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Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival

September 17, 2011


Chequamegon Race Recap

Cable, Wis — Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) won his fourth Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, becoming the first man to do so in the 29-year history of the race.  His time of 2:00:59.9 was nearly two minutes faster than the previous record in 2010.

The Sheboygan, Wis. rider did so despite strong rides from Radioshack and Garmin/Cervelo road professionals Jason McCartney and Christian Vande Velde.  “They set the tempo and blew everybody off the back,” said second place Michael Olhesier (Juwi Solar).  
McCartney kept the pressure on all race, driving the pace and whittling down the field in the first half of the race.  By mid-point in the 40-mile race, coming out of Martel’s Pothole, it was a five-man race among Matter, McCartney, Vande Velde, Travis Woodruff (Trek) and Alabaman Olheiser.  

By the Seeley Firetower climb the group had lost Woodruff, and with seven miles to go McCartney launched a serious attack.  “I drilled it up a hill and they came back,” he said, “and then (Vande Velde) went.”  The Garmin/Cervelo rider forged a nice gap over the remaining three riders.  “I felt like I was getting one twoed,” said Matter about the McCartney and Vande Velde attacks.

But it wasn’t to be Vande Velde’s day.  According to Matter, the chasing riders rounded a corner a mile or so later, and there was Vande Velde with a flat rear tire. 

Of the three left, Matter easily won the sprint over Olheiser and a cramping Jason McCartney, who crossed the line 20 seconds behind Matter.  Matter first won his first race in 2004 and followed with wins the last three consecutive years.

The women’s race was decided by a mud puddle.  Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) got off to a quick start and established an early lead, looking as though she would follow Matter and also grab her fourth title.  But 2008 champion Lea Davison (Specialized) worked her way up to Rinehart as the two approached Lake Helane.  “There’s only one mud puddle on the entire course, and I went through the middle of it,” Davison said. 

According to the Vermont rider, the mud was over her hubs but somehow she made it through upright.  Rinehart didn’t fare as well, however.  She bobbled, stopped and had to put her foot down in the muck.  She never saw Davison again, who put nearly four minutes into Rinehart, finishing in 2:17:31.  Rebecca Sauber (Trek 29er) nipped Diana McFadden (Trek Co-op) for third.  

Jordan Cullen of Hudson, Wis. destroyed the men’s Short & Fat field, finishing in 48:41.6.  He topped Ian Haupt of Whitefish Bay, Wis. by almost four minutes.  Nathan Labecki of Milwaukee was third.

The women’s Short & Fat race was a close one as Anna Ganju bested Terra James by six seconds.  Ganju finished in 58:07.1.  Jeanne Fleck was third.

Brian and Kim Eppen (Mercy/Specialized) continued to dominate the Chequamegon 40 tandem race.  The Iowa City, Iowa couple finished in 2:08:05.1, good for thirteenth overall.    

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