I spent the weekend over in Michigan at the USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships at the Cannonsburg Ski Hill near Grand Rapids. The race was run by our long-time amigo and all-around cool cat, Nate Phelps with the help of the Westen Michigan Sports Commision. The Cannonsburg Venue was quite a nice upgrade from last year’s race course and mother nature decided to contribute seven inches of fresh snow the night before the race. Nate had planned on a six-plus-mile course but the new soft snow that fell the night before shortened the loop to approximately four miles for the pros. All of the men’s age groups raced on a shortened loop before the pro’s, so by the time they toed the line the track was pretty rutted.
Several of the racers described the course as rut riding. Once you got out of the rut that developed, you were dead in the water. So the ability to ride that rut (at speed) and be consistent about staying in that one optimized line was vital. In the Men’s Division, Cole House went from holeshot to building a 30-second gap on Will Ross in the first lap of the 4 mile course.
In the Women’s division, Jena Page Greaser built a similar gap on the field of pro women.
I got to talk to the racers right after the race. Cole swore that his tire choice was why he was able to pull away from the field. He told me that he even stopped at one point and added some air to his tires. We all thought Will had found a way to cut into his lead, but it turned out he had stopped to add air. When Will finished, the first thing that he said to Cole was, “Congratulations! you put on a clinic out there!”
When I talked to Jenna Greaser at the finish, she was still on her bike. She showed me that the front wheel had a large amount of side to side play and when we checked the wheel, we found out that the thru axle had come loose.
Of course, there were lots of age division National Champions that were crowned last weekend. Men’s, Women’s and Juniors along with Singlespeed National Champions all received Medals. You can read all of the results here – http://legacy.usacycling.org/results/index.php?permit=2018-3