We interrupt the regularly scheduled race preview to raise awareness for a race that might never happen. Don’t let another good race go extinct.
West Branch race organizers have been on the Interwebs constantly as of late, urging all past and future participants to sign up in order to make a minimum number of racers by Monday. When the word first got out, the race had just 22 people signed up, a far cry from the hundreds that races last season. The June 2 date has a habit of creeping up on people, but this year, too many have left registration to the last minute and the race is in danger.
At last count 62 had signed up, but in order for the race to happen, we need a lot more. West Branch is a race that deserves big numbers; it’s a very well-run race that features one of the most competitive road race course south of Cedar. The race calls it a Mur de Huy style finish, and riders have complimented and dreaded the finishing climb that hits gradients as steep as 12% and runs about a mile long. The rest of the course isn’t east, either, with numerous small jaunts up hills at high speeds and some corners that string out the peloton as racers look to crack one another.
The Criterium is flat, fast and absolutely stellar. West Branch offers a number of outstanding places to stop and stay, and the race area downtown is one of those quaint little places that makes the Crit feel like it’s in some villa in Italy.
For those targeting the Michigan State Road Race Championship at the Cherry-Roubaix this year, West Branch offers a lot of climbing and the only other hilltop finish, making it a great race to test yourself and your team before August. It also comes just one week from the Mount Pleasant trifecta of TT, Criterium and Road Race, giving racers two great weekends and five race opportunities in eight days!
Head over to the West Branch Classic site , check out the races and times, and be sure to register as soon as humanly possible. As an added bonus, the West Branch Road Race is the first skinny-tire event in the Top Banana Competition, so CATs 1 and 2 will be eligible for Banana Points. If you aren’t that fast, you’ll be eligible for kolo t.c. high-fives, chest bumps, and other forms of thanks, hippness and encouragement.
Signing up will not only save West Branch, but may save the whales, ice caps, the indigenous populations of the Amazon Basin, all whilst possibly freeing Tibet! Maybe. Worth a shot.