Winter Race for Less Cancer presented by DIRTy Mitten Racing League: The Recap
Joined by over 250 of our closest Zwift friends, the Winter Race for Less Cancer was a fast, fun, and challenging way to get back into the swing of Zwift racing ahead of the Winter Western Tour.
Making our first Zwift public event certainly drew some eyes and some horsepower to the Winter Race for Less Cancer. After regularly fielding between 40 and 60 riders for the DIRTy Mitten’s normal tours, more than 250 riders took the start in four categories for two laps of the Ocean Cliffside Lava course, totaling 23.7 miles.
Anticipating a roughly 60-minute race, the field would tackle the first third of the steep and twisting switchbacks of the Reverse Epic KOM.
How the Race Unfolded
With more than 30 riders in each category and a massive turnout in the ultra-competitive B class, positioning early was key. Most of the field was present and correct as the peloton made the hit the Dirty Sopresa for the first time, though it certainly saw the rubber band stretch. Nick DeHaan, Jesse Siemen, and Mathijs Twisk were notable for their lurking presence at the front, though more than 60 riders were safely in touch before the first time up the lower slopes of the Reverse Epic KOM.
As expected, the field exploded on the climb, with a group of 7 ultimately getting clear, including Michigan riders Alex TenElshof, Nick DeHaan, and Jorden Wakeley. Wakeley faded to the chase group and joined forces with more Michigan riders, Trevor Gibney (yes, that one!), Jeremy Karel, and Cody Sovis.
With the front group roughly 30 seconds ahead, the chase group was in a tough spot; stay on the gas, or wait for a massive, 20+ rider group a further 30 seconds back. They kept on the pace and, at one point, came within just 19 seconds of making contact with the leading group before ultimately fading.
That third group on the road included plenty firepower and found itself leaning heavily on Jason Johnson, Collin Snyder, and Chris Ostberg to keep hopes alive. Ian Plamondon and Brad Pauly, too, contributed, while Drew Cummins’ attack on the second trip up the Reverse KOM lower slopes saw him cut 19 seconds from the deficit before falling back into line with the chasers.
The leading group of 7 got organized and eeked out more time even before reaching the climb. Try as they might, no lone rider could go clear, though a few did lose ground. In the end, TenElshof and Joe Chudyk came in 28 seconds clear of DIRT rider Bill IV, Siemen, and Mathias Lisson to round out a fast top five. DeHaan Led the Michigan riders home ahead of Wakely and Gibney.
Jeremey Karel’s presence in the first chase group saw him pick up the B win ahead of a flying Jeb Stone, who was certainly the revelation of the previous Winter is Coming Tour. Eric Langley and Drew Cummins both found the top ten with kolo’s own Jaden Drews showing he’s in fine winter form with 16th. A special note to Jason Whittaker who, we assume, woke up at way too early to join us from Tucson, Arizona!
Ben Price took the C race and snuck in under the hour mark, over 1 minute clear of the obviously Norweigian Oddgeir Lorentzen and the very British Michael Dunn. Colin Dechaux took the D win almost 4 minutes clear of Hans Hansinger (actual name), so Colin should probably be a C. Someone had to say it, Colin.
Thanks to everyone who raced and consider taking a moment to check out LessCancer.org and the Less Cancer Bike Ride, which kicks off June 3, 2022.