Only one week ago, the 2014 Fatbike Frozen Forty had its third year. We once again had a sold out race, with 200 racers registered. The format was simplified this year, as we eliminated the 20-mile format, and kept only the 40-mile solo and 40-mile team divisions.
This year’s trail was slower and more difficult for many, as the winter weather this year made the trail less compacted and softer/drifted outside of the main track. Many racers DNF’d or had much slower times than in prior years. Elm Creek has the best grooming crew around, but there’s a limit to how much humans and machines can do to push back on the forces of Mother Nature.
Ultimately, even though many racers found the trail more difficult this year than the past, men’s solo winner Jesse LaLonde not only won the race for the 2nd year in a row, but he did so with a commanding lead (more than 20 minutes) on his nearest competition. Despite a larger field of racers and narrow singletrack trail that was softer snow packed than last year, it appeared to have not phased Jesse a bit, as his finish time in 2014 was less than a minute slower than his 2013 time. Jorden Wakely took 2nd place, and Jeff Young placed 3rd.
Women’s winner, April Morgan, moved up a podium step this year, after taking 2nd in the women’s solo in 2013. Last year’s women’s champion, Danielle Musto, fought hard for 2nd place, and Jill Martindale took 3rd. First through third places in both the men’s and women’s divisions took home prize money, with equal payouts offered to men and women, with $250 going to the winner in each solo division, and $1000 total being awarded.
Our sponsors in 2014 were outstanding. Not only did we have several sponsors who have been sponsors for three consecutive years (Maple Grove Cycling, 45Nrth, Surly Brewing), but we welcomed many new sponsors and had better support than ever before, thanks to awesome prizes, demos, exhibiting and more. Presenting sponsor Maple Grove Cycling was the real deal, having provided neutral mechanical support, volunteers, an outstanding grill-out, fire pits, and more. Be sure to check out the entire list of sponsors on the Frozen40.com site, here, and thank them with your patronage – let them know you appreciate them supporting fatbike events and races!
We had some new features this year, in the 2014 Frozen 40. We had a better “tent city” than ever before, including a 30×10 heated warm-up tent. We had our pre-race packet pick-up at Surly Brewing (thanks Surly!) and that was a fun meet and greet event for the many racers who came from near and far to participate. We also had media support from RaceVista.com. This meant we not only had a real-time photo slideshow in the warm-up tent where racers and spectators could tag their photos in Instagram and see them displayed instantly, but people who weren’t at the race could see the same photos on the web at RaceVista.com.
The reports and photos from the Frozen 40 are a ton of fun. You can read what some of the racers have to say about the race here: http://frozen40.com/media-reports/. For photos, you can see the amazing photos taken by 45Nrth (3-year sponsor) at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.746197395392586.1073741834.263587693653561&type=1. We also had a photographer at the race taking shots all day, trying to capture as many racers as possible. Those have been posted to Flickr, which you can view in a slideshow or click through to the entire set via Race Vista, here: http://racevista.com/featured-races/triplef2014/
We’re also proud to have launched a campaign for racers to contribute to Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC). Through contributions by racers, and matching funds by the race directors, we’ll be sending a check to MORC for over $500! In addition, CJ and the amazing and dedicated trail grooming crew at Elm Creek have dedicated their own time, energy, and resources to maintaining the groomed singletrack that many expect or even take for granted. The trail doesn’t groom itself, and the folks who have done the grooming deserve our thanks. Race directors Brad and Ben launched a GoFundMe campaign to help them with financial resources for equipment, fuel and more. This fund raised over $1000! http://www.gofundme.com/6xoj60 Needless to say, the Fatbike Frozen Forty has made an impact in the cycling community through its contributions and initiatives, and we thank all those who have contributed.
We would be remiss not to mention the Great Lakes Fatbike Series. The Fatbike Frozen Forty was part of the series in the first year of the series (last year) and we were honored to be part of it again this year. This is a well organized series comprised of some of the best fatbike races in the country. The series title sponsor is 45Nrth, and there are some awesome prizes (not to mention bragging rights) associated with those who accumulate most overall series points. The series hasn’t wrapped up yet, and you can view the whole schedule here: http://www.greatlakesfatbikeseries.com/schedule.
THE NEXT RACE IN THE SERIES is the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout, in the Crosby/Ironton area of Minnesota, our neighbors to the north. This is an awesome event, with some of the most beautiful trail in the region. Online registration closes Tuesday the 25th (in two days)! Don’t miss out on your chance to race at the Whiteout! We’ve heard from their race director that even though there has been a ton of snow, grooming is going well, so this could be a very fun year to check out the Whiteout. If you want to get an inside look at the Whiteout, you can see photos taken by RideFatbikes at the Whiteout last year, which you can find here: http://racevista.com/featured-races/cuyuna-lakes-whiteout-2013-fatbike-race/.