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Midwest Fat Bike Racers Open the Season at Big Rock Creek Retreat (photos)

Stuart Benson, Shafer, MN, leads the 21K field off the start. Benson would eventually finish 3rd overall in that race
ST. CROIX FALLS—156 fat bike racers took on the challenging trail system of Polk County’s newest outdoor recreation facility, Big Rock Creek Retreat, just north of St. Croix Falls, Sat., December 20.

The second annual race, titled the Solstice Chase, had competitors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan in two tough races, one 42 kilometers long and the other 21, at the 2015 season’s first race of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series.

Women’s 42K winner, April Morgan, Hopkins, MN, came to the race as the defending World’s Champion fat bike racer, and her off-season training paid off as she led her race from the gun, taking home the gold medal.

The Great Lakes Fat Bike Series will have 8 races spread over the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, with the final race, the Fat Tire Birkie, in Cable, WI, in early March, when the World Champions of 2015 will be decided. More information on the series is at:


42K Men’s race: 1—Jeff Hall, Farmington, MN One hour, 50 minutes, and 56 seconds 2—Brandon Moore, Prior Lake, MN 1:50:58 3—Josh Bauer, Richfield, MN 1:52:00

42k Women’s race: 1—April Morgan, Two hours, 13 minutes, and 4 seconds 2—Danielle Musto, Grand Rapids, MI 2:14:20 3—Megan Burr, Minneapolis, MN 2:16:47

21K Men’s race: 1--Eric Odem, Maple Grove, MN One hour, 4 minutes, 21 seconds 2—Adam Altman, Chippewa Falls, WI 1:04:34 3—Stuart Benson, Shafer, MN 1:05:29

21K Women’s race: 1—Kyla Anderson, St. Cloud, MN One hour, 18 minutes, 40 seconds 2—Janis Ray, Eau Claire, WI 1:31:14 3—Ann Buerman, Pinckney, MI 1:32:34
Jan Sobes, Wayzata, MN, leads a group

Complete results are available at:

Fat bikes are a relatively new version of the couple hundred year old bicycle. They are an evolution of the now 30+ year old mountain bike, combining the mountain bike’s low gearing, that allows climbing steep hills, with very wide (4 inches), soft, low pressure tires that float over trail surfaces even a mountain bike would sink into. A new world of winter biking has been made possible with the fat bike, from icy roads to trails that previously have been impossible to ride. Like everything else, when the first one was built, it was fun, when the second one was built, there was a race.

The host venue, Big Rock Creek Retreat, has over 1500 acres of scenic forest land, with many miles of trails used seasonally for mountain biking, cross county skiing, hiking, and birding. The Solstice Chase race was one of the first events to make use of the 150 ft. long, 2500 square foot, barn, built in 1925, that been undergoing extensive remodeling to serve as a convention/wedding/celebration facility. For more information:

For more information on area fat biking opportunities:

Photo credit: William Johnson

Megan Burr, bronze medalist in the women’s 42K race

Danielle Musto, women’s 42K second place on the course

April Morgan (right), eventual winner of the women’s division of the 42K race and defending 2014 World Champion, gives Rick Cleary, River Falls, WI, a lesson in fat bike cornering on icy, frozen ground
At the half way point of the 42K race, the trio (left to right) of Jeff Hall, Brandon Moore, and Josh Bauer were locked together in the order they would finish

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