The Traveling Circus

Dan Frayer and his traveling circus were at it again. Haven’t seen them at the races? Just look for them under the red striped tent. (Not really, but a tall bearded guy on a¬†pink bike is not too hard to spot either!)

Traveling Circus #8 
“The Hills of Grayling”

DFRAYER HANSON HILLSOn Sunday morning, June 7th, I woke up before the sun to pick up my pal Bill G.  Bill G. and I have been traveling across, around and through the state of Michigan chasing podiums since 2002 when we raced together for Western Michigan University.

It was a quality road trip spent sharing old stories and discussing pre-race jitters with the looming gray clouds in the distance.

The venue was Hanson Hills.¬† (a big emphasis on “Hills”)

A ten mile cross country loop with fast flowing trail and long grinding climbs.  The first lap was quick with me getting shelled off the back shortly after the start.  I was convinced that I was the back of the pack and I was not interested in suffering for last place so I slowed things down and enjoyed the trail.  At the start of lap number 3 (yes, 3 laps, 10 miles each + 30 painful mountain bike miles) another rider came from behind.  I saw his race number was close to mine and I quickly realized I was not in last place.  This gave me a rush of motivation and I pushed myself as the rain starting making the trail a bit slick in spots.

I managed to keep the bike upright for a 9th place finish out of 12 in the expert 30-39 class

Le Tour de Mont Pleasant

Kevin

Le Tour de Mont Pleasant is a 53 mile road race held in Mount Pleasant. This year it was the state road race. The weather was cooler than expected, but after the race started it didn’t seem too bad, even with a little rain mixed in.

 Overall, I felt very good about my race. I was able to stay in the lead group the whole race and my cornering has improved since my last race. It makes the race a lot easier when you can keep your speed up through the corners. I ended up finishing 10th, my highest finish to date. With a little more work, I think I’ll be able to race with these guys.

Devin

The Tour de Mt. Pleasant has been a main race in the Michigan road cycling calendar for the last 7 years. It began as a two-day event with a criterium on Saturday and a road race on Sunday, all starting and finishing on Broadway in downtown. The third year, a time trial was added, and this year, there was a time trial Friday and road race Saturday. The Tour de Mt. Pleasant is the only road race where the pros actually race a pro distance: 109 miles. The remaining senior categories race 53 miles, and the juniors 29.

The start and finish this year had been moved out of downtown, and for the first time I’ve raced it, the finish was a long straightaway with the entire road open for the last half mile. That the road was wide open would factor into my finish; more on that later.

Weather always plays a role in any race, and rain was threatening all morning. It was a cool 56 degrees race day morning, and about an hour before my race, I met my teammates Kevin and Scott Bridges. Kevin would race cat 5, and Scott juniors. We warmed up by riding downtown and following the old criterium course and then returning to the new start/finish area 10 minutes before my race began. Scott has been having a great year, winning most, if not all, of his races. He’s a strong rider who is learning to be a very smart and skilled rider, thanks in large part to his great attitude and being there for the group rides and accepting the coaching he gets from our more experienced racers, like Danny Wolin.

At 9:45, I lined up with a total of 55 cat 4 racers, more than 80% of them young enough to be my kids, since my racing age this year is 50. After the usual pre-race announcements (center liner rule, wheel car follow, etc.), we were off. Like a shot. Speeds reached over 30 miles per hour and heart rates spiked at over 180 the first mile of the race. When the young guys realized they couldn’t maintain that pace for the remaining 52 miles, they backed off and settled into a more comfortable, yet still fast, race pace of around 25 mph. Of course, speed would vary throughout the race, based on wind and elevation, but for the entire race, we averaged just under 24 mph at 23.76 mph.

Back to racing. Over the course of the next 40 miles or so, there were multiple attempts to form breakaways. Several held off for anywhere from 2-5 miles each before finally being caught by the peloton. Going into the strong east wind, in particular, made it difficult to stay away.

Throughout the race, I had positioned myself near front but never on the front, so as to conserve energy. With the wind out of the east, that meant when we were riding south, I was on the right side of the peloton; when headed north, on the left side. East or west, we either had the wind at our back or were riding into the teeth of the wind, as it was fairly strong and cutting. Our speeds dropped to as low as 18 mph into the wind, as fast as 32 with the wind.

With six miles to go, we made the final turn north. The pace picked up, and I was able to maintain speed and position. Once the road opened up, I accelerated even more and came across the line in what I thought was at least within the top 15 places. While out of the money (paid out to 8 places), I was still very happy with the result, since the official USA Cycling web site’s “race predictor” had me coming in at second to last. Maybe that was the extra motivation I needed? Maybe it was riding in the mountains of San Diego county last weekend? Whatever the case, my official placing was 10th out of a field of 55 in the Michigan road race championships. I’ll take it!

For a full race report from Scott on Le Tour de Mont Pleasant, check out his latest race updates here.

Go, Scott, Go!

So there is this “kid” everyone refers to as Scotty. You may have seen him working away at it is a whole different story. He has been tackling a race almost every weekend and is going at them full speed and determined. He is definitely an entirely different person when he is on a bike! Keep up the great work Scotty, and we cannot wait to see what the rest of your summer brings you!

Le Tour de Mont Pleasant

This race was one of my biggest goals for the season, the state road race. HeldJr RR Champ in Mount Pleasant this year. I raced the junior race. 10k into the race a small group of three made it up the road (myself being one of those). While trading turns with the small group and covering attacks, it was hard to conserve energy, the most important part of the race, who ever had conserved the most energy would win. So I tried my best to do so. 300 meters from the finish I launched my sprint, and I held. I won the state road race.      

Zeeland Twilight Criterium

            This was a Category 5 Criterium in the evening sun of downtown Zeeland.The thirty-minute race was high speed, and it was hard to keep a safeScott Zeeland position in the front for the whole race. With one lap to go, I got my self in a good position expecting most of the riders to burn up after their efforts on the front during the lap. But they stayed ahead of me and I made it across the finish line in sixth place. It was a very nicely ran race.

Getting Moving

It’s Spring, almost summer. On any given weekend there are numerous WSI athletes out there riding, running, swimming, or all of the above. These past couple of weekends have proven to be busy with athletes scattered across Michigan competing in multiple events.

 

On May 30th, Matt Gaffner competed in the Conquer the Village Mountain Bike Race in the beautiful Traverse City Michigan. Sporting his WSI riding gear and the typical goofy face, he took 6th in his AG for the sport class.

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Also competing that weekend were Matt Wright, Charles Elder, Danny Wolin and Katie Bridges at the Seahorse Triathlon. Katie participated in the swim portion only, working on her swimming strategy and coming off of an injury. Danny took part in the duathlon, Matt in the aqua bike and Charles in the Olympic distance Triathlon. Each member had a different reason for being out there, a different goal, and each had accomplished results they were looking for.

Danny:

“Last year was the first year I raced Seahorse as a duathlon – previously I had done the tri relay.¬† I won last year and this year I wanted to mainly beat my time from last year.¬† Work on the transition times and have a solid11270569_1635177213363635_3758899166960960634_o ride.¬† There were two guys who were fast runners and from the gun, they took off.¬† I know better than to try and keep up with fast runners so I just ran my own race and tried to keep them from getting too far ahead.¬† I was about 1.30 behind them in the transition but caught the first one at the 10K bike mark and the second one about 5k later.¬† I figured I would try and build as much as a buffer as I could by the second run.¬† I saw the second runner coming in as I was leaving transition and figured it would be a matter of time before he came around – but he was going to have to work for it.¬† the second run started slow – first half mile always sucks.¬† I kept going and asked if anyone was behind me but he never was there.¬† As I came out of the last 11254348_1635177450030278_1271516000780014868_nstretch of woods and he was not there, I figured I had it.¬† I ended up winning by a minute and a half.¬† I spoke with him afterwards and he said he was surprised how tricky the run was and also said since he could not see me¬†it was hard to catch me.¬† So, in the end I beat my time from last year and won again – really an added bonus.¬† We had some great support on the course from WSI family members which was great.¬† All in all a good day out.”

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Matt:

“It was a perfect day for racing at Coldbrook park in Kalamazoo county¬†yesterday. Morning temperature was in the mid 50s and the high was¬†forecasted low 70s. I raced in the sprint men Aquabike division. Mine was¬†the last swim wave and it started at 8:33. Couldn’t seem to get comfortable¬†in the water during this race. I kept having to slow down and catch my¬†breath. I still managed to swim 500 yards in less than 10 minutes. After a¬†quick transition, I was on the bike and pushing hard. This course offered a¬†lot of hills but I maintained 19.5 MPH for th11393695_1635177330030290_8884154103022618693_oe 20 K ride. I finished in¬†just under an hour, winning my division. Unfortunately I had no competition¬†to compare myself to.”

Charles:

“Choosing the Olympic distance for this event was a way to prepare for my upcoming Half Ironman in July. The swim was going to be the most challenging for me and it was my first time racing in a wetsuit. Transitions were quick and smooth even with the wetsuit addition. With the swim out of the way I let me brain and body do what it knew best: ride. The ride was to be expected with an average of 19.4 mph. The run was challenging, but this course always is. I had a lot of WSI support along the way. I finished in 3:10:11.”

 

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Sodus River Time Trial

warm upFour of our racers hit Southwest Michigan for the Sodus River Time Trial this morning and all did quite well.

Danny Wolin: This is the first time I have done this TT and the course was great. Well paved roads in SW MI. It was quite a bit windier than we all expected so the way out was tough but I felt I kept a good pace-right around 24. The way back was certainly better with a side tailwind so the speed was higher.  Officially average was 25.31-a bit lower than the Garmin indicated-25.7. Good enough for 6th on the day-only a half mile an hour between 1st and 6th. While not a great TT result I am happy with the pace I held given the wind especially on the way back. A bit of work to do before the state TT in a month but heading in the right direction.

danny and josh

Josh Haas: What a great mid-season time trial.¬†Easy to find, very well-run and the course was great. We arrived to much more wind than the weatherman led us to believe but luckily it was a headwind at the start.¬†I was able to keep it above 20mph going out, then punched it as much as possible the way back and was avg’ing between 25-27mph which was just plain fun. In the end,¬†my official average was only 23.1mph but my Garmin data showed a slightly longer course¬†ridden which¬†made my average 23.6mph. I ended up 4th in CAT 5 and with my¬†lack of training this busy Spring, I am quite happy with the result.¬†I plan to work hard over the next 6 weeks preparing for the State Time Trial.

kevinKevin Bridges: Sodus River TT was my first time trial. I have done many triathlons, which is basically a time trial sandwiched between a swim and a run. This race was a 20km out and back; we had a head wind on the way out and a tail wind coming back in. I averaged 23 mph and finished 5th in cat. 5.

This race was flat, fast, and run very well. I would like to thank Sodus Fire Chief Bill Long for opening up the restrooms at the Fire Station for us to use.

scottScott Bridges: The 2015 Sodus River Time Trial was my first ever time trial. It was a great race to be my first. The atmosphere was great, with no chaos or confusion of the good organized race made it simple to suffer. I won the junior category, putting a lot of points between my rivals and I in the Michigan challenge series.