Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 9, 2014

Bikers deem first fat bike race a success

By MICHELLE MERLIN mmerlin@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY -- Danielle Musto of Grand Rapids pedaled off the track wearing a wide grin.

“This course was phenomenal. I hope we can do a 50K next year,” she said. “It was one of those really good races from start to finish.”

Musto was crowned Queen Vasa after she was the first of 11 women to finish the fat bike race, clocking in at one hour, 10 minutes and 8 seconds.

Musto came in well after the overall winner, Jorden Wakeley of Grayling, who finished the race in 53:23, more than five minutes ahead of the field.

“I attacked at the first hill and got a gap and just kept going,” Wakeley said.

In a soft crunch of snow, 74 bikers were off in the Vasa’s first fat bike race. Fat bikes are an increasingly popular fad and their 3.7-inch or wider under-filled tires allow the biker to travel across snow or sand.

“The tires are so wide they just float over the snow,” said Michele Howard, one of the coordinators for the fat bike race.

Participants had to bike across a hilly 23K course, with snow packed down so much it was almost like riding on pavement, participants said.

“The course was really good. Nice and packed really well-groomed,” said Jason Lowetz, of Traverse City.

Wakeley was the clear race winner, but Lowetz and Matt Acker, of Grand Rapids, came in the final stretch of the race neck-and-neck, keeping spectators on their frozen toes.

The three men pulled ahead of the pack almost immediately, they said.

Lowetz came in second, at 58:59, with Acker hot on his rear tire at 59:02.

“I thought it would just be fun for people to have a little sprint,” Lowetz said.