Fat Ish relocates for 2021 race

North Central UP

ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Fat Ish fat bike race usually takes place at Al Quaal but due to COVID-19 the race will take off and finish from the Ishpeming RAMBA trailhead on January 9.

Matthew Bloch, race co-director, says they chose to change the event’s location and format to follow guidelines for COVID-19. As of now, only around 60 people have registered for the race but registration is open until midnight on Thursday, January 7.

“As with everything that’s going on we’re quite a bit less than last year but we’re doing what we can,” said Bloch. “With that comes our safety program and our format, it’s a time trial format so there’s going to be no gathering.”

The Fat Ish will start at 8:30 A.M. for the novice class and 11:00 A.M. for the advanced class.

“Each racer will be sent off individually every 30-seconds and we’ll have everyone spaced out no gatherings or anything like that,” said Bloch. “But, we ask the racers to come a half an hour to an hour before their predetermined and assigned race time.”

The course will be on the RAMBA snow bike trail. Bloch says the low snowfall this year allowed for more technical trails to be groomed for the race.

“The riders will have a mix of a little bit of double track but it’ll be mostly the groomed single track and then our RAMBA a little bit more technical single track,” said Bloch. “So it’s going to be a really fun course on Saturday and the low snow is actually a blessing because we can groom some things that would not normally be groomed.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward school supply donations for Ishpeming Public Schools.

“All the money goes to a really great cause,” said Bloch. “This year’s been really hard for teachers so we’re hoping to raise a lot of money for giving them a break you now supplying the kids with school supplies so that teachers don’t have to spend their own hard-earned money to do so.”

Start times will be emailed out to participants on Friday, January 8th. Bloch says next year they hope to be back on their normal trail at Al Quaal.

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