The jam-packed January schedule rolls on, this time to Cannonsburg for a three-hour test.
Many of the same faces from Fat Chance! are back and expectations are high. Farmer’s Fat Bike race will serve as the final big tune-up ahead of Worlds, and it’s going to be a massive test for even the heartiest of competitors. It’s a big undertaking, and one that has also brought out what is probably the world’s largest duo category, ever.
The folks you’d expect, however, are going Solo, including those looking to register some big points toward the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. Jorden Wakeley, fresh off a ten minute victory at Fat Chance!, will be looking to take full points Saturday, as well as test the legs ahead of Worlds. The three-hour format is a perfect to see where the fitness is, and if last week was any indication, all systems are go.
Danielle Musto is in a similar situation, albeit with a bit less pressure to take full points. She’s already taken a few wins in the series, and has two races left in the state to take points. For her, this is a point of pride to win in her home race, and attempting to repeat her 1-2 at Fat Chance! with teammate Jill Martindale, would be icing on a great big cake.
Einstein Racing’s women’s team didn’t have the best race at Fat Chance!, but they’ll be back in force in Grand Rapids. The team sends Chelsea Strate, Arianne Whittaker and Stacy Smith to contest, though ambitions are admittedly to swarm the podium rather than surprise Musto and steal a win. Whittaker is especially looking forward to the challenge, as she usually performs better in longer events.
Dawn Cluchey, Emily Beggs and Christina Buerkle will also be looking to hop onto the podium.
Wakeley’s competition will come from the likes of Matt Acker, Dan McGraw, and the Man of the Match from Fat Chance!, Ken Blakey-Shell. Blakey-Shell was the driving force early, riding himself into the ground in pursuit of Wakeley, before eventually battling to seize a solid top ten. He and Evan Simula, who is looking for some race fitness ahead of Worlds, could be a formidable pair if they can have solid starts and keep the pace selective.
Craig Gietzen looks to be the class of the Master’s race, with Einstein Racing fielding Keith Conway and Bryan Upcraft. Much of the squad will undergo an altitude camp this weekend, opting for a hard block of training instead of the race. Jimmi McMurray will make sure Gietzen doesn’t have it all his way, with a slew of other riders also capable of giving a stiff challenge.