By Chris Hawkins
On Fathers’ Day, June 15, five-month-old Zach McCarthy watched his dad take on some of the biggest names in U.S. domestic racing and beat every one of them to the white line.
With a field that included Tour de France veteran Jonathan Vaughters, national time-trial champ Chris Baldwin, and a host of top locals, the 2003 Historic Downtown Longmont (Colorado) Criterium provided an exciting day of racing. Picturesque manicured streets, pleasant temperatures and a gentle breeze disguised the exercise in suffering that ensued from the gun. As Travis Jones (Team Stealth), observed, the flat six-cornered L-shaped course “had just enough turns to chop things up.”
Torsten Lyon, from race host Team Stealth, made legs burn right away with a solo break, steering clear of the field for about three laps. Lyon was soon reeled in and for the remaining 70 minutes, Vitamin Cottage, GS Ciao, and Rio Grande alternated between launching break attempts and keeping those of the other teams in check. Lap speeds averaged 28 mph, and when the throttle was wide open, the 70 man field stretched single file from one right hand corner through to the next like a multi-colored serpent. When the serpent struck it was usually the fangs of Vitamin Cottage that injected lactic acid into the legs of the bunch. Jon “Teton” Tarkington and Chuck Coyle, both of Vitamin Cottage, took turns cranking up the pace at the front but were never quite able to make their gaps stick.
A splinter group of about 15 including Vaughters, Coyle, Tarkington, Aussie Andy Graham (Jamba Juice), Joby Sciliano (Rio Grande), and Chad Moore (GS Ciao) opened a small gap on the field with15 minutes to go. For a short time it looked as if they might have the necessary horsepower to hold it until the end of the race. But the rest of the field was having none of it. They quickly closed and the pace returned to normal.
With five laps to go, Vaughters and Baldwin turned on the power and set a grueling pace as the rest of the pack struggled to grab wheels and tuck in behind them. On the bell lap the Vitamin Cottage boys’ relentless efforts finally paid off. Long-time Boulder racer Christian McCarthy, 33, shot off around the front on the second corner while his V.C. teammates used their numbers and experience to block. McCarthy, digging deep, held on around the final corner with the pack boring down on him. With a quick glance behind to confirm his lead, he raised his arms in the air and crossed the line only seconds ahead of Ang Sheldrake (5280/Subaru) and Jim Copeland (Trek/VW).
“It was the team. I credit them with the win”, said McCarthy after the race. After talking to him for a while, we parted company. A short time later he flagged me down and asked me to take a picture of him with his baby son, Zach. Zach will only have pictures to remember this moment by but this proud father will have the experience, the memories, and the win.
Race promoter Ben Panfalone credits the “active local community interest”, along with shop sponsors High Gear Cyclery, Bike-n-Hike, ACME Bicycles, Denver Spoke, and Big Ring Cyclery for the success of the event.
Longmont Criterium, Longmont, CO. Sunday, June 15, 2003
Senior Men Pro,1,2
1 Christian McCarthy, Vitamin Cottage
2 Ang Sheldrake, 5280/Subaru
3 Jim Copeland, Trek/VW
4 Ainslie MacEachran, AST
5 Sheldon Deeny, RMCEF
6 Jeff Hartman, Big Shark
7 Iiliberto Herna, Estadoche Mexico
8 Alex Robles, Jimy D
9 Mike Janelle, Tokyo Joe’s
10 Max Clawson, GS Ciao
Editor’s Note: This is the first of what we hope will become a regular feature on VeloNews.com. There are cyclo-cross races for cross-dressers in California, stage races named after dearly departed canines in Wyoming and host of other events across America that offer a look into what it’s like to race bikes at all levels. Unlike this event, you don’t necessarily need top pros to make it interesting. In order for the “Local Scene” tosucceed, we need your help. If you know of a race in your area that youbelieve deserves notice, drop us a short story, highlighting not only theracing, but perhaps even some of the local character that makes it unique.Mail your race submissions to WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Complete results in our format (see below) and reasonably sized JPG images are welcome, too.Have fun and make heroes of your local stars.
The First Annual Example Cup
Qwanahamanahamana, Wy, June 1, 2003
1. Patrick O’Grady, Team Grumpy&Annoying, 1:58:22
2. John Wilcockson (GB), VegiBurger.Com, at 0:05
3. Kip Mikler, unattached
4. Neal Rogers, iPod Cycling, both s.t.
5. Lennard Zinn, The StringBeanery, at 1:05
6. Greg Thomas (NZL), DotBombCycling
7. Charles Pelkey, D.C. Spokesmen
8. Cam Elford, (Can), Oi Kanada
9. Chad Moore, Bob’s Big and Tall, all s.t.