No one taught Jeff and Susan to share. Still, there were plenty of incredible performances on the slopes and straightaways of Randolph Street to bring us into the final stage of Round Duh.
If it’s finally starting to feel like spring, plenty of riders are starting to post some season-appropriate efforts, too. The adipose of March and the rust of April are shed, and this week’s jaunt up to Hickory Hills was the ideal way to show it. As noted, we did have to adjust the segment to Full-On From Fulton due to, you know, a stop sign. It’s something I probably should have noticed or thought of, considering it’s the intersection I drive through every time to go to my in-laws.
That small adjustment didn’t seem to have too much of an impact on Jeff Owens who, after putting a 2:00 earlier in the week, went back out to win me a $5 bet and lay down a 1:54. It was a similarly familiar face atop the women’s field, too, with Susan Vigland offering no mercy and a three-second win ahead of her closest competitor on GC, too, in Laura Webb.
Behind the winners, the gaps were really quite close and often important for the GC picture. It was a family affair with Cam Owens second, just ahead of Ryan Kennedy and the ride of the week, Kent McNeil. Kent’s 2:06 launches him into the thick of things at 13th place.
From the top, Owens now sits 31 seconds clear of Sunset in second, with Kennedy, Cam, John O’Hearn, and a flying Sam Holes making up the top five. Everything else is incredibly tight. From Ryan Reiter in 7th place to Dan Ellis in 18th there is a whopping total of just 61-second gap.
The women’s GC has a bit more elbow room, but with the long and tough finale looming, no one is safe. Susan will have 25 seconds in her pocket when she takes on the Lincoln/Hoxie ascent next week, with Valerie now a further 50 second adrift. Beth Collins has been metronomically consistent and is comfortably in fourth place ahead of the youngster, Sami Maldanado. Sally Black rounds out a rock-solid top five.
Lincoln/Hoxie is a brute. Total elevation is just shy of 500 feet, a veritable Col de Madeleine by Michigan standards, and comes in three courses. The appetizer meanders up from Cherry Bend before a brief descent and left hand turn. The next bit is a meandering crossover to Hoxie Road, which welcomes riders at 8-10% before a stretch of flat road before the final kick-up. It’s a 2.5-mile effort with Derek Graham holding what is likely an unassailable top time of 8:19. Expect to see something like 9:15 as a mark of quality, and watch for a few surprises. Wes Sovis, for example, sits 10th all-time, just two seconds behind Kennedy.
You’ve got from Monday until 5 pm next Saturday to get a time in, and we’ll wrap up the GC! Remember, we’ve got gift cards for the winners AND last place, so if you’re a bit behind, grab a fist full of brakes out there. A big thanks to Suttons Bay Bikes, up.bike, Brew, Taproot, and our buddy Drew Martin for making this all happen.
For next month, we’ll make a call on something this week. We’re nosing into a meeting organized by USA Cycling to see what updates they’ll have on events, group rides, and general guidelines and structure our stuff accordingly. At this point, we see the next steps as smaller rides of 3-5 people, but we’ll wait to see what’s up.
Hey. Thank you all for riding along, riding solo, and showing that you care about our cycling community by not riding with them.