Davies and Farina both defend the leaders jersey to claim Omnium victories in Sunday’s Morgul Bismark Road Race.
Race report and images by Eddie Clark
(May 28/29, 2010) Superior, Colo.—Colorado classic road racing event returns after a twenty year hiatus. The race formerly known as the Red Zinger Classic and then the Coors International Classic, and now the Superior Morgul Classic once again offers up premier road racing to the Rocky Mountains. The racing also accompanies the Wellness Festival which includes three days of live music, an art show, great food from local merchants, and tasty brews from Oskar Blues.
For the old guard of road racers and tifosi, the Superior Morgul Classic has been a long time coming. Thankfully, the Town of Superior contracted Boulder-Racing to bring back this age old classic, as evidenced by the 600+ racer turn out for a quasi first-year event.
This years’ event holds the extra bonus of having an overall Omnium competition in which racers earn points from each of three events (street sprint, criterium, and circuit race) to crown an Omnium winner.
To keep racers on their toes, a spectator friendly street sprint was held Friday evening on a 300 meter straight-away. Racers competed in a head to head six man drag race in which the two fastest advanced on to the next rounds. Starting from a clipped-in standstill, the street sprint was a true test of fast-twitch muscles, and also a gear popping drivetrain stress test.
Colorado University’s Josh Yeaton bested a long list of worthy pro men to win heat after heat in taking the street sprint victory. “It was kind of surprising since I don’t consider myself a sprinter… I’m running a compact crankset, and was starting in a 50x23 to get off the line quickly and could really drop the gears through the mid stretch” said Yeaton.
Unfortunately in Saturdays’ criterium, Yeaton took a slide across the tarmac due to a crash in the pack early on, and missed out on the winning breakaway which lapped the field. Yeaton still finished and even took a late race flyer for redemption, but Groove Subaru rode a tactically perfect race and gave Zachary Davies a race winning lead-out for the sprint.
Women’s 1, 2, 3 racing saw Cari Higgins convincingly win the street sprint, and a show of superiority from Robin Farina in the criterium. What started as an early race sprint for a prime, which were numerous, saw Farina and Kat Carr way off the front. Carr would drift back to the pack to save her legs for the field sprint while Farina went on a solo tear to lap the field for the crit victory.
On a perfect calm cool and sunny Sunday morning the long awaited return of the fabled Morgul Bismark Road Race finally became a reality. Racers got to compete just like the giants of cycling such as Miguel Indurain, Davis Phinney, Greg Lemond, and Andy Hampsten did over 20 years ago on the same 13.3 mile loop which featured 750 feet of climbing per lap. Notably, the finish line is located atop the infamous climb called the Wall due to its leg crushing grades.
Perhaps what made this so special was the level of professionalism involved with the logistics of this race. Racers not only had an excellent course, but numerous sections of closed roads, first rate traffic management, and even rolling enclosures complete with a race directors chase car and video crew.
“I hope we can keep this race going, everything about it was awesome… It was definitely hard with all the climbing and being at altitude” said Bahati Pro racer Phillip Man. The pro men did six laps, and by the end of the first lap a breakaway of five formed. Present in the break were eventual winner Benjamin Blaugrund and Ominium points challenger Taylor Sheldon of Holowesko Felt Garmin.
After burning some matches in winning the previous days criterium, Zachary Davies had his work cut out for him. “I wasn’t feeling super punchy on the climbs, it was nice having my teammate in the break in case I got into trouble on the climbs” said Davies. Davies went on to finish third in the road race and also won the Omnium competition.
Women’s 1, 2, 3 racers completed four laps on the course, and their peloton was quickly splintered leaving a lead pack of eight that contained all the key players. Megan Hottman used her Treads teammates as best as possible, as did Robin Farina of Team Vera Bradley. “It was super racing here, and it came down to doing the math on the last lap to try and win the Omnium” noted Hottman whom was a close second behind Farina for the Omnium competition.
Anne Samplonius tightened the screws on the last lap up the Marshall Mesa climb, and only Jessica Phillips of Colavita was able to hold her wheel. Samplonius finally dropped Bradley on the Wall to claim the win, “This course was more suited to my riding, and it’s really nice to be able to win it and help my Vera Bradely teammates today”.
For complete results, please visit Superior Morgul Classic
For additional photos, please visit Photo Cycle