This past Sunday, I got to race in one of my favorite place in Michigan: the Big M cross country ski area located in the Manistee National Forest. Should I be able to win that race, I would swipe the championship as I would have won 5 races. The championship is based on the 5 best results out of 8 races.
Top contenders were present including Mark Parmelee who could keep his hope alive by winning. My weapon of choice for the Big M trails: the Specialized Epic 29er. The course is not really rough but the full suspension allows constant pedaling on the undulating terrain. I had the exact same set-up as for the Lumberjack 100: no need to change a winning combination.
The start was just right to warm-up on the flat trails. As soon as we hit the first moderate climb, I went to the front where only Mark could follow my wheel. The Epic 29er was just supreme especially in the sandy downhill just before the start/finish area.
One third into the 2nd lap, Mark suffered some mechanical problems, so I was left alone in the lead. The good memories from the Lumberjack kept me pushing for the entire 5 laps – I bettered my course record by almost 5 minutes! Probably half of it is imputable to the bike.
This victory also allows me to clinch the Michigan USAC-MATB championship (www.tailwind-racing.com). Next race will the Fool’s Gold 100.