Wakeley & Schneeberger Take Top Honors

Hayward, WI (March 11, 2017) – It was a brisk morning under a bluebird sky at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead as 1200 riders rolled their way through the north woods of Wisconsin in the 5th annual 45NRTH Fat Bike Birkie, the world’s largest fat bike race. Riders tested their expertise and skill on the legendary hills and trails in and around the American Birkebeiner Trailhead just east of Cable, Wisconsin.

The 2017 Fat Bike Birkie included the Big Fat (49K) and the Chico (23K) races. With competitors riding from 18 states, and 2 countries, the field was comprised of first time Fat Bike Birkie riders, as well as seasoned racers making their fifth appearance at the event. The course was firm and fast with stretches of snow, grass, and frozen surfaces.

This year’s Big Fat winner in the men’s category is no stranger to the podium, Jorden Wakeley of Grayling, MI, was the Fat Bike Birkie champion in 2013, while third place finisher, Will Ross, Anchorage Alaska, took first place in the 2016 Fat Bike Birkie.

Women’s Big Fat winner, Leia Schneeberger, Madison, WI, placed sixth in the 2016 Fat Bike Birkie. Kaitlin Antonneau, Colorado Springs, CO, second place winner, is a pro-rider for Cannondale. Ami Stuart, Park City, UT, and third place winner in the Big Fat race, is the 2017 National Fat Bike Champion and rides for Pivot Cycles.

The Big Fat:


  1. Jorden Wakeley – Grayling, MI – 2:05:09
  2. Peter Olejniczak – Minneapolis, MN – 2:05:12
  3. Will Ross – Anchorage, AK – 2:05:13


  1. Leia Schneeberger – Madison, WI – 2:33:39
  2. Kaitlin Antonneau – Colorado Springs, CO – 2:34:52
  3. Ami Stuart – Park City, UT – 2:39:53


The Chico


  1. Adam Altmann – Chippewa Falls, WI – 55:58
  2. Pavel Nelson – Cameron, WI – 59:13
  3. Thomas Meyer – Hayward, WI – 59:38


  1. Michelle Flanagan-Haag – Hayward, WI – 1:09:09
  2. Margaret Riley – Cross Plains, – 1:20:13
  3. Sara Conrad – Minneapolis, MN – 1:20:22


With unseasonably warm weather leading up to the event, the race course was moved from the originally planned course to an alternate looped course adjoining the Birkie Trail. The race consisted of a 1.8 kilometer roll-out, followed by a 9.4k looped course through the beautiful north woods. The Big Fat (49K) race riders completed 5 laps on the course, with the Chico (20K) riders completing 2 laps.

What was once thought of as a fad or craze is now the fastest growing bicycle sector. With fat bike sales of over $50 million in 2015, up from $6 million in 2013; fat bikes are here to stay. The beauty of a fat bike is that its over-sized tires allow riders to cruise in all types of conditions including groomed single-track trails, frozen lakes, firm trails, or fresh powder. Fat bikes have extended the biking season and added a whole new twist for winter adventurers. Wisconsin consistently ranks as one of America’s best places to bike and Northern Wisconsin is fast-becoming a destination hot spot for fat bike riders. It’s no wonder as Wisconsin boasts more than one thousand miles of great off-road bicycling opportunities throughout the state, available by season, and offers riders a wide variety of experiences and terrains.

The Fat Bike Birkie was sponsored by: Title Sponsor – 45NRTH, Presenting Sponsor – FreeWheel Bike; Salsa, Surly, 9:ZERO:7; HED.; iSSi; Northern Lakes Cooperative Corner Deli; Clif; GU; nuun hydration; Borah Teamwear; Framed Bikes; TREK; Wildcat Groomers; Hayward Coffee Co.; BeFAST Sportgear; Dirt Bicycle Components; BEMER Group; MAXXIS; MAGURA; velofix;

Posted March 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm