Brave the cold for 5th annual fat bike race

Be bold, brave the cold at the 5th annual winter fat bike race in the North Dakota Badlands. Whether you’re on Bold St. Nick’s naughty list or nice list, you will experience the world-famous Maah Daah Hey like few bikers have – frozen.

The 5th Annual Bold St. Nick's Fatbike Race kicks off in Medora Saturday, creating an unique experience for outdoors people to get outside and exercise in a scenic race. (Photo courtesy of Nick Ybarra)

Athletes, outdoors people and anyone who is down for an adventure challenge is invited to spring up their fatbikes for the 5th Annual Bold St. Nick’s Fatbike Race in the North Dakota Badlands this weekend.

The annual holiday season themed race will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. MDT Saturday, Dec. 12. Usually, the winter race is a blistery one with a record -20 degrees for its initial year. However, with the current warmer winter Medora is experiencing, Badlands Races Director Nick Ybarra is expecting for milder conditions this year.

"... Anytime I drive out to the Badlands, whether it's the first time or the millionth time, I feel happier and I feel my blood pressure drop. Just the beauty and scenery and all of that, I think it's all just so important for people to experience," Ybarra remarked.

Fatbike racers who sign up for the “Nice List,” will enjoy a fun, yet challenging loop course for 1 hour. Those racers who have made the “Naughty List,” will be “punished” for 4 hours. Racers who want to work as a group may also sign up for the “Reindeer Team Option,” which includes teams of 2-4 who will send out one rider on course, at a time, while the others stay warm and cozy by their outside fire pit. Solo racers and team racers will attempt to complete as many laps around the 4.2 mile racecourse before the time clock stops.

This year also includes the “Happy Elves Foot Race” for those racers who prefer to compete on foot. The on-foot race will take place in the morning prior to the kickoff of the fatbike race.


Due to COVID-19 precautions, the race will not feature the usual traditional holiday style dinner, award ceremony and other winter activities. However, medals will still be given to all the race finishers.

Typically, 50-100 racers will come out to the race. Ybarra encourages all to come out.

“I think that if there’s something that can really be learned from the whole COVID-19 situation is that it’s important to take care of yourself physically and it’s important to stay healthy… I think exercise should be a by-product of having fun,” Ybarra said. “And so, if you can find something that you love whether that’s trail running or mountain biking, it’s so important to have that in your life.”

Registration is still open via the Badlands Races website and there will be same-day registration at the event. For more information, visit

Bikers line up for the start of the Bold St. Nick's Fatbike Race in Medora. This year's race begins at noon Saturday and registration is still available. (Photo courtesy of Nick Ybarra)

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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