In the overly dramatic build-up to Michigan Cyclist of the Year, here’s the Best of the Best for the Year That Was…
You voted, and kolo t.c. counted on all fingers and toes to tally up the results. There are some outstanding events, people and teams that deserve a chapeau for their efforts in Michigan cycling.
Best Mountain Bike Event- Crybaby Classic. Yes, it’s a bit pricey. Yes, it’s not exactly nestled in a convenient metropolis. But race promoter Tom Behan set out to make a damn hard mountain bike race, and he’s done just that. nub’s nob is a playground for mountain biking, and Crybaby is the toughest course in the state. It has the more elevation per lap than most races, and the singletrack section that made a dramatic debut last season is longer and better than ever. It is pure, unadulterated mountain cycling, without the impossible crowds and pile-ups of the Iceman, on a course that deserves a lot more credit than it gets. If this race cost a bit less, more people would make the trip north, and more people would see how terribly hard and terribly fun the Crybaby really is.
Honorable Mentions: Peak2Peak, Boyne Mountain Marathon, Rust Shaker, Battle at the Burg
Best Road Event- Cherry-Roubaix. Homer? Sure. But the spectacle of bikes riding through Old Towne Traverse City is simply awesome. The entire weekend is as professionally run as is humanly possible by a crew of volunteers that put on one heck of a show. The course changes on the road race have made each edition memorable, and this year’s inclusion of a Prologue instead of the sprints, brings a real Tour experience to the table. If they include an Omnium competition to make the Prologue more attractive, this will be the hardest weekend of bike racing in the Midwest.
Honorable Mention: Tour de Mount Pleasant, Celebrations Criterium
Best Cyclocross Event- Mad Anthony CX. One of the most unique events in the state and a real treat for the dedicated ‘crossers. Even with KissCross and Cross the Bay CX happening, the one-day format of Mad Anthony definitely brings an immediacy and intensity to one of the oldest and most talked about races. Every year it seems to get bigger, better and gather a more dedicated cult following.
Honorable Mentions- Cross the Bay #4 Civic Center Cross, Swamp Thing CX, Ithaca GP of Cyclocross, Cannonsburg Cross (KissCross)
Team of the Year-Einstein Racing. Hard to argue with, though many will. Einstein Racing had three riders that put them over the top for this one. Mackenzie Woodring’s season was one of the best in recent memory. She finished off a state road race title with a fourth place at the Iceman Cometh, with a Peak2Peak win as icing on the cake. Ron Sanborn’s NUES win in the Master’s division was wrapped up in early summer, and a lot of people forgot how dominantly Rocket Ron won a grueling series before the darn thing had even begun. Jorden Wakeley was racing like a man possessed from March ’till his career-best seventh place at the Iceman Cometh. Sprinkle in great rides by Ryan Kennedy at Ore2Shore, Johanna Schmidt’s Top Banana win and solid rides from Ty Schmidt, CAT 3 state champion John Leach and the whole crew, it’s tough to name a team as complete as Einstein Racing in 2012.
Honorable Mentions- East Hills Velo, Leadout Racing, Quiring Cycles
Style File Award for Best Kit– Hell Yes Cyclocross Team. A sad, sad day when Hell Yes folded up. Director Sportif Dennis Bean-Larson, a.k.a “Swede”, put his focus onto Erg! and the Hell Yes brand had to shut down. Before going, however, they offered up the cycling world one of the best jerseys of all time. Designed by both Dennis and his son Carl, the jerseys were some of the best around. Stylish, efficient and not in any way gaudy, the black and neon blue of the Hell Yes kits were eye-catching in spite of not being too eye-catching. With any luck, someone will capture that vibe for 2013. Bon voyage, Hell Yes.
Photo of the Year- Iceman Cometh 2012. With her superstar husband, Dan Hofstra of Hagerty Cycling, on the wheel of Ty Schmidt (Einstein Racing) in the final mile of the race, Jody got an iconic Iceman photo. Through the snow, through the sagging branches, two leaders ride to the line after 29 miles of hell. Jody has outstanding photos, and people wait up late at night after races just to see what she uploads. The winning photo is at the top of this post. Thanks for all of your hard work, Jody!