Another week, another Garrett Jenema stage win and a careful consolidation of his GC lead as we move perilously into the Queen Stage.
The second stage was meant to be all about the Boonenberg, but things also had some important shifts on GC, too. Kyan Olshove and Drew Cummins inched backwards, Dan Ellis found firm ground in the top ten, and at the very head of affairs, Jenema is now 9 seconds clear of Owens, a gap that should be survivable in the event of the breaking of what seems to be a negotiated truce.
On the slopes of the week’s double-points climb, Alexey Vermeulen took a full 10 points. We think that kid really turn into something if he sticks with this biking thing. It was a familiar cast of Jenema, Owens, Meyers, and Olshove, with Cody Sovis and Jaden Drews also picking up a handful of points.
Vermeulen also set the tone on the Power Section, and it’s become even more clear just how important that quarter of the 11-ish mile course is. Roughly half of the overall time per stage gained by the top three riders over the next three riders is there; if you have the right train, you can make up time. The wrong train or solo, and you’re hemorrhaging seconds. Owens, Jenema, Meyer and Sovis picked points, and that will still be up for grabs with the final stage worth double points yet again.
Sophie the Australian showed up and took top points on the women’s side for the stage, but it’s still Susan Vigland and Sami Maldanado battling it out. Sami’s big hurdle of going under 50 minutes was nearly cleared, with an early morning effort taking her just 7 seconds off the mark! She’s a lock to get under that time in the finale, but she’s going to have to focus on the Queen Stage next.
It really is a completely different effort. The Queen Stage has seen some of the most exciting races in the deep annals of SOL history. From Kennedy’s broken bike and ferocious chase, to Jeff Socia popping out of the woods with his bike to save Cody Sovis’ season, to Hal’s bad crash way back in 2015, it’s always entertaining. On form, it’s a test that favors those who have proven themselves capable of consistency and cohesiveness, and it’s something that the kolo trio of Sovis, Sovis and Drews (aka the world’s worst law firm) have been drilling themselves on since Stage One, with the goal of getting all three riders in the top ten.
A few quick notes. Starting right now, if your time isn’t on Strava, you really need to add it to the sheet with a comment or text. Race organizers don’t have time to go in and look up every single rider and try to calculate times. To quote, I don’t know, Miley Cirus, “sorry not sorry”.
And while we won’t look or check, consider taking a second to donate $5 to Goodwill this week. Their services are more important than ever, and with a lot of things very much up in the air as we move from summer into autumn, every dollar donated is going to make a big difference for families in need all over northern Michigan.