On Feb 22, instead of plowing the roads, Huntsville, On. city workers will be picking up truckloads of snow from local snow banks and dumping it onto the main street. As part of the Huntsville 2020 Snowfest, the street will be covered in snow, which will then be packed down and groomed. Locals will have the chance to watch the OFSAA nordic ski championships, dog sled racing and the first ever Muskoka Winter Fat Bike Race.
The bike race will lap through an 850 m course in the heart of the downtown core.
Buck Miller, the director of the race and president of the Huntsville MTB Association, describes the Muskoka Winter Fat Bike Race as “basically a fat bike criterium”.
“There’s really no event like this in the province,” he says.
Fat bikes in Muskoka
The race will include recreational and competitive categories, and Miller expects to see the entire range of cycling ability. “With the snow we get, Muskoka has developed a culture of cyclists embracing the fat bike,” he says. Local bike shops are renting fat bikes for those who want to race but don’t have a bike of their own, boosting the inclusive nature of the event.
While there are good places to ride road, gravel and mountain bikes in the area, fat biking, in particular, has really picked up in Muskoka over the past few years. There are a number of Muskoka region weekly group rides and recently, a local Substance Projects fat bike race saw around 80 competitors taking on the snow.
Miller sees fat biking as a year round activity in Muskoka, noting the facilities made specifically for fat bikes in Bracebridge, On. He hopes to see the Muskoka Winter Fat Bike Race become an annual event in Huntsville.