Einstein Racing will turn its collective attention to the Spring Classics, starting with the Barry-Roubaix this Saturday, March 23. While “The Killer Gravel Road Race” usually ushers in spring weather for Michigan, the 2013 edition is looking to be a whole new test for the squad. The new start town of Hastings received four inches of snow mid-week, and current reports of the route indicate deep mud, snow and ice over large portions of the circuit.
Those conditions certainly play into the hands of Einstein, which boasts a dozen or so riders who have spent the winter on fat bikes racing in the ice and snow. The roster includes Chris Kushman and Mickey Humpula, both of whom have proven themselves foul-weather specialists and will play a big role in delivering some of the squads heavy-hitters to the line.
As much as the team will work, the mud and ice will force the 62 mile into a sort of every-man-for-himself scenario in the end. That certainly suits a team filled with talent, including new signings Ryan Cross and Jason Young. They’ll be joined by Jason Lowetz, John Leach, Ryan Bolin and Bennett Paul for the race. It leaves the team with a lot of cards to play over a long race that will be very unpredictable.
The team will look to support Jorden Wakeley as much as possible as the Giant of Grayling turns his attentions from his Fat Bike World Championship season and shoots for a big season on the mountain bike. He has some work to do to improve on last year’s 16th place finish at the Killer.
The Women’s team as equally high ambitions for Saturday, putting the heretofore undefeated Chelsea Strate and 2012 Cyclist of the Year Mackenzie Woodring on the line to challenge last year’s winner, Amy Stauffer. Strate recently swept the Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series and two stops of the Inside Out Cyclocross Series in January and February. The Minnesotan relishes the cold weather, and should be a dangerous rider to watch over the ice. Mackenzie Woodring enters as a big favorite and will be eager to win another Barry-Roubaix title, her first for Einstein Racing, and to start off 2013 with a big statement. If there’s any rider capable of riding away solo, she’s the one.
With the 36 mile race packed with well over half of the race’s entrants, age category podiums will be a tough job for the team selecting that route. Gary Chastain and Keith Conway will both brave the throbbing masses and treacherous ice patches. New tandem specialists Vita Morse Kennedy and Bryan Sheffield will also make their debuts for the team, racing in one of the biggest tandem classes of any race in the state. They’ve been on the trainer all winter in preparation, and Barry-Roubaix remains a big target, regardless of conditions.
The very best of luck to everyone in the team heading to Hastings. You can sign up for text message updates for all of Einstein’s riders at the link below.