Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · The Hagerty Cycling Team
. . . .

The Hagerty Cycling Team

Erin Cowell - July 14th, 2008
Typically you can find them cruising along the winding roads of Old Mission Peninsula. Identifiable by their jerseys, they are a blue streak whizzing past houses and the open waters of Grand Traverse Bay. Their light road bikes easily maneuver the sharp turns as they ride like a pack of wolves, each bike just inches from the other.
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 Men’s Roadrace Masters 45+, with six other team members finishing in the top 10. Lauri Brockmiller finished second overall for the Women’s 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 Men’s 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 aren’t 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 isn’t 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 women’s team workouts.
“You can work with your teammates to go for a win,” Vigland says. “One of the things you can do is what’s 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, it’s 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. “It’s like a basketball game. Just because you didn’t have all the points, doesn’t mean you didn’t 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 driver’s license two and a half years ago in a commitment to cycling.
“It’s a little difficult having two kids,” Schmidt said, “but they’re pretty patient.”
When he’s 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. “It’s just beautiful. I don’t 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 we’re broadcasting a pretty good image out there.”
Onthank also finished second in his division for the Men’s 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 it’s truly been the first community-oriented team,” Prechtl said. “We have some fun people with us and, on top of that, now we’re 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:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5