Race report and images by Eddie Clark
(April 17 and 18, 2010) BOULDER and LOUISVILLE, Colo.—The road racing season finds its legs, and hits a high tempo on the Colorado Front Range. The Haystack Mountain Time Trial kicked off the weekends racing, and was also the second America Cycling Association BAR/BAT (Best All-Around Rider/Team) points event. The BAR/BAT is a season long points competition for ACA members that compete at select ACA events.
Racers registered and started their individual and team time trials just north of Boulder on Highway 36, and rode north on a mildly hilly section of very smooth highway. Next was a right turn into a gradually declining six mile section of very fast downhill on Nelson Road. Speeds in excess of 40 mph could be attained by those smoothly turning over a big gear on this section.
Racers then made another sharp right hand turn onto a deceptive uphill stretch of 75th Street before another sharp rise where the road merges into 73rd Street. As racers approached the end of their 12.1 mile time trial, they would climb one last small hill before crossing the finish line on Niwot Road.
Top honors went to a blazing fast local Fly V Autralia pro Phil Zajicek who crossed the line in 21:48.1. Bradley White, also a local pro but for United Healthcare, took second with a time of 22:25.1, which was narrowly faster than third place James Peterman also of Boulder. Local knowledge was key for properly metering out the perfect effort.
With the Sea Otter taking place the same weekend, the Women’s 1-2 field was noticeably depleted, but still quite fast. Cari Higgins claimed first place with a time of 25:11.4. Susannah Gordon and Gabriella Ferrat finished respectively in second and third.
An impressive 450 racers turned out to compete in the individual time trials, and over 300 racers went on to compete in the team time trials. Notably, most all of the team time trials were ridden in a pouring cold rain.
With a nights rest, many of the same racers showed up in Louisville for some smooth and fast criterium racing the following day. The criterium offered up a perfect concoction of high speed, high intensity racing with a smooth course that was split with a gentle uphill preceded by a smoking fast downhill. Having a gap before entering the twisty downhill leg was a common tactic amongst the day’s races.
The early races consisted of men’s and women’s cat4’s, which were both won in field sprints. The men’s 35+ and 45+ fields drew the largest racer numbers, and were the most entertaining as team tactics and ‘smart’ racing dictated the pace from lap to lap. It was obvious the old dogs were on course by watching the calculated attacks that only veteran racers and seasoned pros could time to perfection.
A perfect example of smart racing was eschewed by men’s 45+ winner Feedback Sports’ Mathew Gibble. Gibble stayed at the front early on and jumped in just the right break, which was instigated and powered by Skins Racing teammates Larry Marti and Todd Robertson. The Skins duo were riding fast and doing the lions’ share of the work, but it was a coy Gibble who benefited with slightly fresher legs for the sprint win over his breakaway companions.
Other smart racing included Mara Abbot warming up in the Women’s 1-2-3 race for a few laps before launching an all out blitz of a solo that took her to a lap up on the whole field. Abbot could be seen checking her lap times on the backside of the course to measure her efforts early on. Meanwhile, knowing her teammate, Carri Higgins who won the previous days time trial, was in the pack for the sprint finish should it come down to that. In the end it was Abbot in first and teammate Higgins with the pack sprint victory for second.
The men’s Pro 1-2 race resembled the frenzied calamity of a pack of starving dogs chasing a wild rabbit. Attacks were fast, furious, and commonly met with counter-attacks.
Eventually it was another breakaway containing several racers with lengthy palmares that got away for the four-up sprint finish. Sean Sullivan of Hotel San Jose/Mellow Johnny’s emerged victorious over his breakaway companions Scott Moninger, Jorge Espinoza, and Benjamin Blaugrund whom finished respectively second, third, and fourth.
For complete results, please visit American Cycling Association
For additional photos, please visit Photo Cycle