This is what some of our riders have had to say after participating in the Gravel Grinder…
This past weekend was a trip through the UP of MI and down to Boyne City where I have many fond memories of growing up racing the Fun Promotions MTB State Championships. Although this weekend was a dirt road race… a perfect opportunity to get in some good quality time on the Boone. The course is 60 miles starting and finishing on pavement, but with plenty of gravel in between along with a good amount of ‘seasonal’ roads. By ‘seasonal’ they mean sand pits that could easily be inserted into any Belgian World Cup race course, hairy descents nearing 40 mph, and a fair share of that just greasy enough mud. In the end it came down to a battle with Cole, Jordan, and myself. Jordan was super strong on the MTB and would gap Cole and I on most of the dirt roads. We fought back on the smoother higher speed stuff. Cole flatted on the gnarliest of seasonal roads and I was again chasing Jordan, but this time solo. After the catch we traded pulls into the heavy headwinds the last 20 miles and just over the top of the final climb I was able to attack and solo in for the win. Cole held on by 2 pts to win the KOM competition (5 lung searing climbs with a different point value to each depending on difficulty), a nice consolation prize after flatting. It always feels good to defend a title in any discipline at any race and The Gravel Grinder by Michigan Mountain Mayhem is one of them! It’s hard, it’s long, it makes you think and it’s the best time of the year to be UP north in MI with the changing of the season and the fall colors shining.
Good timing for a Podium before this weekend’s Trek CXC and my 4th trip to Belgium Tuesday! Thanks for reading.
By Brian Matter, Trek
Michigan Mountain Mayhem Gravel Grinder – that which doesn’t kill you…
October 6th, 2015 by Marie Dershem Team OAM NOW
profileGravel road races draw a tough crowd. Rough dirt and seasonal roads, big climbs, and unpredictable fall weather make the perfect mix for a suffer-fest. The Michigan Mountain Mayyem Gravel Grinder did not disappoint. As Daniel Yankus, Team OAM NOW racer said, this year’s full course had wind as an appetizer, climbing as the main course, and some boulder filled descents for dessert. Dan was joined by teammates Chris Abston, Collin Synder, Alex Vanias, Amy Kimber and Kaitlyn Patterson for this year’s 60 mile Michigan Mountain Mayhem Gravel Grinder. Jon Morgan went after the 45 mile version.
This year, the race rolled out at a fairly easy pace due to the big headwind. 4A solo ride went off the front right away, but no one panicked. Everyone made it up over the 1st KOM and a small group of 20-25 rolled into the Diablo’s Mountain 1.8 mile long, 500ft climb KOM. Alex set the pace from the bottom and trimmed the group down to 10 good climbers. From there, 4 racers bridged across to the lead the group with Alex and Dan in pursuit. Alex and Dan managed the gap and began closing in on the lead group. One rider had a mechanical and another we picked up shortly after.2 It appeared the 3 up the road were working together well as the gap quickly went out to a minute where it stayed on the plateau. Not far behind, in a large chase group, Chris, Collin and Kaitlyn worked together. 3Through the seasonal road Alex and Dan were able to shake a guy out of the lead group and they knew that working together was their only option.
At the halfway point, disaster struck Dan. He flatted, leaving Alex solo in the chase. With Alex pushing on, Dan changed the flat as quickly as he could and charged on. Meanwhile Chris and Collin had a little collision in the feed zone, putting a damper on Chris’s good legs. Racing on his own through the second half, Alex bonked with about 8-10 miles to go and settled for 4th. Dan made lemonade out of lemons for 6th. Collin grabbed 11th.
6Then closely behind, yes very close behind was the overall female winner Kaitlyn finishing 12th overall. With some bruised ribs, Chris followed as well for 14th. Amy Kimber rolled in 3rd place overall female, reserving 2 out of 3 podium spots for TEAM OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors strong women racers!
The team rode very well together and each had the opportunity to support teammates. Awesome race all!
“The MMM Gravel race is an event I have been looking forward to all year. The event only in its second year draws a very competitive field of [money grubbing] racers. With $1000 for the win and another $500 for the KOM everyone is ready for a fight. The course is a challenging one, throwing in about as much climbing as you can get in Michigan. It even includes some very sketchy seasonal roads tucked neatly into a 60 mile package.
The event got under way on a cool October day with Cole House lighting it up and nabbing the first two KOM’s. The second climb of the day was the biggest so I know it would be decisive. Near the top Brian Matter bridged to Cole and it looked like they might ride off into the sunset. Adam (York), Jordon Wakeley and I crested the climb together only a hand full of seconds off the leading duo. During the chase Adam flatted and Jordan dropped me. In retrospect I probably went too hard up the second KOM.
The remainder of the race saw riders going forward and some backward. Late in the race I was in a group with Dan Yankus and former MTB national champion Ron Catlin. We set about chasing Alex Vanias and Mike the “Simonster” Simonson. In the sprint for 5th Ron took me to the tape, cleanly, and I had to settle for 7th. A fine day but I might still like another crack at this one.”
By Tom Burke Giant Bicycles p/b CHG Inc. & Zingerman’s