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New set of challenges for a big week of riding. Get out your EPO, this is going to be tough. 

The first of challenges called out some specialists, with the singletrack heroes in TC giving their best on the ST Short Loop. It was a duel in the end, with Jason Lowetz up against Keegan Meyers. Jason Lowetz took final honors in a dramatic, last minute charge on the segment this evening. He clears the win by six seconds over Meyers. The two were head and shoulders above the competition, and they’ll be interesting to watch at the SOL Vuelta next Thursday. A special nod to the ONLY woman to even try the challenge, Stacy Smith. She gets 1% off on her next purchase, which just so happens to be a cyclocross bike. 

In Allendale, Joel Bush kept his name atop De Paterberg by upping the bar even more, despite challenges from a flying Craig Hoogerwerf and noble efforts from strongman Jim Braam and John Camfferman. Bush’s 1:15 may last for centuries to come, with Hoogerwerf at 1:19 and Braam at 1:23. 

The next segment in the GR area will be the S-Curve on Filmore. Bob DeJonge has a mark that could prove untouchable if not for the help of a strong leadout, with an average speed of 25mph and time of 1:36. To topple that, Leadout Racing, East Hills Velo or some other squad will need to form up and give it a group rush. The long, flat and fast lead-in can be taken at over 30, but it’s a matter of carrying momentum to the steeper pitches in the middle of the climb. It is 123 feet at an average of 3.2%, at .7 miles in length, making it a climb with no room for error. 

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Traverse City returns to the road this week with a truly legendary Northern Michigan ascent. The Col du Bugai is the Gateway to the South. A lumpy ridge stands to the west of Traverse City, and many of its eastern approaches are the most known and ridden. However, the ascent from the south is equally demanding and winds on like an Alpine stage of the Tour. With an eight foot shoulder and two distinct pitches, it’s a massive climb that takes a demanding effort and expert patience. It’s 1.5 miles at 4.3% gradient, which brings riders to just over 1,0001 feet. The full climb is higher, but we’re cutting off the top so riders can go west on Lincoln to get back to the bottom of Bugai and give it another go. It’s 355 of elevation gain, making it one of the top five largest climbs just a stone’s throw away from downtown Traverse City (and a convenient five miles from kolo t.c. HQ). BISSELL’s Derek Graham holds a comfortable record on the climb ahead of Chris Fisher, though both will likely give this climb another shot this week. Ty Schmidt and Brian Hofstra can also take this one on the right day, with Hofstra two seconds ahead of both Sovii in spots 4-6. Those times were the product of riding together, a tactic which may prove fruitful for the right group. 

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This challenge closes Sunday, August 26 at 7pm. The best time this week on the Col du Bugai will receive a $25 gift card to Brew, courtesy of the handsome folks at Silver Leaf Saw Mills. We love you, Silver Leaf. 

The winner in GR gets a high-five from Heidi Klum if I can track her down.