Except for Danny’s stacked cyclocross schedule, the dance card is looking a little thin into November. Luckily, the squad is getting in plenty of big events over the next three weeks.
With the first snowflakes already falling in northern Michigan, we’ve got three straight weekends of big races to cap off October and, for some on the squad, the season! It’ll end up being exactly eight months from our first race at Southern Cross to the big finale on November 3 at the Iceman Cometh Challenge, but the next two weeks offer some big challenges and perfect preparation before the big one.
This Saturday, we’re shipping Scotty Albaugh back north for another tilt at Peak2Peak. The 13th edition of the mountain bike classic is already looking like a muddy, snowy, soggy mess, but that’s the sort of slog Scotty excels in. Last year, he led the way for the squad with a fourth-place finish against what is always the toughest Elite field of the season, excepting Iceman, of course. He’ll have Cody Sovis on the start line to offer whatever help he can against such a fast group. Growing up just seven miles away, the 3 lap, 33-mile race is just about as close to a home race as you can get. The guys will be up against multiple past winners, including Cole House and Jorden Wakeley. With temps in the high 30s, 20 mile per hour winds, and both rain and snow in the forecast, this one is going to take a lot of guts just to finish.
Sunday, we’ll have another chance to impress at Iron Cross in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A full 100km long, it’s one of the original UltraCross events and always attracts some of the best endurance gravel racers from around the country. It’s a brutal course, with over 6,000 feet of elevation over 57 miles. But the terrain tackled is even tougher than the numbers show; rocky, rooty descents, steep washout climbs, plus plenty of gravel and pavement make picking the right bike, let alone the right wheel and tire, challenging enough. While you’ll see plenty of 29ers on the start line, dedicated drop bar bikes like our 3T Exploro are definitely the way to go. Each of our three riders will have slightly different set-ups, with only Sean Kickbush locked in with his choice. He’s opting for 700s mounted up with 38c Schwalbe G-Ones, a set-up that he’s spent plenty of time on this summer and fall. We’ve also got Danny Soltan and Jay Ellis confirmed for the race, plus the official snack-man from Sweet Bikes, Seth Kleinglass heading down, too.
After this busy weekend, you’ll see the squad at the Lowell 50 to cap off the Michigan Gravel Race Series for the season, and then it’s all eyes on the Iceman Cometh Challenge on November 3. We’ll let you know who’s racing what, on what, after we make it through this weekend!