The first SOL of the 2014 season is in the books, and this one started off with a bang. The pink jersey of the four-stage Giro Competition was up for grabs, and some of the fastest and freshest riders in TC made the trip to Ec to weigh themselves against the effort.
Over 50 riders made starts Thursday, with over 30 taking the leisurely warm-up from the shop to the Vasa 25km parking lot. Among the starters were SOL record holder Jorden Wakeley, reigning SOL World Champion Ryan Kennedy, Hagerty's ageless wonder Craig Webb, and plenty of others ready to challenge for the title.
On the gun, Ryan Kennedy moved to the front with a steady stream of riders in careful queue. Wakeley, Keegan Myers, Dan Hofstra, Webb and others jostled to stay in the top ten as the race hit the first separation point, the VASA CC Climb. Over the top, the race splintered, with Myers, Hofstra, Wakeley, Kennedy, Webb and Cody Sovis prizing out a small gap, but they were rejoined again by the bulk of the contenders. The next big gap came over Wood Chip Hill, but again, the major players were back together a few dozen yards onto the Vasa Power Section.
It was a massive group, with riders looking around and trying to stay on the right wheels. Ryan Kennedy was looking outgunned, especially after Cody Sovis made a brief pull that was a bit too much, and then a brilliant effort by Nate St. Onge disbarred a few more riders from the bunch. In the end, it was a group of favorites that included some power, including Tom White and Ty Schmidt, who lingered in smart places as the race flew on.
Over the top of the Vasa CC Climb, Keegan Myers had the best time, followed by Jorden Wakeley, Ryan Kennedy, Cody Sovis and Steve Andriese, all of who scored points in the Mountains classification. Andriese put in an impressive effort to take the Points classification lead over the Power Section ahead of Wakeley, Kennedy, Josh Zelinski and Craig Webb.
That lead group did fall to pieces late, with Jorden Wakeley taking the stage on the same time as Ryan Kennedy with a time of 40:34. Keegan Myers and Dan Hofstra were six and seven seconds back, respectively. Tom White and Ty Schmidt were just behind Craig Webb, with the trio looking at a deficit of around a minute to the leaders.
A number of riders made wrong turns, so many of the times this week are a bit misleading. However, this might have been one of the fastest and most fun SOLs ever. With so many people on the start line, everyone could find a wheel at their speed and put in a great effort. Hearty and deserving chapeaus to Eric Pollard, who put in an amazing ride on a 'cross bike, as well as Eric Schmidt, who made his SOL debut aboard a half-fat bike.
The Women's race is under the tough control of Laura Webb, who slapped down a time of 49 minutes to take a five minute lead over Hagerty junior Heidi Schwab. Stacy Smith and Heidi Jones have some work to do to get back in this one.
GC as of 5/9/14
|Nate St. Onge||0:45:00|
|Best Old Rider|
|Steve Andriese 2||2|