The Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet provides the chance to race fat bikes on the pristine, groomed Loppet Trail, which is normally closed to bikers. It’s only open once a year specifically for this race. This elusive Loppet course draws fat bikers from all over, which meant nearly 200 fat bikers would be lining up for the start of the 35k course. For a lot of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series racers, this was the second race packed in to a busy weekend of racing. The popularity of the City of Lakes Loppet meant that fat bikers from other disciplines would be also lining at the start, with fresh legs.
The Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet course takes racers through areas of Minneapolis, starting in Theodore Wirth Park, and ending a little ways south just past Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Park, finishing with a lap around Calhoun Lake. “City of Lakes” is no exaggeration – racers pass or cross over no less than 11 lakes in the entire duration of the course! A lot of the lake crossings can get windy, with soft snow drafts on the course, and an exhilarating feeling of racing on frozen water. Cooperative temperatures meant the course would be firm, and racers would see a little more elevation than the Whiteout; about 1,300 feet of climbing. The Loppet drew fat bikers with backgrounds in mountain biking or fat biking, but it also drew a strong field of racers who are typically seen racing on the road. This meant a powerful field to race on such a hard-packed and groomed course that at times felt like pavement.
In the men’s category, we saw Adam Bergman with his first win of the GLFBS, after placing 2nd at the Solstice Chase and the Iron Line, with a time of 1:19:54. The top three spots of the podium were incredibly close, with Jeff Hall in second with 1:19:55 and Matt Acker in third with 1:19:56! Eric Thompson came in fourth (1:20:18) with Sean Cooley in fifth (1:20:20).
For the women, April Morgan crushed her way to first with a time of 1:31:16. Pam Nielsen was hot on April’s trail, finishing with a time of 1:32:46, with Anna Zawadski coming in third with 1:34:27. Fourth and fifth place women, Abby Krawczyk (1:37:05) and Christina Ross (1:37:09) blazed in to the finish together with Kyia Anderson just seconds behind (1:37:17).
All of these close times have us biting our nails and watching results closely. One of the most exciting things about the series is that each race plays on different types of strengths. While the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout presented races with twisty groomed single track, the Loppet offered a power course that favored well for the folks who liked to hammer. Overall series standings are updated, and we’re excited to see what happens at the next Great Lakes Fat Bike Series race, the Fat Bike Frozen 40, at Elm Creek Park outside of Minneapolis.