Cyclocross racing returned to Woodland City Park in Ithaca, Michigan this past Saturday with the fourth Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross Presented by Token Products. Back again were start primes, this year sponsored by VeloShine, greeting the racers as they crested the hill on top of the opening start straight. These proved to be an effective way to blow both racers’ heart rates and the race action up through the roof. The early racers saw dew-covered grass, making for slick turns throughout the twisting course in the amphitheater. But it was the long climb up the sled hill and the painfully long run (or ride) through two volley ball pits that separated those that had it from those that didn’t on race day.
Temperatures only crested in the mid sixties, making for a beautiful fresh fall day to officially kick off USAC cyclocross racing in Michigan. The wind picked up as the day wore on, making for even more challenging conditions on the backside of the 3 km course.
In addition to a traditional double barrier set, the Ithaca GP course features a romp up the amphitheater stairs and a set of mini-barriers in the Vetta Speed Trap. Most all racers were able to hop these despite their precarious position atop a slow twisty section of the course.
The elite women’s race saw Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino Cycling Club) regain her title as champion, dominating a strong and large field for Michigan women’s racing. Sheila Moon (www.SheilaMoon.com) sponsored both the B-women and the Elite women, which surely helped the record numbers for all of the women’s categories on race day. Anne powered her way to a clear win over the other fast ladies, paving the way for yet another solid season of cyclocross. Kim Chapman made the long trek and held onto second over Jessica Bratus (Ann Arbor Velo Club) in third.
On the men’s side, elite racer Brad White (Moms In Tow Cyclocross) rolled to a clear victory over the reigning Michigan state cyclocross Champion, Sven Baumann (Wolverine Sports Club) who took home the Cyclocross Magazine 2nd place prize. Brad made sections of the course most C- and B-racers stumbled through look like fresh, flat asphalt.
In the (unofficial) Gratiot County Singlespeed Championships, Tom Burke (Specialized) mashed one gear over the tremendously hilly course, soloing to the clear win. Teammate Michael Seaman (Specialized) managed to hold on to a tough second place on a course that featured almost 200 feet of climbing per lap.
1) Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino Cycling Club)
2) Kim Chapman
3) Jessica Bratus (Ann Arbor Velo Club)
4) Laura Melendez
5) Susan Shaw (CX Bones)
1) Brad White (Moms In Tow Cyclocross)
2) Sven Baumann (Wolverine Sports Club)
3) Tom Burke (Specialized)
4) Jeff Weinert (Wolverine Sports Club)