The first ever season of miniSOL wraps up with the most exciting edition of the ride to date. Read about all the action from Peter Worden!
Everything was on the line tonight at miniSOL. Not only was it the inaugural World Championships but it was the last miniSOL of the season, with the start of the school year suddenly upon us; there’d be no coming back next week to make up for any missed glory. It was now or never.
Four racers quickly separated themselves from the pack: Hagerty’s Ashton Edson and MBS22’s Hunter Frank quickly settled into a long awaited 5.1 mile slug fest, with Griffin Schwab close at hand and Arielle Jean looking to take not just the women’s crown but the overall as well. In the end Ashton and Hunter were able to separate themselves from the other two and sprinted for the line, both pushing themselves to their absolute limit and both putting in personal best times for the course.
In the end Ashton took the win by a heartbreaking two seconds, both riders collapsing and darn near hurling after the finish; it was such a beautiful sight, I do believe I may have wept.
Griffin was hot on their heels — this kid is going to be fast — followed quickly by Arielle Jean’; the top four finishing within 30 seconds of one another.
Arielle Jean took the women’s rainbow jersey, capping an incredible miniSOL season that saw her win the overall at the Tour and podium at the Vuelta. She was joined on the women’s podium by Kora Voss in second place and, in her miniSOL debut, Jorja Jenema in third.
So many riders put in personal best performances for the final race of the season that we can’t mention them all here, we’ve noted them on the results; but special mention has to be made of Sander Stuart, who has been steadily improving his time every time he races and finished tonight’s event with a bazillion watt smile on his face.
Maximus Jordan (also with a personal best time) just continues to get stronger, and Zack Gerlando and Grady Ellis brought reinforcements for their Norte squad in the form of the Newman brothers, Cameron and Ben. We actually missed Ben at the start line, because he was standing behind Cameron. (I’m sure Cody never had to worry about anything like that in the big people race). The Kochis siblings again came with their can-do spirit, Porter again rocking the single speed and Sophia I think maybe trying out a new bike?
And we’re going to make a special note of Anabelle Sketch, 7 years old, who showed up for her first race ever tonight. What the heck, it’s only the World Championships. Newbie status, age, stature, the sand, and a single speed kid’s bike that must have weighed as much as a Sherman tank all worked against her, but she powered on through and finished with a smile, announcing “I liked it!”
Then we all went to the parking lot and ate cookies and cupcakes. And as I stood there, watching them all get high on sugar one more time before turning them back over to their parents, it occurred to me — the kids are alright.
Thank you for letting us borrow your kids every Thursday night all summer long. It has been an absolute pleasure. Since the first stage of the Tour in July, we’ve had 33 kids try miniSOL and for most of them it was their first taste of racing ever. 33! In the beginning Cody and I thought we’d be lucky to get 5. I got to see so much improvement in so many kids, and so many smiling faces. Thank you for letting us share in that.
Being the guy who got to clown around in front of the kids and do the write ups, I’ve managed to get most of the credit for this thing, and all of the beer. I’ll keep the beer. But miniSOL would not have happened without my getting a lot of help along the way, and plenty of others deserve their share of the credit.
So I also want to thank all those who took time away from their own racing to help us out: Beth Collins, Michele Howard and the entire Howard clan, Kyle Smith, Keith Conway, Brian Barscheff, Pamela Jean, Todd Vigland, Erin Ferguson, Laura Webb, Jesi Schwab, Heather Jordan, Chad Jordan, Jeff Wrona, Eric Jean, Johanna Schmidt, Liz Belt, and I am sure countless others I am managing to forget.
Ty Schmidt and Norte, Cody Sovis and EC and kolotc, and Hagerty Cycling — thanks for supporting this. You are why TC is such a great bike community.
Finally I want to express my sincerest thanks to Marie Voss, my partner in crime. Marie spent almost every Thursday acting as sweeper, encouraging many a lantern rouge to keep pressing on despite what had to often look like long odds. Marie your endless enthusiasm and positive support has turned many of them into dedicated bike racers. And without your hard work, I would have spent every Thursday night looking for lost kids in the woods. Marie, miniSOL would not have happened without you. Thank you for all your help.
See you in 2017.