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Chuck Coyle's Local Racing Chronicles
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 4/9/2002
Chuck Coyle's Local Racing Chronicles
 

By Chuck Coyle 
Team 7-UP/Nutrafig

This week were my first "local" races of the season. When I talk with other riders when we are racing on the road they will often bring up that they either haven’t gotten any super fast races in their legs or they were looking forward to some easy "local" races. Here in Colorado there is no such thing as an easy local race.

With a huge talent pool of riders Colorado has some of the fastest and most competitive racing outside of the NRC. There are super fit regional racers as well as a copious amount of professional road and mountain bike racers that call the Boulder/Denver area home.

In most areas of the country there might be just one or two local pro’s who clean up when ever they are in town but seeing such guys as Henk Voguls, Scott Moninger, Chris Wherry (all Mercury), Michael Barry (USPS), Jonathan Vaughters (Credit Agricole), Chris "Scooter" Baldwin, Ryan Guay (both Navigators), Will Frishkorn, Chris Fisher (both Saturn), Dirk Friel, Mike Ley (both Jittery Joe’s), Alex Candelaro, Jamie Carney, Jonus Carnie, Danny Pate (all Prime Alliance) as well as my teammates Dan, Clark & Jeff at a small crit or at the Tues night training race is not only common, it is expected.

This weekend was no exception, the start line for Saturday’s 100+ rider crit could have easily have been mistaken for a national calendar event. Most of the major teams in the country were represented with: Mercury, Saturn, 7-Up/Nutra Fig, Credit Agricole, Prime Alliance and Jittery Joe’s as well as a host of top Mountain Bike Pro’s and a ton of fit elite armature riders ready to get the Colorado season into full swing.

At the start of the race I tried to stay at the front, mainly to keep out of trouble, then on the second lap about 10 of us got a gap that quickly ballooned into the race-making move. The only problem was that I was the only 7-Up/Nutra Fig rider with 4 of the Mercury boys in the split. Needless to say after some constant attacking Chris Wherry from Mercury ended up soloing in for the win and the rest of the break ended up sprinting it out.

Sunday was the infamous Boulder-Roubaix. I know it isn’t the real thing but Henk Voguls (Mercury) did show up (and he has been top 10 in the real thing). The race was only going to be 85 miles, so I decided to make the most of the day and ride to & from the race. What I did not think about was the fact that the peloton was not going to suck me along for and easy 85-mile ride. Rather, we were slogging along in the gravel of a loose canal trail and bouncing over brake-bumps on various dirt roads.

By the third of five laps, after some huge guttering of the field by my teammate Clark Sheehan, a group of 10 of us who managed to keep the rubber side down and not flat went up the road.

This is when Espior TT World Champion Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) put in an attack.

Shortly there after the wind picked up and Scott Moninger (Mercury) and myself were blown off the loose canal trail and lost contact with the lead group of 6. I ended up in a small group of 3 and buried myself to try and regain contact with the leaders but was only able to bring the gap down from 1 minute to 30 seconds. Scott was not able to get into our little chase group and wisely decided to call it a day. By the last lap the lead group was getting smaller and we were picking off riders one at a time but still were not able to bring them back.

Danny ended up taking home a hard earned victory with Mercury settling for 2nd.

It was only a "local" race……….

One of our sponsors (THF Reality) is based in St. Louis and once in while we will do smaller regional races in their neck of the woods and normally we manage to do incredibly well. Last year we did a two-day race there and we managed to ‘Domo’ the GC (1st, 2nd & 3rd)! Two of my teammates and I even lapped the entire field in the crit without too much difficulty. We didn’t ride any faster than we would in a normal race, rather the race speed in the Midwest is just a lot slower than in Colorado and is certainly nothing compared to a fast NRC race.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t good racing in the St. Louis area but there just are not enough super fast guys to push the pace. There are also not enough racers which means that the field consists of Pro, 1, 2 & category 3 riders. The cat 3’s don’t get to do their own race which is bad for two reasons. First they don’t get to gain experience and get the chance for good results racing with their peers. Secondly (and on the same note) they are not fast enough to actively participate in the faster Pro, 1 2 race, they spend the entire race on the rivet trying not to get dropped.

The same thing, but on a bigger scale is what happens between the US and European racers. When lower category riders from the US take trips to France or Belgium to race for a month or two it is usually a big slap in the face. You are always hearing tales of pain from riders who spend time across the pond. Also, whenever a rider return from a successful European campaign (they can still actually ride their bike without crying) watch out! If they are going well they will rip your legs off and then ask you if they can "do some efforts." Many pro or cat 1 riders have a better time of it but they still talk about how fast the racing is.

A couple of us are talking about possibly doing the Tour of Guatemala and the Herald Sun Tour so I am curious if my theory will apply in those places as well, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Thanks for reading!

Chuck


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