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Leah Thomas is the new Queen of the Mountain on Old La Honda, the iconic northern California climb that also happens to offer one of cycling’s biggest prizes right now (at least until the road racing calendar gets back into full swing)
Bay Area investor Mark Slavonia is offering $5,000 for the female cyclist with the fastest time up the 4.8-kilometer (2.98 mi) climb by the end of this year.
On Wednesday, Thomas nabbed that title from 2018 MTB world champ Kate Courtney. Thomas, who races professionally for Paule Ka, stormed up the steep climb on Wednesday in 15 minutes and three seconds, topping the 16:11 mark Courtney set on May 22.
Thomas’s effort saw her power up the 8 percent climb with an average speed of 19.15 kilometers per hour (11.9 miles per hour).
Thomas has since departed for Europe to prepare for the return of road racing.
Courtney, meanwhile, has wasted little time in giving Old La Honda another go, making another attempt on Friday. She set a mark of 15:43 to top her own previous best time, but was not quite fast enough to reclaim QOM honors from Thomas.