The 2016 Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride 

This year’s ride was a huge hit; even with conditions that were less than ideal. 

Almost 2.5′ of snow the week before ride day; the most snow since the Halloween blizzard of ’91…. then temps never dipping much below freezing, made conditions that were less than optimal.

Still, 37 rider’s showed up with awesome aditudes, not surprising knowing the fatbike crowd.

I really CAN NOT say thank you enough to all the rider’s!! 

Also, my family and the volunteers came through with flying colors to make year 4 of the Pie Burner go off without a hitch!!

A tip of the hat to you all!!
Below is only a fraction of photo’s taken mostly by our 13 year old Zack; who has shown he may have a future behind the camera lens!! Thanks Z!!

I’d like to thank all the sponsor’s for their generosity… but a special shout out to Surly Bikes, you all were more than generous!! THANK YOU!!
And as always Sandy and Palmers Tavern did an outstanding job host all us fatbike freaks!! 

The quality human beings that attend this event always blows my mind!!! 

It shouldn’t be that way, but as long as it stays…. we’ll keep putting on this ride!! 

One Brian Hatsly getting recognized for being the driving force behind this ride on the 4th ride year!! Thanks to MBR for donating the gallon flask. Beside this here guy being a solid human… he’ll also put this gallon flask to good use!!

See you all in 2017!!

And a perfect example of our ever changing terrain in northern Minnesota. Photo credit to David Ristau 

The Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride Toys For Tots Donation update…..
$305.00  raised!! 36 toys, books and stocking stuffers donated!! 

You fatbikers are a kickass crew!!

The Final Pie Burner Update.

Your Wednesday, and final update… 

With 15″ – 18″ of snow over this past weekend, and an additional 3″ – 4″ overnight. 


It’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED you ride a bike with 3.8″ tires or wider!!


Riding any tire smaller, will produce fits of rage…. hence being absolutely no fun!!!! 

The Whitney Tailings Pond area was packed ok… aka rideable. 

All climbs will be optional, unless they’re required to move forward on the route. 

The riding will be slow.
There is no frozen water.

The riding will be a challenge.

The ride will be extremely fun!! 

You will learn a lot about tire pressure!! 

If you have gaiters, wear them.

Don’t over dress!!! 

When we’re done, you’ll have truly accomplished something… and be ready for a burger and a beverage of your choosing, or 3!! ;) 

Temps Friday overnight are forecasted to be in the mid to high teens. Day time highs on Saturday are calling for 33°.

If things get to soft by mid day, we’ll make a group decision to pull the plug early. Good Ole Mother Nature is gonna make this year’s #pieburner interesting, to say the least!! 

I’ve got a snowmobile being delivered Friday morning…. THANKS Lou!!
I’ll packed the entire route, and we’ll see how it holds up during the day!!! 

Pie Burner Two Weeks Out…

​A two week out ride update…. 

And the shirt that will soon be getting printed… more ordering info here….. ordering closes November 16th.

This week I’ve been fielding a lot of “is it ok to ride a non #fatbike” questions…… totally understandable and not an unexpected question with this none November temps we had so far. 
As November’s weather has played out, it’s become obvious that the likely hood of any amount of snow accumulation towards ride day is getting less and less likely.

Looking a head, we may end up with a dusting of the white stuff and that’s looking like it. 

In a word, ABSOLUTELY!!

Rider’s can ride any stlye mountain bike they’d like. Think of the area we’ll be riding exactly like #cuyuna but a whole lot less manicured. No singletrack, and many many more exposed red rock…. but completely rideable on any stlye of aggresive mtb tire. Make sense?

 Looking at projected over night temps, all puddles should be froze over, but I won’t know for sure until the day before the ride, when I pre ride the majority of the route. 

If things are not completely frozen…. my suggestion for all rider’s is to leave your fancy riding attire at home. Wear dark cycling clothing, or anything you will not care if stained iron ore red. ;) 
Peace, Joe

Pie Burner Update #3.

November 3rd 2016 update…. 

3 Saturday’s left… not counting ride day.

Are you getting excited?

A bit apprehensive?

Are you asking yourself.. “Do I really want to drive up to BFE and ride my #fatbike??” 

I get it…. when we started this ride, now 4 year’s ago… we knew this was a funky weekend. If you the rider can attend, great…. if not… also great. 

Attendance is dictated by the long holiday weekend, and family plans. 

If you are willing to venture north, south… east or west; you will not be disappointed… well, I think so anyway. ;) 
Obviously I’m a bit biased in this regard. ;) 

Our little part of #northernminnesota is special, and quite possibly…. the perfect area to ride your fatbike during this particular time of year. 

A few words on what you should make sure to carry with you…..
#1. extra tubes…. have 1 fresh tube tucked away with you…. just in case.

It’s much easier to swap tubes out than doing a trail side patch. 

#2. Water… bring more than you think you’ll need. There will be a cooler of water at the half way point for refills. 

#3. A good attitude towards adventure and exploration. If you’re attending… this isn’t a hard ask. 

#4. Food. We will be making plenty of stops. Either to allow people to regroup before moving forward; or to take in the abundant scenic overlooks I’ll be leading you to. These stops are a good opportunity to munch on your favorite trail food item’s. 

#5. A camera and or your cell phone. For the majority of you rider’s this will be a totally new riding experience, in a truly unique area. You’ve been warned!! ;) 

Also, we’ll pedal as fast as our slowest rider. We as a group WILL NOT care how slow you ride… please keep this in mind as a group. 
Above anything else this ride is about FUN and exploring (I know I say this a lot) a truly unique area to ride your fatbike. 

I think that’s about it.
Please, if you have any questions…. fire away; I’ll try to answer any question to the best of my ability. 

The next update will be on ice thickness, a few days before ride day. If ice thickness is less than 5″ we will not be riding on frozen water. So keep your fingers crossed for some cold nights!! ;) 

Until then, be safe….. and see you all before you know it!!
Peace, Joe

Pie Burner Part 2….. First Half of Ride Complete….. 

The 1st half of the Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride is set. Woot Woot 👍 

Plane Crash Memorial Site

Today’s ride was finishing the 2nd half of what I did the other day… in the old Whitney Tailings Pond area…. I rode all climbs…. which aren’t really to terribly bad…. to me. For some reason my Strava only registered 41′ of climbing??? LOL 
Safe to say you can add 300-500′ to that, whatever that means… I see a hill and climb it slowly…. then move on…

Blah Blah Blah😉 ;) 

A New Senic View

The Pie Burner has a signature climb, and in these 4 pictures I tried to catch the steepness and redrocks…. meh..

A short ride down the Mesabi Trail. 

Right before Grace Rd….. or the halfway point. 

Alright people…. that’s a wrap!

I’ll ride the whole route a couple more times…. and then do an ice depth check at multiple spots on area ponds/lake/mine pit bodies of water the week of the ride. 

Pie Burner… Part #1. Palmers Tavern Front Door to the Holiday Station Store.

I’ve changed my mind, and will share in two parts; the Pie Burner 1st half route. The 2nd half of the Pie Burner will stay with me though. 

As the subject of this post says…… this is from Palmers Tavern front door, to the Holiday Station Store front door. 

Which came to 9 miles. No more milage will be added, but some may be taken away. It will be a morning of decision.

We’ll follow this railroad track for approximately 2.5 miles.

The 1st little climb, from the bottom.

And the top, nothing hugely difficult.

The rest of the photo’s to follow are of the area we call the “west dumps.” 

This is right before we pop back out on city streets and make our way east towards the Holiday Station Store and points east…… on our way to the old Whitney Tailings pond area, or the meat of the 1st half of the Pie Burner. 

As you can tell by these few photo’s, the beginning is mostly 4 wheeler trails. 

Elevation Gain is minimal at 50 odd feet. 

With some punchy hills, but no big sustained climbing…. that’s coming up though!! ;) 

I’ll get to part two as time allows…..

The 2016 Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride 

Well, it’s that time of year again!

Saturday, November 26th… 2016 marks year 4 of this grassroots ride, put on mainly by myself. I say mainly, because without my crazy family… none of this fatbike tomfoolery would be taking place!! Thanks gang!! 

This year had a much higher learning curve than previous year’s. 

The making of a ride day flyer is tops on the learning curve list. Which isn’t quite ready for public viewing, but should be very very soon. Thank you to Bill of Bark Design for dealing with my naivety in this whole process! 

The finished flyer!!

This year, if enough rider’s are interested…. I’ll offer the flyer artwork to be printed on a dri-fit stlye short sleeve shirt. Price per shirt is $22, payable up front. I’m not independently wealthy after all!! LOL 
If you are reading this, and would like a shirt…. send me an email (available on this blog) with “Pie Burner T-shirt” in the subject line, your full name and all sizes of shirts you’d like in the main body of the email. I’ll take it from there, and send out a group email with payment information mid October. 

A lot of talking with sponsor’s, which I’m becoming better at, if still a bit uncomfortable with. I’ve recieved plenty of NO’s for my requests for donations; be it swag for end of ride giveaways, or money donations. I won’t go into who said no and why (I think they did), at this time…. or ever. 

Once I make the ride day flyer public, you’ll see who said yes, and who said no.

At the end of the day, I expected those that said yes to do so, and those that said no, the same. There were a few plesent surprises and those will not be taken lightly. I mean come on, I’m a 49 year old fat guy who lives in the middle of nowhere northern Minnesota. I’m sure as hell not a flashy rider, and won’t make any podiums or be famous riding my bike….. our chilren get more of that flash, and rightly so!! ;) 

So back to reality… I’m a total non factor to some of these companies.

Which I’m ok with!! 
At this time I’d like to give a hearty THANK YOU to Sandy of Plamers Tavern!!

Without Sandy’s willingness to pretty much give me whatever I asked for, and more; the beginning and end of this ride would not be what it has become!!

Thank you Sandy!!

This year the ride begins and ends at Palmers Tavern. This way rider’s do not have to hop back on their bikes and ride to the old starting point a few miles away. A change of clothes and a full belly, then hopping into your vehicle to head home…. is a welcome change. 

Also, at the end of the ride, we’ll have some swag items to give away from the various sponsor’s who deemed this event worth of sending items.

Thank you to those sponsor’s!!

Now those of you who bolt at rides end have a bit more incentive to hang around and mingle, fill your bellies with awesome Palmers Tavern food, and partake in an adult beverage of your choosing, or not. ;) 

All while seeing if your names pulled for a giveaway!! 

Again this year, the ride fee will be a donation to the North St. Louis County Toys for Tots Foundation. Donations can be in the form of new/unused toy’s, book’s and or stocking stuffers. Cash or check is also excepted…. if you go this route….. We are asking for your donation to be  $10 – $15.

All donations stay in the local Northeastern Minnesota area, and help make the upcoming holiday season a bit more joyous for the area’s underprivileged youth. 

The ride itself, will almost stay the same. With the new starting spot, there will be more milage on the front end, but it will still be the unquie riding experience rider’s have become accustomed to with this area. I’ve added a few more climbs, but nothing to terribly difficult. The signature “Pie Burner” climb will remain the same. As always, there will be no shame in choosing not to climb…. you will not be alone in choosing not to. ;) 

Also, this year I’m thinking about having some of this fried up 

and waiting for rider’s, at the 15 mile mark, or the Grace Road area (mid ride point) for the rider’s who attended previous year’s. It’s still in the planing stages at this point. Also, I’ll have two coolers of water, so people can refill and pedal onward, or for those that have had enough…. I have a local rider who will guide you back to Palmers Tavern. 

Over the coming week’s I’ll finalize the route and make them available here and the “Pie Burner” facebook page; as well at the “Pie Burner” event page, also on facebook. 

I think that’s it for now. 

Looking for a place to stay, either the night before, or the night after the ride??? 

Check the Iron Range Tourism Bureau’s “places to stay” link. 

Chicholm, Mn. 15 minute drive  north of Hibbing.

Virginia, Mn. 30 minutes east.

Grand Rapids, Mn. 40 minutes west. 

If anyone has any questions, and or concerns, please feel free to shoot me an email, and I’ll answer them as best I can.