2014 - 15 Women’s Team

Last weekend's Solstice Chase kicked off the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series and was the first official race for the talented ladies of the 45N Women's Fat Bike Team. Comprised of some of the fastest and most respected women in cycling, the team has already shown their great potential in winning races. All four women placed within the top 5 finishers of the 42K race. April Morgan (MN), defending champion of the series, took the first place spot with Danielle Musto (MI) finishing second. Finishing in fourth was Chelsea Strate (MN) and Jill Martindale (MI) took 5th.

156 riders took their place at the starting line to race on the hilly, scenic terrain at Big Rock Creek Retreat.

April gets ready to pass one the male racers on the course.

No surpise, Danielle is still smiling after the short climb leading into lap two.

Shortly after, Chelsea conquers the climb and makes faces at the camera.

There were a few slide-outs at this corner, but Jill handles it perfectly.

45NRTH team on the podium!

We are looking forward to an incredible season both on and off the bikes as the team continues to win races and inspire women to take on their first race or ride on a fatbike this winter.

45NRTH Women's Team Bios:

Danielle Musto

Danielle Musto lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband Scott and three rescue dogs, Ben, Jeannie and Naomi. She specializes in ultra endurance, single speed and winter events and has been racing for Salsa Cycles since 2010. Her accomplishments include: 2011 USAC 24 Hr solo SS National Champion, 2014 4th 24 Hr Solo World Championships, and was the overall female Great Lakes Fat Bike Series Champion in both 2012 and 2013.

Besides racing, Danielle loves sharing the sport with others. Each year she leads ladies group rides for the Grand Rapids Bicycle Company and also teaches skills clinics. For the past two years she taught helmet safety classes to kids at a local summer camp. Danielle also hosts the radio show “Girls and Gears” on Mountain Bike Radio and uses the show to highlight other female riders and reach out to females just getting into the sport.

For 2015 Danielle plans on racing most of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series and also mixing things up with a winter ultra. She's excited to partner with 45NRTH, a company that leads the industry in product for winter riding and racing. Bring on the snow!

April Morgan

photo credit: Kelly Randollph

Growing up in Minneapolis, MN, bikes were always an important part of my life. However, it wasn’t until after college that they became so much more than just a means of transportation. They became my passion, and eventually my favorite winter pastime!

An endurance athlete for the past 8 years, I racked up four Ironman finishes before finally hopping on a mountain bike. Since then, I’ve kept things off-road. For me, mountain biking is a way to truly live my life. It is about so much more than just the miles. Racing gives me a release, a way to test my limits, a chance to fight and above all, it lets me just be me.

In my first 2 years of racing I’ve started more than 70 mountain bike, cyclocross and fat bike races. 2014 is my first year as a Professional racer and I’m thrilled to have earned the opportunity to race against the world’s best athletes. My dreams are huge, and in process of chasing them, I hope to inspire more women to give cycling a try!
Winter fat bike season is quickly becoming my favorite. The festive atmosphere and camaraderie that exists amongst the fat bike community is unmatched. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this fairly new discipline.

Career Highlights:
2014 Noquemanon Fat Bike World Champion
2014 FatBike Frozen 40 Champion
2013 & 2014 Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout Champion
2014 Catfish Cup Champion
2014 Fat Bike Birkie National Championships Runner Up
2014 Barn Burner 104 Champion
2013 Iceman Cometh Top Ten
2013 Noquemenon Fat Bike Worlds Runner Up
2013 Fatbike Frozen 40 Runner Up

Jill Martindale

Jill Martindale is the Events Coordinator for the Grand Rapids Bicycle Company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to get people excited about riding bikes and is one of the co-founders of Skirts in the Dirt, Michigan’s first women-only mountain bike race. Outside of the bike shop, Jill organizes women’s group rides, kid’s bicycle safety events and skills clinics, and she walks dogs for the local humane society. Jill loves bike-packing and touring, and has ridden around three of the Great Lakes self-supported. She’s looking forward to finishing the other two and maybe someday doing the Tour Divide!?

Jill tore her ACL skating with the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls, and started mountain bike racing to fulfill her competitive spirit before she could return to skate. She fell in love with it and decided to trade in her skates and elbow pads for more time in the saddle. Jill has since taken 2nd overall female in the 2014 Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, 4th place at the 2014 Lumberjack 100, 2nd at this year's 12 hours at Wausau, and 2nd at the first inaugural 12 hours Nite Nationals. Racing in the snow is her favorite way to race, and it’s helped her build up a great base for endurance racing. She’s excited to keep racing and to keep getting faster! She’s hoping to mix her love of bike-packing, endurance racing, and fat biking by signing up for her first winter ultra in 2015. She’s excited to put all of her 45NRTH gear to use!

Chelsea Strate

I'm a native Minnesotan, and except for a few years spent farming in Traverse City & Leelanau County, MI, have lived in the Twin Cities my entire life. I'm a lover of dogs and meows, adventures and food, bicycles and good times.

My journey through cycling started with a Dyno Air BMX bike in Junior High school. While I never really learned how to do tricks, curbs, stairs, and giving my friends “bucks” on the pegs were skills quickly mastered.

Since then, my interest in bikes has developed more into an obsession and full blown lifestyle. I work at the Hub Bicycle Co-op in Minneapolis, was one of the founders of Babes in Bikeland (the largest all female alleycat in the world), race in the warm temps for the All-City Fulton Cyclocross team, and generally eat sleep and breathe bicycles.

My introduction to competition came during my college years, with fixed gears and alleycat-style racing. At age 25 I started competing in cyclocross, then track, then gravel, and now finally fatbikes.

My first winter races were part of the 2012/2013 Northern Michigan Fatbike Series (NMFBS). I raced that season on a borrowed bike, (thank you Einstein Cycles!!) and ended up winning all of the women's races, and the series!

From that first taste of winter racing I was completely sold. I love the snow and how wildly the conditions vary. I love how everybody smiles when they are on these big silly bikes. I love how badass and awesome the competing women are, and I love the fact that we’re pioneering a new form of racing.

I now ride (and own) a 2013 Salsa Beargrease and last year raced most of the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fatbike Series races. The 45NRTH series offers much more competition as the races take place all over the Upper Midwest and draw top talent from all over the country. It’s a big challenge and together with my teammates, I cannot wait to see what this winter brings.

In the warmer seasons I still race gravel, cross, and am venturing more into mountain biking, but the winter is still where the heart of my racing passion lies. I am beyond excited to be a part of this team which contains not only the fastest women around, but some of my favorite people in the bike world.