Photo Essay | Tour of Utah | Stage Five | Hurricane Woods

These photos capture Mike Woods’ emphatic victory in stage five of the Tour of Utah, the Salt Lake City Circuit. A new circuit layout this year brought with it one awesome changes – a mile-long stretch of excessively steep roads leading into the finish line. Grades hit 20%, both sides were jammed with fans, and suffering was abound. Words and images by Sam Wiebe

Bad weather was predicted, but the skies were clear and it made for beautiful light for the duration of the race. The storm did eventually hit, and it wasn't pretty.

Bad weather was predicted, but the skies were clear and it made for beautiful light for the duration of the race. The storm did eventually hit, and it wasn’t pretty.

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The neighborhoods of downtown Salt Lake City cheerfully embrace bike racing. The entire climb was lined with fans, not all of them as enterprising as this little guy.

The neighborhoods of downtown Salt Lake City cheerfully embrace bike racing. The entire climb was lined with fans, not all of them as enterprising as this little guy.

One of the many motorcycles that zip around during the race. This one is responsible for showing riders the time gaps. A very serious job, apparently.

One of the many motorcycles that zip around during the race. This one is responsible for showing riders the time gaps. A very serious job, apparently.

The team's leadout guys, like Tom Soladay, suffered mightily on the 20% grades before the finish line.

The team’s leadout guys, like Tom Soladay, suffered mightily on the 20% grades before the finish line.

Yes, the hill was that steep. The road went on this way for about a kilometer total, and determined the outcome of the race.

Yes, the hill was that steep. The road went on this way for about a kilometer total, and determined the outcome of the race.

Phil Gaimon spent much of the day in a breakaway. It got reeled in, but that didn't stop Phil from dropping the hammer on the climb from the front of the main group.

Phil Gaimon spent much of the day in a breakaway. It got reeled in, but that didn’t stop Phil from dropping the hammer on the climb from the front of the main group.

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On lap four, Mike Woods was literally smiling on his way up the steepest part of the hill, as guys around him looked like they were passing kidney stones. #legend

On lap four, Mike Woods was literally smiling on his way up the steepest part of the hill, as guys around him looked like they were passing kidney stones. #legend

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Big crowds await the final sprint in the highlands above downtown Salt Lake City.

Big crowds await the final sprint in the highlands above downtown Salt Lake City.

Beautiful skies gave way to an enormous thunderstorms at the capitol. Thankfully, the race was finished.

Beautiful skies gave way to an enormous thunderstorms at the capitol. Thankfully, the race was finished.

The Africa-based MTN-Qhubeka team has a huge fan base around the world – especially Eritreans, who are incredibly passionate about their nation's new rising star rider, Daniel Teklehaimanot

The Africa-based MTN-Qhubeka team has a huge fan base around the world – especially Eritreans, who are incredibly passionate about their nation’s new rising star rider, Daniel Teklehaimanot

Mike Woods had plenty of time to celebrate after his brilliantly timed attack left no one able to contest the finish.

Mike Woods had plenty of time to celebrate after his brilliantly timed attack left no one able to contest the finish.

Jonas Carney knows how hard it is two win stages at races like the Tour of Utah. Now his team has won two in as many days.

Jonas Carney knows how hard it is two win stages at races like the Tour of Utah. Now his team has won two in as many days.

Winning makes everyone happy, including a very mustachioed Tom Soladay.

Winning makes everyone happy, including a very mustachioed Tom Soladay.

Eric Young guzzles down some CLIF recovery mix after the finish. The glory of his win in stage four quickly turned into some serious suffering in stage five. That's bike racing.

Eric Young guzzles down some CLIF recovery mix after the finish. The glory of his win in stage four quickly turned into some serious suffering in stage five. That’s bike racing.

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