The first ever points title in Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series history is in the books.
After four tough races, the final points standings have been confirmed. In the four starts, over 60 men registered points in the series, while nine women opened up accounts.
In the end, it came down to decimal places on the podium, with Ryan Kennedy holding off teammate Jason Lowetz by 1/10th of a point to keep second overall. With the points system set up to stay tight and reward not only the most consistent rider but the most aggressive, Kennedy’s dramatic ride Sunday to stay in fourth on the day was rewarded by the tight points margins that kept him in second spot.
Chris Kushman was forced out of St. Fatty’s Day due to illness, which slipped him down to fifth place behind an inspired Scott Quiring. The Michigan legend’s fitness improved every race, culminating in a dazzling second place at St. Fatty’s Day.
But the obvious choice as most impressive is Jorden Wakeley. The series winner suffered a broken chain and a 7th place finish at Fat Camp, but his wins at every other race brought him to the top. Entering St. Fatty’s Day, it looked as though he would have to win and Kushman would have to finish off the podium to take the title, but it ended up making no difference. The Giant of Grayling took the title by a clean 13 points, and the reigning Fat Bike World Champion will now turn his attentions to Barry-Roubaix.
The Women’s race never looked close, but Einstein Racing’s Chelsea Strate did enter the final race needing to complete at least one lap successfully to get the points necessary to take the title. She did, and kept going to put two laps on second place. She took full points in the series, a perfect 225, on top of sweeping every race in the series. She’s also undefeated in 2013, and treated herself to a Salsa Beargrease as a reward. Christina Peek battled on, resting on her two second place finishes and two fourths to take second in the points at 141. Melissa Ryba’s two second places put her third overall ahead of the 15 year old phenom, Maddi Miller and Michelle Ryan. The daughter-mother duo improved immensely throughout the year, even using some tactical prowess at St. Fatty’s Day to tag team Peek and take third with a resilient Maddi passing in the final 100 meters.
Congratulations to Jorden and Chelsea on their big wins, and a special nod to Einstein Racing for putting five of their riders in the top ten in the Men’s, including sweeping the podium and having four in the top five. Well played, Einstein Racing, well played.