Colorado came to visit Wisconsin this past weekend. Colorado-based Borealis Fat Bikes and event founder Dave Ochs were front and center at the New Richmond Golf Club. The Coloradan that we haven’t mentioned yet is Josiah Middaugh. He’s a multiple FBW Men’s Champion from Vail and (spoiler alert) he won again! He’s won in three different states now. To Josiah – HUZZAH!
When I got to the race, I parked right next to Leia Schneeberger and took a shuttle bus to the course. It was a bustling scene with the Borealis Fat Bikes Tour Bus parked behind their fleet of demo bikes and throngs of racers, volunteers, and spectators. Dave Ochs was manning the microphone keeping the crowd entertained. The venue hosted a small expo area with booths from Manitou, Bike Jacket, and a couple of local shops.
I guess we should talk about the elephant in the room. The race was held on a golf course. Several of my friends had initially indicated some interest in joining me at this year’s FBW’s and once they learned that it was going to be run at a golf club, they backed out. I’m a veteran of a few different races that have been held on fairways and bunkers so I knew what to expect. The good thing about golf courses is that they offer a pretty great experience for spectators. Golf Courses generally have a cool old clubhouse with a stocked bar and hot food. This reminds me of a line from the movie Caddy Shack.
Country clubs and cemeteries are the biggest wasters of prime real estate!
One of the best race finishes that I’ve ever seen happened on a golf cource. It was the USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships in Grand Rapids when Cole House bridged a half-mile gap to win with a wheel lunge at the line. Because it was on a golf course, we had a clear line of sight and watched the entire dramatic pursuit and sprint finish unfold. The New Richmond Golf Club reminded me of that course’s clubhouse, but even nicer!
Two hundred and seventy-two racers toed the line and there were lots of familiar faces. There were even some participants in costumes! (Somewhat to my dismay…there was no derby) By my estimate…there had to be about eighty metric gnome tons of kits and carbon.
The grand marshal of the prologue led the group around a groomed loop on a wide-open fairway in a rolling neutral start for the crowd to cheer on. Just as they passed by, the Zamboni pulled off and released the racers out onto the racecourse. The neutral start pace was a little slow for me. It was a little like watching paint dry. The big race for all of the marbles was set at four (six-mile) laps. It was a beautiful crisp cold winter day. The course was well groomed and the track held up pretty well to all of those knobs with the kits and carbon fibers.
It was cool to see the fat bike circus come to Wisconsin/Minnesota. I got to see a bunch of people that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I got to cheer for Leia and Corey and hang out with the Camp Lake crazies around the fire with music blasting.
I hiked out to the ‘Bacon Station’ where two ladies dressed in bacon costumes were handing out maple-candied-bacon to folks. I guess my favorite part was when I saw mi amigos from Westosha and we hung out. For a little while there, things felt almost normal again.
Eventually, somebody won this prestigious race thingy. You can see all of the results here. But for the marginally curious here’s the top three racers in both the men’s and women’s categories.
- Josiah Middaugh – Vail, CO
- Chase Wark – Winona, MN
- Matt Rengo – St. Paul, MN
- Sonia Mattson – Burnsville, MN
- Leia Schneeberger – Madison, WI
- Kenzie Statz – Wisconsin Rapids, WI
If you missed this year’s race and feel like hitting the fairways of the New Richmond Golf Club with hundreds of other like-minded individuals, you’re in luck because The Borealis Fat Bike Worlds presented by Pure Fuel is returning to New Richmond for 2023! So HUZZAH!