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    US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – "Up Close and Personal" WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “Fat bike racing in this format is an exciting spectator … Read More
    US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – "Up Close and Personal" 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. Robert B Butler Butler Communications | PR www.NCPressRelease.org www.RBButler.com North Carolina Press Release #FatBike #USOpenFatBike #FatBikeBeachChampionship #MountainBike #Cyclocross #BikeCycle #CapeFearGear #BlockadeRunner #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #FatCross Read Less
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Andrew Bailey, 24-mile Male Champion – Courtesy of Cape Fear Gear
Zdenka Worsham, 24-mile Women's Champion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Results
2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Andrew Bailey, 2017 Elite 24-Mile Men's Champion, with team-mate 'Fear the Beard' Robert Marion, 2016 Champion – Courtesy of Robert Butler
Zdenka Worsham, 2017 Elite 24-Mile Women's Champion – Courtesy of Robert Butler
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. 
April Zilg, 8-mile Women's Champion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Eric Stock, 8-Mile Male Champion (#51) at the starting line – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Alexandra Christopolus (L) 16-mile Female Champion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Andrew Bailey and team-mate 'Fear the Beard' Robert Marion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Fat bike racing on Wrightsville Beach, NC – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Eric Stock, 8-mile Male Champion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Zdenka Worsham, Andrew Bailey, Robert Marion, David Ellegood – In the trench – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
2017 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Jesse Piersol, 2016 Women's Elite Champion – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
'Fear the Beard' Robert Marion, 2016 Men's Elite Champion – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Nicolas Montoya, GM of Blockade Runner with April Zilg, Women's 8-mile Champion - Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Sayrd Price, Azalea Festival Triathlete in the morning, Fat Bike Beach Championship in the afternoon! Crazy, man! – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Tire obstacle – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Alexandra Christopolus, Women's 16-mile Champion - Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Andrew Bailey pulls ahead of team-mate Robert Marion – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Fat Bikes – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Nicolas Montoya, GM of host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort – Courtesy of Sam Black
Ed Stilley, Men's Champ 16-Mile, Airborne! – Courtesy of Sam Black
Philicia Marion, 2nd Place 24-mile Women's division – Courtesy of Sam Black
Zdenka Worsham, Women's Champ 24-Mile – Courtesy of Sam Black
Traffic jam spot on the course – Courtesy of Derosset Gordon
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
Fat Bikes Gear Up for North Carolina Races March 11-13 in
Wrightsville Beach
Photo courtesy of William J. Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “We have double the race registrations compared to this time last year,” said Shawn Spencer, chair for the 2nd annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, scheduled March 11-13 in Wrightsville Beach. “So far we have racers from South Carolina, Delaware, and a number of cities in North Carolina.”
 
Spencer has limited registration to 100 racers. Click for race information and registration
 
Bikers in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will compete in three divisions covering distances of 24-miles, 16-miles, and 8-miles to accommodate expert, sport, and beginner skill levels. All races will begin and end at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
 
Weekend activities begin with adventure riding on the island, maintenance and race tips, and an evening social on Friday; demo biking, races, entertainment on the beach lawn, and the awards ceremony on Saturday; concluding with a 12-mile sunrise ride on the beach on Sunday.
 
Ben Brown, last year's champion in the 24-mile expert division, registered early and will defend his title. "I had so much fun at the inaugural event, the 2016 race was one of the first events I put on my calendar," said Brown, who finished 11th in his age group earlier this year at USA Cycling's 2016 Cyclocross National Championship.
 
A one-mile oval course will be laid out on Wrightsville Beach between the piers, said Spencer. Obstacles will be placed at strategic locations, creating a variety of demanding conditions for the racers and increasing the thrill-factor for all. Constantly changing sand surfaces will test the endurance of the bikers. The course design will provide spectators and media front row opportunities to follow the action and cheer their favorites.
Photo courtesy of Shawn Spencer, Bike Cycles, Wilmington, NC
Fat bikes represent the fastest growing market segment in the cycling industry, according to Outside Magazine, with the number of companies making fat bikes doubling between 2013 and 2014. In May of this year, Outside Magazine featured Wrightsville Beach as one of six fat bike friendly beach towns in the United States.
 
"We expect The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship to grow rapidly and become one of the top races in the country," said Spencer. "Wrightsville Beach is a highly desirable destination and Blockade Runner Beach Resort, home of the Carolina Cup, is serving as the host hotel."
 
The 2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit 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, Communications | PR
 
#FatBike #Cycling
2016 Event Schedule
 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
 
Friday, March 11, TBA
Fat bike adventure riding, maintenance and race tips
Blockade Runner Beach Resort 
 
Friday, March 11, 4:30-6:00 p.m.         
Packet Pickup at Blockade Runner Beach Resort
 
Friday, March 11, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Evening Social at Blockade Runner Beach Resort
 
Saturday, March 12,  10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Demo Bikes available
On the beach – Bike Cycles Tent
 
Saturday, March 12, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Finalize course setup and placement of obstacles on the beach. Volunteers are welcome. Call 910-256-2545
 
Saturday, March 12, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
 
Saturday, March 12, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Awards and Post-race Celebration
DJ entertainment under the Red Bull Wigwam 
Beach Lawn at Blockade Runner Beach Resort
 
Sunday, March 13th, Sunrise (7:15 a.m.)   
Sunrise Ride on Wrightsville Beach 12-miles
Departing Blockade Runner Beach Resort
                                    
Tides for March 12th at Wrightsville Beach
3:43 a.m. – low tide
9:48 a.m. – high tide
3:55 p.m. – low tide
10:15 p.m. – high tide
 
Matt Born, Star News Online
Fat Biking Booms – NC’s Ben Brown to Defend Beach Championship
Ben Brown, 2015 Champion Expert Division US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “This year, fat bike races make up 42 percent of the listings. Last year, just 5 percent of the January and February events were fat bike races,” said Jeff Barber, publisher of Singletracks, a leading provider of information for adventure bikers. “We counted 52 fat bike races taking place in 17 U.S. states from Maine to California and as far south as North Carolina.”
 
While the sport of fat bike racing expands at a swift pace around the globe, event chair Shawn Spencer is re-checking final details on The 2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, scheduled March 11-13, 2016, in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
 
“Fat bike is definitely a thriving sport,” said Spencer. “Registration for the US Open Fat Bike race is ahead of last year, with early signers ranging in age from 14 to 67, coming from cities across North Carolina and states as far away as Delaware.”
 
Bikers in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will compete in three divisions covering distances of 24-miles, 16-miles, and 8-miles to accommodate expert, sport, and beginner skill levels. All races will begin and end at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort. 
 
Ben Brown, Champion Expert Division 2015 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Ben Brown, last year’s champion in the 24-mile expert division race, registered early and will defend his title on March 12th. “I had so much fun at the inaugural event, the 2016 race was one of the first events I put on my calendar,” said Brown, who also finished 11th in his age group at USA Cycling’s 2016 Cyclocross National Championship.
 
Activities include adventure riding, maintenance and race tips, with an evening social on Friday; demo bikes, races and the awards ceremony on Saturday; concluding with a 12-mile sunrise ride on the beach Sunday morning.
 
According to Brown, fat bike beach racing is similar to racing on a contained course that is spectator friendly requiring riders to do multiple laps at top speed. “As a racer, you need to be comfortable riding in groups at high speeds, be able to handle a bike extremely well, take advantage of drafting when able to, find the right "groove" in the course, and be able to ride at your max heart rate for most of the event. Having the handling skills from being a mountain biker is a huge help as well,” said Brown.
 
A one-mile oval course will be laid out on Wrightsville Beach between the piers, said Spencer. Obstacles will be placed at strategic locations, creating a variety of demanding conditions for the racers and increasing the fun-factor for all. Constantly changing sand surfaces will test the endurance of the bikers. The course design provides spectators and media front row opportunities to follow the action. 
Starting line – 2015 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship – courtesy Robert B Butler
Regarding strategy and tactics, Brown advises racers to identify the strong riders and work as a group to pull away from the field. “Make other racers do the work while you draft,” said Brown. “Watch the riders in your group for the first half the race to find their weakness, make the decision on when and where to attack the weakness toward the end of the race to put yourself in a position to win.”
 
“The 24-mile aspect and the fact that it takes place on a beach can throw all of those tactics out the window if the conditions are not right,” said Brown. “Last year we had heavy fog and a stiff south wind, along with a fair amount of soft sand. I found myself working really hard to get through the soft sand for the first half of the course…” Click to read the entire Ben Brown interview
 
The 2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.
 
 
 
Contact:
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
P: 910-256-2545
 
Robert B Butler, Communications | PR
 
#fatbike #fatcross #usofatbike #mtnbike
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
Interview featuring Ben Brown, 2015 Expert Division Champion in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
 
Robert B Butler, North Carolina Press Release: Congratulations on your 2015 Expert Division title! Are you planning to defend your championship in the 2nd Annual?  
 
Brown: Thank you on the congrats on the 2015 victory, and YES I am coming back to defend my title in 2016. I had so much fun at the inaugural event, the 2016 event was one of the first events I put on my 2016 race calendar. 
 
Butler: Who do you think will be your key competitors in this race?  
 
Brown: That is a tough question! Since fat bike racing is such a new genre of bike racing it is very hard to identify who the strongest riders are. A well-trained road racer or mountain bike racer or cyclocross racer has the ability to have a good day on the fat bike if they can figure out the handling. If Shawn [Spencer, race chair] would compete, he would be the toughest to take down; he basically lives on his fat bike. I heard some rumors Shawn was trying to get Specialized to fly out former mountain bike National Champion and current USA Cycling Fat Bike National Champion Ned Overend. Now that would be some competition!!
 
Butler: How would you compare fat bike racing on the beach to other types of bike racing?  
 
Brown: Beach fat bike racing would be most similar to cyclocross racing or crit [criterium] racing (road bikes) - a short, contained course that is spectator friendly that requires riders to do multiple laps at top speed. As a racer you need to comfortable riding in groups of riders at high speeds, be able to handle a bike extremely well, take advantage of drafting when able to, find the right "grove" in the course, and be able to ride at your max heart rate for most of the event.  Having the handling skills from being a mountain biker is a huge help as well.
 
Butler: What are your strategy and tactics for a 24-mile beach race?  
 
Brown: Strategy and tactics would be similar to cross and crit [criterium] racing...identify the strong riders, work as a group to pull away from the field, make other racers do the work while you draft, watch the other riders in your group for the first half the race to find their weakness, make the decision on when and where to attack the weakness toward the end of the race to put yourself in a position to win. 
 
The 24-mile aspect and the fact that it takes place on a beach can throw all of those tactics out the window if the conditions are not right.  Last year, we had heavy fog and a stiff south wind, along with a fair amount of soft sand. I found myself working really hard to get through the soft sand for the first half of the course, and when I would get a tail wind from the south on the way back to the start/finish I would use it as an opportunity to recover. You don't want to go out in the first 10 miles and blow up (max out your heart rate and not be able to recovery, you essentially blow up your "engine"), because at some point on the course there will be a headwind and soft sand that will require extra energy to battle through.
 
Butler: Congratulations on your performance of finishing 11th in the USA Cycling National Championship. Do you have any comments about the race and your plans for the future in this division?
 
Brown: I have been competitively racing bikes since I was 14 (21 years), and this was my first full season of racing cyclocross; so an 11th place finish in my age group at nationals was beyond my expectations. My main discipline is mountain biking, and more specifically endurance mountain biking. The past two years my "A race" of the season has been the Leadville 100, a 104 mile mountain bike race in Leadville, Colorado where the entire course is above 10,000 feet in elevation - that is tough on someone who literally lives at sea level. Cross racing requires more short, intense bursts of power and speed than mountain biking, so I head to tweak my training to fit this style of racing. The races are typically only 45 minutes to an hour long, so it is all out from the sound of the whistle. The cyclocross season starts in October, and I plan on being there to compete again in the North Carolina Cyclocross Series and head to USAC nationals in Connecticut to see if I can improve on my results.
 
Butler: Anything else you'd like to share?
 
Brown: Shawn [Spencer, event chair] has poured his heart and soul into this event and I believe that as the years go on this event will only get bigger and bigger. Racers are often very critical of how events/races are run by the promoter...from how the course was, to did the race start on time, to how easy it was to register, to how many porta-potties there are, to how quickly podiums are done, to how good the swag is, etc.  And I must say that US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship was flawlessly run as a race I have ever been to. People need to come check this event out, whether they are racing our just want to watch the race; it is going to be a fun time. Cycling is a great way to exercise; and for people at the beach a fat bike is awesome bike to have in the garage. Even if people never plan on racing, getting out for a ride on the sand at the beach is a great work out for the body and relaxes the mind. And my final comment is always wear a helmet, you'll be a lot cooler and safer if you do.
 
End of Interview featuring Ben Brown, 2015 Expert Division Champion in the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, by Robert B Butler of North Carolina Press Release
 
Robert B Butler
Communications | PR
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship Returns to New Hanover County, North Carolina
Ben Brown, 2015 Expert Division Champion, US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship - photo courtesy of William Baggett
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – In March 2015, racers from four states converged in Wrightsville Beach for the inaugural US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship. Bikers competed in three divisions covering distances of 24-miles, 16-miles, and 8-miles to accommodate expert, sport, and beginner skill levels. This race, one of the first of its kind in the United States, returns to Wrightsville Beach on March 12, 2016.
 
Fat bikes represent the fastest growing market segment in the cycling industry, according to Outside Magazine, with the number of companies making fat bikes doubling between 2013 and 2014. Like standup paddleboarders and the Carolina Cup, fat bike athletes, expert to beginner, are seeking quality venues and competition. In May of this year, Outside Magazine featured Wrightsville Beach as one of six fat bike friendly beach towns in the United States.
 
"We expect The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship in Wrightsville Beach to grow rapidly and become one of the top races in the country," said Shawn Spencer, event chairman and owner of Bike Cycles in Wilmington. "Wrightsville is a highly desirable destination and Blockade Runner Beach Resort, home of the Carolina Cup, will serve as the host hotel."
 
A one-mile oval course will be laid out on the beach between the piers, according to Spencer. Obstacles will be placed at strategic locations, creating a variety of demanding conditions for the racers and increasing the thrill-factor for all. Constantly changing sand surfaces, from wet and packed to dry and loose, will test the endurance of the racers. The course design provides spectators and media front row opportunities to follow the action.
 
“The course will be challenging for the racers while capturing the excitement of friendly and tough competition for the spectators,” said Spencer. “Sponsors, who make it all possible, will have high visibility adding to the festive mood on race day.” Spencer launched the search for 2016 sponsors this week, including an exclusive naming sponsor, participating sponsors, and friends of the Fat Bike Championship.
 
“As with the Carolina Cup and other major events, this race is an excellent economic development opportunity for New Hanover County,” said Spencer. “The interest is there, and, we have a wonderful airport, great roads, an attractive destination, a variety of bike trails, and ample infrastructure to host a major shoulder-season event.”
 
The 2nd Annual US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship (#usofatbike) will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.
 
Contact:
 
Shawn Spencer, Event Chair
The US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
E: Shawn@BikeCycleShop.com
P: 910-256-2545
2015 Archives
Photo by William J Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Photo by William J Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Expert Division Champion, Ben Brown, Photo by William J Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort                                    
 
March 14, 2015
 
North Carolina Bikers Sweep US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships
 
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – North Carolina bikers dominated the inaugural US Open Fat Bike Championships in Wrightsville Beach on Saturday. Racers from four states competing in three divisions covered distances of 24-miles, 16-miles, and 8-miles to accommodate expert, sport, and beginner skill levels.  

With pounding surf in the background, participants launched in three waves, two minutes apart on a one-mile beach course between the piers on Wrightsville. The corridor zig-zagged the low-tide beachfront, challenging racers with a variety of obstacles and sand conditions. Start and finish lines were located at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.  

2015 US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships Winners

Expert Division – 24-miles
 
Ben Brown #31, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:33:53
Taylor Milleson #23, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:43:36
Ed Kulbis #18, of Jacksonville, NC, time of 1:55:23
Michael Vandenheuvel #9, of Cary, NC, time of 2:10:50
 
Sport Division – 16-miles 
 
William Sessoms #4, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:12:56
Jason Laxton #32, of Boone, NC, time of 1:13:26
Patrick Mulligan #3, of Wrightsville Beach, NC, time of 1:21:03
Michael Bassano #26, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:31:04
Dave Ellegood #7, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:32:05
 
Beginner Division – 8-miles
 
Jonathan Ward #22, of Wilmington, NC, time of 43:44
Chad McCain #2, of Jacksonville, NC, time of 44:17
Jonathan DuBell #33, of Wilmington, NC, time of 45:08
Matt Pugh #8, of Wilmington, NC, time of 49:53
Jon Duplessis #29, of Wilmington, NC, time of 52:55
Youth Champion

Tanner Dale #15, of Myrtle Beach, SC, time of 1:31:43 (8-mile)

Unicycle Division Champion

James Turner #21, of Wilmington, NC, time of 1:46:29 (16-mile)

“Globally, we’re seeing the sport of fat bike take off as another form of exercise to get people excited to get outdoors,” said Shawn Spencer, event chairman. “It has opened up a new sport and terrain that people weren’t able to previously ride.” 

Proceeds from the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.

Contact:
Shawn Spencer, Chairman
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Email: bikecycles@gmail.com
Phone: 910-256-2545 or 910-264-5382
 
Robert B Butler | PR
 
 
 
Aerial drone footage of the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships
by Ned Leary Photography, www.NedLeary.com
Aerial photography courtesy of Ned Leary Photography, www.NedLeary.com
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
 
 
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships Photo Galleries:
 
 
 
 
 
The following photos courtesy of William J Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort
The preceding photos courtesy of William J Baggett, Blockade Runner Beach Resort
 
 
 
 
Press Release
 
Fat Bike Racers Prepare for US Open Beach Championships
 
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – “We’re super excited about this weekend’s race,” said Shawn Spencer, chairman of the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships. “We have racers coming from 4 states, including a registrant from California. The weather looks like it will cooperate and be warm for us. We’re pumped up.”
 
The inaugural US Open Fat Bike Beach Championships, comprised of 3 major races and a weekend pleasure ride, is being held March 13-15, in Wrightsville Beach. Start and finish lines for the races will be located at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
 
Invented for winter transportation in Alaska, the sport of fat bike racing is speeding around the globe showing no signs of slowing down. Fat bikes typically feature four-inch tires and are capable of traversing unstable terrain, including snow, desert bogs, mud, and sand.
 
“Globally, we’re seeing fat bike take off as another form of exercise to get people excited to get outdoors,” said Spencer. “It has opened up a new sport and terrain that people weren’t able to previously ride.”
 
Races begin Saturday, March 14, at 9 a.m. on a one-mile beach course between the piers on Wrightsville Beach. Participants will launch in three waves, two minutes apart, for 8, 16, and 24-mile events. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers from each age category in each division.
Spencer’s Marine Corp friends, local volunteers, and the Red Bull support team will assist with race logistics. “We welcome spectators on the beach,” said Spencer.
 
On Sunday, March 15, racers will have the opportunity for a group pleasure ride, exploring the neighborhoods and beaches of Wrightsville.
 “As the home of the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, Quintiles Marathon and Carolina Cup SUP, it is only appropriate to introduce fat bike racing to the east coast in the sports hub of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach,” said Spencer, a multi-sport racer, professional ‘bike fitter’, and owner of Bike Cycles.
 
Proceeds from the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.
 
 
 
 
 
Contact:
Shawn Spencer, Chairman
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Email: bikecycles@gmail.com
Phone: 910-256-2545 or 910-264-5382
 
Press Release
 
Alaska’s Fat Bike Racing Gains Traction In North Carolina
 
 
Wilmington, NC – Invented for winter transportation in Alaska, and later used in mountain biking and touring the deserts of New Mexico, the sport of fat bike racing is speeding around the globe showing no signs of slowing down.
 
From March 13-15, fat bike racing rolls into Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina with the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship.
 
“As the home of the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, Quintiles Marathon and Carolina Cup SUP, it is only appropriate to introduce fat bike racing to the east coast in the sports hub of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach,” said event chairman and multi-sport racer Shawn Spencer.
 
Historically custom-made and used for off-road transportation and adventure riding, fat bikes have only recently gained wider visibility. Fat bikes typically feature four-inch wide tires, the pressure of which can be adjusted up or down. Thus, fat bikes are capable of traversing unstable terrain, including snow, desert bogs, mud, and sand.
 
The race course in North Carolina will feature different landscapes to test the mettle of the bikers. The course will be a large kidney-shaped area between the Wrightsville Beach piers with a variety of beach surfaces, from thick, soft and difficult sand to hard-packed sand along the water’s edge. Course layout will be finalized and available for preview after race check-in, on Friday, March 13. Start and finish lines will be located at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
 
“Environmental impact of the fat bike is very low due to tire size and weight distribution,” said Spencer, citing the results of a local test race on the beach in November. Spencer, a Certified Body Geometry ‘bike fitter’ and owner of Bike Cycles, works with cyclists around the United States and other countries to set up and fit their equipment.
 
The race will feature Expert, Sport, and Beginner divisions to accommodate different skill and experience levels. For the expert division, the course will run for 25 miles, 15 miles for the sport division, and 5 miles for the beginner category. 
 
Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers from each age category in each division.
 
Saturday’s race will be timed using RaceSplitter. Racers wishing to track their performance relative to other racers are encouraged to pre-load the Strava smartphone application.
 
On Sunday, March 15, racers will have the opportunity to visit a nearby, uninhabited island for a 9-mile pleasure ride on the beach.
 
Proceeds from the US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship will benefit the Wrightsville Beach Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public parks and community amenities.
 
 
 
 
 
Contact:
 
Shawn Spencer, Chairman
US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship
Email: bikecycles@gmail.com
Phone: 910-256-2545 or 910-264-5382
 
 
Robert B Butler | PR
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
Photo courtesy of Bike Cycles
Shawn Spencer, Chairman, US Open Fat Bike Beach Championship