2013 Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel Race Recap: Anderson Stays Golden

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The charmed season of BISSELL’s Mike Anderson rolls on with a convincing win in Arcadia. 

Perhaps the biggest threat of the day to Mike Anderson failed to get off the ground Saturday, as defending champion Jorden Wakeley’s hopes of a repeat win fell to the dirt along with his headset. Mechanical bad luck ruled him out before riders had even gotten warmed up, with Wakeley now looking to Conquer the Village to debut his 616 rig in the heat of battle.

For Anderson, however, the day went almost perfectly to script. Armed with teammates Ben Whitehead and Derek Graham, the team of the season pulled away a six man move the proved not only decisive, but head and shoulders above the competition. Einstein Racing countered with Ty Schmidt in the early move, with Freewheeler’s Matt Acker also tucked in.

The race was already up the road while Einstein’s other contenders, Ryan Kennedy, Chris and Ryan Kushman, and Nate St. Onge encountered their own troubles. St. Onge was pointed four miles in the wrong direction, effectively ruling him out of the race. Kennedy is still building form after a brief hiatus off the bike, though recovered in style for a fifth place finish on the day. The Brothers Kushman’s big diesels took a moment to start, with Chris slotting in for another trademark top ten and Ryan a solid and deserved 13th.

The Women’s race featured the formidable duo of Sue Stephens and Erin Vicary, with the GRIT tandem looking to go 1-2 on the day ahead of the on-fire Lauri Brockmiller. Sue was the early bench mark, and her top-notch singletrack experience put her into the finish in Arcadia with a healthy four minute gap, or thereabouts. Behind, Brockmiller successfully out-dueled Vicary and broke up the GRIT one-two with a gusty ride that saw her three minutes clear of Vicary by race’s end. Freewheeler’s Kati Krikke ran out of road to finish just a handful of seconds behind Vicary for fourth, with Melissa Colflesh rounding out a stacked top five. Brockmiller’s Hagerty Cycling teammate Melissa Ryba rallied in ahead of Einstein Racing’s Chelsea Strate. The Ryba and Strate showdowns have been nip and tuck all year, with Strate now looking to the heights of Conquer the Village next weekend as her chance to race on her best terrain.

Next weekend is just as busy, with the road-minded heading to the Tour of Frankenmuth, with other riders heading to the historic grounds of Michigan’s Old State Hospital Grounds for the next Top Banana Competition stop, Conquer the Village. It’s a climber’s course, with well over 400 feet of climbing on each 3.4 mile lap. As mentioned above, Jorden Wakeley is already confirmed to start, with Nate St. Onge slated to lead Einstein Racing and Steve Andriese entered as Hagerty’s great hope. Lauri Brockmiller is the headline name for the Women’s Elite race at the moment, which seems a natural fit. The race is just a hundred yards or so from Brockmiller Elite Endurance, and she’s called out her athletes to defend home turf across the race categories and age groups.

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