Interview with Jorden Wakeley – Michigan’s Rocketeer

Written By : Casey Buckleitner

Photos By : Jack Kunnen

Editor’s Note: will be featuring a series of interviews of the best racers from fat-bike hot-spots from around the world in the coming months. When I asked who the man to beat was in Michigan, Jorden Wakeley was the name that I heard over and over. Jordan recently stood atop the podium at the Noquemanon World Championship Snow Bike Race near Marquette.  Thanks to both Casey and Jorden for helping us bring this story to the pages of!


CB ~ What kind of family background do you have in cycling?

Jorden – No family background in cycling, I didn’t have video games when I was growing up, just my bike. My parents used to take my bike away when I was bad when I was younger, that straightened me up real quick. Even when I was 9 years old, bikes were my life. I thank my parents everyday for not letting me have video games when I was younger.

CB ~That’s awesome.You’re From Grayling? Speak on Grayling.

Jorden -Born and raised in Grayling, there’s not much to do here, but that’s why I like it. You have to create your own fun and adventures. I can go from my front porch and ride 5 hours without crossing a single paved road. I tried living in a big city and hated it.

CB ~Grayling is the epicenter of canoe-racing. Have you ever raced?

Jorden -I got pretty serious about canoe racing between 2005-2010. I won the amateur state championships in 2007, and finished the AuSable River Canoe Marathon 3 consecutive times. Its a 120 mile non-stop race across Northern Michigan ran all night long. Tough stuff. Eventually I’ll compete again.

CB ~Why is your name spelled “Jorden”?

Jorden -I had to ask my mom this, and she said when you give birth to a 10 lb. 10 oz., 23 inch long baby you can spell it however you want. If my dad had it his way, my name would be Hogan. I’m cool with Jorden. 😉

CB ~What kind of PEDs do you use?

Jorden -Hard work, determination, and Michigan craft beer are my version of PEDs.

CB ~Favorite beers?

Jorden -Top 5, no particular order. Founders Double Trouble Wagners Sorority Girl Bells Hopslam Keweenaw Brewing Widow Maker Blackrocks Brewing Snow Ryder Cream Ale

CB ~How serious is your training?

Jorden -Training is serious. When I’m on my bike nothing else matters. Some people go to anger management or therapy, I jump on my bike and hammer. My day isn’t complete without a bike ride, and I ride nearly every day.

CB ~Most important piece of cycling gear?

Jorden -Hands down my helmet. I’ve bounced my head off the ground and trees many times, and I’m still somewhat sane. Ive cracked a few helmets, but never my head.


CB ~Describe your Fatbike Race bike? Anything weird?

Jorden -I ride an XL black and purple Salsa Mukluk that I named “The Purple People Eater”. 2×9 drivetrain, with a Blackrocks Brewery sticker on the toptube for motivation when I’m really suffering.

CB ~It does eat people. Eats ’em up! Which rims and tires?

Jorden -Big Fat Larry on the front, Husker Du on the rear mounted to Rolling Darryl rims with tubes. Heavy set-up, but pushing this beast up hill will make you a tough guy.

CB ~What tire pressure do you run?

Jorden -Honestly couldnt tell you, I go by feel. I find I usually run a higher psi than most people though.

CB ~What is you racing mountain bike?

Jorden -My bike is a carbon Focus Raven 29r. Its about as close to a rocket ship as you can get without really being a rocket ship. I had it weighing in at just over 20 lbs. with a rigid fork last race season. It definitley could have been lighter too!

CB ~Other sports/passions?

Jorden -I love hunting, fishing, paddling, and cutting wood.


CB ~Favorite Bike Shop?

Jorden -Thats easy, Einstein Cycles in Traverse City, MI. The raddest bike shop in the Universe.

CB ~Favorite Color?

Jorden -Orange

CB ~Favorite food?

Jorden -Cereal, any kind

CB ~What kind of outside elements influence you drive to compete?

Jorden -I just love to compete. I’m the most competitive person you’ll ever meet. Also the people that support me, and believe in me drive me.

CB ~How old are you?

Jorden -22, soon to be 23


CB ~Some of your proudest moments in cycling?

Jorden -So far taking 7th place at last years Iceman Cometh. It was the most stacked pro field in Iceman history. I was 20 seconds out of 1st, and beat former Olympians and current National Champions.

CB ~ Embarrassing moment in cycling?

Jorden -Any time I fall, and it happens quite a bit.

CB ~Where do you see yourself in cycling in  5 Years? 10 years?

Jorden -Hopefully one of the top pros in the United States. Cycling has always been a huge part of my life, and it always will be. If I’m riding, racing, testing, or turning wrenches in the cycling world I’ll be happy. Tour Divide and Arrowhead 135 are also on my bucket list.

CB ~You’re committed to the industry. Solid. Favorite mountain biker?

Jorden -When I was growing up I looked up to the local guys that were throwing down with top Pros and beating them. Guys like Mike Simonson, Brian Matter, Ron Sanborn, Scott Quiring and Mike Anderson. I still look up to these guys, and they’re still fast as hell. Quiring got 2nd last year at St Fattys Day on a fat-bike he built himself. Good luck against him this year.

CB ~You have a Favorite Fat bike trail/ area.

Jorden -Without a doubt, the Marquette, MI area. They have a designated groomed fat bike trail system, and endless miles of amazing singletrack.

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Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


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