It’s obviously the hip thing to do, and local racers will take on a Murder’s Row of racers in May for 2017.
There’s no excuse for being bored in a few weeks, that’s for sure. Traverse City will be a busy place for racers with a slew of events starting or making their debut this season. When Conquer the Village went away, the month was neatly divided between Mud, Sweat and Beers, with a casual weekend before eyes turned south for the Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel. Even the spirited TNRs and SOLs tended to serve as extra training miles.
Mud, Sweat and Beers sits on its first Saturday in May date, which is the 6th for 2017. The course is rumored to be wide open and fast, with plenty of passing and some tactical positioning heading into a few short but selective sections of singletrack.
Just a day later, it’s the Pumpkin Pedal, a fundraiser for Traverse Area Recreational Trails hosted by Jolly Pumpkin. There are plenty of folks out for a leisurely ride, but there’s a reason you’ll find some Pumpkin Pedal segments on your Strava routes, and there are plenty of riders who can’t resist turning it into a TNR, albeit backwards and on the Sabbath. In the days of old, the following weekend was a good one to ride easy and relax.
No longer. The Short’s Brewing MTB Series kicks off at Forty Five North Vineyard over two days of racing. The much-loved Barrell Roll moves from fall to spring and expands to a full weekend. Saturday’s World Cup-style, 3.2 mile course with over 400 feet of climbing per lap debuts on May 13, followed up with Sunday’s Short Track race on a 1.2 mile course. Women race for just $10 on Sunday, plus kids under 18 race free. It’ll be a swarm of Norte and Hagerty Junior racers making the most of things, and perhaps pausing to enjoy a dedicated cyclocross course.
Just the next weekend, it’s the Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel. It’s a fascinating race, divided neatly in half. The opening 11 miles are wide open pavement and gravel roads, with speeds steadily around 22mph for the Pro/Elite field. The traditional explosion in the singletrack shreds the field, with 11 miles of singletrack giving way to a final 3 miles of gravel to get back to the start/finish.
In between each race, the world’s biggest fake mountain bike stage race, Speed of Light, is in the middle of the fourth edition of the Giro Competition, a four-week stage race complete with GC, Sprint, KOM, Best Old Rider and Team Competition standings, as well as a pink jersey on offer.
Potentially, your dance card might look like this:
May 6 Mud, Sweat, and Beers
May 7 Pumpkin Pedal (not a race, but, yeah, fast)
May 9 TNR
May 11 Giro Stage One
May 13 The Barrel Roll XC
May 14 The Barrel Roll Short Track
May 16 TNR
May 18 Giro Stage Two
May 20 Arcadia
May 23 TNR
May 25 Giro Stage Three
May 30 TNR