S H O R T S H O R T S • •
PHOTOS BY ALLISON POTTER
FAT TIRES ON SHIFTING SANDS
THE FOURTH ANNUAL U.S. Open Fat Bike Beach Championship, scheduled for March 17
on the beach outside the Blockade Runner, features a few new bumps this year.
“One thing that’s always new is the course itself and the course conditions,” says
race creator and chairman Shawn Spencer.
Also different for 2018 is a shift from a distance race to a timed race. Instead of 8, 16 and 24 miles,
competitors will ride for 1, 1.5 or 2 hours.
“Due to natural constraints, i.e. the tide, we had to go to the timed event because with the
popularity of the event growing, people were pushing the limits of Mother Nature,” Spencer
The event features competitors riding bikes with uncharacteristically wide tires, used for trac-tion
on the sand. It began with about 20 riders when Spencer basically invented the sport four
years ago. Now, he expects to come close to reaching the cap of 100 cyclists.
Another change could be a spike in spectators. The Wrightsville Beach marathon takes place
that same morning, and Spencer hopes runners stick around for his afternoon event on the sand.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for athletes to watch other athletes,” he says.
— Ashley Paige Edwards
WBM FILE PHOTO
ALLISON POTTER 16
Matt Wisthoff demonstrates his fat bike
skills at Wrightsville Beach in January.
WBM march 2018
Philicia Marion competes during the
U.S. Open Fat Bike Championship at
Wrightsville Beach March 2016.