The 2023 Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series gets rolling Saturday, January 14 at Fat & Flurrious in Boyne City. There’s still time to sign up, but the start list is already a who’s who of fat bike heavy hitters as riders look to pocket points early.
Fat & Flurrious Course Conditions
Despite warm temperatures and more than a bit of rain, Boyne City’s bounty of snow is reportedly clinging to the course. Race Director and “That Man” Mike Cortright of North Country Cycle Sports reports a nice mix of snow and dirt that throws up a nice curveball for racers. For those with tire options, there’s more than enough dirt to consider a “slick” (relative term here) tire like a Jumbo Jim, or at least running a narrow 4” tire.
Race day temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s, making it a relatively cozy day for fat bike racing.
The start list is inching closer to 100 racers and as of January 3, there were already some familiar names ready to make an early statement. Take a hot second to look at the 2022 results to get a feel for the expected race time.
Men’s Open and Masters
Jorden Wakeley enters as the race favorite, but there are some strong names with decidedly sharp elbows who will press him with every pedal stroke. Jesse Noble has already proven himself fit as a fiddle and a clever tactician in the Dirty Mitten Racing League’s Winter is Coming Tour, and he’ll be coming off at least two more race efforts from the Need for Speed Tour kicking off January 8.
Another DMRL vet, John Burmeister, is on the list in what is pretty much his home fat bike race. We’ve also got eyes on Anson Rowley making the trip from Leonard, Michigan. Expect to see Joe Cantwell in the hunt, if not for the win Saturday then for a Series podium by the time this all shakes out at the race he’s helping to put on, Fatty Caddy.
Todd Freidinger will look to fly the NCCS flag on home soil, albeit in the Sport class. We just wanted to say high, Todd.
Kris Sands enters as a big favorite in the Masters race, although DMRL vet Spencer Mendel is going to be in the mix. Mendel has shown exceptional fitness Zwifting and should hit the SBFBS in prime shape. There are some long time fat bike veterans, including Rick Flees, Steve Carpenter, Kevin Wright and Andrew Stuart. The key this weekend will be to find the right group and steal a few points on the line; with such small points gaps, every spot matters every week!
We’d be remiss if we did doff our digital caps to Tim Reicha, who returns to action this winter after investing a few years keeping the SBFBS alive.
Women’s Open and Masters
One of the bright spots of the SBFBS is the strong participation from women; not only do they SHOW UP in numbers, but they provide some of the most thrilling race-to-race-race competition all winter long. Eight women are signed up already, but we want more!
It’s hard to look past Annabel Miller, who, at 17, somehow seems to have been racing SBFBS for a decade already. She’ll fly the West Michigan Coyotes flag against another Series vet, Nina Waeschenfielder.
After Fat & Flurrious, racers get one weekend to recover before making the trip to Crystal Mountain Resort for Fat Chance. The two races are very different and it’ll be interesting to see if the longer-lap, hillier course in Boyne City presents a different winner than the flat, almost crit-style race in Thompsonville.