Team NordicSkiRacer.com had an excellent ride on Sunday's Black Bear bicycle road race. Team members Aaron Tarnow, Steve Kuhl and Dave Fanslow all finished in the lead pack with an elapsed time of 3:52 for the 100 mile course. The icing on the cake was Steve's strong pull with about 0.5 miles to go to set Dave up for the charge to the line and a 4th place overall finish. Team members Bill Kaltz and Randy Kessler rounded out the Team NordicSkiRacer.com's participation with great showings.
Despite a blazing fast rollup to the finish, we came up just a few seconds short of catching 2 riders who had gone up the road with a couple miles to go. The competition wasn't too shabby, with the final lead group looking a lot like a USCF race (that's the United States Cycling Federation for you non-cycling skiers).
(Aaron Tarnow was quoted as saying, "We could have won if Muha had come...")
Aside from the LeMans start, the major differences from a sanctioned race was the mixing of classes, not only by ability and experience, but also tandems and human powered vehicles (HPVs).
While the real bikes did beat all the HPVs this year, there was one very strong Wolverine tandem team that influenced the race dynamic considerably. There were numerous attempts to break away, including one group that Dave was in on the climb over the top of Heart Ache Hill, but on the subsequent downhills the huge top speed of the tandem would pull everything back together.
After catching our breath we got the bonus of a swim in the AuSable River and got to watch a couple canoes finish the Grayling to Oscoda marathon.
Excellent support was provide by expert soigneurs Joann Cavaletto and Mackenzie Kuhl.
Complete results at http://www.gaultracemanagement.com/.
Aaron, Steve and Dave get their bikes together. Nice team jerseys, guys!
Bikes all lined up for the LeMan's style start
Go! Bikers run through downtown Grayling - in cleats - to their bikes
Finishing in Oscoda. Dave is in that first group, behind the guys in red.
...But still lookin' good!
In time to watch canoe racers arrive
Well deserved post-race swim in the AuSable River.
Fabulous soigneurs Mackenzie Kuhl and Joann Cavaletto.
Bill Kaltz and Aaron Tarnow