While the University of Michigan cyclocross team is used to bracing Michigan winters, we were nevertheless impressed by the polar temperatures on offer for the weekend of Tailwind Racing on Saturday December 23 and Sunday 24.
The organisers had worked tirelessly to move the event at short notice from its original venue at Lake Orion High School to a new location deep in the arctic circle - also known as Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, MI.
No snowstorm, though, could prevent a fun and successful weekend of racing for the hardy U-M women and men.
The course included some tantalisingly fast trails reminiscent of mountain bike territory. Ruts, stones and roots were ominously commonplace. These had to be negotiated carefully and at speed - of which more later.
The circuit also included the requisite short but steep off-camber series of turns and mini-climbs Tailwind have so expertly provided all season, as well as a gruelling longer ascent up a rocky sledding hill.
Starting off on day one
Starting the proceedings for the U-M racers who took part on Saturday, Tyler Carlton rode hard in 20°F to claim sixth place in Category 4. Harvey Elliott then podiumed in third place a race later in Category 3. Finally, Phil Ginsberg won his race in Category 5.
While Tyler once again relied on his trusty discs - hardly used anyway as he does not really brake - Harvey and Phil were spotted capitalising on the same advanced tire configuration. This consisted of a mud-ready studded monster in the back and some much more aggressive racing rubber on the front. It is not confirmed whether there was any tire sharing going on.