After a great team showing at Barry-Roubaix, WAS Labs is in position to stamp some authority at Lowell 50.
It’s perhaps the most underrated event in the state, but not for much longer. The Lowell 50 is a more intimate, menacing beast than it’s larger partner in spring, Barry-Roubaix. In Hastings, riders can cruise along in relative anonymity, safe in the knowledge that, once dropped, there are any number of riders behind to latch on with. At Lowell, with a much smaller field, every move and every rider shelled is almost personal. Get dropped, and it could be a long, long time riding alone in the wind before salvation comes in the form of the finish line or a hastily formed gruppetto.
WAS Labs will be trying to create a number of those intimate moments, and they have the man power to do it. They bring Tom Burke, Jason Young, Shawn Adams and Aaron Croishank to Lowell, a team not only capable of the win, but of putting plenty of riders in the top five. That should certainly be the goal, but they won’t have it all their own way. Dan McGraw and Jimmy McMurray of Freewheeler, along with Matt Acker, should be in the hunt as well. Tom Linck flies the flag for Leadout Racing, with more than a few other solid riders hoping to stay in touch early and play their odds in the finale.
On the women’s side, it’s a small field with Wendy Zamzow looking to be a solid favorite, although the University of Michigan travels the duo of Cat Culkin and Sarah Seeyle. Julie Whalen proved she is on her typical superb spring form at Barry-Roubaix, and shouldn’t be counted out Saturday. Einstein Racing’s Beth Collins is in for her second gravel start after a great ride in Hastings, as she looks to build for her main goal of the season, the Lumberjack 100. As always, never underestimate the imported talent: Deborah Haley will also start.
The race day conditions should be nearly ideal. Some warmer temperatures and sun throughout the week should be enough to clear the roads and, hopefully, dry them out some. Slightly colder race day temperatures, forecasted around 40 degrees after a day of freezing rain, should at least help to keep it firm overnight. The biggest challenge of the course, the wind, is already predicted to be strong. If it is as windy as expected, look for some long echelons and lonely riders in both the 34 and 57 mile events.