TRAVERSE CITY — Jorden Wakeley tuned up for Saturday’s Mud, Sweat and Beers mountain bike race at Mt. Holiday with an impressive double over the weekend.
The Grayling cyclist won the 28-mile Rust Shaker in Harrison by five minutes on Saturday, then came back to take the 20-mile Pontiac Lake Classic by more than two minutes Sunday.
He’ll be a favorite in the 22-mile Stout race here. He won it last year in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 19 seconds — four minutes ahead of Petoskey’s John Cowan.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” Wakeley said. “I just had great legs that day.”
Wakeley opened a gap a half-mile into his first Mud, Sweat and Beers race.
“It’s a good, fast course,” he said. “It’s pretty much wide open like the Iceman. There are a few technical sections, but for the most part it requires a lot of power. It’s my favorite course.”
Wakeley has already competed in 13 races since January, winning 10.
Wakeley had been riding for Traverse City’s Einstein Racing, but he left Wednesday to join the 616 Bicycle Fabrication team.
Cowan will be among those back to challenge Wakeley in the men’s race. Cowan has steadily improved in each of his three races here, moving up the leaderboard from sixth to fourth to second.
Traverse City’s Joanna Schmidt won the women’s Stout division in 1:29:48 a year ago. Another Traverse City rider, Susan Vigland, was second in 1:30:37.
Traverse City’s Matt Brunette and Melissa Weber claimed the 10-mile Pale Ale race in 46:26 and 47:21, respectively.
Mud, Sweat and Beers has raised more than $100,000 for Mt. Holiday, one of two non-profit ski areas in the Midwest. This year’s event is expected to bring in more than $40,000.
The Stout and Pale Ale races sold out in February. A two-mile Ginger Ale ride and a quarter-mile kids’ Root Beer race are still open.