WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH – 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. 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, Tenn., captured the 24-mile elite male championship, besting 2015 champion Ben Brown of Wilmington and 2016 winner Robert Marion, known as “Fear The Beard” from Mount Airy. Marion and Bailey are team-mates on the American Classic/Xpedo Professional Mountain Bike Team.
Zdenka Worsham of Raleigh, 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 10th-ranked woman in the world in professional standup paddleboard, came in first place in the 8-mile women’s division.
24-Mile Elite Super Fat Race – Overall
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
1. Zdenka Worsham, Raleigh, NC
2. Philicia Marion, Mount Airy, NC
3. Jesse Piersol, Downington, PA
16-Mile Really Fat Race – Overall
1. Ed Stilley, Wilmington, NC
2. Craig Hendrix, Spartanburg, SC
3. Barry Wray, Wilmington, NC
4. David Lennard, Wilmington, NC
5. Joe Baes, New Bern, NC
1. Alexandra Christopulos, Vienna, VA
2. Della Marshall, Carolina Beach, NC
8-Mile Fat Race – Overall
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
1. April Zilg, Wilmington, NC
2. Barbara Gaylord, Whispering Pines, NC
3. Susan Pendse, Raleigh, NC
4. Julia Nicholls, Morehead City, NC