News: 2015 Solstice Chase a Blast!

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December 19th marked the 3rd running of the Solstice Chase fat bike race, the first event in the 2016 Great Lakes Fat Bike Series sponsored by 45NRTH. 300 riders set off in pursuit of a $500 cash prize for the top man and woman. The 42k event was won by Jeff Hall of Farmington, MN for the men (his second Solstice Chase win), and Jenna Rinehart for the women. The 21k was won by Adam Altman of Chippewa Falls and Rachael Jensen of Shell Lake.

adam at the finish
Adam Altman at the Finish

It’s been a bit of a strange year here in Wisconsin, with high temperatures and little to no snow. In fact, there were even reports of people water skiing in Minnesota earlier this December–it’s almost as if the climate has changed… but anyway…

The advantage of hosting a fat bike race is that you’re able to hold the event even in the absence of snow. Competitors were not allowed to ride mountain bikes with standard width tires, as the Solstice Chase is part of a series.

solstice chase start

Morning temps hovered in the single digits. Even the bull was cold, as you can see from this picture:

bull cold

The Solstice Chase is held at Big Rock Creek Retreat, a 1600-acre private property that is currently for sale. There is no question that the Solstice Chase is coming back for a 4th run, but there is a bit of a question as to whether or not it will continue to be held at the same venue (we’re keeping our fingers crossed).

Jeff hall
Men’s 42k Champion Jeff Hall

My job at the race was to handle the microphone, which is always a blast. In fact, my article about putting on this race last year is how I got selected to be part of the Singletracks blog team. Just like last year, I rewarded beer bribes from sponsors with more frequent mentions on the audio system.

bring beer to the announcer's table
“Important Announcement…Please Bring Beer to the Announcer’s Table…”

These beers are courtesy of Podiumwear (read more about them in this article). This is the kind of initiative that I like to see!

riders over the bridge

The best part about the Solstice Chase is that there’s a massive wedding barn on the premises, and we like to have the racers stick around as long as possible. Honestly, the after party is the best thing about these events, I could do without the actual bicycle riding as long as there’s some good opportunities for revelry with fantastic people in the evening.

If you wish to peruse more photos of the 2015 Solstice Chase, check the photo gallery on our Facebook page. By special request, I was taking the time to photoshop explosions into the background of race photos, because explosions are AWESOME and they NEVER get old!

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That’s Jason from the Woolly Mt. Bike Club, he deserves a shout out for the awesome job he does maintaining the Woolly trails in St. Croix Falls (#5 on this list).

All told, it was another great day. Big Kudos to Frank Lundeen of CyclovaXC for doing the majority of the heavy lifting to make the 2015 Solstice Chase happen. As always, the primary concern is that all riders return safely, and it was great to see all the big smiles at the end. We’re looking forward to 2016, and hopefully we’ll have some snow again!

girl on bike

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