accessibility mode: off

What do you do when the temperature never gets above 0 degrees and is as low as -28? If you’re Jeff Kerkove of Team Topeak-Ergon, you go fat biking, of course. And that’s exactly what Jeff did at this past weekend’s Fat Pursuit, a 60k fat bike race near Yellowstone National Park. Because of soft snow and cold temps, a race that typically takes 3-4 hours became a 6.5-hour epic, with many riders suffering frostbite, and over half the field not finishing.

If you’re not familiar with fat biking, it’s one of the quickest growing niches within the industry right now, and got its start, go figure, in the cold white north of Alaska. Fat bikes have oversized tires and rims (meant to be run at low pressures), which allow them to excel on soft unstable terrain such as snow or sand.

GU Crew rider Jeff Kerkove of Team Topeak-Ergon powered through the cold and soft snow conditions to take the top step on the podium.  How did he do it?

A Cold Weather Nutrition Plan

“The goal was to keep water from freezing.  With temps ranging from -28ºf to -4ºf, it would be a major priority.  I carried a 70 oz hydration pack filled with the hottest water I could get out of the tap.  I mixed the water with 3.5 packets of Grape Roctane Energy Drink.  The Roctane Energy Drink was my go-to, with some solid food to compliment it as desired.  As for solid food, I did not use GU products.  The Energy Chews, Gels, and Stroopwafels would have frozen solid in my feed bag.  I used bars broken up into tiny bite size pieces in my feed bag (maybe 1.5 bars in total).  The Roctane Energy Drink was the go-to and my original plan.”

Pro Tip: wear your hydration bladder inside your clothes

“To keep water from freezing, as mentioned above, I used hot tap water in the bladder.  Then, I put on my base layer.  Next came the hydration pack and bladder.  Over top I wore a long sleeve thermal jersey from Primal and then their Paradigm jacket…which is a winter weight cycling jacket. The bladder hose ran down my right side under my arm pit.  To access the hose, I just had to unzip the 2 Primal layers to reach the bite-valve.  The warm water in the bladder kept me warm and my water never did cool off during the 6.5 hr effort.  I drank all 70 oz, finishing it with 1 last suck from the bite valve upon finishing.”

Here’s what he wore:

  • Head
    • Wool Buff – head / skull cap
    • Wool Buff – small strip cut for over nose
    • Wool Buff – used on neck to below lower lip
    • Limar sunglasses
  • On my torso
    • Summer weight baselayer
    • Craft Heavyweight turtleneck baselayer
    • Ergon BX1 hydration pack
    • Primal Thermal long sleeve jersey
    • Primal Paradigm winter weight cycling jacket
  • Hands
    • $10 lightweight gloves from COSTCO
    • 45Nrth Cobrafist pogies
  • Waist to feet
    • Primal Helix 2.0 Bib shorts
    • Craft long underwear
    • Salomon Nordic ski pants
  • Feet
    • Baby powder
    • SockGuy super thin wool socks
    • RBH Vapor Barrier socks
    • Lake MXZ400 Boots, 2 sizes bigger than my typical shoe size