Fast Fitty Race Report

Podium at Fast Fitty

Wow. Such a fulfilling day. I always set objectives for each race. Sometimes it is to help me develop better skills as a racer, other times I’m trying to help others, and sometimes the objective is very pure and simple like going out to have fun with friends.

Yesterday’s race took on all of those objectives:
- Coaching Breeden to find more confidence
- Stay with the front group
- Communication with Drake, Ginsburg and Breeden
- No unneeded work, pulls, surges, closing gaps
- Team result

Sunrise on race day
After a fun night at Drake’s family cabin, we loaded up for the race and were on the road just after 6am. I had done a good job fueling the previous day and had my standard race day breakfast. In the car I drank a Strate Superfuel during the drive. We arrived right on time, got checked in and dressed for a warm up/recon spin.

We rode the start of the course and the finish and noticed the finish was going to be sketchy if it was a sprint situation. I got my warm up intervals in, went back to the car for another bottle and kiss from Chris.

Pre race group shot
We decided to ride the road to the start line instead of the congested nature trail the organizer suggested. Taking the road was a big bonus because we showed up to the start line and there were over a hundred already lined up. We just went to the front and turned around for an excellent start position.

The start was SUPER chill. No official lead out, but these guys were going really easy. A big contrast to most Michigan races I’ve done where it’s fast out of the start with attacks.

The Michigan teams were well represented, Turbo, Athletic Mentors, Clark Logic all showed up with numbers and familiar faces. We knew that Jesse Siemen would eventually create a break away so there was no need for us to be aggressive or play offense early on. And of course, as expected, he eventually rolled off with an Athletic Mentor rider.

The first group chasing the break away was really big. I wanted it to whittle down, so I was hoping some people would try to bridge up. Drake, Ginsburg and myself were rotating with about 7 others keeping the breakaway in sight. Eventually Jesse dropped the Athletic Mentor rider and then we got the support of his team to chase a little harder.

Jesse was gone. We all knew it. At 24mi, I rolled off the front as the group eased off for a second. I got a pretty good gap, so I went 400w to try to extend it. It worked. I stayed away while Drake and Ginsburg slowed the group on the front. I knew I had a long ride to do solo, but figured it was my best shot at the moment! At mile 29, Drake and a young Athletic Mentor and one other guy bridged up. I jumped on. Drake was the only one with legs and we pushed on. The other two in our group really caused disruption more than helping. Probably slowing us down more than helping. The peloton could see us and we could see they were gaining so I sat up to recover and regroup.

Drake and I chatted in the peloton on what we wanted to do. We agreed to make sure Breeden was still on. I asked Gins if he saw him and he said he was right there. But when I went back looking but couldn’t find him (come to find out there was a crash right in front of him moments earlier).

With Breeden off, Drake said “We might as well get second.”. I laughed and said you go do that. I was thinking I was probably spent after staying away solo for so long. Drake made a move with another guy (Justin Kahle). They had 10 seconds or so. I pushed it on the front over a hill and created a gap with Ginsburg. I wanted Ginsburg to bridge up but as it all started to happen, Drake pulled off. Sensing the peloton was coming and his break away partner wasn’t strong enough.

When the peloton caught Drake, I surged (not really an attack) on a downhill and caught Justin. I told him it was just us and let’s go. We went pretty hard and the young Athletic Mentors rider James Meyer bridged up. With a Rollfast and AM jersey in the break, both teams controlled the peloton and slowed it down.

Drake told me after the race he couldn’t believe how slow the group was willing to go! LOL

I had a few moments of urgency going up some hills where Justin was much stronger. He could have dropped me, but I don’t think he realized it. On the flats, I was the strongest and I was confident. Young James was taking really short pulls, I knew he was either not capable, or playing like he was tired, so I watched him closely.

I asked Justin his age to see if we were racing for the same age group. I thought he said 49, (actually 29) so I was like, I guess we are sprinting!

I took shorter and shorter pulls in the last 5 miles. I knew we were clear from the group. Approaching the finish, I took it up to 600w early, really winding it up on the paved road before the nasty left into gravel. I knew the first person through the corner would be 2nd overall.

As I approached the left turn, I saw Chris on the corner cheering. That was awesome! I took the turn (pretty hot) I heard a crash behind me. I paused and looked back and James had gone down. Justin saved it but lost all his speed avoiding it. I cruised through the timing gate.

I went back to check on Justin and James, they were both ok, thanked them for all the hard work in the finale.

Josh Drake - 1st AG
Then the peloton arrived, Drake finished well second in the bunch sprint and Ginsburg cruised in safely in the pack.

We had 3 of 4 in our Team category with phenomenal times. I thought, “come on Breeden!!”... We could win the Team Category. He rolled in a few minutes later with a Miller Light in hand!

Not too far back was Beast. It was great to see him come in unscathed and smiling. I know this was a boost for his mental fitness after spending a month on the trainer.

Team Competition Winners - Rollfast Cycling
The results took a long time to sort out. So we camped out by the podium for a long time. We shared race stories. To our excitement, we won the Team Competition!! Drake took 1st in his age group and I took 2nd overall.

I feel like I achieved all my objectives for the race. I think communication in the race could have been a little better on my part, but fueling, and using energy in the right parts of the race were almost perfect. The results never really tell the story, but on this day, the results were amazing and this group of guys is awesome. I love racing with them and it’s cool that in gravel we can all race together. This is one we’ll cherish for a long time.

Strava -
Photos -

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