Published on March 05, 2020

Competitive Bike Race Returns to West Branch May 30

Photo of bicyclists at the West Branch Road Race Classic.

West Branch area residents will experience an influx of visitors in May of this year with the return of a major bicycle race now named the MidMichigan Health Road Race Classic. The race will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2020, with registration beginning at 7 a.m., and race starts beginning at 9 a.m., from the Ogemaw Hills Pathway parking lot. Race registration is open now through Thursday, May 28, at www.midmichigan.org/roadrace. Discounted entry fees are available for registrations before Friday, May 1.
Photo credit: Ogemaw County Herald.

West Branch area residents will experience an influx of visitors in May with the return of a major bike race now named the MidMichigan Health Road Race Classic. MidMichigan Health Foundation will host the race scheduled for Saturday, May 30, with entry fees designated for the Compassionate Needs Fund at MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch. The fund helps assist with medication, transportation and equipment that are necessary to best deliver care to patients.

Nicole Potter, director of fund development, MidMichigan Health Foundation, has led the charge to bring the event back.

Photo of the MidMichigan Road Race Classic logo.

“I am an avid cyclist so I heard quickly after I began my role last year that a very popular race used to take place right here in West Branch. There is a lot of excitement building around reinstating the race,” said Potter who confirmed the last race, the West Branch Classic, was offered in 2015. “This community has a lot to offer visitors with its natural beauty and quaint downtown. To have an opportunity to connect them with MidMichigan Health’s mission of supporting healthy lifestyles through a bike race is really invigorating. Raising funds for the Foundation to assist patients will be equally exciting.”

While planning for the race, Potter met with the Michigan Bike Racing Association president and board members, all of whom were enthusiastic about the renewed event which is sanctioned by USA Cycling. There will be five categories of cyclists attempting events ranging from 22 to 88 miles, each of them challenging. The race features 1,100 feet of climbing per 22-mile lap with a maximum elevation of 1,400 feet. Top finishers in each category will be awarded.

The course will wind through the Ogemaw Hills and checks many wish list boxes for avid racers with its steep inclines, challenging elevation, and good-quality pavement all within a safe riding location.

Jakub Malarz, M.D., race co-director and family practice physician at MidMichigan Health Park – Bay, looks forward to attracting professional cyclists from all over the state. “Having previously raced this course myself, I can attest that many road racers will welcome its return,” said Dr. Malarz. “The hills and rigor of these events will bring many seasoned riders to West Branch.”

The MidMichigan Health Road Race Classic will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2020, with registration beginning at 7 a.m., and race starts beginning at 9 a.m., from the Ogemaw Hills Pathway parking lot. Race registration is open now through Thursday, May 28, at www.midmichigan.org/roadrace. Discounted entry fees are available for registrations before Friday, May 1.

On Friday, May 29, a pre-party will be held at The Highway Brewing Co., 209 W. Houghton Ave., West Branch, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will feature in-person race registrations, race packet pick-up and the opportunity for guests to mingle with fellow cyclists.

Those interested in more information about the race, including sponsorships and volunteers opportunities, may contact Potter at (989) 343-3694 or nicole.potter@midmichigan.org.