Day 1 Criterium
A new event this season to the Michigan circuit, and what wants to be on the national scene is the Tour de Mt Pleasant. Mt. Pleasant is home to the Central Michigan Chippewas and is in the middle of Michigan. All the local teams showed up with their 'A' rosters this includeds the Bissell team along with a few Regional Elite teams and of course yours truly Kenda Pro Cycling Team with Jim Baldesere, Ben Renkema and myself. We were a bit undermaned compared to the teams fully represented with 8, but we knew if we raced smart we strong enough to win.
Sixty or so guys took to the line under cloudy skies that soon cleared out and gave way to a beautiful sunny sky. The race from the get go was fast a furious, and from the very first few pulls on the bar I could feel a bit of pull on my shoulder. It took myself a few laps to get the feel of it and build some confidence as the race went on.
The Panther cycling team was very strong today and never let up sending one of there 8 guys up the road which attracted much attention from Bissell and Priority Health. Nobody on the day wanted anything to get to far up the road. The biggest and most worry some break of the day was the last solo rider of Greg a Panther rider taken off with 8 or so laps remaining in the race. He hung strong as a few riders from several teams took a pull to bring it closer and closer. It finally came back in the closing laps as Howard and another Panther rider took off on a lap and a half flyer.
Jim, Ben and myself had been riding together the last few laps close by and made our move heading into the last lap. I was the first to go and I caught up and passed the last two break away riders through corner 3 and into 4. At this point I had opened up a bit of gap which turned out ok as it put Paul Martin from the Panther team in the position to close it down while having Jim and Ben on his wheel. I swung off just before the 5th corner and Jim took it from there and dropped Ben off halfway through the finishing stretch. By then the field was lined way out and Ben just punched it and no one could get close to his wheel as he took the victory for Kenda.
Tomorrow is the road race and since we are no longer a tad under the radar it will be a bit tougher. We are up for the challenge and ready to go.