The Barry-Roubaix always finds a way to impressive and surprise, and in 2012 racers were thrown two curveballs that made huge changes to the 4th edition of Michigan’s biggest spring race. Most years, racers face frigid temperatures at the 10am start. It was a balmy 59 degrees when the kolo-mobile rolled into Gun Lake to being race preparations. By area standards, that’s almost a touch warm for a race, especially in March.
Instead of an arctic chill, the 2012 Barry-Roubaix was graced with overnight rain. Like so much holy water anointing the newborn season (perhaps too much), the rain fell until the early morning before leaving way to low clouds and grey skies. The roads were soggy, but not quite the mud-bath some (including Yours Truly) predicted. The other curveball, Shaw Road, also wreaked havoc. The sand was churned into a peanut-butter thick layer of slow down, causing many races to hike it up the sandy slopes. On the descent, what is a seasonal road was turned into a chain of lakes. Puddles closer related to ponds sprung up, causing riders to jockey for position to cross the puddles at the shallowest depths. For the 36 milers, there was an added task of dodging the walking 23 milers, who, being class acts one and all, declined to mess up their nice bikes and politely skirted around the water.
The Elite 62 mile racers took the gun first. A neutral start was not, according to a few, all that neutral, and the power men took off quick on Gun Lake Road. After some distance, Mike Anderson (North Country Cycle Sport) broke about ten meters in front of the leading pack, dangling there to be joined shortly by Brian Matter (GearGrinder/Bontrager). The two took advantage of the rough, muddy roads to forge out a fragile lead. As Mike Anderson noted in a post-race interview, the pair worked together to keep clear of a large chasing pack. While Anderson and Matter practiced their two-man time trial off the front, a group of about 10 or 15 could not organize. As Einstein Racing’s Jorden Wakeley put it later via Facebook, “No one wanted to play nice and try bridging back to the leaders.”
In the finale, Mike Anderson took off as he and Matter made the turn into the mile-long drag to the line. He shook Matter about 300 meters from the and coasted in to a huge victory. Matter cruised in three seconds back. Third place was seized by Nate Williams (BISSELL AVG Nuvo), with Shawn Adams (Carbon Racing) and Steve Brolio (Lathrup Industries/Giant Bicycles) rounding out the podium places. (A special nod to last week’s There Will Be Blood champion Dan Korienek (Leadout Racing) who slipped in sixth).
The women’s race started with a crash early on that took out one rider, but turned into a route for Amy Stauffer. The Priority Health rider crushed to victory with a three minute margin over Sam Brode (Cleveland Clinic) and a ten minute gap back to third place Kathy Everts (Real Women Tri/Chicago Drive Cycling). Stephanie Swan (ProBikes/Pittsburgh Racing Team) and Amelia Moore (Les Petites Victoires) rounded out the Women’s podium.
In the 36 mile event, Jordan Diekma (Ascension Cycling) beat all age categories and topped his own with a blistering 1:44:07, barely edging out Michael Wissink (Specialized), who was given the same time on the clock. Marie Dersham of Priority Health took the fastest Women’s 36 mile time at 1:59:27, just ahead of Lauri Brockmiller (Hagerty Cycling).