After a last minute trip to the Trek Store of Battle Creek for water bottles and a spare fat bike tube, my neighbor Nick and I took a trip to Marquette Michigan for the 2017 Polar Roll Fat Bike Race. Part of the Great Lake Fat Bike Series, the 45NRTH, Upper Hand Brewery and 906 Adventure team sponsored event promised groomed trail, 2000 feet of big climbs and a brutal experience.
With temperatures climbing into the 50s on Friday, cold temp dependent hard pack trail conditions were in question. The Range Area Mountain Bike Association worked to maintain the trails through the night and delivered incredible fat bike terrain.
The paved roll out set the tone of the day with a couple of very steep kickers leading to perfect #ridegroomed trail in Marquette’s West End. With the sun rising over the trees and the sound of fat wheels gripping on cold snow I knew the day would be epic. That vision of joy lasted until the first major groomed climb. The Polar “Roll” quickly transitioned to the Polar “Push.”
A majority of the single track held up with the high traffic, bright sunshine and rising temperatures. The last quarter of the race was wet and slushy with a few slow motion crashes and yelling up into the trees. I blamed tire pressure, mother nature and limited winter hill work before shifting my focus to the after party, taco bar and Upper Hand Lager on tap.
2 hours and 40 plus minutes of finding my flow, walking my bike up the tough inclines and locking up the brakes turning my bike into an awkward two-wheeled sled brought me to the finish line.
Next up are the first two races of the Michigan Gravel Racing Series.