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Fat Season Kickoff: Laura Hrubes's Top 5 Event Picks

To kick off the fat bike season, we're asking a few friends to share their top 5 fat bike race picks, plus one deathbed fat bike adventure. Here we're sharing Laura Hrubes's list which takes us all over Wisconsin, Minnesota, the U.P., Idaho, and Iceland. Enjoy.

Laura Hrubes is a year round gravel, MTB, bikepacking, and fat biker from Wisconsin with deep roots in the U.P. She loves winter and really really really hard bike events. We caugh up with her to check in on her favorite fat bike events around our region as well as events she'd love to do some day. She also works for Embark Maple where they support endurace cylists of all kinds with maple energy.

Follow Laura on Instagram.

Laura Hrubes's Top 5 Fat Bike Race Picks

1. Arrowhead 135 | Jan 29 - International Falls, WI

This has been on my dream list for a long time, and has taken me literally years to feel like I’m ready and experienced enough to try it. It’s considered to be one of the toughest races on the planet, in large part because of the extreme cold and super remote location…northern Minnesota at the end of January is often one of the coldest places on the planet, and you will probably be alone out there and have to be ready and able to keep yourself alive. There’s a pretty low success rate overall, particularly with first-timers, but I’m going to give it my very best shot this winter and hope like heck that the weather gods favor us with good conditions in 2024! LEARN MORE.

Photo: Jamison Swift

2. Snow Crown Series | Green Bay, WI

There’s something for everyone at this incredible race series, and they are SO much fun! You can do different distances from beginner to elite, and theres a 50 and 100 mile ultra too! I won’t be able to make it for the full series this year (but you should!), but I’ll definitely do the ultra, which connects all the groomed mountain bike trail systems in the Green Bay Area into one incredible fat bike adventure. The snowcrown series is a guaranteed amazing good time and an incredible community. The same goes for the Hugh Jass series; I’ve never raced these, but they are put on by amazing people and are such a fun vibe. Highly recommend both series! LEARN MORE.

3. Fat Pursuit | Island Park, ID

Fat Pursuit in Idaho, just outside Yellowstone National Park. I’ve never done it, but this is super high on my list. A great big wilderness bikepacky adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the country in the winter, I definitely want in on that…Maybe 2025!

Photo: @aaronrcouch

4. Actif Epica | Feb 16 - Manitoba, Canada

I’ve never done this one before, but if all miraculously somehow goes well at Tuscobia and Arrowhead, I’ll head north and give this a go in 2024 as it’s the final race to gain entry into the Order of the Hrimthurs (a Norse word for an old tribe of frost giants!)…basically a winter triple crown, and all three races have to be completed in the same year. It’s almost impossible to do and an extremely short list of legendary women have accomplished this, so it feels like a crazy huge goal. Manitoba is pretty flat, but super cold (real temps of -58 have happened during the race) and wide open and windy, so that’s the big surprise mystery challenge up there. I adore Canada and can’t wait for this experience! LEARN MORE.

5. Polar Roll | Feb 17 - Ishpeming, MI

I did the first-ever polar roll ultra earlier this year, and wow, was that ever hard! And also one of the best adventures I’ve ever had. This remains one of my favorite events, in my favorite place in the world, the UP of Michigan. There’s a mass start race day, with all kinds of events (snowshoeing too, if that’s your thing!), a window to do events on your own schedule, and the ultra. 10/10. LEARN MORE.

Bonus Death Bed Fat Bike Adventure: Fat Biking Iceland

If money and time were not part of the adventure equation, I would pack my bags and my bike and my favorite people and head to Iceland for the winter! In 2021, a tiny group (including Rebecca Rusch!) did the first-ever north to south crossing of Iceland by bike in the winter, totally self-supported, crossing mountains and lakes and glaciers, and it’s one of the most beautiful, remote places on the planet. I would absolutely love to plan an adventure like that! Also, it’s one of the best places on the planet to see the northern lights, which is one of my absolute favorite things. If I could dream that big, it’s playing fat bikes under the northern lights in the winter in Iceland!




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