2012 Cherry-Roubaix: Old Mission Prologue Preview

The race organizers moved the first event out to the Peninsula. Here’s how you’ll be tortured this year. 

The Downtown Sprints were a big success, but on the heels of both events like Mount Pleasant and the West Michigan Stage Race, riders wanted a new set-up to kick off the action at the Cherry-Roubaix. Setting up a short time trial is rather easy in Traverse City; there’s a number of infamous loops capable of becoming legendary tests again time. The Old Mission Peninsula deserves the spot because it’s a weekly test ground for some of the area’s very fastest from spring until late summer. The loop goes opposite one of the sprint points for the Tuesday Night Worlds course, but all the roads are familiar to riders who’ve probably been on them more than once per week since May.

The start point at the Peninsula Township Park gives a scenic view of Bowers Harbor. Racers won’t enjoy one second of it. Heading east and north along Ne Ha Ta Wanta Road. The surface is one of the worst you’ll ride over anywhere, but racers will be on the smoother section. There is one small hump on this road that will best tackled out of the saddle.

The turn north onto Kroupa beings the second short climb. As the road turns up, riders will also likely be turning dead into the wind. A wind out of the north on race day will knock average speeds down by a good few seconds per mile. There’s a second long, gradual rise on Krouopa before a series of turns and a final kick up to Peninsula Drive.

Here, the true time trialers will finally be able to click into a big gear and roll. This portion of the course is slightly downhill and should have a tailwind on most days. Most importantly, it is perfectly straight. With riders leaving at 30 seconds intervals from the start house, if you haven’t caught the man ahead of you by now, you’ll have a clear view of them up the road for almost two miles heading back to the finish on Bowers Harbor Road.

The final numbers put the course at 6.08 miles with 143 feet gained. You can the see map on mapmyride.com. 

With just a day left of registration, the Pro classes are obviously saving their legs for Saturday and Sunday, though other categories are slowly filling up. Chris Fisher will take on Rudy Peterson in the Men’s 1/2, with both probably quite happily assured of a podium. In the Women’s Pro category, the Einstein Racing and Hagerty Cycling duel starts off with Susan Vigland and Lauri Brockmiller taking on the wunderkid Zoe Reeves. The lone Einsteinian will use her famous time trial abilities to hop atop the podium flanked by the Hagerati women. Vigland and Brockmiller showed great TT stuff at the West Michigan Stage Race and should be equally comfortable and capable on their home turf.

The Old Mission Prologue starts at 6pm this Friday, August 10, at the Peninsula Township Park.

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