Glacial Hills is a flowing fun course with sneaky elevation gain, because it doesn’t really feel like your climbing as much as you are. 2018’s race was going to be a very dry and dusty one with no rain in the forecast leading up to the race.
Instead of staying up north at a great friends home like I normally do for races up in the Traverse City area, I decided to get up early and roll with my teammates Brent and Rob, both fast and technically sound riders. I had to wake up at 5 $%$!!n fifteen in the morning to do this, which is very tough for me because I am not an early morning person. I don’t like to get up before the sun, but that was needed in order to make the race. Here is a picture of us loading up at 5:45 to leave, which I thought was a little early. But, after we started driving, I soon realized that these old guys couldn’t hold their bladders and we had to stop every 10 minutes for these dudes to pee!
Only three other racers had pre-registered for the elite/pro race. I looked at who was signed up, and figured a couple more would make the race.
We arrived at the race 3 hours after we left and right away I saw some elite riders that I was not expecting, but I told myself, no big deal, I should be able to hold the front group as long as the pace isn’t too crazy. I preceded to get checked in and changed into my racing kit and went on my warm-up.
Then it happened, I saw him, the beast from the north and I knew the race was going to get blown apart as soon as we hit the singletrack, change of plans.
The course was super dusty and more sandy than I have ever seen it due to no rain. This was the first race in a long time that I had not brought my GoPro’s, I think it was more of a decision my brain made rather than me consciously forgetting them. The reason was because it seemed like almost every race I have done this year I have caught someone on camera crashing, so I did not want to be the superstitious reason for someone crashing again.
To the start line. Before the race started while we all waited that long 10 minutes for the gun, I did announce that I did not have my GoPro’s on today so everyone was safe from crashing, a few guys picked up on that and chuckled.
The race starts, the pace is pretty good going up the gradual climb to get to the singletrack. Jorden, the guy I was telling you about, aka the beast from the north, leads a fast pace into the woods and right away there is a crash which separates us a little from the group. Cody and I push and catch back up to the group only to have another crash happen on more sand and we loose touch with the front group.
We worked together with Jeremy and gradually catch racers and move further up in the race. As lap two progressed Cody and the G-man pulled away from Jeremy and I. During lap two I started feeling really good, so on lap three I asked Jeremy if I could pull for awhile and he let me around. I noticed after awhile I was catching rider after rider and making my way out of a double digit place and into the top 10. I even started closing the gap on Cody and G-man. I pushed myself really hard to catch them, but a 12 second gap is really hard to make up in a MTB race when the guy in front of you is pushing just as hard to stay away from you! Cody and I even spoke about this after the race.
Afterward I think Kmac said that I better roll the GoPros because they actually prevent so many crashes, I think more of the Elite riders crashed on this day than did not. This race was so dusty, I was a few shades darker than normal! Photo Credit: Jack Kunnen
Racing…we pay to race, we get up early and drive far, we race and push our bodies to their limits, we manage more pain than most people can imagine…why do we do this? If you don’t know, I doubt you would understand. We live life behind bars!
This trip was a blast, and hanging with teammates made it even more fun. We laughed a lot, had a great time before and after the race and I can’t wait to do it again! Be sure to check out this race next year, as always, thanks for reading, share if you enjoyed it!