A festival atmosphere prevailed in downtown Grand Junction as the pros warmed up for their evening Fat Boy Criterium. All day, bands had been warming up the large crowd of spectators, as they enjoyed the bike industry and arts fair on Main Street. There was also a “Klunker’ race where participants in costumes rode a couple laps of the course. Grand Junction has been quite wet in recent weeks, but tonight the weather was a perfect 70 degrees for the racers.
Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak Ergon Canyon) shocked the peloton by riding nearly five laps off the front to take the win. Mitch Hoke (Pros Closet) had been gapped by Bishop, but had enough in the tank to secure second place. Ernie Watenpaugh (Jack Daniels) finished third. Brian Alders (TrainingPeaks) finished fourth, and Ben Sonntag (Cliff Bar) rounded out the podium in fifth place.
The Grand Junction course was flat, totally on pavement, and included quite a few turns. Todd Wells (Specialized) got the inside line to the first turn after the start, but it quickly became apparent that this race would be contested by at least ten riders. Brian Smith (Griggs Orthopedics) and Chris Baddick (Boulder Cycle Sport) took turns at the front, but Fernando Paez (Raleigh Clement) and Jeremiah Bishop following their wheels closely.
Several primes had an effect on the final outcome. Jeremiah Bishop explained, “I was thinking that I had one match to spend so I better spend it wisely. There was a nice set-up. It worked perfectly. Wells hit it really hard, and then Sonntag hit it hard to close for a prime. When they were kind of coming back to us and I knew it was a perfect opportunity”.
Bishop continued, “Paez went with me and he pulled through. We had another guy with us briefly. Then after about a lap and a half, Paez couldn’t pedal through the corners. I wanted to work together but I also wanted to drive it. We had to hold a good 380-400 (watts) anytime we were pedaling. I started to get a little bit of a gap on him and I thought this is actually perfect. If I leave him and they see him coming back, they will think they are catching us (both).”
Behind Bishop and Paez, the chase group contained virtually all other racers. Wells, Hoke, and others took turns driving the chase but the leaders were able to get out of sight due to the many turns on the course. During the final laps, Paez was absorbed into the chase group and fell to tenth place. At the end, there was a bunch sprint for second place, which Hoke won by just a few feet.
While the size of the women’s field was much smaller than the men’s field, the quality of the racers was impressive. USA Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) won in a dash to the line. Former Road National Champion Meredith Miller (Noosa Pro Team) took second place closely behind Compton. Amanda Miller, the current Fat Bike National Champion, won a couple primes and was good enough for third place. Amy Beisel (Liv-SRAM) finished fourth, while Rose Grant secured the final spot on the podium in fifth place.
Amy Beisel took the hole-shot and led for over a lap. Rose Grant then asserted herself and drove the train with Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Amanda Miller following closely. Compton appeared comfortable riding a few places back while others expended energy on the front.
As a result of competing for primes, Amanda Miller led the race for a couple laps. But, when Compton went to the front in the final laps, the racing got really serious. Nash, Grant, Biesel, and both Millers focused on not letting Compton get away.
The final corner on the course was only about 100 feet from the finish line. On the final lap Compton got through that turn first and could not really be challenged in a sprint to the line. Meredith Miller did her best but came up about ten feet short.
Miller, who had probably competed in hundreds of road criteriums, was racing her first ever Fat Tire Criterium. Having claimed to Cyclingnews before the race that she was nowhere near peak form, she explained her second place result, “I just know how to ride a crit. I know how to follow wheels. There was one point where there was a bit of a gap (ahead) and a few riders got across….that was the only point when I though I might be losing contact. “
Miller also explained the dynamics for the final half-lap; “Amanda Miller had actually jumped a couple times for primes, in the same place each time. I knew that was where I wanted to jump, but I was just out of gears. Katie said after the race that she had one more gear (at that point), and that’s exactly what she needed to get the jump on us.”
The Pros will race again on Sunday in the main event, The 40 Grand, where $30,000 in prize money is on the line. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews.com for all the action.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak, Ergon, Canyon Bicycles)|
|2||Mitch Hoke (The Pros Closet, Kenda, Stans Notubes)|
|3||Ernie Watenpaugh (Jack Daniels, Telluride Venture Accelerator, BMC Bikes)|
|4||Bryan Alders (TrainingPeaks, Yeti, Pactimo)|
|5||Benjamin Sonntag (Clif Bar, Niner Bikes, SRAM)|
|6||Mark Currie (Champion System, Swiftwick, Adrenalin Cycles)|
|7||Barkley Robinson (Orange Peel)|
|8||Nick Gould (Ska Brewing, Zia Taqueria, Trek Bikes)|
|9||Alex Grant (Ridebiker Alliance, Cannondale, Gear Rush)|
|10||Hector Fernando Riveros Paez (Raleigh, Clement, Shimano)|
|11||Dana Weber (Stage 21)|
|12||Patrick Chartrand (Louis Garneau, Powerwatts Nord, Monty Sylvestre)|
|13||Brian Smith (Griggs Orthopedics, Stan's NoTubes)|
|14||Donny Warbritton (Stages Cycling)|
|15||Dave Harrison (Club Ride, Borealis, Orbea)|
|17||Tj Woodruff (Pivot, Stans NoTubes, Momentum Endurance)|
|18||Josiah Middaugh (ENVE Composites, Felt Bicycles, Optic Nerve)|
|20||Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh Clement)|
|21||Elliot Reinecke (Book a Bike Mechanic.com, Teleost Fins, Focus Bikes)|
|22||Brady Kappius (Clif Bar, Kappius Components, SRAM)|
|23||Nick Truitt (Breck Bike Guides, Shimano, Naturally Fast)|
|24||Kris Sneddon (Kona Bikes, Mom and Dad, Logging)|
|25||Todd Wells (Specialized, Clif Bar, Oakley)|
|26||Chris Baddick (Boulder Cycle Sport, Yogaglo)|
|27||Ricky Willis (Paragon Outdoors, Bootdoctors, Telluride Cycling Club)|
|28||Bryan Dillon (SRAM, Pivot, Griggs Orthopedics)|
|29||Jeff Minotto (Steamboat Velo p/b Moots, Centennial Bank)|
|30||Liam Dunn (Clif Bar, Niner Bikes, Kappius Components)|
|31||Tim Racette (McDowell Mountain Cycles, Mikes Mix Recovery Drink, Schwalbe Tires)|
|32||Ryan Standish (San Juan Cycles, Steamworks Brewing)|
|33||Brad Bingham (Kent Eriksen Cycles, DT Swiss, Honey Stinger)|
|34||Jay Henry (Tokyo Joes, Scott Bikes, Pearl Izumi)|
|35||Cody Cupp (Raleigh Bicycles, SET Coaching, Arelberg's Sports)|
|36||Jason Hilimire (FasCat Coaching-Geneva Bicycle Center)|
|37||Colby Lash (Chocolay, ACE Hardware, KMK Cyclery)|
|38||Brett Denney (Honey Stinger, Bontrager, Beet Elite)|
|39||Joshua Mcdowell (Colavita, 3D Racing Bikes, Broken Spoke Bike Shop)|
|40||Jason Hanson (Rotor Components)|
|41||Jt Toepel (Groove Subaru/Excel Sports, Rudy Project, Domahidy Designs)|
|42||Scott Leonard (Mountain Flyer Magazine, Basalt Bike & Ski)|
|43||Nick Skaggs (Nationwide Insurance, Trek Bicycle, Flat Tire Bike Shop)|
|44||Eric Landis (Mountain Racing Products, Deity Components, Bicycle Outfitters)|
|DNS||Kristofer Ochs (Tokyo Joe's, POC, Scott)|
|DNS||Carter Shaver (Giant, Spy, SRAM)|
|DNS||Josh Whitney (Evol Foods, Breeze Bars, Upslope Brewing)|
|DNS||Colin Osborn (Giant Co Factory Off Road Team, SRAM, SRM)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing, Bontrager, Shimano)|
|2||Meredith Miller (Noosa Yogurt, ENVE)|
|3||Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport, Yoga Glo)|
|4||Amy Beisel (LIV Co-Factory, SRAM, OSMOnutrition)|
|5||Rose Grant (Stan's NoTubes, Cannondale Bicycles, Griggs Orthopedics Performance)|
|6||Hannah Williams (Eriksen Cycles, Honey Stinger, Osmo Nutrition)|
|7||Katerina Nash (Luna, Orbea, Shimano)|
|8||Liz Carrington (CRC Janitorial, Cannondale, Hassle Free Sports)|
|9||Evelyn Dong (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale)|
|10||Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's NoTubes, Kenda Tires, Griggs Orthopedics Performance)|
|11||Rebecca Hodgett (ALP Cycles Coaching)|
|12||Jennifer Smith (Stans NoTubes, Cannondale Bicycles, Griggs Orthopedics Performance)|
|13||Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joes)|
|14||Becky Edmiston (Rock N Roll Sports, Steamboat Velo)|
|15||Heidi Rentz (Ibis, The Cycling House, GU Energy)|
|DNS||Evelyn Racette (Mike's Mix Recovery Drink)|
|DNS||Anne St. Clair (Moab Cyclery)|