There’s an awful lot to be said for someone who shows up to the party ready to rip. 

It’s a long race season in Michigan, and for a rider to show up from March to November and battle week in and week out is an amazing accomplishment. From the Barry-Roubaix to the Iceman Cometh, the path to glory is littered with injuries, fatigues, broken dreams, egos and bikes left in pieces. And for a racer to show up and make the race at every stop is even more special.

kolo t.c. would like to honor two riders that deserve acknowledgement for their tenacity and aggressive riding in 2012.

Jorden Wakeley, Einstein Racing. From March to December, Wakeley was on the start line for an unbelievable amount of races this season. He battled for the win at every race he showed up to, and more than often than not was the rider attacking from the gun. His year-long fights with NCCS’ John Cowan and Chad Wells were legendary, and his showdowns with BISSELL’s Mike Anderson resulted in some legendary battles that will go down in the annals of Michigan mountain biking. Perhaps his Crybaby Classic tactic of hammer-until-their-legs-fall-off-and-then-don’t-slow-down was one of the most impressive displays of the 2012 season. Wakeley will be focusing on the stacked WORS calendar next year, which means we may not see as much of him. That’s terrible news for the guys on the WORS circuit.

Sue Stephens, Quiring Cycles. Sue Stephens doesn’t always win, but she usually scares the crap out of the field either way. Like Wakeley, her aggressive riding was a trademark tactic, especially in the fall. Stephens made the trip to Grand Rapids for the Battle at the Burg, and from the start was hammering out a pace no one could match. Her modus operandi seemed to be one of Shock and Awe: go so fast that no one can stay with you, or at least doesn’t think they can. It worked much of the season, and even riding sick and in support of teammate Erin Vicary, Sue put the hammer down in a stacked pack of Michigan women battling for a top ten. Even though she had to pull out, Sue set a cruel tempo that whittled down the chase group to just five.

A hearty thanks goes out to Jorden and Sue for riding like real champions and making every race exciting.

Year End Awards continue next week, including Best Road Event, Best Mountain Event, and Best Michigan Riders of the Year.