A bunch of people showed up but the same two people won again for like, what, the ten millionth time? You know who kind of won? Erin Reicha. For knitting a unicorn hat. A really cool one. There. Someone else won, too, kind of. It was an absolutely perfect day for fat biking out-of-doors for the next edition of the North American Vasa Fat Bike Race. While the ski event enjoyed the 41st edition, the fledgling fat bike race gracefully needles into its first half decade. Of course, if every race was like today, the event won’t ever stop.
It wasn’t all that close for either winner today, although Lexxie Mapes gamely offered up some resistance as the women took off folded in the gross and sweaty arms of the Men’s Open field as well. Mapes did topple Vigland at Hanson Hills last week, but Vigland was the class of the start list at Fat Chance!, the first race of the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series, as well as podium finisher at the Fat Bike Nationals as well.
It was a course that suited a big engine, and Vigland made the most of hers with big efforts on the wide open and fast Riley’s Loop before hopping onto the Pathway. Vigland admitted after the race she was relying heavily on these sections and using the singletrack to rest and minimize mistakes.
On the men’s side, an early acceleration by Jorden Wakeley was momentarily neutralized, but the second effort saw him gone for the afternooon. Some dillweed on a really damn heavy orange Mukluk (tune in tomorrow for the results of our #SCIENCE) sort of got in the way, but last week’s runner-up Rick Wetherald gave hot pursuit. Scott Quiring recovered from a slow start to move up to Rick’s wheel with Hagerty’s Nick Wierzba, and the chasers were gone.
Behind, a large group of over a dozen riders exploded first on the descent to the lake of Riley’s, and splintered again just a minute or so later on the climb. Groups of two and three formed over the top, with eventual 1-2 Master’s riders Paul Olsen and Steve Andriese working well with Cody Sovis to prise open a gap, with Dave Hoyt looking incredibly strong and smartly tagged on the back and biding his time, taking a well earned third in the 45+ category.
Shawn Heidgen made the trip all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota and put in a strong ride, spending the afternoon parrying moves with Erin Reicha and Velvet Battegeir. The trio was always within arm’s reach, and of course, having a riot. It’s almost obnoxious how much fun Velvet and Erin have. Reicha pulled away in the end, but they were separated by less than two minutes on the line, putting Erin in a solid position for the Series with two events to go.
Wakeley held well clear of the Men’s field for a second consecutive Vasa win. The traditional runner-up, Cody Sovis, was very much off the pace, with the hard riding Rick Wetherald second to Wakeley for the second time in as many weeks. Scott Quiring posted the third-fastest time of the day after a strong fourth at Hanson last weekend.
The third race of the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series is Sunday, February 28 at Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery.
You can see the full results from the Vasa here.