Here is my overview of the event from personal experience.
So I wont talk about the drive to Hayward. Just talk about the Fat bike Birkie
This being my first year of actual Fat Biking . Purchased my first fat bike back in November 2014 and was hooked ever since. So wanted to get into the full frontal experience of fat bike racing as well and signed to 3 events this years of 2015
The FRozen 40 in Maple Grove MN , The Frost Biter in Grand Portage and this event Fat Bike Birkie in Cable Wisconsin.
So hearing about the popularity of the Fat Bike Birkie found out that over 800 people signed to this event.
Arriving to Cable in the day before the event got a chance to preride part of the course.
Trail seemed nice and groomed and i was able to figure out a decent tire pressure. around 8 and 9 psi i had determined. Riding in the area see other people preriding as well. Only put in about 12 km at a slow pace. Rode parts of this trail before back in September 2014, for the Cheq 40. But riding a fat bike on a snowy trail is a different in night and day.
Anyhow figure I have ridden enough today and dont want to waste energy for tomorrow race. Pack up and rest for the night. Anyways on ward to race day.
So here we are on March 7 2015 and I am at the Fat Bike Birkie at the Telemark centre in Cable Wisconsin. Lots of people here and weather looks amazing. about -1C at moment and no wind. I go for a warm up ride down part of course which is a road and its nice and salted. So confidence is there.
Go back to start line and there is options of where to position yourself in the starting. from anyone who will finish in the 47km under 2 hours goes near the front for the main challenge. Then the rest of us who position more less in the general population of the over 2 hour people. which is myself but i am here to do the event and finish and come back next time and do better using my results from this time.
So almost start time to go off and spend time observing people around. See people some are dressed up in costumes. One guy dressed as a barbarian, another guy dressed up as a slice of pizza. quite funny. So finally hear the final count down and it is time to race. I am starting in the middle of the pack of 600 people here. Anyways our side heads out and down this road we go. I am riding in my most outside gear when i notice trouble. My rear cogs are coming loose!!!
Well it is what it is. So I gear to more easier gear and spin like mad to salvage my time and at least be able to ride. So I am able to ride for another 15 minutes. Anyways trail is good, lots of rolling hills and up and down. At the first hydro line i no longer have gears and cog is spinning around. so off the bike, off the wheel and forced to tightened the freewheel by hand, so much for having a personal best time, but all well.
This situation continued on about 5 more times throughout the event, but all well.
Even the trail was groomed after having 100+ riders in front of you ride over it all. And temperature at +1c the downhills become all ruts. So on all the downhills, one had to pick lines carefully. Many ruts and have to admit i tumbled over my handlebars about 8 times during this process even though I did lower my Psi on my tires more, but all well.
Being a first time in a mass participant fat bike race in this trail system was an experience. so more less rest of race i was just riding it out and enjoying the ride with others. If temperature was more cooler then probably less ruts in the downhills.
I have to say only had to walk up 2 hills entire route. the 47km was a great course and many aid stations around with an army of volunteers everywhere. handing out nuun and gels etc. I got my water situation on my to science now. I use 2 thermos drinking containers for the cold rides. They work amazing well. rode in -29C with them and my liquids still hot. on a day like this at +1C well a thermos is not really needed.
So continue on and ride with others. Nearing the end we ride into a head wind which made it a bit cold and more work. Finally after being endless come near the finish line. Seeing the telemark center in the distance brought confidence to humanity once again that today will be over soon. So round the corner and cross the finish line. Wont mention my time or placing but it was a day to participate. As i confirm for sure i will do the 2016 Fat Birkie. things would been more enjoyable if not for my mechanical problems. But all well. thats life.
So finish in time to see the award ceremony of the top finishers. All pros but still fun to watch.
Anyways see you all for Fat Bike Birkie 2016!
Also here is the news article about the Birkie and who won etc.
2015 Fat Bike Birkie
The start of the Fat Bike Birkie rolls out with some formidable competitors gunning for the title of Fat Bike Birkie Champion.
The official Fat Bike Birkie announcement is included below. Look for more Fat Bike Birkie coverage coming up this week as well as Gomez’s coverage of the NAHBS show in Louisville, KY!
Will Ross hoists his 9:Zero:7 after claiming the 47K Fat Bike Birkie Title. Photo: Kelly Randolph
CABLE, Wis. (March 7, 2015) – This year’s finish of the Fat Bike Birkie was nearly a carbon copy of last year’s race, with Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) and Ned Overend (Specialized) repeating as women’s and men’s champions. But that wasn’t to be in the third edition of the event.
Overend crashed with two kilometers to go and lost the wheel of this year’s winner Will Ross (9:Zero:7), who cruised in 20 seconds ahead of Overend for the win. Ross of Anchorage, Alaska, finished the 47-kilometer race in 1:55:30. Brendan Moore was third and Jeff Hall, fourth
Rinehart won her second Fat Bike Birkie and was in control of the women’s race from start to finish. The Minnesota rider dropped eventual second and third place riders April Morgan (Salsa/45 NRTH) and Amber Stull (9:Zero:7) by the time she had rolled over the Powerline hills four kilometers into the race. Rinehart was never seriously threatened after that and repeated as women’s champ in 2:12:27.
In the men’s race, even without his crash, Overend didn’t think he could have stayed with the stronger Ross in the closing kilometers. “I was fully blown,” said Overend of Durango, Colo. “I was not going to catch him. He was stronger today.”
Ross, who was second to Overend last year, said a group of a dozen or so riders made it together to the halfway turnaround at Highway OO. After the turnaround, the serious attacks started with Ross, Overend and Jeff Hall animating the race. According to Overend, his strategy was to wait until the halfway point and attack as he did last year when he won on a solo break, but this year a persistent headwind on the way back to Telemark made solo attacks more difficult.
Even so, the attacks whittled down the group, and with 10 kilometers to go, the leaders rode onto the churned up section used by the riders in the shorter 20-kilometer race. “The course was great until 10 kilometers to go,” said Ross. “Then it turned to mush, but that’s great because those are my conditions.”
Ross’s technical skill and daring on the descents in the soft conditions of the closing kilometers overcame the ageless experience of the veteran Overend. At 59, Overend says he’s enjoying every minute of his 50s. Overend won the first ever USAC Fat Bike Championships held in Oregon this past January.
Rinehart’s second Fat Bike Birkie title is impressive since this was her first mountain bike race of the year, but she has won multiple Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 titles and knows the hills and terrain around southern Bayfield and northern Sawyer counties. She understands the hills are relentless and uses them effectively to separate herself from the rest of the field.
“I rode most the race by myself, which is a bummer,” said Rinehart. “There was quite a breeze coming back.” Rinehart had a bad spell in the middle of her race, but told herself to be patient and finished the closing kilometers strong.
For the women, the race was for second and third place as Morgan and Stull battled it out. “We traded places,” said Morgan. “I made a hard push with eight miles to go.” Morgan started to pull away from Stull of Anchorage, Alaska, who started 9:Zero:7 with her husband James.
“She’s a really good descender,” said Stull of Morgan. I was catching her on the hills, but she was killing it on the descents.” Morgan put nearly four minutes into Stull to earn runner-up in the women’s race, finishing in 2:17:22.
Local rider Tom Meyer won the 20-kilometer race using his fitness from the cross country ski season to propel him to victory in 55:32. Rebecca Ireland won the women’s short race in 1:00:02.
This year 812 riders registered for event. Last year’s event was capped at 500.
Men’s winner Will Ross used 4.0 tires with eight pounds of pressure in the rear and seven in the front. Ross said he didn’t want to sacrifice rolling resistance by running lower pressure.
News Article about the Fat Bike Birkie 2015