Maverick Classic – Race Report
The 4-Stage Maverick Classic in Fruita CO. had everything you want in a stage race, as Ken predicted. This is the first year Colorado Mesa College opened the Collegiate State Championships to all age groups. Participation was good for a first-time effort: 55+ age group had 8 riders including Ed Chamberlin, the current National Champion, and two of his LTR Sports teammates Gerd and Bob, and since I had no team mates it was three-on-one all weekend. Here’s my 55+ assessment:
Stage 1, Downtown Fruita Crit – Thirty minutes, flat, wide open, and four-corners with a good number of spectators making noise. At the finish I was lining up to sprint for third. In the second to last corner I lost my line in possibly the fastest crit corner I’ve ever taken … I was gapped 6 bike lengths and couldn’t close it, taking 4th.
Stage 2, TT – 11.6 miles, rollers, never saw a car on the country road, good surface. Finished 4th close to 3rd … reasonable for me, but I should have been on the podium!!
Stage 3, Downtown Grand Junction Crit – Twenty-five minutes, 10 corners, tight, some relatively narrow serpentine areas, excellent street surface, huge crowds and right in the middle of the cafe and restaurant district, excellent spectator viewing not to mention the beer garden!! Michael Newsome, the race favorite flatted, he cut the course to the wheel pit and was disqualified by the official. He had to abandon this and the remaining races. I was in a reasonable position and out sprinting one of the three LTR Sports competitors, finishing 3rd –won a bill cap, that was fortuitous as I’d failed to bring a cap on the trip.
Stage 4, Grand Junction/Paradise Road Race – During the race it was hard not to stop at all the wineries on the route, but I managed to stay in the race, beautiful rolling hills, two relatively steep 4-5 min climbs. It was three-on-one from the get go. I didn’t chase Ed, but covered his two-team mates as they alternated attacks. After the 6th or so attack I cut my losses and let Gerd roll off the front. After that, there was one major attempt to drop me on a hill where Bob gapped me 75 yds., Ed being the nice guy he is offered to ride with me the rest of the day, but at the top of the hill Bob started fading and I was able to close the gap. At the finish, I normally have a very short, fast finish for 20 yds., and won a number of sprints last year coming around late, but here Bob had superior short power but couldn’t hold it. 200 yds. Out, I slid back 6 bike lengths from Ed and Bob, gassed it and came up in their slip steam and launched around them … beating both of them and taking 2nd. An excellent RR finish for me. Won a nice bottle of Palisade Cabinet Franc, $20 prize money, a spaghetti dinner and $10 of beer at the local pub.
Summary; Lots of excellent racing for the time and money invested. This race is on my calendar for next year. I know it coincided with Walla Walla this year, but the team should consider this race, come in force and dominate Colorado.
I failed to mention, the Crit primes in Grand Junction are for growlers from local pubs. And the Hot Tomato pizza café in Fruita has a thin crust that is to die for.