by Brian Hancock
With the summer gravel season wrapping down, “Michiganders” are once again turning their eyes toward ’cross this fall.
The Bike Law Michigan Cyclocross Series (MICX Series) is back again after a successful inaugural year in 2017, featuring a geographically diverse gathering of USA-Cycling-sanctioned events across the lower half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This series represents a collection of separately promoted events, unified together to create a season-long competition of high-caliber events.
Racing kicks off at the Avalon Pontoons Alma Grand Prix of Cyclocross (and 5k) on Saturday, September 8. The race director JB has been hard at work again this year, adding a 28-meter-long sand pit—the Avalon Pontoons Beach & Yacht Club—to the semi-permanent course in Alma, Michigan. That, in addition to a few other changes this year, will surely cause racers to need to think “ride it or run it?” come race day.
New for this year, on September 22, Tim is bringing Island Lake ’CX into the MICX Series, which takes advantage of the natural terrain to bring racers more than a few challenges on race day. Early on in the course, riders will tackle the “Belgian Leg Breaker Climb” along with a forced run up “Dutch Tree Hill,
drawing on Tim’s heritage and some woody elevation, to separate the field early. We’re looking forward to racing at this new venue.
Traversing back across to the west side of the state, MICX racing continues with the Beer City Growler p/b Greenware on October 13. Grand Rapids is becoming quickly known for their fermented beverages, and Don takes full advantage of this with a beer garden that allows for panoramic views of the race action. Toss in the only remaining flyover in Michigan, and you’ve got another great event.
In Michigan, the Iceman mountain bike race is a key point for many racers in the fall racing calendar. To help racers squeak that last bit of fitness out of their bodies before Iceman, the Bloomer CX p/b KLM/Cold Stone race on October 28, features a historic venue and falling leaves to remind everyone of the pending fall temperatures.
Bloomer Park played host to Michigan’s first UCI races back in 2003, which also served to launch a certain Jeremy Powers off to a stunning career with his first UCI win. The KLM race director Brad has brought this venue back and is entering its third year under his guidance. Racers and spectators alike can enjoy the sections of singletrack and Cold Stone ice cream as racers struggle up the run-ups around the International Velodrome at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills.
On November 10, the MICX Series returns to historic Fort Wayne in downtown Detroit for the Mad Anthony CX race. Racers are continually impressed with the venue and course, which provides numerous trips up, down, and even through the fort (and former moat) walls. With only one race remaining in the series, those in contention for overall series prizes will be looking to build their final-season ’cross form at Mad Anthony.
Seriously, what other race do you know that signals the start with a cannon?
Wrapping up the season on December 1, Le Frost Cross In Memoriam serves not only as the MICX Series finale but also as the Michigan State Championship event. Last year Le Frost moved to a new venue–Deerfield County Park in Mount Pleasant–which features the longest climb on the MICX Series circuit and a boatload of sand to navigate. Lisa and her crew always put on a quality event, and this will once again be a fantastic way to wrap up your ‘cx season before heading to USA Cycling Nationals (2.0) in Louisville.
The full schedule is below. For more information about the series and registration info, visit MichiganCX.com
2018 Michigan MICX Race Schedule
|Saturday, September 8||MICX #1||Avalon Pontoons Alma GP||Alma|
|Saturday, September 22||MICX #2||Island Lake 'CX||Brighton|
|Saturday, October 13||MICX #3||Beer City Growler CX p/b Greenware||Grand Rapids|
|Saturday, October 27||MICX #4||Bloomer CX p/b KLM/Cold Stone||Rochester Hills|
|Saturday, November 10||MICX #5||Mad Anthony CX||Detroit|
|Saturday, December 1||MICX #6||Le Frost Cross||Mt. Pleasant|