The Fat Bike Birkie is a fairly unique event since this is the one day in the year that snow bikers are allowed on the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski trail. The American Birkebeiner is the largest cross-country ski race in the US, and both the race and the trail system provide a huge economic boost to the small towns of Hayward, WI and Cable, WI throughout the year.
A beautiful day greeted racers in Cable, WI for the 3rd annual Fat Bike Birkie on Saturday, March 7th, 2015. Temperatures in the low 30s promised a fun and festive day for spectators and racers alike. For the second year in a row, the Fat Bike Birkie was designated as the U.S. National Fat Bike Championships, with both Ned Overend and Jenna Rinehart back to defend their 2014 titles. In the 47 km event, Jenna Rinehart of Mankato, MN, was successful in her repeat attempt at winning the women’s race with a time of 2:12:27. The men’s race went to Will Ross of Anchorage, AK with a time of 1:55:30, besting Overend by just over twenty seconds.
The 20km event was won by Thomas Meyer of Hayward, WI in a time of 55:32 for the men, and Rebecca Ireland of Minneapolis, MN in a time of 1:00:02 for the women. 489 racers finished the 47km event with 179 finishing the 20km course.
For full results, click here.
The Birkie trail is the equivalent of a cross-country superhighway capable of accommodating thousands of athletes on race day. The trails are regularly groomed with PistenBully groomers, which create a world-class-quality trail. The trail is prepped to such a state that the passage of nearly seven hundred riders only loosens up the top layers of snow, while leaving a hard pack beneath.
The Birkie trail is famous for its challenging, world-class ascents. Strong winds winds were reported at the finish area, but throughout most of the course racers were shielded by forested areas.
In addition to the American Birkebeiner and the Fat Bike Birkie, the Birkie Foundation also uses these trails for a trail marathon in September. All Birkie events are extremely well-run, and proceeds go to maintaining, preserving, and expanding some of the best trail systems in the country. This is certainly a marquee event, and a must-attend race for anyone in the Fat Biking Community.
It’s also a cool place to check out new equipment like this full composite suspension fork by Lauf Forks:
Racers and spectators alike departed Cable with smiles on their faces, already looking forward to the 2016 race. In three short years, the Fat Bike Birkie has established itself as one of the major fat bike races on the calendar, and I don’t see any reason why that trend shouldn’t continue.
Congratulations to the race organizers, volunteers and participants!