Two crash-marred criteriums hosted by the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado made up the second Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference race weekend. Despite dry weather and relatively tame courses, a number of categories saw their results dictated by late tumbles; only the men’s A and women’s B field made it through the final laps of each race unscathed.
Though official conference omnium standings remain unavailable, the top schools have made their presence known over the past two weekends. CU, Fort Lewis College, and Colorado State are set to spar throughout the season for the Division I title, while a dominant Mesa State men’s squad will duke it out with well-rounded Air Force Academy and Colorado School of Mines teams in Division II.
University of Colorado Criterium
CU hosted their traditional crit course in Boulder once again this year, drawing impressive participation from both collegiate and non-collegiate racers. First off the line was the Men’s C field. Following the first prime of the day, CSU’s Joe Munchak made his solo bid for freedom, building up a 15-second gap which he clung to until his capture at just six laps to go. With just under two laps to go, a touch of wheels near the front of the field set off a domino effect, taking out nearly a dozen riders and sending an eight-man break clear of those stuck behind. Ben Techner of the School of Mines took the final sprint with CSU’s Matt Nunnelly and CU’s John Demos finishing off the podium.
The women’s B field saw a flurry of attacks throughout, each brought back by diligent FLC, CU and CSU squads. A fast pack finish saw CU’s Brittany Bohannon take first ahead of CSU’s Claire Mechtly and Ashley Nice.
The men’s B race contained more of the same, with numerous unsuccessful attacks all attentively brought back by a number of strong teams. A large crash took out six riders with five laps to go. At three-to-go, CSU’s Matt Miyamoto charged off the front and never looked back, finishing just ahead of Fort Lewis’ Sam Simmons in second, Mesa State’s Sam Kuren in third, and the rest of the surging field.
The small women’s A field, dominated by CU as the only team with more than one rider, played out in textbook fashion. After successfully getting Natalie Koch (CU) up the road, the rest of the team blocked and marked to perfection. Koch cruised across the line alone, over 40 seconds ahead of the field. CU’s Flora Duffy took second and FLC’s Missy Erickson took third.
The men’s A race played out predictably for such a temperate course. Dozens of attacks shot off the front, but the fast course proved too much for any small group of riders. With a few laps to go Mesa State began setting up on the front. Their leadout train proved unstoppable, as Richard Geng shot around the last corner to take the win ahead of CSU’s Zack Allison and Caley Fretz.
University of Northern Colorado Crit
Saturday’s beautiful weather was replaced with highs in the low 40’s and threatening skies for the University of Northern Colorado’s campus criterium. After a last-minute course change for safety reasons, the men’s C field got under way. The more technical course proved highly selective, as the front of the field slowly dwindled to seven riders, and then to just three with CSU’s Zach Bodhane and Matt Nunnely, and Metro State’s Michael Dickinson. The two CSU riders took turns attacking, eventually sending Bodhane up the road to take the win solo. Nunnelly won the sprint for second, with Dickinson slotting into third.
Much like the Men’s C race, the women’s B’s field fractured early, resulting in a few small groups and a smattering of solo riders. CU’s Heather Fischer and CSU’s Megan Robben found themselves off the front, and worked well together for a number of laps until Fischer rid herself of her breakaway companion. Fischer and Robben each finished alone in first and second, with Marlena Grovenstein of CSU sprinting out of a small group for third.
An attack on the first lap of the men’s B race led to early separation, establishing a group of three up the road. Lacking a large team to organize the chase, the break increased its lead throughout the race until the second turn of the last lap when CU’s Will Buick slid out, taking his two companions down with him. With the field bearing down on them the three scrambled to detangle and remount their bikes. Fort Lewis’ Sam Simmons got going first, sprinting ahead of UNC’s Ben Norris and holding his lead until the line. Buick took a few extra seconds to get going, and the field caught and passed him on the backstretch of the course. Brett Peters of CU won the field sprint for third.
Apparently at UNC, lighting does strike twice. After an animated race, the already small field diminished to just half a dozen riders, the A women repeated the mistake of the men’s B breakaway before them. On the first corner of the last lap, a pileup took out all but one rider from the lead group. As Koch of CU powered on to the win, the mad dash for the finish became a scramble to remount. Fort Lewis ‘cross star Missy Erickson jumped on first, staying away for second with Brenna Wozniak of CSU slotting into third.
Animated by a strong Mesa State team, the men’s A race saw a number of failed attacks before the right mix got up the road. The break contained three Mesa riders; Saturday’s winner Richard Geng, Patric Rostel, and Conor Mullervy, along with CU’s Josh Yeaton and Saturday’s second place Zack Allison of CSU. With their superior numbers, Mesa set up Geng for his second win of the weekend, as his leadout Rostel held on for second. CU’s Yeaton came across the line in third.
Caley Fretz is a student at CSU