2017 USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships Come to Grand Rapids
27 Jan, 2017
West Michigan Sports Commission and Winter Rush Host First Fat Bike Nationals in Michigan, Followed by Michigan Fat Bike State Championship
Fat biking is one of the fastest growing winter sports, and Michigan is at the forefront with a growing number of competitors. In a fitting tribute, Grand Rapids will play host to two premier fat bike championships in a single weekend – the 2017 USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships presented by Rocky Mountain Bikes Jan. 28, and the Michigan Fat Bike State Championship Jan. 29, both at Indian Trails Fatbike Park on the Indian Trails Golf Course in Grand Rapids.
“Hosting these fat bike events puts Grand Rapids on the map as a fat bike mecca, offering a premier destination for fat bike racers to compete in two excellent, USA Cycling-licensed events in one weekend,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) who co-hosts the events with Winter Rush, a Grand Rapids-based fat bike race series.
2017 USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships: The WMSC and Winter Rush won a two-year bid to host the Fat Bike National Championships in 2017 and 2018 in Grand Rapids, only the second location since USA Cycling debuted the race in 2015 in Ogden, Utah, where it also was held in 2016. The event is hosted annually by USA Cycling, the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States. Approximately 125 riders participated in 2016, and attendance should be similar in 2017, with riders already registering from across the country as well as Michigan. And while this is the first fat bike national championships to come to Michigan, USA Cycling held the Pro Criterium National Championships in downtown Grand Rapids in 2011 and 2012.
“We’re really excited to bring this unique event to Grand Rapids,” said Micah Rice, USA Cycling’s vice president of national events. “Grand Rapids is a great cycling town with a growing fat bike community. The event is going to be a lot of fun for racers and fans, and we’re thrilled to bring another USA Cycling national championship to West Michigan.”
The Championships offers Junior, Amateur and Pro/Open levels, with individual races for men and women in various age divisions at the Junior Non-Champion (14 and under), Junior (15 to 18 years), Senior (19 to 29 years) Master (30 to 70+ years), Singlespeed and Pro/Open levels. The rolling terrain course is 4.2 miles long, with races ranging from one to four laps depending on the race category.
“Michigan has among the highest concentration of fat bike racers, riders and bike sales in the country, so it’s very fitting for Grand Rapids to host this esteemed national fat bike event,” said Nate Phelps, race director and owner of Winter Rush. “Plus our course is very unique. The Indian Trails Fatbike Park is groomed every year exclusively for fat biking. It’s a premier loop location, and it’s not shared with other user groups.”
Races begin Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. with Masters Men (30-39), with the last race starting at 4:03 p.m. with Women Junior (15-18). An award ceremony immediately follows, in which top racers in each category and age bracket win Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, and the winner of each bracket also receives a National Champion jersey to wear for a year. Registration fees through Jan. 25 are $70 for Junior, $95 for Amateur and $105 for Pro/Open. Onsite registration also is available Jan. 26 and 27 (no registration on race day) at $100 for Junior, $150 for Amateur and $175 for Pro/Open. Pricing includes access to pre-championship events on Thursday and Friday such as course riding time, a fat bike expo and demo area at the Indian Trails clubhouse, and evening receptions at Indian Trails clubhouse on Thursday and City Built Brewing Company on Friday. A USA Cycling Race license is required to compete, and a one-day or annual license is available with registration. The Courtyard Grand Rapids Airport is the partner hotel, offering a block of rooms at discounted rates. Click here for the full weekend schedule, or find it at usacycling.org/2017/fat-bike-nationals.
The USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships is located at Indian Trails Fatbike Park on Indian Trails Golf Course, 2776 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. Parking is available on site, and spectators can view for free, with a prime viewing area of the start and finish lines from inside the clubhouse or off the rear deck. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Spectators also will be treated to hearing retired pro cyclist Frankie Andreu announcing the event – a Dearborn native and nine-time competitor in Tour de France.
Michigan Fat Bike State Championship Returns: The Michigan Fat Bike State Championship returns to Grand Rapids in its second year, serving as the official fat bike event of the Meijer State Games of Michigan – Winter Games. Also held at Indian Trails Golf Course, the event begins at 9 a.m. with the Men’s Junior (15-18) race and concludes at 4:46 p.m. with the Men’s Beginner 50+ race. The course is 4.2 miles long, with races ranging from one to three laps. Medals will be awarded to three places (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in each category division. Major racing categories include Men/Women in Junior, Beginner, Sport, Elite and Pro. Racers can use the track from 8 to 9 a.m. prior to the first race.
Online registration is available through Jan. 24 at www.usacycling.org/register/2017-411, and fees are $10 for Junior (18 and under); $25 for Beginner; $35 for Women/Pro Elite, Sport, Expert and Singlespeed; and $45 for Men Pro/Elite and Elite. Riders also can register onsite Jan. 26 and 27 when fees increase by $10 (no registration on race day). A USA Cycling Race license is required to compete, and a one-day or annual license is available with registration.
Parking is available on site, with overflow parking across the street. Spectators can view for free from inside the clubhouse, where food and drinks will be available for purchase, or from the rear deck.
About the West Michigan Sports Commission: The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the economy and quality of life in the region. Celebrating 10 years since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 568 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 880,000 athletes and visitors, generating $240 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com and Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and follow @WestMiSports.