First-timer takes the top of the podium at 35th Annual Chequamegon Fat Tire
Marathon National Champion Payson McElveen took the top spot on the podium with a time of 2:03:39 at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, presented by Trek.
Payson, 24, of Durango, CO. was riding his first Fat Tire. He was followed in second by six-time champion Brian Matter at 2:03:47:75 and three-time winner Jeff Hall at 2:03:47:94.
After banner competition years in 2016 and 2017, McElveen said he felt confident he would podium at the Chequamegon Fat Tire.
“There was a pack of us midway through the race and as we got closer to Fire Tower I could see between five and 10 people drop off,” he said. “I was very tactical in my thinking and was able to move out ahead. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this race, and it lived up to what I was expecting. I came into it feeling I could do well.”
Brian Matter’s finish, however was bittersweet as he, like many other racers, spent some of the race thinking of former fellow competitor and three-time 40 champ, Steve Tilford who died in a car accident earlier this year.
“I was on the podium and he was on the podium through the years,” Matter said. “We went back and forth. I looked up to him. I thought a lot about him today.”
Jeff Hall said the race was a tough one for him, with high humidity culling out the pack at Fire Tower. “It felt like a slow race this year,” he said.
In the women’s 40 Kyia Anderson moved back to the top spot on the podium after an absence of 18 years, with a time of 2:23:31. She last won the event in 1999.
“Today I rode conservatively,” she said. “I am known for flat tires and broken bikes. I didn’t make any reckless moves today and it paid off.”
Jill Cederholm followed at 2:27:47. Cederholm, who came in second last year, said she struggled with the humidity. “It was a tough one out there for sure,” she said. “So I am happy to finish where I did.”
Lindsey Kriete came in third with a time of 2:28:32 and was thrilled with her placement after several past near misses resulting in fourth places. “I couldn’t be any happier,” she said. “I’ve wanted to get on the podium of this race for quite some time. Today I made it.”
In the tandem division, father son duo Adam and Kevin Froemming took first at 2:25:41, followed by Mike and Steve Bobusch at 2:40:43 and Scott and Shane Veldhuizen at 2:41:34. Kevin Froemming described the race as “fun and fast.”
“We were more than thrilled to do this together,” he said. “We communicated well and we were in second place with less than a mile to go so that good communication gave us the edge.”
After coming in third last year, Anna and Sanjay Ganju finished first in the mixed tandem, with a time of 2:26:34, followed by Jeff Colbert and Pamela Nielsen at 2:34:02 and Elise and Joel Coon at 2:48:46. The Ganjus came in third last year and were impressed with this year’s finish, as they dropped their chain as they approached the finish.
“It was brutal out there,” Sanjay said. “We had a lot of uncertainty along the way, but we managed to keep the distance.”
In the Short and Fat men’s, Daxton Mock came in first at 51:19, followed by Calvin Sandberg at 51:22 and Pavel Nelson at 51:49.
In the Short and Fat women’s Anna Christian took the top of the podium, finishing in 55:15, followed by Rebecca Sauber at 56:28 and Hanna Mork at 58:55.
A total of 3,100 riders participated in the festival.
For a full list of results, visit cheqfattire.com.