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.
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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.

Michigan State Championship TT

 AAVC was represented by Fred Feng, Mick Jones, and Tyler Trask in the Cat 4 Men’s division and Lucas Wall in the Masters 35+ division for this year’s state championship time trial. The course was relatively hilly for a TT in Michigan and included 3 out-and-back legs with a turnaround at the end of each making for a challenging 26-kilometer route. To add to the difficulty was the weather, hot and humid. Mick was able to secure a second place finish with Tyler finishing 5th and Fred 9th. Lucas Wall finished 3rd in the Masters 35-39 age group division. With a taste of the podiums and riders within reach of state titles, AAVC will be back next year to improve upon this year’s results.

Lumberjack 100 Race Report

Harvey Elliott's report of the Lumberjack 100 MTB race at Big M in Manistee.

Riding rigid hurts, I can't believe I used to do this on a regular basis!  I finished in about 8:43 with Ellie, Craig North, Nate Kerns, and Jesse from Treefort Bikes not far behind.  Jack Miner (and son) provided excellent pit support although thankfully I didn’t have to use him much.  I’d describe my race strategy as “remember, this is only a training ride!” but looking at my time from last year that may not be entirely accurate.  

Dawn at Big M
I converted my rigid single speed to 1x9 while standing in a mud puddle outside Timber’s restaurant the night before.  We had a 30 minute wait so it was a real Gran Prix type affair.  A slapped it together and give it a quick spin before running inside and ordering a pitcher of the Horny Monk from Petoskey Brewing - QUITE DELICIOUS! It was nice to have a bit more flex in gear selection, but without a chain guard I would frequently drop the chain on downhills forcing me to scrub my speed.  It was maddening because I was riding with people then would drop my chain and be alone in the woods for the umpteenth time.  You’d hear a brake pad squeal or a bad shift so I knew they were out there, but somehow I was mostly alone.  There were several cases where I’d pass someone on the hill and they’d pass me back 1-2 minutes later after the drop.  At the finish line I played this out three times with a single RADING GREYHOUNDS rider.