Race Reports

Women’s Team: Detroit Cycling Championship

The AAVC Women’s Team was represented by 8 racers (including Coach Kurt’s return to masters racing!) at the Detroit Cycling Championship on July 14. It was the first true criterium experience for the team, on a course with tight corners, and a large field of 24 in the Cat 3/4/5 race.

The racers practiced their “clip in fast and get going strategy” from the Tuesday night crit practice lead by Eric and Josh, and were all able to start and stay with the main group. The course featured a tight S-turn that lead to some bike bumping in the first few minutes, and definitely took a few laps for everyone to get used to.

Detroit crit pic.png

Everyone had things that went well for them in the race- highlights were Lauren racing her first crit and staying on the pack longer than she expected, Ty putting in some attacks off the front, and Cameron being so close to the front she wasn’t sure what to do!

It ended in a fast finish, with Kari, Christina, and Cameron coming in 7th, 8th, and 9th just behind the leaders. Ellie, Ty, and Chrissy were close behind in 17th, 18th, and 19th.

Juniors: Sylvania, BTR, and Race for Wishes.

Although our Junior racing team in 2018 seems to specialize in attending races with extreme weather conditions, June 9 was very much an exception. Many races before and after the juniors' races were rainy, but ours were held in perfect conditions. We had a great day, with good racing, and tons of fun on and off the course.

First, Sylvania: the Sylvania Cycling Classic and the Ohio State Criterium championships for juniors. We had Aidan, Ansel, and Logan racing in the juniors; they were part of a 20-strong field of little racers.

 Credit: Kyle Cooper

Credit: Kyle Cooper

Each of our three junior racers learned a different lesson. Aidan had a very good race; after being dropped from the larger group, he methodically worked his way back. As a reward, he was still in the main group on the last lap, and able to get second place in his age group.

Ansel also rode cleverly, staying in the same group and doing little work. He let the older, stronger, kids do the pulls and had conserved enough energy to pull of a victory -- his first USA Cycling win.

Logan, meanwhile, found himself separated from the group early on and tried to find the right pace. He was doing well, but did run out of gas a few laps before the end. Several older riders passed him, but he held on to first place in his age group. Logan's first USA Cycling win as well!


 Credit: Kyle Cooper

Credit: Kyle Cooper

Logan got to keep his medal, but Ansel and Aidan had to settle for podium places; being non-Ohio residents, they were ineligible for the State Championships medals. It still gives the AAVC plenty of bragging rights: all AAVC racers were faster than anyone from the state of Ohio!

Next up was the CyclingLawyer.com criterium in BTR Park in Kalamazoo. Aidan was done for the day, but Michael was able to join us (in his own age category), and so was Connell.

 Credit: Catherine Keegan

Credit: Catherine Keegan

Michael raced first, in a very strong 15-18 field of just six starters. Predictably, the field fractured almost immediately, and Michael had to time-trial his way to a finish. And so he did, finishing fifth, behind riders who were averaging speeds over 25 mph. 

Speaking of high speeds: the 9-14 race was torn apart quickly when the officials decided to hand out a prime just two laps into the race. Connell took the opportunity (winning the prime) to accelerate, break up the field, and never looked back.

 Credit: Kyle Cooper

Credit: Kyle Cooper

He kept up a hammering pace throughout and took first place uncontested, lapping everyone except second and third place. Besides first place, he also took another prime.

Behind him, it was every man for himself. In Ansel's case, that was worth fourth place (first among those lapped); while further back, Logan had run a very clever race. Learning from his race in Ohio earlier, he started out slower, then got stronger and picked off several racers. His final placing was fifth. At the line, he was sprinting (and beating) Henry Wert, who however was a lap down.

 Credit:   Brian Miller

Credit:  Brian Miller

A very honorable race for Logan who had also, unwittingly, found himself racing for a prime. He happened to lap a rider just as the official was looking for a pack of riders; the next lap, Logan had distanced himself and thus earned himself a nice bike computer! What a day.

After all that racing, the AAVC racers and parents decided to enjoy the Kalamazoo brew scene with excellent food at Bell's Brewery. And then the strangest thing happened. . . 

 Credit: Kyle Cooper

Credit: Kyle Cooper

A game of Flamme Rouge broke out in the hotel! Now that is proof that the Ann Arbor Velo Club Junior Development Team is about fast fun for the family. I can't recall who won, but none of us who played it will ever forget the strange tactics that somehow gave Logan a podium place finish. Keep playing those 9's, Logan!

The final race of the weekend was the 13-mile Race for Wishes in nearby Lawton. It was a completely different experience from Saturday. One, we went back to having extreme weather: a complete downpour just before the race start prompted Logan to take a DNS. He and Ansel were shivering uncontrollably and Logan took the better part of the race time just to warm up in my car.

Connell and Ansel did give it a go. There were only eight racers in a field that put the 10-year-olds with the 17-year-olds. Predictably, Connell finished ahead of Ansel. Both had to work hard to grind their way to the finish. Fifth for Connell, Eighth for Ansel.

And so concluded, in rather fizzling fashion, a very fun and memorable race weekend for the AAVC juniors. Sadly, it was Logan's last race with us, as he has now moved west to California. He'll still be an AAVC member and soon will race in AAVC colors. To show the other teams over there how it's done. Allez AAVC!

Women’s team: BTR Criterium and Race for Wishes Road Race

The AAVC women continued the trend of racing in extreme weather (this time heavy rain instead of scorching heat) at the SW Michigan Cycling Weekend June 9 and 10, at the BTR Criterium and the Race for Wishes Road Race.

The Women’s 4/5 Crit was delayed by lightning, but once it started it was a fast pack of 11 riders. Chrissy, Allison, Ty, Kari, and Christina had the largest team in the group, and worked to try and tire out the Team Clark Logic riders. Allison and Ty put in lots of attacks, Kari tried way too long of a lead out, and Christina finished a very close 2nd in a photo finish sprint! When it was over we were all very happy that the race did happen, and Coach Kurt really wished he had brought rain boots along.

Image from iOS.jpg

Sunday was the Race for Wishes, and an ever-rainier day. Allison, Chrissy and Ty earned the most character points of the weekend for warming up and starting their 4/5 race of 25 miles in a torrential downpour. Chrissy and Ty both met their goals of catching back up to the pack with hard efforts, and Allison ended up on the podium in 3rd!

Christina, Kari, and Tracy entered the cat 1/2/3/4 race of 50 miles and were lucky that the rain had stopped for this race. The pace started slow, but the Cat 2/3 riders in this race kept slowly increasing the pace up the hills. Tracy and Kari both held onto the main pack for longer then they both though they would, but eventually fell off the pace. Christina stayed with a large chase group and finished well.

Rainy start race4wishes.png

Everyone walked away from the races satisfied with their hard efforts and with a few things they want to work on improving for their next race. Unfortunately, we missed riding with Maddie at the Race for Wishes, as she was hit by a car Saturday night. We are sad she was injured, but thankful it was not more serious. We are looking forward to her recovery and seeing her back on the bike for training when she is ready. As a team we appreciate our health and opportunity to ride, but are aware that things change quickly on the road, often due to inattentiveness and sometimes recklessness of others. Please do all you can to keep yourself and each other safe out there!


This year’s AAVC women’s team is BIG with well over 30 women representing. Most of them have a background in running and triathlon so they are brand new to our club and want to see what the competitive side of cycling is like. The focus is on developing riders in Cat 4 and eventually Cat 3 cyclists so they can compete as a cohesive team in local and regional races. Spring arrived late this year in Michigan but as soon as the weather was reasonable the women started their weekly-organized workouts. Many of them participated in the Ann Arbor Spring Training Series and gained race knowledge and experience. The women were ready for their first official road race: Waterford Hills Circuit Race!

Nine riders of the AAVC Women’s team showed up on a HOT Memorial Day to race and awesome coach Kurt managed all the logistics (tent, team jersey, cold water, trainers for warm-up… you name it!). From left to right wearing their awesome team socks: Emily, Katie, Hollie, Kari, Kurt, Christina, Maddie, Tyacie, Cameron and Chrissy.


The women’s race was a combined Cat 1-5 field with a total of 13 riders. AAVC was well represented! Three fast Cat 3 women showed up from different teams. The 30-minute race started with an easier first lap, before two of the fast Cat 3 riders put in a strong attack that split the field into multiple chasing groups. Christina, Kari and Emily joined the other Cat 3 racer in the main chase group. All the AAVC women did a nice job of re-grouping once the field split and managed to work together throughout most of the race. Christina and Kari had podium finishes (3rd and 5th respectively) but most importantly, everyone had a very positive experience and there was lots of enthusiasm about racing again! Next up is BTR Park Criterium (Kalamazoo, June 9th) and Race for Wishes (Lawton, June 10th). Let’s go!

Juniors: Waterford Hills Circuit Race

After weeks of hard workouts (on the road and on the track), the 2018 AAVC Juniors were ready to race at last! Six racers showed up; from left to right: Connell (the veteran), along with first-time road racers Aidan, Michael, Lauren, Logan, and Ansel.

 Credit: Julie de Jong.

Credit: Julie de Jong.

The Waterford Hills Circuit Race was a hot affair, completely not like the Willow Time Trial. Our AAVC team was by far the largest contingent: besides our six, there were twelve non-AAVC riders; most in the 9-14 age category, which the AAVC dominated.

It's hard to race cohesively in the 9-14 age bracket because the little racers have such different speed ability; but a few of the AAVC racers stayed in the pack for a good time, and there were pockets of AAVC racers behind who worked together for as long as they could. Room for progress, but also success! Well done, all.

In the 9-14 category, Connell sprinted to victory (to be honest, he almost won the whole thing); Ansel converted being dropped into a fine fifth place, after rowing home with Christian who had also been dropped, and then beat him in the sprint. Behind them, Logan and Aidan finished 6th and 8th, respectively.

The older junior group was decided in a sprint, Ryan beating Jackson, who slightly misjudged his sprint. Connell managed to split the two, by the way, because Connell never misjudges his sprint. Michael and Lauren (badly mangled from her high-speed velodrome crash) finished behind the pack, never quite able to connect back together. They still earned points for the club in the KOMZ Series team competition, well done! If my calculations are correct, the Juniors earned 355 KOMZ points; a sizeable contribution towards a high ranking for the AAVC overall!

 Credit: JD Alford.

Credit: JD Alford.

After the race, we had a nice barbecue. Parents brought lots of snacks and fruits to go with the meats the club provided, and we had a great time sitting in the shade with our AAVC banner. We certainly showed all the other teams how it's done. . . ALLEZ AAVC!

Juniors: 2018 Willow Time Trial

It was a cold and windy morning in New Boston, not at all the right weather to race a 13.2-mile time trial. But our AAVC Juniors showed up and competed admirably. 

In the 15/16-year-olds bracket, Brandon DeLine Jr (on loan from Racing Greyhounds ;) put down a very strong time of 36:50; the fastest since Austin Schouman in 2011 (31:11). First-time racer Michael Keegan finished in 44:31, giving the AAVC our first podium of the day.

 Credit: Brandon DeLine

Credit: Brandon DeLine

The younger juniors also raced. Connell Alford was chasing Vincent Vermeulen's U13 race record of 44:39, set in 2011; but regrettably came 12 seconds short: 44:51. It was 48 degrees that day in 2011, and not as windy. I think Connell would have gotten those 12 seconds if not for the elements. Ansel de Jong was shivering miserably before the race even started, but with sheer grit and determination laid down a time of 57:39. Not only a second podium for the AAVC, but those 57 minutes compare favorably with other 10-year-olds in the last decade, and I doubt they were as affected by the cold as Ansel.

Great jobs, racers! And thanks to parents for supporting your racers. It was the kind of day that it would be easier to just stay in bed. We're glad you didn't!

Our next Juniors race will be Waterford Hills. See you there!


Lost Nations Road Race - AAVC vs MVW

I really dig these club races - it was a bit of a commute, but totally worth it!  

The course was a scenic 20k loop with a few rolling climbs and howling crosswinds.  Results should be posted soon, but here's my recollection.  Josh pulled like an ox much of the first lap with a few sporadic attacks from Lathrup, Red Bike, and MVW.  Everything was covered pretty well with Kyle doing quite a lot of work to pull things back.  On lap 2 Harvey went loco and attacked solo into the headwind.  He sat 10-15 seconds ahead of the pack for most of that section in what was almost universally agreed to be a bad idea.  Things came back together at the corner and there was a counter attacks from Lathrup or MVW which Kyle covered and got about a 5 second break.  When that came back Danny and one MVW rider went and got about a 20 second gap. Danny rode the MVW guy off his wheel and before he knew it there was a MVW freight train chasing him down.  The pace was ehm "spirited" and the gap closed to 5 or 10 seconds until we got to the hills and Danny pulled away again.  It finally came back together after turn 3 when Danny was caught on one of the climbs just before the finish straight.  Will Haig and an MVW guy countered, but the group was ready to chase and everyone was together at the line.  Stephen Doll took the prime and set a new lap record on Strava (24.2 mph average with descents in the low 40's).  After the sprint, things calmed down for lap 3.   Lap 3 was incredibly boring until Josh attacked in the crosswinds and went up the road with another MVW guy (~10 second break).  When a second MVW guy attacked and tried to close the gap Harvey came to the front and put his final effort in.  He closed the gap, but got dropped on a climb with an MVW and Red Bike guy.  From here I'm going by what I heard at the race and what I can see on the Strava flyby.  William Haig came to the front to keep the pace up and ended up dropping a quarter of the field until he fell back to finish with Harvey.   Then it was Danny's turn on the climbs - he came to the front and continued to drop guys off the back until the last kicker.  The Maumee leadout train fired up about 400m out when most of us had already burned our matches, but Stephen Doll miraculously crossed over and sprinted for 2nd on a bike from the 70's.  Despite all rumors, his wheels did not fall off.  Rounding our the top five there was Justin Kahle (1st - MVW), Alan Zoltowski (3rd - Lathrup), Nick Mossing (4th - MVW), and Jeff Nixon (5th - MVW). Then came Kyle (7th) and Danny (12th), Josh (13th), Tyler (14th), Will (15th), and Harvey (16th) (official results).  MVW won 2016, but I attribute it greater numbers in the peloton.  Overall it was a great team effort and one hard race! 

For the B race, we had Rob Shoemaker, Matt Raezler, Ken Tsang, Andrew Wallis, and Juan.  This was Andrew's first race and Ken's first race in 10 years.  Rob and Andrew were the first to drop.  This was presumably the same time Juan decided he should have been in the A race and solo'd off the front.  Juan stayed away for two laps to win.  Matt and Ken were like "REALLY!?" and that was that.  Watching the finish, it was hard to believe Juan was away for a full two laps.  The whole peloton was only 5-10 seconds behind him when he crossed the line.  Matt held off his group with a mighty effort for 5th and Ken (9th) rolled in with them.  Andrew - poor Andrew - was lost to winds.  I rode back to find him and my water bottle when a saw a great horned owl flying across the road in the twilight.  That was pretty cool.  Also, random.  Okay, nice job guys!