Very cool race and very well done. Amazing beautiful gravel and tons of semi technical and sandy 2 track. I loved it.
Garmin time...more later...TKO in a bike crash at mile 15 cost a lot of time...
Mountain Bike15:30:01 212.24 mi (4:23 / mi) +1588m4:17 / mi ahr:132 max:158
The Inaugural Michigan Coast to Coast Gravel Grinder. Bike garmin time.
Signed up for this as a stepping stone to Untamed. Figured it would encourage biking early in the season, which it did. The not great weather kept me from getting the bigger rides I had planned. But, still looked forward to trying this distance. The route was published some time ago, and used some time to go through it cue by cue to see what I could see on Google Earth. That was helpful, except the forest roads weren’t easily seen, and know that those can be slow going. I think the hardest pre race dilemma was determining anticipated pace, but decided to set my garmin bike computer for a lower and upper HR and leave it at that. Used an old piece of board and a zip tie for my cue sheet “holder”, laminated the cue sheets and held them together with a key ring. Had my AR bike computer, and the garmin. Ran 3ish bottles for each leg and planned some food. Tony, Richard and I talked, and we decided to work together.
The forecast was for some rainy weather, so planned for that as well. When we arrived at the start, ist was rainy/sleety (c’mon mother nature!). We started in Au Gres, MI and I dipped my front wheel into the water. And then at 6:12, Matt Acker (course designer) rolled us out of the start at an easy roll, and the precipitation had passed. We rolled along with the starting pack. At about mile 15, Tony’s tire got caught on a rut, I swerved to miss him and went down…and was knocked out for about 30 seconds. I just remember seeing him on the ground. Came to, another rider (who was a medic) was there until the ambulance arrived. Talked to the medics, and they cleared me to continue. Then, Richard Macgyvered my bike. In the meantime, Tony discovered a crack on his non driveside seat stay. They used tire levers, zip ties and duct tape to put it back together. About 45 min later, we were rolling. This section was purely gravel and some paved roads. Very pretty.
Got along to the first check point, where Tony swapped a tire. We had a quick TA, and then went on our way. At this point we were heading for the hills, and the first one was pretty much out of the gate. Made our way through this section pretty well, and at about mile 90, Richard, Tony and I discussed our goals at that point, and Richard wanted to go for broke. I told him with what happened, I preferred a steady, lower pace. We rolled into CP 2 at the 105 mark. Tony and I stayed together the rest of the race, and picked up another dude at about the 140 mark. From points 2 to 3, was the most challenging, with forest 2 track, some good hills and it was the longest leg. When we got to 3, I was so excited to bring it HOME. The last section had what could be called flowy single track, but I think it was really an old road bed. Salsa set up a “Chase the Chaise” (right in the woods on a 2 track-- very Michigan) which was so cool. We headed into Big M which I remember from a race last year. And I remembered the hills. :) Doing sand in the dark is no joke.
I was really feeling quite good throughout the race. The roads were exceptional. The forest roads made it interesting and there was more than I had anticipated. The sand? Well, not my idea of fun! But certainly good hike a bike practice. We finished just at midnight. Ha…we had to bike through sand to get to the finish pad. Still making sense of the results. About 300 registrations, 200 finishers. Not sure how many started.
Took my bike in for a once over…and turned out the hub bearings are toast. Surprised that came up 2 weeks after I had it in the shop to get it ready for this race. Good thing I get a discount! Highly recommend this race. Next year it looks like it will be June 22.