Indoor Pumpkin Pedal: Whittaker Wins In Last Minute Charge, Brown Takes Title

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Sure, the whole point of the thing was to raise money for the children, but there were some heavy hitters on hand to try their legs on the Wahoo Kickr. 

Saturday’s Indoor Pumpkin Pedal raised some substantial sums for the Hagerty Youth Cycling Program and Norte Cycling, two youth initiatives that support cycling in the Traverse City area. Jolly Pumpkin hosted the event in conjunction with Einstein Cycles, with raffles, $2 beer, and lots of good energy pouring along with the lagers. While the amount of money raised has yet to be counted, early estimated put it in the millions. Probably.

The Wahoo Kickr Competition provided some serious fireworks for revelers to enjoy, set to the sweet, sweet soundtrack of The Brad Winkler Project, who played live right in the faces of the contestants. Using the Wahoo Kickr and the Strava Segements app, 30 racers gave it their all in what was effectively an all-out effort up Seven Hills Climb. 

The short sprint of a climb averages 4.8% over .3 miles, but with two distinct pitches, managing the effort for over a minute was extremely important.

Nate St. Onge set the early mark of 1:09, which lasted much of the afternoon. A slew of big names took late starts hoping to have the top mark to chase. The first to come close to 1:09 was Mike Walters at 1:16, with Jon Throop also challenging at 1:11. Ryan Bolin and Paul Olson were level at 1:11, and when Olson climbed off the bike, it looked as if only Wes Sovis or Brad Winkler would pose a threat with time running out. Sovis, fresh from a 3 day training camp in Alabama, lacked the punch that usually typifies his riding. “The parcours certainly doesn’t match my characteristics as a rider, but I was hoping to challenge. It is early and I am happy with my form,” he spouted through the media scrum.

Winkler emptied the tank in a heroic effort to take the top spot, but the wheels came off on the 7.8% section before the line. Even the rousing cries of “WINKLER! WINKLER! WINKLER!” couldn’t carry him below Nate St. Onge, who looked relieved and well-hydrated with Diabolicals in the Hot Seat.

Then, like a Roman god bursting from flame and ash, Jason Whittaker burst through the door. It was a dramatic late-entry, and he barely had time to knock down a pint before he was pressed into the fray. The real-life KOM with a specialty for short, one minute efforts was looking to defend his title. He rode pedal stroke to pedal stroke with St. Onge’s time before leaping to a small gap in the final 100 meters. In the end, he took the win by a single second. St. Onge was content with second, with Ryan Bolin besting Paul Olson in the bronze medal match. Jon Throop, Wes Sovis, Bryan Carps, Mike Walters and Brad Winkler rounded out the top ten.

The women’s contest was even tighter. Barb Huegli started off the day with an impressive 1:53, and when Barb Beauregaurd put down a 1:35, it was looking like a very tough time to beat. She first survived a brave assault from Rachel Decker, who might have gone under the time if she’d been told she could shift (sorry). She still posted a 1:39. Beth Collins stormed to a 1:30 and the crowd began to murmur, with the two big favorites up next. Riding second to last in the start order, Vasa champion Jen Brown stomped her way to a 1:26, a new best time and an astounding 534 max Watts!

It all fell to Melissa Ryba to challenge the top time, and it was duel for the ages. Racing against a 1:23 time for motivation, she cruised on the flatter section with a slight lead over Jen. On the steeps of 7.8%, she lost ground in inches. When the segment ended, the time flashed up at 1:27, just one second behind Brown. Ryba also went way over the 500 Watt mark for her peak, hitting 524.

In the Men’s bronze medal race, Ryan Bolin had a bit left in the tank to best Paul Olson on the Devil’s Dive Climb.

Below are the full results. A note: Not all of the max watts are accurate because the two record keepers have horrible, horrible hand writing.

A big thanks to everyone who raised the money, spent the time, and especially those who took on the Seven Hills Climb.

Name Time Max Wattage
Jason Whittaker 1:08:00 620
Nate St. Onge 1:09:00 662
Ryan Bolin 1:11:00 652
Paul Olson 1:11:00 685
Jon Throop 1:12:00 629
Wes Sovis 1:15:00 668
Bryan Carps 1:15:00 673
Mike Walters 1:16:00 454
Brad Winkler 1:21:00 652
Russ Ryba 1:22:00 586
Jimmy McKenna 1:23:00 537
Jen Brown 1:26:00 534
Melissa Ryba 1:27:00 524
Ethan McKenna 1:27:00 480
Beth Collins 1:30:00 337
Barb Beaureguard 1:35:00 326
Don Marsh 1:35:00 427
Jim Decker 1:36:00 680
Todd Labonte 1:37:00 404
Rachel Decker 1:39:00 305
Maddy 1:41:00 302
Gavin Ryba 1:51:00 320
Eva 1:52:00 320
Barb Huegli 1:53:00 284
Mari 1:54:00 247
Olivia Decker 1:54:00 430
John Carney 1:55:00 312
Riley McKenna 1:58:00 184
Lily 2:08:00 122
Jack Decker 2:13:00 175
David Burke 2:15:00 257

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