The 2014 Cherry-Parfait will live on like a soggy, intangible Stonehenge after its inaugural slog in monsoon rains, wind and amazing camaraderie.
“I’m sure it’ll hold off.” Less true words have never been spoken. 20 or so brave souls gathered at Brew TC for the Cherry-Parfait, greeted with darkening skies and buoyant spirits. The entry fees piled up as rider after rider made their way to the curbside start line, with the non-perishable goods heading off to the Father Fred Foundation. After a great haul was tallied, over 45 pounds of goods were accepted, and those willing rolled off for a 6 mile neutral start.
Almost immediately after the imaginary race official dropped the flag, the heavens opened up. The rain turned to downpour as the riders crested the first climb of the day along Lake Leelanau Drive, with Ty Schmidt setting a furious pace and keeping the peloton in the gutter as the crosswinds picked up. The downpour only intensified as the group whittled down, with a number of riders turning back due to monsoon conditions. The descent from Otto to Erdt Road was the most treacherous, with washouts strong enough to push wheels over, and deep enough to have gravel bouncing through spokes and against hubs.
Craig Webb had a small gap heading onto the Herman Road Climb, with Justin Morris bridging and going past after a great pace-setting effort from an on-form Wes Sovis. Cody used the opportunity to jump away, bridging to Webb and going over the top together.
The group decided to shorten to the 50 mile route going through Lake Leelanau, with Einstein setting Jake Ellis and a very strong Wes Sovis onto the front for the return leg. Hagerty’s Brian Beauchamp was also willing, and the group carried a respectable 23mph average into the headwind, with the rain still pouring down and the wind only picking up. Cody and Wes Sovis combined to bring the group over Pleva Hill, and it was gruppo compacto heading into Cedar. Just a few miles before the deciding climb, Philosophy, Craig Webb and Cody Sovis called for a natural break, but Jake Ellis set off in a controversial move that gave him what was believed to be the win. Behind, Justin Morris joined Wes Sovis in an attack at the bottom of Philosophy, with Hagerty relying on Lars Welton and Brian Beauchamp to keep it in check. Cam Brown lit up the chasers with a mile left to the top, with Webb and the other Sovis matching the move. Brown and Webb left Cody for dead as they tried to reel in Wes, still up the road with Morris. Webb went past for second-or-third on the day, with Cody recovering to overtake Brown for fourth-or-five.
In the end, it didn’t matter. The toughest, bravest, most wily competitors were still on course, with Daniel Egan, Mike Ingram and Patrick Flahie completing the ENTIRE 96 mile course in absolutely brutal conditions. The trio survived wind, rain and a gradual drop in temperatures to complete the ride. For Ingram, it was a matter of pride. The London native came all the way to Traverse City just for the Cherry-Parfait, and settled for nothing less than the real deal. Mike is the de facto winner, with Egan in second and Flahie third.
Flahie, Welton and Jackovatz are your $1 reverse prime winners, giving them about 68 cents after postage. Winner Mike Ingram will get himself absolutely nothing, but is legally required to return to the US for next year’s edition.
Thanks to all the riders for braving insane conditions, having fun, and giving to a worthy cause.
Watch for a September gravel ride of similar style to coincide with the Father Fred Frostbite Food Drive. It’ll happen.
100 Mile Double Scoop
1. Mike Ingram, Molteni
2. Dan Egan, Einstein Racing
3. Patrick Flahie, US Postal
50 Mile Single Scoop
1. Jake Ellis * Einstein Racing
2. Justin Morris, Nuvo Nordisk
3. Craig Webb Hagerty Cycling
4. Wes Sovis, Einstein Racing
5. Cody Sovis, Einstein Racing
6. Cam Brown, Iceman Promotions
7. Ryan Allen, D2 Labs
8. Brian Beauchamp, Hagerty Cycling
9. Lars Welton, Hagerty Cycling
10. Jim Jackovatz, KLM Coldstone
35 Mile Random Free Riders
1. Ty Schmidt
2. Pieter Sheridan
3. Steve Metzer
4. Irma Brownley