Level "C" Officials Clinic Coming Up

On Sunday, March 11th, our Director of Officials John Sammut along with official Bryan Garfoot will be putting on a Level "C" Officials clinic at the Lexus Velodrome.  Instructions will be around 4 hours with about an hour more for the exam.

  • Location - Lexus Velodrome (601 Mack Ave., Detroit MI 48201)
  • Date - Sunday, March 11th
  • Time - 10:00am
  • Fee - Free
  • Supplies needed - Pen/Pencil and notebook or pad of paper.
  • Lunch - Supplied by MBRA

The Season Ahead

The road schedule is coming together nicely.  The calendars have been updated with the latest information.  We've got some big weekends set up this year throughout the summer.

  • Return of the June weekend for Race for Wishes and CyclingLawyer.com Crit.
  • July has a Detroit weekend for the Corktown Crit and Detroit Cycling Championship
  • The all new Midwest Road Race Championship

Stay tuned for more announcements:

  • New Race Series
  • State Championship Events
  • Pre-registration incentives!

We'll keep on top of the calendar and lock down those last few tentative details in the next couple weeks.

Annual Meeting Notes

The annual meeting is a wrap.  Thanks everyone who was able to attend.  We did a little bit of a live feed over facebook that may have had some alright sound.  Also, the we also have the presentation available as a download.  We will get any other, more detailed documents up as we get them organized.  The plan is to have many of these (by-laws and budget) available on the website in a permanent location soon.

The calendar will be seeing updates.  There are already events well out into 2018 being filled in the Google Calendars, and a new calendar for Track is up now. Other updates will be appearing soon.


The annual meeting will be held on Sunday, November 19th at Noon.

Location:  Lansing Brewing Company

518 E. Shiawassee St, Lansing MI 48912


New Board of Directors -

The transition to the new board is complete!  On behalf of everyone I want to thank Harvey Elliot for his past service and we wish him well on his new adventure out west.  The new board consists of a great mix of Michigan cycling veterans.  I look forward to being part of this team.  We want to hear your input as we begin the task of improving bike racing in Michigan.  Please reach out to us through the Contacts page.  Near term we will be working on new bylaws and getting prepared for the 2018 racing season.  An annual meeting will be held before the end of the year, stay tuned here for more details regarding dates and times.  

MBRA Board Members

Chris Donnelly - MBRA President

Melissa Werkman - MBRA Vice President

Don Lee - MBRA Treasurer and Secretary

John Sammut - MBRA Head of Officials

Sandra Morton - Juniors Lead

Laura Melendez - Women's Racing Lead


Roadie is a light-hearted exploration of the world of road cycling, bike racing, and the people who love it.

Roadie is a light-hearted exploration of the world of road cycling, bike racing, and the people who love it.

While perusing VeloPress I dug up this gem from of a book from two Michigan natives - Jamie Smith and Jef Mallett (Frazz) - Jamie sets out to explain the sport he loves and the roadies who live for it in this lighthearted treatise on bike racing. Roadie reveals what’s to love about dressing in technicolored Lycra at the crack of dawn on Saturday and returning at sundown with a glow of satisfaction—and more prominent tan lines.

Perfect for those who are puzzled by road cyclists, have considered riding a road bike, or walked away from a bike race completely baffled, Roadie addresses all of the curiosities that accompany the sport of cycling, from shaved legs to colorful jerseys and unbelievably expensive bicycles, shoes, and components. Every seemingly neurotic tendency is explained and celebrated with humorous illustrations from nationally syndicated cartoonist Jef Mallett (also rumored to log thousands of miles of riding per year).

Explaining strategy and races from the famous Tour de France stage race to the local criterium, Roadie brings the excitement of bike racing alive for anyone with an appetite for adrenaline. And for the thousands who purchase a shiny new road bike each spring, it’s a much-needed primer on the politics of a group ride. Pacelines, drafting, sprinting, climbing, and breakaways are turned into everyday commonsense with colorful anecdotes.

Whether interested onlooker or cycling aficionado, readers will find themselves laughing out loud as they revel in the roadie’s world.

Enjoy some quick excerpts from Roadie on the VeloPress Culture & Etiquette page or buy the book!  

MBRA Elections

The MBRA Executive Board is seeking officers for the 2018 & 2019 seasons. Each position will be elected to a two-year term. You must be a Michigan resident and hold a USA Cycling License to run for a position.  All executive board members are required to call in to MBRA executive board meetings (approximately 1 per month) and in some cases to attend special events.  

Please be sure that the contact information for your club or team is up to date on USACycling.org and listed correctly on our voter roll.  For corrections or to assign a proxy please email Larry Martin (lmartin@usacycling.org) by August 1, 2017.  

Positions up for election are as follows:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary-Treasurer

Nominations will be accepted via email. The deadline to self-nominate or nominate candidates is August 1, 2017. Submissions for nominations should be emailed to Larry Martin (lmartin@usacycling.org).

Candidates must accept the nomination and provide the following information:

  • Position You're Running For
  • Name
  • City of Residence
  • Experience (Event Promoter, Racer, Official, etc.)
  • Platform/Why You’re Running (Please limit to 500 words or less)

Voting members include the following:

  • President or designated club member of a MBRA cycling club/team who has/or will host or co-host at least one MBRA-approved race event in the past or upcoming calendar year.
  • Race promoter or designated MBRA member who has/or will host or co-host at least one MBRA-approved race event in the past or upcoming calendar year.
  • USAC Licensed Official who has/or will officiate at least one MBRA-approved race event in the past or upcoming calendar year.

There is a limit of one (1) vote per person, per member class, with the maximum allowable number of votes of three (3) from any individual who is a qualified member under the aforementioned criteria.

Electronic elections will open the week of August 1st, all ballots must be cast before September 1, 2017.  Results will be announced by USA Cycling the following week.  

This nomination and election process was revised following public input at the MBRA Special Election Meeting at CyclingLawyer.com Crit on July 8th, 2017.  Minutes from the meeting are available online.  

The Yellow Line Rule started in Michigan . . . (Sort Of)

The highway center line and, by extension, the yellow line rule that we all must observe during our road races originated in Michigan.  While there's some confusion as whether we should credit Edward Hines (1911) or Kenneth Sawyer (1917) as the first man to paint lines on the road, both helped to shape the roadway standards of Michigan and our nation.  

The yellow line rule is just one of many rules in the rulebook designed to keep riders safe on the roadway. It's one of the easiest to violate accidentally and probably the most dangerous. It's also one of the harder ones to enforce for an official who is riding in the passenger seat of a follow vehicle. Sight lines are limited. Depth perception is challenging. And distractions with other aspects of the job make it difficult, which is why they rely on the collective eyeballs of the peloton to self-police itself.

Don't be that rider who takes advantage of this hard-to-enforce rule. Never cross the yellow line to advance your position. And always keep in mind the danger of oncoming traffic for yourself and your fellow competitors. Even if you don't cross the line, your riding may force others out into the opposing lane. 

Making it to the finish safely should be your ultimate goal. 

Two Easy Things to Make the Sport Better

1. Work on your bike handling skills.

2. Recruit young riders. 

Our hats off to those clubs who actively keep their skills sharp. No matter how long you've been riding, you can always get better at handling the bike. Thanks go out to the Team OAM-NOW riders who conducted the clinic in Kalamazoo last Friday. Good bike skills will help you avoid the crashes that scare people away from this wonderful sport.

Our hats are also off to those teams who are cultivating future racers. The sport appreciates anyone who helps attract new riders, teach skills, teach rules, and teach the etiquette that will ensure the growth of the sport. Big thanks to Andrie Junior Development, Ann Arbor Velo Club, Wolverines Sports Club, and a few other families who took all those Junior riders to Madison last year to gave them the Nationals Experience.

If your Club/Team is doing things to improve skills and recruit young riders, send us your pictures. We'll give YOU a shout out, too!

Special Meeting/Save the Date

MBRA will be holding a special meeting on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at the CyclingLawyer.com Crit to discuss and plan elections for the MBRA Executive Board.  The purpose of this meeting is to set the rules and date of the officer elections.  Members of the community are invited to attend and provide public comment.  Clubs, race promoters and members of the community who are eligible to vote on these matters should have already received this message via email as well.  The meeting will be delayed 1 hour since our last email so that it starts after the juniors race - we want everyone that wants to participate to be able to voice their concerns.  

5:30 PM - Introduction and Sign-in  
5:45 PM - Review of Voter Roll
   We will review and determine which clubs, race directors, and officials are eligible to vote.
6:00 PM - Discussion and Voting to Approve Bylaws
   Two concurrent sets of bylaws exist - we need to choose one set by which the organization will abide. 
6:15 PM - Discussion and Voting to set date for Officer Elections
    After consultation with USA Cycling and the MBRA Board the final Officer Elections will take place online.
6:30 PM - Close of Meeting

Meeting minutes are available for download here.   

WMed Innovation Center
4717 Campus Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008


Reading the Race

Race announcer Jamie Smith and veteran road captain Chris Horner team up to deliver a master class in bike racing strategies and tactics.

Race announcer Jamie Smith and veteran road captain Chris Horner team up to deliver a master class in bike racing strategies and tactics.

In Reading the Race, michigander Jamie Smith and veteran road captain Chris Horner team up to deliver a master class in bike racing strategies and tactics. Armed with strategies and tactics learned over thousands of bike races, cyclists and cycling fans will learn how to read a race—and see how to win it.

Bike racing is called a rolling chess game for a reason. Sure, a high pain threshold and a killer VO2max are helpful. But if you’re in it to win it, you need race smarts. Starting breaks, forming alliances, managing a lapped field, setting up a sprint—on every page, Horner and Smith reveal new secrets to faster racing and better results. 

Smith and Horner dissect common mistakes, guiding riders with lessons learned from decades of racing experience. Reading the Race reveals the veteran’s eye view on:

  • Assembling the best possible team
  • Crafting strategies around the team, course, and rivals
  • Reacting instantly to common scenarios 
  • Making deals and combines
  • Breaks, echelons, blocking
  • Pack protocol and etiquette
  • Finishing in the prize money or on the podium
  • Winning the group ride

Whether you’re a new racer, an aspiring pro, a coach, or even a roadside fan, Reading the Race will elevate your cycling IQ!

Available now from VeloPress


Does this race count for my upgrade? (New Racer Edition)

Everything in life counts! So why shouldn’t you get credit for the race you just did? Well, you probably did even if you didn’t realize it. 

New road racers start out as a category 5 for both men and women. In order to move up a rider needs to gain experience racing with a group and demonstrate their ability to perform the basics of racing safely with a group. At the most basic level, the cat. 5 to cat. 4 upgrade for men depends on the number of mass-start races finished. The rulebook states it simply as 10 mass-start race finishes with no preference given for 1st place or last. But if you’re looking to move up quickly, don’t miss the point of the beginner category: learning to race in a group!

So every race counts as long as you finish, as long as it’s a mass-start race; time trials don’t count. Your name does not even need to appear in the results for you to count it! It’s great when it does, and promoters work to place riders, but it’s not always practical or possible. But if you toed the start line and kept going until the finish, it counts!

“But how do I count it if I’m not listed in the results on USA Cycling?” you might ask. Good question. It’s an old-fashioned concept called trust. After you finish a race, write it down. Even if you don’t know your placing, just mark it as “finisher”. When you submit your request for an upgrade online (http://www.usacycling.org/category-upgrade-information.htm), it magically counts! Be honest (some double-checking does happen), but be thorough in your count. You can use this spreadsheet (http://bit.ly/raceresultslist) to track everything you’ll need at upgrade time.

“But what about the points for this race?” is an inevitable question. These days you get points for rankings, ratings, race series, state series, club involvement, grocery purchases, music downloads, and driving too fast. As a new racer, upgrades are based on mass-start race finishes, so forget the points. Once you get to be a cat. 4, then the race results start to count. But until then, just race. Save the points counting for later.

You may be thinking, “That’s it? Just track my race finishes?” Yes, that’s about it. Just make sure to remember the purpose of the beginning category: getting mass-start race experience.

Every year a new rider shows up who is faster than the rest. If that’s you, congrats! But remember that while attacking from the start and staying away the whole race is impressive, it doesn’t count for more upgrade points. And it doesn’t help you learn how to ride in a group, corner, work for field position, identify good riders to play off of, and many other skills that will be helpful once you progress to faster and faster categories. So relax and take some time to ride in the group, trade pulls, see if you actually can sprint it out at the end, go through the corner next to another rider, and generally get used to working with the group.

If you are like most of us when we started racing, it’s not so easy. Stick with it! It takes time to learn, to get in better shape, to figure out how to save energy, and to finally find your way toward the front of the field at the end of a race. So keep showing up, learning, working hard, and you’ll get that upgrade in 10 races, just like that hammer in your field.

Lucas Wall
MBRA Upgrades Coordinator

Announcing the Michigan Road Race Series (2017)

The summer is here and so is the Michigan Road Race Series!!!  Let's get to racing!  The format is changing this year as the Michigan Challenge Series will no longer be organized and scored by MBRA, but by members of BaseMedia Racing. While we're scoring the series, we want to emphasize that it's still open to everyone - no matter what team you are on!  The biggest change from your perspective is the requirement to register for the series using the link below.  You can sign up any time during the season and your races after that point will be tracked.   


  • Registration is $5, it's a small price to pay for glory 
  • Nine races in the series (Note: Capital City Classic is cancelled for 2017 and will not be scored)
  • Minimum five races to qualify 
  • Best six races will count towards total series points
  • Register before 11:59PM EST on June 4th, and all previous races will count towards series points
  • If you register after June 4th, points will only accumulate for subsequent races
  • Debaets-Devos will serve as the series championship race and will count as double points/tie breaker

Series Categories:
Men Cat Pro/1/2, Men Cat 3/4, Women Cat Pro/1/2/3, Women Cat 4, Men Masters 35+, 45+, 55+

Races Scored In The Series:
Race 1 - April 29th - Willow TT
Race 2 - May 13th - Port City Crit
Race 3 - June 3rd - Waterford Weekend Races
Race 4 - June 4th - Race For Wishes
Race 5 - June 18th - Sylvania Cycling Classic
Race 6 - July 8th - Cycling Lawyer Crit
Race 7 - August 12th - Corktown Crit
Race 8 - August 20th - Gaslight Criterium
Race 9 - August 27th - Debaets Devos Crit


Racing Tip: Ride in the Drops

The more time you spend riding the indoor trainer, the more likely you are to develop the habit of riding on the hoods. It's much more comfortable. You can see the TV better.

But there are several reasons why you need to ride in the drops while riding in a pack. Riding in the drops will improve your aerodynamics and allow you to get more benefit from drafting. But the bigger reason to ride low is to lower your center of gravity. This will make you MUCH more stable and give you much better control of your bike. You will negotiate corners better. Riding in the drops will also put your fingers closer to the brake levers, and give you better leverage when braking and allow you to push the bike forward when braking hard. Riding here will also prevent you from getting your bars hooked with the rider next to you.

Riding on the hoods is certainly more comfortable. You can breathe better. You can see the road better. It doesn't hurt your neck and back. But it's not giving you optimum control. 

And if the riders around you want you to have anything, it's optimum control of your bike.