Awesome shot of the Spring Fury Cross fun by Jack Kunnen!
The Arcadia Grit and Gravel is a pretty awesome race that has a bit of something for every type of ride; there's 10 miles of plush singletrack with tight banked turns and rolling hills, miles of gravel roads with long winding climbs, a few sections of seasonal two-tracks and steep descents to test one's mettle and a bit of pavement to put the power to the pedals. I felt pretty good coming into the race and knew it would be a battle of watts from the starting lineup. The roll-out was fairly neutral with a welcome attack from the Sovis brothers to stir things up. At the first big climb it really began to heat up and it was a battle of will to the top with myself, Jorden, Ben and Alex. Things came back together on the flats and rolling terrain and i knew it would soon be time to hammer again at the climb before the singletrack. On the second climb i set a steady pace, waiting for the attacks and sure as the wind blows they came hard. Jorden and Alex came around prompting me to stand on the pedals and give it hell. They put a few seconds between myself and Ben who was right on my heels. Coming into the singletrack it was Jorden, Alex, myself and Ben in that order. As we got in further it slowly spaced out until it seemed we were all riding solo. When we peeked out onto the gravel section i could see alex about 15 seconds up and Ben about 15 seconds back. In the second section of two track i was able to bridge up closer to Alex but i took one too many risks and got into a fight with a maple in a sharp turn. Thankfully i wasn't hurt much, mostly just scraped and sore and decided from there on out it was best to just finish the race where i was at, with a lot more riding on the next week of racing. I rolled into the finish line in third position with a good ride by Alex for second and a typically-superb ride by Jorden for the win. The race folks did a swell job with food onsite and fresh beer by Stormcloud brewing. I could have stayed all day to bask in the sun, get burnt and drive home late but Yankee Springs was less than 24 hours away so i withheld.
Fun folks to race against
The Yankee Springs Time Trial is a classic spring mountain bike event in Michigan and a staple for most riders looking to see where they stack up against the usual suspects. However, the weather threw a wrench in the works this year and the race was postponed from it's traditional April time to mid-May. It was definitely a good call to delay as the weather couldn't have been better and the trail was super smooth. It was probably the nicest i've seen yankee in years and the new section was a pleasant addition. Most riders didn't seem to care for the new loop, but i was all for a nice long section to drill it and use those roadie skills! The tricky part of the TT is not knowing exactly where you stand in the pecking order when you're out on course. I stayed on the gas and tried to be as safe as possible whilst still bringing the pain. I knew there were some fast riders that started behind me, and i was mostly concerned with Dan Korienek as i have felt his wrath many times before. I finally got my sanity check when i went through the new section on the second lap and was informed that i was about 3 minutes up on second (which i came to assume was Dan). I knew he started about 2 minutes behind me so i was in the clear as long as i kept pace and didn't muck anything up. It felt good to get the first win of the year on the new Redline D880. This race really showed the advantages of having a full suspension rig with good a wide range of tuning. I was able to hammer every downhill, stay hard in the corners and soak up the rocks and roots without loosing much speed. I couldn't have been happier with the way the bike performed.
An awesome photo courtesy of Karen Brower
I assure you i was having a good time despite my expression
Sweet poster designed by an even sweeter girl, Jenny Scott!
It's a celebration!
The Giant Cog by Wolftooth Cycling