By Eddie Clark
Team Rio Grande dominates brutally tough and windy Mead-Roubaix with Haga First and Tietzel Third
(April 10, 2011) MEAD, Colo.—DBC Events created another classic course with the Mead-Roubaix in the rural farmland of Larimer, Boulder, and Weld Counties. Fashioned after the iconic Paris-Roubaix ‘Hell of North’ classic in Europe, the parcors sent racers out for multiple laps on a 66 percent paved and 34 percent hard pack (dirt road) route 19.4 miles in length. To add some fear and drama, the skies opened up the night prior to the race, but the uncharacteristically dry dirt roads easily soaked up the moisture once the racing got underway.
The bulk of racing was broken into two waves with the early wave doing just one or two laps depending on racing category. Junior 10-12 year old racers competed on a shortened course of twelve miles that was closer to a 50/50 ratio between dirt and pavement.
Senior Men 35+ Cat 4’s were first to roll out of the Mead town square to get the racing underway. In practically every category of the first wave, the groups would be blown apart before even getting to the second section of dirt road which featured a loose section that accounted for numerous crashes and broken frames. By the time racers hit the third section, it was basically them against the course as their fields were nearly all strung out single file.
David Horst of Team Evergreen Racing proved to have the legs and skills to navigate his skinny tired road bike through the sand, over hills and through gusting winds to claim the Men’s 35+ 4 victory. Notably, the Women’s Senior 3 race contained a group of five ladies of which Amber Rydholm (NewHope360/Trek/GS Boulder) would take victory in a race that she led from start to finish. Although, Susan Adamkovics finished within less than a minute of Rydholm for second place, and Laurel Rathbun finished third a couple more minutes back after both rode with Rydholm until the final climb.
The cloudy morning skies opened up enough for some bright Front Range sunshine to quickly dry out any remnants of moisture for the second wave of racers creating a dry and dusty course with which to do battle. First out of the gates were the Pro 1-2 Men whom showed no mercy for the course or elements that challenged them. Upon the completion of the first section of hard pack, the field was blown in half. At the front, Team Rio Grande had strength in numbers, and smartly rode with a strategy that was successful as the race was challenging. Upon completion of the second hard pack section, the course had broken many a rider, and the lead group was even further whittled down.
On the third section of hard pack Scott Tietzel (Rio Grande) established a lead on the long gradual dirt climb that the peloton couldn’t bring back. Almost according to team Rio Grande’s plan, Juwi Solar and others had to chase lest Tietzel ride away with their victory. First to go was Greg Krause (Juwi Solar) who eventually bridged up to the leader after a couple laps of chasing. Among the chasers were Colby Pearce, Jon Tarkington, Eddy Gragus, Tom Zirbel, Jake Wells, and many new racers from Rio Grande, Juwi Solar, and Natural Grocers too.
With a lap to go, Chad Haga (Rio Grande), Jesse Goodrich (Juwi Solar), and Tom Zirbel regrouped with leaders Tietzel and Krause to form a five-some which stuck together until the last climb of the race. Thanks to his teammates keeping him out of the wind and even lending him a wheel when he flatted, Haga had the freshest legs and established a gap that he would ride in to the finish. Goodrich managed to catch and pass a strong riding Tietzel just before the finish for second place.
Senior Women’s 1-2 racing saw a smaller than average field take the line with none of the Front Range’s top nationally ranked pros in attendance due to injuries and conflicting schedules. Longmont local, Sarah Germundson, riding for Pro Design seized the day and took the victory with a long solo ride in the wind after distancing her competitors late in the first lap.
Please see the ACA for more results.