Merckx Criterium – Race Report 3/27/22

Mar 29, 2022 | Events

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Race Results

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It’s been a while since there’s been a crit held in Missoula, and what a day for a crit Sunday was! We started the day out with an hour-long clinic, taught by one of the event organizers, Brian Bonham, Missoula’s crit queen, Tamara Bessette, and legends Josh Tack and Peter Leclaire. With about 20 people in attendance, this clinic went over how to corner at speed, riding in a pack, and race tactics, riding practice loops held in by Zilla State’s race tape. Riders fueled up on Grist Milling and Bakery goodies and Black Coffee Roasting Co’s brewed coffee, and talked through race day jitters, as Shaun gave some course advice and got the beginner cyclists ready to go.

 

Riders got to try out their newly honed skills during a beginners race. Todd Sack and Lucca Scariano quickly went off the front of the pack and had a race between the two, quickly making their way around the corners and trading off the headwind. The main pack held together well, and worked as a group, with Tamara and Brian in the race as coaches. Myla and Danny Spoon spent a good deal of time in the front of the pack, junior racers with promising crit finishes in their future. Lily Kendall hung with the pack for the race, taking her cycling skills up a notch from her Triathlon days. Milton Zhinin-Barreto drifted a few times from the pack, but put in the extra effort to rejoin, and get some of the drafting perks. In the end, Todd pulled away from Lucca in the final lap to secure his first place position, Lucca crossing shortly after for the silver, and a final sprint by Hans Hoffman had him up on the 3rd step of the podium. Best dressed goes to R1K rider Colin Hickey, our only rider to race in jorts, the theme for this past Sunday’s race. Myla Spoon worked hard for her first place spot, followed after by less than a second was Lily Kendall and Betsy Corneius, who also had a great first crit race. Nice work to all beginner racers– jumping into a crit can seem like a daunting feat, but these racers took it seriously and learned some of the imperative skills of crit racing prior to the race, which led to the success of the race as a whole.

 

 

The women’s field was strong with Twenty24 rider Charlotte Lehmann from Polson, Jess Culver riding for MT Alpha, Kinsey Remien and Tamara Bessette for Big Sky, and both Meghann Schroeder and Jenna Tomiello riding for MTCX. At the start line, junior rider Myla Spoon jumped in for a few laps, to see how her legs would hold up, and to ride with her Twenty24 teammate, Charlotte. The race was fast and tight for the first half, with a few breakaways followed up by a few chases, with the group holding together for most of the laps. About half way through, Kinsey Remien put in a big effort and went off the front, and held her attack for the rest of the race. The pack of 5 women traded off and worked their way through their laps, sticking together for most of the remainder of the race. The final moments saw Culver, Lehmann, and Tomiello working hard jockeying for position, with Charlotte leading the sprint through the final corner to take 2nd, chased by Jenna who crossed for 3rd. Strong riding to all the women out there on Sunday, in both experienced and beginner races. 

 

There were 19 riders in the Experienced Men’s race–it only took a lap for the race to get exciting, with some early moves by Tack, and eventually with Thomas Smith from Helena rocketing off the front for a few laps, and the rest of the pack figuring out how to work together to chase. After a few chase efforts, one finally stuck and caught up with Smith, resulting in a front pack of five riders: Smith, Kaufman, Grass, Turchin, and Boles. The race held steady for a few laps, with the front group, following chase group, and a third group forming off the back of the chase. Leclaire came around Bonham, pulling for the chase at the time, and the two of them catapulted off the front, working hard as a duo to cut down the time between them and the lead pack. Though ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor, they wound up cutting the time between the pack of two and lead group by half. In the end, Boles of Bozeman won the sprint to the finish, followed quickly by Turchin of Helena, and Grass from Missoula for 3rd. Kaufman came in 4th, and Smith, who began the front group, coming in 5th. The sprint of the day goes to Evan Wedsworth: the middle group turned the corner with Hylton having a solid gap, when Wedsworth turned on the watts to power up the climb and beat him to the line by a tenth of a second. Impressive efforts all around. 

 

Big thanks to Big Sky Brewing Co, for hosting our event on-site. The course was perfect, and a great hang out spot after the race finished. Our course was kept safe by the course tape donated by Zilla State; and we had some great snacks provided by Grist and Black Coffee. Rick from Marshall Mountain, one of our Gold Sponsors, raced his first crit, and looked strong every lap (and there were a lot of laps). We’re ever grateful to the rest of our amazing sponsors, and to all the volunteers who helped keep our riders safe on the roads. Looking forward to another crit this coming Sunday, April 3, same time, same place. 

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