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At the moment, the Bear Claw Epic Elite field is shaping up to be a Speed of Light showdown in Cadnasty. 

The biggest fundraiser of the year for the Cadillac Pathways is this Saturday, September 23. One of the best run bike races in the state, the Bear Claw Epic is becoming one of the marquee events of the fall, and the first check off the list for racers casting a careful and prepared eye on November. It’s perfectly timed ahead of the Northern Michigan trio of mountain bike races, a month ahead of Peak2Peak at Crystal Moutain.

The BCE lacks the dramatics of a ski hill each lap, but over the 7 mile circuit you’ll find over 600 feet of elevation, but none of it long enough to bring riders to a slow grind. That decided lack of a set-piece climb keeps the racing wide open and lends itself to Iceman-like tactics of get on the gas, stay on the gas, and go until you run out of gas.

There are exactly zero Elite women signed up at the moment, although a quick look at the Strava shows that Lauri Brockmiller left her indoor cycling and took some chances amongst the trees last week to pre-ride the course. It would be a bit of a shocker not to see Hagerty’s Susan Vigland or Laura Webb toe the line, or perhaps to see Marie Voss back in action on a course with smaller fields, no pavement, and no good reasons to veer left randomly exist.

On the Men’s side, early registration has the familiar cast of characters from Speed of Light confirmed. Giro winner and WorldTour runner-up John O’Hearn enters as favorite, with Vuelta champ Cody Sovis taking his 3T Exploro into serious action for just the second time this Saturday. While they may wear different pajamas, Sovis, Wes Sovis (no relation) and Dan Ellis make up the tight-knit but not legally affiliated kolo t.c. Pirate Armada and would certainly ride as a three-pronged attack. They’re like the Insane Clown Juggalos without the FBI’s condemnation.

Sean Kickbush, Josh Zelinski, and plenty of other riders are likely to sign up, but we have no idea what they’re waiting for. Could it be more Josh Zelinski Party Zone references? Then here.

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Registration for the 2017 Bear Claw Epic is right here. Do it.