It’s often a case of Prisoner’s Dilemma; who rides fat, who doesn’t, and who can make the most of double points. It’s fat bike night. Dig in.
The real thrill of fat bike night is hearing 30+ riders on four-inch tires humming along the start straightaway. It’s a sound that you can hear and almost feel, and for the third year in a row, fat bike night kicked off June’s Classics slate of themed events. Fat Bike Night is by far the most beloved; this is Northern Michigan after all, where fat bikes hold a rather special place in the hearts and minds of most cyclists.
Missing from the start, however, was 2017 Fat Bike Night champion John O’Hearn, and his absence changed the face of the evening. With the top two WorldTour riders opting for mountain bikes, it was a chance for several riders to make big inroads on the standings, if they could take advantage.
After a pedestrian start from Sovis, Jeff Koch lit up the Vasa CC Climb with Sam Holmes on his wheel. It was quickly apparent that 1) Sam Holmes was demonstratively the strongest rider of the night 2) Jeff Koch is strong, but not push-four-inch-tires-at-23-mph-for-3-miles strong, and he fell away to be joined by Yensen Schwab. The pair formed a functioning tandem to pick up 35 points for Jeff and, the biggest jump up of the night, 16 for Schwab.
Ahead, Holmes and Sovis split turns rather evenly, with Holmes deftly surviving a few forced pushes from Sovis. Latched on like a limpet was boy band heartthrob Garrett Jenema who, easing back into racing, went full Don Knots by being incredible in his dogged and determined cling to the back of the lead group.
Holmes put his two rivals to bed on Anita’s, with Sovis unable to do his normal reappearing act on GO, with Jenema finally ceding ground for third place.
With the win, Holmes takes back 1 point on Sovis in the WorldTour, while Jeff Koch takes the title of Fat Bike Champion for 2018. Susan Vigland put down the fastest women’s time, and did so on her fat bike, as well! Josh and Jon Zelinski picked up 26 and 28 points, respectively, thanks to riding fat, putting them very much in the mix on the WorldTour.
It’s Yensen Schwab into third place, with Dan Ellis going #SNAPPYCASUAL aboard is 4,000 pound Surly Pugsley and slipping down a spot as punishment. John O’Hearn, Jeff Galsterer, Jeff Koch, Carl Copenhaver, and Jon Zelinski round out your top five.
Full SOL results from the year are right here.
WorldTour standings are available right hurr.
This is a link to DJ Unk’s 2006 smash hit, Walk It Out.