The 2013 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships concluded Sunday in downtown Redmond with the remaining nine criterium races.
In all, nearly 800 unique riders competed throughout the week and 98 Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were awarded to the best road racers in the country over the age of 35.
The classic eight-corner, T-shaped course in downtown Redmond that favors technical riders. The 1.2-kilometer circuit provides riders with fast terrain with ample room for the larger field sizes competing in the national championships.
The day’s first race featured two fields of women riding simultaneously. Phyllis Olrich (Grass Valley, Calif./Victory Velo Racing), who sprinted to win the women’s 60-64 road race on Friday, used those sprinter’s legs to narrowly edge Jane Geisse (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Spin) and win her age group’s criterium on Sunday.
“I've learned from others competitors over the years to grab a wheel and come out at the last second,” Olrich said of the timing of her sprint. “There were a lot of laps that were kind of easy. We were just taking our time. There were some surges that put me in the red zone.”
Elizabeth Tyrell (Annandale, N.J./Somerset Wheelmen) topped the women’s 60-64 Best All-Around Rider results after winning the time trial and placing third in the road race and criterium.
Patricia Kimper (Solana Beach, Calif./San Diego Bicycle Club) made her third podium appearance of the week when she won the women’s 65-69 criterium on Sunday. Kimper had been the runner-up in the road race and time trial earlier in the event.
Melinda Berge (Park City, Utah) claimed the women’s 65-69 Best All-Around Rider after she topped the podiums following the time trial and road race earlier in the week.
The second race of the day showcased three men’s fields competing in their group’s criterium. William Meyers (Oak Creek, Colo./Schwab Cycles Racing Team), who was riding in the men’s 75-79 field, showcased his abilities as he lapped the entire field enroute to securing the 15th national championship of his career. About midway through the race, Meyers attacked the field and nobody chased. He quickly opened a significant gap and with six laps remaining in the race, Meyers caught the back of the main field.
“I had good legs today,” Meyers said. “I think coming to a lower altitude helped me out and I think riding these several days helped get my legs going. I never quite know how my legs are going to feel, but once I got out there, the pace sped up a little bit. I seemed to feel pretty good. I just put my head down and by the time I could not see them on the straightaway, I had a pretty good chance of staying away.”
Meyers victory on Sunday secured his spot as the men’s 75-79 Best All-Around Rider after winning each of the three events during the week.
Weslye Bruce (S. Hutchinson, Kan./Midwest Masters Cycling Team-KS) began his sprint at the right time as he edged Michael Patterson (Old Lyme, Conn.), who claimed the bronze medal, to win the men’s 70-74 national title. Michael Williams (Metairie, La.) finished third in the sprint to secure the bronze medal.
Higgins appeared on the podium following each of the three events this week, securing his spot as the men’s 70-74 Best All-Around Rider. Higgins won the time trial, placed fourth in the criterium and fifth in the road race earlier in the week.
Walter Axthelm (Durango, Colo./NoTubes Endurance Racing) stayed with the main pack as the remaining competitors in the men’s 80-and-over field could not keep pace with the younger riders. Frederic Schmid (Waco, Texas/Jubilee Subaru) finished second while Albert Piemme (Sequim, Wash.) rode away with the bronze medal. Axthelm won each of the three events in Oregon in his age group to earn the Best All-Around Rider for that group.
John Elgart (Sacramento, Calif./Alto Velo Racing Club) used a noticeable tailwind and a strong kick to claim another Stars-and Stripes jersey. Elgart edged Rob LeBard (Grass Valley, Calif./Victory Velo Racing) by only three-tenths of a second to win the men's 65-69 criterium national title. John Rubcic (Hemet Calif./Sun Coast Velo) earned the bronze medal. Whitney Fanning (Waco, Texas/Jubilee Subaru) narrowly defeated Loren Simons (St. Johns, Mich./Team Priority Health) in the race for fourth.
Ed Chamberlin (Grand Junction, Colo./LTR Sports) earned the men's 65-69 Best All-Around Rider after winning that group's road race and time trial before placing sixth in Sunday's criterium.
Charles Townsend (Mendota Heights, Minn./St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club) and Thomas Officer (Litchfield, Conn./Cycle Fitness Cycling Club) quickly left the men’s 60-64 field racing for third place. Officer attacked about midway through the 35-kilometer contest and Townsend got on his wheel. The two riders worked together and built a large lead on the remainder of the field. Knowing they’d secured the top two spots, Officer and Townsend began vying for the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Officer attacked Townsend several times throughout the latter stages of the race, but each time Townsend was up to the task and held Officer’s wheel. As the two leaders turned into the final straightaway, Townsend’s sprint was faster than Officer’s and Townsend claimed the sixth national championship of his career.
“It feels fantastic,” Townsend said. “To be in the break with a man like Tom Officer, a rider of his pedigree is fantastic. I was just happy to be able to make that work.”
The winner of the 2012 men’s 60-64 criterium national championship, Kalman Szkalak (Capistrano Beach, Calif./Sun Coast Velo) won the field sprint for third. Ronald Wilson (Knoxville, Tenn./Southern Cycling Operations (SCO)) finished third while Tom Hackleman (Tacoma, Wash./Old Town Bicycle (OTB)) placed fifth.
Officer, who made three podium appearances during the week, earned the men’s 60-64 Best All-Around Rider. He finished third in the time trial and road race before placing second in Sunday’s criterium.
The women’s 55-59 criterium needed every centimeter of the 30 kilometers allotted to decide a national champion. Six riders stayed together at the front of the race before Margaret Douglass (Salt Lake City, Utah/Bountiful Mazda Cycling Team) narrowly won the six-rider sprint to claim the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Alison Brown (Ridgeland, Miss./Scenic City Velo) was a very close second place ahead of Lesley Jensen (Benicia, Calif./Rio Strada Racing), who earned the bronze medal. Nancy Ford (Greenwich, Conn./Team Danbury Audi) finished fourth while MaryAnn Levenson (Menlo Park, Calif./B4T9-Foundation) rounded out the podium.
With a pair of second-place results, Arrietta Clauss (Madison, Wis./Trek Midwest Team) earned the women’s 55-59 Best All-Around Rider. Clauss was the runner up in the time trial and road race earlier in the week.
The day’s final race was also its most exciting as the country’s best 50-54-year-old female criterium riders squared off for 30-kilometers. Local rider Helen Grogan (Bend, Ore.) tucked herself on the left side of the field and time her sprint perfectly to surge into the lead and claim the first national championship of her career. Grogan, who placed third in 2011 and second in 2012 ascended to the top step of the podium on Sunday.
“It's amazing,” Grogan said. “Everybody told me I could do it and I did! I thought I'd blown it and I told myself, 'It's not over until you get to that line.' I felt like suddenly everybody was swarming in the last couple corners. I told myself, 'It's a long straight. You've done the training. Just go. I've got great teammates."
Jennie Phillips (Danville, Calif./Contra Costa Cycling Club) finished second to Grogan in the sprint while Debbie Phelps (Rockledge, Fla./Infinity Bike Shop), who set a torrid pace each time she drove the field, earned the bronze medal. Stephanie Breslin de Sosa (Centerville, Ohio/Ghisallo Cycling Team Inc.) edged Lisa Coyne (Seattle, Wash./Sound Velo Cycling Club) in the sprint for fourth place.