Photo Stolen from JW9

It was one of the fastest fields short of the Iceman and one of the closest Top Twenties in recent memory. The 2012 Mud, Sweat and Beers did not disappoint, with a revamped course, a quality field and a seriously stocked beer tent.

If you aren’t familiar with the Top Banana Competition, read up on it right here before moving on. It’s a prize that relies rather heavily on the glory than the trophy, because there is no trophy aside from a bright, full bunch of Chiquinta bananas at the end of the season. Leading the way heading into MSB was the terrifying trio of Mike Anderson, Dan Korienek and John Cowan. Anderson and Cowan, both riding for North Country Cycle Sport, have put in great rides all spring, but with Anderson skipping MSB, the new #1 spot was up for grabs. Korienek chose Fort Custer instead, so riders knew a whole new podium was possible at the end of the day.

MSB is a 1.0 race worth 20 points for the win, -1 for each placing in the Top Twenty. With that much up for grabs, Einstein Racing’s Jorden Wakeley, Ron Sanborn, Ty Schmidt and Ryan Kennedy were looking for big jumps up the standings. Buoyed by Jason Whittaker and a host of other black jerseys throughout the field, Einstein impressed all day. They threw no less than six riders into the Top Twenty overall, more than any other team.

Hagerty Cycling slotted in four men in the Top Twenty, including Brent Wiersma, TJ Jenema, Mike Okma and Tim Barrons. The two Traverse City teams accounted for half of the Top Twenty and half of the Top Fifty, an outstanding showing on home turf for both squads.

Here’s the Top 20, with points:

Jorden Wakeley 20
John Cowan       19
Chad Wells         18
Ty Schmidt          17
Ron Sanborn      16
Mark Spore          15
TJ Jenema           14
Scott Diment        13
Tom White           12
David Maclean    11
Scott Simpson      10
Jack Kline             9
Brent Wiersma     8
Chris Kushman    7
Jeff Zeller               6
Jason Whittaker  5
Mike Okma            4
Scott Luca               3
Tim Barrons           2
Cody Sovis               1

Now, the new Top Ten in the Race for the Bananas:

Mike Anderson at 45 points
John Cowan at 40 points
Jorden Wakeley at 34 points
Chad Wells at 27 points
Dan Korienek at 25 points
Brian Matter at 19 points
Nate Williams at 18 points
Ty Schmidt at 17 points
Shawn Adams at 17 points
Ron Sanborn at 16 points
Steve Broglio at 16 points
Mark Spore at 15 points
TJ Jenema at 15 points

Anderson holds on to the Bananas once again, and is joined at the top by teammate John Cowan to give NCCS a 1-2 atop the standings. Jorden Wakeley makes a huge leap up the standings to slot in at third, just ahead of Chad Wells. Ty Schmidt, Ron Sanborn, Mark Spore and The Big Man Jenema make their debuts in the Top Twenty as the initia MTB portion comes to a close.

The next three events that count for the Banana competition are all on the road, which should give us some new names popping onto the leader board. We’ll use the road races at West Branch, Mt. Pleasant and the Cherry-Roubaix for out skinny-tired points before returning to the dirt to conclude the season with a Murderer’s Row of Battle at the Burg, Crybaby Classic, Peak2Peak and the Iceman Cometh. The Cherry-Roubaix will be double points for the road, as it is the state championship as well. Congrats to everyone that made the list, and thanks for the organizers of MSB for putting on a great race.