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Thu Mar 6, 2014, 02:18 AM

Iditarod Invitational cyclist rides fat-tired bike to mind-boggling race record


An unassuming Fairbanks cyclist by the name of Jeff Oatley has done the impossible on the Iditarod Trail from Knik to Nome. He rode his fat-tired bicycle into the Bering Sea community of 3,800 on Wednesday afternoon to beat the canines of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to town by days.

No other competitor in the Iditarod Trail Invitational -- a 1,000-mile, human-powered, ultra-endurance race across the Alaska wilderness -- has ever come close to accomplishing this feat.

Oatley didn't just do it, however, he did it in spectacular fashion. His finishing time of 10 days, 2 hours, 53 minutes took him out of the realm of competitors in previous Invitationals and into the realm of the big dogs in the Iditarod dog-race.

Oatley's time would have been good enough for 25th place in last year's Iditarod if he'd left the Willow start line with the dogs. He would have finished the race only about six hours behind four-time Iditarod champ Lance Mackey from Fairbanks. Mind-boggling understates this ride.


The previous record was 17+ days.

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Reply Iditarod Invitational cyclist rides fat-tired bike to mind-boggling race record (Original post)
Blue_In_AK Mar 2014 OP
happyslug Mar 2014 #1
Blue_In_AK Mar 2014 #2
happyslug Mar 2014 #3
jmowreader Jun 2014 #4
happyslug Jun 2014 #5
frylock Jul 2014 #6
happyslug Jul 2014 #7

Response to Blue_In_AK (Original post)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:37 PM

1. More on his race:


The daily reports of his progress:






His bike was a TITANIUM frame bike with 3.7 inch tires.

Component Highlights:

Frame: Speedway Cycles Fatback
Fork: Speedways Cycles custom steel
Wheels: Remolino 80mm wide rims; Hadley 165mm rear hub, Chris King 100mm front hub
Drivetrain: FSA Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset (22/36/44); Truvativ 100mm ISIS bottom bracket; Shimano E-Type front derailleur, SRAM X0 rear derailleur; SRAM X0 twist shifters; Shimano XTR 11-32 9-speed cassette; Nokon derailleur housing
Brakes: Magura Marta SL
Pedals: Crankbrothers Egg Beater 4Ti
Tires: Surly Endomorph 3.7-inch
Saddle: Sella Italia Flight
Stem: Bontrager 100mm 17-degree rise
Grips: Ergon GC-2
Aerobars: Profile Design Jammer GT

Gear Highlights:

Shoes: Lake MXZ300
Booties: Apocalypse Designs
Headlight: Lupine Wilma
GPS: Garmin eTrex Legend
Seatpack: Epic Designs Super Twinkie
Framebag: Epic Designs
Top tube bag: Epic Designs Gas Tank
Handlebar bags/hand warmers: Dogwood Designs Pogies
Gloves: Pearl Izumi Gavia and RBH Designs Vapor Barrier Mitten

I have not kept up with the Iditarod since they banned poodles:




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Response to happyslug (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:48 PM

2. :). Yes, I remember the poodles.

I think this guy on the bicycle is amazing. Usually the cyclists show up when we're out in Nome, after about 15 or 20 mushers. I can't imagine riding 100 mikes a day on the terrain that these guys cover.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:25 AM

3. Given the bike and its gearing, it may be faster to walk


The bike's big advantage is going down hill. On the other hand the low gearing of such wide tires bikes makes for slow speeds (Through probably faster then walking).

One advantage he did have over the dogs is the dogs time on the trail is regulated.


For example rule 13:

Rule 13 --Mandatory Stops: A musher must personally sign in and out to start and complete all mandatory stops.

Twenty Four-Hour Stop: A musher must take one mandatory twenty-four (24) hour stop during the race. The twenty-four (24) hour stop may be taken at the musher’s option at a time most beneficial to the dogs. The starting differential will be adjusted during each team’s twenty-four (24) hour stop. It is the musher’s responsibility to remain for the entire twenty-four (24) hour period plus starting differential. The ITC will give each musher the required time information prior to leaving the starting line.

Eight Hour Mandatory Stops: In addition to the mandatory twenty-four (24) hour stop, a musher must take one eight (8) hour stop on the Yukon River, including Shageluk in odd numbered years, and one eight (8) hour stop at White Mountain.

None of the) mandatory stops may be combined

Rule 16:

Rule 16 --Mandatory Items:A musher must have with him/her at all times the following items:

• Proper cold weather sleeping bag weighing a minimum of 5 lbs.
• Ax, head to weigh a minimum of 1-3/4 lbs., handle to be at least 22” long.
• One operational pair of snowshoes with bindings, each snowshoe to be at least 252 square inches in size.
• Any promotional material provided by the ITC.
• Eight booties for each dog in the sled or in use.
• One operational cooker and pot capable of boiling at least three (3) gallons of water at one time.
• Veterinarian notebook, to be presented to the veterinarian at each checkpoint.
• An adequate amount of fuel to bring three (3) gallons of water to a boil.
• Cable gang line or cable tie out capable of securing dog team.
• Functional non-chafing harness for each dog in team and a functional neckline

I know Rule 43 is not a factor here, but it is the Anti-Poodle Rule:

Rule 43 -- Dog Description: Only dogs suitable for arctic travel will be permitted to enter the race. Suitability will be determined by race officials.

I do NOT know how the race made these rules applicable to the biker, they are designed to protect the dogs. No dogs, no need for any concern for their health thus the mandatory stops may NOT apply to the cyclist (and the Race MAY have applied them to him, but then the race may say the rules applied to people in the race and a cyclist is just someone running on the same course, which is through public land and thus the race official can NOT stop him from using).

Thus he may have been able to beat the dogs because he was carrying less then the sleds must carry and need not stop as required by the race for the dogs.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 29, 2014, 02:49 AM

4. Don't dis titanium frames. They are a REAL nice ride.

What they are not is affordable.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 29, 2014, 02:58 PM

5. That is why the push for Carbon Fiber


Last edited Sun Jun 29, 2014, 10:08 PM - Edit history (2)

Titanium is, given same Mass AND Volume, stronger then Steel or Aluminum. Aluminum is stronger then Steel given the same MASS, but weaker if using the same Volume. Thus Aluminum frame bikes have to have thicker tubes then a Steel Bike, but Titanium can use tubes the same size as Steel and still be stronger.

Titanium dropped in price in the 1990s, I remember just the frame being offered for about $900 (made in China Frames). You could get an Cannondale Aluminum frame for less then $200 at that time (Cannondale had a program in the 1990s, if you traded in an old frame, they let you have a new Cannondale frame).

Trek went into Carbon-Fiber right after 2000. Carbon-Fiber offered the stiffness of Titanium at a reduced price, through higher priced then Aluminum.

Stiffer frame, easier pedaling. Given that pedaling is the main restriction on most biking, it is the biggest restriction and anything that reduced pedaling is good. Thus you will NOT hear me talk bad about his bike.

On the other hand, it is a bike designed NOT to go on paved roads. That is the only comment you will here from me AND given its gearing (the front gears was roughly the same as the small gear on a regular three speed front gears) you are NOT talking of very fast speeds. Thus my comment that it may have been almost as fast to walk, except for going downhill. On flats, the bike probably would beat out someone running, but going up any grade, you may be better off walking the bike, it might be faster.

My comment is on the type of bike and its limitations, it will go good over soft terrain, unpacked snow, mud, sand etc. But it would be slower then most other tires and bikes on other terrain do to its much wider tires given more roll resistance. The old fashion 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch, or if you are metric 35-65mm, tires are much better all around tires, can be used on paved roads (through inferior to 1 to 1 1/2 inch tires or metric sizes 25 to 35 mm, for road racing use).

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Response to happyslug (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 01:58 PM

6. if he's running a 1x9 setup, the chainring is likely to be a 36 or 38..

his 2009 rig lists a standard triple crank with MTB gearing. a lot of builders are eliminating the big ring outright these days, with the exception of true XC bikes. I recently purchased a 2013 Giant Trance X1 29er, and it was setup as 2x10, which is fine, because I can't even remember the last time I used the big ring on any of my bikes. pulled it off my other trail bike a few years ago and replaced it with a bashguard.

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Response to frylock (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 03:23 PM

7. But Road Bikes use to have only two gears, large and what we would call "Middle".


And I believe it is still the case with race bikes and other "road" bikes. On my triple, used mostly in roads, I made the observations that I tend to use the low front gear in areas where I am mostly going uphill, the large front gear in areas where I am going mostly down hill and the middle gears on flat areas. If I am pulling a trailer, I tend to drop down a gear or two in the rear, but not in the front.

My point is when commuting going downhill, the Large Front gear is usable. On Rails to Trails, I rarely use the large gear, the grade up or down is to low to justify anything but the middle gears, but when I operate in roads with large sections of the road going mostly uphill or downhill, I tend to opt for the small front gear when going uphill, and the large front gear when going downhill. In one stretch of road I travel on, I end up using the large gear going down the grade, then to the front low gear after I make the turn at the bottom of the grade, for the grade then turns sharply uphill (After I had shifted to the smallest front gear and the largest read gear I end up walking the bike, it is a 12% grade at that point and I value my knees).

Yes, I shift from large front to small front skipping over the middle gear for the shift in grade is that quick.

That is one of the problems with living in the Appalachian Mountains, the mountains are all climbable in fact you can walk to almost all of the mountains standing upright. Thus they are also bikeable, but you have quick changes in grade on the roads in that area. In the West, they had enough brains NOT to build roads in such areas, but here in Pennsylvanian they had a habit of paving over any goat path they ran across. Thus we tend to like three front gears for we can use all three. Yes, I admit I rarely use the large ring on trails, but it comes in handy on roads, where I tend also to bike on with the same bike.

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