Fat Bike Birkie Field Trip

The Fat Bike Birkie held annually in Cable, Wisconsin is, by far, the largest fat bike event in the world with over 800 entrants participating in the 2015 edition. More than just a race, the Fat Bike Birkie is a happening that, for many participants, covers several days with rides, camaraderie and fun on not only the Birkie Trail but on the groomed snow of the CAMBA trail system as well. Throw in the Fat Bike Birkie After Party that we co-sponsored with along with CAMBA and a super raffle to benefit the trail system’s continued grooming and you have a recipe for a fantastic weekend.

Derrick and I headed north from Milwaukee on Friday settling in for the long drive. We decided to add an extra couple of hours and headed to the top of the state to check out some of the Lake Superior Ice Caves. We’d had a report from fellow spelunker, Dave Schlabowske, who was up in the Apostle Island area earlier than us. Based on Dave’s report we headed over to Washburn where we had access to legal caves while the more popular caves near Cornucopia are off limits to wheeled traffic within 1/4 mile of the shore and it was getting dark soon.


We arrived in the Cable/Hayward area about 6 with a stop at the Sawmill Saloon where we dropped off prizes for the / CAMBA After Party and to check in at the Lenroot Lodge where we would be based.

After getting our bearings and our lodging squared away we headed over to the Rivers Eatery in Cable where bib pickup was underway. We met several friends there and stayed for some conversation and a couple of cold ones before heading back to the Lenroot.


Race Day

Some of the fastest racers in the fat-bike world lined up at the old Telemark Lodge for the 9AM start of the 47K Fat Bike Birkie including last year’s winner Ned Overend of Specialized and Will Ross (last year’s runner up) from 9:Zero:7.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe lead pack heads onto the Powerline shortly after the start.



The top competitors were off the front at the 13K aid station with a lead group of about 12-15 of the major contenders for the top spot already putting time on the rest of the field.


Other racers were battling their own way to the finish at the old Telemark Lodge. Handups of energy gel were popular at the aid stations.


Spinner Ryerson, sporting Viking horns, was one of the few singlspeed riders! Spinner put in a great effort to best more than half the field with just one little ‘ol gear on a very hilly course.


In the end, Will Ross from Anchorage, AK, riding for 9:Zero:7, took the top honors with Ned Overend finishing 2nd and, for the second year in a row, Brendan Moore took 3rd place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and CAMBA hosted the Fat Bike Birkie After Party at the Sawmill Saloon featuring a HUGE raffle to benefit the CAMBA groomed fat-bike trails. Here we have Montain Bike Hall of Famer, Gary Crandall, checking out some of the prizes. In the end, CAMBA raised over $4,000 specifically for winter grooming purposes.


Tom Gaier called out the raffle numbers! There were a lot of great prizes including several pairs of Surly Rims, a set of complete Northpaw Fat-bike Wheels, a pair of Bontrager Jackalope rims, tires galore including Husker Dus, Bontrager Hodags, 1UP USA racks, and a bunch more. if you make it up next year, don’t miss the After Party!


Here is the lucky winner of the 9:Zero:7 frame at the raffle!


If you make it up to Cable make sure to check out R Place. Derrick and I stopped in twice! It is very much a “locals” type place with nary a spandex-clad cyclist in sight and plenty of Northwoods banter to make you feel at home.

On Sunday, after a quick breakfast at the Sawmill in Seely, we joined the ride on the CAMBA groomed trail just up the road on “OO” with a group of locals, several of whom were riding demo bikes from Borealis.

The Fat-bike Birkie is more than just a race, it is a HAPPENING! Make sure not to miss it in 2016. BTW, I heard a rumor that the event will raise the cap of riders to 1,000 next year. Here’s hoping to see you there!

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