The Hagerty Cycling Team is a group of local bicyclists from the Traverse City area. Established in the spring of 2007, the team competes at races around the state.
Recently, team members competed at the 2008 Superior Bike Fest held in Marquette on June 20-22. The weekend proved to be a success for Team Hagerty. Just a few of the highlights included Norm Licht winning the Mens Roadrace Masters 45+, with six other team members finishing in the top 10. Lauri Brockmiller finished second overall for the Womens Category 4. Many team members also won their respective divisions in road race, criterium, and downhill categories.
Although cycling is a recreational sport that can be enjoyed by just about anyone, racing takes training and discipline. It helps to know the strategies and rules of finishing a race.
The Hagerty Cycling Team is fortunate to have veterans blazing the concrete, teaching beginner and intermediate riders the rules of the road. Professional cyclist Derek Prechtl coaches and is a board member of the Hagerty Cycling Team. As a member of the pro tour for several years, the Traverse City native offers his training tips to other members of the club. Prechtl took second place for the Mens Masters 35+ in Marquette.
For a second year team, we have some of the best racers in the state in their respective category, Prechtl says.
But those results arent just handed to riders. Team members train up to three days a week as a group. Workouts include speed training on one day where members ride fast through flat sections of road at 25 to 30 mph. Another day, they work on hill climbs, using the rolling hills of Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas as their training ground. Then, like a weekend family road trip, they pack up their energy bars and water bottles for a three to four hour endurance ride.
Crashing isnt very common in road races, but it does happen. During workouts, team members will purposely bump tires on occasion. This prepares riders for potential wipe-outs during a race since they ride just inches from each other.
And despite the individual win at races, cycling is a very team-oriented sport. Susan Vigland, secretary of the board for Hagerty Cycling Team, helps organize the womens team workouts.
You can work with your teammates to go for a win, Vigland says. One of the things you can do is whats called a lead out.
Vigland explains that teammates ride in a group, the slowest of the pack leading the front with the fastest rider in the back. The group pedals as fast as the leader can ride until he or she gets tired and shifts to the back of the pack. This continues until the fastest rider is able to sprint ahead to the finish line. By taking the brunt of the wind resistence, the group allows the sprinter to save his or her energy for the last few hundred yards of the race. In essence, its not only the rider who wins the race, but the rider from Team Hagerty.
Vigland credits her team for her third place finish at the Tour of Cedar Creek, held on June 8.
In order for me to get there, somebody pulled for me, allowed me to rest, Vigland said. Its like a basketball game. Just because you didnt have all the points, doesnt mean you didnt help your team.
Winnings also go into the team account, used for after season parties or bike trips.
Although the primary sponsor is through Hagerty Insurance Agency, many cycling team members come from outside the Hagerty family. Ty Schmidt is a physical therapist at Munson Community Health Center and has been with the team since he and his wife moved from Arizona in 2006. Schmidt also gave up his drivers license two and a half years ago in a commitment to cycling.
Its a little difficult having two kids, Schmidt said, but theyre pretty patient.
When hes not training with the Hagerty team, Schmidt bikes to work every day and uses a tag-a-long trailer to transport his two young boys around town.
Riding in this area is awesome, Schmidt said. Its just beautiful. I dont think some people realize what they have around here.
For over 20 years, locals have gotten together every Tuesday evening at Traverse City High School for some intense cycling. Anywhere from 15 to 40 riders come out to cruise along the roads of the peninsulas. One day, a group of those Tuesday night riders decided they wanted to create a local cycling team. Cliff Onthank was one of those riders and he, along with Prechtl and a few others, approached the executive board at Hagerty about their idea.
Other sponsors jumped on board, and the team was created. Now, there is a diverse team of men and women, ranging anywhere from 15 to 50 years old, wearing the blue cycling jersey.
(The team) has really brought in a lot of great camaraderie, Onthank said. I think were broadcasting a pretty good image out there.
Onthank also finished second in his division for the Mens Masters 45+.
While a few team members now live outside the Traverse City area, the Hagerty Cycling Team is primarily a local team.
The best thing about this team is that its truly been the first community-oriented team, Prechtl said. We have some fun people with us and, on top of that, now were showing up to races and people are saying, Uh oh, here comes Hagerty.
For complete results of the 2008 Superior Bike Fest race, go to: