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Two of the biggest names in Michigan mountain biking set tone for the rest of the season. 

Yankee Springs is the annual kick off for the mountain bikers, and the event drew over five hundred riders once again. The 24th edition of the race came at a time where much of Grand Rapids and the rest of West Michigan are underwater. There’s a lot of people’s minds, and Yankee Springs is a welcome and exciting distraction.

For the Elite racers, it’s always a mental blow to take a win early in the season, and with a star-studded queue waiting to leave at :30 intervals, there was a lot on the line. The late addition of Dan Korienek of Leadout Racing was certainly an added touch of fun, along with the on form Aaron Beebe, Jeremy Karel and Scott Hofner.

The Women’s race also saw the additions of Sue Stephens, Erin Vicary and Amy Stauffer also hopping in. The GRIT duo always bring the level of a race up a few notches, and the return of Stauffer is a great sign from the PriorityHealth captain.

Wakeley put nearly two minutes into his partner from the line, and went on to put a total of four minutes into Scott Hoffner, who held on for second place. It’s a solid result for Scott, especially with a narrow gap over Dan Korienek. The Leadout rider rounded out the podium, just ahead of North Country Cycle Sport’s John Cowan. For Cowan, it was his first race and second trail ride of the year, which certainly bodes well for “Gentleman” John heading into big races like Mud, Sweat and Beers in two weeks’ time. NCCS teammate Chad Wells was good enough for 11th, giving the team some depth Sunday.

The Women’s race was a neat affair, with the field all rolling in separated neatly by round about a minute. Sue Stephens has confirmed her fine form of 2012 with a stellar ride, putting 51 seconds into Kati Krikke from Freewheeler in second place. Erin Disterheft was good enough for an impressive third place, with Erin Vicary fourth.