Get your ride on. This Saturday's 7th annual Peak2Peak mountain bike race calls for brilliantly sunny skies, delightful temperatures, dry terrain……NOT. Wrong crystal ball. Wrong state. Weather’s forecasted to be around 54 degrees with rain – meaning it’s a race made in Michigan for October.
Jeff Betz, owner of Ludington’s Trailhead Bike Shop and one of the race sponsors, shakes off the forecast like the seasoned veteran he is. “Just dress to stay dry,” he notes. “The key is to keep your hands and feet warm”. He’ll be using winter mountain biking shoes, noting that summer shoes are made for ventilating the feet, so they’ll get wet quickly in nastier weather. He favors lobster-style mitts for the hands – “I’ve got a pair, and I love ‘em”, he says. Lightweight nylon coats, nylon wind front tights or Gore-Tex pants that don’t get caught in the chain are all good choices. Some riders put on glasses, but Jeff prefers not to use them himself. “People that do use them like to wear the clear lens,” he said. “But if you’re riding behind somebody, the glasses get wet and blur your vision – you have to keep wiping them off.”
Riders don’t really need to do any special bike prep for the wetter weather, Jeff says, although they might want to lower the air pressure in their tires to make it easier for the tires to hug soft ground. After the race, it’s a good idea to clean and re-lube your bike as soon as possible.So bring the rain gear and saddle up at the start for a classic Michigan ride. “Actually, the Peak2Peak course is pretty easy; most of it’s fairly flat except for the trip down to the (Betsie) river and the North Face climb,” Jeff says. With lots of single track winding through the trees, wet weather actually keeps forested trails packed down in any sandy spots. (Keep an eye out for wet roots!) And for any riders with energy to spare after the race, there’s the Crystal Trifecta downhill bike race at 4pm. Peak2Peak racers can receive $5 off their entry – just register at the Mountain Adventure Zone tent from 3-4pm.