Founders Brewing Barry-Roubaix race report

Josh at BRXThe Founders Alger Mountain Bike Team kicked off its season Saturday, March 26th with many team members competing in the Barry- Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race.  Our team captain, Rick Plite and his wife Cathy organized this spectacular event that drew in nearly 1,000 racers.

Arriving to the park, riders and spectators were flagged to a parking spot by none other than our own Tim Curtis and Martin Hall sporting Carhaart’s over their Founder’s Alger biking gear.  The 17 degrees felt warm in the sun, yet brisk in the wind…a perfect day for a race!

By 10 AM the first wave of 65 milers headed out. Included in this wave was Earl Hillaker.  Rumor has it that his rear hub has yet to thaw out and he was last seen walking down Gun Lake Road. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the team taking the 35-mile route was on their way, fighting for that sweet spot in the rush of the crowd.  It was an all-out dash to get to that first gravel road and make some space between riders.  We all knew from prior weeks riding that the course could take on any condition. The frozen ruts in the 2-track proved to be much faster than the mud we had seen the previous weekend…and the puddles were now skating ponds.  A few fist-sized rocks teased my tires as I made my way up a few steeply graded hills but other than that, the 2-track was over before I knew it. Now things really began to pick up pace for an all-out haul through the hilly countryside. A HUGE shout out to the Sheriff deputies directing traffic!

Tim Curtis crossed the finish line first for the Founders Alger team with a time of 1:51:10. *See Results below*

When everyone had made it back, (Except, where is Earl?) Rick had planned a fabulous party! 10 Founders kegs on tap, a “triple bonfire” next to the lake,

Scott TenCate at BRX

and a truck full of food!

We would like to give a HUGE thanks to our sponsor’s for supporting us during this 2011 race season:

Founder’s Brewing Co., Alger Cyclery,,

Atomic Object, Norman Family Dentistry, Voler, Cascade Optical, Cannondale, DeFeet, Kenda, Velocity, Michigan Coast Riders,, Kenda & Anchor Associates and Marketing, LCC.

Our team kits look amazing and we hope to have a team photo taken at our next big race: The Yankee Springs Time Trial on April 17th.


35 MILE: MEN 20-29
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
21 537 Jeremy Karel 28 Founders Alger Racing Grand Rapids MI 2:00:07 17.5
35 MILE: MEN 30-34
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
6 345 Shawn Crowley 32 Founders Alger Racing East Grand Rapids MI 1:51:45 18.8
15 1002 Gabe Niehof 33 Founders Alger Racing MI 1:54:44 18.3
26 502 Joshua Hogeterp 32 Founders Alger Racing Grand Rapids MI 2:02:00 17.2
35 MILE: MEN 35-39
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
25 741 Matt Remelts 35 Founders Alger Racing Grand Rapids MI 1:56:55 18.0
35 MILE: MEN 40-44
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
15 781 Ralf Scharnowski 43 Founders Alger Racing Grand Rapids MI 1:55:09 18.2
35 MILE: MEN 45-49
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
13 855 Scott Tencate 45 Founders Alger Racing Ada MI 2:00:33 17.4
29 516 Daniel Jelens 49 Founders Alger Racing Byron Center MI 2:13:03 15.8
35 MILE: MEN 50-99
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
5 354 Tim Curtis 51 Founders Alger Racing Hastings MI 1:51:10 18.9
61 667 Dennis Murphy 51 Founders Alger Racing Grandville MI 2:19:10 15.1
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
13 510 Jeffrey Jacobi 34 Founders Alger Racing Grand Rapids MI 2:01:32 17.3
29 464 Martin Hall 52 Founders Alger Racing Caledonia MI 2:14:49 15.6

35 MILE: WOMEN 35-99
Place No. Name Age Team City State Time Rate
5 854 Marnie Tencate 44 Founders Alger Racing Ada MI 2:13:06 15.8

Full results

Sub 9 Death March


Tim, Rick, Ralf and Josh’s stunt double (guest team member Aaron Smith) made the trip to Brown County Indiana for some early season racing. The Sub 9 Death March is one part race, one part alleycat and lots of adventure. Since there isn’t a set course and the object is to reach all the mandatory check

death march-Ralf and Tim

points (3) plus some bonus check points (7) and get to the finish line in the quickest time, it becomes a race by all intents and purposes. The check points where old county cemeteries and one fire tower

fire tower

separated by pavement, gravel roads and single track. Plenty of places to try shortcuts and gain time on the others. The terrain is hilly, similar to West Virginia, the dirt roads similar to Pennsylvania

death march roads

golf ball sized limestone gravel. Hated it. The single track was stick and leaf covered like an early Lumberjack training ride. Parts of the trail are rocky with plenty of mud and stream crossings. I bet one 4 mile section of out and back single track had 8 streams giving you a total of 16 fun filled foot dousings! Or is that 32 feet? Tim and Ralf formed Founders Alger Racing Team #1 and Rick and Aaron formed team #2. Rick and Aaron figured out their plan at the start whistle, Tim and Ralf labored over maps, paper notes, gps, Droids, sharpies, beers and google maps for weeks. They beat Team #2 by 84 minutes. I’m cool with that.

The following was taken from the Best Bike Blog Ever, thanks go out to them for the history notes! “Back before this part of Hoosier National Forest was an area of recreation and conservation, before the Army Corps of Engineers built the dams and lakes, this was family farm and logging country.  The stones in the cemetery, lined up by name and some dating to the early 1800’s, are testament to that.  The stones in Robertson Cemetery have quite a few Robertson’s, same with Todd Cemetery.  When your grandparents were young, there were farms and farm roads, logging camps and logging roads here.  Eventually, however, the land was used up of its riches.  The farmers and loggers moved on to richer soils and older trees.  About that time, the government began purchasing parcels.  The rivers were dammed, the town of Elkinsville evacuated, and the lakes and park born.  Consequently, in the last 50 or 60 years, like the modern day ghost town of Elkinsville, some of those old farm and logging roads have simply been retaken by nature.  Internet mapping hasn’t been so quick to notice the ghost roads.  Suddenly your GPS isn’t so reliable.”

Paper maps have errors too as I soon found out! One cemetery was located on trail #15. Everyone had a hard time finding it since some of the signs and trail markers were missing. Aaron and I spent an hour looking for this “optional” checkpoint to obtain the 1 hour bonus (deduction) from your overall time. At least we didn’t go in the red on that one, oh well. Interesting thing was that we were required to take a digital picture of each other either separately or together to prove we were there. This cemetery was the ONLY one Aaron and I let someone else take our picture for us. You can guess what happened right? Yep. When we got done and handed over the camera for proof and documentation, NO PICTURE OF THE CALLAHAN CEMETERY! I pleaded with the score keepers, got the picture taking bums to vouch for us and was simply told “oh well, it was a beautiful day for a ride, right?”  I later tried to bribe another score keeper and head race honcho with a free entry to BRX if she would fix it. J She doesn’t like riding gravel roads. Dang! What’s a guy to do? “Hey, want a Founders?” I think that did the trick. All and all we had a great time and I would highly recommend this event next year.

Ralf and Tim placed 22nd of 95 teams with a corrected time of 2:07 and all 10 check points for roughly 50 miles. Rick and Stunt Double, riding fixie I might add, placed 41st of 95 with a time of 3:31 and 9 check points.

post ride beers

Full results