A day after a tough Colorado School of Mines Lookout Mountain hill climb, which saw Men’s C phenom Howard Grotts (Mines) take the fastest time of the day by nearly a minute, the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference headed into the city for a technical crit at Denver’s City Park.
Hosted by Denver University, the DU Crit used a semi-triangular course featuring 3 roundabouts and not a single classic 90-degree turn. The roundabouts triggered constant accelerations and eventually splintered every field.
The Men’s C field braved the cold conditions in the morning and lined up under cloudy skies. The race heated up quickly as Colorado State University riders Joel Finkeldei and Jeremy Ruegg launched off the front. The field closed the gap with 10 to go and the race was at a standstill until hill climb winner Howard Grotts (Mines) launched clear with only five laps remaining.
The newcomer to road racing is a multi-time national champion on the mountain bike, and he compounded on his lead until the finish. Colorado University took over at the front with 1 to go and Gavin Deen (CU) took the field sprint in front of Nicolas Jimenez (Mines), who rounded out the top 3.
Next on tap was the Men’s B race as the skies started to clear and temperatures rose. Fort Lewis College’s Ryan Dorsey was a marked man having ridden away from the field a week prior. Even with the target on his back, Dorsey (FLC), found himself in a four-man break comprised of two teammates and Zebulon Hanley (U.S. Air Force Academy).
With nine laps remaining, Hanley, attacked the breakaway going clear with only Dorsey tagged on. The two shared the workload, and Dorsey outsprinted Hanley for the win in a very close final 100 meters. Dorsey’s teammate Griffin Easter lead from 1 to go and still outkicked John Fery (DU) for the field sprint and 3rd place.
After the whirlwind of attacks that defined the Men’s B race, the women’s B field was much more focused on a field sprint. While riders were being continuously spit out the back by the roundabouts of horror, the bulk of the field remained in tact until the last turn. Even with the large percentage of riders from FLC in the field Colorado University rolled the dice to try and lead out Christa Ghent, but she was nipped close to the line by Sarah Madsen (Mesa). Kaila Hart kicked it into 3rd.
The Women’s A race began with that category’s largest field of the season. The pack was caught off guard as Danielle Haulman (University of California Davis) rolled away with 16 laps remaining, flanked by a member of the well represented Fort Lewis squad, Lauren Catlin.
The field held the break to a mere 20 seconds for 10 laps, but with 5 laps remaining there was no denying that the winner would emerge from the small breakaway. The workload was evenly shared in the 2 woman group and once again the finish came down to bike lengths as Haulman (UC Davis) crossed the line first. The field came through 60 seconds later and thanks to a well-executed lead out by teammate Sarah Sturm (FLC), Missy Erickson (FLC) took the field sprint for 3rd by over a bike length.
The final race of the day, the Men’s A field, toed the line under blue skies and much warmer temps than their predecessors. After a few small attacks a larger group of 11 rolled up the road with only the major players represented; CSU, FLC, and Men’s A powerhouse Mesa State. In less than 5 laps the break had established a gap that would never be closed and then the large break turned on one another.
Attacks were being continuously made from the break, one of the biggest animators, Caley Fretz (CSU), appeared determined to trim the fat from the group and keep the pace intense. However, it wasn’t until Zack Allison (CSU) and Patric Rostel (Mesa State University) rolled away did the break show signs of weakness. The duo were chased hard for a half dozen laps by Fort Lewis, but eventually broke the elastic and set their sights on lapping the main field. With four laps to go Allison and Rostel made contact with the peloton and surged to the front of the group. Luke Harris (CSU) took over the lead-out for Allison who entered the last turn first and sprinted to his second win in as many races, besting Rostel by a bike length and a half. Fretz sprinted to a decisive 3rd place over his breakaway companions.
Brief results | Complete results
- 1. Danielle Haulman, University Of California-Davis
- 2. Lauren Catlin, Fort Lewis College
- 3. Melissa (Missy) Erickson, Fort Lewis College
- 4. Heather Fischer, University Of Colorado-Boulder
- 5. Carly Rivezzo, Colorado State University
- 1. Zack Allison, Colorado State University
- 2. Patric Rostel, Mesa State College
- 3. Caley Fretz, Colorado State University
- 4. Richard Geng, Mesa State College
- 5. Conor Mullervy, Mesa State College
Colorado School of Mines Hill Climb:
- 1. Sarah Sturm, Fort Lewis College, in 23:12.10
- 2. Lauren Cinlin, Fort Lewis College, in 24:49.40
- 3. Melissa (Missy) Erickson, Fort Lewis College, in 25:00.30
- 4. Elizabeth Martin, University Of Northern Colorado, in 26:42.40
- 5. Julia Manley, Colorado Stine University, in 27:05.50