Beard of Zeus: Flat Tire On The Struggle Bus (A Day Of Soft Snow)


Today’s Beard of Zeus Fat Bike race was classic fat biking, how they used to do it before people had fancy groomers and time and snowmobiles. It was running, jogging, and having fun the old fashioned way…slowed down…to the convenient pace of a walk or soft trot. 

Snow is snow. It changes. What is perfectly rideable at 10am may not be at noon. What 70 people can ride, one person may not; when one cannot, then five cannot, then thirty cannot, then even the cans can’t by the second lap. What’s different about fat bikers is that they don’t throw a hissy fit and go home. They do it hard and fast  (like we’re livin’) and get the day done before they have their beers.

Big propers to two people day that didn’t make the official SBFBS write-up. ONE: Andrea Mata. Nobody has come as far in three months. You can watch her in the Short’s race and barely recognize her from the woman that was dropped before the start line at Thirst Mutilator. She has a smooth pedal stroke, a confident stare up the trail, and a smile on her face when she’s done. Second, Steve Mentzer. Nobody has as chipper, determined and friendly outlook towards their fellow racers as Steve, and nobody has as much fun. These are the people that make bike racing fun.

A special shout-tout to the Shaver and Eric Wolting, along with Cluchey and Klaver for making the trip up from GR. We appreciate and we love you guys for making the trip to TC.

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The final race of the 2015 series is in the books, and we want to thank all of our racers for participating in one of the biggest races in our history!

Over 80 riders were on hand to send off the series, and it wrapped up the same place it all began way back in December. The temperatures, while pleasant, eeked up over freezing and contributed to some parts of the 1.5 mile course to a loose, galloping jog after 2 laps.

In such conditions, Ryan Kennedy, Chris Kushman, Craig Webb and Keegan Myers opened up an early gap in the Men’s race, with Luke Tjosvold, Eric Grassa, Wes Sovis and Marc Brunette riding in the second lap.

Susan Vigland suffered a loose seat and found herself a few minutes back to teammate Michelle Howard, as well as Leslie Hoffman, who rode very strong and battled not just for a high-placing but for the win. Dawn Cluchey was also in a dog fight in the Master’s race, going after Marilyn Kamp and fighting to keep Karen Wright at arm’s distance.

With Webb in the second group a half hour into the race, Chris Hansen and Dave Hintz seemed content and limited to simply holding their spots in the Master’s Race, with Jack Kline doing nearly as much enteraining as racing as the course began to crumble. The Mount VentPoo climb was included after a rider meeting with race officials, and even the strong-backed shoveling of Jason Lowetz did almost nothing to making the climb rideable.

By then, Kennedy and Chris Kushman were taking turns leading the race, and all the while Susan Vigland plugged away at the lead. She took back seconds and minutes all over the course, and made contact with Howard at the front of the race after a big pull from first Melissa Socia and then Brian Hofstra. Finally, she was in the lead and running with open trail, Howard smiling her way to second on the day.

Chris Kushman kept the lead in the finale, with Kennedy next through and Keegan Myers battling his way to third place for M-22. Webb took the Master’s win, with Scott Diment riding into second and Chris Hansen third. It was Kamp, Cluchey and Wright in the Women’s Master’s.

It was all smiles for Hagerty Cycling in Women’s Open, with Melissa Socia taking third behind Howard and Vigland, with Michelle Howard capping off the day by winning the Salsa Mukluk 2 giveaway from Salsa Cycles.

Chris Kushman’s win and Kennedy’s second were enough to vault into the series podium, with Kennedy taking the overall title. The massive 38 rider open field, the largest of the season, helped to over come a 26 point deficit to Jorden Wakeley. Kushman had enough to take second, but it came down to a close count for third. Rob Goepfrich, in his final race for Einstein Racing, gave the team a full podium sweep of the series with third, nabbing equal points to Kushman but ceding second on countback.

Susan Vigland and Michelle Howard wrapped up the season 1-2 on points, with Einstein Racing’s Beth Collins taking third in her last black and pink appearance as well. All credit to Collins, who won the Master’s series last year and elected to challenge herself against the young guns. She battled all winter to wrestle away a podium finish.

In order for the day and the series, Craig Webb finishes up his 2015 fat bike campaign with another Master’s win ahead of Chris Hansen and Dave Hintz. The trio were the closest heading into the final day of racing, but finished without upset.

A big thanks to all of our racers, and our sponsors like Short’s Brewing Company, Salsa Cycles, Einstein Cycles, Image 360 and our timers, Endurance Evolution.

Full results are up here. 

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