NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – UPCross, a non-profit organization that organizes cyclocross races in the U.P., will hold the Freeze Yer Fanny fat tire bike race this weekend as part of the Heikki Lunta Winter Festival. The race is the second in UPCross’s four-race winter series called SnowCross. The competition will feature events for people of all ages, but will require a fat tire bike.

You can sign up here for the following events on Saturday, January 29th:

  • Little Kids 50 Yard Sprint – 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
  • Big Kids One Lap – 6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
  • Adult 30 Minute Short Race – 6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
  • Adult 60 minute Long Race – 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

“The fat bike’s going to be a totally different piece of equipment. It’s going to have a much larger tire on there,” said Evan Simula, President of UPCross. “We don’t just put bigger tires in the same mountain bike frame, it’s a fully different frame itself with a wider hub, wider crank. And then the tires are going to range anywhere from 3.8, which is the minimum for fat bike race generally, all the way up to there are some that are 5 and a half inches now.”

While many Yoopers finish biking for the year at the first sign of winter weather in the fall, fat tire biking has seen a steady increase in recent years. Simula says consistent snow and groomed trails across hundreds of miles of trail networks make the U.P. a prime spot for fat tire biking.

“Generally the trails, if in good conditions, it’s generally a little bit smoother than we would have in the summer.,” Simula said. “You know it kind of smooths off those roots and those rocks, but then on the flip side having that bigger tire generally run a little bit lower pressure. It can be a little bit more work than regular riding in the summertime, but it’s just super fun to see those same trails in a different light. Takes a little bit different gear, it’s a little bit cold sometimes, but it’s quiet and peaceful and super fun.”

When people try riding a fat tire bike for the first time, Simula says many can be apprehensive at first. However, that quickly fades once they get out on a trail.

“Usually the first comment we have is the bike was a lot lighter than they thought it was going to be,” Simula said. “And then on top of that, just, it’s like a kid riding a bike for the first time. Usually a grin ear to ear, come in super excited about it, is generally the consensus that we get.”

For more updates on cyclocross in the U.P. and information on the Freeze Yer Fanny race, follow UPCross on Facebook.