Rolled up solo to lovely Arcadian, MI for the first ever Arcadian Grit and Gravel race this past weekend. Goals for this race were simple; ride hard, and have a better result than the Fort Custer disaster from two weeks prior.
The 30 mile course was an interesting mix of flat dirt road, somewhat hilly and very sandy 2 track (think Martin Hall's Misery Loves Company race), and a loop of the Arcadia single track. The start was easy enough until about 2 miles in we hit the first 2 track. Having not ridden the course prior, I was not prepared for how sandy things were going to get. I dabbed pretty bad and the front of the race got away. There was about four off the front, and a group of us chased. Lots of road race tactics were used by the boys from Einstein for the next 16, which was smart racing on their part, with the constant attack and counter attack. About a quarter of a mile before we hit the single track, I could see 3rd turning off the road 4th, 5th, and 6th were right behind. I was maybe 30 seconds back.
Finally we hit the single track. Enough of this flat road hammer session. I felt instantly better when we hit the trail. It took me a bit to get the flow back and then things started to go my way again. I picked up Lowetz and Schmidt a couple of miles in. It took a bit to get around them because there are not to many good places to pass. I then made my way up to Ron Sandborn and got by him when he dropped his chain. Things were definitely going better. I had a nice gap until I tractor beamed into a small sapling on a long downhill. Fortunately I hit it square and probably caused more damage to it than me. It was enough for Ron to catch back on though. I was pleased at this point. I had gone into the single track in about 8th and came out 4th. We left the single track together with maybe a 400 meter gap on the group behind. We kept them away as long as we could, but they were able to close it down on the long dirt road downhill. We made our way up the two track climb. Sanborn put in a dig that I could not match at the time and he stayed away for fourth. I rode with Ty Schmidt for a bit until I dabbed again in the deep sand and he got away for 5th and I rolled in a few seconds later in 6th.
Some positives on the day. The Arcadia loop was super fun and I felt like I rode parts of it pretty well considering I had never been on it until the day of the race. Still got to do better at not making mistakes at the start and end of races. That's two races in a row that has happened and both time were costly.
Next stop is Hanson Hills in a week or so.
Now stop reading and go ride your bike!!