By Caley Fretz
The Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference opened its nine-week season with Denver University’s City Park Criterium on Saturday and Metro State’s Roadrunner Time Trial on Sunday. Serving as the first races of the year for many collegiate cyclists, the weekend offered up exciting and unpredictable racing in every category.
A technical, roundabout-strewn crit course in Denver’s City Park greeted racers Saturday morning. The Men’s C race jumped off the line, stretching the field to its breaking point in the first two laps. An early crash further split the field, and within four laps a selection of eight riders was made ahead of a severely reduced peloton. A tight sprint finish from the breakaway ended with Daniel Henning (Air Force Academy) playing bumper cars with Zach Bodhane for first and third respectively, with John Demos (Colorado) sneaking up next to the two for second place.
An animated Men’s B race followed, with constant attacks from powerhouse schools University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Fort Lewis College; each determined but unsuccessful in getting a break to stick. As a solo effort from Matt Miyamoto (Colorado State) was swallowed up with four laps to go, teams began setting up for the sprint. Determined to foil the sprinters, Miyamoto attacked again with one lap remaining, this time taking Ryan Cleveland (Fort Lewis) with him. Cleveland threw in an attack of his own, and held off a charging field led by Jacob Koonsman (Colorado State) and Tyler Nabours (Colorado).
Numerous unsuccessful attacks flew off the front early in the Women’s B race before the field resigned itself in the closing laps to a sprint finish. Heather Fischer (Colorado) stole the victory in a vicious sprint up the left side, with Sarah Harper of the University of Northern Colorado and Glynna Kerr of Colorado College sliding into second and third.
Women’s A also saw a flurry of attacks throughout a 45 minute race. The University of Colorado and Fort Lewis College made up three-quarters of the field, and each team sent a constant stream of riders off the front in an attempt to break the other. With each move diligently covered, a pack finish became inevitable. Flora Duffy (Colorado) took the sprint ahead of Magen Long (Fort Lewis) and Kay Sherwood (Colorado College).
An impressive Alister Ratcliff (Fort Lewis) took off barely a quarter into the hour-long Men’s A crit, with Zack Allison (Colorado State) and Nathaniel Wilson (Colorado) following. With each of the three RMCCC powerhouses represented, a concerted chase never formed, though the smaller teams did their best to bridge. Ratcliff managed to stay ahead of his two pursuers, eventually lapping an unmotivated field, and securing the win in the process. Allison and Wilson fought for second in the waning laps, with Allison taking the sprint. Colorado State’s Chris Hall led the field across the line for fourth.
Metro State Time Trial
Men’s C started the festivities again on Sunday, the first rider getting under way at 8 a.m. in sunny but cool conditions devoid of the howling spring winds that so often plague Front Range cyclists. Joe Munchak of Colorado State stopped the clock at 22:20 and held off all comers, narrowly edging Colorado School of Mines’ James Walton at 22:26 and Cody Johler of Wyoming at 22:59.
Women’s B racer Marlena Grovenstein (Colorado State) set the best time of 24:12 early, staying ahead of Heather Fischer (Colorado) who came through in 25:08 and Colorado State’s Ashley Nice, 26:09.
Joe Schneider of the Colorado School of Mines set a scorching time of 21:25 to take the win in Men’s B. Adam Looney (Wyoming) slotted into second at 21:32 and Saturday’s second place Jacob Koonsman (Colorado State) stepped onto the podium once again with 21:44.
Women’s A rider Natalie Koch (Colorado) took the top honors in her field, with Tisza Bell (Colorado) and Missy Erickson (Fort Lewis) hot on her heals.
Saturday’s podium seemed intent on a repeat performance in the Men’s A time trial. Ratcliff (Fort Lewis) again took top honors with a time of 19:21, Wilson slid into second at 19:52, and Saturday’s fifth place finisher Caley Fretz rode to third at 20:01.
Caley Fretz is a senior at Colorado State University, where he is president of the cycling team and races category 1/A.
FILED UNDER: Collegiate