Colossal Cave Stage Race – Day 1
Every year around this time I hear the same thing. “It’s probably the last time for Colossal Cave.”. Yet, each season it remains the eastern anchor of racing in Tucson. Refusing to accept the fate of other races that succumbed to “urbanization”, Colossal Cave EXPANDED into a three day stage race, scored in the Omnium format with points, not time. Saturday started with a short 2.8 mile TT, followed by an afternoon Criterium on a technical course. On Sunday, the traditional Colossal Cave Road Race would finish out the weekend hat-trick.
I believe the overall start list had almost 220 riders. It seemed like a pretty good turnout. The Cat 5’s were well represented, and there was a very good turnout for the Juniors. That’s a great sight to see. The TT ran smoothly with no issues. What really surprised me was the amount of traffic on the road by the end of the race.
This part of Tucson has grown so much and there are rooftops in every direction. Thus the threat to the courses on the far southeast side of town. We need to enjoy them while we can and keep the sport high profile in the community.
Curtis Gunn took the Pro-I crown with Landis/Trek riders Nick Schreiber and Denny Vaughan taking second and third. The Pro-I-II women saw Catherine Dickson (Metro Phx Bank/LifeLock/Tribe Racing) put in the best time with Judy Jenkins (Specialized Designs for Women/ Bicycle Haus) and Dicksons teammate Megan French filling the top three spots. The Juniors saw large groups from both El Groupo and Yuma Bike Club participating.
With the Time Trial completed, the venue for the weekend turned to the Criterium, held on the Kart Track. I can hear the moans of displeasure now… The course is bound to elicit strong emotions from both haters and lovers alike (those who love to hate and hate the lovers). The course is technical. the course is fast and the course demands your attention at all times. There is nothing to hate about the course. It’s a good Crit course. It will test you as a bike handler. And…..it’s good for pictures too!
It’s also good to heed the warning to bring “sticky” tires. How it’s ridden can be a problem. Of the few who left some skin on the pavement, it looked like the majority were single rider mishaps. Wheel slid out, tire rolled type stuff. Maybe some tires touching in the corners. Mostly avoidable stuff.
You’ve got to turn in a group during a race sooner or later. It’s a good course to get use to that type of riding. Come race time, most of the riders took the corners single file, or two deep on occasion. A civil approach to the course indeed. As with most weekend races, the rule is keep yourself healthy for work on Monday!