Jeff Oatley

ITI 1000 Mile Winner; Current Course Record Holder

I sort of have two home towns…Lansing, Michigan and Madison, Alabama. I currently live in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Why fatbiking?
A bit complicated…it started out as winter biking, not fat biking. Winter biking appealed to me (I guess) because it seems like such an unlikely pairing and difficult thing to do. Sometime around 1995 I decided I wanted to do the Iditasport but I had no concept of how to go about it. Seemed pretty daunting. There wasn’t all the intel out there that there is now. I think there was about 30 people in the world that new anything about it. A couple years later I decided to move to Fairbanks to figure it out. Fatbikes came along later and bumped the fun factor way up. Now, living in Alaska, winter biking works well for me. Winter is long and there are ridiculous amounts of trails. Real trails…that go places…not just loops inside of loops. And summers are so busy that I just don’t get to ride enough anyways so I’m fresh and ready to ride a lot when winter sets in.

What do you love about Fatback?
Almost every single thing!! I bought the third Fatback frame that was produced. I didn’t know Greg well at the time. I talked to him for about 15 minutes about his idea for a bike and I was like, “This guy gets it.” I was sold immediately. Fatbacks roots are in winter racing…particularly the Iditarod Trail. Every change and improvement that’s been made has kept that primary goal in mind. Even the aesthetics of the tube sections and shapes, things that appear to be as much style as substance; Greg dissects them and considers how they will impact everything about the performance of the bike. Not just from a “how will this impact the ride” perspective, but also from a “how will this perform in a ride to carrying a ton of gear and getting on and off your bike 5,000 times” perspective.

In addition to all that, nobody has as much fun after the race as the Fatback crew.

I love racing bikes. But I have a hard time thinking of it as an accomplishment. Through racing I’ve had an obscene amount of fun and have become friends with some of the most incredible, inspiring, and fun people you can imagine. I think that’s an accomplishment.

If you could be a dessert, what would you be?
That seems a bit ‘Silence of the Lambs’-ish…but…probably a dark chocolate chip w/peanut butter brownie. With ice cream…maybe pistachio or a coconut/pineapple. But I wouldn’t be a dessert, I’d be an entrée.