Another year at the North Boulder Park Crit goes down in the history books with lots of great racing for all ages. With top racers from around the region, an expo, a beer garden, and lots of kids racing and activities, it was a win win situation for everyone. The weather cooperated and provided everyone with a classic Colorado summer day. A few threatening clouds quickly blew by and the racing was dry all day long.
The North Boulder Park Criterium began as the final stage of the Red Zinger Classic way back in 1975. By 1980 a new sponsor stepped in and the race became the Coors International Bike Classic. At the height of it’s popularity, the Classic would draw as many as 30,000 people to North Boulder Park to watch the Pros race. Although the numbers are not quite there these days, there is no lack of great racing at this beautiful venue.
The course has remained the same over the years, with a steady uphill straight for the start/finish stretch. At the top of the start/finish hill a 90 degree left hander sends the riders down a short straight into another 90 degree left then down the alley on the west side of the park. At the end of this long straight, a left, right, left combo keeps everybody on his or her toes, and hopefully off the breaks. One more left leads into the bottom of the start/finish climb, with the finish line lying half way up the climb.
The Men’s Pro field stayed fairly tight for the first third of the race, as a few riders tried to make breaks but were brought back by the pack. Eventually a good size group broke away, and with about six laps to go, lapped the field. This cleared things out a bit, and eventually Alex Howes of the Holowesko/Felt/Garmin Team took the win with a hard charging Sean Sullivan of Hotel San Jose/Juwi Solar Team taking second and Jorge Espinoza of PreRace.com a close third.
A strong Women’s 1,2,3 field put on a great display of racing for the spectators with elbow to elbow dueling for much of the 45 minute race. With quite a few of the ladies taking turns at the front during the first few laps, no one was able to get away. Eventually a pack of about eight or ten riders got away and built a sizeable gap. By the last lap, it was Megan Hottman of Treads.com/DFT taking the win with Kori Seehafer taking second, and Adnrea Dvorak, coming in third.
The junior and kids races were also a big hit, with huge fields in the under 5 and 5 to 8 year old races. There were close to 50 racers in the under 5 class with a few pile-ups and a sprint finish! The 5 to 8 year old class was a bit smaller but no less dramatic. The sound of screaming mothers could be heard for blocks as trikes, bikes, and like-a-bikes rallied around the park. As the kids crossed the finish line it was great to see most of them just keep right on riding, they couldn’t get enough! Asked how the race went, 7 year old Sam said, “It was super fun and we got hot dogs and a water bottle after the race!”
Yes, a good time was had by all…
Story and Photos by Shawn Lortie