The Wisconsin Fatbike Championship was held at Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, WI on a balmy, for March, Saturday; the 24th to be specific.
The idea for this event was hatched up mid-winter and had all the potential for an excellent snow race. With the event weekend planned for the week after Alpine Valley closed for the ski season we were almost guaranteed great snow conditions. Almost! Seems like Mother Nature had other ideas for our course with record high temperatures and a couple of weeks of very unseasonably warm weather. The heatwave closed the hill early for skiing and, over the course of a long week, ate up over 8-feet of snow base! Wow!
Fear not fatbike racers for we had Jamison, Assistant Maintenance Manager at Alpine Valley, on the case. Aside from being an avid fatbiker, Jamison has been riding motocross, doing scrambles, pushing and digging dirt for a long time and knew just what to do with a Caterpillar D5 and other assorted machines to provide the state champ wannabes with a course they would not soon forget. Mud, sand, singletrack, jump lines, sand and gravel pits and yes, even a bit of snow because he promised! No doubt Alpine had the last snow available in SE Wisco and Jamison had the gear to move it!
So, with the course set and all the preliminaries done it was up to the racers to make the day. I was on Photog duty for the event so I am going to go ahead and let the pictures do most of the talking.
The day began cool and foggy. Here you can see most of the available snow in Southeastern Wisconsin available at race time!
There was a bit of slurm. Good thing about the mud was that, for the most part, it was concentrated in the transition area and while sloppy the ground was actually firm right underneath.
If it weren’t for this guy, yeah, that’s Jamison, we would not have had an event at Alpine Valley. Not only was he the master course builder but it was his connection and communication with the owner of the resort that made it a reality. Thanks, Dude!
The race was a Team Enduro format. 3 members to a team and a 3-hour race. Here team members from a couple of the teams show one of the spectators proper attire for fat bike racing.
On minute before race time!
And they are off with the requisite “Le Mans” start. FYI, there were a pair of slip-n-slides just up the hill in a pile of snow that featured prominently in who got to there bikes first! Photos as they become available.
There was indeed snow on the course. It proved fun for some…
And challenging for others!
Yep, the mud was a bit slick at times.
The hill that Alpine Valley is built on is mostly gravel and sand. The course used both to good effect. Here is the climb up to the bikini girls who were serving Gatorade and other “energy” drinks at the top. From here it was all downhill to the transition area.
You knew we had to have a shot of the bikini girls! Thanks, ladies, for your help and encouragement!
There were several interesting course features including the snowmobile graveyard.
There were plenty of spots to air it out on the course. Here is Chad, one of the champs, coming at you.
And at another spot where the benefits of the D5 can be clearly seen.
Racers ran the gamut from young and female. (That’s Alyssa doing a great job for her team)
To, well, not as young and probably not female. (Yep, that’s Chewey doin’ it fatbike-style)
Mud, yes! Impassable? No! Bethany showing her true colors.
The top 3 teams were awarded these custom engraved Ahearne flasks filled with something 12-years old, I believe!
And here is the master of ceremonies, Gomez his own damed self, ciphering the lap tally while Puck gets in some High Life product placement. No, it wasn’t a bribe!
Ya, Mon, Peter Tosh made the ride. Amazingly, that is an unlamented CD insert that didn’t even get a mud splatter on it all race. Good looking out, Jah!
Excuse us while we have this brief mud wrestling interlude before the awards ceremonies!
Bikini girls are awarded prizes? Well, Duh! It’s not like the pay was great.
While we did award places back to the 8th place finishing team, and there was a ton of schwag for 4th through 8th places, the top 3 placing teams were obviously better looking so we will concentrate on them in this particular article. Those fine fellows have the distinction of touting their 3rd place finish for the next year!
I guess not everybody had a screen printer on their team but the 2nd place finishers did and Andy had to make sure his cronies were hooked up.
To the victors go the spoils. These mugs are the Wisconsin Fatbike Champions for 2012! Congratulations Tom, Chad and yes, fresh off his Pugsley World Championship, that there is Colin Ford. You’ve had quite a year there young man!
While there were a couple of contenders for DFL, or as we like to call it “Team Fun”, Slinger, WI is the proud home of this years winners.
Here he is the guy who changed his clothes more times than anyone else, Jamison! No award, just another hearty round of applause for a job well done!
You thought you might go to a Wisconsin bike race event and not see a Chikken Belle? Well, you’d be mistaken then! CHIKKEN BELLE!
There you have it. The Wisconsin Fatbike Championship, mostly in pictures. I just had to throw that last one of mild-mannered Tony busting it big on the snow just before we left for the Cobble Stone Inn and some well deserved food.
We’d like to heartily thank our event sponsors for their gifts of time, prizes and other what nots:
- Alpine Valley Resort
- Jamison Stachel
- Ahearne Cycles
- Bar Mitts
- Honey Stinger
- Planet Bike
- Lakefront Brewery
- Capital Brewery
If you are interested in seeing a ton more photos of this excellent event check out: