We always knew that big chunks of time would be gained and lost in the finale, but what we couldn’t guess is who would be drinking whose milkshake. Now, we know.
In time, the Speed of Light course is roughly twice the effort of the heretofore longest stage of the first round of SOLo Kolo, though by distance, it was only about two miles longer than the Peninsula Drive North time trial that kicked things off. What’s more, it offered a host of challenging climbs, variable conditions throughout the week, and a sizable advantage to those who have loyally showed up and thrown down over the past eight years.
It came as no surprise to see Jorden Wakeley set a dominant time early in the week, and he was looking especially unbeatable as rider after ride put in their effort. Still, it wasn’t a done deal until Jeff Owens came up short by about a minute, though still well clear of the bulk of the field. Somehow, Sunset made it around the SOL loop without ending up in Fife Lake to slot in third and, more than any other ride, made a massive leap up on GC. Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy, too, made a huge leap up thanks to a fourth place that had shades of 2015 coming to mind.
On the women’s side, it was Sammy Maldonado who came into affairs with a sizeable lead, but was up against two of the most experienced and successful SOL riders in the fake race’s long and prestigious history. Not unlike seeing a rider like Nairo Quintana try to fend off a specialist like Chris Froome in a time trial, she was always likely to lose time, but how much?
Well, too much. Laura Webb and Susan Vigland both put in peak-season level times to make up a few minutes in the finale, while an absolutely legendary effort from Erica O’Hearn, another SOL legend and reigning Grand Tour champ, was enough to leap from seventh on GC into fourth! While Susan took the stage, it was Webb who did enough this month to take the GC win and pick herself up a Suttons Bay Bikes gift card!
In what will likely be a controversial move, race officials had to investigate Max Meyer’s time this week after his GPS failed to register the segment. Investing two cups of coffee and a big chunk of their Sunday morning, they awarded Max a time of 38:36, a twenty-second margin over racer leader Steve “Dr. Pain” Andriese and enough to give Max the overall. After losing nearly two minutes in the opening stage, Meyer picked away at the GC twenty and thirty seconds at a time. It was a similar story for both Kennedy and Sunset, who both suffered their lackluster days but survived to claw their way back into the hunt. Max wins a Velo City Cycles gift card!
While they couldn’t quite make the top five, the “Good Guys” put a total of seven riders into the top twenty, led all the way by Ryan Reiter and Josh Concannon, both of whom found the top ten, along with Andy Weir. Dan Ellis, Cody Sovis, Jaden Drews, and Wes Sovis also had strong rides, while Tom Jewell put in a really strong finale to cap off a great start to the season for kolo t.c.
Maybe the coolest thing about all of this was raising $1,745 for the Father Fred Foundation. You’ve heard it in every lazy advertisement over the past few weeks; “In these troubling times…”. Well, these times aren’t going to stop tomorrow, May 15, or in the next month. Families in the area will need our help for a long time, and it’s going to come down to groups like the FFF to keep them fed and safe, even after advertisements stop trying to play fiddle with your heartstrings.
We ain’t done yet. SOLo Kolo Round DUH starts tomorrow morning with a jaunt up the Fire Road Climb. You can see all of the upcoming segments here, plus make your donation (if you can) to the new Downtown TC Buy Local Give Local Fund.