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It’s a long season ahead, but the Barry-Roubaix played the perfect platform to set the tone for 2013. 

There’s an obscene amount of bike racing to go, but the Killer Gravel Road Race served as a big exhibition for some of the area’s biggest riders. Here are five things the Lesson in Hastings has taught us heading into a hectic race season.

1. Mackenzie Woodring is The Boss. The Einstein Racing rider came on strong at the end of last season, including stamping her state road race championship a day early with the most impressive criterium display of the year. Her fourth place at the Iceman Cometh opened eyes, but without any Olympic duties to take care of this spring and summer, “Big Ring” is in position for an even bigger 2013. Einstein Racing spent the winter months recruiting one of the strongest men’s road teams around, but Woodring left a subtle reminder that the squad’s women’s team is still the team’s strength.

2. Justin Lindine lives up the hype…But Anderson is right there. Redline’s endurance man took a massive win in impressive fashion, working with and then dropping 2012 champion Mike Anderson. Lindine is a class act and a fixture at the national level, and it’s a great testament to the Michigan race scene that Anderson can fight over the long haul with one of the nation’s best. If Lindine can make it back in 2014, expect a pretty amazing rematch…all the better if it comes a few months early at the Iceman. We can make it happen, Justin…

3. The BISSELL boys will be tough to beat. The top riders in the state usually end up on BISSELL, and BISSELL usually ends winning stuff. But their showing Saturday was impressive for a lot of reasons. First off, they effectively neutralized the efforts of the entire chase group, and did so carefully monitoring Jorden Wakeley, Mike Simonson, Matt Light and Dan Korienek. BISSELL had two riders on the podium, with Jordan Diekema confirming is gravel prowess in third. They had Alex Vanias in 8th and Daniel Lam in 15th, lumping their riders very high up overall.

4. Kim Chapman is dangerous. The Canadian came down from the Sault and put in a demonstrative effort on the heels of the whirlwind that was Mackenzie Woodring. The dominant win overshadowed what was an equally impressive second place from Chapman. Armed only with countless grupettos to jump across from, she rode a smart race that gave her the biggest result she could hope for early on in the season. Algoma Bicycle Co. is contemplating a return trip back for the Lowell 50 next week. If she’s back, and Woodring is up for it, we could have a gravel showdown on our hands.

5. Like last year, this says a lot. If you look at Barry-Roubaix results and Iceman Cometh results, you’re going to notice an awful lot of the same names, and in the same order. For Anderson, Wakeley, Korienek, Lam, Diekema, Vanias, and the other guys slotting in the top fifty, it’s a comforting sign. And for the women, Woodring, Brockmiller and Chapman should enter the year with high expectations for a season packed with tough races and first-class competition.