Watch some of the best cyclists Colorado can ask for this weekend, Friday through Sunday, April 18-20.
Around the Grand Valley, cyclists will compete in the third annual Maverick Classic by Colorado Mesa University. This race is one not to be missed as it hosts not only collegiate teams from all over Colorado and eastern Utah, but also professionals from all over the country.
This year’s race has four stages in the open class. It’s one of only two stage races in all of Colorado. Open-class riders will compete in all four stages, while collegiate athletes participate in three stages.
This event is the last race of the season for collegiate cycling. The Maverick Classic is also the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference championships. That means racing is expected to be intense — especially for first place in the conference between CMU and University of Colorado Boulder.
Racers come from all over Colorado, along with several out-of-towners including Bjorn Selander of Team Optum from Wisconsin.
One Grand Valley local to watch is Marta Morris, 17, on the national TWENTY16 Junior Development Team. This is her first race in her hometown of Grand Junction.
“I’m really excited about the criterium downtown on Saturday night,” Morris said. “I’ve watched people race there before, and now I finally get the chance to race in it.”
OFF TO THE RACES
On Friday, April 18, Fruita is set to host a fat tire criterium. Racing begins at 2:30 p.m. and the last race is at 6:20 p.m. Racers start at 325 Aspen Ave. Riders compete on a .74 mile course through downtown Fruita and it flows through Circle Park — a fun place to set up a chair and watch as they fly through.
Saturday, April 19, racing continues at 8:30 a.m. with the individual and team time trial. This stage is fun to watch as competitors ride as fast as they can on the rolling hills of Fruita. The start is at 17 Road and Roberson Drive. The course is 11.6 miles long. Collegiate starts the morning off and is followed by the open categories, which include Women’s Pro Open.
After lunch on Main Street in Grand Junction, check out the MOG Outdoor Fest on the corner of Main and Fourth streets and grab a seat at one of the great venues along the crit course to watch racers speed around downtown. The race will start and finish at US Bank located at 422 White Ave. Then it ventures throughout downtown between Third and Sixth streets and White and Colorado. The criterium is fast paced and is sure to please. The last race of the night is the Men’s Pro race at 7:15 p.m. Please note that roads are blocked off for through traffic due to the races, so plan accordingly downtown.
On Sunday, April 20, after Easter services take a drive to Palisade to watch cyclists ride through the blooming vineyards and orchards of the Fruit & Wine Byway. Racing begins at 8:30 a.m. A fun place to watch would be downtown Palisade or on 38 Road as racers head up and down a 14-percent grade hill.
CMU TEAM UPDATE
CMU’s cycling team is hoping to conclude their success from the road season at home with wins at all stages.
“The team is looking super strong going into this weekend,” head coach Patric Rostel said.
Some of the riders to watch during the race weekend include Ariane Horbach, Cullen Easter, Morgan Ryan, Zack LaVergne, Sam Phillips and Spencer Oswald.
In Women’s A, they have won all races except one and Horbach is leading the RMCCC women’s category. She is also a favorite to win the collegiate road national championship.
For the men, Oswald is the current leader in the RMCCC.
According to Rostel, the best race to watch is the downtown Grand Junction criterium.
“I think we will see a crazy Men’s A criterium since all the other teams want to cross our plans in winning our home race,” Rostel said.
For more information, visit www.coloradomesa.edu/maverickclassic.