The 2023 DIRTy Mitten Racing League season has a new bookend. The first-ever Civil War* brought together/tore apart some of the fastest fake virtual bike racers who didn’t have brunch plans on the misty moors of (again, fake) Scotland.
The Cause of the Civil War Was…
In this case, weather. The weather in all three kolo t.c. recognized regions of the state (West Michigan, Up North, and Strip Malls) was atrocious, making another weekend inside after the Dope AF agreeable to all parties.
- North – Cadillac and up
- West – Everybody west of I-75 (if it ran all the way to southern border)
- East – Everybody east of 1-75
Devised with a medical/military level of precision that could only be the handwork of Brad Hochstetler, the Civil War was on.
Related: Dope AF Tour Stages 5 and 6
The Hardest Part is Getting Out of Bed
The biggest challenge was the time change. Well, not for all us old farts, but we do need to give #COLLEGEBRO Drew Cummins and certified Sleepy Head Leland Branco propers for racing – and kicking ass.
The Field of Battle
Scotland, known for being a royal pain in the ass for English monarchs and kilts, served as a fitting map for the Civil War. It took a little arm-wringing, but DIRTy Mitten was given super special secret exclusive access. Again, thanks Brad.
The Muckle Yin is a lot like racing in Leelanau County, with plenty of short rolling climbs, including the decisive Sgurr Summit. Sgurr would serve as the day’s lone KOM point, with the Champion’s Sprint the only sprint point.
The Bike Race
It started off slow…and that was great. Riders had no trouble handling the complexity of DIRTy Mitten’s 2km neutral rollout, much to the surprise of literally everyone. Perfectly on the 2km mark, the fight was on.
The rolling terrain immediately caused splits, made even more pronounced by the forcing of John Burmeister. Soon, a group of Cs was already organizing to bury other Cs out the back, while a handful of Bs who had made the split were loving life.
The first time through Breakaway Brae kind of took the shine of things for a few riders up front, but the real vibe-harsher was the first trip up Sigurr. A group of about 14 riders broke clear, with another half-dozen slipping back on after a flying, anvil-laden descent.
East dominated attendance and the front bunch, with Dan Yankus, Jon Roobal, Luke Blazis, and others swarming the top ten. The presence of Chris Ostberg put a bit of a rubber stamp on the sprint points, with East scoring the top 2 positions of North’s Jeb Stone in third.
North dominated the B race sprint, with Drew Cummins and Ryan DeFour going 1-2. North also rook the C sprint with Carl Copenhaver and Ben Price going 1-2.
On to the Climb
In the flash of a windswept kilt, the racers were back at the foot of Sigurr and staring down (ed. up) at what would be both crucial KOM points and the decisive split of the day. North had just 3 riders in the front group of 20ish, with East totaling nearly half the group and plenty of West riders, too. Yankus, Roobal and Dan Kennegieter looked ominous in the lead-in, but it was Brad Pauly from North who fired the first shot. His Anvil power-up gave him a head start into the climb…but ran a little long, forcing him to climb with extra weight for a few seconds.
His teammate, Jeb Stone, pounced, immediately stretching the group and forcing several riders off the back immediately –
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– with Stone driving the point home. It was only when he realized the first 8 riders on his wheel were from East and West did he ease up, although the other squads pressed down the descent before his teammates could rejoin.
The split over the top was due to a huge effort from Joe Thomas, who took the KOM points for West, a big haul and prestigious feather in his decorative Victorian hat.
The Killer Bs
With Cummins and DeFour up the road, West’s Kevin Soules, Chris Mowell and Ted Schneider drilled it. Buoyed by teammate Joel Smith, they put time into their fellow Bs and swarmed the top 10 with 5 riders, compared to 4 North and 1 East (good job, Nate Benke).
The Cs, Too
North put riders with their top Cs, Copenhaver and Ben Price, who eventually finished 1-2. East didn’t go down without a fight, however, putting 3 riders in the top 6 of C to claw back some points.
The A Shocker
Outnumbered and outgunned, Jeb Stone never gave up. Making the most of the sinuous and hilly final 6km, he capitalized on East/West infighting and took the win, shocking the top 10 riders. Thomas and Brandon Dickson were second and third, with Yankus and Tom Burke splitting the final top 5 spots between East and West.
The Team Points
At DMRL, everyone counts, every time. Doesn’t matter if you’re the fastest or slowest, you rolled out of bed, balanced your employment/family/bowel movement priorities, squeezed into spandex, and rode with us. And that’s rad.
After some creative spreadsheetin’, West took the team win thanks to consistent high placings from its relatively few starters. East slides home second thanks to PACKING the top 10 of the A race, with North third in team points but certainly content with wins in all three categories and living where everyone else vacations.
We are PUMPED for such a great turnout and incredible racing. That wraps up the DMRL year, but we’ll be back in action next November once your Iceman hangover has cleared up.
- Make sure you join us for RAD events like the Less Cancer Bike Ride, the Cookie Ride and Patrick’s Heavy Ride.
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* There were approximately 213 civil wars between 1816 to 1997 based on a 1,000-casualty benchmark proposed by several political scientists. On-going civil conflicts in more than 20 countries meet this criteria, leading some researchers to dub the past decade the “Age of Civil War” – with substantial human and economic impact.