BEND, Ore. - The 2013 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships on Thursday moved to Mt. Bachelor for the first day of road races. The day started sunny with comfortable temperatures in Bend, but a thunderstorm with golf ball-sized hail pelted the course in the early afternoon, postponing three races.
The five races that were contested on Thursday provided plenty of entertaining competition for spectators in Oregon. The women's 40-44, men's 50-54 and 55-59 races opened the day's racing and were not affected by the storm. The men's 40-44 and 35-39 contests started under blue skies, but ended during the storm.
The 84-kilometer men's 50-54 road race was contested entirely under blue skies in cool, morning temperatures. Brendan Sullivan (Atlanta, Ga./Century Road Club Association) used a pair of well-timed attacks to best the 75-rider field and win the tightly contested race and secure the eighth national title of his career. The top five riders were separated by 46 seconds at the finish line.
About 20 kilometers into the race, Sullivan attacked a group of riders and was quickly joined by five riders. That group rode together through the middle of the race. As that group approached the steepest part of its climb up Mt. Bachelor, Sullivan attacked again and quickly built a gap. He expanded his advantage to 30 seconds, but a chase group formed and, working together, chipped away at Sullivan's edge.
Sullivan, who finished third in the time trial on Wednesday, completed the 84-kilometer contest in 2:07:37. Michael Tobin (Boise, Idaho/Boise Cycling Club) crossed the line in second place, 29 seconds behind Sullivan. Last year's winner in this group's road race, Kevin Metcalfe (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Team Specialized Racing), placed third, only one second behind Tobin and 11 seconds ahead of the fourth-place Jeffrey Hartmann (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Orthopedics). Mark Zimbelman (Provo, Utah/VOLO Cycling p/b RMSS) rounded out the podium, placing fifth after crossing the line 46 seconds behind Sullivan.
"I attacked about halfway up on what I thought was the steepest part," Sullivan said. "Frankly, I thought I'd ride away, but someone came with me. I don't know who he was and then I was very worried. We had a few little attacks each against each other. On about the third one, I managed to get about 20 yards and then just took it from there."
David Zimbelman (The Dalles, Ore.) topped the 51-rider men's 55-59 field after completing his 84-kilometer race in 2:23:25. Michael Vetterli (Alamo, Calif./Olympic Club) was a close second, finishing only four seconds behind the winner. Zan Treasure (Ogden, Utah/Bountiful Mazda Cycling Team) topped Steven Archer (Danville, Calif./Morgan Stanley Cycling Team) and Charles Holbrook (Oconomowoc, Wis./LAPT CC) in a three-rider sprint for third place.
Anne Perry (Draper, Utah/K4 Racing) came from behind to win the women's 40-44 race. Molly Van Houweling (Berkeley, Calif./Metromint Cycling), who won the time trial national title on Wednesday, opened an early lead on the field. Just as it seemed Van Houweling would apply her time trialing prowess and ride away from the field, Perry bridged and attacked Van Houweling. Perry opened a gap and finished the 84-kilometer race in 2:37:03. Van Houweling placed second, 25 seconds behind Perry and 26 seconds ahead of Felicia Gomez (Fresno, Calif./Pinnacle-CA), who placed third. Gomez won a three-rider sprint for third place, edging Amy Phillips (Chattanooga, Tenn./Scenic City Velo) and Athena Countouriotis (Carlsbad, Calif./Wolf Pack Cycling), who placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Christopher Phipps (San Francisco, Calif./Thirsty Bear Cycling) won the first national title of his career when he emerged from a two-man breakaway to win the men's 40-44 road race by two seconds. Phipps, who missed winning the time trial on Wednesday by less than one second, finished the 110-kilometer contest in 2:48:36.
With 82 talented competitors in the field, the riders were guarding against early attacks. With the field quickly answering any attacks, it remained together through the first two hours of the race. As the group approached its climb up Mt. Bachelor, Phipps and the winner of this race in 2012, Matthew Carinio (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Rock Solid Cycling), attacked. That duo traded pulls as they ascended Mt. Bachelor, but gradually Carinio ran out of gas. The winner of Wednesday's time trial national championship, Richard Feldman (Ketchum, Idaho/Durance-Colnago), was bridging the gap. With approximately five kilometers remaining in the race, thunder struck and hail fell.
"I just put my head down and went as hard as I could," Phipps said. "They (hail stones) were falling all around me and I thought they'd start to hit me soon. Sure enough, they started hitting me in the back and those things hurt. Then they started to cover the road, so you can't get out of the saddle because it is so slick. Then, it's like cyclo-cross. You're just pedaling as hard as you can with your head down. That last turn, I had a big gap. I just put my head down and went for it as hard as I could."
Phipps crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Carinio, who placed second. Daniel Bryant (Carmichael, Calif./Folsom Bike-VW-Raley's) finished only two seconds behind Carinio in third place. Local rider Ryan McKean (Bend, Ore.) placed fourth, edging Feldman, who placed fifth in the race.
The men's 35-39 contest was also affected by the thunderstorm. The 40-rider 35-39 field started its 110-kilometer contest 10 minutes after the men's 40-44 race began. Stephen Bedford (Portland, Ore./HPChiro-RPM Mortgage Cycling Team) rode through the hail to win the men's 35-39 national title. Bedford finished the race in 2:57:39, 30 seconds ahead of Rudolph Napolitano (Santa Monica, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team), who placed second. Jeromy Cottell (Redwood City, Calif./Team Specialized Racing) rode away with the bronze medal after completing his race 53 seconds behind Bedford. Jan Weissenberger (San Francisco, Calif./Team Bicycles Plus) finished fourth while Michael Easter (Ventura, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) rounded out the podium in fifth place.
The three races that were postponed from Thursday's schedule will be held in their entirety as part of Friday's slate of races. In addition to the races that were originally scheduled to take place on Friday, the men's 45-49 race has been rescheduled to begin at 9 a.m., the women's 35-39 is scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m. and the women's 45-49 contest is now slated to start at 3:10 p.m. An updated schedule is available online.
The road race course will begin at picturesque Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, loop clockwise south past Edison Sno-Park, and continue north up the legendary Sparks Lake Grade on Century Drive. The course, made famous through the Cascade Cycling Classic Stage Race, will end at the West Village parking lot of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.
For complete details on this event, including a complete schedule, results, course maps and a photo gallery, please visit the event website. If you can't make it out for the event, follow all of the action on Twitter using the hashtag #RoadNats.
2013 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships
Sept. 4-8, 2013
Men's 35-39 (110 km)
1. Stephen Bedford (Portland, Ore./HPChiro-RPM Mortgage Cycling Team) 2:57:39
2. Rudolph Napolitano (Santa Monica, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) +0:30
3. Jeromy Cottell (Redwood City, Calif./Team Specialized Racing) +0:53
4. Jan Weissenberger (San Francisco, Calif./Team Bicycles Plus) +3:00
5. Michael Easter (Ventura, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) +3:30
Men's 40-44 (110 km)
1. Christopher Phipps (San Francisco, Calif./Thirsty Bear Cycling) 2:48:36
2. Matthew Carinio (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Rock Solid Cycling) +0:02
3. Daniel Bryant (Carmichael, Calif./Folsom Bike-VW-Raley's) +0:04
4. Ryan McKean (Bend, Ore.) +0:42
5. Richard Feldman (Ketchum, Idaho/Durance-Colnago) +0:43
Men's 50-54 (84 km)
1. Brendan Sullivan (Atlanta, Ga./Century Road Club Association) 2:07:37
2. Michael Tobin (Boise, Idaho/Boise Cycling Club) +0:29
3. Kevin Metcalfe (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Team Specialized Racing) +0:30
4. Jeffrey Hartmann (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Orthopedics) +0:41
5. Mark Zimbelman (Provo, Utah/VOLO Cycling p/b RMSS) +0:46
Men's 55-59 (84 km)
1. David Zimbelman (The Dalles, Ore.) 2:23:25
2. Michael Vetterli (Alamo, Calif./Olympic Club) +0:04
3. Zan Treasure (Ogden, Utah/Bountiful Mazda Cycling Team) +0:41
4. Steven Archer (Danville, Calif./Morgan Stanley Cycling Team) +0:41
5. Charles Holbrook (Oconomowoc, Wis./LAPT CC) +0:41
Women's 40-44 (84 km)
1. Anne Perry (Draper, Utah/K4 Racing) 2:37:03
2. Molly Van Houweling (Berkeley, Calif./Metromint Cycling) +0:25
3. Felicia Gomez (Fresno, Calif./Pinnacle-CA) +0:51
4. Amy Phillips (Chattanooga, Tenn./Scenic City Velo) +0:51
5. Athena Countouriotis (Carlsbad, Calif./Wolf Pack Cycling) +0:51