It was another thrilling installment of the the inaugural Clash of Clans. But first, a word from the race organizer, Brad Hochstetler:
John Donne’s poem that prefaces a Hemingway novel seems especially relevant in March 2022:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Zwift has been a wonderful, constant reminder that we live in an incredibly connected world. We ride together, we race together, we suffer together – no matter where in the world you are. I found solidarity, camaraderie and hope during the pandemic through Zwift. Now the world faces a different and even darker threat currently centered in Eastern Europe. The startling stories and images out of Ukraine serve to remind us of our shared humanity and the fragile nature of freedom. There are few words – and certainly none that I can construct – to reflect or encompass what the people of Ukraine face at this moment. The will, bravery and determination of the Ukrainian people are already stuff of legend. But their task is monumental; and the world is watching, waiting. There are ways to help now – and we are compelled to share and encourage you all to help in any way you can. Links below are places you can connect and donate. Please consider sharing and making a difference. And if you haven’t already, please watch the Netflix documentary “Winter on Fire” about the 2014 Maiden Revolution in Ukraine. It provides crucial context for the state of current affairs.
Ride on! And Glory to the Heroes!
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With a bit more on the mind than normal, nearly 100 riders joined the second stage of the four-race Clash of Clans Series. The day’s Sand and Sequoias two-lap drag race offered up an homage to Saturday’s Strade Bianche (you can read Wes’s “Kiss of Death” prediction for that here) with the rolling hills of Titan’s Grove serving as the sterrato ascents of Tuscany.
Scoring Changes for Stage 2
After last week’s demonstrative showing from DIRTy Mitten and plenty of feedback from racers, the A and A+ categories raced together in the Imperial race. They were also scored in combination, leaving a broad A field alongside the existing B+, B, C+, C, and D+ racers from the opening weekend.
We’re also averaging scores for the top 10 riders of each clan to reduce the impact of simply having more riders than others, though numbers still certainly make a big difference, especially in the smaller fields.
Clash of Clans Stage 2: Imperial Race
The Imperial Race tested the literacy rate several riders, with the repeated reminders of a neutral 1K a bit too text heavy to absorb. With pens released and space slightly apart, that 1K makes a big difference.
Most people got the memo, however, and the race rolled at a relatively sedate pace along the winding desert roads. When the roads finally did tilt upwards at Titans Grove, the cream of the proverbial crop almost immediately. About 14 riders were clear, including a strong contingent from EAT Dirt, who slide 6 riders into the move.
Doug Obermann, last week’s stage winner, didn’t quite make the final selection, but he did slot in for a 5th place that ultimately saw Eat put 6 riders in the top 12, a bit points haul.
Dan Yankus made it happen in the A group, taking the win ahead of Craig (just Craig, like Madonna) from Vipers and Bill IV from Eat Dirt.
In the B+ race, the pack dangled just 30 seconds behind an Off the Back group of Mitten As for half the race before the second run up the second KOM. Jeb Stone launched a blistering move over the KOM and, with his teammates ready and waiting ahead, bridged to what turned into a 4 rider TTT to take the category win.
Jesse Brennan gave Mitten wins in all three categories in which they entered riders, making the most of a strong start and excellent team work, once again. After being briefly distanced, Kent McNeil and Lucas van Drunen went back and pulled him for what felt like seven years, giving him a soling win by more than 2 minutes. Mark Ridings (Riding DIRTy) topped the charts for his team ahead of Tyler Navin (Steamers) in third.
Hey, you can only beat who shows up, and David Dolinger beat everyone willing to take on the D+ race, pocketing a full haul of points for Eat Dirt.
Clash of Clans Stage 2: Session Race
The dynamic was supposed to change without those pesky As in the Session IPA category, but it was largely an all-Mitten affair.
Spencer Mendel backed up a killer ride last week with the B category win, narrowly outsprinting Gary Jackson. Mitten nabbed third place with Jaden Drews, who showed his sprinting prowess in a bunch gallop that included the rest of the top 8 riders.
The top ten was jam-packed with Mittens, in fact, with 5 spots going to the squad. D odd (Eat) and Paul Greenwood (DND/DTC) broke up the party with 4th and 5th, respectively, and those points may be crucial with the new scoring format.
We’ll have updates on the final points tally soon.
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