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The Hagerty Cycling team, started in 2007, is getting in touch with its feminine side: 15 women are included among the roughly 50 members. This year alone, five new women have joined the ranks. Nicknamed the “Hags,” the team can be found most nights of the week building their strength and camaraderie on the winding roads of Leelanau County.
Vigland bikes between 150 and 200 miles a week, averaging 10 hours a week, March through August. Long before the
beaches have been churned by the first flip-flops of the season, Vigland has a tan that most wouldn’t dare display in a swimsuit. Her arms, legs and ankles show the telltale lines of the ever-present spandex shorts, riding shoes and blue-and-
white Hagerty jersey.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are hard 2-hour rides with the Hags, with 1-hour recovery rides on Wednesdays. (Compare Vigland’s recovery rides to the typical cyclist, who thinks 1-hour rides are bankroll.) Vigland also strength trains two days a week to keep her upper body and core strong. The team gets really serious on the weekends, riding 2 to 4 hours both
days, taking in the hills of Leelanau County and the views of Old Mission Peninsula.
“I can name most of the roads in Leelanau County, because I’ve ridden them hundreds of times,” Vigland says. “But I’ve never driven them. And I think that’s cool.”
On fast, flat sections of road the team reaches speeds of 25 to 30 mph, their wheels inches away from one other, every
move magnified by knowing they can take down one, two, three or more teammates with the smallest mistake. But it’s
that intensity, the whole team moving as one, that Vigland loves. The peloton moves together but they also win, fail,
fall, climb together.
“I love the team strategy involved with road racing,” she says. “My closest friends are on the team and that’s what makes
it so fun.”
Teammate and friend, Lauri Brockmiller, 35, is actually a little worried about what Vigland might do next. “Sometimes her
physical ability outweighs her confidence,” Brockmiller says. “If she knew how good she was, she would be more aggressive and take more risks—that might be scary!”
Brockmiller, also a personal trainer, worked with Vigland last year to put together a nutrition plan incorporating a range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy products. Vigland has been a vegetarian for 20 years and makes a point of avoiding processed food. Like most sports, weight is a big factor in cycling. Leaner in the saddle means faster on the pedal.
“When Susan is at her best, her strength and endurance over the long haul is unstoppable,” Brockmiller says. “I’ve been on 60- or 70-mile rides with Susan where it seems like she gets stronger and more comfortable with every 10-mile increment. When I start to fade, it’s like she’s just getting warmed up.”