MIDDLEVILLE -As far as good starts go, Alpena cyclist Mike Anderson couldn't have asked for much more.
Anderson kicked off the cycling season in Michigan this past weekend by winning the Barry-Roubaix road race.
Anderson finished the 62-mile race in a time of 2:51:05, ahead of each of the 217 riders competing in his class and three seconds ahead of rival Brian Matter. More than 1,500 cyclists participated in the event, which signals the start to the state's cycling year and includes two shorter races.
Alpena’s Mike Anderson, center, holds up the trophy along with the other top finishers after he won the Barry-Roubaix bike race on Saturday in Middleville.
"I've been second two years ago and I was fourth last year. It was nice to finally win. I wasn't expecting to win," said Anderson, 23.
The race essentially came down to Anderson and Matter, longtime competitors who regularly battle it out against one another to be among the top riders in the events they're entered. Early on those two were part of a small group of riders at the front of the pack. The group was whittled down to Anderson and Matter when those two separated during the Shaw Road section of the race. That section of the race was notable for its difficult terrain - one of the few points in the event featuring two-track riding.
"There was a group of five of us going into the last section. It was sandy, muddy and we had to run a bit of it. It was uphill and it was really loose," said Anderson. "Brian and I got a pretty decent gap and we were able to hold it all the way.
"(Brian) is a worthy competitor. Him and I are good buddies and we work together a lot. We do a lot of team drafting. We knew one of us was going to win the race when it got down to the two of us."
Anderson, who is working toward a marketing degree, is hoping his performance in last weekend's race is the prelude to a big year.
"Last year I had some bad luck with injuries and things like that. You always hope for a good year. This year I've got a little more motivation. I had a good winter of training," said Anderson.
Anderson's schedule already is filled with large races and some that are smaller events. Most of the big ones are coming up between the end of May and June, as well as in mid-August.
"I'm just trying to keep improving on my fitness," said Anderson.
Anderson's father, Ron, also competed at the Barry-Roubaix. In the 36-mile race, Ron Anderson finished ninth in the men's 55-and-up division with a time of 2:05:35. Ron Anderson fared well despite only training for a week prior to the race.