If we learned anything from the Crybaby Classic, it is this:
That darn Jorden Wakeley might just mess around and win the Iceman.
A few have said it. Whispered, as if to speak it aloud might ruin it, like some wish upon a star, more than a few have tipped the Einstein Racing phenom for Iceman Cometh glory. He did absolutely nothing to disspell that thought at Crybaby.
Even an on-form Alex Vanias could only hold onto the Tower of Power’s wheel for a lap before Wakeley started to pull away from his only challenger. Mike Anderson might have been with the pair if not for a day-ending mechanical, but those with functioning bikes couldn’t offer any resistance. It was Derek Graham, Vanias’ BISSELL teammate, running in third place for much of the day but even he entered the final lap over three minutes down behind the ragining Wakeley. North Country Cycle Sport’s John Cowan took a hard fought fourth place ahead of Einstein’s newest member, Chris Fisher, in fifth. Traverse City stayed well-represented with Ryan Kennedy and Jeff Craven in sixth and seventh.
If Wakeley’s performance was jaw-dropping, Sue Stephens’ was completely heart-breaking. Sue took the win with ease, as if following the same script from the Battle of the Burg. The sequel, though over completely different terrain, was just as dominant. Sue took the win by 11 minutes over Einstein Racing’s Johanna Schmidt. Schmidt almost certainly wrapped up her Top Banana Competition victory with two races left to go, but Stephens will be the overwhelming favorite at Peak2Peak and Iceman this fall. Erin Vicary took third just over a minute down behind Schmidt, with Hagerty Cycling’s Lauri Brockmiller in fourth ahead of Einstein’s Amanda Ryan.
The race was almost balmy after two years of frigid temperatures. The 50 degree start made the race extremely fast heading into the Crybaby Climb, and the dry trail made the singletrack quicker and the roots dry. The conditions were ideal for some big waves, including the hyper-competitive Expert field. Ty Schmidt and Chris Kushman from Einstein Racing went 1-2 in the grouped-up 17-39 field, while Jamie Parker won the Expert Men 40+. Craig Gietzen had a wonderful day, too, winning the Expert SS and a little something else, as well.
Patricia DeVost won the Expert Women’s ahead of Hagerty Cycling’s Melissa Ryba, who was on the ride of her life. Traverse City lumped three riders in the top five including Ryba, tailed by Marylin Kamp and Hagerty’s Rachel Decker.
The Team Competition was a huge success once again. With Einstein fielding two tough teams and Wakeley’s crushing overall time, they were toppled by, you guessed it, the kolo t.c. Gentlemen’s Club. With Chris Fisher and Alex Vanias leading the way with 2nd and 5th in the Elite race, Craig Gietzen’s SS win and Melissa Ryba’s second kept the team in contention. It fell to the squad’s 5th and final rider, Sport 50+ rider Joe Sovis to seal the win. Joe took 7 minutes off his faster lap from 2011, putting in his total effort on lap one to keep the team in contention. It worked. Einstein Racing’s Johanna Banana squad took second, with North Country Cycle Sport in third. Einstein’s other team, Amanda Panda (great names, huh?) held on for fourth ahead of The Blue Mafia, the mostly-Hagerty contigent. Yours Truly was teamed with Sue Stephens, Erin Vicary, Uises Rabeiro (coolest name of the race), Steve Neal and Grant Troton as Ghost Team II for sixth. As ever, just outside the money.
Check back for the updated Top Banana Competition picture on Wednesday and Thursday. Will Wakeley sneak up to the top? Can Sue Stephens gain ground for a podium finish? No idea. We will see.