By Mike Steele, Team OAM NOW Triathlete
The 2014 Fall Lowell 50 Classic Dirt Road Race held on October 25th lived up to it’s name. With distances of 34 and 57 miles, racers competed against one another and, despite warmer than normal temperatures, battled legendary West Michigan winds. As the last big West Michigan race before Iceman, the field of racers could not have been more prepared.
With 18 team members racing in a field with over 500 racers, Team OAM’s presence was felt during the race, and seen on the podium.
Congratulations to 16 yr old Tristan Greathouse for his 6th place overall and 2nd place age group (“AG”) and Steve Buccella for his 2nd place AG finish in the 34 mile men’s race.
At the top of the women’s 34 mile race were Charlotte Long who took 2nd place overall and 1st place AG. Rounding out the women’s field were JoAnn Cranson 2nd place AG, Roxane Kippen with a 3rd place AG and Laura Melendez 4th place AG finish.
Many racers noted the extreme and brutal winds and the affect it had on overall outcomes. According to Roxane Kippen, TEAM OAM multi-sport team captain, “Staying out of the wind was crucial to ending up on the podium. It was painful to push hard and stay on a wheel or in a group, but well worth it! It would have been 10 times worse pushing into the wind alone. The first steep climb left a lot of carnage with cross bikes struggling to grab the loose gravel on the 12-14% grade. Riders were crashing off their bikes, running into each other, and it was a battle to find room to ride and stay on the bike up the entire climb. At this point, I was really happy I was on my 29er and successfully navigated the carnage.”
As for me, I enjoyed an early morning helping Race Founder/Promoter Jeff Zvirzdinis set up the start/finish then marshaling several corners on the course. I even had the pleasure of testing out my post-insurane career in broadcasting as the finish line voice of the Lowell 50… sorry for all those butchered last names. Finally, a big thanks to Jim Allan who both raced and volunteered, and Bob Schultz for marshaling the transition corner, even if he had a dead battery.
The next Lowell 50 Classic race is April 11, 2015. We’re hoping for another great race, another great showing, but hopefully less wind.