It’s not called the Power Section for nothing. It’s the toughest three miles in the woods, and this past week, it saw some incredible times thrown down by the front-runner and plenty of riders looking to make up ground in Round DUH.
In normal times, we’d be looking at another Giro Competition Stage, likely the first double-points battle of the four-week fake stage race. We at least got a taste of the fight for the maglia ciclomino this week, reprising the segment that has served as the traditional points segment each spring. Early season conditions kept the same at a minumum and more than a few riders opted for drop bars, including the vast majority of the kolo krew.
If there was any doubt about the sort of shape Jeff Owens is carrying into spring, that should be removed at this point. After tying with Sunset on the Fire Road Climb to start the second round of SOLo kolo, he found some daylight on Stage Two. Ducking under the hallowed 8-minute mark, Owens’ 7:58 was 13 seconds faster than Soon-To-Be-Dad Sunset, with Ryan “Mr. President” Kennedy a further three seconds back.
Max Meyer got in the game at the eleventh hour Saturday to slip into the top five, while Josh Concannon has to be the story of the week. After a tough ascent of the Fire Road to start, he posted the fifth fastest time of the week and his own personal record, jumping from 26th overall to 13th.
On the women’s side, Susan Vigland continued her methodical lead of finding a few seconds every week, until her lead by the finale is all but insurmountable. For the ladies, too, the Power Section was long enough to really sort things out. No doubt experience and familiarity on the twists, turns, and fast lines played a part in Susan finding 22 seconds over Laura Webb, with Valerie Hyrman third with a flying 10:06. Beth Collins moves up a spot thanks to a strong showing this week, with Sami Maldanado showing the fatigue of pedaling around with literally tons of cans for Norte.
While there are some gaps in the top five, the rest of the field is tight. There are now eleven riders within a minute of 8th place, many of them kolo riders looking to get back into the top ten. With both of the dirt stages done and dusted (get it?), it’s all pavement from here on out. First up, an asphalt-surfaced mirror of the Fire Road Climb, Dan Ellis’ Full-On From Fulton. It’s less than a mile long and averages 3%, but hits grades as cruel as 19% twice along the way to the top. Expect the top times to be under three minutes, and while the gaps won’t be as big as the power section, it should see things shuffled by this time next week!
As always, a huge thanks to all of our sponsors and to everyone for riding along. At this point, we’re waiting to hear about more updates before we make any plans for June. As we preached from the heady heights of our own soapbox last weekend, we will not be hosting or supporting group rides until guidelines change from USA Cycling and the Michigan League of Bicyclists. We have some plans for three-person teams in June, but we just gotta see. Until then, please be mindful that we set the example for a lot of people, and if we want to race this summer, we’ve got to squash this stuff now, not let it linger by being selective with what we do to stop the spread.
Round Duh Stage and GC Results live right here.