The Barrel Roll moves to May, and it’s the second challenge in as many weeks for local racers. The hills of Leelanau County will no doubt shape the race on May 13, with 400 feet of elevation per lap challenging riders from around the state. The locals with have the inside scoop on the race’s trademark climb, as well as the flying descent that spills riders back to the start finish.
Of the three races in the Short’s Brewing Mountain Bike Series, The Barrel Roll is the one earmarked for the climbers. Jorden Wakeley returns to action and enters as the heavy race favorite at a venue he’s had nothing but success. He’s won the MTB and fat bike editions of the event, including a strong ride just a few months ago in February.
His biggest challenger is likely Nick Wierzba. The course is just up the hill from his shop, Suttons Bay Bikes, and he’s been on the podium here many times. Wierzba is coming off a sixth place finish at Mud, Sweat and Beers, too, confirming he’s on top form. Tim Coffey, just barely out of the top ten at MSB, also toes the line along with Cody Sovis, Mitchell Mileski from the Kona Grassroots team, and the indomitable Dan Ellis.
The women’s winner from MSB is also confirmed. Susan Vigland is taking on some of the same fat bike field from the Vineyard race this past February, including Erin Reicha and Katie Clayton. Vigland will have teammate and MSB runner-up Marie Voss on the line, giving Hagerty Cycling options on the day.
The 3.2 mile course suits riders who can climb, but there’s also the tactical matter of the fast, wide open two tracks that make up a quarter of the course. There isn’t a single foot of flat ground, but the rolling hills are enough of a reprieve for a powerful rider to get back into contact if dropped on the ascent.
Registration for The Barrel Roll is open here.
Keep up with all the race day information here.