Jacob Hora pushes his bike across a frozen river in Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

On March 5 two Victor residents crossed the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Invitational together after a grueling four days and 18 hours of traveling through interior Alaska on fat bikes. One was experienced professional athlete Jay Petervary; the other was his 16-year-old protegee Jacob Hora.

Hora and Petervary were the third and fourth racers to complete the journey. Before the event, Hora said his goal was to finish; instead, he found the podium in the longest-running fat bike race in the world.

Because of Covid precautions, Petervary and Hora opted to compete in the “bivy category,” meaning they slept outside the entire race. They were able to use other amenities at checkpoints and aid stations.

The weather was relatively good for Alaska; the lowest temperature they observed was -15 degrees, and they only saw some snowfall and one harsh wind storm. Most of the trail surface was rideable, with some water overflow along the river and required stream crossings.

“But the snow was slow,” Petervary said. “No matter how much energy you put into the pedals you could not go faster than five miles per hour. Overall, not too hard but not too easy. A perfect race, in my opinion.”

It was Petervary’s 12th time racing the Iditarod, and he said his favorite part of the experience was being a mentor to Hora. “It was all pretty amazing to witness and be a part of. I’m super proud of him and the experience we shared on the trail. Finishing third, as a rookie, at 16, with a smile and no real issues while out there, really hints at Jacob’s talent and shows he can do anything he wants to do.”

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