2017 Speed of Light World Championships: Wakeley, Schwab, Welton Earn Titles


In the largest World Championship field to date, three worthy wins took emphatic steps into the history books. 

After three seasons of very, very late events, the World Championships moved up a week to avoid hampering preparations for Bear Claw Epic on September 23. The move worked wonders, with over 30 riders on hand to contest the Men’s and Women’s competitions, as well as the new 45+ category. A neat three ladies and three main contenders in the Old Fart division braved simply gorgeous conditions on the Vasa, with the season ending alongside the evening’s fading dusk light.

In the Men’s race, Vuelta winner Cody Sovis’ traditional hole shot was spoiled by a motivated, if not committed, start by Wakeley. The combined effort saw the pair joined by an on-form Jeff Owens and the flying John O’Hearn, with Kyle Macdermaid and Nick Wierzba just barely off the back. Sovis went to the front over the Truee de Madeleine to put the nail in their coffin, keeping it a lead foursome.

With Wakeley preferring not to pull and Owens playing coy early, Sovis was back to the front early on the Power Section, with Wakeley and O’Hearn shuffling wheels and keeping a close eye on the affairs of state. With the pace dropping, Owens went to the front with a half a mile left on the Power Section, and he wouldn’t get a single pull from the M22 pair the rest of the way.

Owens played his first card on the Boonenberg, which immediately saw the flagging Sovis dropped, but he couldn’t dislodge the other two. Wakeley was nursing a burped rear tire, and was noticeably ginger in the corners to avoid losing any more air. The tire thankfully held as Sovis regained contact and led, briefly, down the ascent to Anita’s. The three best riders rose to the occasion, with Owens, O’Hearn, and Wakeley all going over the top together and setting up for the finale.

In the end, Owens did an incredible job of driving the pace, with Wakeley throwing the front wheel past at the last second. O’Hearn held on for third, a bronze medal result for a season that sees him wave farewell strong campaign as our reigning World Champion. He’s a Grand Tour winner, a multiple stage winner, and holds the distinction of winning Fat Bike Night, Cyclocross Night AND Singlespeed Night in a single year.

The Women’s race saw Emma “Schwabbles” Schwab take a convincing win. Not content with following wheels, she put down a strong move to go solo and ride much of the last half of the course on her own power. In one of the fastest women’s times of 2017, she posted a 41:50 ahead of a battling but outgunned Shannon Kochis in second. In her SOL debut, Sara Nestor takes a bronze medal at Worlds, posting a 51:24 that belies the effort; she had to slow down at every intersection, and made her way safely around with navigational help from Norte’s Carter DeBruyn.

Lars Welton takes the first Master’s World Championship with a strong time of 42:40. Behind, the ERSB duo of Steve “Love Is A Lagerquist” and Jeff Galstererer couldn’t combine their efforts to chase, with Steve sliding in for second just over a minute back. Jeff G capped off a strong season in third on the night, becoming the only rider to ride an entire season on a fat bike in the process.

After the Vuelta and WC points tally, Cody Sovis keeps his streak of winning his own competitions alive on the WorldTour with 260 points, just 8 clear of Eric O’Hearn in second. The pair were tied heading into the Vuelta, with Sovis taking the GC, Team, and Points jerseys to eek out a slight lead heading into the WC. It’s Cody’s third WorldTour title, and don’t worry, it’ll be weight against him even more next year.

Dan Ellis was one of the most consistent riders of 2017, and he gets rewarded with third in the WorldTour. Jeff G made big moves this year, not just in the top ten, as was his goal, but fourth! Ryan Kennedy and Garrett Jenema stayed in the top ten on the dominance of their Tour performances in July, with Wes Sovis also staying in there tied on points with Braiden Voss.

Our World Champions need to email ilikefatbikes@gmail.com with their sizes and we’ll get them ordered along with our miniSOL and Junior SOL winners. We’ll have a presentation this winter.

It’s been a great season, and thanks to everyone who made it out to ride. A very special thanks to Peter Worden, Chand and Heather Jordan, Allison and Jason Stuart, and all the volunteers who marshalled or swept miniSOL and Junior SOL this year.

We’d also like to thank everyone who donated at the Pancake Ride, as well as support from Breakaway Cafe and Coffee Bar, Hagerty Cycling, Norte Youth Cycling, and miniSOL course marking from Great Lakes Stainless Steel.

Our plan is to be back for Stage One of the Giro on the first Thursday after Mud, Sweat and Beers in 2018!

You can see the final WorldTour standings here. 

You can see every week’s results here.

If you want to stay in the loop for kolo t.c. group rides, join the Gentlemen’s Club on Strava.

We’re working on Friday Night Light events starting in November after Iceman, stayed tuned.

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