Jorden Wakeley and Kaitlyn Patterson keep perfect in May in Arcadia.
May brings out a very unofficial triple header of sorts in Northern Michigan with Mud, Sweat and Beers, Arcadia Grit and Gravel and Conquer the Village providing a tough but exciting start to the season. If only someone would make the three races an official “thing”, shoot, everyone would benefit.
Wakeley and Patterson are two for two, both taking different routes to victory. Indeed, for the Elite women’s race, it was a very different finish and result from last year. 2014 three-up sprint to the line was replaced with Kaitlyn Patterson mixed in with the fastest of Expert Men and rolling in with a comfortable gap opened up on the early climb and then solidified over the opening pavement and gravel roads before the first of two singletrack sections. Behind, teammates Lauri Brockmiller and Beth Craven never gave up, but it was a forlorn to chase down the on-form Patterson.
Indeed, those City Bike Shop teammates have something to celebrate aside from podiums. CBS supplanted Einstein Racing for the first time since the race’s inaugural event three years ago, with the Team Competition trophy leaving Einstein Cycles to a place a bit more walkable. McLain Cycles was second in the competition, with Einstein Racing fourth.
If the gents in pink and black were a bit disappointed losing the trophy, they certainly put up a fight in the Elite men’s race. Riding with four of the field’s eight riders, they had numbers and firepower going against heavy favorite Wakeley, especially after all four survived the selective Erdman Road climb just two miles into the race. Over the top, the day’s plan was put into action; Cody Sovis and his cyclocross bike was employed on the front early and often to grind out the 9 miles of gravel and pavement before the climb to the singletrack.
Wakeley gamely came through on occasion, but Sovis was onto the front in what would be a farewell performance on Taylor Road. Riding a steady but hard tempo kept the lead group of six in line on the first mile of the ascent, with Wakeley taking over the top to discourage anyone from wandering off before the singletrack. Sovis led the last quater of a mile to the singletrack and Wakeley, Sean Kickbush, Luke Tjosvold, Ryan Kennedy and Chris Kushman began to race in earnest.
Almost immediately Wakeley, Kennedy and Kickbush had a gap, with little to separate the lead trio over the first 3 mile section of trail. The longer portion lay ahead, and in the last miles Wakeley opened a gap, with Kickbush and Kennedy giving an all-out chase to bring him back into contact. No in-roads were made, however, and the cooperation behind ended at the last, with Kennedy attacking from a mile out and putting Kickbush, who was visibly ill at the start, into difficulty and then the rearview mirror. Tjosvold held on to give Einstein Racing spots 3-6, with Kushman and Sovis not too far off the pace.
It was also just a really nice day in Arcadia, with the small town hanging out and encouraging riders around the start/finish. There was also a dude that looked like Santa chilling topless (or shirtless, whatever you think sounds cooler) across the street with his buds. Two dudes even went swimming in Lake Michigan, but obviously there are completely insane.