By Caley Fretz
A wild swing in the weather, from over 60 degrees on Thursday to blizzard conditions early Friday morning forced the cancellation of two out of the three events Colorado State University intended to host this weekend. Saturday’s crit and short team time trial got the axe, while Sunday’s classic Oval Criterium continued as planned.
Due to the snow, Western Slope schools Fort Lewis College and Mesa State elected not to make the drive, leaving participation across every category slightly lower than usual.
As always, the men’s C’s had the earliest start time, getting going at 8 am with temperatures still below freezing. A CSU-dominated field saw a flurry of early attacks from the home school. With no other large teams to put forth a concerted chase effort, Matt Nunnelly and Joey Chiavetta, both of CSU, soon found themselves free of the field. Alone they stayed, with Nunnelly taking the gentleman’s sprint from Chiavetta in the finale. A late attack from CSU’s Mike Downs sealed a Colorado State podium sweep.
Like the men’ C field, the women’s B race was stacked with riders from host school CSU. Attacks were fired off throughout the race, but none proved strong enough to go it alone. CSU’s Ashley Nice hit the front on the last lap and splintered the field, with only Claire Mechtly of CSU and Brittany Bohannon of CU holding on. Taking advantage of her teammate’s leadout, Mechtly took the sprint ahead of Bohannon. Nice held on to take the final podium spot.
The men’s B race hit the gas early, stringing out the field and spitting a number of riders off the back within the first few laps. A counter-attack following the first prime of the day separated six riders from the rest of the field, and with each of the big teams represented the main field simply shut down. James Tyler Nabours of CU took the sprint for first, edging out University of Wyoming’s Adam Looney and CSU’s Jacob Koonsman, who slotted into second and third.
Without Fort Lewis, the University of Colorado’s large women’s A squad had free reign over the rest of the field. After sending off numerous attacks, a counter by last week’s winner Natalie Koch finally stuck. Koch rolled in alone, again, while CU’s Kim Trenbath won the field sprint for second. Elizabeth Martin of the University of Northern Colorado took third.
Like the two men’s races before it, the men’s A saw an early break make it all the way to the line. The break, instigated by CU’s Josh Yeaton within the first five minutes of racing, saw the addition of Caley Fretz of CSU a half lap later. CSU’s Adam Wisseman and Metro State’s Evan Gatseos joined the two halfway through the race, helping to build a lead of nearly a minute over an unmotivated field. Cat and mouse games began at four laps to go, with Wisseman making the first solo attempt, which was pulled back by Yeaton and Gatseos with only a lap and a half remaining. Yeaton made a short bid of his own before a counter attack by Fretz, with less than a lap remaining, sealed the deal for a CSU win. Behind the lone leader, Gatseos won the sprint for second ahead of Yeaton in third.
Next weekend the Rocky Mountain Conference heads to Grand Junction, Colorado for a difficult road race, criterium and ITT-hill climb hosted by Mesa State College.
Caley Fretz is president of the Colorado State University Cycling Team, where he races — and wins —in Category 1/A.