The final race weekend of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference began Saturday. The three race weekend, hosted by the Fort Lewis College Cycling Team, provides one last chance for riders to prepare themselves before the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships next weekend.
The main event on Saturday was the downtown criterium race. The race began with the Men C category at 11:30 a.m., and ended when the Men A category finished at 3:40 p.m.
The course was ¾ of a mile long and was mostly flat with one small hill. Riders race for a designated amount of time dependent on their category.
Below are recaps of all categories in the order they raced.
The 30 minute long race began with Colorado State University’s Steward Ross attempting to get away from the main group.
With a few laps to go in the race, three riders from University of Colorado, Colorado College, and Air Force Academy rode clear of the main group and stayed away until the finish.
CU’s Josef Nelson won with time to celebrate before the line. CC came in second and USAFA in third.
“Before the hill I attacked, and then I was able to hold them off,” Nelson said.
The Women’s B and C category were raced together due to small field sizes. In total there were only four women who made up these two categories.
The sole Women C racer, and category winner, was FLC’s Peyton Valko.
The group of four racers stayed together until the finish.
In the end it was USAFA’s Elizabeth Frakes who came out victorious in the B category.
“In the last turn, the girl was probably ten, fifteen feet in front of me, and I had a great sprint; my best of the season,” Frakes said.
The Men B race started fast and was strung out the entire 40 minutes.
FLC riders Nash Dory, Dillon Janda, Julian Maissel, and Jake Marasco rode the front the entire race attempting multiple breakaways, but CU did not let that happen.
Eventually it came to a sprint with FLC’s Malik Mariano and Dillon Janda taking first and second place, respectively.
“I was just getting myself on the second wheel, saw Dillon come out on the left side, grabbed his wheel and we finished one - two,” Mariano said.
The Women A race was dominated by Colorado Mesa University. CMU’s Natalia Franco spent most of her time off the front solo. For a short time she rejoined the six women chase group, but then she was off the front again.
Going into the final laps, FLC’s Charlotte Backus bridged up to Franco along with two other CMU riders. The CMU trio put pressure on Backus, tiring her out.
In the end, Mesa’s Ariane Horbach won the sprint, with Backus in second place.
“We tried to keep on attacking, and then we started to sprint pretty early,” Horbach said.
The hour long Men A race was very controlled. Despite losing a rider to a crash, CU did not let any moves go, keeping the race together until the sprint finish.
CU’s Noah Granigan won the sprint, just edging out FLC’s Emmanuel Gagne.
“We have nationals next week so we’re trying to simulate what that’s going to be like,” Granigan said. “We were racing to make it come down to a field sprint so we had practice with however many guys at the finish at the end, rather than having a bunch of small groups,” he said.