Mike Simonson is good at bikes. The Michigan mountain bike legend struck again this past weekend, defending his Barry-Roubaix Psycho Killer 100 mile crown in style.
Winning this race isn’t new to Simonster, and it certainly pre-dates his win at the inaugural Psycho Killer in 2018. As noted last year, the Simonster won the very first edition of the Barry-Roubaix. The event has grown from a few hundred racers packed in the Gun Lake parking lot to 3,500 racers taking over the small town of Hastings, Michigan. In the early days, the event saw more mountain bikes than gravel bikes, and a good chunk of those was of the 26″ vintage! Now, gravel bikes like the Exploro are the norm and it’s a rare thing to see flat bars in the mix after the first hour of racing. A lot has changed for gravel events, but that hasn’t done much to change the really important things for Barry-Roubaix. The constant has been great roads, a fun event, and cold beer at the finish line thanks to Founders Brewing.
The riders do need to earn that beer, and on Saturday, Mike earned every sip. When you’ve been in the sport for as long as Mike, you’re bound to make a few friends over the years, and when you can give the nod to someone like Scott Quiring and start drilling the pace early, you’ve got a good pal for the task at hand. After some initial forcing, Mike, Scotty Q, and Ann Arbor’s own Nick Stanko went clear with nearly half the race still to cover. After some early miles of loose, sloppy sand and some expert bike handling on Sager Road, the trio had a clear gap but a new challenge to tackle: the wind.
While always a bit breezy, the wind was a huge factor this spring, and it peeled Quiring off at the 55-mile mark. Next, it was Stanko’s turn to be blown backward, but he recovered exceptionally well to keep Mike in sight all the way to the Hastings city limits. There was no late charge or rejoining, however, with Mike taking the final left turn to the finish line by himself, yet another confirmation of the guy’s class and guts. Five hours, eleven minutes, and another 100 miles for a rider who has done, and won, it all.
After a flurry of events this spring, the Michigan Gravel Race Series finally gets a break. There are three weeks until the next stop, the HellKaat Hundie on Sunday, May 5. With 100 and 50 mile distances, the short race is only short by relation to the deceptively hilly hundo that gives the event its name. It’s one Al won just a few years ago and an event we’d love to take another crack at!
Take a hot second to check out all of the 2019 Barry-Roubaix results right here.
Want to see what a Psycho Killer win looks like? See the Simonster’s numbers on Strava way over here.