There have been 4 Fatbike Birkies. I have attended all four. I remember the first year when there was 280 bikes total. I have never seen so many fat bikes in one place. Fast forward just three years and look at it now. Amazing. The biggest fat bike race in the world. I guess I dont know that for sure but its a pretty good assumption with 1000 entries.
This isn’t many race many organisations can do this correctly. The Birkie Foundation is pretty much the perfect modal organisation to pull this off. They have the experience putting on the ski race for many many years. They have the perfect trails almost tailor suited for this size of race.
There are a few great races in the ares that draw a couple hundred racers but they put you on a 3 foot wide single track and more often than not, you end up hiking thru a devastated trail system. Having the mega huge Birkie trails, always 30 feet or more wide lets these guys put a on a race for 1000 bikes.
But its not just the trails. Its the experience with preparation of said trails. These guys (and gals) forgot more about snow trail preparation than most people know. Again, maintaining the best prepped ski trail in the Midwest and putting on the biggest ski race in the country for years makes these guys a shoe in for this bike race. They have the best equipment for trail prep. When this race was proposed four years ago it just fit like a glove with this origination. And Im pretty happy to live just 5 short hours away.
Like I said, the race was uneventful for me and thats a good thing. I finished near the 50 percentile in the shorter race and thats about as good as it get for a 56 year old fat guy. Based on percentages it might have been my best Birkie yet. Maybe, I dont really check that stuff.
On the way back I hooked up with a pretty fast dude who pulled me the last mile on the road past 6 or 7 guys. I managed to drop him the last 50 yards or so and then I saw this guy and dug deep to nip him at the line. Look at the pain in my face.
After, I felt kinda bad about that as I was now “that guy” who sprints for 145th place. However, I felt a little better finding out the guy was in my age category. So with that I justified the effort. It is still a race.
The trails were in prime shape even with the 3 or so inches late Friday. You mostly broke thru the groom but only two inches down was that rock hard base. Almost perfect for a fat bike race. The day before it was so firm you could have rode a cross bike on it. Another super fun race and worth every penny.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about the real reason I go up there. The trails.