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Archive for Sunday, May 13, 2007

Race hits rocky road

Rampant flats a factor as cyclists change course

Competitors in the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships leg it out over the dam at Perry Lake during the road-race portion of the event. The road race was Saturday around Perry Lake. Today, the three-day event will conclude with a criterium in downtown Lawrence.

Competitors in the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships leg it out over the dam at Perry Lake during the road-race portion of the event. The road race was Saturday around Perry Lake. Today, the three-day event will conclude with a criterium in downtown Lawrence.

May 13, 2007

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— Nobody anticipated the weather from a week ago would play such a factor in the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships at Perry Lake on Saturday.

But with the lake's water levels flooding out parts of the original course for the road race, cyclists had to take a different route around the lake - through gravel.

"I like to ride gravel in my spare time when I train, so I was kind of OK with bouncing around and getting beat up," said Kansas University's Jason Knight following his 38th-place finish with a time of 3:47:25 on the 84-mile course. "But it was definitely harder."

The hard gravel section translated into flat tires. A lot of flat tires.

"Everyone was hitting it as hard as they could through the gravel because it's kind of a decisive area, but left and right people were pulling up with flats," said KU's Jeff Schroeder, one of many riders unable to finish the three laps around Perry Lake due to the lack of available rubber. "I made it through, and I guess I got a flat right at the end of the gravel. I was actually getting excited because I was like, 'Wow, I made it through the gravel, I'm with the front group. This looks good.' But it was good that Jason made it through because he's our strongest guy."

Fortunately for Whitman College's Mara Abbott, she was at the head of the Division II women's pack going into the new section. As a result, Abbott was able to win her third consecutive road race title by dominating the field with a time of 2:57:15 - 33 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

"I knew if I was going hard enough, nobody was going to come around me, so I rode first wheel the entire way through the gravel, which let me pick my lane so I wasn't going to hit a big rock or something," said Abbott, who is also the reigning criterium and omnium champion. "It's one of those things that it's a really big shame. I was in a position that I could do something about it for myself, personally, but that didn't save our whole team.

Div. I Road-race winner Alex Boyd of Midwestern State University celebrates near the finish.

Div. I Road-race winner Alex Boyd of Midwestern State University celebrates near the finish.

"It's a shame because it makes the course less selective because there's a bunch of good hills on the original course, and then the entire first half to two-thirds of the lap was just pancake-flat," Abbott added about having to change routes. "It takes the tactics out a little bit : but at the same time the course is under water, so what are you going to do?"

With the high temperatures also playing a part in the races, Midwestern State's Alex Boyd still was able to pull away from a five-man breakaway in the closing miles of the D-I men's race. He won on by more than 25 seconds with a time of 3:46:09.

"It was extremely hot out. I'm just glad it's over," Boyd said. "I was hurting, but I didn't want to just throw away a 30-second lead."

While the D-I men and D-II women were blowout victories, it was the complete opposite in the D-I women and D-II men.

Florida's Rebecca Larson was fortunate enough to be at the front of a pack of 26 riders as they crossed the finish line, taking first with her time of 2:47:52.

For Toby Marzot of Dartmouth College, a photo finish had him crossing the line first at 3:57:24.4, with Colorado College's Todd Nordblom (3:57:34.5) and Whitman's Duncan McGovern (3:57:24.8) taking second and third.

Kansas State's Mark Smelser, the defending criterium champion and a native of McLouth, was able to overcome the heat and gravel to finish the Division I race in 24th with a time of 3:46:41 - just seconds behind the first pack to cross the finish line.

Kristen High, a member of KU Cycling trudges up a hill as she nears the finish of her first lap during Saturday's Road Race of the NCCA Cycling Championships at Perry Lake.

Kristen High, a member of KU Cycling trudges up a hill as she nears the finish of her first lap during Saturday's Road Race of the NCCA Cycling Championships at Perry Lake.

Of the three KU men, Schroeder was the only victim of a flat tire. John Giles completed the course in 80th with a time of 4:28:20.

Kansas' only two women riders, Kristen High and Kathy Kalbac, finished 66th and 67th respectively at the same time (2:55:56).

Attempting to defend the Division II team title, Whitman, a college in Walla Walla, Wash., is now 25 points behind first, after gaining four points on Western Washington University.

"Hopefully, we'll defend," Abbott said. "That's probably the most fun one - to defend the team title because the whole team would get credit."

In the D-I team omnium, the top two teams from last year are currently in second and third in the standings. Fort Lewis College, which took second to the University of California-Davis in 2006, is just eight points behind Stanford's mark of 351, while UC-Davis is another 38 points back.

Comments

i_tching 6 years, 11 months ago

Revise and combine the two courses, making it a sort of Kansas version of Paris-Roubaix. That would be cool.

Automobile and truck drivers who behave aggressively towards cyclists are committing assault. That's a problem. A far greater problem than that posed by a few cyclists that one must slow down to pass safely.

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Nick Yoho 6 years, 11 months ago

classclown(brave name), did you mean for the car drivers to think and pay attention to or the bicyclists? If you'd ridden a bike in the past 50 years you'd know there is already sand out there,and you must pay extreme attention to all the idiots in cars (like me),and potholes,and many other things of which car drivers are unaware.

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classclown 6 years, 11 months ago

For added excitment they should sand parts of the road as well. And put up an occasional clothesline. Make them think and pay attention. Then we will have us a sport.

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moveforward 6 years, 11 months ago

UH3

We cyclist totally get that you are "king of the road". After all you are trying to wield a 3000+ lb weapon. We like it when you pay attention. We also realize that you will need to pass us. The law states that we can in fact ride two abreast (you could read up on this as well) on most roads. We typically don't on high traffic roads or roads with narrow shoulders.

I can pretty much guarantee that recreational cyclist do not hit the road intending to be aggressive towards drivers. That would be pretty silly, don't you think? More likely, something you did appeared to be aggressive - or you overtly showed your annoyance. We realize that we break up your map reading, your conversations, meals and phone calls and force you to actually pay attentions and watch the road. Sorry - but we are entitled to use them as well, along with the tractors, buggies, motorcycles and dump trucks. We pay for them too.

It would be great if there were larger shoulders so we could get out of your way entirely. Call you local politician and let him know that you would support that. We will all be little happier.

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gccs14r 6 years, 11 months ago

'cause god forbid that you should have to share anything, much less a road.

It's too bad that the alternate route wasn't all paved. Here's hoping that they continue to run the races here for awhile.

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Rancho 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't think cyclist should be riding on roads that have a 55mph speedlimit and NO SHOULDER! That would be the case on 458 going to Lone Star. From now through winter, they will be there everyday, along with Grampa in his RV going to Clinton and the farmers hauling their wide load machinery to anoher feild. Oh, and the regular folks just trying to get to work and trying not to have a wreck caused by sharing the road.

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grimpeur 6 years, 11 months ago

If you're idiotic enough to get yourself into a position where "it's ever the choice between getting in a wreck with another car and using one of these obnoxious cyclists as a hood ornament," then you shouldn't have a license. Period.

If you're stupid enough to make this statement (esp. when you think you're anonymous), then your name should be given to the cops and DMV, your license revoked, and you should be banned from even taking the test again--on psychlogical grounds. Think Boardwalk poster.

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nobody1793 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't deny that some cyclists don't follow the rules of the road, and they tick me off a bit too. But I wish that drivers wouldn't take out thier anger on the rest of us law-abiding bike riders. Not too long ago, a car "buzzed" me on Wakarusa Dr while riding to work, and came within six inches of ending my life.

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Crossfire 6 years, 11 months ago

U/H3 I am sure that John & Lars would be real proud of you. Ryan has understated the obvious.

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ryan026 6 years, 11 months ago

You're right, running a cyclist over with your car and killing them is obviously the best option to put these reckless thugs out of everyone's misery....You're an idiot.

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Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 6 years, 11 months ago

Couldn't happen to a worse bunch of people. They run some of these cycle jaunts past our place and these people are obnoxious. They ride along way below the speed limit several abreast , blocking the road and then flip the drivers off when they try to get around them. I'll tell you, if it's ever the choice between getting in a wreck with another car and using one of these obnoxious cyclists as a hood ornament, it's a safe bet which one I'll pick.

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