At the Gravel Grinder, part of the Michigan Mountain Mayhem Series, riders shared thoughts of mud, cold, rain, and an anticipation of a tough character-building ride during packet pickup early Saturday morning on October 4, 2014 in Boyne City. Thankfully, the sun began to peek out periodically and we even saw a rainbow!
The riders headed out on the full 60-mile ride which promised, and delivered on that promise, to be one of the most difficult cycling events in Michigan. Alex Vanias once again rode a strong race, taking an early position at the KOMs (including a 2-mile uphill ride to one of 5 KOMs). Alex ended up with a third place finish overall, first in his age group, in a very tough field. Continuing their run as the fastest cycling couple in West Michigan, Kaitlyn Patterson finished 2nd in the overall women for the 60-mile event and first, among the women, in KOM points during the race.
Alex and Kaitlyn weren’t the only Team OAM NOW riders , with the masters riders making a good show despite suffering several mechanical issues. Mike Krywanski had a flat about 20 miles into the race, and was seen carrying his bike over his shoulder for more than a mile on the sandy seasonal roads. He was rescued by his ever-faithful pit crew and given a new wheel to ride on. However, by that time he was to far behind and, ultimately, out of competition. Leonard Van Drunen also had challenges with chain droppings and a flat. He was rescued by team mate Marie Dersham and her CO2 air pump. Terry Ritter represented in the masters field with a good finish.
Congratulations to all the Gravel Grinders who competed in the inaugural event today. Great organization, good lunch, and warm heaters were available to all at the end of the race. This team with grit will continue to grind in the sand, dirt, and gravel. We’re already looking forward to next year.