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The world famous Top Banana Competition is back, retooled and tougher than ever.

To win, it takes a consistent, well-rounded rider at the top of their game all year long. In 2012, Johanna Schmidt and Mike Anderson were the first to take home the prestigious title and will look to defend the potassium over a season-long battle of attrition and brilliance.

The 2013 Route has been retooled to demand the most from riders over the course of a long season and in varied events across the state. There titles won’t go to a mountain biker or a road racer; to win, a rider will have to compete in all disciplines and tally points all year long.

The points system has all been changed to make the margins even narrower. A C race is now worth 5 points to the winner, -1 through the top five. A B Race is ten points, -1 to the top ten, while the A races will now be worth 15 points to first, 13 to second, 11 to third, and -1 to the rest of the top ten. The only exception will the the X100 race, a 100 miler that will be worth 20 points, -1 through the entire top 20, making it a big incentive to take on a huge race. Again, these points will be awarded to the highest male and female categories on race day. Elite classes, CAT 1/2 for men, and Elite 1/2/3 for women, and the A fields for both genders at CX races. No other points will be awarded.

We introduce the Spring Classics, a foursome of races that will be decided by the weather, the routes and some of the best competition in the state.

St. Fatty’s Day, Fat Bike Race. The fat tire race that started it all. In an effort to encourage all sorts of racing, fat bikes make their debut to kick off the 2013 campaign. St. Fatty’s at Marsh Ridge is an unforgettable way to kick off the season, and in 2012, riders like Ron Sanborn and Steve Andriese used the event as a solid warm up to being the spring race season. C Race for the Solo Fat Bike categories.

Inside Out Cyclocross #3. The last CX race for months and the perfect spring board ahead of the gravel races coming up. Inside Out is ideal training ground and provides the first truly diverse test of skill for riders that may be leaning heavily to road or mountain bike events. Look for Kim Thomas, Dan Korienek and Mickey Humpula to pull down points early on. C Race, points to Men’s and Women’s A Races.

Barry-Roubaix. It’s become the biggest race not called the Iceman Cometh in just a handful of years. No race offers as deep and diverse a field as the Killer, with roadies and mountain bikers entering on equal terms and early season freshness. Last year, the Roubaix gave BISSELL’s Mike Anderson an early lead that he held onto all season long, buoyed by results on the road. This year, the Men’s Elite field is nearly 300 strong, meaning the winner is almost certainly the best rider in the Mitten….so far. The Women’s race will hinge on the appearance of Einstein Racing’s Mackenzie Woodring, though word on the street is that Cyclocross Magazine’s Molly Hurford may be coming to make the start. A Race, Men’s and Women’s 62 mile races.

Lowell 50. The Thriller after the Killer checks in to cap off the Classics. The April start date means the weather could literally be anything, and now two weeks removed from Barry-Roubaix, riders will not only have a lot of miles in their legs, but also some outstanding race fitness. The flatter course makes the race even more wide open, though Dan Korienek will enter as the big favorite after a fall 2012 victory. This is also one of the most beautiful races on the calendar, and the rolling hills and covered bridges will serve as stunning backdrops to one of the best races around. B Race, 10 points, -1 through the top ten.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Top Banana Competition unveiling all week…