Imagine standing over the crossbar at the top of a steep chute, nothing under your tires but ice. At the starting gun, you drop straight down to pick up speed then launch off a ramp over a 13-foot step-up jump — still on solid ice, mind you! — and your 45-second race has just begun.
Last Saturday night, in St. Paul., Minn., five bikers became the first in the United States to compete on a course designed for Red Bull Crashed Ice skating competitions.
Red Bull Crashed Ice courses take skaters over jumps, drops, wall rides and around obstacles on a narrow ice track. Five people compete at once, leading to some wild wipeouts.
Biker Matt Ford (pictured above) took second-place in the race, an exhibition of sorts squeezed in between the main ice-skating action. With studded tires on his Framed Cycles Minnesota 2.0 fat bike, he raced against another fat bike, a BMX bike, and a full-suspension mountain bike.
We talked with Ford to learn about the insane race on ice. Check out the video below to see his POV footage from the event.
“It was just a bunch of dudes shredding down an ice course on bikes,” Ford said. “As far as a rider’s point of view, it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done on a bike.”
Pretty high praise for a guy who has ridden BMX as well as motocross his whole life.
Ford said he thinks the event should grow and become part of the main stage at Crashed Ice.
“The fans loved it,” he said. “120,000 people were screaming for it, and they didn’t even know it was going to be there. I think a lot of other people who ride fat bikes would be excited about it.”
For now, the bike race was just a blip on the Red Bull competition map. But it’s an intriguing blip, and one that could point to another cool type of winter biking competition.
“If they gave me an opportunity to do it again, I would,” Ford said. “Those courses are built for ice skates, but the jumps are pretty much the same as we would design for bikes. It’s just a crazy course.”
And how did the bike hold up?
“I hit those jumps, I was boosting that thing and that bike just took it. I was thinking to myself that this bike isn’t going to handle this course. But it did,” Ford said. —Sean McCoy