It's the first There Will Be Blood of 2016 this Sunday, another edition of a ride we've enjoyed for a couple of exciting years now. But did you know the ride originated downstate?
While the Blood ride has become synonymous with Ec, Northern Michigan and the fast, fun roads southeast of Traverse City, the first edition was held in 2012 in Allendale, Michigan. Leaving from the parking lot of Burger King on Lake Michigan Avenue and 48th, the ride saw members of Leadout Racing, Freewheeler, the Grand Valley State Cycling Club and many others on hand for a 41 mile circuit race.
Held in mid-March, the skies were clear but the wind vicious. The course took on the fearsome Paterberg Climb, a steep wall that seems easy, but after four or five trips up, began to open up massive gaps. Dan Korienek ended up taking the win with some assistance from teammate Geoff Kuyper and Tom Linck, two very strong gravel specialists.
The ride moved north to Traverse City, with the first edition taking place in July of 2013. Since then, the ride has grown from a handful of riders to more than 50 people, ranging from first-timers to seasoned vets looking to test their legs over the gravel roads ahead of big targets like The Lowell 50 and Barry-Roubaix.
The traditional opening Blood comes on the same weekend as Milan-San Remo. Our own edition of La Primavera comes a day after the Italian race, and it's usually inspired by the efforts of pros on the Poggio.
Our own course is punctuated by several secteurs, opened up by the steady climb on Wilsey Road, which serves as the first selection point. It's a paved reprieve from High Lake to Ranch Rudolf, five miles of lightly rolling hills that usually allow for some regrouping. It usually comes to bits over the Brown Bridge Secteur, one of the roughest stretches of gravel and longest, before riders again touch pavement at Supply. Broomhead Road is usually relatively calm, with the final fireworks coming on the three climbs that mark Moore Road before riders spill onto Bunker Hill. The long route incorporates the most flat section of Guernsey Lake, before peeling back towards Sand Lake Road with some gentle elevation gain back to Broomhead.
You can join us for our monthly bleed, just be sure to check our ride calendar for the date!
There Will Be Blood leaves Ec at 9am on Sunday, March 20.
The traditional route, dubbed the Scraped Knee for this weekend, is right here.
The Alfredo Binda Classic, the longer version for Sunday, is right here.