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Rocky Mountain collegiate racers face wind, rain, and dirt in Fort Collins

Colorado State University hosted the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference’s third weekend of racing with a windswept circuit race on Saturday, and a rainy criterium Sunday. In typical Colorado fashion, the weekend was marked by high winds and wild swings in temperature. A record high of 78 degrees on Saturday was followed by rain, snow, and temperatures in the low 40s Sunday.

Saturday: Cobb Lake Circuit Race

The racers faced a Tonya Harding (leg breaker) of a course Saturday morning. The 8-mile loop began with a 1-mile section of dirt that was immediately followed by a power climb and a series of rollers winding through the smooth roads of the Cobb Lake gated community. After exiting the gated community, the riders turned onto a windy descent taking them to a frontage road near the Budweiser plant, where they faced a long finishing straight.

Men's B criterium winner Matt Lyons (DU) leads Phil Somers (CSU) late in the race. Photo: Chris Hall

The Men’s A field, used to being the last race of the day, got a reminder of what their C-level teammates go through on a weekly basis with an 8am start. The first half of the race featured virtually constant attacks (except for a brief “nature break”). Near the end of the fourth lap of the eight-lap race, Rotem Ishay (Fort Lewis College) attacked on the frontage road with Dylan Jones (CSU) in tow. Richard Geng (Mesa State) quickly bridged to Ishay and Jones, and the trio opened up a 20 second gap heading into the gated community. On the windy downhill John Selker (University of Colorado Boulder) managed to bridge and the break’s advantage ballooned with every major team represented. In the finishing straight it was cat and mouse until the final 200 meters with Geng winning the sprint over Ishay, Selker, and Jones.

The Men’s B race rolled out shortly after the As for 6 laps. Much like the Men’s A race the field was aggressive from the start, but a break failed to gain any significant advantage. Coming into the final lap it was gruppo compacto and the racers seemed to be saving their legs for the imminent field sprint. CSU tried to lead it out coming into the frontage road, but were swamped 1k from the line. Colorado School of Mines pulled off a near perfect sprint with Nicolas Jimenez and Howard Grotts going 1-2 ahead of Sean Haney (CU).

The Women’s A field started the second wave of races, beginning at 11am with. The women encountered very different conditions than their male teammates, with strong wind from the South blowing apart the pack over the course of the 6 lap race. Missy Erickson and Lauren Catlin managed to escape in the windy conditions and built a three-minute lead. Erickson bested Catlin in the sprint, while Carly Rivezzo (CSU) took the field sprint ahead of Emily Brown (Air Force Academy).

The Men’s C race disintegrated in a similar fashion, with dropped riders strewn across the road in groups of two and three. The field shrank considerably on the first of four laps, and it was quickly apparent that some C riders weren’t used to riding on dirt. However, Matt Lyons (DU) was obviously able to handle the rough roads, beating out Matt Fox (CSU), and Brandon Odum (USAFA).
The Women’s B race started shortly after the Men’s C for three laps of the same course. As expected, the hills, wind, and dirt shattered the small field, and many women found themselves alone in the wind. Sarah Madsen (Mesa) won ahead of Lucianne Conklin (CU), and Brittany Clawson (FLC).

Sunday: The Classic Oval Crit

Sunday’s criterium was run on a technical figure-8 loop through CSU’s campus and finishing on the historic CSU Oval. While the earlier categories enjoyed warm, yet windy conditions, the nice weather slowly deteriorated and the later races were run in cold rain and intermittent snow.

As usual, the Men’s Cs were first to start, with a 25 minute race after a 10 minute clinic. The racers put their newfound cornering skills to the test, with good results. Despite multiple efforts from CU and CSU to split the pack in the windy conditions the race was all together coming on to the Oval. CSU executed a textbook leadout and sprint, with Joey Chiavetta and Chris Finkeldei (both CSU) going 1-2 ahead of Brandon Odum (USAFA).

The 25-minute women’s B race was dominated by CU and FLC, who drove the pace throughout the entire race. Much like the day before, many racers were dropped on the windy, sinuous course. Christa Ghent (CU) did the lion’s share of the work in the last few laps, leading her teammate Lucianne Conklin to a win ahead of Sarah Madsen (Mesa State).

The final laps of the 45 minute Men’s B race were some of the most exciting racing of the day. With 3 laps to go Phillip Somers attacked and broke clear of the field, John Fery (DU) bridged to Somers, and the break began to look dangerous. With 2 laps to go a second DU rider, Matt Lyons, bridged to the break with Howard Grotts (Colorado School of Mines) in tow. On the final lap Somers was dropped from the break, and Matt Lyons (DU) took the sprint ahead of Fery and Grotts with the field breathing down their necks.
By the time the Women’s A field took to the line for their 45 minute race, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. The wind had been replaced by rain and the temperature had plummeted. Despite the treacherous conditions on the slippery, paint-filled course, the women stayed upright. Missy Erickson (FLC) won the field sprint ahead of Carly Rivezzo (CSU) and Sarah Sturm (FLC).

The bad weather didn’t put a damper on the Men’s A race. The field was single file for most of the 60 minute race, with Fort Lewis driving the pace. Throughout the race breakaways formed with most teams represented, but all were chased down by an aggressive FLC. With 10 laps remaining Richard Geng (Mesa), arguably the fastest man in the race attacked with Ryan Cleveland (FLC) following. The duo opened up a 30 second gap that FLC was unable to close after a day of chasing breakaways. Geng bested Cleveland in the final sprint, while Geng’s teammate Patrick Rostel narrowly won the field sprint ahead of CSU’s Zack Allison.

Quick results, road race

Women’s A:

  • 1. Melissa (Missy) Erickson, Fort Lewis College
  • 2. Lauren Catlin, Fort Lewis College
  • 3. Carly Rivezzo, Colorado State University

Men’s A:

  • 1. Richard Geng, Mesa State College
  • 2. Rotem Ishay, Fort Lewis College
  • 3. Kevin Selker, University Of Colorado-Boulder

Oval Criterium

Women’s A:

  • 1. Melissa (Missy) Erickson, Fort Lewis College
  • 2. Carly Rivezzo, Colorado State University
  • 3. Sarah Sturm, Fort Lewis College

Men’s A:

  • 1. Richard Geng, Mesa State College
  • 2. Ryan Cleveland, Fort Lewis College
  • 3. Patric Rostel, Mesa State College

Complete results

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