Crested Butte Colorado. This was the bike I did Mount Washington on. It is shown with a different fork as the original Fat Chance fork was replaced after cracking on the crown.
Today I spotted this photo in a vintage mtb group that I’m a part of and it struck me, turns out this bike was ridden in an even better story.
The photo is from Mark Forman and was accompanied in the post by the following article from Fat Tire Flyer which I have transcribed below. It is my privilege to share this with you. In fact helping to shine a light on the early days of MTB’ing has become one of the major joys of this blog. I hope you enjoy it and thanks to Mark for allowing me to share.
We don’t necessarily recommend the activity that takes place in the following narrative, but we would be remiss in our journalistic duties if we didn’t run it by our readers. After all, as the universal cop out goes, we don’t make the news, we just report it.
The Fastest Fat Chances in the World
by Mark Forman
Mountain bikers are crazy. One of the most dangerous things they do is downhill bombing, especially when that hill drops 4700 vertical feet in a little over seven and a half miles on the side of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Mount Washington has the worst weather on earth! The highest winds ever recorded were at the summit, 231 mph. The temperature can be below freezing any time of the year, and fog covers the peak about 300 days of the year. Fortunately, on the day of our ride, conditions were perfect.
The auto road, which is open during the summer months, is about twenty feet wide and surfaced with anything from dirt and gravel to a few good stretches of asphalt at the most critically steep sections. A single section at the summit is closed to tourists. This 24 percent section was our start.
To eliminate the possibility of any altercations with other vehicles or being blown over into the valley, we got an early morning start. At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 11, 1985. Two Fat Chances prepared for the mission: bombing Mount Washington. Brakes adjusted, checked, and rechecked. Tights on, helmets on, goggles on. Some slow riding at first. Better check my Roller Cams. Okay, let’s do it.
Stopwatch on, over onto the first 24 percent slope. Brakes feel good. A left onto the first dirt section. Feels good, let’s up the speed to 40 or so. Here comes the first corner, down to twenty, instant 50 mph, lots of corners coming up. Lucky there is no wind, otherwise, forget it.
Pavement! My hands hurt! Oh well, gotta hang on, only six miles to go. Something’s buzzing. It goes away if I keep my front brake lever slightly on. I wonder what’s causing it.
A long straight, 50, 55, 60 mph. Star Wars! Very loud buzzing, can’t hear, ears popping multiple times. Vibration throws my chain, can’t look down! A corner! Another corner, this time pavement and dirt. A car! Slide, missed it, whew. My hands hurt. Gotta change position. Gravel! Didn’t even feel it. Almost terminal velocity now. I can see the bottom, about a mile to go, beginning to slow, the bottom stopwatch! Shake hands, Dan, made it. “Unbelievable, how fast?”
“Fourteen minutes, forty six seconds.”
As it turned out, both brakes and tires wore heavily. The rims on Dan Eisenberg’s bike heated to boiling and his Aztec pads burned into uselessness on his rear wheel. My Tricross front tire expanded in diameter and caused the loud buzz as the knobs struck the Roller Cam plate. It was quite a ride, 14:46 of living on the edge of sanity.
Mount Washington is not to be taken lightly. There have been many deaths on this mountain. Road bikes are not allowed, and generally it is impossible to ride down due to weather conditions. The cyclist here is always at his own risk.
Not bike related, but dig this video of our buddy Mike Malone’s, of being a fast Chicago Messenger fame, Uncle Roudy.
Charming as all get out. File under dudes I want to party with.
start the week off right with some trails
I featured this bike last year but hadn’t had a chance to reshoot it since I had the fork painted to match and switched up some parts over the winter. This is my every day around town flat pedal ride. It’s perfect.
While some vintage mtb collectors may be bummed to see a full blown race machine given such treatment, I think that sentiment loses the context that rather than being a wall hanger or museum piece, this bike gets ridden and enjoyed almost every single day. And after all, what better life can you give a machine than that?
This Yo originally came to me off of Craigslist in Boston, for a look at the condition and build it showed up with click here.
And the first incarnation of my build and valuation here.
1995 Fat Chance Yo Eddy!
Frame: Saratoga NY built Yo Eddy! size Large
Fork: Custom build by Bryan Hollingsworth of Circle H Cycles
Wheels: Ringle front, XT Rear hub, Mavic 217 Hoops
Tires: Kenda Small Block Eight
Crankset: Shimano XTR M950
Right Shifter/brake lever: XTR M950
Left Brake Lever: XTR M950
Derailleur: XTR M950
Brakes: Avid Ultimate
Headset: Chris King
Handlebars: Surly Open
Rack: Velo Orange
The Velo Orange rack is interesting because I’ve never seen one in black. My guess is the previous owner actually plastic-dipped a chrome version. In later photos you can see that they didn’t coat the area where you would attach a bungee, the chrome is still peeking out.
You gotta match your skewers to your cable crimp!
One of the happy accidents of this build is that the 1″ threadless spacers perfectly match the outside diameter of the 1 1/8′ Salsa stem that I have shimmed to fit on the 1″ steerer. It’s the little things!
Built in Saratoga NY after the merger with Serotta, not as desirable among die-hard Fat Chance folks, but I much prefer the English bottom bracket shell of these bikes to the proprietary press in bearings of the older Fats.
Our pal Graham Burrowes shot film at Tracklocross Nats and was kind enough to share with us. Tracklo Nats was as hot and sticky as it gets in these parts nearing 100 degrees and humid. We had 30 or so racers come out to try their hand at becoming the first ever National Champions in this super fun off shoot of Bandit Cross.
Riders came from Japan, California, Virginia, Georgia, etc.
Chas from San Francisco took it for the Men and Chelsea from Minneapolis won for the Women
It was a ton of fun and the first, but not the last, tracklocross race to be held in MPLS.
Tracklocross: so crazy it just might work!
Huge thank you to all of the out of towners who made this such an amazing weekend of swimming, riding, and hanging. Especially the homies from Japan, it was so wonderful to have you here.
Shout out to the volunteers for making the race so good. By far the best ACC in years.
Here are some photos from the day.
Peep the whole album here.
2018 All City Championships Alleycat
1 Risa (overall and WTF Champ!)
2 Max (Open Champ)
3 Shaun Struntz (2nd Open)
4 Kell (1st fixed, 1st Out of Town, 3rd Open)
7 Nikki Munvez (2nd WTF)
8 Andy Lageson
9 Devil Butt
10 Stu Louder
11 Ryan Oelz
12 Chelsea Strate (3rd WTF)
13 Julie Kuliecza (1st Out of Town – WTF)
14 Michael G
15 Charlie Pratt
16 John Crea
17 Tiana Johnson
18 Kadence Hampton
20 Nikki Beaman (1st Fixed – WTF)
21 Sean Doe
22 Jade Ptacek
23 Pat Grady
24 David Von Edge
25 Jenny Carmichael
26 Jeff O’Neil
27 TS Botten
28 Will Stenler
30 Robbie S
32 Jack Rynerson
34 Ashley Von Edge
35 Ashley Pforr
36 Julia Collins
37 Anne Skoglund