Vasa Week: Fat Bike Series Points, New Challenges, And A Triple Threat
This weekend, hundreds of skiers and fat bikers will flock to the Vasa trails for a slate of tough races. Only a few will ski and ride. And of those, only a handful will do what our Dan Novak is doing…again.
It’s two weeks before the the 43rd Annual North American Vasa and race directors are looking to finalize the day’s schedule. The 50km freestyle race, the very first event of the weekend, kicks off at 8:30 am, with 27 km, 12 km, and other distances starting in waves regularly throughout the morning. Wave 11, starting at 11:50, seems a long time distance from those first starters. But directors are thinking it might be a bit tight.
That’s because some folks aren’t just skiing the 50km or 27km events. A few are racing, literally, to get back to Timber Ridge, change, eat, and get on the bike for the 42km fat bike race just minutes after they finish the ski. For Dan Novak, a swing of a few minutes, whether it’s from bad wax, a good group, or slower than expected conditions, could mean the difference from starting in the first wave or starting solo in the bike race. Either way, he’s going for it.
The Triple Threat and SkiFatalon are unique challenges that the North American Vasa introduced to challenge athletes to try something totally new. Dan has made the Triple Threat the pinnacle of his off-season, and it’s something he’s worked toward for months. Combining his BEE classes with skiing and swimming, he’s looking ready to repeat his Triple Threat win. It’s something beyond winning, though; simply attempting the grueling challenge is no easy task.
After Saturday’s 50 kilometer freestyle ski, it’s a quick rush to the bike for 42 kilometers of fat bike racing. That’s nearly 100 kilometers of racing, and approximately five and a half hours, with only a short break in between. Throw in the cold, the variable weather, and the challenge of eating and drinking with ski poles and winter gloves, and it’s a tough day. But it’s only the first day. On Sunday, the Triple Threat finishes with the 34 kilometer classic race, another 2-3 hour affair on tired legs and an empty tank.
For those who want to restrict their exertions to a single day, we have plenty of BEEs skiing and biking on Saturday. For fat bikers like Don Marsh, Birgit Conway, and Susan Vigland, it’s the second stop of the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series and a big chance to pocket some points as the Series hits the halfway mark. It’s a chance for others to test their mettle more than their horsepower; Cody Sovis and Brad Pauly are braving their first-ever 50 kilometer ski, focused on just finishing rather than being overly competitive, especially with Brad hitting the frozen start line with a few grains of vacation sand still between his toes.
No matter what your goal, we want to wish all our BEEs and every athlete at the Vasa the very best of luck this weekend! Registration is still open, so if you’re on the fence, make this the day you hop off and into action.