Speed of Light Vuelta Competition Stage One: Frank Wins Dramatic miniVuelta, Big Gaps in Big SOL
Three riders put themselves well clear of the field Thursday night, with Jeff and Cam Owens coming in just behind stage winner and new red jersey wearer Jorden Wakeley. The three were clear early over Madeleine’s Trail, a sandy and dangerous run of the Vasa CC Climb doing much to split the field behind. Indeed, it was one of the most fractious SOLs of the year, with small groups forming early in the ride and staying separated throughout.
Both Owens’ and Wakeley knew their advantage even as they peeled onto the Vasa Power Section, with the chase group of a cyclocross-mounted Cody Sovis on the front, with Jason Johnson and a singlespeeded Kyle Macdermaid latched on as well. John O’Hearn missed the move and rode much of the day solo, only ceding a small amount of time.
Jeff Owens did the bulk of the work up front, with Wakeley plowing away behind him on 5″ fat bike tires. Cam was resilient to the very end, bouncing his way up the climbs to stay within 16 seconds of the two leaders across the line. The trio’s efforts paid off, with Cam taking the KOM points on the Boonenberg and Wakeley taking double points on the GO for the sprinter’s honors. Cam will be up against it next week, with double points for the KOM and many riders able to focus on that with their GC hopes dashed.
And those GC hopes are certainly a wash for everyone else. Kyle Macdermaid led the way for the rest of the field, nearly 2 minutes down, 16 seconds ahead of Cody Sovis. It’ll be a battle for fourth, and Cody may be under orders to assist the impressive trio of Wes Sovis, Craig Fortuna and Mike Walters over the coming weeks.
KEEN and M22 will likely battle for the Team Competition as well, with Wakeley getting some valuable support from Jason Johnson. Johnson has suffered from crashes and, this week, a mechanical, but when he puts it all together, he’s a top five contender. KEEN sits a minute up on M22, with Hagerty and ERSB looking desperate to get into the race. McLain gets on the board for the first time this year through a strong showing from Kent McNeil and Nick McLain.
Susan Vigland has made SOL her own, becoming just the second woman to score in both the KOM and Points classifications, as well as again scoring for her team in the Team Competition. She’s got a solid gap over Lauri Brockmiller after one stage, over three minutes, with Marie Voss rounding out the current podium picture.
Stage Two is up for next week with an earlier start time, 6:30 from Bunker, with the shop boys leaving Ec at 6:15.
And now, here’s Peter Worden with the miniSOL Vuelta report.
Tonight was Stage 2 of the abbreviated miniVuelta, reduced to a two-stage race so we can squeeze in the Vuelta and the World Championships next week before the kids return to school.
Tonight was Hunter Frank’s night. Hunter has been on the, er, hunt for a miniSol victory all summer, and tonight he had not one win but two, taking the stage at a blistering pace that also pulled the GC win out from under Hagerty’s Ashton Edson. Coming in solo to the finish line, it was clear he’d turned himself inside out and left everything on the race course to pull it off; stomping on the pedals, rocking his bike from side to side, breathing like a Hoover vacuum that’d eaten your grandma’s hairnet and spittle flying everywhere, he was just absolutely on the rivet.
By the time Stage 2 ended, Hunter had turned an 18 second deficit on GC into a one minute three second miniVuelta win over Hagerty’s Arielle Jean, with Ashton falling into third place. The trio finished in the same order for the stage.
In the Green Jersey competition, there was an unprecedented three-way tie as Ashton, Arielle and Hunter each managed to win 16 points. They will have to share the Green Jersey between them, which fortunately is pretty easy to do since it is an imaginary jersey.
Hagerty took another grand tour team competition win, followed by MBS22 and then Norte.
Maximus Jordan continued his steady progression, improving his time by just over 10 minutes over his Stage 1 performance and finishing a Grand Tour just off the podium in 4th place on GC. Sander Stuart, bringing some much needed representation of Brick Wheels, rounded out the top 5.
After a post-Tour hiatus that included missing Stage 1 of the miniVuelta the Kochis siblings again made an appearance, Porter taking the win in the single speed category and Sophia shaving two minutes off her final stage time at the Tour in July. Zack Gerlando was also on hand once more to fly the Norte flag, as was Noah Zalinski (despite his protestations that he was really a spy for Hagerty). Noah’s younger siblings Ezra and Lila were also in attendance, as were Huck and Sylvia Ellis.
Next week it’s the final week for miniSOL, and it’s the World Championships. No points, no time bonuses, no screwy made-up competitions; and no second or third place. There’s just the riders, the course, and the clock. First rider over the line gets crowned the miniSOL World Champion and gets to wear the rainbow jersey next summer. This is the last miniSOL of the summer, kids; bring your friends, bring your friends’ friends, this is your final chance to throw down until next June.
Also, next week, one time only, be ready to roll for miniSOL at 6:15 pm so we are sure to get all of our mini riders in before dark. And be sure to plan around for the mini World Championships award ceremony that will take place after.