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Schaap flexes her muscles at the Western Michigan Stage Race

Amanda Schaap of Jenison, MI won the general classification at last weekend’s 2nd annual Western Michigan Stage Race (WMSR) in the women’s category 3/4.

Clear skies, sunshine and temperatures upward of 80 degrees Fahrenheit were a fixture for the event. One of the newest members to Team Kenda, Schaap was presented by Geargrinder, a women-only team based in Indiana which, since 1999, has been helping women compete on their bikes around the nation.

Schaap is a registered nurse who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. “I had a blast at this race!” gushed an overjoyed Amanda. “This was Michigan”s first stage race of the year and we had at least 32 women in the field, which is one of the largest women’s category 3/4 fields I have raced. The more in the field the more fun the race. The field was smart and fast, two things that help make a great race, especially at this level.

“For the first time since I have been racing, my parents were there to witness my win on Saturday’s criterium: the second event of the stage on a 0.9-mile closed-course at Kent Intermediate School District at Knapp Street and the East Beltline.”

After the race my mom said, “Watching you win today will stay etched in my mind for a long time.”

“Winning the overall stage race was my goal from the start, so to actually earn the win is surreal.” After Saturday’s race, Amanda moved on to the third and last stage of the event, a 30-mile (48- kilometer) road race in and around the Flat River Grill in Lowell, MI. Again, Amanda finished in the field and solidified her overall general classification (GC) win. Ellie Burke, a second-year racer who works as a business administrator and lives in Grand Rapids, placed seventh in the GC. Burke stated that this was a fun event with a phenomenal turnout. “It was amazing racing with so many women. Team Kenda had a terrific showing with women coming from all over the U.S. to participate.” She expressed her gratitude to Cheryl Olson and to the Priority Health women’s team for awakening the women’s cycling scene in the Michigan metro area.

In the professional category women pro/1/2, the team was among the largest with five riders of which three, Sheila Orem (NC), Krystal Lacy-McNutt (OH) and Beth Lauer (WI), placed fourth, seventh and ninth in the general classification. Gray Patton from Bradford Woods, PA (Cleveland Clinic/RGF/Carbon) won the GC by securing a win in the road race. The WMSR consisted of three events: a 7.2-mile time trial at Chief Hazy Cloud Park near Ada; a second stage on a 0.9-mile criterium on a closed-course at Kent Intermediate School District at Knapp Street and the East Beltline; and Sunday’s final stage, a road race consisting of 30, 60 or 90 miles, depending on the rider’s racing category.

Sunday’s road race began at the Flat River Grill in Lowell. The event offered $8,000 cash awards. The race was promoted and directed by 42-85 Event Promotions and Race Timing of Grand Rapids, MI. This year’s event drew 267 total riders (205 men and 62 women) with 50 from out of state. The majority of the riders traveled from Illinois and Ohio, while a few came in from as far as Canada. Race Director Brian Bangma declared that 42-85 Event Promotions and Race Timing is already planning for the 2013 West Michigan Stage Race and hopes to bring in 400 racers. To view complete results, visit http://www.wmsr.co

About Team Kenda Women’s Cycling: Team Kenda began in 1999 as Team Ameritech with nine riders who excelled at bicycle racing. Over the years, the team has steadily grown in size and now boasts NRC/NCC Elite, as well as Southeast, Mid-Atlantic Elite, Midwest, and West Regional Teams. The team competes in the United States focusing on the National Race Calendars, both NRC and NCC. In 2010, the team finished 8th among 73 teams in the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Women’s Team competition and 8th in the 2011 NRC campaign. (http://www.teamkenda.com, www.facebook.com/teamkenda, @teamkendaW)

Photo Caption: (third rider from the left) Amanda Schaap in women’s category 3-4 criterium race. The second leg of three events that comprised the Western Michigan Stage Race in the Grand Rapids , MI metro area. – Photo Credit: http://www.juliemcgrawphotography.com/

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