to help to keep water from freezing, and I’m glad I’ve had so much time to practice using that hydration system. I can get lazy when drinking my water with the Hydro Heater because the hose is a little shorter and the mouthpiece is a little difficult to get to when it’s very cold, and it’s tucked under several layers, but it’s reliable, and that’s important when heading out into the unknown. This question has turned into such a ramble of a response - but I am confident that a lot of my gear will provide the best opportunity to finish. Seriously though, I am so happy to have the Mukluk as my mode of transportation; big tires, racks and mounts, and a comfortable ride will make things easier to endure out there!

What words of encouragement do you have for other participants?

The Iditarod Trail Invitational only allows a limited number of participants for all of the distances and in all of the different modes of transportation. Holy cow, somehow, I get to be one of the lucky few participants!? We all get to be lucky, and we all get to race together this year?! I’m still in awe of qualifying! Regardless of how everyone’s race goes, just getting out to Alaska for the event is a huge privilege. I look forward to the bonds we’ll make out on the trail. We all just have to keep pedaling forward, and we have to watch out for each other. We frickin’ got this!!

Neil Beltchenko, Second-timer

What about the Iditarod drew you back?

Ever since I sat down in my seat on the flight from Anchorage back to Seattle last year, I have been thinking about this race. I’ve done a number of ultras, and a handful of winter ultras and the atmosphere, vibe, challenge, and reward is unparalleled to any of those other races. So, it only made sense to head back again for another try at the 350-mile version. While I have had a few years of winter ultras under my belt, The ITI is different. It’s more remote, more out there, simply more difficult for a variety of factors and for that reason, I think it has drawn me back.

After you returned from your first ITI, how long did it take you to know what you were going to do differently for the next time? What will you be doing differently? Or is that the sort of thing you’ll still be thinking about up until the race starts?


I knew after a good night’s sleep in Anchorage what I could improve on. A lot of the ITI is condition dependent. It shows in the results over the years, but there is quite a bit that can be done by the racer to make for a better overall experience. That being said, I learned more in my failed attempt on the Fat Pursuit in 2017 than I did during the ITI last year - at least as far as taking care of my body and dealing with extremely cold conditions. For this year, I’m currently playing with different ways to carry gear. I’m always searching to find the best and most efficient way because every second counts. Rethinking where my sleeping bag goes, batteries for lights, layers, and such. Last year I was scrambling to figure out what to bring. Now that I know, I have the time to tinker with where it lives. Of course, there will be a few last-minute changes - there always are, but the finish last year gave me a lot of confidence in what I know I need. 



How present is the past when you’re on the ITI course? Is there a history you can feel? Did it match your expectations on your first trip?

The ITI has a rich history and I’ve been reading about it for a long while. I have deep respect for the folks that made due before an actual fat bike was around. I think the biggest take away and intrigue I get from the ITI is the problem solving before, during, and after the race. The thing is, it’s not just you problem solving, it’s every single person who has ever lined up. The pioneers of the sport and fat bike racing in Alaska did more problem solving than we currently do. That’s why times are now faster, gear is lighter, and strategies are smarter. I owe a lot to the folks laying down the tracks years before me, and I’m humbled and blessed to be a part of such a storied history. My first trip last year was incredibly rewarding. I had no expectations of going as fast as I did, I just knew I had one goal, and that was to finish. I did that and performed far better than I would have anticipated.

What is it about winter ultras that appeal to you?

There is something to be said about traveling by bike with everything you need for days on end. There is a sense of comfort in the summer. You typically know what you are going to expect, and even if you are unsure of the route and weather, things tend to be a bit more consistent than in winter. I think that’s the main draw - the unknown, the slower pace, the cold, the wind, the blowing snow. There are so many outside factors that can change the equation; these unknowns are what keep bringing me back. I have only done four years of winter ultras, but they are more mentally draining and exhausting on the body than some 500-plus mile races. In my attempts to become better at winter ultras, I need to experience the unknowns and exhaustion. It’s challenging, rewarding, and fun!

Getting into them, what have been the biggest fears to overcome?

The initial fear for me was cold, and it still is today. My first winter ultra was back in 2014 at Arrowhead. I think the start was something like -20. I was so nervous, but once I got going, it felt like 30-plus degrees. So, while I have a fear of cold, the gear and the way I protect my skin typically does not change until -25/-30 and beyond. In Alaska, that’s normal! So, overcoming that fear is tough, especially when I only get a handful of days - mostly evenings and mornings - here in Colorado in those temps. Another fear is water freezing. It’s a fear but something that is totally avoidable and can be fixed in the field. It’s a lot of trial and some error. 



What bike will carry you on this journey, and what’s in your kit both tried-and-true and new?

Not much will change from last year. The Salsa Mukluk is the workhorse in my bike fleet, and that will again be the bike I fly with to Alaska. I have never loaded a bike down so much as the Muk, and when I do, it’s such a joy to ride. It’s stable, yet snappy especially with the Alternator Dropouts moved forward which is great for shorter rides and races. The Muk can fit the 100mm rims with 5” tires, so that too is a huge benefit, not only in Alaska but here in Colorado where we typically see very low-density snow. I’ll again be running 45NRTH Dillinger 5 studded tires, because, as I found out last year, Alaska is just a frozen swamp, with frozen rivers and mountains. Those tires will be mounted to some Whisky carbon fat bike hoops with my trusty blue Industry 9 fat bike hubs. I will also be rolling a SRAM Eagle Drivetrain, with either a 30 or 32 tooth chainring. Adidas Terrex apparel are the technical layers I use to not only keep me warm but also cool and dry.


I briefly contemplated going with a rack because the Mukluk has that versatility, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to get around to testing that system out. I would like to move my bulky sleeping bag to the rear of my bike for better light illumination and vision. The other thing I’m currently working on is hand positions inside the pogies. Pogies are great for a variety of reasons and essential for the ITI, but I have found that they inhibit multiple hand positions. So, I am currently testing out some togs, and if those don’t work, I’ll be adding some short bar ends to the inside of my grip to give me another position.

What words of encouragement do you have for other participants?

I have always said that the human body is an incredible thing, and it’s even more incredible that it is capable of pedaling across snow and ice in Alaska. My #1 goal is always to finish, and while there is a fine line between finishing and survival, more times than not, you will be able to endure anything in front of you. Be positive, enjoy the route, enjoy the culture, be kind to all the businesses and volunteers, and remember that you signed up for this! Make the most of it. Sure, it’s a race, but it’s a competition against yourself. Push yourself to the limits, be bold, and give’r hell.


Enjoy that ride through the night.


Jay Petervary, 10th Iditarod Trail Invitational


This will be my 10th year Anniversary of the ITI. So, why wouldn’t I try for Nome this year? It’s a celebration! Out of the nine ITI’s I have done, I have three successful trips reaching Nome, two of them traveling with my wife, Tracey. Three wins on the 350, and two wins to Nome.

Finish this sentence - “Seems like every time I prepare for another run at ITI, I find myself…”

...tinkering, modifying gear, and packing my bike for endless amounts of time”. It’s kind of crazy as I can have great success with a certain system, but then I just have to change it up for the sake of changing it up. In the end, the more you pay attention to the small details of your gear and bike, the smoother things will be on the trail. It also seems like every setup I have ever rolled down the trail with has been different. Some of it stems from past experiences and some from just wanting to try new things. The Iditarod Trail is like a school that has no graduation. No matter how much time you spend on it, it will forever teach you things.

Considering your history and success with ITI, do you feel like you’ve got a greater amount of wiggle room with preparation and experimentation than other racers, or are the course and environment always in charge?

I certainly have a lot of experience and confidence, enough that I don’t need to experiment as much as I use to, but it doesn’t prevent me from preparing to the highest level of my ability. I hold a lot of respect for the Iditarod Trail and what the weather can dish out. It can be relentless, and it does not care at all about you. Each year is so unique, and it will be absolutely nothing like what you may think it is going to be. Watching the weather and getting ‘trail reports’ will only make you worry and distract you from preparing for anything and taking it as it comes. The reality is that the environment that one can encounter on the trail can easily put you in a dangerous situation very quickly if you don’t prepare properly. The biggest advantage I have is I don’t lose sleep and worry as I used to during the months of lead up time. It will be what it will be, and I am okay with whatever that is.

Think back to your early experiences with ITI. What drew you to it, and how did you gather intel for this relatively new endeavor back then? Who did you talk to about it? What were your hopes and dreams?

The early days seemed a bit more raw, and that true rawness has disappeared some through all the available knowledge on the internet today. There was not a lot of public information at the time when I started, and the ones that were doing it at the time kept that info to themselves. That was the draw for me. The unknown. I’ve always been one to figure things out on my own, through my own experiences and doing my research. I like to develop my own opinion on things and think outside the box. Sometimes the less you know, the better, or ignorance can be bliss. I didn’t reach out to anybody. In these early years of adventuring it was known as earned knowledge, and now the more modern ITI participant almost expects to be able to get certain information.

My hopes early on were to finish and have the most challenging adventure ever. I got that my first year and almost every year since. My dream is now, ten years later, I’m still out there doing it.

Is there anything you miss from those early years? How has it changed?

Absolutely. The field was made up of more hardcore winter adventurers. The mode of transportation was just chosen as a tool that helped move them forward. Now, especially with the growth of fat bikes, we have more athletes, or bike riders, wanting to become winter adventurers. There is nothing wrong with this, but it seems like things got reversed. As said earlier, it just seemed more raw in the early years. It also seemed more snow used to fall! Tell me there isn’t global warming but looking back on my ten years at ITI I would have to argue. Four to six days finish time was kind of the norm on the 350-mile event; now it seems two to three is. People had to be much more creative back then as well with making and creating gear to use. This brings out a different person. Now you can buy your way into a fully functional kit to get down the trail.

Interesting note: Over my years I can count on one hand how many people have scratched and been flown out of the Rohn checkpoint. This is the most challenging and most expensive place to scratch. Last year’s number of scratches in Rohn exceeded all the years added together.

What about ITI made it stick with you and become a regular part of your life?

The ITI adventure cannot be replicated, and it is guaranteed to be very different each year. The journey is life changing. In the past ten years, I missed one, and I was very depressed about it. It’s hard to explain, but it fills this void of adventure that I crave. I look to be on the edge, the ability to push and challenge myself at a very high level, and the ITI is the only thing I have found so far to take me to that level. I also love to compete and having that lingering pressure helps me push the limits.

What (and who) do you look forward to seeing most on each return to Alaska?

The silence, the views, the northern lights, the real-life school lessons and the new unknown experience I get to walk away with has a priceless value to me and fills a big part of my life with personal growth. At this point, I definitely look forward to seeing the friends I have made on and along the trail. Whether it be a villager that I have watched grow from a child to an adult, an Iditarod dog race trail breaker, a dog musher, a business owner, or a fellow competitor, they are all very special. The Iditarod Trail family is something amazing, and this yearly meet up means just as much or maybe even more to me than some yearly holidays.

What bike will carry you on this journey, and what’s in your kit both tried-and-true and new?

Curiosity is what creates discoveries. It can sometimes just dead-end an idea, or it can sometimes get me into trouble, but ​I received a new Blackborow this winter. I asked for this bike because I started to see beyond what is possible with a traditional bike. I didn’t have any immediate goals, but I love to tinker and think outside the box. I need these types of projects in my life. I love to prove ideas and concepts beyond traditional thinking. The more I played with the Blackborow, the more curious I was getting. I did one very particular ride where the light bulb was shining bright, and I could not steer away from the question “Why are you not taking the Blackborow to AK?”. At first, I had to remove my “competitive” mindset, and then I became so obsessed with the idea that if I didn’t take it, I would be kicking myself and curious forever. So, over the past couple weeks, I have been pimping out my Blackborow and will be using it as my travel companion to Nome. I hope to be riding it more than pushing it, and I honestly think in the right conditions I will be riding it even more, with more control, than a traditional fat bike. For my 10th year Anniversary on the trail, this project could not have me more stoked!

The tried-and-true: 45NRTH Wolfgars, Dillinger 5 studded tires, Princeton Tec lights (Apex, Fuel, and Swerve), HED BFD rims on Industry 9 hubs, and rag wool socks

The new: Well, I got a new MSR Whisperlite stove because my old one had one too many hiccups.

What words of encouragement do you have for other participants?

Embrace the journey. Live in the moment. Step back and understand how lucky you are and let that feeling overwhelm and drive you. Know you have everything you need. Slow down and think about the ‘work’ you need to do. Do your “work.” You can do more than you think you can. When times get tough, remember all the time, money, and sacrifices you made to get there. When the trail is at its worst, it only can only get better. Time changes everything. The lows only last so long. The crap trail sections only last so long. The feeling of finishing can only be felt by finishing. Pushing is part of the journey. If you think about quitting, you will immediately regret it and the next year will be the longest year ever while waiting to do it again. Have fun. Love what you do. And GOOD LUCK to ALL!

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Winter Miles Lead To Spring Smiles

Salsa sponsored rider, trail builder, and enduro racer Lindsey Carpenter shares the self stoke she generates to keep her riding spirits up during the cold and dark winter months.

Sam and I spent the warmer part of last fall in Pennsylvania, building mountain bike trails with Dirt Artisans at Jake’s Rocks. We returned home late October, and were able to fit in some awesome rides to enjoy the last few perfect mountain biking weather days before the dreaded Daylight Savings hit.


Riding shot courtesy of Nathan Shearer…Mountain top celebration shot courtesy of Elizabeth Spencer…

And then it was dark. At five pm. With temperatures dropping! But then, Salsa took us to California for a big dose of sunshine, mountains, and a photo shoot.

After our West Coast solar revival, we were back in Virginia for the holidays, with some cross-country skiing trips at Whitegrass Resort in West Virginia to ring in the New Year.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Spencer…

Sam works at Massanutten Resort in the winters, grooming the ski slopes and building the terrain parks. His schedule is busy, with early mornings! But he has been getting some good riding in too.

In November, I started working with GiddyUp Courier, a bike messenger service out of Pro Tested Gear in Harrisonburg. Fast action food delivery via bike with the occasional “caught delivering in the poultry processing plant when the fire drill goes off” adventure.. aka fantastic winter training plan now without chicken.. My shifts are usually 30-40 miles of riding, spent on my carbon hardtail - the perfect commuter.

I’m very lucky right now. I’m not in school, my jobs are awesome, our rent is cheap, and we live in the east coast “Mecca” of mountain biking. It won’t always be this easy, so I figure I should take advantage of this time to focus on riding strong and having a lot of fun in 2018.
Between delivery and pleasure rides, I’m able to get out quite a bit. Time in the saddle, 4-5 pilates or yoga classes, and a gym visit a week during the cold time will hopefully set me up nicely for the warm time! I’ve been on my Warbird for road and gravel rides, and on my Redpoint in the forest. My friends and I have gotten out for some fabulous rides so far this cold season, and were lucky to have a random weekend of 50 degree weather recently - thus explaining the photos of us with bare arms!

Photo courtesy of Harlan Price…

I’m spoiled, because even though I have the time to ride, and I have the warmest 45NRTH riding boots of all time, I still whine about cold weather. Motivating to ride isn’t always easy in the dark freezing time. Wearing your nicest gear or packing twice the ride food sometimes isn’t enticing enough. But it’s always better once you get out the door, and it’s always the best to come home after doing something that you had to push yourself to accomplish. The reminder of your body’s and brain’s capabilities to do a physical feat is always more meaningful when it was cold, too. So here’s to winter adventures by bike!!

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Farewell, Salsa!

Salsa sponsored rider Kaitlyn Boyle extends her gratitude for five years of sponsorship, adventure, challenge, growth, confidence, inspiration, and advocacy.

December 27, 2017

Dear Salsa,

I’m writing from the bottom of my heart. In that sense, this is a love letter.

I wrote this in my head while pedaling. This is something I learned how to do while pedaling Salsa bikes around the world. Storytelling by bike. Through the miles I’ve moved a Salsa along trails and roads, this is a skill I’ve learned. For that, I’m grateful. But my gratitude and growth gained from Salsa Cycles runs far deeper than the skill of crafting stories while moving, to later be recorded in print.

We are parting ways. Like all healthy, supportive and growth-oriented relationships, this is a mutually respectful departure – a closing of a chapter, we’ll call it.

Transitions spark reflection. Transitioning beyond the chapter of life as a Salsa sponsored rider and into life in 2018, I can’t help but recall the storylines from the past four years.

Aboard an El Mariachi, Horsethief, and Redpoint, I’ve bikepacked in eight countries outside of North America. It’s hard to summarize growth from extensive international travel into a few points, but in essence, I learned how to truly immerse into a place. I learned how to plan and execute hard expedition-length bikepacking routes in foreign countries where I can’t speak the language. I learned how to communicate with my partner. I learned how to persevere when I wasn’t happy. I learned the empowering nature of long-distance bike travel. I experienced some of the world’s greatest mountains, centimeter by centimeter. I learned how small I am. And, most importantly, I learned how much I love my home, the West.

I started a career as an ultra-endurance cyclist. First on an El Mariachi, then Spearfish, I started a lot, finished some, and crushed a few long-distance races. In the pursuit of ultra-racing, I’ve learned how to try…over and over. To control the controllable and embrace the uncontrollable. I’ve learned how to believe in myself. I’ve learned I’m capable of as much as I commit to. I’m still working on these things, and they will be life lessons, but they are the reason I will continue to race my bike, and Salsa’s no pressure approach to unconditionally supporting me has enabled this, and it’s from this foundation that I set forth into the future. Thank you.

I’ve had the opportunity to teach, share, and inspire. Through your support of the Prescott College Geology through Bikepacking class across three years, the publishing of The Bikepacker’s Guide, and the support of presentations and writing, I’ve been lucky to participate in and witness the growth and excitement of people discovering bikepacking and adventuring on their bikes. There is nothing more rewarding.

Finally, something you likely never knew – you connected me with my best friend. When Kurt Refsnider asked me to teach Geology through Bikepacking in 2013, I didn’t have a bike or the means to buy one suitable for the course. You provided me with my first Salsa frame and I co-taught the course. From that course, my relationship with Kurt evolved. We ended up dating for three and a half years and shared nearly all of the experiences listed thus far together. While we are no longer a couple – another story of a growth-oriented and supportive divergence—our stories and experiences together aboard and enabled by Salsa are cherished.

When I look forward to what’s next, I’m excited. I have plans to ride a long-distance route across my favorite landscape solo. I wouldn’t have the skills, experience, or confidence to do so without the last four years. I’m going to continue to race my bike, bringing the mental and physical fortitude developed aboard Salsas to those races. I will continue to use the bike as a tool to educate and inspire others. Kurt and I have a non-profit, Bikepacking Roots, to collaborate on, and will continue to support each other in our lives while sharing our love for long, rugged rides in wild places. Oh yeah, and the story-telling…there’s a spark there. I’m eager to see how that evolves.

Adventure. Challenge. Confidence. Growth. Inspiration. Advocacy. Love. Story.

From the bottom of my heart,

Thank you, Salsa Cycles.

Kaitlyn

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In Reply

Dear Kaitlyn,

On behalf of Salsa, I would like to thank you, and Kurt, for all that we accomplished together! What an amazing journey it has been for all involved, filled with some of the best stuff that life has to offer.

I’ve been in this game a while now, forming many sponsored rider relationships, and ending some as well, and you have no idea how much it means to me for us to bid farewell as friends, with equal gratitude for the years spent together. Trust me, not all sponsored rider relationships end with the graciousness you have displayed.

You made a lovely list of words so let me follow suit with my thoughts toward you as a comrade in arms.

Driven. Gutsy. Encouraging. Passionate. Brilliant. Generous. Accomplished. Champion.

All the best to you as you move on to bold new challenges! We look forward to seeing, and helping, Backpacking Roots thrive!

-Mike ‘Kid’ Riemer, Salsa Marketing Manager

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Teaching Kids To Link Bikes To Good Living

Cycling parents share their tips for helping children appreciate bikes and link them to good living.

Ask a devoted cyclist what the one constant is in some of their favorite memories, and it’s likely the response will be something along the lines of, “My bike was always there.”

For most of us, days off, weekends, or vacations are hard to imagine without bikes taking playing a central role in what we’d call successful time off. At some point, we understood that bikes were just going to be a part of the way we describe ourselves. They’ve become integral in who we are and what we do, and we feel we’ve been rewarded many times as a result.

This component in the long-term “Ride of Passage” is not always evident right away in a young mind—the realization that it’s because of bikes that they’ll have some of the most meaningful experiences in their lives—enough that bikes become their vehicle of choice for good living and adventure in the future.

Our cycling-parent friends, Justin and Christina, Madeline and Craig, Butch and Katie, Josh and Alison, Ben and Amy, Mike and Jen, and TJ and Beth have graciously offered their two cents on how they’re presenting this idea to their kids.

What tips do you have to help your kid(s) see their bikes as vehicles for learning/adventure/fun?

Craig & Madeline

Talk about the ride afterward—tell her grandma and significant others all of the things you saw and did on the ride. Beef up how awesome it was, even if you didn’t go very far or fast, celebrate the little stuff.

Butch & Katie

Keller and I rode into Woodside Flats (a long forgotten old quarry south of MPLS) this summer. There were beavers swimming around. He was totally blown away. He had done a project on beavers earlier that year and was really into them. We’ve ridden to parks, and all over south Minneapolis since they could ride so there is some connection to getting around, having fun, and learning.

Alison & Josh

As a parent, your role is to be the catalyst for adventure. You initiate and supervise the getting of radness, but try to let the kids own the adventure.

Jen & Mike

I usually stop in beautiful places, like a sweet bluff and have them look around, and ask them if they would be seeing what they are seeing if we were not biking, i.e., pointing out the access to nature it provides.

Beth & TJ

Just get them out. Teach them not to be scared to explore. You are the example.

What lifelong benefits do you believe your kid(s) will gain by linking bikes and adventures?

Christina & Justin

You have to think that there are lots of decision making opportunities and obstacles to overcome. Each time their brain has to do it, it grows and it becomes easier to make quick decisions in their lives.

Craig & Madeline

A sense of direction! Go old school and pull out a paper map to talk about the trail. Use technology—have them use MapMyRide, take pictures along the way and look at the route when you’re all done.

Butch & Katie

If I can get them to connect the freedom that can be had with using the bike as a tool for transportation through this world I’ll consider my job as a parent to be graded at an A. I feel like I’ve got a back log of places that I’d like to take them to see the bike’s power in action.

Alison & Josh

Everyone needs to know what they are capable of. You will never know how much you can bite off and chew if you have never choked just a little bit. The hardest thing as a parent is watching kids struggle, but that struggle and the ensuing support from parents is key to them developing confidence and tenacity.

Amy & Ben

Riding connects them to their environment. It teaches them independence and self-reliance. I would say one of the best things it has taught my kids is a relationship to where they are in the world. Both metaphorically but also directionally.

Beth & TJ

Cultivating curiosity and encouraging them to see things with their own eyes and not through a screen. Living it. Breathing it. Appreciation of the solo pursuit, but also finding the collective of people that also have that adventurous energy.

What are some memorable activities you’ve done with your kids that were possible because of their bikes/bike rides?

Christina & Justin

We’ve ridden to fish, the zoo, the mountain bike park, gone camping, picked up groceries, etc. on bike. The success comes from doing it all by bike.

Alison & Josh

We love to ride bikes to the swimming hole, to build campfires, and or to the playground.

Amy & Ben

We have been fortunate to have logged enough miles from early ages that now we can do multi-day camping and bikepacking trips. We also have a great time just riding into the woods and cooking dinner by the river over a fire and then heading home. In addition, we have done day riding and packraft trips with my four-year-old since he can fit in the boat with me. We have ridden upstream and then paddled downstream, shuttling back up to the bike. It’s important to be successful in both small and big things.

Beth & TJ

We made biking a part of our Christmas tradition. Since she was born, we ride our bikes on Christmas Eve to our friend’s house for a party. And bring egg nog. We are privileged to live in a bike community, so we have participated in many bike-centric events (birthday parties, dinners, bar runs, etc.).

What has a life with bikes done for you, and have you tried to explain that to your kid(s)? How?

Christina & Justin

It is a healthy lifestyle that has allowed me a means to see the world. Enjoy what you do, and you will live a happy life.

Butch & Katie

Changed my life. I was an overweight preppy dork until I started riding for transportation in college. The decision to buy a bike changed my direction. My kids have met my rad friends from around the country that come and visit to ride and hang out. I think they’ll connect some dots at some point. I guess my biggest explanation for them is to let them see how I live my life. What I’m passionate about and what they see me do is the example of what I believe to be a great way to go about doing things.

Alison & Josh

Much of my cycling has been about racing bikes, and it taught me how to lose graciously and successfully interact with people that I compete against outside of the race. I feel this last part is important given the divisiveness of our society. At the end of every race, I try to talk to my competitors because we all were on a bike ride, and that is a joy without parallel.

Amy & Ben

Bikes have taught me to constantly evolve my understanding of what is possible in the world. I wouldn’t say I so much as talk to my kids about this as much as I try and show them through doing.

Jen & Mike

It clears my head and gives me the confidence to tackle stuff in life. They have their activities that do the same for them, and we talk about how it helps.

Beth & TJ

It’s just been a part of our lives for a long time and explaining it is unnecessary if you live it.

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Introducing Timberjack Kids

Introducing the Salsa Timberjack 20 and Timberjack 24 kids adventure bikes.

The Salsa office is full of individuals that, despite different stories and paths, got here by bike. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the cycling experiences we have, and in most cases, the beginnings of our lives on two wheels are entwined with our earliest memories. Had we not had those first bikes, well, who knows. But we sure are grateful that the cranks started turning when they did.

Today, we’re pleased introduce the new Timberjack 20 and Timberjack 24. Designed to be the vehicles by which the next generation of off-road bicycle explorers get their start. For family camping, solo expeditions in the nearby woods, or any other youthful missions, the Timberjack 20 and 24 have the same aptitude for adventure as the Salsa bikes that the big kids ride.

Packed with the same purpose-built details you’ve come to expect from Salsa Cycles, Timberjack 20 and 24 level the playing field when your whole clan gets out to ramble.

Features:

· Appropriate geometry and handling for smaller bodies

· 20 & 24 inch wheel sizes

· 3-inch plus-sized tires

· Aluminum 6061-T6 heat-treated frame

· Aluminum fork

· Fork features Three-Pack mounts for water bottles or gear, just like mom and dad’s bikes

· 1 x 8 Narrow Wide drivetrain with an easy-to-use twist shifter

· Smaller sized contact points for better fit, handling, and control

MSRP & Availability:

Timberjack 20 - $549.99

Timberjack 24 - $559.99

Available in early January 2018 from authorized Salsa Dealers

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