It’s been a dizzying week and one of Strava’s toughest challenges to date. The very best of Michigan’s climbers took to the hills. 

The kolo t.c. Gentlemen’s Club had 15 of its 38 members join the challenge, a bold turnout ahead of the goal of 6,881 meters, or 22,575 feet in just 7 days. It wasn’t going to be easy, though many of the riders looked at the challenge as extra training and preparation for the immensely hilly Cherry-Roubaix State Championship Road Race.

Hagerty-TOLaw U-25’s Jake Ellis will be a favorite at the race just two years removed from winning the CAT 5 race in 2010. The course’s 2012 format is much closer to his liking, and the Rapha Rising event was absolutely brutal and absolutely perfect training for the young climber. He racked up 9,021 feet of climbing, well surpassing the challenge at 131%. Paul wins a Short’s Brewery t-shirt, a six pack of his choosing and a high-five from Wes Sovis valued at over $1.2 million. Not a bad prize at all.

Jake’s biggest competition came from Boyne City’s vertical expert, the climbing manic himself, Paul Nicholls, who went on a veritable tear near the end of the week, leapfrogging Jake on the last day temporarily to register an astonishing and leg-busting 8,995 meters, or 130% of the challenge. Paul’s strange vertical obsession is also what led to the Michigan Mountain Mayhem, the toughest century in the state. Paul slots in a close second place on the competition and an inspiring example of what man can do with a lot of time to ride your bike!

Joe Lekovish joined late but his accrued miles were enough to rocket him to third place in the Gent’s competition. He registered 7,093 meters over the course of seven days and fourteen rides. The Northville native was the highest place finisher nor riding in Northern Michigan or in the mountains.

Special nods to fourth place finisher Alex Gonzalez from Ortonville for his astounding 6,044 meters climbed. Alex took full advantage of  a trip to Wyoming this past week to put in some serious vertical. Hagerty’s Brian Hofstra slotted in fifth place with an impressive 5,198 meters, or 75% of the challenge total. Here’s the full results, and you can click on the name to see that rider’s week of climbing:

Overall Rank Name Rides Elevation Progress
381 1 Jacob Ellis Jacob Ellis 
Traverse City, MI
8 9,021 131%
387 2 Paul Nicholls Paul Nicholls 
Boyne City, MI
8 8,995 130%
1347 3 Joe Lekovish - MCG/Trails-Edge Joe Lekovish – MCG/Trails-Edge 
Northville, Michigan
14 7,093 103%
2130 4 Alex Gonzalez Alex Gonzalez 
Ortonville, MI
6 6,044 87%
2413 5 Brian Hofstra Brian Hofstra 
Traverse City, MI
5 5,198 75%
3118 6 Cody Sovis Cody Sovis 
Traverse City, MI
7 3,976 57%
4342 7 Jim Picotte Jim Picotte 
Traverse City, MI
7 2,772 40%
4581 8 Dave Walston Dave Walston 
Traverse City, MI
7 2,607 37%
4619 9 Joel Bush Joel Bush 
Grand Rapids, MI
5 2,567 37%
5912 10 Wes Sovis Wes Sovis 
Traverse City, MI
4 1,719 24%
6126 11 Craig Hoogerwerf Craig Hoogerwerf 
Grand Rapids, MI
6 1,607 23%
6448 12 Dean Murphey Dean Murphey 
Traverse City, MI
4 1,439 20%
6916 13 Cameron Timmer Cameron Timmer 
Grand Rapids, MI
2 1,207 17%
7198 14 Larry Strayhorn Larry Strayhorn 
Ada Township, MI
2 1,064 15%
7421 15 Rob Goepfrich Rob Goepfrich 
Traverse City, MI
4 946 13%

Wes Sovis’ Strava didn’t work for two days, otherwise he’d have won. (You’re welcome, Wes.)

Congratulations to Jake and the entire Gentlemen’s Club on an outstanding showing in the Circle of Death Challenge, and be sure to join our next challenge, coming up very soon.