It’s another big weekend, with no less than four races on the docket. Here’s a quick run down of who will be where this weekend.
With the postponed Rust Shaker moved back to April 27th, the weekend before Mud, Sweat and Beers is jammed packed with events as riders work to build fitness heading into May and June. May is the first month with clear road and mountain races on the books, and teams will have their full rosters on display more and more as those big events roll in.
The Rust Shaker returns as one of the “truest mountain bike races” in the state. The course is in pristine shape according to the numerous riders who have snuck out to the course over the past week and a half, and there’s a solid bunch of riders heading there from Freewheeler, Einstein Racing, RBS and others. The big name on the start list is Jorden Wakeley, who’ll make his first start of two for the weekend in Harrison before heading to Pontiac for Sunday’s race. It’s a race Wakeley has veritably raved about in the past, and he’s used it as a tune-up for years now. Perhaps his best competition will be Scott Diment, a legendary singletracker who will be making his debut for Hagerty in 2013.
The Willow Time Trial is also Saturday, and those aero-enthusiasts will be back in their goofy helmets for another morning, just after Fisk Knob. The event attracts diehards, with the Bold Prediction of the day putting New Holland Brewery Cycling Team’s Katie Hamel as the CAT 4 winner. Believe it.
The big double header around Grand Rapids start with the Cannonsburg Spring Classic on Saturday. The race comes on the heels of a very successful Battle at the Burg last fall, and signals the first of a number of races at the ski resort in 2013. For riders doing the Championship Points Series, this race offers a preview of the mountain once again before June 29th’s State Games of Michigan. The course was nearly under water late last week, but the snow is almost all gone and the course appears to be in solid shape a few days out from the start. It’s a great early season test, and it’s drawn some solid riders.
It’s a race that Einstein Racing in particular have focused on, sending five riders to contest the Expert and Sport categories. Freewheeler, Team Apex and the other GR squads, will, of course, fight hard to defend home turf. Interestingly enough, many riders have opted to sit out, perhaps looking to keep their powder dry ahead of the big ask of the weekend, the Queen’s Day Criterium.
The road racers will be Holland Sunday. It’s a great test and tune-up ahead of the West Michigan Stage Race, and a lot of riders will be looking for results, simply for the mental confidence boost they’ll bring. It’s a small field so far, with seven Pro 1/2 in the Men’s race, and half of them from Einstein Racing. Ryan Cross, Chris Fisher and John Leach will have the numbers and the responsibility in the Elite race.
Real Women Tri are in a similar situation in the Women’s race, holding four of the seven registered riders in their ranks, lead by Lori Hotchkin. The favorite there, however, is Sarah Demerly, who will be riding against tout le monde on the day.
kolo t.c. will be on-hand at the Cannonsburg Spring Classic and Queen’s Day Criterium. Look for race recaps and photos in the evening time.