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Polar Roll to take place, pandemic style

New format for fat bike race allows participation through March 14

From left, Lisa Labar of Marquette, Scott Berry of White Lake, Wisconsin, and Margaret Twichell of Negaunee take part in the inaugural Polar Roll fat tire bike race in 2015. This year, the Polar Roll fat tire bike race will continue, but with some safety adaptations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration is available now through March 7, with the event running Friday through March 14, instead of just a single day. (Journal file photo)

ISHPEMING — The annual Polar Roll fat tire bike race is going to be in a new format this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new format, which organizers refer to as “EX” — meaning extra enhanced — involves racers completing the race in a self-supported manner with a GPS to navigate and selfie checkpoints along the way, according to www.thepolarroll.com.

Another change is that registration is available now through March 7, with participation available Friday through March 14, instead of just a single day.

“We introduced the EX format for Crusher this summer — and it was a hit,” said Todd Poquette, director of adventure with the 906 Adventure Team, on the event website. “We’ll miss the excitement of a mass start, the finish line and after party. But it is what it is and we need to adapt — and we will.”

Poquette noted that organizations had been in contact with health officials, municipalities, police departments, trail organizations and others to put on a safe event during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Events will run on the Range Area Mountain Bike Association and Noquemanon Trail Network trails, with participants either traveling by fat bike or snowshoe. At least $10 from each entry will support the trails.

Participants in the race must find the selfie-checkpoints on the course, take a selfie and continue to be considered a finisher. Website updates will address the next steps.

Digital and hard-copy passports contain Polar Roll rules, events, winter trail etiquette, sponsors, trail organization spotlights and more.

Categories are Walk in the Park, two short snowshoe loops in Negaunee and Ishpeming; Polar Roll-RAMBA, a 20-mile trek by bike or snowshoe; Polar Roll-NTN, a 36-mile ride around Marquette; IQ Test, a duathlon in which participants bike RAMBA in one direction and snowshoe the other for a total of 40 miles; and the Snowflake, which is all the events. For details, visit thepolarroll.com.

The Polar Roll is a production of the 906 Adventure Team, a nonprofit based in Marquette County that serves Delta and Gogebic counties “with a mission to empower people to become the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure.”

The team also produces The Crusher and Marji Gesick races.

Learn more at 906adventureteam.com.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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