Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival Saturday Recap
CABLE, WIS. Matt Busche (RadioShack/Nissan) crossed the finish line alone to win the 30th annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. His time of two hours and 32 seconds set a new course record on the dry and dusty logging roads and two tracks of northern Wisconsin. Mike Anderson (Bissell) trailed Busche by 19 seconds across the line for second place, and four-time Chequamegon winner Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) placed third, a minute down on Busche.
Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) captured her fourth Chequamegon title, finishing in 2:19:55.2 and 74th place overall. Lea Davison (Specialized), last year’s champ, worked her way back to second after flatting while leading ten miles into the race. Another former Chequamegon champion, Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek/Kuhl) was third, over four minutes behind Rinehart.
Busche, who will represent the US in the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands on Sept. 22, used his road skills to win his first Chequamegon title. “I knew it wasn’t a super technical course,” he said. “I was going at my limit most of the day.”
For most of the 40-mile race, Busche rode in a lead group of as many as a dozen riders. By the time he topped the Seeley Firetower Climb 30 miles into the race, the group had withered to four, including Anderson, Corey Stelljes and Cole House (Competitive Cyclist), who later flatted and finished 29th.
With seven miles to go, Busche accelerated on the unrelenting climbs of the Birkebeiner Ski Trail with only Anderson in tow. “I was pretty confident in his ability to pull,” Anderson said of Busche. With a little over a mile to go in a recently logged section, Busche made his final move and attacked Anderson, going clear over the Telemark climb.
Rinehart credited her fourth win to luck and determination. “I definitely wasn’t the strongest out there today,” she said. “I was lucky, and it was one of those stories of never give up.”
Despite flatting, Davison was pleased with her second place finish in what she called “the real world championships.” A week previous, Davison had placed 8th at the World Championships in Leogang, Austria. It was chase, chase, chase, chase, literally 30 miles of chasing,” Davison said. Had the Chequamegon lasted a few miles longer, Davison might have caught Rinehart and celebrated her second victory in a row here. But even a miserable flat couldn’t keep Davison from smiling.
Brian and Kim Eppen (Mercy) captured the mixed tandem title and finished 14th overall. Dirk Rettig and Heidi Beck won the men’s and women’s singlespeed classes.
In the 16-mile Short & Fat, Jordan Cullen repeated as the men’s champion, winning by over three minutes. Sara Morse took the women’s title.
See itiming.com for complete Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival results.