Peak to Peak and an Out and Back (Attempt)
With all of the hype and expectation of the week leading up to Peak to Peak, it was a bit of a relief to take a deep breath and get to the business of racing bikes. From top to bottom, this must be considered one of the most stacked editions of the race. The men's Pro/Elite category consisted of guys expected to finish in the top 25 at Iceman, while the women's field was probably even more competitive.
In the men's race, it was Alex Vanias who narrowly beat Iceman-champ Brian Matter to the win in a dramatic, brake-free finish down the ski hill. Alex is one of the nicest, down-to-Earth people on a bike, so when he gets a W, we all win in a round about way. Equally nice and just as fast, Kaitlyn Patterson edged the ever-smiling Susan Vigland to take the win in the women's Elite race. Patterson and Vanias, who lived in TC for the summer and have a huge fan base here, certainly made enough dough in winnings to pay for their gas to get up here, and probably a new remote control airplane for Alex. That's what it's really about. Making cash for remote control airplanes.
For the rest of us mere mortals, the fast course made the race an absolute blast. While the results were cool, there was cooler stuff going on out there that needs some spotlight. In the Sport race, Scott Ostlund of Einstein Cycles-Short's Brewing stopped to aid a downed rider who was face down in the mud. After making sure the guy was OK and had medical professionals there to help, Scott plugged on to finish 10th his race, proving once and for all that nice guys rarely finish outside of the top ten. Nate Farran also stopped to make sure his stricken M-22 teammate Chris Klau was, you know, alive, after introducing his cranium to a tree. These are the types of things that should restore your faith in humanity, if only until the next news cycle.
Full results are on the Interwebs, here.
On Sunday, I attempted to do an Out and Back with some TC folks. We ran into some riders from Velo City Cycles, based in Holland, who were doing the ride, too. If you ever find yourselves in the woods with those orange-clad Velo City people, you're in good company. Led by Brad and Jenny White, you'll be hard-pressed to find a nicer, more genuine group of human beings around. Unfortunately for me, I should have stayed with them, because keeping up with the TC crew was a bit too ambitious after my race on Saturday. I got dropped, despite Alex Vanias pushing me up a hill at one point, and was left to fend for myself. As Cody would tell you, I have a terrible sense of direction and found myself much closer to Kalkaska than TC when I finally was able to determine my location. A huge thank you to my wife for coming to rescue me. Spouses of cyclists deserve medals and acclaim for their willingness to rescue us after mechanicals and getting lost.
Oh, and another shout out needs to go to Timber Ridge for letting us ride from their lodge each weekend leading up to Iceman. They do so much to support mountain biking and XC skiing in Northern Michigan, and they're very much appreciated by everyone in the community. Give their Facebook page a like and say thanks, if you get a chance.
Just a few weeks left until that whole Iceman thing goes down. Are you in shape? Is your "good blood" in the refrigerator yet? I sure hope so. See you then.
Wes is a marketing guy for Swell Development and a cyclist for Einstein Cycles-Short's Brewing. He used to be faster, but then got married and gained 15 pounds. You can find him hanging out at Breakaway Cafe or at the tail end of a group ride when he's not working.