It’s the final tune up before Iceman, and some of Michigan’s Elite contested the Lowell 50 on soggy, tough roads.
If the spring edition flies somewhat under the radar on the heels of the Barry-Roubaix, then the fall edition is equally downplayed just a week ahead of the Iceman Cometh. While some riders opt not to contest the race and keep the legs fresh, others are looking for some solid race miles heading into November. Especially for the ultra-fast Pro riders, forcing the legs and the engine to the max a week out is a sort of dry run.
This Saturday, however, nothing was dry. Rains over night turned most of the gravel roads into quarter-inch deep quagmires. In just the first few miles, the 57 mile race saw it’s field almost unrecognizable, with riders covered in mud spray from head to toe. On the line was last fall’s winner Dan Korienek, with some challengers that included the Williams brothers, Einstein Racing’s Jason Lowetz, Jason Young and Mickey Humpula, Hagerty’s Hal BeVier, Wes Sovis and Craig Webb, plus Peak2Peak winner Mike Simonson.
Off on time at the crank of 10am, the 57 mile race set a blistering pace, cruising at over 20mph. With so many big names in the field, everyone was moving to the front and trying to stay there. A crash relatively early on saw Jason Lowetz on the ground and the first big split of the race. Simonson, Korienek, Young, Jimmi McMurray and most of the favorites made the split, though Lowetz couldn’t regain contact and was forced to settle into a group with Sovis, BeVier and a few others.
Simonson took the opportunity to go on the offensive, attacking and blowing the field apart. Only the smart and measured riding from Korienek and McMurray made the race interesting, and once Simonson was out of sight, even that group began to look around and race for second. Korienek was still the class of the group and he hit the line for second overall, though McMurray is looking very tough for Iceman. Kevin Tearle, Jason Young, Kelly Sugg and a few others also stuck in the main group and contributed, though there was nothing to do against a storming Simonson.
Lowetz ushered along the chase group, going to the front for long pulls and alternating with an on-form Wes Sovis to try to limit the damage. Lowetz stole a march late, a move Wes Sovis repeated in the final miles to bridge up to another rider in an attempt to give teammate Hal BeVier an easier ride in the group behind.
The 57 mile Women’s race went to Cat Culkin from U of M, with Janelle Renscheler, Amanda Schaap and Paddi Thornburg coming in over an hour apart.
The 34 mile race was marked by repeated moves early that lacked commitment once a gap was opened. Five or six riders strung it out over the first climb, but with no one willing to stick the knife in, the bulk of the field rejoined. The second sustained climb was a different story. About 30 riders pulled clear, including most of the Leadout squad on hand. The elastic stretched and strained over the next few miles until five riders pulled clear, with five more in hot pursuit. A brilliant ride from Garrett Hein saw him regain contact after being dropped, while Michael Maher was joined by Joel Brummel, who was the class of the chase group and pulled them back to the front. Will Martin, Joe Perry, Dennis Jenson and Luke Mullis took age group wins and were in the top ten fastest on the day.
Danielle Mullis put in the fastest women’s time of the 34 miler. Jaime Mishka, Bethany Beckham, Bonnie van Volkinburg and Kellie Kramer were all in the top ten overall as well.