It’s Barry-Roubaix Week on kolo t.c., and we start it off with a look at the new team competition.
For 2013, teams will vie for the ultimate bragging rights in the team competition. Open in all three distance categories, teams around the state will be eyeing it as a huge opportunity to get off to a great start and keep the sponsors happy. The biggest title of them all will be in the 62 mile, where the cream of the crop will battle for the win and, should they find themselves floundering off the back, will need to stay on the gas as much as possible to keep the team in the hunt.
The Grand Rapids teams will want the trophy to stay down south, and have been reconning the course as much as possible for a few months now. Founder’s Racing will be especially motivated to keep the race’s title sponsor plastered all over the results, and they’re sending a strong team to Hastings. They have Shawn Crowley, Tim Curtis, Jeremey Karel, Ralf Sharnowski and Danielle Shaver flying the colors. It’s a solid team with a lot of motivation to succeed, plus the added advantage of course information as the roads thaw and freeze.
Another Grand Rapids based team should figure into the overall, and may play the role of underdog against some of the team’s with bigger names. Team Priority Health fields a team that has the firepower to threaten, but they’ll need big rides from some of their riders to keep in touch for the win. Todd Anthes, Erxlben, Scott Hofner, Mike Jones, Terry Ritter, David Stebbins, Michael Krywanksi and Pete Skellenger will play their cards in the Men’s race, with the duo of Amy Stauffer and Erin Lumbard leading the way for the women’s squad.
Spidermonkey will be the main out-of-state threat, fielding one of the biggest squads in the race and with the vast majority of them loaded into the Open 62 mile wave that will lead the way Sunday morning. They’ve got prospective winners and will work to lump riders into the lead group, and if last year is any indication, they aren’t afraid to drive the pace and put the field under pressure. They are definitely a leading candidate for the team win, and it will interesting to see if they have the talent to pull a double victory on the day.
Perhaps the most interesting squad on the day is Einstein Racing. As one of two Traverse City teams that have committed totally to Barry-Roubaix success, it will also be the grand unveiling of their new signing around the Grand Rapids area. Ryan Cross and Jason Young will make their Einstein debuts in Hastings, as will Chris Fisher in his first full season with the Traverse City team. They’ll be ushered along by Jason Lowetz and bolstered by a team that’s spent much of the winter racing fat bikes. Chris Kushman, Mickey Humpula, Jorden Wakeley and Chelsea Strate are in prime condition after racing the Northern Michigan Fat Bike Series since January. Ryan Bolin and John Leach will also be on the start line, fresh off a 1-2 at the Gravel Grunt last Saturday. Bennett Paul will reprise his role as wild card for the team, giving Einstein Racing a great squad already. But the secret comes in Mackenzie Woodring. She is a big favorite in the women’s race, and any time she can take over the other women will be huge for the team tally.
The Hagerty Racing contingent in 2013 will be sizeable. Fielding only a handful of riders in the past few years, the Master’s team has mobilized to go after the Master’s 62 mile win and to finish high in the team competition as well. One of the state’s most successful Master’s teams, they’ll bring experience and firepower to the race. Norm Licht, Hal BeVier, Craig Webb, and Pete Worden should be in the final selections in the Master’s wave for Hagerty. They’ll also field four riders in the Open 62 race, including Brian Hofstra, who is coming off a storming 2012 campaign. Nick Wierzba will ride alongside Hofstra, and will be joined by Cody and Wes Sovis, who’ve prepared in fat bike races and the Inside Out Cyclocross Series over the winter. The Hagerty squad will rely on Lauri Brockmiller to have a big day as their only woman to enter the 62, with Melissa Ryba stepping down to target the 36 mile race.