The biggest Speed of Light in history drew over 100 riders, as well as a massive crew for miniSOL, with everyone rewarded with good grub from KEEN. The start line was a throbbing mass (someone offered me a $1 to use the word ‘throbbing’ this week) of talent on a beautiful night for SOL. Over 100 riders were in attendance, with the split rail fence filled for 30 yards with every conceivable age, ability and gold handicap. Near the back, over a dozen #YOUTHS were queued up for their own start, one minute after the #ADULTS.
A brave few took on the challenge of Cyclocross Night and, almost on cue, the dry Vasa opened with prodigious amounts sand to greet the drop bar riders. It was the first try for many of the CXers, including Einstein Racing-Short’s Brewing’s Craig Fortuna and Luke Tjosvold.
As a point of pride, Cody Sovis took the ChetShot (a.k.a. hole shot) and then, just, like, stayed there until the end of the Power Section. With so many fast riders, the line behind stretched out for over 30 riders as the lead pack spilled onto Madeleine’s Trail, and a further pack of a dozen regained contact on the heels of Mike Walters’ massive effort.
All the favorites were, of course, present and correct, with Craig Webb, Jeff and Cam Owens, Braiden Voss, Kyle Macdermaid, Josh Zelinski and more all riding safely in the front of the pack and alert for the inevitable move. It came on the descent towards the wall bypass, and the singletrack again worked to split the group. Almost to script, Braiden Voss skipped across at the last to make the front group, while Sovis, a flying Marc Brunette and Kaitlyn Patterson were left to chase over the Boonenberg to try to reel in the leaders.
Behind, Walters’ chase because Wes Sovis’, pulling a big crew that eventually shattered like a wave on the rocks at the base of Anita’s Hill. His efforts, and those of Walters and others, kept the second group close, with a huge bunch finishing around 41 minutes.
Meanwhile, the second miniSOL of 2016 saw an even bigger turnout, including Sophie Belt, who entered with big ambitions. She was up against some fast riders, and a few that are now planning on taking on the full SOL next week. Ethan “Mini Mercy” McKenna put in a red hot 20 minute time, and he’ll be shooting for a 45 minute fill SOL by the end of the year. Kora Voss, too, was well under the 30 minute mark, as was Gabe Howard. Gabe admitted to reporters that his fitness was on the rise and that he’d entertain offers from the other squads to ride the long race before the year was out.
miniSOL also brought out a glimpse of the potential of future cyclocross World Champion Reese Cummins, who threw down his best performance to date and this after experimenting with clipless pedals, something he’ll likely break out next week. Sander Stuart showed some improvement as well, and remains the youngest rider at miniSOL. He wasn’t far off the pace of wild man Grady Ellis and Carter Debruyn.
Afterwards, it was a sight to see, with over 200 meat tubes (brats and ‘dogs) on the grill, and more than enough beer thanks to KEEN Technical Solutions. Luckily, the kids were on hand to finish almost every single crumb and morsel from the surrounding area.
The WorldTour picture has some shape, and while Sovis takes double points for his top CX finish, nothing is over for 2016. With the Tour Competition worth 50 points on GC and 15 for each classification, it’s important to note that Cody’s lead fell every single week after Cyclocross Night last year, and the only reason the lead survived was the lack of riders who finished the Vuelta. Kaitlyn Patterson, who can take double points next week on Ladies’ Night, may be another challenger alongside Kyle Macdermaid, John O’Hearn and Jason Whittaker.
You can see the SOL results here.
You can see miniSOL results here.
The up to date WorldTour standings are here.