Published on September 02, 2021

Bike Race Provides Challenging Course, Raises Funds for Medical Center

Photo of bike racers racing at the 2021 Sasquatch Gravel Race in West Branch, Michigan.

Sasquatch Gravel Racers 2021

Beautiful blue skies greeted more than 200 people in West Branch for the inaugural Sasquatch Gravel Chase sponsored by the MidMichigan Health Foundation. Bike racers from all over Michigan and six other states rode an 18 or 40-mile route through the back roads and unforgiving hills of Ogemaw County.

“We are very grateful for the wonderful race participants, volunteers, sponsors and community support that came forth for our inaugural race,” said Nicole Potter, race chair and director of fund development, MidMichigan Health Foundation. “The Ogemaw Hills Snowmobile Club (OHSC) was the perfect venue and partner for our event. The OHSC had 25 volunteers who helped three days before the race preparing the course and hosting the event.”

The top three racers in the women’s 18-Mile were Jessica Welton (1:31:03), Jenna Remacle (1:34:12) and Dorrine Woods (1:40:03). The 18-Mile Fat Tire was led by Jennifer Morse (2:08:14), Ashley Dowell (2:17:52) and Helen Bowen (2:19:04). And the Women’s 40-Mile top three were Alicia Trevino (2:10:38), Christina Condon (2:15:32) and Jennifer Balawender (2:42:52).

The Men’s 18-Mile top three riders were Donald Harper (1:14:36), Stephen Arch (1:21:01) and Tony Stockton (1:26:41). The 18-Mile Fat Tire leaders were Nicholas Morse (1:22:19), Jim Balesh Jr. (1:22:25) and Matthew Dowell (1:33:52). The 40-Mile top riders were William Gorton (1:53:44), Logan Madden (1:57:31), and Dave Hollis (1:58:12) and in the 40-Mile Fat Tire were Jake Remacle (1:58:11), Paul Mapes (2:10:34), and Derek Griesinger (2:10:35).

After completing the race, riders received a complimentary meal and refreshments from G’s Pizzeria of West Branch, Griffin Beverage and Brian’s Fruit Market. Other sponsorships contributing to the success of the event were Team Hodges, who provided all route and bike alley vehicles for the event; Dr. Patrick Morse of West Branch, Haborside Cycle and Sports of Alpena, Ogemaw Hills Snowmobile Club, the U.S. Army, West Branch Visitors Bureau, Team Stover and Team Beat Ray.

The event raised more than $6,000 for MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch. All monies raised stay in the West Branch community.

“It was great to see the community embrace the event during its first year,” said Ray Stover, president of MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch and Gladwin. “I’m grateful for the support we continuously receive from the community for their local Medical Center.” Stover was challenged by his employees to participate in the event, finishing the 18-mile race at the 1:51 mark. “It was a beautiful ride with some challenging hills. Congratulations to our top finishers and all those who participated.”

Potter is receiving great feedback from riders, including: “What a wonderful event you and your group of volunteers put on,” said Greg Glowicki of M3 Racing. “I’ve been a triathlete for over 25 years, and this was my first gravel fat bike race. The venue was outstanding. The course put us to our limits, not just physically, but mentally with the long hills, especially coming into the finish. It will definitely be on my list for 2022.”

Many of the riders strongly encouraged the return of the event next year. “We are definitely holding this event next year,” said Potter. “We had such great community support. The local EMTs, U.S. Army representatives and volunteers from the medical community ensured our riders were safe while on the course.”

The second annual Sasquatch Gravel Chase Race will be in August 2022. Those interested in the complete list of race results may visit midmichigan.org/gravelrace.