Jorden Wakeley doubles up with a scootch and a pedal, while Christa Hoyt puts herself atop the women’s race. Another year of fat bikes at the Vasa, another year of exceptional racing on one of the best trails in the world. Yeah, we said it. The combination of the Winter Sports Singletrack, the Vasa Pathways, and Riley’s Loop make for a challenging, fun, and dynamic test of fitness, and when your throw in a solid field and a few kegs of Short’s Brewing at the finish line, you’ve got a recipe for what would be, if we extend this baking analogy, a damn fine cake or lemon tart.
The 1pm start gave the brave souls taking on the Fatathlon (28km ski, 42km bike) just enough time to swap out of their 1996 ski suit and into their bike gear before toeing the line. Literally, just enough time; Keith Conway was given a full 36 seconds of grace in order to come sprinting the wrong way down the start chute, slide to the back of the group, take a deeep breath, and go.
On the word go, another Fatathloner, Jorden Wakeley, stomped away on the front and lined out was because a lead group of 10 riders that was established before they had even left Timber Ridge. That group was briefly split by a puzzling crash (really a tip-over) by Cody Sovis, who scrambled up and back into the fray, ignoring Marc Brunette’s kind notification that the 3T Q+M rider had lost the water bottle from his skier’s fanny pack.
Wakeley used the brief indecision to get away, with Dave Sunset Scott and Tim Pullium sitting just a few seconds behind Wakeley and a few seconds of hard-chasing Sovis and Eric Langley. That short hesitation was all it took, and Wakeley motored away. Pulliam dropped back after a strong start, with Sunset about 30 seconds ahead of Sovis, and Sovis just a few second clear of Eric Langley. That trio would never get separated by more than minute for the next hour and fifty minutes; Sovis got within 15 second of Sunset three times but failed to make contact, while Langley was never more than 20 seconds behind Sovis.
As Wakeley walked away, the women’s race saw City Bike Shop fire a shot across the bow in Northern Michigan fat bike racing. Christa Hoyt got away early and never looked back, while teammate Cindy Duby went toe-to-toe (or, boot-to-boot ‘cuz it was still pretty cold) with fat bike veteran Erin Reicha. Duby’s engine prevailed over Reicha’s top notch handling skills on the day, with Duby capping off a City Bike 1-2, with Erin, in full unicorn regalia, a strong third.
Terry Sensiba lead an all out-of-town podium with the Master’s win, sliding in under the two hour mark and good enough for a solid sixth place overall. Hugh Smallwood (real name) was second, with Tim Eltschlager coming all the way from Ohio to nab third place. City Bike’s John Duby was the first local home in fourth place.
Cindy Duby was the Master’s winner, coming home ahead of Lisa Markley (who skied!) and Bonny Hall. For Duby, it’s a big points haul in the SBFBS if she plans to hit the final two races, and perhaps have the change to help her Christa go for the title!
You can check out Wakeley’s Strava file from the race here.
Full results from the ski races and fat bike races are updated thanks to the cool cats at Newton Timing.
Did you have fun, bro? Make sure you grab a grooming badge, donate, or just give some love to the hard-working volunteers at NMMBA.