Brewery Vivant Farmhand Fat Bike Race 2016

Video by 2016 Men's winner, brad white 2016-01-17.

Race #2 of the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, Brewery Vivant’s Farmhand Fat Bike Race, rolled off January 16th at Cannonsburg Ski Hill with 3 hours of fat biking good times. This year’s race was sponsored by Brewery Vivant, with each of the top 5 in each category winning a growler fill from their brewery. 45NRTH and Grand Rapids Bicycle Company were also sponsors of this year’s race and brought with them swag and prizes, tents, hecklers, and race day volunteers. Big kudos to the Farm Team for organizing the race, building an incredibly fun course, and for building the first fat bike fly-over we’ve seen at a fat bike race yet! That fly-over was super intimidating, super steep, and super fun to ride! Placed at the base of the ski lodge, race day spectators, skiers, and snowboarders were able to watch as fat bike racers rolled up the front end and bombed down the back. We didn’t see much carnage, but photographer’s photo albums are still popping up on social media and we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled!

The race started in two different waves. Solo riders took off promptly at noon whereas the duo category racers took off 4 minutes after. The starting line sent riders up a climb and in to some single track, which made up a majority of this year’s course. Michigan had seen warmer temperatures and milder weather leading up to race day, and a lot of the single track proved to be slick and icy for the racers! For the first lap, racers rode some groomed trail that they would see again towards the end of their lap, being led out to some softer snow to ride through the start/finish shoot and up the fly-over! From there, the course took you up Cannonsburg Ski Area’s new tubing hill (while tubers rode the tow and watched within arm’s reach of fat bikers grunting on the climb) and then immediately back down on the other side of the tubing hill. Mid-race, this climb became choppy as racer’s legs starting getting tired; Cannonsburg is known for being one of the most elevated local biking trails in the area. After a fast descent, you dipped back in to the woods for a shorter, less steep climb, and then you hit more single track. Temps were in the 20’s and a lot of the course was hard-packed and smooth with patches of glare ice on the roughly 4-mile course. Racers were challenged to do as many laps they could within the allotted time. As the 3 hour time limit wore on, some spots became less icy while other areas became icier, ensuring that each lap was a gamble! Fat Bikers with studded tires definitely had an advantage, although it should be noted that the top men and women finishers all rode non-studded tires!

In the women’s solo category Danielle Musto, now with her 5th first place shovel from the Farmhand Fat Bike Race, and her GRBC teammate Kati Krikke, dueled it out for the first and second podium spot with 5 laps each, while Chelsea Strate and Jill Martindale battled behind them with 5 laps for third and fourth. Kim Thomas brought the fight with 4 laps for her fifth place podium finish. It should be noted that Krikke received the fastest lap award for female finishers with a speedy time of 29 minutes and 50 seconds per lap!

Brad White and Matt Acker crushed it in the men’s solo category with 7 laps a piece for the first and second steps on the podium, with Jorden Wakely missing the time cut off by seconds and only having 6 of his laps counted. Brian Geshel and Rick Wetherald fought for fourth and fifth spot on the podium, only a minute apart, each with 6 laps as well. Brad put down the fastest lap time for male finishers with a ridiculous time of 22 minutes and 25 seconds in his 4th lap!

Roy Kranz had a three minute lead on the rest of the field in the solo men’s master’s category, followed by Mark Prium and Tim Stroebe. Top three men in this category each squeezed 6 laps in to the 3 hour limit. Hugh Smallwood and Brent Lockhart were the remaining two on the podium with a total of 5 laps a piece.

In the duo category, Scott Tencate and Jeremy Karel held their own with 6 laps, followed by Terry Sensiba and Dan McGraw, who also put in 6. Teams Adams and Hornacek, Bennett and Anible, and Kerr and Gray were third, fourth, and fifth, with a total of 5 laps a piece.

Only one week stands between the Farmhand Fat Bike Race, and race #3 of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, Fat Chance! at Crystal Mountain Ski Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan. Thanks again to Farm Team Racing, Brewery Vivant, Cannonsburg Ski Hill, Grand Rapids Bicycle Company, and 45NRTH for sponsoring such a fun fat bike race in West Michigan and to all of the volunteers who helped make the race happen.