Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel: Vigland Goes For A Perfect May

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Last year, Kaitlyn Patterson was perfect in May, and now she’ll be trying to trip up Susan Vigland’s bid for the perfect spring. 

Susan Vigland picked up big wins at Mud, Sweat and Beers and The Barrel Roll to kick off a busy May in Northern Michigan. The final stop of the Vigland tour is Arcadia, and last year’s winner, Kaitlyn Patterson, has been confirmed to toe the line and possibly end Vigland’s streak at 2 races.

With Wakeley not racing, only Vigland can take all three May races, and it should be noted she’s done a touch more than advertised. She also won Sunday’s Short Track race at 45 North Winery, and before that, took the women’s GC lead at the Speed of Light Giro Competition. She’s slated to ride Stage Two Thursday before taking on AGG, keep a rather full dance card even with an ambitious slate of ‘real’ races.

Patterson will head north without her dorky boyfriend Alex Vanias, and ‘Greek Yogurt’s’ absence, Wakeley’s abscence, and with Matt Acker in the desert somewhere, might lead you to think it’s a small field on the men’s side. However, Scott Quiring is rumored to be heading to Arcadia, and he’s been the runner-up in three straight events dating back to Rust Shaker at the end of April.

Jeff Owens, too, may be on the line, with the MSB winner looking to make the most of 9 miles of singletrack that always make the major selections of the event. Sean Kickbush, too, may give the race a go, even with his cast still on for another few weeks. Rumors of Ryan Kennedy, Luke Tjosvold, and a few other local favorites aren’t confirmed, but it’s hard to imagine former Team Competition squads failing to send some contenders south for the day.

Perhaps the most exciting registrant is the return of Mike Simonson. After taking an easy spring, the legend is back in action on a course that demands all the attributes he’s proven to possess for decades. The 11 miles of gravel, plus two important climbs, should work to his advantage before the selection hits the singletrack.

The race has changed shape over the past few years. Instead of a decision in the opening two miles at the top of the first climb of Erdman Road, the Elite fields has largely stuck together. That’s made the gravel and pavement a battle of wits; some riders are trying to catch back on, while the leaders tend to try to keep their powder dry for the assault up Taylor Road. The old adage is that the order riders crest Taylor Road is usually how they’ll finish, and there’s no reason to doubt that as true heading into Saturday.

Registration for the 2017 Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel is open, so get signed up. Make sure you make a squad for the Team Competition!

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