It’s a home race just a mile up from the shop, with the full attention of the area’s top riders and coolest cats on hand. Mud, Sweat and Beers is a the first race that brings out nearly everyone to test their legs, their lungs, and their livers. The tough course, and this year’s tough conditions, made the recovery period even more important. The heavens opened up a deluge all morning, with racers taking on slick mud, heavy rain and chilling temperatures.
Einstein Racing entered the weekend just six days removed from a great training ride, thanks to Jolly Pumpkin. The Pumpkin Pedal drew over 100 folks and the bulk of the team for some fun miles, and a great base of training heading into MSB.
For Austin Johnson, it was a significant weekend for two reasons. His birthday came the day before his Expert category debut at MSB, and his reserved evening Friday night made for a very enjoyable Saturday. Austin impressed with a fourth place finish in Expert, a great indication of form heading into a busy season.
Also making a big move up was Beth Craven. Her first Expert race might also be her last, with her 1:39 mark not only good enough for a resounding win in her class, but it could have been enough for second place in the Pro women’s race! Her ‘W’ was one of the highlights of the weekend for the team, but there were plenty of great results behind Beth as well. None were as dramatic in the descent to the line, with a bloodied Craven out-descending a whole gaggle of men to slide into the finish at the front of her bunch.
Stacy Smith took to the singlespeed class aboard teammate Eric Pollard’s very purple Coconino, and came out swinging. She put almost fifteen minutes into second place in the mud and rain, a great rebound from a nasty crash last week at Rust Shaker.
Beth Collins was a perfect wing-babe for Beth Craven in the Expert class, riding strong and consistent for a solid fourth place in a very fast division. Beth is making great progress in preparations for Lumberjack 100, her main target of the season.
Alisha Kuyper made her Einstein Racing debut, taking second place in her age group and braving the cold conditions. She answered a solid performance with an exceptionally long shower and large pizza, and commented it was “just what the doctor ordered” after such a demanding day in the saddle.
The men had some memorable performances as well, including an historic finish from Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy. Kennedy recovered from a dropped chain early to give the team a great finish at MSB. Einstein racers have won the race on two occasions, with Jason Lowetz winning the first edition and Jorden Wakeley flying the colors two years ago. Kennedy kept the team on the podium.
And it was another goal accomplished with Cody Sovis and Nate St. Onge rolling in for fourth and fifth, respectively. It was the goal of the team to put three guys in the top five, ambitious considering the quality of the field. The plan of the day worked to perfection, with Nate going from the gun to put a scare into Wakeley and eventual second place Matt Acker. It all almost went to pieces when Kennedy dropped a chain on the selective Will Power Hill, but he was joined and pushed by Sovis. The pair worked for a while to get back into rhythm, and it wasn’t long until Kennedy was back blistering through the woods and on the hunt for Acker.
Kennedy plowed along with some help from Sovis until he tore away with four miles left. It was enough for third, a great result for the leader of Einstein Racing’s top flight racers.
Wes Sovis would have been in the hunt, but a series of mechanicals ruled him out of the running. He’ll be back in action this week at the SOL Giro with big ambitions ahead of Arcadia Grit’n’Gravel May 18.
Ryan Kushman led the way in the Expert 30-39, taking a hard-fought fourth place. Jimmy McKenna and Mike Walters put in solid rides as well, while in the next age group up, Chris Kushman managed to explode a chain, find it in the woods, replace it, and still finish with a time of 1:37, good enough for 15th place. Rob G. jumped to Expert as well, slotting in just behind his teammate.
Gary Chastain and Joe Sovis flew the flag in the Expert 50-59, with Gary flying in for 21st on the day. Joe rode steady in the rain, training once more for a run at the Iceman Cometh and a few big targets along the way.
Dave Walston and Jason Whittaker are giving Einstein Racing a SS threat this year, with both taking on the Stout race in a stacked field. The pair rode the whole race together, taking turns, crushing the singletrack and giving hearty chase to a trio of leaders off the front. The pair made it to the line in fourth and fifth place, with all three singlespeeders in the top five for the team on the day.
Dave Mann rocked his first Stout race with a solid 2:15 time, an excellent display in the cold and rain. George Davis was second in his category with a blistering 1:35, ensuring it is his last Sport race. Seriously. He's in Expert now.
The Clydesdale contingent was spearheaded by Bryan Upcraft, who went for 11th place, just a short ways ahead of Da Sault’s Tony Talentino.
The Einstein Tandemonium Armada hit the race hard and fast Saturday, with the debut of Jason Lowetz and John Ammond. The pair bumped their way along to a second place finish in their first ride together...ever. Bryan Shefield piloted expertly in muddy conditions, powered along by Vita, to slot in fourth place, with the Eric and Jennifer Schmidt Express taking sixth place on the day.
Mike Picotte went for 8th place in the Sport class, with Ken “Dave Coulier” Peltier 18th. Jim Picotte was 17th in the next age group up, and was “totally zen, man” the whole way. Namaste, Big Fluff.
Keith Conway was astride is Salsa Beargrease 29+ rig en route to 6th place in his age group, likely his last ever Sport race ever. Ever. Timmy Pease was rockin’ and rollin’, wackin’ and stackin’ during his effort, getting ready to rock the rest of the season with his powerful thighs.
Jim Campbell and Katie Campbell took second in the tandem Pale Ale, a pretty awesome result.