Bike MS Ride Summary

by Erich Meier

In 2008, I participated in my first event after a work-out partner raved about his experiences and then began soliciting donations from family and friends. This is when I found out that my uncle’s wife, Jennifer, had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) after having bouts of leg numbness, but was not yet ready to share her diagnosis. The first event went great, but left a feeling that I should be doing something more!

After participating in all 4 Michigan Bike MS events on multiple occasions, I ventured out to do the Vegas Challenge (NV), Bike to Jack and Back (TN), Coastal Challenge (CA), etc. with some great friends and have adopted the goal of doing an Bike MS event in every state. The locations chosen are always awesome and are only surpassed by the people that you meet during the event.

During the Coastal Challenge (Santa Monica to Santa Barbara), I met an amazing woman named Audrey. Audrey is the team captain for Team Audrey’s Heroes (TAH), which is the BP150’s (TX) largest friends & family team. Audrey was diagnosed in 2007 after numerous tests and being told that she was too young and cute to have MS, but she did. That following year 4 O2 members joined TAH for the BP150, which is an amazing event that attracts approximately 13,000 riders annually.

It is event camaraderie that keeps me looking forward to each event, but it is the people, like Jennifer and Audrey, that keep me passionate about the events.

In 2017, my state tally reached 15 through participating in the following events: Country Roads (WV) that starts at the historic Greenbrier Resort, Deception Pass Classic (WA) along the PNW Coastline, and Cycle the Silver Valley (ID) near the retired silver mines.

While each ride has been noteworthy, I am more thankful for those that have joined me over the years, their friendships, and the lasting memories that were created.

2018 will hold new routes, states, and adventures. I intend to do 3 or 4 new Bike MS rides. Please feel free to contact me at

Danielle Mullis wins Bronze at Track Nationals!

Congratulations to Danielle Mullis for winning bronze in the International Omnium at Track Nationals this week!

Strong Team Showing at Willow TT

Team O2/Cadieux had another great showing at a local race, this time at the Willow Time Trial.

Rodney Eaton Jr First place men’s CAT 4-5
Anthony L Bruley 4th place men’s CAT P123
Nick Zendler 3rd place men’s P123
Matt Konyn 3rd place men’s 35+
Brian Wachlarz 6th place men’s 35+
Tom Wamsley 7th place men’s 35+
James Reid 1st place men’S CAT 3-4
Josh Evans 7th place men’s CAT 3-4
Luis Chacon 6th place men’s 45+
Michael Dega 8th place men’s 45+
Ken Vernier 9th place men’s 45+

Nick, James, Jeremy, Rodney

The 35+ and 45+ men’s categories were VERY competitive!!
Let’s give these guys some major kudos!!

Video from 2015 51st Debaets Devos ProAm Race

Big thank you to Alec Linton for putting together the 2015 51st Debaets Devos ProAm Race video. Great work we look forward to the 2016 race.

2013 Cherry Roubaix Road Race (45+)

Jim Ignash (1) and Mike Dega (4) rock the podium at the 2013 Cherry Roubaix in the Masters 45+ Road Race.

The 45+ group produced great results at the 2013 Cherry Roubaix Road Race. The course is 23.3 miles per lap with the masters race completing 3 laps. The start-summit finish line is high atop Sugar Loaf Mt.  I thought I would share what I observed during the race that gave O2 the victory.


It was decided during a pre-race meeting that Mike Dega was going to be the aggressor, a roll that the Team agreed could lead to a stage victory.  Dega committed himself to a roll of extreme effort that would lead to victory – or an all-out bonk.  No rest, no draft, just mental and physical pain.

Lap 1

The race took off with a more relaxed pace, but of course, Team Hagerty sent a “flyer” off the front to create a break.  The field did not react, letting the rider ride solo within view.  I moved myself to fourth position watching for any moves from Craig Webb of Team Hagerty or Tom Linck of Leadout Racing, who Mark Cahn and I thought were the two strongest riders in the field.

At about the halfway mark into the lap, Dega and a second rider made their move to bridge to the leader.  I was extremely happy to see that the peloton let Dega go and that he was able to drive the break out of our site.  This was an aggressive move that required guts and an all-out commitment for victory.

At this point our team plan was running according to script. 

Lap 2

Cahn and I were doing everything we could to slow the peloton.  C. Webb seemed to be content with his teammate working with Dega in the break, however T. Linck, and Newton Cole, a new rider with Burnham Racing from Chicago, were growing uneasy.  They began trying to increase the speed of the peloton; however the rolling hills made it tough to get anything organized. 

A rotation did form, so I put myself into 5th position making it difficult for a large number of riders to participate.  At this point C. Webb was still content sitting in, while T. Linck was expending a lot of energy pushing the 4 rider rotation. 

Half way into the lap, the rotation began to break up and the peloton slowed.  At this point, N.Cole decided to make a strong move to bridge to Dega’s group.  M. Cahn anticipated the move and latched onto Cole’s wheel.  While the peloton was still recovering, N. Cole and M. Cahn met up with Dega to create a five rider break out of the peloton’s site.

At this point, I thought “Checkmate”, but C. Webb and T. Linck had other ideas.

Lap 3

At the beginning of lap three, I could tell Webb was getting nervous. The break was still out of the site and he only had one team member against two O2 team members.  He shouted out to his supporters on the side line for the time gap.  It was more than two minutes. 

Then the fireworks began.  On the next few hills, Webb destroyed the peloton with some hard attacks.  After catching his wheel, I looked back and all we had was T. Linck.  Webb and Linck began their rotation, while I grabbed wheel.  (Being experienced bike racers, both of them knew I had no interest in contributing to the effort, since my teammates were in the break.) 

Three quarters into the lap we looked ahead and Webb saw his teammate was dropped from the break with only a short distance to the finish.  Alarmed, Webb began asking everyone he could for the breaks location.  On the course’s second-from-the-last major climb, Webb was told that the gap was only 29 seconds. 

I moved ahead of Linck and Webb during the climb, since I noticed that they were feeling the effects of their efforts.  (This was where I made a big mistake and corrected it quickly.)  Looking at the pain in Linck’s face I got soft and told Webb “If you catch the break, I’ll give you the win… just don’t make me look bad”.  WOW… What did I just do???  I’ve done this in the past??? If Cahn finds out, I’m toast!  I quickly slowed on the hill and told Webb,” I need to race for the win… game on”.  He smiled.

On top of the climb, Webb and I distanced ourselves away from Linck.  Webb attacked on the decent, and that’s when I looked up and saw Dega, Cahn and Cole.  CRAP!!!  We were coming hard and Webb had new life.  When we caught the group, Webb slowed, Linck was able to hook on, and I moved to the front.

At the front, going into the last climb to the finish line, I looked into the eyes of Cole and said “you’re going to be a problem aren’t you”. He smiled.  Not knowing how my teammates were feeling, I increased the tempo during the first of the two stage climb.  I looked back and saw Cole trying to close the small gap I created.  At the crest of the first stage, I increased my tempo again and noticed that I was not going be caught.

Knowing that my daughter, Eva, was watching at the finish, I threw in some theatrics by pumping my fist.  She thought it was great, my wife rolled her eyes, and I just smiled, since Team O2 just executed another strong team finish and victory. 

Results: 1) J. Ignash, 2) C. Webb, 3) N. Cole, 4) M. Dega, 5) T. Linck, 6) M. Cahn 12) N. Laughton

West Branch Road Race

We had a great day of racing Saturday. Our team was one of the most well represented teams there with a total of 11 racers in 4 categories. Out of those 11 racers, we had 4 on the podium and many others in the top 10. There was some great teamwork throughout the day and even more team support.

The Flahute of the Day goes to Jerry Gase who, despite having rear derailleur problems before the race, raced anyhow. Basically he rode up one of the hardest hills you will find in a race with only two gears (big chain ring or small chain ring). Jerry was leading the pack up the big hill a couple of times so that he could stay in the race. Everyone that knew he only had two gears was impressed with how well he was doing. He finished 10th out of a field of 30 with riders who all had way too many gears to choose from.

The runner-up to the Flahute of the day was Peter Vajda who, despite losing the pack at the beginning of the second lap, rode out the rest of the race solo.

James Ignash was able to take the top step of the podium in the Masters 45+ race with a solo breakaway. With the help of his other teammates sitting on wheels and holding back the group, he was able to finish 2 mins 20 seconds in front of second and 5 mins ahead of the the other chase group.

Riders’ Placings

Road Race
1st James Ignash 45+
2nd Paul Skorupskas Cat 3
3rd Mike Dega 45+
5th Alex Huyghe Cat 4
6th Tony Bruley 35+
10th Jerry Gase Cat 3
16th Peter Vajda 45+
20th Derek Delzer Cat 3

5th Derek Delzer Cat 3
7th Doug Burcicki Cat 3
8th Dave Hicken 45+ (Also 23rd in Cat 3)
14th Paul Skorupskas Cat 3
20th Jerry Gase Cat 3
21st Nigel Mullis Cat 4

It would have been nice to see more Cat 5 racers at the races. It looks like the criterium only had 3 riders in it period. We didn’t have any Cat 5 racers in any of the races this weekend. West Branch is one of the best races that we have in the state – hopefully we can get more people out next year.

Overall, we had a great weekend and there were solid results for our team. I look forward to racing next weekend at Mt. Pleasant and hope to see a lot of people there. I know many people will be doing Michigan Mountain Mayhem on Saturday but there is still a Crit on Sunday.

2013 Frankenmuth Road Race Report (Cat 3)

By Paul Skorupskas

Cooling down post race with the entire crew (Doug is not pictured since someone had to take the photo).

For the Tour of Frankenmuth, the CAT 3 team brought six racers (Derek Delzer, Chris Matthews, Doug Burcicki, Jerry Gase, Brian Wachlarz and myself [Paul Skorupskas]) to the start line to be one of the largest teams – if not the largest team – represented in the field. This group added three racers to the mix compared to those that represented the team at Cone-Azalia included our newest addition to the racing club in Brian Wachlarz.

Having such a large presence in the race meant that we would be on the attack throughout. This gave us two distinct advantages in that we didn’t have to worry about chasing down any groups off the front since we tried to always be represented in the breakaway groups and it let some of us rest up for later in the race while everyone else was busy chasing down the attacking moves.

The race started with Brian immediately jumping out front and forcing the group to start chasing immediately. Anyone that has ever raced with or against Brian knows that this is typical of his aggressive and team-oriented racing style. The first lap was filled with moves being made by us and other teams, and we did a very good job of ensuring that all moves were covered very well. Doug, Jerry, Brian, and Chris certainly made our presence known in the first half (plus) of the race. You know you’re doing your job when you hear comments from other racers in the group like: “that move doesn’t have a chance – [Team] O2 isn’t in there”.

Midway through the first lap, there was a hiccup with a marshall not being present at one of the key turns, causing most of the peloton to have to regroup and turn around to eventually get back on course. It seems that this happened in more races than simply ours, but was corrected on the further laps. The real pitfall with missing this turn is that it caused us to mix with 35+ field. Fortunately after 2 laps of us passing in and out of the 35+ field, a few crafty racers assembled our field and we as a race group agreed to neutralize ourselves for 3-4 mins giving our race enough of a gap with the 35+ race group so that both races could finish alone in their respective final laps. It was great to see a lot of people on different teams work together to self correct and neutralize the group to allow for a good finish to the race… and what a finish it turned out to be.

The entire race was a battle of little moves trying to get away, but on a pancake flat course with no wind and several determined teams, everything was getting pulled back before much of a break could ever materialize. That was until an unattached rider began to creep off the front about 6-7 miles from the finish. At first it didn’t look like much, but before long, in what turned out to be a very cunning move, a racer stealthily created about a 15 sec gap for himself and it was looking like he might have some staying power. At this point I wanted in at a chance to get away and join him up front. I was in good position in about 10th wheel to put in a little attack and work on bridging up to him. Before long I had cut his lead in half and was looking good, but a quick look back and I realized that I was bringing quite a few others with me, luckily including Derek Delzer. I made a decision to ease up and right on queue Derek jumped and made short work of the remaining gap solo while I, and my chase group, slowed. The peloton caught us, but now we had Derek with another strong rider off the front in perfect position to stay away. Derek and the unknown rider were able to stay away until just before the final turn, but long enough to put Derek in perfect position in the turn. With the group together going into the final turn, Derek was able to sprint for second. I worked to get 5th position in the final corner and settled for 6th at the line. The rest of the team also had strong results (see below) especially after the work that was done earlier in the race.

2nd – Derek Delzer
6th – Paul Skorupskas
21st – Jerry Gase
23rd – Chris Matthews
24th – Doug Burcicki
28th – Brian Wachlarz

2013 Cone-Azalia Race Report (Cat 3)

By Paul Skorupskas

Photo courtesy of Cristin Robb

Another Cone-Azalia race has come and gone and now the road racing season is officially underway in Michigan. For those who are not familiar with the race course, it takes place in Milan, MI, is a pancake flat 10 mile circuit race course, typically very windy and 40% dirt roads whose conditions vary from year-to-year. Aside from being a very difficult race, the pre-race decisions that go into what kind of bike to use (road or CX) whether or not to use race wheels, what kind of tires to run, etc. add another interesting wrinkle to race that reminds of last fall during CX season. My setup this year was the same as last year, road bike, clincher training wheels with 24mm Vittoria Pave tires with reinforced sidewalls. This is the same setup that I used last year when I won the Cat 4 race so why mess with something works. The rest of the team was on a mix of CX bike with road tires and varying widths. Seems everyone has their favorite setup.

This year is the inaugural year for O2 elite race team and Cone-Azalia brought out most of the racers so that we had good representation in the Cat 3, 35+ and 45+ fields as well as some racers spread out throughout the other categories.

Jerry Gase, Doug Burcicki and myself showed up to the line to race the cat 3 race. With 3 similarly strong racers our plan was simple. Attack! Attack early, counterattack and continue attacking the field. The race really starts strong every year once the field hits the first dirt section about .5 mile into the course. This year was no different. We had a few marked riders on other teams and they did not disappoint driving the pace as soon as we crossed the train tracks and hit the dirt section. The pace was fast, but Jerry and Doug took turns covering the mini-breaks and bringing them back while I waited. This continued for most of the first lap until the pace really slowed on the drag to the start/finish into the headwind when no one wanted to pull the field.

Eventually a rider had a enough and put in a little attack. Our team was content to let him hang out front for a while where we could see him. He looked to be getting a good enough lead that we needed to start thinking about bringing him back even though it was early in the race. However right as we all made the first turn of the second lap, the entire field including the mini break was stopped by a train. A new experience for me in this race. In any case, we now had gruppo compacto right at the beginning of the second time through the first dirt section. Immediately after the gates went up, some teams put in a big attack and got off the front, but Jerry or Doug were able to make their way into this break as well. Within a mile that break was brought back which meant that it was my turn to put in a big attack. I gave it a good jump and quickly found myself off the front with a substantial lead. Getting some rest in the tailwind section and finding that my lead had grown after exiting the second dirt section, I started to think about pacing and staying away for the rest of the race. Little did I know what I was in for.

For the next 6 miles I got my pacing down but also realized in the carnage that is the chattering roads of Cone-Azalia I lost my second water bottle. With little water remaining on a hot day and no reserve I thought better of trying to ride the next 30+ miles solo and decided and slow down and go back to the group, re-group and we’d try again later.

Fast forward to the fourth lap, the eventual winner put in a huge attack that really blew up the field. We had Doug and Jerry following so I stayed back wondering if they were gone for good. However, I could see that he was getting away and so I decided that I should try to bridge up. Coming through the second dirt road section I started picking people off, and found out that the leader was up the road along with a group of two chasing him down. Coming out of the final dirt section on the 4th lap, I found myself solo in 4th and decided I need to work as hard as I can to bridge up to the chase group. After a very difficult 10min effort I was able to bridge up to Clay Monahan (one of the strongest breakaway riders in the field) and Brian Wachlarz. We worked well together sharing the workload to try to catch the leader on the 5th and final lap, but when it became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to catch him, it was time to try to conserve energy for the sprint. Clay put in a really good contest for the sprint and took the 2nd place finish while I had to settle for 3rd thanks to some tired legs.

We certainly achieved our goal or racing well as a team, making our presence well known in the field that day, and putting a racer on the podium. Some big highlights of the day were having racing together for the first time this year with some great teammates, getting a podium, 3 racers in the top 10 of the cat 3 field, no flats by anyone on the team in the most treacherous road race on the calendar, and of course seeing Jim Ignash in the 45+ field soloing by our field at top speed for the win in the 45+ division.

Great day of racing for the team and many thanks to everyone who helped put on the Cone-Azalia road race. Another year of another fantastic event.