By Ryan Barrett
Utah State Elite Road Race Champion’s
latest notes from the road at the Utah State Championships, USA Elite Nationals,
and the High Unitas Stage Race.
The Latest Peloton Tales
The last time you heard from me was after Tour of Utah. I
got a couple comments that my last entry was a bit of a downer. I’ll give you a
quick up date as to what’s been going down since then before getting to the meat
of the story.
The week after my “downer” at Tour of Utah, things got
better at the Utah State Road Race Championships. I got to be the big winner,
which was real cool. What was even cooler was that I felt better than I ever
have at the end of 100 miles… probably even better than I have at the end of 100
miles training. I’ll give this up to my Healthy Choice/ Goble Knee Clinic team
who did all the work and let me chill for the first 70 miles, but I definitely
felt like my form was coming around too. I won on this course during a stage
race last year too, so I guess it is a good course for me.
The following week we had our State Criterium and Time
Trial Championships. Jeff Louder (Navigator’s Insurance) won the criterium.
It always kills me when a lone ranger comes in and beats our whole team. I felt
a little better when he finished 3rd (to a teammate) at Tour de Beauce and 2nd
(again to a teammate) at time trial nationals… At least, we know the guy was on
raging form. My teammate Jesse “The Body” Westergard finished third.
In the TT, it was a race between my teammates Gardie “The Master” Jackson and
Nate “The Student” Thomas. Nate won the state title. That’s what you get for
giving away all your tricks, G-love.
After that, we raced High Uintas, a new favorite race that
I’ll get to in a minute.
First, I’m gonna touch on the Elite National Championships. I was a little sick
going in, but I basically quit when we hit the hills toward the end of the 125
I finished, but I quit, if you know what I mean. I basically said “I’m not
gonna win, so why suffer” as soon as we hit the hill.
This is maybe not the best attitude and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to
some of you, but that’s just what went through my head. Straight after the
race, I got in the car picked up Kelly and Haley (wife and baby for those who
haven’t been keeping score) and drove to California to visit the in-laws.
While there, my man Ken Toman came down and rode with me. We had a lovely stop
at Star-B’s on Main Street in Huntington Beach. Weekends in HB in the summer
are just nuts. It must be the fake booby capital of the world. All the tough
nuts were out cruising the strip in their jacked up pick-ups or on their
impossible to steer cruisers.
I see how you could get in a lot of trouble hanging out around here, but I’ll
leave that to local boy Jason Bausch. Speaking of whom, he won the CBR crit,
the next day. I finished a so-so 6th, but felt good or at least a lot better
than I’d felt the week before.
As always, Chris Lotts and his CBR crew did a tippy-top job.
I also got to go to the Bicycle Film Festival’s LA premiere
of “Pro”. This was a great excuse for the wife and I to go out without the
baby. Jamie (Paolinetti, the man behind the movie and my ex-teammate) had me
and Tony Cruz (Discovery Channel) come up on stage for the question and answer
after. I think Jamie pretty much just didn’t want to be up there alone. It was
fun, though. I wanted to be like “yeah, I did this race once and sorta-kinda
finished in the laughing group”, but I restrained myself. Leaving the theatre
after midnight, all the clubs were going off, and I am pretty sure Kelly and I
came to the conclusion that Hollywood is definitely not our scene.
High Uintas Stage Race
Save regional racing!!
What if you held a race and no one came?
What if you had super courses, a 17 year history, good prize money (for all
categories), excellent venues, but the racers just didn’t show?
It wasn’t quite that grim for the promoters of the High Uintas Stage Race, but
it was close. I expect this race will be back to full capacity in the future
because it’s just too awesome for people to avoid.
I hope that people avoided it this year because there was just too much else
going on. Mountain bike races in nearby Park City, Tour de Nez a do-able drive
away, Elite, Masters, Espoir, and Junior Nationals the week after. I also hope
that those who missed it realize their mistake and show next year. The race is
under the gun from the city of Evanston and I really hope they can continue to
hold this awesome event. I was tempted by the lure of big money at Tour de Nez
myself, but the beginnings of a cold kept me from making the drive. Ultimately
while I’m sure Tour de Nez is a great race too, I am glad I stayed local.
The first stage of this race leaves Kamas, Utah and
normally finishes in Evanston, WY. This sees the racer’s over a 10,700 foot
pass, back down and on flat to rolling roads the last 30 miles.
The typical plot is for a group a climber’s to get away over the pass for the
KOM and then get caught (or not) on the run-in. This year there was
construction on the road to Evanston, so we basically just went over the pass
and down the other side, not leaving much opportunity to catch those who got a
gap. As this was my first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Definitely epic
stuff. The snow was still piled quite high on the sides of the road at the top
of the pass and it was about 20 degrees cooler than where we started.
The second stage is a rolling ten mile time trial outside
of Evanston, and the race finished with a criterium in downtown Evanston.
This is no boring flat crit, however. It is true hard man’s criterium with a
steep climb, fast corners and nice downtown atmosphere. Oh yeah, and one other
thing, big primes. I think we made almost as much off primes in the crit as we
did from having three guys in the top 10 overall.
After the race, there was FREE pizza and beer (and soda-pop
for us straight-laced types) during the awards ceremonies, which included a real
podium presentation with podium girls and everything for all categories.
Overall, this was one of the most well organized races I have been a part of.
Probably the most well-run regional race. I hope that people from this region
will reprioritize next year and make this a top priority. Too much work has
been done for an event like this one to die. I also hope that everyone out
there will take a look at the races in their own region, and support the ones
that are truly giving something back to cycling before they disappear.
“Ride fast. Live slow, and without regret”