Wakeley kept rolling and Musto gets back to winning way at the North American Vasa.
Chilly conditions in the air, but on the snow, a asphalt-fast course made for simply unparalleled conditions Saturday, as over 50 racers took on the first-ever fat bike race at the Vasa. The race served as the second installment of the 2014 Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series, and many of the same names were back to try to rack up more points and consolidate ground with just one race remaining in March.
The start list was littered with fast men and women, but as always, Jorden Wakeley and Danielle Musto entered as favorites. With April Morgan resting in Minnesota ahead of the rest of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, Musto had to look to the Einstein Racing contingent for competition and her teammate Jill Martindale for support. On the men’s side, Freewheeler’s Matt Acker, as well as Einstein Racing’s Jason Lowetz, jason Whittaker, Chris Kushman, Nate St. Onge and Dave Walston figured to play a part in the afternoon’s affairs.
Not starting for Einstein was Sean Kickbush, and the burden of chase moved to Lowetz. He kept in touch with Wakeley early as the lead pack of three, with Acker in touch, moved clear of a sharply chasing pack spearheaded by Brian Hoftstra, Kushman, and Whittaker. It was a few hills too many, with Acker and Lowetz losing Wakeley and hitting the Rock just over two minutes down. Kushman was a further minute back, followed at regular intervals by Hofstra, St. Onge, Whittaker and the rest of the top ten in hot pursuit.
Musto forged a gap, but the persistent diesel engine that is Arianne Whittaker motored along into second. Gaps opened on the early three climbs were tough to close, with little more than 100 feet of elevation change in the final 10km of racing. Jill Martindale, ever-scrappy, held on for third place with late-starter Stacy Smith giving Einstein Racing two women in the top five to match GRBC’s 1st and 3rd on the day.
The final race of the 2014 Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series is March 8. Fat Camp! returns to Timber Ridge to sort out the points titles for men, women and Master’s categories.