Last updated: 1.18.2021 @10:14 AM ET
This is not a drill – You are on your own. No one is out there to save you. You have prepared for this moment, or you didn’t, and you’ll end up with some great stories to tell. Welcome to Polar Roll 2021 – EX edition. Let me tell you right up front – everything remains fluid. It’s been a crazy winter – where the hell is the snow? BUT there is a silver lining – and I’ll share it with you. The trails are in great shape, no they’re in GREAT shape. Up on the West End we’re going into opening weekend with a short route unlike anything we’ve had in the past. If you can get there, I highly recommend you do, before we get the big snow needed to open up the traditional system. Over in Marquette we’ve put together a route riders are calling “The best of Marquette”, and we agree, it’s damn good. We added some snowshoe events too, including one called a “Walk in the Park”, for those seeking a more civilized and shorter adventure.
Bottom line – it’s time to roll. We’re happy to have ya, and I can’t wait to see pictures of you pushing your bike around Marquette county. On behalf of 906 Adventure Team, the Polar Roll, Salsa Cycles, and 45NRTH, Welcome!
Slow down. Look around.
YOU SIGNED UP FOR THIS.
Let’s agree to do everything we can to make this a success. On our end we’ll bust our butts to provide the best possible experience and communicate changes as they occur – and things will change. You need to set yourself up for success. There’s gonna be a lot of info – take time to digest it. You’ll download gpx-files – make sure they work on your device. You should also review the course in your app of choice (Strava, Garmin connect, etc.). Get familiar with the route so you’re not rolling and strolling blind out there. If you can’t find the answer to something – call Todd. He’ll set ya up.
YOU CAN STILL SIGN UP FOR THIS.
Since our EX format allows participants to tackle the course(s) anytime between Jan 15 and March 15, 2021, you can still register and join the FUn anytime before 3.15.21.
#1 READ THE PASSPORT
Your passport is the race bible. It contains everything you need to know. Read it and please follow the directions. There’s a lot of info in there: The rules, checkpoint info, recommended gear, and more. You’ll get a digital version of the passport and a hardcopy will be mailed to you with your pom hat when we wrap things up.
Unlock the secret level.
# 2 WHAT DOES “EX” MEAN?
We might put some mean stuff in the route . The weather might be bad. There might be a blizzard. You’re gonna be out there alone. It’s not just “enhanced” – it’s extra enhanced.
#3 TRACKING BEACONS
Some of ya may have done Crusher last summer, and you might wonder if you’ll get a tracking beacon for Polar Roll. You will not. We are not using the trackers for this event.
#4 WHAT GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
Check the recommended gear list in the passport.
RAMBA snowshoe loops. Follow the arrows to adventure.
#5 KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR GPS.
Not trying to be funny, or a smart ass. The reality is this: We do not sign the course***. You will navigate via GPS. Like any electronic device, GPS units can fail. Have a backup plan, and maybe a backup plan to the backup plan. Help is a long, long ways away.
***Walk in the Park snowshoe loops are fully signed and will not require a gps.
#6 WHEN WILL GPX FILES BE READY?
By January 14, 2021. Download from this website. NOTE: Do not download gpx files from Strava. Do not have someone send you a gpx-file. Download them from our website.
#7 ARE THE ROUTES P2P OR LOOPED?
All routes are loops.
#8 DO I REALLY NEED THE SELFIES?
YES – and have fun with them. You never know when we’ll run a best selfie contest for some gear.
#9 WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH NEUTRAL SUPPORT
We’ve always allowed neutral support, but it needs to be offered equally to everyone. So let your support crew know, if you roll in with strangers and they need a little help, you gotta be ready to help all members of the tribe.
#10 WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO
$15 from every registration goes to the trails.
Then we pay for the event.
And the rest goes to support youth programs in Delta, Gogebic, and Marquette county.
Trying to keep up with these 906 kids is a “pipe dream”.
WHO THE HELL DOES THIS KINDA THING?
26% of the field is female
74% of the field is male
60% of the field is over 40
35% of the field is between 25-40
Polar Roll (and Crusher and Marji) are productions of the 906 Adventure Team, a 501c3 Non-Profit located in Marquette, Michigan. Our mission is simple: Empower people to discover the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure. We strive to create events offering equal representation between men and women. We want to see youth grow up to CRUSH it, and finish Marji Gesick and Polar Roll.
We are not corporate owned or run – the proceeds are driven back into the organization to sustain itself, and make contributions to local trail orgs. We want the event experience to change you.
Resilience starts here.
Fair warning though – if you’re new to 906AT events. We live by mantras like: Do hard things, life isn’t fair, the world isn’t safe, there is no finish line, find your limits, crush or be crushed, and more. The events are never the distance we advertise them to be, and they’re never less than advertised. We might play a dirty trick, like make you find four checkpoints, only to place the checkpoint numbers out of order to make you think you missed one (when in fact, you did not). Or maybe we’ll put a checkpoint in the woods, on a 4” square metal sign, that is camouflaged to match the trees around it. It’s mostly to have fun, but also to challenge you, take you out of your comfort zone. You can’t come to a 906AT event thinking it is a traditional race, because it’s not.
Be ready, #blameyourself if you’re not.
Here’s the reality: We don’t sign the course*. You have to navigate via GPS. Like any electronic device, GPS units can fail. In fact, many do fail. Have a backup plan, and maybe a backup plan to a backup plan.
You are on your own. You are responsible for you. No one is out there to save you. GPS is required. Good news – you don’t have to worry about bears eating the signs this year. There are no signs. You are responsible for your preparation. You are responsible for your choices. You are responsible for the outcome created by your choices. Dial 911 in an emergency.
Be prepared for variable and downright mean weather. It’s da U.P EH! For the first time ever, you’ll actually be able to pick a nice day or weekend to Polar Roll. It’s almost unfair! Keep an eye on trail conditions, and do not ride if doing so damages the trails.
Road rules apply. Obey them. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Be nice out there. EX are adventures, not races. This is a chance for you to focus on the experience and everything around you, instead of worrying how many people in your age group are ahead of ya. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, simply saying it’s nice to try new things.
*The snowshoe loops do have signs and do not require GPS navigation. While you don’t need a GPS to navigate the course, you do need to submit a GPX file to prove you completed the event.
These files will change, frequently. Make sure to get the latest version by downloading them the morning you are headed out. We don’t offer tech support, but we have tested these on multiple devices. If you don’t know how to get a GPX file on your unit, phone a friend who does.