Fall campaign is stacked from August to December.
The real pressure is one ahead of the busiest Competition schedule ever, and it all starts August 24 at the X100. With a ton more points still on the table, racers looking to take the title will have to be on the start line early and often. Even top riders in the standings like Jorden Wakeley and Alex Vanias will have to make multiple starts in order to threaten in the end, with the Ithaca GP of CX, Battle at the Burg, and the Iceman Cometh all offering big points hauls.
First up, the X100 will be scored on the gravel road race results. After some discussions with riders, it was too difficult to force riders to try the full 100 miler (at well over $100 for entry fees) to count in the Competition. We’ve decided to draft a new regulation for 2014 that dictates race over $45 will not count in the Competition, which will also rule out the Iceman for next year. The gravel race will be a huge test, however, with some heavy hitters planning on taking the start over hilly, sandy gravel roads south and east of Ranch Rudolf. The course promises to be selective, and points taken on the day could go a long ways toward deciding the final standings.
The Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross makes its Top Banana Competition debut, and gives the cyclocross racers a second of three chances to take in some points between mountain bike races. The exceptionally well done race kicks off ‘cross in Michigan and gives everyone a first look at the likes of Sven Baumann, Aaron Beebe and the other heavy-hitters. It’s going to draw down the ‘crossers of the future, as well, with North Country Cycle Sport’s Ross Gibbs and Trever Kingsbury both already voicing their intentions to dominate the race.
The last big chance in September comes at the Battle at the Burg on September 14. After hosting a cyclocross race the night before, the Burg is back and better than ever for one of the best mountain bike races in the state. A demanding, well-rounded course that demands a bit of everything from a rider is the perfect launching pad for riders trying to vault up the Competition standings, or build for bigger things later in the fall. Jorden Wakeley is already signed up, and should be looking to make a statement for his new sponsor, 616 Fabrications. The Grand Rapids Posse, however, will be eager to protect home turf on a course they ride all spring, summer and fall.
For the full Top Banana Competition Schedule, including the points breakdown, click here.