Faces new and old on the line in Arcadia.
It’s a special test and takes a complete rider to succeed, and this edition of the Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel is no different. Starting off with fast pavement, two-tracks, gravel roads and serious elevation and ending with some of the best singletrack in the state, it’s one for riders capable of doing it all. The first five miles of the race are wide-open and wind up over a series of climbs, with a plateau that leads into six miles of singletrack before spilling back onto the pavement for the finish.
The Pro race is a rematch of Mud, Sweat and Beers, including a former winner of the race, Jorden Wakeley. He’ll be back in Arcadia with many of his foes from MSB on the line, spearheaded by Freewheeler’s Matt Acker. They’ll be up against the Einstein Racing duo of Ryan Kennedy and Nate St. Onge, who were 3rd and 5th two weeks ago. The southern contingent is bolstered by Jimmie Colflesh and Aaron McCreedy. It’s a fast field, and with so many miles of fast and open road, it could be interesting to see the tactics of those looking to unseat Wakeley as the heavy favorite.
The Women’s race headlines with Kim Thomas entering as a big favorite. The cyclocrosser should be a favorite over the gravel and certainly has the handling skills to master the miles of singletrack that should prove most selective heading into the finale. She’ll be up against Latitude 45’s Bobbie Liegl, fresh off a podium at MSB, as well as the new rockstar of the Einstein Racing women’s team. Beth Craven has jumped from the sport to expert and now pro class, and her winning ways aren’t expected to change at this rate. She’ll step up to face Liegl and Melissa Colflesh, who also put in a great ride at MSB in dreadful conditions.
There’s a lingering chance of rain for race day, but of course, anything could happen in the two days leading into the start. Close to Lake Michigan, winds are also a factor over the pavement and gravel sections, and the ever-present sand can split groups just as much as the climbs or singletrack.
Check back for a race recap Saturday night, will full results as soon as they are available.