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PC: Birgit Yetter

The Giro Competition kicks off the Speed of Light season at 6:30pm. FINALLY! 

After Mud, Sweat and Beers, we’re all jonesing for some speed. As is the custom, the Speed of Light campaign starts this Thursday with Stage One of the Giro Competition. For the next four weeks, the battle for the maglia rosa pits riders against not just each other, but a revamped course for 2018.

This year, we’re giving Madeleine’s Trail a break and returning the course to its original grind up Wood Chip Hill. The change adds all of one-tenth of a mile to the total distance but could have a big impact on how the race shakes out. Wood Chip itself hits over 10% gradient, but over the top, it essentially adds more distance to the already decisive Power Section by nearly a half a mile.

Heading into Thursday, the riders to watch for the maglia rosa include recent Mud, Sweat and Beers podium finishers Jorden Wakeley, Sean Kickbush, and Luke Tjosvold plus dedicated SOL rider and multiple stage winner Jeff Owens. It may be a tall ask for defending champion John O’Hearn to repeat as he balances his Bayshore Marathon training, a similar story for Ryan Kennedy, a multiple Grand Tour winner with a renewed focus on Ironman events.

On the women’s side, expect a repeat performance of MSB with Susan Vigland, Marie Voss, and Lauri Brockmiller all looking to bring home the first women’s Grand Tour in over a year. Christa Hoyt could be the dark horse after flexing her muscles in the Expert class with fellow dream-crusher/heartbreaker Kasey Wierzba.

The Team Competition will also be hotly contested, with kolo t.c. looking to keep their winning streak alive against Hagerty Cycling, City Bike Shop, and McLain Race Team and M22.

The official SOL segment is right here. As always, the course isn’t marked, but you can use this ride as a file to upload to your GPS.

Stage One busts at 6:30pm SHARP! Bring your A-game, the season is almost underway!

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