Chequamegon 40 racers will be rerouted Saturday
A reroute of the course for the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 on Saturday will eliminate a tough, seven-mile stretch on the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail and send riders instead on a gravel fire lane, race officials announced late Thursday.
Heavy rain in recent weeks left some portions of the Birkie Trail too wet and vulnerable to the onslaught of the 2,100 mountain bikers registered for the 32nd annual race. This is the most significant reroute of the venerable course in more than two decades.
Volunteers have helped remove the trees and branches blown down across the course last week, but officials warn riders to be extra cautious because of the course conditions. They will encounter mud and loose gravel across large sections of the fire lanes that make up portions of the Fat Tire course.
The major reroute begins near mile 10. Instead of tackling the series of hills on the Birkie Trail south of Highway OO, riders will follow the Phipps Fire Lane, which also rises through the Seeley Hills.
Race officials also reported that the southern portion of the course, from Rosie’s Field north to Mosquito Brook Road, will be closed up until the start of the race. Tree-clearing will continue on that part of the course through Saturday morning.
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Tom Held writes The Active Pursuit blog for silentsports.net.