Thanks to Strava, technology, and an active imagination, we're taking you on a preview of the Melting Mann 32 mile route from the comfort of your own home. Because we know you wouldn't be reading this at work.
Melting Mann kicks off the gravel season on March 19 in Vandalia, Michigan. The race offers two distances, 22 miles and 32 miles, which are nice options for people looking to test their legs just a week out from Barry-Roubaix. The 32 mile route includes nearly 1,500 feet of elevation which is a good measure of climbing prowess, and of course, the 32 mile distance means it's all out from the gun. You can see the entire 32 mile course as a segment here.
Much of the climbing comes in the middle of the race, between miles 10 and 25. It's more undulation than grinding, and it being West Michigan, there's nothing like an Alpine grade or a string of Belgian hellingen with cobbled 'bergs to tackle. Still, at high speeds, those hills can add up, and the gaps from a potential crosswind in the opening five miles could be well open and tough to cover.
Last year's winner, Joe Thomas, took the title with an average speed of 20.3mph in a time of 1:37, incredibly quick. His 1,437 feet of elevation gain looks pretty accurate compared to the data from other riders.
Our segment to watch is Kirk Lake Rd. Lungbuster. The climb comes with just four miles to go and it's the last selection point of the race. It's .6 miles long and averages 3%, with a gain of 102 feet. But it's the pace riders have to keep going over it, nearly 20mph with an average over 16mph to stay in that lead group.
With the race coming up quick, it's a great weekend to head to Vandalia and give the course a closer look. Be sure to get a hold of us at the shop with any questions, and head to the race site for the finer details.