Tour de Frankenmuth

Several WSI riders participated in Saturday’s Tour de Frankenmuth. Overall, it sounds like it was a great day for racing, and a beautiful place to race! Check out the riders’ full reports below:


photo 3The Tour de Frankenmuth kicks off the 2015 road racing season. This 40 mile race through the countryside around the Bavarian village of Frankenmuth has been a staple in the Michigan road racing scene for many, many years. Consisting of two laps of a 20 mile circuit, there are no real hills or technical sections that could be used tactically to form a breakaway.

The Cat 4 race had a field of around 40 riders, with some food team representation, so the potential certainly was there for team tactics in the race. However, true to Cat 4 form, all of the 5 breakaway attempts were covered by the peloton, including the one I launched with 6 miles to go. Prior to that, the race had been relatively uneventful. Except for the crash about 30 miles in. A rider to the left and one bike ahead looked back over his right shoulder and while his eyes were off the road in front of him, his wheel touched the one in front and he went down rather hard. Only one or two others went down. Remember to keep eyes ahead during the race.
With about 2 miles to go, and just prior to the penultimate turn, I maneuvered to the front for safety, and led the peloton up the final hill before the final turn to the finish. With speeds accelerating to almost 40 mph, it was difficult to hang on.

The only redeeming fact was that the difference between first and forty-first was less than one minute.
Pack finish within a minute of the winner with no crashes or mechanicals? I’ll take it.


photo 2The 2015 Tour de Frankenmuth was my first road race. I did the junior category; a 20-mile flat race around the countryside of Frankenmuth. After last year’s attempt at a road race, and the expert advice of my good teammates Devin and Danny, I knew how to race a bike, finally. With ten miles to go I first started to work, supporting an ally I established earlier, fighting cross winds, and battling head winds. With 2k to go there were three of us. With some fresh legs and a good plan I photo 4was confident I was going to win, and with less than 1k, I attacked, and won. Big thanks to Devin Winton for teaching me all the tricks to winning a race, and to Bill at Team Active for making sure my race machine was ready.



The race started out slow, around 19 mph, I started thinking I might have a good chance with these guys, until 5 miles in when a solo break away took off. The rest of the day was spent chasing this guy around rural Frankenmuth. At 32 miles, 8 miles to go, I dropped off the back of a small chase group and finished 14th. I finished better than last year, but there is still room to improve. Maybe a new set of wheels would help.



This race is flat, beautiful, and gives you a chance to see all kinds of different photo 1racers. Despite being windy, this race deserves some credit: it’s well set-up and has a huge amount of support from volunteers and police officers. I don’t take racing as seriously as the rest of my family but can have a lot of fun just by seeing any smiling WSI faces. This was my first official road race (before trying in road racing I tried mountain biking, triathlon, and duathlon). There’s really not another feeling that compares to it being you, your bike, and smooth road. Seriously, you don’t feel road like this in Calhoun County. This race was worth waking up at 4:30 and riding in a car (even if you’re like me and you can’t sleep in cars or you’re the driver of the car). The community seemed open to the racers. Being the only 15-16 year old girl, it’s not difficult to guess where I ended up finishing, and where I intend to race next year.

A HUGE Day for Charity

It’s another year racing for a great team (WSI Cycling) that not only encourages raising money for charity, it’s required. We have the freedom to choose the charity and the riding event. Instead of picking a race, I again chose to ride long hours and many miles in search of birds. It’s an endurance challenge with a twist and has worked well to bring in big money for a great cause.

Birding By Bike

Similar to last year, I began at 2am and the first bird was yet again, the threatened Henslow’s Sparrow. What a fortunate thing as this bird is very scarce. After that I was quickly off. Unfortunately, it was only around 40 degrees so I had to start in cold weather gear which limited my hearing. Everyone asks why I start at 2am. The answer is not only for Owls, but many other birds that call at night and rarely if at all during the day. I tallied Sedge Wren, Barred Owl, Great-horned Owl, Marsh Wren, Sora, Virginia Rail both cuckoos and many more before even a twinkle of light began to show. Luckily the riding was very uneventful with only one car seen, no flats and dogs that couldn’t catch me. Check out the recording below to hear an Eastern Whip-poor-whil calling along Otis Lake.

Cross Bike Ready for 100+ Miles, 2am

I do need to give a shout out to the fine folks at Team Active Cycling & Fitness who worked with me to get the gearing on my cross bike just perfect for this big ride. I absolutely love this bike and it performed flawlessly. At 4:57am, the morning chorus began to rise quickly as twilight began to erase the stars over Otis Audubon Sanctuary. By 5:45am, I was back on the bike after a float in the Kayak (which was miserably cold in darkness). I was headed for my first spot where some of my crew would join me for a long walk. The morning was beginning to warm which I had really been waiting for. Along with the warm air, the birds were darn good and we had an enjoyable walk.

Birding Perry Trust Property

From there, I began running and gunning to spots throughout Yankee Springs ticking birds off left and right. I was missing some that should have been around but I was adding unexpected species throughout. At the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail in Middleville, I found nesting Prothonotary Warblers and after lunch began my longer journeys of the day heading Northeast. The highlight of the day was a very unexpected Common Gallinule as well as a Short-billed Dowitcher at a spot quite a ways north of Hastings. My dad was with me and our excitement could hardly be contained.

Prothonotary Warbler

I continued through the miles, had some leg issues around 75 miles in but used some nutrition to get back on track before ending up at Pierce Cedar Creek where not only my crew but my family met up with me to grill brats. Boy did they taste good and my body enjoyed the extra sodium! Another unexpected highlight was a female Northern Bobwhite which all of us were excited to see and hear.

Grill Out

I pedaled the last 10 miles home and ended the day with 102.5 miles ridden, three miles hiked, one mile kayaked and some wicked helmet head after 19hrs! I tallied a staggering 121 species; a Barry County big day record (five more than my record-setting number last year). I am so thankful for safe roads, an amazing crew that supported me throughout the day and great followers that donated to a great cause. I would like to especially thank my dad for providing the best sag support a cyclist could ever hope for. On top of that, he donated twice to the cause. Just awesome…

Route & Helmet Head

At this point we have raised over $1400 for the Barry County YMCA’s Play 60 program this summer. Because of your generosity, kids in the Hastings community are able to attend these programs and activities completely FREE where they can learn fun new ways to play outside every day. How cool is that!!! It’s not too late, please visit to read more about this program and to donate via credit/debit card.

Barry YMCA

I spy WSI

photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography

The 5k began at 9:00 am allowing runners to participate in both events if they chose. Again at the front of the pack were the WSI riders. This time Matt Wright, Keith Wilkinson and his daughter were stepping up to the start line. Matt finished 4th in his age group with an impressive 5k time of 24:23.

photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography

Our riders do so much more than lead out the races. They help manage high traffic areas, and provide support for all runners whether they are at the front or back of the pack. It is always encouraging to know people are rooting for you at every corner!

photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography

While many were in Marshall, Paddi and Andy were taking on an adventure of their own at the Jonesville Canoe Triathlon. For those of you familiar with triathlons, you know the swim is always first. In this event, the water component was last, and canoeists had to wait for both team mates to complete the other two legs of the event before hitting the water. Going into the canoe leg Paddi and Andy were in 6th place. Their awesome paddling skills ended up landing them 2nd place overall by the time they had rached the finish.

11295580_937258829627573_7872490639227731816_nKeep your eyes on the roads for more WSI sightings all spring and summer long!

photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography
photo courtesy of Stephanie Parshall Photography

Fort Custer Stampede

Photo courtesy of Tara  Plante
Photo courtesy of Tara Plante


The Fort Custer Stampede is a favorite for many WSI riders for many reasons; one being that it is home turf. Being close to home means racing with your bike family (everyone you ride and train with), seeing those familiar faces from the trails, and knowing the course like the back of your hand. This year the event took place on Sunday, May 2nd and the weather was perfect!


As a part of this event, WSI headed up a food tent for racers and their families to be able to have a grilled burger, hot dog, chips and water while at the photo 1event. Providing over 500 servings of burgers and hot dogs combined definitely took a community effort! With a combination of donations from Home Depot of Plainwell for charcoal, Bandeen Orthodontics and Team Active for food and water no one left hungry! For the second year in a row we also rounded up photo 2goodwill donations for an amazing program, the Hot Wheels Bike Shop. The Hot Wheels Bike Shop is an program that teaches middle school students team building and practical skills while also learning how to fix up bikes. At the end of the program each student gets their own bike. The program is taught at Battle Creek Public Schools by one of our WSI riders, Dan Frayer. We raised over $650 for the program, allowing them money to buy much needed bike stands!

On to the racing……19499_1626161094265247_1419507661603240779_n

WSI had 14 riders participating in the Stampede ranging from 5 y/o to 50+! Peyton Elder and Jacob Goff took on the Beginner challenge for the 10 and under age group. Jacob improved his time dramatically from last year and it was Peyton’s first year racing with the “big boys”. The boys finished 31 seconds apart with Jacob coming in at 1:28:59 and Peyton at 1:29:30. Not too shabby for a couple of 7 year olds!

11147036_829381503818935_8588014849308065267_oAlso riding beginner were Dilan Goff, who placed 2nd in the 11-14 a/g and David Goff Sr.

The sport class was full of WSI riders and great competition! Kellie Kramer raced Stampede for the first time and loved it, placing 2nd in her a/g. Keith Wilkinson, Stacy Rainey, and Dave Cobeen also rode sport. And we cannot forget the sport class fat tire riders Dan Frayer and Dwight Denisuik. Once again, Danimal Frayer (as Dwight is lovingly referring to him as) inched his way past 11205562_1626161880931835_6024702804166111676_nDwight with a 6th place finish at 1:32:34. Dwight was a mere 1 second behind with a 7th place finish at 1:32:35. Dwight is determined to beat Dan by the end of the season and the gap is closing!

Racing expert were Matt Gaffner and Charles Elder. Matt decided he was not quite ready to hang with the expert boys yet and is highly considering sport for next year. He may not realize there is a rule about not turning back once you go expert. Charles chose expert so he had time to finish and be able to ride with Peyton in the beginner race. He knew he was out of his league but put his best pedal forward and rode hard.

Overall, it was a successful day on the course and on the grill! For more great pictures of the event check out our Fort Custer Stampede photo album on Facebook. While you’re there, make sure to “LIKE” our page.


WSI Rider Results:


Matt Gaffner 2:06:32

Charles Elder 2:18:45



Keith Wilkinson 1:34:33

David Goff 1:35:32

Stacy Rainey 1:36:21

Dave Cobeen 1:38:36

Kellie Kramer 1:45:56


Sport Fat Tire

Dan Frayer 1:32:34

Dwight Denisiuk 1:32:35



Dilan Goff 54:35

David Goff Sr. 1:08:32

Jacob Goff 1:28:59

Peyton Elder 1:29:30


Kid’s Race

Carson Elder


Girl Power!

11149517_378268245694957_1822052549148179124_nWSI athlete, Cindy Gippert, got the opportunity recently to help Spring Valley Elementary’s Girls On The Run team with their practice 5K. All the girls finished and can now goal set for their 5K final event on May 21st at Waldo Stadium. She ran with the girls teaching them about interval running. They seemed surprised to know that is the method she used to complete her 1/2 marathon recently. It saved her from injury. It is so empowering to see the girls learn their personal power through physical activity! Girls on the Run is SO MUCH FUN!