Fort Custer Stampede 2012 Presented by Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association
Augusta, MI | Sunday, May 06, 2012
Race #2 in the Championship Point Series (MMBA)
The weekend of May 5th and 6th was big for Michigan mountain bikers with Mud, Sweat and Beers taking place on Saturday in Traverse City and the Fort Custer Stampede in Augusta on Sunday. We were left asking ourselves which race to attend, or, daresay, make an attempt to race both. I’ll admit that the thought had crossed my mind.
In the end, I chose Fort Custer Stampede. The course was almost exclusively on single-track. The Southwest MMBA chapter’s efforts to do maintenance, build new, and advocate for the trail system is obvious. Fort Custer has some of the best maintained and fun single-track I’ve ridden in lower Michigan.
A couple of rainy days leading up to the weekend made for a fast course, possibly too fast. Two serious injuries reported on the “Camel Humps” section caused race directors’ to change the course at the last minute, bypassing them and rejoining the trail just after the stoned berm.
Fort Custer Stampede hosted over 450 competitors. The Elite and Expert racers set off at 10 AM while Sport and Beginner raced at 12:30 PM. The course was approx. 9.6 miles in length and featured sections of newly constructed trail that included a bridge. The Elite men raced 4 laps, Elite Women and Expert raced 3, Sport 2 and Beginner 1 lap. Winners were awarded with pint glasses.
Over 56 children tested their legs in the kids’ race, a 1.4-mile loop that consisted of single track and groomed field. The kids received gift bags and were treated to snacks and Orange Soda.
Seven women lined up for the Women’s Expert race late Sunday morning. I recognized Marnie Tencate of Founders Alger Racing who I raced against at Mud, Sweat and Beers in 2011. I chased her for several miles before a flat tire near the finish took me out of the competition. I was glad to see Marnie, she is always in good spirits and I enjoy being around her. Danielle Shaver, also of Founders Alger, was at the line on her single speed. Custer Cyclery, Team Active Racing/WSI, and Cycletherapy Specialized Racing were also represented in the field.
3-2-1-Go! And we were off at break-neck pace, a fight to be the first to get our wheels on track. Four of us took the lead at a steady fast pace. Hard-packed single-track kept our wheels spinning through the course. All four of us stayed together for the first 5 miles as we headed into the Trenches: a series of off-camber turns and whoop-de-doos.
I slowed my pace to give myself room to maneuver through the technical section. But then second-guessed that decision and sped back up.
Never second-guess yourself—always go with your gut.
I took one of the turns too fast and hit a tree that jumped onto the trail (they sometimes do that). I went over the handlebars in a spectacular endo, landing on my head and shoulder.
Marnie, just behind me, slowed to see if I was okay. I yelled, “I’m fine! Go! Go! Go!” I didn’t want to ruin her race. I got up as quickly as possible and climbed on the saddle: a little shaky, a little sore, but my legs still worked. It was time to get back to work. Rolled 5 feet . . . then, in my shakiness, I fell down a ravine.
I got up, brushed myself off again.
Now it was time to get to work.
These women are fast, but we also still had two and a half laps to go. I needed to put the hammer down but it was not a panic situation yet.
Once I was alone on the trail, I started to enjoy myself. Fort Custer has a little of everything, some technical sections, scenic areas—it is a beautiful, fun trail and I couldn’t help but have a good time.
Nearing the end of the first lap I had managed to pull Marnie back in sight and had a lap time of 43 minutes. I could catch glimpses of the leading 2 women. I knew they weren’t too far ahead.
A third of the way into my second lap, Marnie and I were passed by a Team Active/WSI racer. And now I was down to fifth place.
Following Marnie’s pacing for most of the second and third lap brightened my spirits; I was having a good day. After all, Marnie blew past me at Barry-Roubaix like I was going backwards.
In the last lap, in tandem, we headed into a section with short, punchy climbs with rock beds. I once again decided to slow down, creating a gap that would allow me to carry momentum up the hills. You think I would know better. Marnie took that extra space and she was gone. I was not able to recover.
Top three places went to local riders: Summer Olmstead, Angela Bowers, and Kathy Roche-Wallace.
Expert Women Results:
Summer Olmstead, Custer Cyclery 2:14:02
Angela Bowers, Team Active Racing/WSI 2:14:35
Kathy Roche-Wallace, Team Active Racing/WSI 2:16:23
Marnie Tencate, Founders Alger Racing 2:19:19
Heather Brewer, GTMTBA 2:19:53
Danielle Shaver, Founders Alger 2:20:18
Heather McNamara, Cycletherapy Specialized Racing 2:21:12
Elite Women Results:
Elite Women smoked the course with lap times hovering near 40 minutes.
Heather Spencer, Team Fast 2:01:16
Erin Vicary, Quiring Cycles 2:04:45
Jill Meredith, Cross Country Cycle 2:15:02
The Women’s 40+ Sport Category is proving to be a fierce competition this year. There was a full-out brawl to the finish line for first and second place with just 1 second separating Kim Owens (1:31:35) and second place Tammy Moran (1:31:36). Heather Kubiak (1:32:07), in third place was hot on their trail.
Sport Women 19-39 Top 3:
Kati Rikke, Freewheeler Racing 1:27:53
Laurel Peak 1:31:53
Stephanie Sainsbury, Cannondale Midwest Racing 1:32:06
Full Results can be found here: http://www.raceservices.com/results12.htm