Gaslight Criterium and Sylvania Cycling Classic

Below are race reports from Sunday: Lucas Wall at the Gaslight Criterium and Rob Shoemaker at the Sylvania Cycling Classic.
From Lucas:

I’d had the Gaslight Criterium as a major goal for the year I first planned out the racing season last winter. It’s a fast, slightly technical criterium right in the middle of Michigan’s crit season when I’m usually in the best shape of the year. I was just hoping it would be dry streets for the race.

The weather held out for race day which eased my nerves, but my schedule leading into the race wasn’t what I’d planned with a week-long trip to see family and attend a wedding which had me off the bike for a week. At least I was rested.

Jack Kunnen Photography: Gaslight Criterium 2014 &emdash; IMG_6887
I’d hoped to do the Pro/1/2 and Masters 35+ race double, but my schedule only allowed for one race, so it was just the Masters 35+ for me. I got in a good warm-up on the roads around the adjacent lake. I was feeling decent, but before a big race I’m always a little anxious and nervous, and it’s hard to get a read on how the legs are feeling. After many years I know this is normal, even good since I know I’m motivated and ready to race, so I tried to keep it in perspective.

Capital City Cycling Classic

Andrea Merlotti and Sara Seeley sprint for state championships in Womens Cat 4 & 3. Lucas Wall takes the top step of the podium for Masters 35-39 while Chris Winkler and Huy Tran took 3rd and 2nd respectively in the Cat 3/4 race. Here is a recap of all the action. 

The weather was perfect with sunshine and the temperature in the high 70’s at the State Capitol. AAVC had a huge turnout with riders in Womens Cat 3 & 4, Masters 35+, Cat 3/4, Pro/1/2 and Cat 5. The women and masters were racing for their state criterium championships (the other categories will contest the state championships Aug. 24).

Racing began with Matt Raezler racing in Cat 5. He raced well and finished mid pack in 11th. Lucas Wall brought the whole family to hangout and watch the Masters 35+ and Pro/1/2 races. The race started out quick with Rob Ehrmann leading a two man break that maintained a 10-25 second gap for 35 minutes of the race. As Lucas was the sole AAVC rider, he let Lathrup, LouisBenton, CFT, and Michigan NeuroSport take the responsibility of chasing the break as he sat in. The break was caught with 10 minutes to go and the field settled in for a sprint finish. Here is Lucas’s take on the final laps of the race:

CXpreX, pre-season clinic series for cyclocross, starts Aug. 14

Back for it's fourth year, CXpreX is a great way to start of the cyclocross season or just try out and learn about this fun style of bike racing!

Find out more about this series on the CXpreX website, register at USA Cycling, or follow event updates on the CXpreX Facebook page.
Click for full-size view.

Download a PDF version of the CXpreX flyer here.

Collection for Michael Kines

(Updated 7/31/14) Many people heard that Mike was involved in an accident on July 16 while racing at Waterford. He's has been at the University of Michigan Hospital the last couple of weeks and has been lucky enough to avoid needing any surgery. He is now recovering well. Kyle Schroeder and Harvey Elliott are collecting donations for a get-well fund. If you would like to contribute you can give to either person in-person or use the PayPal donation button below. We look forward to seeing Mike being healthy and healed again soon! 

Maple Hill RR

We had a great turnout for the club at the Maple Hill Race for Wishes with nearly 20 AAVC’ers making the trip over to Kalamazoo.    The race was held in a rural area west of the city in Lawton Township and featured four short climbs of ~8% grade with a number of rollers.  In the Cat 4 race Tyler Trask and Harvey Elliott set out to punish the competition
Harvey Elliott sitting in at 4th wheel
from the start and set the pace for much of their four laps.  Of the 75+ riders who started the race, only 42 finished and of those only ~15 were there for the sprint.  For his part, Tyler really dished out the pain, but unfortunately crashed out with less than 2 miles to go.  Harvey was able to dive out of the lane to avoid the pile up, but didn’t have any more go for the finish and rolled in with the lead pack at 11th.  Fred Feng finished 3
3rd and Rob Shoemaker was just behind him at 35th. Rob had a short breakaway in the 3rd lap, but these guys ended up solo for much of the 4th lap when things got really hairy.  In the Cat 4 Womens race, Andrea Merlotti shined as a climber staying near the front the whole race and winning the group sprint to the finish.  With that performance she secured a new State Champion jersey and proved that she needs to upgrade!  While I can’t say much for the other races, I can report places. 

Cat 1/2: Rob Ehrman took an impressive 4th place
Masters 35+: Colin Hebert finished 11th and Lucas Wall 18th
Master 45+: David Fanslow 15th, Winston Benedict 21st, Kurt Schaldenbrand 36th
Cat 3: Danny Soltan 14th
Cat 4: Harvey Elliott 11th, Fred Feng 33rd, Rob Shoemaker 35th, Tyler Trask DNF
Cat 5: Ben Rothacker 8th and Michael Kines 14th
Cat 5 35+: Rob Grainger 4th and Matt Raezler 19th
Juniors: Vincent Vermeulen 4th
Womens Cat 4: Andrea Merlotti 1st

Bloomer Park XC

The day after the Herman Miller criterium, Tailwind’s Bloomer Park XC race took place in Rochester, MI. The course is relatively technical for southeastern Michigan with some challenging climbs and a famously dangerous switchback downhill. Representing AAVC Racing were Tyler Trask in the Expert 19-29 division and John Krauss in the Expert 50+ division. After two hard criteriums in the heat, this race proved too much for Tyler and he cracked in the first lap after covering a strong attack up the first climb. He was able to hold off another rider to maintain second place through the second lap but the fatigue proved to be too much and he lost another place to finish in third, keeping him in the running for the series title. John Krauss finished 10th in his category after an equally competitive field with riders from the best mountain bike teams in the state.

Herman Miller Brickyard Crit

Tyler Carlton's review of the Herman Miller Criterium in Grand Rapids, MI.  This seemed like a great course down by the BOB, but the large size of the combined 3/4 field led to a number of accidents during the race...  

The bad vibes surrounding the Herman Miller Crit started before the race was under way. The field was HUGE, so we were planning on getting to the line early in hope to get a good spot. We rolled up to the line, stopped, and were told that staging wouldn't begin for 5 more minutes so we'd have to take a lap. Fair enough we thought, until we took that lap and came back to see 60+ people already lined up. Ugh, this was going to make the race a lot harder as we'd have to work to get to the front instead of already being there. To make matters worse, I slipped my pedal twice before finally getting clipped in. Going into the first corner I was in dead last, exactly where I didn't want to be. 

Matt Ronan in the first turn of the Cat 3/4 race
The course consisted of six corners, two of which came right after each other and included a pretty darn sharp turn onto a narrow road. Before our race started we got to see a cat 5 being taken away in an ambulance after crashing on this corner, but sadly this was just foreshadowing of the mess that was to come. Also, the section right after the first turn was cobbled, alternating between sections of smooth and quite rough cobbles from corner to corner. 

A hard first lap brought me back into the first 1/3 of the field, but things were about to get hairy. On lap 2 some guy was trying to pass in a corner, took it too wide, hit the curb and went down. Of course I was right behind him so I ended up slamming right into the pile of bikes and bodies before flying over the handlebars. Luckily I landed on some other dudes so the damage was minimal and I was able to dust myself off before heading to the pit to get my free lap. I noticed later that they put up a barrier to prevent people from taking this corner as wide. 

Zeeland Crit Race Report

Tyler Trask in the dusky light
This year’s Zeeland Criterium took place on the same turn-filled course as last year with hot temperatures even with the twilight start times. The race is a lesser-known crit but draws serious competition, as it is the night before the well-known Herman Miller crit and only a short drive away in the small West Michigan town of Zeeland. The course and its many turns took its toll on the Cat 3/4 mixed field where all of AAVC’s representation was. After an unfortunate line-up, Tyler Trask and Stephen Doll were in the back of the large field of approximately 70 riders. With Tyler working to give Stephen the chance to reach the end of the 45 minutes ready for a sprint, the two fought to gain position in the field. After 15 minutes of hard effort, Tyler seemed to be out of gas and signaled for Stephen to lead the charge. Shortly after, an opposing rider bumped Stephen going into a fast 90 degree turn, causing him to crash and forcing him to abandon the race. Tyler managed to avoid the crash with some crafty bike handling and rode on alone. Meanwhile, Matt Ronan and Jarod Winn had started in better position and were facing their own problems, with the second crash of the race forcing Ronan into the grass and out of the main pack and eventually forcing them to abandon the race. After a total of three crashes and a fast field, Tyler finished 27th.