Report by Shawn Lortie
GOLDEN Co- Although the day broke with fair skies and warm temperatures, by midday, things began to change quickly as a spring storm moved in. The weather report was calling for a 70% chance of precipitation, and word from the mountains was they were getting hit hard. The morning categories went off without a hitch, with the SM 4, SM 55+/65+, SW 4, and SM 45+ 4 all getting in some exciting racing under dry but darkening skies.
The course was a 1 kilometer loop through a corporate office park. With a gradual climb that began shortly before the start/finish line and worked up and around into a left hand bend, racers then went flying down the backside and into a couple of high speed corners that set them up for a nice straight finishing stretch to the line.
The SM 45+ and the SW Open race went off at 11:20 AM, as the wind began to gust and the skies continued to darken. The wind blew directly into the riders as they attacked the gradual climb, making solo breakaways hard to come by. In the SM 45+ race, there were a few half hearted attempts to escape from the pack early in the race, but none were successful. Eventually a group of seven or eight was able to separate themselves.
As the temperatures continued to drop, the snow slowly began to fall as Bob Dahl (Team Rio Grande) and Michael Carter (Unattached) made the move and went off on their own. Working well together they pulled hard up the climb as the wind whipped flakes through the air. In the end, the two were able to stay away, with Dahl taking the sprint for the win.
In the SW Open race, a strong pack of women rode as a group for most of the race. Once again, the fast course and the strong headwind made it tough to escape from the momentum of the pack. By the end of the race, Amy-Gray Smith (Pro Design p/b Porsche/Bike Source) and Julie Emmerman (Primal/Treads Womens Racing) had worked hard to break away and create a substantial gap. The two were able to hold off the pack, with Gray-Smith taking the win.
By the time the Cat 3 Men went off at 12:25 PM, the conditions had deteriorated to heavy snow and wet roads. Despite the ugliness, nearly twenty racers still pulled up to the line to give it a go. The racers were soaked to the bone within minutes of the start, with snow and water flying in all directions. By midway through the race, half the field had pulled out. Frozen fingers made shifting nearly impossible, and hypothermia was on everybody’s mind.
As riders began to drop from the field, a group of four powered away, including Kyle Thomas (RMRC p/b Turin), William Iaia (Giant Cycling World), John Noonan (Team Hotel San Jose), and Jamie Sullivan (Boulder Cycle Sport). It was impressive to watch as the racers fought hard against the conditions and amongst themselves, to stick it out and finish the race. In the end Jamie Sullivan took the sprint finish, with Thomas, Iaia, and Noonan close behind.
The SM 35+ race started off with a field of 18 racers, but quickly shrunk down to a group of eight as the weather took it’s toll. The racers rode the loop with a sheet of water running across the entire time. The venue began to empty out quickly, as even spectating became a cold and soggy affair. Carlos Casali (P2P/Westside Cycling) took the win with CJ Gauss (Mix 1) in second and Paul Rapinz (Rocky Mounts-Izzie) taking third spot on the podium.
With continued wet weather and dwindling field sizes, the race was cancelled, leaving junior riders and the SM Open racers with a free afternoon to think about their next race opportunities. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and a full schedule of racing will ensue next weekend.
For full results: ACA Results