For immediate release
July 18, 2010
LYONS, Colorado — After nearly two years of planning by organizers — and countless hours of training by participants — Centurion Colorado presented by Cervélo propelled nearly 900 riders away from the startline in Lyons, and onto the scenic and sometimes grueling roads of Boulder County, Colorado on Sunday.
The inaugural event of Centurion Cycling’s three-race gran fondo-style series, Centurion Colorado included routes of 100, 50 and 25 miles, allowing racers, serious riders, casual enthusiasts and beginners to all take on this computer-chip timed new challenge.
Top results of the day in Colorado came from Boulder residents Jonathan Baker and Julie Emmerman, who won the men’s and women’s overall titles in the 100-mile affair that included two grueling climbs from the base of the Colorado’s Front Range foothills up to the aptly named Peak-to-Peak Highway. That meant nearly 9100 feet of climbing, a brutal test made tougher by temperatures that climbed into the mid-90s.
Baker stopped the clock in 4 hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds. Emmerman was 55th overall, but first female, stopping the clock in 5:17:18. For their troubles each won a Centurion Cycling Pactimo winner’s jersey, a framed Centurion poster, and a pair of Mavic Wheels. It was well earned booty.
“Riding 100 miles in the heat on those climbs is tough,” said the 36-year-old Baker who works as a futures trader when he’s not on his bike. “But these are roads I’ve ridden countless times. It’s my backyard, so I know them like the back of my hand and I knew what to expect.”
Actually, Baker was caught slightly off guard early on when pro triathlete and Lyons resident Chris Legh took off alone, and at one point had a full six-minute lead. But Legh couldn’t make the move stick, and was reeled in during the second half of the race.
|From Boulder Centurion Cycling|
“I went away with a few other guys, but then all a sudden I was alone,” explained Legh. “I ended up doing about three hours by myself before I got caught. Then I exploded a little. I knew it was going to happen, but I still had an awesome time. It was a great event.”
Legh ended up sixth overall, but did secure the Centurion Colorado King of the Mountains Jersey by posting the fastest time during the climb up Lefthand Canyon through Ward. Baker and fellow Boulder resident Nico Toutenhoofd caught Legh late in the second lap, then barreled to the finish where Baker easily won the sprint.
“When we hit the Super James Climb my teammate Greg Krause got dropped, so I just sat on Nico because I knew if I could get to the top with him I could beat him in a sprint,” explained Baker. “We worked pretty well together to get to the finish faster, then I jumped him in the last corner back in Lyons and took it.”
Krause ended up third.
Photo Credit: David Merrill
The top three in the women’s field were Emmerman, Jane Finsterwald and Gwen Inglis.
“I was just sitting in with a big group going up to Ward, then I just rolled off the front a little when it got steep,” said Emmerman, who works as a sport psychologist. “I ended up riding by myself a lot, but it worked out okay. I rode within self and had a great time. It was really cool to see the community of Lyons come out for this. There were so many volunteers, the aid stations were great. It was just a great event.”
That sentiment was true even for those who weren’t racing at the front of the field. Scott Pigford and Steve Terjak rolled in together just after the 7.5-hour mark. And despite briefly getting hailed on during the descent of South St. Vrain Canyon, they were all smiles at the finish.
“Super James, and the dirt road section, and then the rain, wow,” said Pigford, who came up from Austin, Texas to race. “It was killer but I would definitely come back. It was well organized, we had timing chips. It was a little taste of what being a pro is like.”
“A lot happened out there,” added an exhausted Terjak. “It was a real mix of ups and downs. I felt great on the first loop, but the second was pretty hard with the heat and Super James. But that’s all part of the experience. That’s why we do things like this. I definitely had fun.”
Photo Credit: David Merrill
With that Terjak walked off to the bustling Centurion Expo for what would perhaps be the best part of his day. Included with the price of registration was a heaping plate of lasagna, salad and an ice cold beer.
-- Among the notable celebrity guests toeing the Centurion Colorado startline were Tour de France stage winner Davis Phinney and Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter in the 25-miler, and Garmin-Transitions pro Peter Stetina, who ride the 100 in support of his uncle Wayne Stetina. “It was great day,” said Stetina, who’s on Garmin’s long team for September’s Vuelta a España. “Totally awesome event with the potential to get really big in the future.”
-- Pro triathlete Michael Lavato was second in the 50-mile event, one spot behind promising under-23 cyclist Robin Eckmann in the three-up sprint. Lavato’s consolation was the KoM prize, awarded to the cyclist who ascended Lefthand Canyon through Ward to the Peak-to-Peak the fastest.
-- Centurion Colorado is the first of this new-for-2010 amateur cycling series that continues with Centurion Wisconsin August 8 in Middleton, before concluding with Centurion Canada September 19 in The Town of the Blue Mountains in Ontario. Organizers say up to six events are on the 2011 slate, including a return to Lyons.
“We feel like today was a great success on just about every front,” said event founder Graham Fraser, who rode the 50-miler and finished second in his 45-49 age group. “Everyone out on the road seemed in great sprits. The community of Lyons stepped up with big time support and tons of volunteers. The police did a great job. It was the quintessential total team effort.”
Nico smiling after the race