Crunch Time For West Branch Classic

The clock is ticking away as racers recover from the Arcadia Grit and Gravel and queue up for the road races at the West Michigan Stage Race.

One of the longest running and toughest races on the Michigan calendar is perilously close to going extinct as pre-registration is stagnant at just over 100 riders. That total is well short of the required amount, though no one has quite given up hope that the Classic will happen in 2012. No one wants to see this race cancelled, and efforts are still underway to coax racers to commit to an event committed to great racing.

Should the race get cancelled, Michigan will lose one of the most entertaining hilltop finishes in the state. The Mur de Huy style finish has made and completely, unabashedly broken men and women in every edition of the race. The multiple hills and undulations around the circuit add up to about 1,400 feet of climbing per lap, capped off by the finishing climb. It’s a tough, demanding loop and the only one that comes even close to the elevation gained at the Cherry-Roubaix. In contrast, Mount Pleasant’s road race offers up just 182 feet of climbing per lap. There’s no other race for the climbers, and no place for the flatlanders to truly prepare.

The race organization has promised that entry fees will be returned if the race doesn’t happen, so don’t be concerned about tossing $40 down the tube. The deadline is creeping up and the decision will be announced quite soon by USA Cycling as to whether West Branch will take place.

The other option on June 2nd is The Grind presented by Short’s Brewing, a six-hour mountain bike races at Boyne Mountain. In addition, Sunday offers up the Hanson Hills Challenge, another mountain bike race in Grayling. For the roadies, West Branch is the only road option for the weekend and a race simply too good to lose. Sign up here!

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