Two riders show the colors at Saturday's National Championships against a stacked field.
The field was compact, for certain, but there wasn't a slow rider in the bunch at Saturday's Fat Bike National Championship, held at Indian Trails Golf Course in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jon Throop and Cody Sovis took the start for the team in the Pro 1/2/3 category, lining up side-by-side-by-side with pro rider Jamey Driscoll, who is just a few weeks removed from a podium at the Cyclocross National Championship in Hartford, CT.
A fast and perilous start was just the first of some slippery, icy and technical sections early, with those features tearing riders from the lead group one by one. Throop settled in hot pursuit, it being a balmy 29 degrees, and was looking to hold a top ten position by race's end. Sovis was caught behind two close calls in dangerous corners, and found himself trying to respond to Driscoll's effort to bridge back up to the lead group. That went about as well as you'd expect, with Sovis keeping pace for 30 yards before eventually settling in to ride the rest of the day alone.
Cole House went on to barely overtake Driscoll on the line, but the ERSB Boys had nearly equal cheers at the finish and all around the course, including great support from Mike Starostanko, who hurried the circuit with tools and parts in case of a mechanical. Tim O'Brien and Brian Beckwith were on photo duty, as well as urging the guys on to keep grinding along the sinuous and slick course.
Cody ended up a tough 8th place, Jon Throop not far back in tenth. The results gave Bearclaw Bicycle Co. three riders in the top ten, with Sean Kickbush's rig taking him to sixth on the day. It being a national affair, ERSB helped do Michigan proud with five riders in the top ten. Throop deemed the day a success, and after an impressive 6th place at Fat Chance! last week, is excited at the busy fat bike schedule he has in place. He'll have a half dozen races in before April, and with his current form solid and his fitness on the rise, expectations are going up with every strong result.
Cody and Jon are back in action Sunday for the Michigan State Championships, also at Indian Trails, where they'll be joined in the fray by Beckwith, who'll swap his SLR for spandex and make a run for a title in the biggest field of the day, the Sport Open. Throop will take on the Expert class, with Sovis staying in the Pro Open class. Watch for a full photo gallery from the weekend on Tuesday, as well as a recap of the Sunday's races from the gang!
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