Not everyone who was a part of the Snow Crush Fat Tire Bike Race on Saturday at River Bend Nature Center was cold, despite the 1-degree temperature at race time.

Drew Wilson, the top finisher in the 15-mile race, couldn’t wait to take off some of the three layers he wore during the race.

“The weather was really perfect for a race like this,” said Wilson of Stewartville, who is one of the organizers of the Almanzo race in Spring Valley and winner of this year’s Pugsley World Championship. “I nearly sweated through what I was wearing. The only problem on cold days like this is breathing.”

River Bend Nature Center (RBNC) and F-Town Brewery teamed up to bring a new activity to the second annual Snow Crush fat tire bike event.

This is the second year the nature center has hosted a fat tire bike event, but it is the first time they have brought on additional sponsors and featured a fat tire bike race. The event was family-friendly and provided a chance to experience riding a fat tire bike on River Bend Nature Center trails.

Kaytlan Moeller, education coordinator at RBNC, said that 65 racers signed up for the event, which eclipsed the organization’s goal.

“We were hoping for 50 participants, which is what we had last year,” she said. “After a lot of public interest for an event like this was expressed, we decided to host a race because the fat tire biking sport has become very popular. And, we knew this would be a beautiful place to have a race.”

Moeller said RBNC has been focusing on bringing in more community partners and the fat tire bike race seemed like a perfect event because of its growing popularity.

“The Snow Crush Fat Tire Bike Race is an event that really lends itself to that,” Moeller said.

Interim Executive Director Catherine McBride agrees and likes that RBNC can host events for different age groups and all who enjoy outdoor activities.

“It’s really great having a whole new audience for River Bend Nature Center,” she said. “This is a perfect venue for experiencing a new kind of activity. And the riders have been very respectful if the trails.”

For Wilson, who doesn’t get to this part of the state too often, a chance to ride on the RBNC trails was an opportunity he could not pass up.

“It’s really nice we get to ride inside this area,” he said. “And it’s cool they let us on the trails. I’ll be back next year for sure.”

Moeller said a recent trend has developed with biking and microbreweries, which she says was the catalyst behind reaching out to F-Town Brewery to help with the event.

F-Town served samples of beer inside RBNC and offered the makings for s’mores that were made over a nearby campfire during the race. The brewery also held the after-party.

All proceeds from the event are being split between the River Bend Nature Center and Cannon River Off-road Cycling and Trails, another local nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of bike trails in the area.

Reach Regional Editor Jerry Smith at 507-333-3134.

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