The Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series kicked off in style with an absolutely legendary first race.
With almost on snow mid-week, it looked as if the fat bike scene in the Mitten was becoming mostly sand and rain. But in true Up North fashion, snow graced Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa with a perfect dusting of snow on a revived base over the past two days. NMFBS has assured racers snow, and Mother Nature certainly delivered.
The temperatures become most a factor than the snow, with temperatures around 10 degrees at the snow, with a wind chill knocking it to at or below zero for much of the day. A few intermittent flurries punctuated a steady, picturesque snowfall from the noon start until all the finishers were in. In spite of poor road conditions, racers from around the state turned up for the start, with over 50 riders on the line for a stacked mass start.
Jorden Wakeley lead a massive Einstein Racing contingent with big goals. He came into Fat Chance perfect on the fat bike season just a week out from his main target, the Fat Bike World Championships in Marquette next weekend. Wakeley was bolstered by Jason Lowetz, Ryan Kennedy, Mickey Humpula, Chris Kushman and a slew of others all shooting for an Einstein Racing 1-2-3. David Silvers, Scott Quiring and Ken Blakey-Shell were looking to spoil the party and formed up much of a dangerous chase group just after the race’s start.
The Women’s race also had a overwhelming favorite, with Einstein Racing’s Chelsea Strate leading the way from the gun and wrapping up the race after a lap and a half. Christiana Peek and Dawn Clutchey locked in a race long duel for second. With Peek riding on the front all day, she was given the second on the podium when Dawn offered no contest in the final sprint.
Wakeley seized a two minute lead in one lap ahead of Einstein Cycles proprietor Jason Lowetz. Behind, a six man chase group formed up fast. After three laps, Lowetz had closed the gap down to 1:45, but even in a skinsuit and with a frozen beard, he couldn’t make up any more ground. Ryan Kennedy faded from third place and the duo of Mickey Humpula and Chris Kushman busted apart the chase group. With just a few laps to go, Lowetz suffered a flat tire. Humpula made his move, tearing away from Kushman and riding solo in the blizzard to survive for second place. Kushman recovered for third place, with Ryan Kennedy surviving a late David Silvers attack to save fourth place.
Over the Shoulder-kolotc.com racers Andy Grow and Rob Goepfrich kicked off the season for the team, slotting in 18th and 19th. Well done, Gents.
Jason Cotter took the Skinny Tire division with a huge attack mid-race, with second place Trever Kingsbury (North Country Cycle Sport) pulling out after a tough crash. Team Crompton won the Duo division ahead of Team Crandell.
Full results are already up thanks to the wonderful folks at 42-85.
Here’s a look at second place finisher Mickey Humpula’s Strava info.