Alma Gran Prix of Cyclocross

Harvey Elliott's Race Report from the Alma GP:

The 2014 Michigan Cyclocross Season is off to a bumpy start - literally - with the induction of the Alma GP.  While the rough course is stuff of bleeding hands and legendary heroes, the layout and execution by Brian Hancock and his volunteers was fantastic!  What was a former dump for the city of Alma had been transformed into an idyllic cyclocross venue with a number of embankments, two "Superprestige" sections, and a fun little set of Belgian steps.  Clearly, Brian and his crew spent some time figuring this one out!  

Tyler Trask makes it look easy in the Men's Cat 4.

Tyler Trask makes it look easy in the Men's Cat 4.

The Men's Cat 4 race was lining up as Danny and I arrived in the morning.  Both Tyler Trask and Tyler Carlton looked good off the start and were clean through the first turn.  Tyler Trask was attacking like mad and quickly took the lead. He was punishing the competition and started to ride away from the other contenders by lap 2.  Tyler Carlton was stuck back with the pack, but riding well.  Trask was clearly working hard, but also out gunning the rest of the field and easily took 1st.  I think somebody is ready for an upgrade!

In the Men's Cat 3 race, a sketchy start left me about 15 places back and in the danger zone as riders were falling left and right.  The rough and technical nature of the course favored mountain bikes to CX and so I focused on cornering and clearing the barriers smoothly.  Being the second race the corners were starting to soften up and I chose to take a wide line for better traction.  The two places I deemed safe to pass were the barriers with a long run between and the front straightaway near the start/finish where the road was well packed.  Every lap I'd get one or two riders in these sections until I worked my way back up to 4th, but by this time the leaders had a significant gap.  Thankfully Brian Kearns made the break and held on for 3rd.  1st and 2nd went to the fat tires which could better deal with the shocks and stresses of this new venue.  Crossing the finish line I ripped my gloves off to reveal massive blisters.  Tom Barrett helped patch me up before we went to the start of the Cat 1/2/3 and Masters race.  

Danny Soltan, sweating, who knew?  

Danny Soltan, sweating, who knew?  

From the start of the Cat 1/2/3, I sat back and it was clear I was losing ground.  I could barely hold on to the bars and the first wave of Masters riders caught me quickly.  After 5 or 6 laps I was in danger of getting lapped and pulled myself when I crossed the finish line.  Danny Soltan however had a much better race and went on to finish 6th.  It was a truly heroic effort and seemed unusual that Danny would have to work so hard after seeing him out front so much at CxPreX.  Adam York, Jeff Weinert, and Tom Burke of the Cyclocross Network dominated this race and lapped most of the other riders.  This is a power course and they had all the power.  

Overall, AAVC had a fantastic showing with our rag tag group of local racers took seven - as in SEVEN - podium spots.  I'll include the run down below, but I couldn't be more pleased with our team and I look forward to the two Waterford races this coming weekend.  

Cat 1/2/3 - Men

Danny Soltan - 6th

Harvey Elliott - DNF

Cat 1/2/3 - Women

Ellie Sterne - 3rd

Adrienne O'Day - 6th

Sarah Temby - 7th

Cat 1/2/3 Masters 35+

Simon Bailey - 3rd

Tom Barrett - 4th

Alex Monte-Sano - 9th

Cat 1/2/3 

Masters 45+ 

Rich Stark - 12th  

Ken O'Day - 14th

Cat 3 - Men

Brian Kearns - 3rd

Harvey Elliott - 4th

Cat 3/4 - Women

LesleyAnne Newsted - 8th

Cat 4 - Men

Tyler Trask - 1st

Tyler Carlton - 9th

Cat 4 Masters 45+

John Krauss - 7th

Craig North - 11th

Cat 5 - Men

Mick Jones - 4th

Matt Raezler - 16th

Juniors (14 and Under)

Jack Bailey - 2nd

Michael Bailey - 7th