Saturday, September 13, 2008

Red Hawks Endure Fat Tire 40

Four members of the Ripon College Red Hawk Cycling team participated in the Fat Tire 40 off-road bike race from Hayward to Cable, Wis., Saturday. The 40-mile race on portions of the famed American Birkebeiner ski trails, forest roads, snowmobile trails and other wooded lanes is part of the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. This year marked the 26th anniversary of the annual event which is the largest mass-start off-road bicycle race in the United States.

Seniors Bryan Nell of St. Germain, Wis., and Jonathan Paretsky of Eagle River, Wis., led the Red Hawks. The pair crossed the finish line together in a time of 3 hours, 38 minutes and 53 seconds. The two placed 1,192 and 1,193, respectively, in a field of nearly 1,700.

Tiffany Seering, a first-year student from West Bend, Wis., finished approximately 12 minutes later with the clock at 3:50:41.2. Her effort placed her 1,351. Christa Kussmann, a junior from Beaver Dam, Wis., crossed the line at 6:10:33.8.

The Fat Tire was a monumental undertaking for all four of them. I told them to have fun and to consider it more of a training ride than a race. I'm extremely happy that each of them finished safely.

The race began at 10 a.m. in the city of Hayward under threatening skies. Occasional light rain showers persisted until steady rain began to fall midafternoon. The rain brought dropping temperatures and created muddy trail conditions.

Bryan, Jonathan and Tiffany all finished before worst of the rain. The weather certainly made things difficult for Christa in the final stretch of the race. It was not the best of circumstances for her, but she can be very proud of finishing.

Photos from the race.

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