It’s a small field, but one with no weak spots for the 2015 Arcadia Grit and Gravel.
After a star-studded 2014 line-up, 2015 looks like a small, intimate affair this Saturday. While there is time for more hats to be thrown into the proverbial ring, expect single digit Elite fields for the men and women taking on the 28 mile drag race.
Erica Zeboor and Bobbie Liegl are 100% of the women’s turnout thus far, with Liegl coming off a strong showing at Mud, Sweat and Beers on May 2. The duo will be slotting into the men’s wave start, and it could come down to who can find a wheel in the 10 mile gravel roll to one of the best singletrack’s in Michigan.
Arcadia is worth the trip for its 9 miles of beautiful, twisting, trillium lined trails that serve as a sort of second start line in the race. The opening miles are on pavement and gravel, with a pack mentality mixing things up over the rolling hills and flats that tick down quickly before the turns and tight trees. The elevation comes largely in two climbs on the gravel roads, one of which comes just two and a half miles into the race. The second climb, Taylor Road, is the last launch pad before singletrack and is where Alex Vanias and Jorden Wakeley, tailed by Matt Acker and Ryan Kennedy, made the first of two decisive accelerations.
Wakeley will enter as clear favorite after his fourth straight Mud, Sweat and Beers title, with Sean Kickbush entering as the likely challenger. Ryan Kennedy is also a solid contender after fourth place at MSB, and he’ll be buoyed by a deep team riding in support. Luke Tjosvold will ride as his lieutenant in the singletrack, with Chris Kushman and Cody Sovis enlisted for duty over the gravel roads. Wes Sovis’ participation is in question after a late non-starter for MSB, with Einstein Racing’s medical team expected to make a decision by Thursday. Ben Whitehead enters as a contender as well, certainly up to the task of toppling the podium and coming up with a big win.