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US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
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March 20, 2022

Event photos will be added to this website–

Virginia and New Jersey cyclists earn elite titles in US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Fischer Maris (center) 2022 Two-hour Elite Race Champion – John Overton (left) third place – Nima Ebrahimnejad (right) second place – Courtesy Robert B Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA – Fischer Maris of Richmond, VA, and Donna Ventura of Long Branch, NJ, pedaled to victory in this weekend’s punishing two-hour elite race at the sixth US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship.

Formidable under even ideal conditions, this year’s weather added layers of grinding complexity with never-ending wind speeds of 20 to 25 miles-per-hour with gusts as high as 37 mph.

“The degree of difficulty was ten out of ten,” said Maris, usually a road racer or mountain biker. “The sand was so difficult and so slow. On a road bike, you can keep up because you’re drafting, but all that is eliminated. So you’re going to use everything you have on the beach. Whoever’s the fittest is going to win.”

“It was definitely brutal,” added Ventura. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, the race being a half-mile loop. Every lap seemed to be a little different. The wind was a challenge – the heat was challenging coming from 30 to 40 degrees in New Jersey. I tried to be careful and settle in so I didn’t waste all my energy fighting the wind. The race was tough – but a lot of fun; it was a good race.”
Donna Ventura (left) 2022 Two-hour Elite Race Champion – Philicia Dawn (right) second place and former champion in 2018 and 2019 – Courtesy Robert B Butler
“We’re pleased to have a lot of racers from the Wilmington region, a large Raleigh contingent, representation from Asheville, and Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey bikers,” said Dave Ellegood, race director and president of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association’s Cape Fear Chapter. “Many racers trained throughout the winter, so their fitness is good. We have multiple age groups, men and women. Our 50+ is the largest age group this year – that is cool to see.”
Bikers approach the starting line – 2022 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy Robert B Butler
Podium Winners by division

Two-hour Elite Race - Men's Division

Fischer Maris, Richmond, VA
Nima Ebrahimnejad, Wilmington, NC
John Overton, Wilmington, NC

Two-hour Elite Race – Women’s Division

Donna Ventura, Long Branch, NJ
Philicia Dawn, Pilot Mountain, NC

Two-hour Elite Race Men’s Division (40-49)

Jeremy Cavenaugh, Castle Hayne, NC
Adam Kaufhold, Huntersville, NC
Thomas Parinello, Locust Grove, VA

Two-hour Elite Race Men’s Division (50+)

Dariusz Tyborowski, Zebulon, NC
John Stanley, Leland, NC
Noah Pierson, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Two-hour Elite Race – Unicycle

James Turner, Wilmington, NC

One-hour Race Men’s Division

Lonnie Brooks, Raleigh, NC
Peter Perry, Wilmington, NC
Ethan Pierson, Wilmington, NC

One-hour Race Women’s Division

Jean Dylong, Asheville, NC

One-hour Race Men’s Division (40-49)

Peter Perry, Wilmington, NC
Brad Gardner, Wilmington, NC
Antonio Donabo, Patrick County, VA

One-hour Race Men’s Division (50+)

Lonnie Brooks, Raleigh, NC
Gib Palmer, Clinton, NC
Mike Vandy, Cary, NC


Contact:

Dave Ellegood, Race Director
Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association – Cape Fear Chapter President
Phone: 910-233-7987

Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

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February 1, 2022

US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship returns to NC March 18-20
Bikers line up for the elite division race – US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Robert B Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA – Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship rolls into Wrightsville Beach, March 18-20. The biggest race of its type on the East Coast, all the action will be oceanfront at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

“The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship is about having fun and competing on a unique course,” said race director David Ellegood, President of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) Cape Fear chapter. “The race is held one hundred percent in the sand, and each year the course and beach obstacles change, creating unpredictable levels of difficulty.”

“A fat bike is basically a mountain bike with the ability to accommodate a large tire and wheel combination for the sand. The elite division race is very challenging and stretches the endurance level of the most seasoned riders. Half the course is a real grind through soft sand on a one-mile oval; the other half is easier and dedicated to speed on packed sand.

“The elite race is two-hours and designed for professional, semi-professional, and serious bikers. For recreational or novice riders, we advise the one-hour race. Top winners in the 2-hour race receive medals and cash prizes, with medals presented to our top 1-hour race finishers.

“We invite spectators to come out and watch the action. We’re fortunate to have this unique opportunity to hold a race on the beach, and Blockade Runner offers a perfect atmosphere and location for the athletes and spectators.

“The beach and sands will return to normal following the races,” said Ellegood. “We love the beach and take extra steps to protect the area.”
Ben “Thunder” Brown, Wilmington, NC – The first Elite US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship winner in 2015 – Courtesy Robert B Butler
Past Elite Champions include:

-Robert “Fear the Beard” Marion, Mt. Airy, NC (2019, 2016)
-Philicia Marion, Pilot Mountain, NC (2019, 2018)
-John Overton, Wilmington, NC (2018)
-Zdenka ‘Zoe’ Worsham, Raleigh, NC (2017)
-Andrew Bailey, Piney Flats, TN (2017)
-Jesse Piersol, Downington, PA (2016)
-Ben “Thunder” Brown, Wilmington, NC (2015)

The start and finish lines, event activities, and the awards ceremony for the 6th US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship are at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Proceeds benefit Cape Fear SORBA, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining trails for outdoor access. 

Sponsors include Alpha Mortgage, Bike Cycles of Wilmington,  Mayfair Family Dentistry, Sticker Mule, and Heartwood Craft & Design (creation of awards medals). 




Contact:

Dave Ellegood, Race Director
Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association – Cape Fear Chapter President
Phone: 910-233-7987

Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#FatBike #CapeFearSORBA #SORBA #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #WrightsvilleBeach #Wilmington #NorthCarolina #BlockadeRunnerResort #FearTheBeard #RobertMarion #PhiliciaMarion #JessePiersol #JohnOverton #ZoeWorsham #AndrewBailey #BenBrown
Mount Airy couple earn top awards in US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship

March 22-24, 2019
Robert and Philicia Marion of Mount Airy, North Carolina – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “Going into this race, one of our goals is to win it together,” said Philicia Marion in a January interview. “How awesome it would be if we could win both titles in the same year,” added Robert Marion. Today, their goal became reality as the nationally-ranked cyclocross team from Mount Airy, NC, pushed to victory at the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship.

"It's just amazing. It's unreal," said Philicia, with a tear in her eye following today's double victory. "I'm so proud of Robert – and me too."

The 5th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, the largest fat bike beach race in the nation, attracted bikers from ten states, including North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Presented by Alpha Mortgage, activities and races were based at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

"It was tough out there today – the toughest but most rewarding Fat Bike Beach Championship so far," said Robert Marion. "At first I thought the course might be easier, but the sand, especially down by the water was a very tough grind."

"The wind was blowing in the opposite direction this year," added Philicia Marion. "So, where we had a little break last year, we were just going into the wind with no break – no rest."

Aside from a steady stream of NW wind gusts of 10-15 mph during the elite race, weather conditions were ideal, with sunny skies, temps in mid-60s, and very low humidity.

"I knew from last year's race, and by racing Philicia in cyclocross this past season, where her performance level is," said 2017 title-holder and today's women's elite runner up, Zoe Worsham of Raleigh. "She has worked a lot in the past year and a half. I knew that her performance level is so much higher than anybody else."

"It was harder than last year – the sand was much softer," said John Overton, today's runner up in the elite men's division and 2018 elite champion. "We didn't have mats in the turns this year and you really had to finesse it. If you had speed going into the turns you had to definitely slow down. I crashed at least three times."
Robert Marion of Mount Airy and John Overton of Wilmington, NC – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
Top five winners in each division:
(see link below for ALL finishers and age group winners)

Super Fat 2-hour Elite Race - Men's Division
Robert Marion, Mount Airy, NC
John Overton, Wilmington, NC
Nima Ebrahimnejad, Wilmington, NC
Neil Bray, Camp Lejeune, NC
Dariusz Tyborowski, Zebulon, NC

Super Fat 2-hour Elite Race - Women's Division
Philicia Marion, Mount Airy, NC
Zdenka Zoe Worsham, Raleigh, NC
Kim Bishop, Kingsport, TN
Jesse Piersol, Downington, PA
Maria Florian, Wilmington, NC

Really Fat 1.5-hour Intermediate Race – Men's Division
Bill Sessoms, Wilmington, NC
Adam Knierim, Hampstead, NC
Jeremy Cavenaugh, Castle Hayne, NC
Tom Verellen, High Point, NC
Ed Stilley, Wilmington, NC

Really Fat 1.5-hour Intermediate Race – Women's Division
Missy Grant, Wake Forest, NC
Deborah Hage, Cary, NC
Suzanne Tulsey, Oak Island, NC

Fat 1-hour Race – Men's Division
Peter Perry, Wilmington, NC
Lonnie Brooks, Raleigh, NC
Todd Bartholomew, Wilmington, NC
Kevin Charron, Waxhaw, NC
Christopher Garrett, Pleasant Valley, NY

Fat 1-hour Race – Women's Division
Nadine Petruccelli, Frisco, NC
Stacey Vaughan, Myrtle Beach, SC
Mary Gheen, Castle Hayne, NC
Mary Haley, Virginia Beach, VA
Margaret Pierson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Zoe Worsham of Raleigh and Philicia Marion of Mount Airy, NC – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities.

Contact:

Shawn Spencer, Race Director
910-256-2545
Weather conditions ideal for US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
This story includes an update from Shawn Spencer, Race Director
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Weather conditions are ideal for this weekend's Fat Bike Beach Championship in Wrightsville Beach. Saturday's race day forecast calls for sunny skies with temperatures topping in the mid-60s. Chance of rain is near zero percent with winds predominately from the NW at 5 to 10 mph.

"All systems are go," said race director Shawn Spencer. "I did some beach recon on Sunday and the sands have shifted. This will be one of the most challenging courses to date."  

The 5th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, presented by Alpha Mortgage, will be held March 22-24 (2019) with activities and races based at host hotel Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach. Early registration has attracted bikers from ten states, including North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

"My words of wisdom would be for the racers to eat their Wheaties," said 2017 women's Elite Champion Zoe Worsham. "They're not going to be building sand castles on the beach, they'll be praying for the race to be over, but once they cross the finish line, they'll be so ready to do it all over again because it's such a unique experience."

Already the largest fat bike beach race on the East coast and named one of 2018's Top-20 festivals and events in the Southeast, a deep and growing lineup of athletes have registered to compete in 2019. These include the following returning champions:

Super Fat 2-hour Elite Race
John Overton, 2018 Men's Champion, Wilmington, NC
Robert Marion, 2016 Champion, Mount Airy, NC
Philicia Marion, 2018 Women's Champion, Mount Airy, NC
Zdenka ‘Zoe’ Worsham, 2017 Women's Champion, Raleigh, NC
Jesse Piersol, 2016 Women's Champion, Downington, PA

Really Fat 1.5-hour Intermediate Race
Ed Stilley, 2018 and 2017 Men's Champion, Wilmington, NC
Terry Slack, 2016 Men's Champion, Hope Mills, NC
Bill Sessoms, 2015 Men's Champion, Wilmington, NC
Kim Bishop, 2018 Women's Champion, Kingsport, TN
Philicia Marion, 2016 Women's Champion, Mount Airy, NC

Fat 1-hour Race
Matt Smith, 2018 Men's Champion, Southport, NC

The competition will be intense in all races, especially the two-hour elite race.

“It’s just hard,” said Spencer. “The elite race requires conditioning beyond any other type of sport, plus the mental fortitude not to quit regardless of your suffering.”
“Athletes check-in Friday at Blockade Runner Resort to inspect the race conditions,” said Shawn Spencer, Race Director and owner of Bike Cycles. “Saturday there will be a bike expo on the beach-side lawn before and after the races, followed by the awards ceremony. Competition includes a two-hour elite race; a 90-minute intermediate event; and a 60-minute race for beginners. Popular obstacles will be on the course this year with fresh surprises to challenge the bikers.”

Sunday features an optional 18-mile social bike ride on the beach from Fort Fisher to Bald Head Island and back.

To accommodate the growth in the number of race participants, Spencer plans to have two race times, segmenting the elite category from the intermediate and beginner groups, limiting each wave to 100-bikers.

 “The elite racers will have the track alone for the first time,” said Spencer. “The elite, intermediate and beginner races will be more exciting with less congestion on the track.”

The field of women in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship has increased from near zero to 21-percent over the past four years.

The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities.

Race update from Shawn Spencer (March 19, 2019):

Race day is approaching FAST!  This coming Saturday is the day!  The beach is calling and we are going to make sure the course is fun.   Bring your "A" game because according to reports and first hand testing the sand is a bit fluffy this year.   Low PSI in your tires may offer the best, most efficient rolling as a majority of the course will be in the thicker sand. 
    
The temps are expected to be in the mid 60's to low 70's and sunny.  Sunscreen will be welcome.   The water is around 58 degrees and the wind is expected to be light out of the North East.  This will give a cooling breeze to those racing.  

We want to remind racers that the course is open to pedestrian traffic and walkers on the beach have right-of-way.   Be aware of any people on the beach and please be courteous to them and each other.  

Teams will have a "transition" area set up near the finish line where they will be able to assemble and trade out team members.  Teams will be allowed to swap out racers as often or little as they wish.
     
At packet pick-up you will be given a timing chip that is to be worn on your left ankle as the race will be chip timed.  At finish line there will be a person collecting chips.  Please return your chip to avoid a $35 charge. You will also receive a ticket for one buffet style finger food at Waterman's Brewery for Saturday night.  You may also order off the menu at normal pricing during the after party.  

Friday:
Packet pick-up 5:45-6:45pm 
Social and raffle 7:00-8:00pm
Where :Blockade Runner NightHawk Room (enter front lobby, take three steps, turn right and take a few more steps and look left)

Saturday:
Packet pick-up 10:30-1:00pm
Where: Blockade Runner NightHawk Room (enter front lobby, take three steps, turn right and take a few more steps and look left)

    Low tide is at 4:15pm

   2 hour racers will start at 1:00pm
   1.5 hour racers will start at 3:05 ish pm
   1 hour racers will start at 3:35 ish pm
    
Saturday NIGHT:
After Party- Waterman's Brewing Ohana Room 6:00pm- until....

Sunday:
1:00-4:00pm
Optional free Group adventure ride from Fort Fisher to Bald Head Island and back. The drive to the start of this adventure is about 45 minutes from Wrightsville Beach.  Bring your own food, water, clothes and bike. No drop type ride that is 18 miles round trip led by Bike Cycles staff.

Awards will go to the fastest Female and the fastest Male in the 2 hour race, then the top three in each age group for the 2 hour, 1.5 hour and 1 hour.  The top team will also be recognized.     (The top male and female from the 2 hour will be removed from the age group awards) 
     
We noticed several people have not chosen a T Shirt size.  If you want a T shirt, please be sure to log in to your registration and ensure you picked the correct size shirt while supplies last!

There will be several sponsors set up on and around the course.  PLEASE BE SURE TO THANK THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM!

Alpha Mortgage,  Presenting Sponsor and a great group of People.
Blockade Runner Resort, With us from Day 1 and a great place to stay.
Bike Cycles, Your source for anything bicycle related, will ship to you!
Waterman's Brewery, GREAT Friend of the race and afterparty location.
ACT Construction, Supplier of sweet construction equipment.
Crank Arm Brewery, Supplier of fantastic beer and fast racers.
Cora Physical Therapy, Fantastic PT group located near Wrightsville Beach.
Bike Jacket, for the protection of your bike when traveling.
Shimano, the ultimate drive train for your bike.
Specialized, another Day 1 supporter and friend of the race.
AT&T, a great provider of fiber optic communication on Wrightsville Beach
Epic Food Co., A local family owned fantastic restaurant.
Carolina Marine Terminal, With the race from day 1!

Also, don't forget the limited edition US Open hats are available for purchase here.   Only a few left!

Be sure to follow us on IG and FB for the latest updates.... mainly IG :)

Thanks again and see you Saturday!

Shawn Spencer

Prior notes to remember:

1.  *Parking meters will be in effect on race day.  There is ample parking along Waynick and South Lumina on race day (starting March 1).  The easiest way to pay for the day, $17.00,  is by using this service Pay by Phone.  

*Parking at the Blockade Runner Resort is only for guests who are registered at the resort.  

2.  There are several great restaurants in our area for a pre-race lunch.  Waterman's Brewing Company is our sponsor and has an outstanding menu! They are also the space for our after party Saturday Night 7-9pm.

3.  When you are warming up or pre-riding on the beach please keep in mind that walkers and beach goers have right of way.  Be kind and be courteous.  Riding on or near vegetation is highly illegal and can lead to a fine.  Using the path ways to the beach from the road are fine, but don't ride over vegetation.

Again, thank you for supporting the 5th Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships and showing the world that Hurricane Florence did not wipe us off the map!

See you soon,

Shawn Spencer

Contact:

Shawn Spencer, Race Director
910-256-2545
Mt. Airy Couple aims to sweep top titles at Fat Bike Beach Championship
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Robert “Fear the Beard” Marion captured the men’s elite title in the 2016 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship. Two years later, Philicia Marion pushed to victory and earned the elite title in the women’s division. This year, the husband-wife professional biking team from Mount Airy, NC aim to carry the day and secure both titles.

“How awesome would it be if we could win both titles in the same year?” said Robert Marion, who has worked his way back into the top-ranks of cyclocross and mountain biking following a serious injury in 2017. “There will be a lot of really strong guys and ladies showing up for this race, but that’s what we’re shooting for.”

“Going into this race, one of our goals is to win it together,” added Philicia Marion, a top mountain biker in the region and ranked in the top 30 nationally in cyclocross. “Hopefully, we can make both titles go our way this year.”

The 5th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, presented by Alpha Mortgage, will be held March 22-24 with activities and races based at host hotel Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach. Early registration has attracted bikers from nine states, including North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

“Athletes check-in Friday at Blockade Runner to inspect the race conditions,” said Shawn Spencer, Race Director and owner of Bike Cycles. “Saturday there will be a bike expo on the beach-side lawn before and after the races, followed by the awards ceremony. Competition includes a two-hour elite race; a 90-minute intermediate event; and a 60-minute race for beginners. Popular obstacles will be on the course this year with fresh surprises to challenge the bikers.”

The competition will be intense in all races, especially the two-hour elite race.

“It’s just hard,” said Spencer. “The elite race requires conditioning beyond any other type of sport, plus the mental fortitude not to quit regardless of your suffering.”

Sunday features an optional 18-mile social bike ride on the beach from Fort Fisher to Bald Head Island and back.
With a deep lineup of competitors in the elite 2-hour event, racers to watch include past elite champions John Overton of Wilmington (2018), Zdenka ‘Zoe’ Worsham of Raleigh (2017), and Jesse Piersol of Downington, PA (2016).

(see photo gallery below)

Returning champions in the 1.5-hour intermediate category include two-time winner Ed Stilley of Wilmington (2017-18) and Terry Slack of Hope Mills (2016). Matt Smith of Southport, past-champion in the 1-hour beginner division (2018) has signed up for this year’s 1.5-hour intermediate race.

(see photo gallery below)

Already the largest fat bike beach race on the East coast and named one of the Top-20 festivals and events in 2018 by the Southeast Tourism Society, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship may double in size in 2019.

“For the past two years the race has been limited to 100-participants,” said Spencer. “We’re expecting a larger field in 2019 and have raised the cap to two hundred.”

To accommodate the increase, Spencer plans to have two race times, segmenting the elite category from the intermediate and beginner groups, limiting each wave to 100-bikers.

 “The elite racers will have the track alone for the first time,” said Spencer. “The elite, intermediate and beginner races will be more exciting with less congestion on the track.”

The field of women in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship has increased from near zero to sixteen-percent over the past four years. The growth rate is expected to continue in 2019. 

The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities.
US Open Fat Bike Beach Race may double in size in 2019
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Already the largest fat bike beach race on the East coast and named one of the Top-20 festivals and events in 2018 by the Southeast Tourism Society, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship may double in size in 2019.

“For the past two years the race has been limited to 100-participants,” said Shawn Spencer, Race Director. “We’re expecting a larger field in 2019 and had to raise the cap to two hundred.”

To accommodate the increase, Spencer plans to have two race times, segmenting the elite category from the intermediate and beginner groups, limiting each race to 100-bikers. “The elite racers will have the track alone for the first time,” said Spencer. “The elite, intermediate and beginner races will be more exciting with less congestion on the track.”

The 5th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will be held March 22-24, 2019, with activities and races based at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Blockade Runner is expected to reopen in early Spring following extensive repairs due to damages from Hurricane Florence.

“We’ll have some cash prizes this year thanks to our presenting sponsor Alpha Mortgage,” said Spencer. “This will attract a higher number of elite racers.”

“The elite race requires conditioning beyond any other type of sport, plus the mental fortitude not to quit regardless of your suffering. It’s just hard,” said Spencer. “Skill is also needed to manage a fat bike through obstacles and tough terrain.”

“With two months to go, we already have 73 bikers signed up for the races,” said Spencer. “These athletes represent 39 communities in seven states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.” Spencer expects a full slate of 200 bikers in 2019, and is awaiting registrations from Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and California.
“The return of the last three champions is creating excitement surrounding the 2019 women’s elite race,” said Spencer. Mount Airy’s Philicia Marion (Cycleworks Xpedo Professional Mountain Bike Team presented by Vittoria), will defend her 2018 championship against 2017 winner Zdenka ‘Zoe’ Worsham (Crank Arm Brewing Professional Team of Raleigh), and 2016 champ and “fat bike aficionado” Jesse Piersol of Downington, PA.

The field of women in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship has increased from near zero to sixteen-percent over the past four years. The growth rate is expected to continue in 2019. 

The competition will be equally fierce in the men’s division with a deep lineup of elite bikers seeking the top-spot. A top contender to watch is 2016 champion Robert “Fear the Beard” Marion of Mount Airy (Cycleworks Xpedo Professional Mountain Bike Team), recovering from a 2017 bike injury.

“Athletes check-in Friday at Blockade Runner Beach Resort to inspect the race conditions,” said Spencer. “Saturday there will be a bike expo on the beach lawn before and after the races, followed by the awards ceremony. Competition includes a two-hour elite race; a 90-minute intermediate event; and a 60-minute race for beginners. Popular obstacles will be on the course this year with fresh surprises to challenge the bikers.”

Sunday features an optional 18-mile social bike ride on the beach from Fort Fisher to Bald Head Island and back.

“It’s amazing and very exciting to see so many people coming together to support the races and our community following Hurricane Florence. We are very grateful,” said Spencer.

The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s many visitors each year.

Contact:

Shawn Spencer, Race Director
910-256-2545

Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #ZoeWorsham #FearTheBeard #RobertMarion #PhiliciaMarion #JessePiersol #BikeCycle #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross #ShawnSpencer #UCI #SoutheastTourismSociety #STS 

2018 Men's Elite Champion John Overton – Courtesy Robert B Butler
2018 – Elite racers gathering at the starting line – Wave #1 – Courtesy Robert B Butler
2018 Women's Elite Champion, Philicia Marion of Mt. Airy – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Elite North Carolina Bikers Conquer Top Spots in US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
#21 Philicia Marion (2018 Women's Elite Champ)of Mount Airy, NC – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Racers from ten states battled for titles in three-divisions at the 4th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Philicia Marion of Mount Airy and John Overton of Wilmington won the female and male championships in the elite super-fat division.

“Today was a lot of fun, and I’ve been looking forward to this race since last year,” said Marion. “I came in second place in 2017 and didn’t like the way that felt. So, I’ve been working hard hoping I could take the title.” Today, Marion won the elite women’s title in her third consecutive appearance.
John Overton, finishing fifth last year captured the top spot in 2018. “Last year the course was really technical,” said Overton. “It wasn’t as technical today. So you could power through, set the throttle and try to keep it there for the two hours, and this course allowed for that.”

“The dredge pipe [36-inches] was cool,” said Overton. “That added a different element. We crossed the pipes four times on every lap [32-laps for Overton]. A unique experience you’re probably not going to find that anywhere else.”

Marion agreed. “I loved the course. It was fun and a lot faster than last year; less technical and more pedal power.” The field, limited to 100-racers, was completely booked.
Both Marion and Overton powered ahead of the pack finishing with comfortable leads. Zoe Worsham of Raleigh, the elite women’s champion in 2017, came in second place. Ed Stilley of Wilmington captured his second consecutive title in the men’s intermediate really-fat division.

“We had great weather; the wind was lighter; it never got too hot, so you weren’t overworked on the course,” said Overton. “The sand seemed fairly forgiving and you could take some speed through the corners. You could push it pretty hard, and the course setup was awesome.”

The start and finish lines for the 4th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship were located beachside at Blockade Runner Beach Resort. The Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s thousands of visitors each year.
Race results:

2-hour Elite Super Fat Race - Overall

Men's division
1. John Overton, Wilmington, NC
2. Barney Baxter, Raleigh, NC
3. Benjamin Brown, Wilmington, NC
4. Dariusz Tyborowski, Zebulon, NC
5. Matthew Wistoff, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Women's division
1. Philicia Marion, Mount Airy, NC
2. Zoe Worsham, Raleigh, NC
3. Emily Curley, Taunton, MA
4. Jesse Piersol, Downington, PA
2018 Men's Elite "Super Fat" #1-John Overton, #2-Barney Baxter, #3-Ben Brown – Courtesy Robert Butler
1.5-hour Intermediate Really Fat Race - Overall

Men's division
1. Ed Stilley, Wilmington, NC (repeat title)
2. Noah Pierson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
3. David Lennard, Wilmington, NC
4. Jeremy Cavenaugh, Castle Hayne, NC
5. Jim Hundley, Wilmington, NC

Women's division
1. Kim Bishop, Kingsport, TN
2. Suzanne Tulsey, Oak Island, NC
3. S. Taylor, Hampstead, NC
4. Jada Hefner, Wilmington, NC
1-hour Recreational Fat Race - Overall

Men's division
1. Matt Smith, Southport, NC
2. Todd Bartholomew, Wilmington, NC
3. Patrick Mulligan, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Marshall Leininger, Canton, OH
5. Gil Whitten, Apex, NC

Women's division
1. Jordan Cline, Rocky Point, NC
2. Victoria Pugh, Raleigh, NC
3. Connie Ferrell, Apex, NC
4. Mary Gheen, Castle Hayne, NC
5. Lizzie Warlick, Morrisville, NC
(More photos below)


Three years following the inaugural race, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship achieved national recognition as a Top-20 Festival & Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.


Contact:

US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Chris Hidalgo, Race Director
Hidalgo.Christopher@gmail.com
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair
Shawn@BikeCycleShop.com
910-256-2545

Robert B Butler, Communications | PR
www.NCPressRelease.org
www.RBButler.com

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #ZoeWorsham #FearTheBeard #RobertMarion #John Overton #PhiliciaMarion #BikeCycle #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross #ShawnSpencer #UCI #ChrisHidalgo #SoutheastTourismSociety #STS #FatBikeCom 
John Overton of Wilmington, NC (26), Ben Brown of Wilmington, NC (5) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Jonathan Howell, Lugoff, SC (20) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
2018 – Bill Sessoms of Wilmington, NC (32), Ben Brown of Wilmington, NC (5) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms (Sr)
Greg Combs of Southern Pines, NC (8) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Kevin Rawls of Lutherville, Timonium, MD (30) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
2018 – Suzanne Tulsey of Oak Island, NC (53) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms
2018 – Marshall Leininger of Canton, OH (79) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms
Building the course 2018 – Courtesy Robert B Butler
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship 2019 – Courtesy of Anna Pennington
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship 2019 – Courtesy of Anna Pennington
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship 2019 – Courtesy of Anna Pennington
2017 Elite Women's Champ Zdenka Zoe Worsham – Courtesy Robert B Butler
Oceanfront Course – 2019 Fat Bike Beach Championship – Aerial Optics  
2018 Men's Elite Champion John Overton – Courtesy Robert B Butler
2017 Women's Elite Champion, Zoe Worsham of Raleigh, NC – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
2018 Women's Elite "Super Fat" – #1-Philicia Marion, #2-Zoe Worsham, #3-Emily Curley – Courtesy Robert Butler
2018 Men's Intermediate "Really Fat" – #1-Ed Stilley, #2-Noah Pierson, #3-David Lennard – Courtesy Robert Butler
2018 Women's Intermediate "Really Fat" – #1-Kim Bishop, #2-Suzanne Tulsey, #3-S. Taylor (not shown) – Courtesy Robert Butler
2018 Men's Recreational "Fat Bike" – #1-Matt Smith, #2-Todd Bartholomew, #3-Patrick Mulligan (not shown) – Courtesy Robert Butler
2018 Recreational "Fat Bike" – #1-Jordan Cline, #2-Victoria Pugh, #3-Connie Ferrell – Courtesy Robert Butler
2018 – Barney Baxter of Raleigh, NC (3), Matt Wistoff of Wrightsville Beach, NC (38), John Overton of Wilmington, NC (26) – Courtesy Robert B Butler
The Mariana Trench – Courtesy Robert B Butler
The Mariana Trench – Courtesy Robert B Butler
The Mariana Trench – Courtesy Tom Peterson
2018 Women's Elite Champion Philicia Marion – Courtesy Robert B Butler 
2018 – 'Fear the Beard' Robert Marion and Philicia Marion – Courtesy Robert B Butler 
Philicia Marion: "I want to add that I’m thankful to God for good health and allowing me to have fun racing my bike, Robert, my husband and teammate for support and encouragement in everything I do, Cycleworks Bike Shop for setting me up on a super light fatbike, Xpedo for the perfect pedals, Vittoria Tires for the super sweet rolling Cannoli Tires and Orange Seal so I didn’t have to worry about flats, all the other sponsors who support the Team. Also Big big thanks to The Blockade Runner who supports the Event, Shawn Spencer, who does an amazing job, and everyone behind the scenes to make the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships a fabulous, fun event!"
2018 – Jesse Piersol of Downington, PA – 2016 Women's Elite Champion – Courtesy Bill Sessoms
Women's Elite Champion, Philicia Marion of Mount Airy, NC – Courtesy of Bill Sessoms
Men's Elite Champion, John Overton of Wilmington, NC – Courtesy Bill Sessoms
Barney Baxter of Raleigh, NC (3) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms
Bill Sessoms of Wilmington, NC (32) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms (Sr)
Bill Sessoms of Wilmington, NC (32), Ed Stilley of Wilmington, NC (51) – Courtesy Bill Sessoms (Sr)
Paul Curley of Taunton, MA (11), Robert Marion of Mount Airy, NC (22) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Larz Robinson of Raleigh, NC (31) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
James Gipson of Yorktown, VA (73), Chris Ragland of Raleigh, NC (29) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Kim Bishop of Kingsport, TN (40) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Jonathan Dubel of Wilmington, NC – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Bruce Stauffer of Concord, NC – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Anthony Cowden of Wilmington, NC (9) – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Tyler Graf of Greensboro, NC – Courtesy Tom Peterson
Event Sponsors
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship Returns March 16-18
2017 Women's Elite Champion Zoe Worsham of Raleigh, NC – Courtesy Sally Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “I’m a mountain biker, cross-country, endurance, enduro, downhill, and occasional cyclocross racer. I’ve raced in all sorts of conditions,” said Zoe Worsham, defending women’s elite champion in the 2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship. “Last year’s race was difficult, exciting, exhausting, physically and mentally challenging all at the same time. It was only two-and-a-half hours, but it was as challenging as any six-hour race I’ve done.”

Limited to only 100 racers, Worsham defends her title March 16-18, when the fourth annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship returns to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Bikers from eight states, including cyclists from 20 cities and towns across North Carolina, have already signed up to compete.

“Fat bike racing, especially in the elite division, requires incredible conditioning and stamina,” said Shawn Spencer, race chairman. “We’re seeing CrossFit and triathletes use fat bikes as an alternative method to stay in shape. Pedaling for miles on a fat bike in soft sand at the beach is exuberantly painful.”

“I was pleasantly surprised with so many positive comments and cheers from the men I passed during the race,” said Worsham. “Over the years there have been times when I was blocked from passing or heard reasons for having a slow day instead of complimenting the female rider. This race is such an exception. It was really refreshing to hear the support from the male racers. To all the men supporting and cheering us ladies, thank you.”

“Fat bike beach racing in the one-mile oval format is an exciting sport for both athletes and spectators,” said Spencer. “The number of entries, the fitness level of the athletes, and the crowd size on the beach has improved every year.” Spencer expects a sellout roster with late registrations going onto a waiting list.

Worsham, representing the Crank Arm Brewing Team in Raleigh, faces an exciting rematch with runner-up Philicia Marion of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Jesse Piersol of Downington, PA, the 2016 Women’s Elite Champion, will be another contender for the title.

Three years following the inaugural race, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship has achieved national recognition as a Top-20 Festival & Event by the Southeast Tourism Society. All activities and races are based at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort. There is no admission charge for spectators.

The men’s competition will be equally fierce with a broad lineup of elite bikers. Possible contenders include 2015 champion Ben Brown of Wilmington, NC and 2016 champ Robert “Fear the Beard” Marion of Mount Airy, currently recovering from a bike injury.
“Many popular obstacles from last year including the sandbag minefield, keg jumps, and snake pit will be on the 2018 course,” said Spencer. “Of course, we’ll have some fresh surprises to challenge the bikers.”

New to the schedule this year is a children’s fat bike beach race followed by a skid-contest, both limited to bikers 12-years of age and younger. There is no registration fee for children’s activities.

Friday, March 16, racers will have an opportunity to walk and test-drive the soft and packed sands followed by an evening social and equipment discussions. Sunday will feature a laid-back group ride to the North end of Wrightsville Beach.  

The start and finish lines for Saturday’s races will be located beachside at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

The fourth annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.




Contact:

US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Chris Hidalgo, Race Director
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair
910-256-2545

Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #ZoeWorsham #AndrewBailey #FearTheBeard #RobertMarion #BenBrown #PhiliciaMarion #JessePiersol #BikeCycle #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross #ShawnSpencer #UCI #ChrisHidalgo #SoutheastTourismSociety  #STS 
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship hits the big time
2017 Women’s Elite Champion Zdenka "Zoe" Cahojova-Worsham of Raleigh, NC – Photo Robert Butler
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Three years following the inaugural race, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship has achieved national recognition as a Top-20 Festival & Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

“Fat bike beach racing in the one-mile oval format is an exciting sport for both athletes and spectators,” said Shawn Spencer, race chairman. “The number of entries, the fitness level of the athletes, and the crowd size on the beach has improved every year. In 2017, racers from seven states participated.”

The 4th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will be held March 16-18, 2018, in Wrightsville Beach, with activities and races based at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort. There is no admission charge for spectators.

“Fat bike racing, especially in the elite division, requires incredible conditioning and stamina,” said Spencer. “We’re seeing CrossFit and triathletes use fat bikes as an alternative method to stay in shape. Pedaling for miles on a fat bike in soft sand at the beach is exuberantly painful.”

The women’s elite division will be an exciting rematch from 2017. Mountain-biker Zdenka “Zoe” Cahojova-Worsham of the Crank Arm Brewing Team in Raleigh will defend her hard-earned 24-mile championship against a very determined Philicia Marion from Mount Airy, NC. “My goal is to win the elite women’s division in 2018,” said runner-up Marion, member of the Carpe Diem Professional Race Team. 2016 champion Jesse Piersol from Downington, PA could be another contender for the women’s title.

The competition will be equally fierce in the men’s division with a deep lineup of elite bikers all able to seize the day. Possible contenders include 2015 champion Ben Brown of Wilmington, NC; 2016 champ Robert “Fear the Beard” Marion of Mount Airy, currently recovering from a bike injury; and 2017 winner Andrew Bailey of Piney Flats, TN.
2017 Men’s Elite Champion Andrew Bailey of Piney Flats, TN – Photo Robert Butler
The 2018 format is changing from a specified distance to timed events. The 8-mile race becomes a one-hour event; the 16-mile changes to a one-hour and thirty-minute contest; and the elite 24-mile race converts to a two-hour competition. Race slots will be awarded to the first 100 online registrations.

“Many popular obstacles from last year including the sandbag minefield, keg jumps, and snake pit will be on the course this year,” said Spencer. “Of course, we’ll have some fresh surprises to challenge the bikers.”

New to the schedule this year is a children’s fat bike beach race followed by a skid-contest, both limited to bikers 12-years of age and younger. There is no registration fee for children’s activities.

“To date, most bikers are signing up for Saturday’s two-hour race,” said Spencer. “Fat bike racing is looking more like an endurance sport.”

Friday, March 16, racers will have an opportunity to walk and test-drive the soft and packed sands followed by an evening social and equipment discussions. Sunday will feature a laid-back group ride to the North end of Wrightsville Beach.  

The start and finish lines for Saturday’s races will be located beachside at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

The 4th annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.



Contact:

US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Chris Hidalgo, Race Director
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair
910-256-2545
Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #ZoeWorsham #AndrewBailey #FearTheBeard #RobertMarion #BenBrown #PhiliciaMarion #JessePiersol #BikeCycle #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross #ShawnSpencer #UCI #ChrisHildago #SoutheastTourismSociety  #STS 

Results
2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Racers from seven states battled in three divisions to determine the fastest in the sand at the 3rd annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Weather conditions were perfect with temperatures in the upper 50s, a sunny sky, and winds 5 to 10 mph.

The one-mile oval course, loaded with obstacles, packed sand, and slow-grinding loose sand, was constructed beach-side at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Male and female champions were awarded in the 8-mile Fat Race, 16-mile Really Fat Race, and the 24-mile Elite Super Fat Championship Race.

Twenty-one-year-old Andrew Bailey of Piney Flats, Tennessee, captured the 24-mile elite male championship, besting 2015 champion Ben Brown of Wilmington, NC, and 2016 winner Robert Marion, known as "Fear The Beard" from Mount Airy, NC. Marion and Bailey are teammates on the American Classic/Xpedo Professional Mountain Bike Team. 

“I never raced fat bike before today,” said elite male champion and professional biker Andrew Bailey. “I got a fat bike a couple of weeks ago and did some training. Fat bike racing is so much fun and different from what we normally do I definitely want to do more of these races. The course today was awesome. It was perfect for me, a good mix of technical and also some really hard power sections which I like, full-throttle racing the whole time.”  

“I think the course was definitely harder this year, it was tighter in sections, which made it more difficult to negotiate traffic and terrain,” said Robert Marion, Bailey’s teammate, and last year’s elite champion. “But on the flip side, the course design made it more tactical, and you had to be smart with decisions. We worked together on the course, then Robert dropped the hammer about the last five laps and brought it home for the team.”

“I have to thank Robert for giving me this opportunity,” said Bailey, a recent addition to the team. “Also, we appreciate the support of American Classic and all of the sponsors, including Maxxis and Raleigh.” 

Zdenka Worsham of Raleigh, NC, won the elite women's title, pulling ahead of Philicia Marion of Mount Airy, and 2016's champion Jesse Piersol, of Downington, PA.

April Zilg, the tenth-ranked woman in the world in professional standup paddleboard, came in first place in the 8-mile women's division. 

Overall Race results:

24-Mile Elite Super Fat Race - Overall

Men's Division
1. Andrew Bailey, Piney Flats, TN
2. Benjamin Brown, Wilmington, NC
3. Robert Marion, Mount Airy, NC
4. Bob Moss, Cary, NC
5. John Overton, Wilmington, NC
6. Keith Vail, Apex, NC
7. Brad Gardner, Wilmington, NC
8. Jonathan Dubel, Wilmington, NC
9. Eric Mack, Raleigh, NC
10. Christopher Dougherty, Leland, NC
11. Bill Sessoms, Wilmington, NC
12. John Richards, Mooresville, NC
13. Michael Vandenheuvel, Cary, NC
14. Greg Combs, Southern Pines, NC
15. Chris Ragland, Raleigh, NC
16. Tyler Graf, Greensboro, NC
17. Anthony Bailey, Piney Flats, TN
18. Jerry Motter, Greensboro, NC
19. Dave Ellegood, Leland, NC
20. Larz Robison, Raleigh, NC
21. Erik Kauffman, Arnold, MD

Women's Division
1. Zdenka Worsham, Raleigh, NC
2. Philicia Marion, Mount Airy, NC
3. Jesse Piersol, Downington, PA

16-Mile Really Fat Race - Overall

Men's Division
1. Ed Stilley, Wilmington, NC
2. Barry Wray, Wilmington, NC
3. David Lennard, Wilmington, NC
4. Joe Baes, New Bern, NC
5. Shawn Villalpando, Greensboro, NC
6. Daniel Willis, Wilmington, NC
7. Patrick Mulligan, Wrightsville Beach, NC
8. Tom Verellen, High Point, NC
9. Terry Slack, Hope Mills, NC
10. Greg Beasley, Fayetteville, NC
11. Gary Stevens, Wilmington, NC
12. Sayrd Price, Winston-Salem, NC
13. Jason Pendse, Raleigh, NC
14. Craig Hendrix, Spartanburg, SC
15. Michael Hausknecht, Hampstead, NC
16. Steven Pantelakos, Fayetteville, NC
17. Jonas Barcoma, Wilmington, NC
18. Tom Van Dessel, High Point, NC
19. Michael Brown, Wilmington, NC
20. Michael Solomon, Myrtle Beach, SC
21. Dirk Brown, Banner Elk, NC
22. Corey Curtis, Wilmington, NC
23. Ron Royals, High Point, NC
24. John Marshall, Carolina Beach, NC
25. Eric Rowe, Newport, NC

Women's Division
1. Alexandra Christopulos, Vienna, VA
2. Della Marshall, Carolina Beach, NC

8-Mile Fat Race - Overall

Men's Division
1. Eric Stock, Wake Forest, NC
2. David Wall, Whispering Pines, NC
3. Noah Pierson, Wrightsville Beach, NC
4. Steve Grafton, Cornelius, NC
5. Erik Post, Hampstead, NC
6. Matthew Pugh, Wilmington, NC
7. Mike Brown, Manchester, MA
8. Eric Carter, Wilmington, NC
9. Jacob Deal, Charlotte, NC
10. David King, Carolina Beach, NC
11. Patrick Edwards, Wilmington, NC
12. Matt Beashfield, Fayetteville, NC
13. Peter Kramer, Wrightsville Beach, NC
14. John Hoover, Morehead City, NC
15. Patrick Casey, Clarks Summit, PA
16. Brian Moxey, Hampstead, NC
17. Tyler Newman, Wilmington, NC
18. William Brophy, Pine Knoll Shores, NC
19. George Hatcher, Fayetteville, NC
20. Rick Fisher, Creedmoor, NC

Women's Division
1. April Zilg, Wilmington, NC
2. Barbara Gaylord, Whispering Pines, NC
3. Susan Pendse, Raleigh, NC
4. Julia Nicholls, Morehead City, NC

The 3rd annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. 
Robert Marion followed by team-mate Andrew Bailey – Courtesy of Derosset Gordon
In the trenches – Courtesy of Derosset Gordon
One-mile course construction AM – Returned to pristine condition PM – Courtesy of Derosset Gordon
Thanks to Red Bull for the rollin' sound system and PA – Courtesy of Derosset Gordon
‘Fear The Beard’ to Defend US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship Title
Bikers begin to gather at the starting line for the 2016 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
2016 Male Champion, Robert Marion of Mount Airy, NC in the grueling 24-mile US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – Better known as ‘Fear the Beard’ on the professional Cyclocross and mountain bike circuits, Robert Marion of Mount Airy confirmed plans to defend his expert division men’s title at the 2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship. Now in its third year, the competition returns to North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach March 10-12.

“I was really excited and had never ridden on the beach until the day before last year’s race,” said Marion. “Race Director Shawn Spencer and his crew do a nice job mixing the course up with soft sand, packed sand and obstacles to keep the race very challenging and exciting,”

An ex-football lineman in 2005 at 260-pounds, Marion picked up cycling to lose weight. “When you’re 260-pounds playing football, you’re an athlete,” said Marion. “When you’re 260-pounds hanging out and watching TV, you’re just a fat guy.”

Losing over 110-pounds and turning pro in only 3-years, Marion found biking, discovered racing, and was hooked. Currently, Marion ranks in the top-12 overall in Cyclocross in the United States and finished in the top-45 in last year’s UCI World Cup in Belgium.

Marion didn’t always compete with a long beard. “Right after I started racing it was a pretty cold winter training in twenty-five degrees. I was tired of wearing face masks and decided to quit shaving,” said Marion. “With consistent victories in the top ten in Cyclocross at the UCI level, one of our sponsors, Xpedo, coined the name and hashtag #FearTheBeard and it stuck from there.”

“The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship is a very unique and fun event,” Marion said. “It’s exciting to see the event growing exponentially every year. I come from Cyclocross, so I really enjoy the short laps, but I’m a mountain biker at heart so having it on the beach with a fat bike is awesome. I’m sure the competition will be tough again, especially with everybody gunning for you.”

The 2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship begins with adventure-cycling clinics on Friday, March 10; beginner, sport, and expert races on Saturday of 8-miles, 16-miles, and 24-miles; and a fat bike nature tour of uninhabited Masonboro Island on Sunday. All activities will originate from the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
Marion’s professional teammate, Drew Bailey from Johnson City, TN, will also participate in this year’s Fat Bike Beach Championship. Both ride for the American Classic / Xpedo Professional Mountain Bike Team presented by Maxxis. Marion and Bailey have participated in two mountain bike races so far this season, with Marion coming in first and Bailey placing third, in both races.

“Cyclocross racing is full intensity and aerobic for a full hour. No recovery. No rest,” said Marion. “On the mountain bike, there’s a lot of on-and-off dictated by the trail. With beach racing, there’s nothing on the course to dictate how hard you go. The loose sand is definitely the most difficult. If you need the rest, you can get it on the packed sand. The one-mile course is on the beach in front of the Blockade Runner, and it’s great for spectators and fans.”

“If you have a fat bike you should definitely be at the Fat Bike Beach Championship,” Marion said. “If you don’t have one, see if you can rent one. There’s nothing else like this race in the United States. It’s fun and exciting. We’re looking forward to getting back to this race and the beach.”
2016 Female Champion, Jesse Piersol of Pennsylvania, 24-mile US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
“Up close and personal”
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
March 10-12, 2017
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “Fat bike racing in this format is an exciting spectator sport,” said Shawn Spencer, race director, and chair of the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship. “Unlike distance and downhill racing, the course is up close and personal, allowing spectators to see the entire course from one location, watching each racer go by on the one-mile oval course.”

Now in its third year, the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship returns to North Carolina’s Wrightsville Beach March 10-12, 2017.

“Fat biking began with the Iditarod Bike Race in Alaska and is growing rapidly,” said Spencer. “In North Carolina, it’s unlocked a lot of adventure biking along our coastal region in areas previously not accessible.”

The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will offer adventure-cycling clinics on Friday, beginner, sport, and expert races on Saturday of eight, 16, and 24-miles respectively, and a fat bike nature tour of uninhabited Masonboro Island on Sunday. All activities will originate from the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

“This year’s course layout will have less soft sand, making the straightaways less difficult,” said Spencer. “However, we will introduce more obstacles on the course, making the race more interesting for the athletes and more entertaining for the crowd.”
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
“This is one of the first races of the year, and you have a chance to test your early season fitness and see where you stand,” added Spencer. “The first year we had 30-racers, last year we doubled to 60, and this year we will limit the event to 100-racers.

“Each discipline of cycling – road, mountain, or Cyclocross – can do well and have fun in this event. But you have to be super-fit to come here and take the number one spot.”

Professional American Classic mountain biker Robert Marion of Mount Airy, North Carolina, won last year’s expert 24-mile male championship, with Jesse Piersol of Downington, Pennsylvania, capturing the women’s title. In 2015, Wilmington, North Carolina’s Cyclocross competitor Ben Brown earned the grinding expert division championship.

This year Spencer and the race committee will introduce a team division in the 24-mile race, allowing six team members to compete four miles each.

“Last year we had racers show up from the West Coast and other parts of the country,” said Spencer, owner of Bike Cycles in Wilmington. “This year, the race is the same weekend as the high school National Interscholastic Cycling Association Race in Brunswick County. We expect some of the bikers and their families to come out and see the fat bike competition on Saturday.”
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
The 3rd annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and amenities for residents and the island’s hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.




Contact:

Shawn Spencer, Event Chair and Race Director
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
P: 910-256-2545


Robert B Butler, Communications | PR

Keywords:
#FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #BikeCycle #CapeFearGear #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross





US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
2016 Winners
U.S. Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Robert Marion of N.C. and Jesse Piersol of PA. Overall Male and Female Champions

 
  
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC, USA - A perfect beach day with sunny sky, a nice steady breeze, and waterfront temps about 70 degrees welcomed the 2nd annual U.S. Open Fat Bike Beach Championship to Wrightsville Beach. 

Bikers from five states competed in three divisions covering distances of 24-miles, 16-miles, and 8-miles to accommodate expert, sport, and beginner skill levels. All races started and concluded on the surf-sideathost hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

With mild surf in the background, bikers launched in three waves, two minutes apart, on a one-mile zig-zag course challenging racers with a variety of obstacles and sand conditions.   

2016 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships Winners:

Expert Division - 24-miles
Female Overall Champion: Jesse Piersol, Downington, Pennsylvania
Male Overall Champion: Robert Marion, Mount Airy, North Carolina
Male 16-35 Winner: Ben Brown, Wilmington, North Carolina
Male 36-45 Winner: Christopher Dougherty, Leland, North Carolina
Male 46-55 Winner: Nima Ebrahimnejd, Wilmington, North Carolina
Male 56+ Winner: Craig Hendrix, Spartanburg, South Carolina
Female 36-45 Winner: Suzanne Tulsey, Oak Island, North Carolina

Sport Division - 16-miles
Male 16-35 Winner: Terry Slack, Hope Mills, North Carolina
Male 36-45 Winner: Jason Laxton, Boone, North Carolina
Male 46-55 Winner: Ed Stilley, Wilmington, North Carolina
Male 56+ Winner: Louis Almekinders, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Female 16-35 Winner: Philicia Marion, Mount Airy, North Carolina
Female 36-45 Winner: Maijaliisa Burkert, Vass, North Carolina

Beginner Division - 8-miles
Male 10-15 Winner: Eric Stock, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Male 16-35 Winner: Clint Strohman, Wilmington, North Carolina
Male 36-45 Winner: Gary Stevens, Wilmington, North Carolina
Male 46-55 Winner: Joe Baes, New Bern, North Carolina
Male 56+ Winner: John Hoover, Morehead City, North Carolina
Female 36-45 Winner: Marilyn Laxton, Boone, North Carolina
Female 46-55 Winner: Stephanie Taylor, New Bern, North Carolina
Female 56+ Winner: Linda Rachner, Martinsville, Virginia

 
Weekend activities concluded with a 12-mile sunrise ride on the beach on Sunday.

The 2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship benefits the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.
 
Contact:
 
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair and Race Director
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
E: Shawn@BikeCycleShop.com
P: 910-256-2545

Robert B Butler 
www.RBButler.com
www.NCPressRelease.org
#FatBike #BeachChampionship #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #Cycling #MTN