2014 has been an epic winter in the Great Lakes region in more ways than one. Record snow fall and record cold temps might be on most peoples’ minds, but for hundreds of fatbike racers this winter has been epic for its racing and riding.
The 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series Kick Off
The season kicked off in style just before Christmas with the inaugural running of the Solstice Chase in St Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Fatbikers were treated to 50k of racing on the nordic ski trails of Big Rock Creek Retreat. Hosted by Cyclova XC, the Solstice Chase set the bar high as one of the Midwest’s premiere fatbike events. It also showed the early form of last year’s women’s series Champion, Danielle Musto, who powered to victory. For the men it was Jeff Colbert who topped the podium.
Jeff Colbert won a pair of 45NRTH Dillinger tires!
The Michigan Trifecta
January belonged to Michigan as the series swung to the Mitten with The Fat Chance race at Crystal Mountain. Many of last year’s GLFBS stars were on hand as well as a strong mens and womens contingent from Einstein Racing, but it was Jorden Wakeley and Danielle Musto that put time on their rivals to establish themselves as front runners for this year’s series trophy.
Wakely takes the lead at the Fat Chance.
Only a week later an otherwise perfect winter turned into a thaw as the series moved to Grand Rapids for Farmer’s Fat Bike Race and a wet slushy outing at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Once Again it was Musto and Wakeley taking top honors, but the race for series points tightened as Matt Acker and Evan Simula logged second and third in the men’s race, while Chelsea Strate and Jill Martindale logged podium spots for the second weekend in a row.
Men’s podium Farmer’s Fat Bike Race
The Michigan Trifecta closed in style at this year’s Noquemanon World Show Bike in Marquette, Michigan. With sub zero temps at the start of the race and nearly perfect trail conditions the race to the dome in Marquette turned Epic, with a number of racers abandoning at one of several well staffed checkpoints. In the men’s race Wakeley was able to hold off Acker once again to claim a win, but in the women’s race it was April Morgan, second in 2013, who claimed victory ahead of series leader Musto.
April Morgan, Danielle Musto, Arianne Whittaker go 1,2,3
February in Minnesota
In February racers said goodbye to the U.P. as the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series rolled into Minnesota. New this year to the series is the Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet. This year the Loppet put out the red carpet to fatbikers, who raced for the first time on the Loppet’s nicely groomed ski trail. As she did only one week before, April Morgan marched to victory in the women’s race with Musto taking second. In the men’s contest local favorite and Twin Six racer Jessie Lalonde solo’d to victory ahead of Jack Hinkens and Joe Meiser, while Michigan series favorites like Evan Simula and Brian Geshel lost time and series points finishing outside of the top 20.
In mid February the series returned to the Fatbike Frozen Forty. Not only is the Triple F the longest race in the series, with 200 racers this year’s triple F proved to be Minnesota’s biggest fatbike race! For the first time this year the odds were evenly split in the men’s race between Jesse LaLonde and Jorden Wakeley. But after four laps of a perfectly groomed 10 mile single track loop it was once again LaLonde and Morgan atop the podiums, with Wakeley taking second for the first time in two years of Great Lakes Fat Bike Series racing!
LaLonde racing to victory on the new 45NRTH Dillinger 5 tire! Photo cred Prenzlow Perspective
With only two events left in the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series the competition for the series podiums remains fierce. On the women’s side the first and second spots are occupied by Danielle Musto and Jill Martindale respectively, the only two racers to have completed all six GLFBS events so far! Chelsea Strate sits in third. Not far behind, though is Arrianne Whittaker and a hard charging April Morgan, who is as yet unbeaten in this year’s series after three consectutive outings.
Morgan victorious at the Triple F!
In the men’s competition Jorden Wakeley continues to lead having won 3 out of 4 races entered so far, followed by Evan Simula, who placed second in the series in 2013. The next four racers (Eric Guse, Dave Hoglund, Brian Geshel, Kevin Wright) are separated by only 40 points, which means the next two events, The Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout and the Fat Bike Birkie will prove decisive in selecting the top 5 finishers for the podium.
Women’s podium from left to right: Musto, Martindale, Strate
The Fat Chance at Crystal Mountain went off under near perfect conditions on 1/5. Over 60 riders toed the line of an approximately 4 mile race course consisting of Groomed ski trail and single track. For two hours riders competed to lap the course as many times as possible. In the end, last year’s series champs, Jorden Wakeley and Danielle Musto, were able to post wins and send a message to competitors that they will be the ones to reckon with for the remainder of the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. Both rode nearly flawless races alone at the front. In the men’s race it was Kickbush and Lowetz taking second and third respectively. In the woman’s division, Jill Martindale took second and Chelsea Strate rounded out the podium in third.
Full race results can be found here
Next week after results are tabulated for Farmer’s Fat Bike Race we’ll have our first series standing posted.
Thanks to everyone who made it to the Solstice Chase on 12/21. Race results are posted here. The race was a huge success and an excellent kick off for the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. Check out the two part Solstice Chase post race write up on the Cyclova XC blog!
The GLFBS moves to Michigan in January with three of the states biggest and best winter bike races:
January 5, 2014 - Fat Chance Fatbike Race - Crystal Mountain, MI
January 11, 2014 - Farmers Fatbike Race - Grand Rapids, MI
January 25, 2014 - Noquemanon World Championship Snow Bike - Marquette, MI
Click the event logos at the top of our site for links to each individual event.
The kick-off of the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series is closing in. The series starts on 12/21 with The Solstice Chase in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. The 50k & 25k fatbike race will be contested on the nordic ski trails of Big Rock Creek Retreat. The 21k race loop will utilize both the elevation and scenic beauty of the property, and offer fatbike riders an amazing trail experience.
Course details, including elevation have been posted here
Look for the 45NRTH tent on race day to check out best winter riding gear on the planet.
Registration fees are discounted through December 11. Click here for online registration!
Follow the run up to the big event on The Solstice Chase Facebook Page.
Last week we announced our 2014 series schedule and the news that we’ve partnered with 45NRTH as our title sponsor. We can’t be happier than to have a brand like 45NRTH on board. 45NRTH products have set the bar high for all weather cycling. Twin Six and 1Up USA are on board as well this winter as supporting sponsors.
For 2014 the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series also expands to eight events. Three events are new to the Series. Including the inaugural running of The Solstice Chase 50k on December 21, 2013 in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. On January 5, 2014 the series welcomes the Fat Chance Fatbike race at Crystal Mountain, Michigan. And on February 2, 2014 we’re adding another event in Minnesota, The Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet. Five events return from last year’s schedule: Farmer’s Fat Bike Race, The Noquemanon World Championship Snowbike, The Fatbike Frozen Forty, The Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout and our finale, The Fatbike Birkie.
We’re giving racers more opportunities to gain points toward the series overall. Your best 5 finishes will count toward your series total. And we’ll be offering additional bonus points for every race finished above that. At series end we’ll award the GLFBS trophy at the Fatbike Birkie. The top five male and female series finishers will receive merchandise prizes from 45NRTH and Twin Six, and we’ll give away two fatbike compatible bike racks from 1Up USA by drawing names from amongst all those riders who qualified for the series overall.
The goal of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series is to promote winter cycling and racing. We feel that our schedule represents the very best winter fatbike events in the Great Lakes region. And together with our sponsors, we intend to make winter above and below the 45th parallel something for cyclists to look forward to.