Fatbike Frozen Forty

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The 5th annual Fatbike Frozen 40 took off Saturday, February 13th in Maple Grove, Minnesota at Elm Creek Park, with temps below zero. It was so cold that zip ties and number plates were breaking as racers tried to put them on their handlebars! Held at Elm Creek Park in Maple Grove, Minnesota, about a half hour outside of Minneapolis, the Frozen 40 almost didn’t happen this year. Big thanks to Ben Welnak from Mountain Bike Radio for organizing this amazing endurance race; it’s definitely one of our favorites! 

The course is comprised of 100% groomed single-track, taking racers on one of the top rated fat biking trails in Minnesota. Fun to ride year round, this course is transformed in to a totally different animal to ride once it gets some snow! With a little more than 10-miles a lap, racers are challenged to ride 4 laps in order to compete in this event – making the Fatbike Frozen 40 the longest race currently in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. (Unless you argue that someone could ride over 40-miles in the 3-hour time limit that the Farmhand Fat Bike Race allots!) Elm Creek brings racers through hardwood forests, rolling prairie, twisty single track, and over several fun bridges. With somewhere around 1,000 feet of climbing after all four laps, the course changes every year due to the weather, often times changing mid-race after fat bikers make their rounds on the trail! 

The tire of choice for this year’s course seemed to be anything studded! A few days before race day, the course was treacherous with ice, especially in the prairie segments, on a lot of the turns, and on south-facing hills. Thanks to grooming efforts held prior to the race start, snow was shoveled on to the course in areas and the groomer broke up a lot of the worst ice build ups. -10 degrees Fahrenheit marked the start of the race, and racers were thankful for to ride laps so that they’d have the chance to grab fresh water bottles when their water had frozen!

Jeff Hall had a healthy lead on the rest of the field with a time of 3:41:14, averaging nearly 11 mph on the twisty, frozen groomed single-track! Dave Christensen snagged second place with a time of 3:46:14, while Jay Henderson took another podium spot this Great Lakes Fat Bike Series with a time of 3:48:24. Ian Stanford (3:54:48) took fourth and Dave Gray (4:00:02) barely rounded out fifth place, followed very closely by JP LaMere (4:00:28).

In the women’s field, April Morgan snagged yet another win in the series with a fast time of 4:14:30! Chelsea Strate battled for a well-earned second place with 4:35:21 against Pam Nielsen, who was close behind with a time of 4:36:46. Anna Zawadski found her way to fourth (4:40:43) with Anne Grabowski in fifth (4:53:20). 

With only two races left to the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, we’re anxious to see who’ll take this year’s big wins! While some series contenders showed up in the beginning of the series to make the podium spots their home, there are some late-comers who are strongly making their presence known. The 906 Polar Roll is next in the series in Marquette, Michigan, and we’re looking forward to seeing who comes out on top!