Rick Wetherald got his SBFBS win after more than a few tries this winter, while women’s leader Susan Vigland stayed perfect.
The Dogman Challenge doubled this year, its first as a Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series event and crucially timed as the penultimate race of the Series, just one week ahead of Beard of Zeus. The groomers at Mt. McSauba got it magically, resoundingly right, producing a two-mile course that helped up to lap after lap after lap after lap of 75+ racers for over two hours. Get those guys a beer.
On the results sheet, all the familiar faces were present and correct, including still-perfect Susan Vigland. Perpetual second-place Chelsey Schlicht mopped up second place and both riders have all but punched their tickets for first and second on the Series, albeit with one race left for Schlict to take a turn on the top step. Annabel Miller made the jump onto the podium with third, setting a record for the youngest podium since Mckenzie Miller took third way back in 2012.
On the men’s side, Rick Wetherald took a big win after beating his head against the proverbial wall in the previous two SBFBS events. It was an important win, too, as it has him now on even points with Sunset Scott, with both expected to battle for the overall title on Saturday. While the sometimes technical course at Timber Ridge might suit Sunset, Wetherald has the better tactical head; both may end up calling on some reinforcements to settle things next Saturday.
Second on the day to Paul Olson, John Duby moved even further ahead on the overall Series points at Dogman, now a full 60 points ahead of Kris Sands and another 45 clear of Rob Goepfrich. Duby will want to match his wife’s Series win, and also copy her knack of winning races in the process; like Vigland, Cindy Duby is still a perfect three-for-three in the 2019 SBFBS, and she’ll be looking to cap off the Series with another win. If they can both hold on, they’ll give City Bike Shop two of the four Series titles on offer just a year after taking two in 2018 as well, making them the most consistent team of the past two seasons.
Beard of Zeus is looking to be the polar opposite of 2018, and frigidly so. After being cancelled due to use last season, the recent POLAR BOMB TORNADO VORTEX delivered even more snow for Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association to work with, with temps comfortably below freezing through race day. That’s especially good news if you like trails; for the first time, 100% of proceeds from the race will go toward NMMBA, so your race entry fee is staying right in the woods. That’s pretty damn cool.
The rider with the most to gain Saturday is Kyan Olshove, the teenage Norte phenom who has been a consistent top ten rider all winter. Now sitting fourth place in the Series, he’ll be emptying the tank to pip ahead of Freewheeler’s Eric Langley and so sneak onto the podium overall. It’s a tall ask, and Langley has proven himself one of the most well-rounded riders of the season. Watch for those two to be bar-to-bar this weekend, especially if the indecision between Sunset and Wetherald allows for a big lead group to stay together.
It’s a similar story in the Women’s Master’s, with Amelia and Kamie Wade now tied on points with one race to go. They may not be able to threaten Cindy Duby, but they have 90 minutes to settle their season’s accounts and sort out the position on the podium.
We’ll be on hand Saturday announcing, heckling, and trying really, really hard to get all of your good sides.
Check out the Series standings right here.
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