Fat Chance! at Crystal Mountain

photo by Chelsea Strate

photo by Chelsea Strate

The Fat Chance! fat bike race at Crystal Mountain was not only race #3 in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, but it was also the first of a 4-race series put on by Einstein Cycles and one of Michigan’s favorite brewing companies in the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series. Drawing from two different series, the Fat Chance! fat bike race had a lot of familiar names racing it and gunning for the top podium step. With a reputation as being a well-organized, super fun race, there was sure to be a lot of fat bikers excited for this particular race!

The long course at Crystal Mountain offered fat bikers a combination of groomed, flowy trail mixed with single track through the woods and plenty of sections that became mushy and turned in to hike-a-bikes. Racers were asked to complete two laps for nearly 19 miles with just under 1,000 feet of elevation. About 100 fat bikers toed the line for the start of the long course, with 35 in the shorter course. The shorter course followed much of the longer’s start and finish area, but with its course sticking closer to the ski hill. After all of these fat bikers with varying skill levels traversed the same area of trail, it’s no wonder those areas got soft! One of the best things about fat biking is the variable trail conditions, and those who were able to ride through these soft areas despite the footprints fared well with putting enough of a gap on their competition to stay ahead.

In the men’s long course, Jordan Wakely, seemingly on his home(ish) turf, came in first overall with a whopping time of 1 hour and 15 minutes, tailed by Matt Acker with a time of 1 hour and 18 minutes. Brian Geshel rounded out third place with a time of 1 hour and 22 minutes, followed by Ryan Kennedy (1:24), and Keegan Myers (1:26).

For the women, Danielle Musto came in first with a time of 1 hour and 34 minutes, followed by Kati Krikke with a time of 1 hour 41 minutes. With another repeat podium spot of third place for the women’s podium going to Chelsea Strate, just minutes behind Krikke with a time of 1 hour 44 minutes. Chelsea was followed by Liz Belt (1:45) and Kim Thomas (1:55).

In the Short’s race, Robert Richardson took the win for the men’s category while Ann Buerman took first in the women’s. Full results for the Fat Chance! fat bike race can be found here.