Terry Ritter and Rob Selle battle the sand. © Andrea Tucker 2009
by Matthew Ashley
Shelby Township, MI – Michigan racers saw another beautiful day for the latest stop of the Tailwind Enterprises cyclocross series this past Saturday. Stony Creek Park in Shelby Township hosted race number seven in the nine-race series. Paint Creek Bicycles, whose owner Keith Riege is a long time cyclocross fanatic, sponsored the event.
Stony Creek is infamous for its long beach section, blistering winds and truly spectacular scenery. Course designers changed things up for this year’s race, starting the race in the opposite direction. This pushed the beach section close to the beginning of each lap. Gone were many of the twists and turns of years past, giving riders a course that had a little bit of everything.
The day’s first races started in cold, overcast conditions with the wind just starting to whip off of the lake. Kudos to these first brave souls who keep the sport growing with their Sunday morning participation. In the C under-39 men’s race, Shawn Schaffert (Cannondale Midwest) and Paul Steigerwald (Wheels In Motion) took turns attacking each other all race long with Schaffert claiming first place at the line.
In the 40+ C group, Trey Cassidy from Grosse Pointe Woods ran very consistent lap times to run away with the win by over a minute. It was a close race for the second spot with Russell Kissel (Sign Outfitters) and Talbot Hack from Ann Arbor, giving the spectators a show for the entire race. Kissel came up with the goods on the last lap and left Hack a few seconds behind to claim second position.
In the next race we saw the B-men line up as the winds increased and the mud began to show in an already tough section of the course. Clint Verran, riding for RunGuru.com, and Daniel Gerow (Wolverine / American Cycle & Fitness), rode away from the field on the first lap and would never be seen again. They worked together to make the gap back to third place larger with every pedal stroke. Gerow unfortunately had a mishap with a barrier with two laps to go and had to hope for a mistake from Verran if he were going to latch back on. That mistake never came. Gerow had to settle for second place ascon Verran took his second consecutive win.
In the Elite Men’s race there were no surprises; Michael Wissink (Specialized) again dominated from start to finish. As soon as the race hit the sand for the first time Wissink was gone with Tim Saari (Essex Brass) and Cory Stange (CycleFit Multisport) just hanging on – but not for long. Saari was able to finish second on the day with Jeff Weinert (Wolverine / American Cycle & Fitness) trailing behind for third. This has been Wissink’s best season yet as he has won all of this year’s Tailwind races and is regularly finishing in the top-three in the Masters 35+ category in USGP series races.
Elite women Marne Smiley & Kelly Paterson storm the beach. © Andrea Tucker 2009
The final race of the day featured the combined the Masters men’s and Elite women’s fields. Marne Smiley (Scott Bikes/Ollett Coaching) had a slight bobble at the beginning but was able to quickly recover and leave the other women (and many of the men) behind. Kelly Paterson (Wolverine / American Cycle & Fitness) took the second spot and also took over the lead in the series standings. Rounding out the top three was Sandie Domagalski riding for the Flying Rhino Cycling Club.
The Masters 35+ race has without a doubt been the most entertaining to watch this season – and that excitement continued this weekend. Rich Stark (Priority Health – Ann Arbor Elite) rode away with the win on a singlespeed but left the real race for the series behind. The battle between Patrick Russell (Wolverine / American Cycle & Fitness) and Pete Thompson (Flying Rhino CC) has raged all season, but this time Thompson received a little help from teammate Mark Wolowiec. Wolowiec has already series wrapped up his series win and decided to race with the younger guys.
Chad Schut hops on his Single Speed © Andrea Tucker 2009
After attacks back and forth all race long, Thompson closed down on Russell with less than a half-lap to go. Thompson continued right by him and held the gap all the way to the finish. Russell was able to stay in front of Wolowiec to grab third and get as many series points as possible.
It was a great race at Stoney Creek and another well-run event by Tailwind Enterprises. Again a big thanks to Specialized, Dave Massey for lending his announcing voice and to the bike shop sponsor Paint Creek Bicycles in Lake Orion, MI. The next race in the series will be at Bloomer Park in Rochester this coming Sunday. For more info, check out Tailwind’s website and for more pictures go to www.tuckerbikes.com