Craig Webb took the most points while Alex Vanias took the evening, staying perfect in 2015.
For Giro winner and WorldTour leader Alex Vanias it was business as usual, while many of the SOLs were taking on a unique challenge. The second annual Fat Bike Night saw almost 30 riders, and nearly half of the field were astride fat bikes in search of double WorldTour points. If last year is any indication, it’s also the night sure to set the new SOL world record.
From the gun, three riders on an array of more conventional bikes (27.5, cyclocross and 29er) tore clear, including Vanias, Cody Sovis and Eric Grassa. The trio gathered a lead of 30 seconds ahead of the roaring fat bike-laden chase group over the Trouee de Madeleine, and the stage was set for them to sort the spoils. The real show, however, was behind and ripping along on 4.0″s.
It was Webb who had clung longest to the leaders, but a massive and audibly alarming chase group formed that included Josh Zelinski, Jason Whittaker, Ryan Kennedy, Rob Goepfrich and a slew of others that were together as they hit the Power Section. It was a game of chicken and of Risk, with no one willing to be the sacrificial lamb over the flat and fast portion of the course. Craig Fortuna, Chad Jordan and others astride 29ers were quickly looking comfortable and able to contribute, even as the field stretched and some snapped at the first powerline crossing.
In the end, Webb managed a sizeable gap lap to post a new WR of 40:42, with Kennedy 30 seconds adrift as the second fat bike to hit the line. Vanias gamely led and took the stage with Sovis second, while Grassa recovered from a crash and collision to hold a hard fought third place.
Some of the other WorldTour favorites made up ground and got on the board, with Rob Goepfrich’s fat bike gamble paying off. He took in 18 points and will be a solid contender for a podium place by year’s end. Jason Whittaker got on the board with 22 points and a great fat bike ride. He’ll be looking to haul in as many points as possible at Singlespeed next week, where he could easily find another 20+ points in one night. Jon Throop, who rides a fat bike every week, finds himself perched in fourth place ahead of teammate Keith Conway.
You can see the full WorldTour picture here at this link. Below are the times and points from Fat Bike Night.