2013 Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel Race Preview

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With the West Michigan Stage Race cancelled, Arcadia will be chalk full of fast riders looking to take a big win. 

The second year race will again attract a star-studded cast to the quaint (ten points for using the word quaint) little town of Arcadia this Saturday. The course demands a well-rounded rider capable of climbing, riding fast over gravel and two-tracks, as well as taking on some tight but fast singletrack in the final third of the race. If there’s a masher’s race in Michigan, this is certainly one of them, though there’s a certain amount of finesse required near the end.

Einstein Racing will look to defend their team title of last season, this time led by a solid squad in the Elite race headlined by Ryan Kennedy. He’ll be joined and supported by the Brothers Kushman, Chris and Ryan. They’ll also have the Great Canadian Hope, Ty Schmidt, on the start line, giving them a whole slew of options should the race come down to a select group in the end.

Aaron McCreedy will make the trip north, as will an on-form Scott Quiring. Quiring is fresh from an amazing finish at Mud, Sweat and Beers, and though this is certainly a longer test, his performance there is a great indication heading to Arcadia. Derek Graham will represent for BISSELL, taking on the murder of Einstein racers alone. He’s in great form and has figured in nearly every race in the state since Barry-Roubaix. The wildcard of the weekend will be Matt Acker. The Freewheeler rider has been consistently in the mix all spring and it’s just a matter of time before he breaks through for a big win.

The women’s race has one clear favorite. Sue Stephens is heading north to contest the race, and she’ll be marked from the gun as the most dangerous rider. She’s proven herself more than capable of riding away alone from the field, and simply keeping her in sight early might be a tall ask if she’s feeling ready to rock. Freewheeler rider Kati Krikke is the rival-apparent on the day. She would have been fighting for a podium place if it weren’t for poor course markings at MSB, and she’ll have a chip on her shoulder to prove she belongs at the top of the women’s field. Einstein Racing will once again field Chelsea Strate at Arcadia. The Minnesotan has started almost a dozen races this season, most  flying solo in the Elite class. This time, she’ll be riding just as much for a great time as a great result; she’ll need to ride extremely well if Einstein is going to repeat as Team champions. Hagerty Cycling will start Melissa Ryba at Arcadia as well. The masher will be well suited to this course, though she’ll need a bit of a gap if she finds the singletrack tough.

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