With an Instagram full of wheelies, nose bonks and combo bike/skateboard tricks, Walter Blackman is stoked to shred. Instead of dropping into YouTube rabbit holes, the Bettendorf 14year-old prefers sending it down Sunderbruch’s LT. Rather than gaming on XBOX, he’s spent the last year scoring sweet victories in Midwest mountain bike races.
The son of Add and Jennie Blackman, Walter first saddled up at 3, riding around a high school track while his mom and older sister ran. Within five years, Add had Walter at Sunderbruch. "On Blue Mound they used to have a lot more of those railroad ties over the drop outs and those really scared me," adding he thought the rock gardens were sketchy too.
When Walter first hit the Scott County Park trails, he admitted it "was easier for the skill level I was at." But Walter was quick to note it's also where he had one of his more memorable crashes when he overdid a wheelie and fell back on himself like an overturned turtle.
It's easy to see Walter's not your average teen begging for the latest video game or smartphone. Three years ago he retired his 20-inch BMX GT for a 24-inch Specialized Fatboy, making the GT is his "commuter" bike for trips back and forth to school at Bettendorf Middle where he's now in 8th grade.
“I shredded that Fatboy to pieces!” A year later, he replaced it with a Specialized Fuse Expert. "It had a dropper post," he noted, adding, "you could get (the seat) down for real technical stuff, but pop it up and not bounce around on the seat with easier stuff."
Biking and living the active life is in Walter's blood. Both his mom and dad are avid cyclists. "My mom used to race road bikes." One of his two older sisters plays soccer for the University of Iowa and his younger sister is a gynamist and fat bike rider.
Walter made his racing debut at the 2016 FORC-side Thrill Ride at Sunderbruch. “I thought it’d be fun.” He took fourth of seven in the 11-14 jr. event. “I was pretty proud of that.” In 2017, he quickly established himself as one of the top junior mountain bike racers in the Midwest, winning his age group in seven of the eight races he competed in:
-Illiniwek Abermination, Hampton, Ill., May
-Spring Lake Singletrack Classic, Macomb, Ill., June
-Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy, Cedar Rapids, Ia., June
-FORC-side Thrill Ride, Davenport, Ia., June
-WORS Midwest MTB Championships, Elk Horn, Wis., July, (won age group in enduro and placed 3rd in age group in cross country)
-George Wyth Mtb Race, Waterloo, Ia., August
-Sugar Bottom Scramble, Solon, Ia., August
All his points crowned Walter the overall junior men’s 11-14 champion in the Iowa Mountain Biking Championship Series.
Next year Walter anticipates racing more Enduro events "because it’s fun and more downhill oriented." Amid last summer's busy race schedule, he took the hardtail Fuse to Colorado, taking it off some sweet 40-foot jumps. "I could really send the jumps because it held speed so well."
While out there, he rode with downhill pro ride Brian Buell. During this visit, the Enduro World Series (EWS) was occuring and because Buell was an insider, Blackman rode some of the stages that included the National Downhill Track. "It was gnarly and super technical, my favorite."
Walter dreams of becoming a pro downhill racer. "Brian told me that I have some amazing technical skill and if I keep at it, I’ll go places." If his first year of racing is any indication, Walter's on his way . . .
Construction is getting fun over at the new digs!!! Each day we’re getting closer to the big move!
The basement floor as well as the brew house floor has been poured and water has been piped to the building.
All the steel is set for the main floor and workers are focused on completing this area as well as the patio and parking lot.
Once the mainfloor is complete, construction of the second floor mezzanine can begin. This place is going to be SWEET!!!!
According to the Beaufort Wind Scale, a moderate gale force wind is 32-38 mph. Last night, our gravel crew gave Mother Nature the finger. With sustained winds out of the northwest at 25 mph, gusting to 37, the final “official” Thursday night gravel ride was gutted out by a larger-than-normal, jovial crew.
Those smiles, though? Yeah. They didn’t last long. (Except for Dan, who hooted and hollered at all the suffering.)
Heading north toward the gravels between Bettendorf, Davenport and Eldridge, we immediately lost our lone fat biker who at Mile 2 sensibly opted out and turned around, returning to their vehicle. The remaining 13 attempted to remain together, but that wily wind quickly dismissed the “group effort.” It was every man for him (or her) self. Reassembling at every stop sign, the riders at the front pushed a solid pace while those in the back hung on in silence, their mashing summoning the gods for the strength to endure.
Though the wind failed to thwart the riders, the lure of Van’s $5 personal pan pizzas and giant slices nearly got ’em. Fortunately everyone was able to put on their beer jacket and ride home after 26 oz. $3 drafts.
This is the only evidence that remains. (Well, this and some Strava achievements. (Mostly Jen stealing KOM’s with that tailwind.))
Just like a rainy afternoon in France, Fatties at Five part Deux was a misty, cold ride made cheery by the hearty group of fat tire enthusiasts who ignored the chill and chose a few hours of outdoor, fattie fun over the warmth of a blanket and the couch!
Our second time leading a fat bike “parade” of sorts, we enjoyed a mix of seasoned fat bike riders, relative newbies and one first-timer who demo’ed the shop’s Salsa Blackborow. Though no candy was thrown, we did meet a couple individuals on the bike path who appeared amused by the thrumming of our approaching tires and hearty “Hellos!”
Repeating last year’s ride to The Bike Rack on the corner of Brady and George Washington, riders dried off and drank up, sharing vacation stories, recent bike race experiences, upcoming work on Silvan Island and dreaming of the upcoming stomp season on Credit Island. Sadly, we were unable to convince our fearless leader to regale us with song.
Like all good things, we eventually packed up and rode out, racing back to the shop in the dark, our bike lights illuminating the way. While every
one was happy to have gotten out, I think we can all agree — the 2018 Fatties at
Five needs to come sooner!!!
Stayed tuned for future fat tire events include QC Forc’s Global Fat Bike Day!
Little by little, construction moves forward on our sick new digs!
Think fat bikes are just for snow? You’d never know if judging by the number leaving our store during this week of sweltering heat! We have a ton of fat inventory waiting for you to check out!
Specialized Fatboy SE
We presently have a full size run (small-XL) in gloss black with orange detailing, and a medium and xl in matte oak green with black and red detailing. The Fatboy SE is $1,400 and features a full aluminum body, one-by 10-speed SRAM drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes.
In addition to the SE, the full Fatboy offers an aluminum body, but with a FACT carbon fork and a SRAM NX one-by groupset and hydraulic disc brakes. We have medium-XL in several color options at $1,800.
Check out our boy Drake on his new Fatboy SE in rocket red and acid mint, tricked out with a Chromag Fubars FU40 hi-rise handlebar in polished silver and mint grips.
Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon
This full FACT carbon fatbike at $2,800 is lightweight yet stiff and compliant with internal cable routing, a one-by SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and SRAM Level TL hydraulic disc brakes. We currently have a large in matte black, but XL is no longer available through us or Specialized. Full sizes are available in the gloss hyper (hi-vis yellow) and black.
Whether it’s single track in the summer or snowy racing in the winter, the Salsa Beargrease is a carbon fattie made for speed and nimble manuevering with a light, full carbon body, a SRAM NX one-by eleven groupset, mechanical disc brakes and slightly narrower 3.8? tires. We have a small, large and XL priced at $1,999.
The red Beargrease features blue detailing and a fetching galaxy image on the downside of the downtube.
Salsa Mukluk NX1
The Salsa Mukluk is a popular fattie for all conditions, all terrains and all purposes! At $1,799 you get an aluminum body, carbon fork, SRAM NX one-by groupset and hydraulic disc brakes. We have a full size run, small-XL, in teal with black detailing. We have mediums and larges in the black with teal lettering model.
Salsa Mukluk Carbon GX1
Like the Mukluk base model, the Carbon GX1 continues its spirit of versatility while shaving weight. We have a small and medium in dark red/red at $2699.
Salsa Mukluk Carbon SLX
As with the GX1, the Carbon SLX offers the same fun, but with a one-by 11 Shimano SLX drivetrain and SRAM Level TL hydraulic disc brakes in matte black and gunmetal grey for $2699.
Salsa Bucksaw Carbon
Finally we have the full-suspension carbon Bucksaw in a large and medium at $4,399 in a glossy cherry red.
Our second annual Labor Day Gravel’n & Grill’n event drew a solid number of riders to both our 40 mile race and 20 mile fun ride that ate up the sweet, dusty gravel roads of northern Scott County. The day closed with Bruce at the grill, feeding the masses at Crow Creek Park afterwards. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for upcoming events…
The 20-mile fun group of about 40 took our normal route out of town, north along the bike path from Crow Creek along Devil’s Glenn and headed east along Hopewell to Middle Road and Indiana.
For anyone hesitant to join our fun rides, have no fear!!! These are no-drop rides meaning at every turn we gather back up & proceed! Whether you have a gravel adventure bike, a fat bike, a mountain bike or even a flat-bar hybrid, our gravel rides are always fun!!!
Rolling toward Argo Corners for a much-deserved beverage stop . . .
There are no age limits to our fun rides, if you can go 20 miles, you’re not too young to ride with us . . .
Don’t miss the next one, kids! Unless you hate having fun!!!
Our mountain bike jerseys have arrived and they’re sick! Featuring Healthy Habits custom graphics, these tops mix style with the technical specs of the Specialized Enduro and Andora, mens and womens jerseys. These threads are good and good for you! Retailing for $55, with a limited stock, come in today & grab yours!!!