It was another hot one in Tulsa on Saturday evening, with the temperatures hovering around the 90s F for the second race in the St Francis Tulsa Tough. Once again attacks flew but again nothing stuck with teams forcing a final bunch sprint in both the men’s and women’s races.
The Jelly Belly presented by Kenda team did it one better at the Brady Village Criterium. Brad Huff did it again, winning the sprint with his teammate Sean Mazich taking second, one better than his third place on Friday night. Kyle Gritters (Williams Cycling SCVelo) came in a close third. Huff has an 11-point lead on Mazich in the omnium with one race to go.
Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) launched her sprint on the final downhill before the last corner and held on to the line for the win. Jennifer Purcell (MSU Cycling) repeated her second place and Christina Gokey-Smith (Veloforma) was third. With two consecutive second-place finishes Purcell takes over the lead in the omnium.
See photo gallery.
“My team did it again.” It didn’t take long for attacks to fly in the men’s race which started as twilight was starting. Andrew Armstrong (Matrix/RBM) set off the hostilities on the first lap of the 80-minute criterium but was soon caught. And once again that was the story of the race. Attack, catch, counter-attack. With so many teams wanting to be in the break and with a few teams, especially Hotel San Jose, using their numbers to force the sprint finish, the moves were doomed. But it didn’t stop the 97-rider strong field to expand and contract as they sped around the L-shaped 1.3 km (8/10 mile) course with 6 corners and a slight climb.
Attacks came and came again from riders from Kelly Benefit Strategies, Texas Roadhouse, Park Place Dealerships, Metro Volkswagen, Williams Cycling p/b SCVelo, Tradewind Energy/Trek Stores and so many more.
With sixteen laps to go, a promising move was off the front with 10 riders which included Logan Hutchings and one Hotel San Jose teammate, Nicholas Coil (Tradewind Energy/Trek Stores), Alex Hagman (Bahati Foundation), Bryan Fawley and one Park Place Dealerships teammate, a rider from Williams Cycling/SCVelo and Huff. The gap went up quickly to 16 seconds.
“”It had a lot of potential but only a few guys wanted to work. I think Hotel San Jose wanted to bring it back to the sprint for themselves. Me and Hagman were working really hard.” said Huff.
Not liking the combination in the break, Hotel San Jose massed at the front of the field with Heath Blackgrove setting the pace and the move was caught three laps later.
With ten to go, it was still Hotel San Jose at the front trying to keep the pace high to stop anyone from attacking.
“It was great, they have eight guys and we only have four so we wanted somebody to do that to take the pressure off us to control. So it worked out perfect us because we just stuck with our plan to take it with three to go.” said Mazich.
With three to go both Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Amgen/Giant Masters took over the front working for their respective sprinters, Huff and Chris DeMarchi, who finished second in Friday’s race.
The Bellies up the pace and it was all Jelly Belly at the front with Jeremy Powers drilling it on the final lap. With a crash behind them in the field on the turn after the climb, Powers dropped his teammates before the final corner and Mazich led Huff out for the win.
“Jeremy did an amazing job on that last lap taking it all the way up to the top of the hill and halfway down the hill. And Sean got second and he led me out to the corner and got second. Just great work all around.” said Huff.
“The plan, we just stuck to it. It was crazy with ten to go but we stuck with it. With three to go Powers was on the front, he dropped me off over here.” said Mazich pointing at the final corner. “It was basically a race between us, first and second.”
“My team did it again. It was impressive work by every team member out there.” smiled Huff. “It was amazing.”
Huff leads the omnium with 62 points. Mazich is second with 51 points and DeMarchi is third with 49 points.
The final race is the Riverview Criterium on Sunday in the afternoon heat. And it’s a tough course.
“”It’s a very difficult course. A significant hill compared to there with an extensed effort after the hill. The elastic snaps through there.” explained Huff.
A break is expected to go in the 80-minute crit. Can other teams apart from Hotel San Jose and Jelly Belly reel in a dangerous move?
Huff says yes, it they work together. “I think we’ve shown everybody that even though we only have four guys, we’ve really pulling together as a collective unit and making it happen.”
“I attacked to close it and just kept going.” Straight from the gun, Alison Starnes (TIBCO/To The Top) team came to the front to set the pace for her teammate Amanda Miller who was leading the omnium. With the women started two hours before the men with the sun still blazing the heat had an impact on the race slowing the attacks down in the beginning.
“It was pretty bad today. There were two times at the beginning of the race where I thought I don’t know if I’m going to make it. ” said Higgins about the heat. “I just felt heat exhausted, it wasn’t my legs. I think everyone was just feeling it.”
Her plan and her team’s plan to deal with the heat is “Don’t waste too much energy in the beginning. Nothing is really going to get away in the first 20, 30 minutes but we knew who we had to keep our eyes on in the last half of the race.”
After a few laps, Team VBF’s Lauren Hall rang the wakeup bell with the first attack and the field was single-filed. She was joined by other riders but the move was quickly shut down. It was then Ryan Kendall (NOW-MS Society ) to try her chance but no go.
Starnes initiated the next move taking with her Tiffany Pezzulo (Treads.com/DFT), Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) and Starla Teddergreen (Vanderkitten). With no organization in the field, the gap started to go up and then a crash took down the back third of the field on the turn right after the climb where the road narrows. Riders reported dirt on the road. Nothing major but a lot of chaos as the riders rushed to the pits.
Erica Allar (Team VBF) bridged up to the break while Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) led the chase to reel the four riders back in with 40 minutes left on the clock.
Shuffle and re-shuffle with more attacks. With 15 laps to go, Starnes went at it again, this time with Higgins, Purcell. With nine laps to go, the break with Allar having just bridged across had 7 seconds on the field but the riders were caught two laps later.
With five laps to go, Crowell went on a solo attack with the field massing behind her for the bunch sprint. She never got more than a few seconds before being reeled in with three to go. With no leadout trains being organized, it was every women for herself.
One last attack in the final lap made it more chaotic.
“To be honest, I was not in a great position coming into the long downhill straightaway.” said Higgins. “Nobody wanted to put in the work to close that last 10 meters [to the rider up the road]. And I just came up the side and said well it’s going to be a long sprint but I have it in me. I attacked to close it and just kept going.”
Higgins jumped before the final corner, caught and passed the lone attacked and held it to the line for the win.
“She had a great jump.” said Purcell about Higgins. “I was talking about her at breakfast and I saw her jump yesterday she just seemed that she had a little more explosiveness I knew to watch her. And she did, she went. I was a little more timid, a little more tired and also trying to save it thinking of the overall.”
With her two second-placed finishes, Purcell takes over the lead in the omnium with 44 points. Van Gilder is second with 35 pts and Gokey-Smith third with 34 pts.
“It will break up. Tomorrow is not going to play out like the last couple of days, tomorrow is a race of attrition.” said Higgins about Sunday’s Riverview Criterium. The women start at 2:10pm for 60-minute crit in the full afternoon heat.
“Tomorrow, it’s going to be a fight. It’s a hard course although I’ve been working on power climbing.” smiled Purcell. She is confident in her abilities and is ready to fight.
Top 10 Men Brady Village Crit Results (Complete Results)
1. Charles Huff (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda)
2. Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda)
3. Kyle Gritters (Williams Cycling p/b SC Velo)
4. Chris Demarchi (Amgen / Giant Masters)
5. Chad Cagle (Park Place)
6. Jeremiah Wiscovitch (Williamscycling p/b SC Velo)
7. Sean Sullivan (Team Hotel San Jose/Mellow Jon)
8. Jason Waddell (Park Place Dealerships)
9. Emile Abraham (Aerocat Cycling Team)
10. Stephen Tilford (Tradewind Energy/Trek)
Top 10 Brady Village Crit Results (Complete Results)
1. Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co./TWENTY12)
2. Jennifer Purcell (MSU Cycling)
3. Christina Smith (Veloforma)
4. Nichole Wangsgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite Wh)
5. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)
6. Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO)
7. Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
8. Amy Mcguire (Wheelworks Racing)
9. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12)
10. Emma Petersen (unattached)
Top 10 Men Omnium Standings after 2 races
1. Charles Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) 62 pts
2. Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) 51
3. Chris DeMarchi (Amgen/Giant Masters) 49
4. Kyle Gritters (Williams Cycling p/b SCVelo) 40
5. Jeremiah Wiscovitch (Williams Cycling p/b SCVelo) 40
6. Jason Waddell (Park Place Dealerships) 39
7. Chad Cagle (Park Place) 35
8. Emile Abraham (Aerocat Cycling Team) 35
9. Neil Bezdek (Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joe’s) 26
10. Zachary Davies (Groove Subaru Cycling Team) 25
Top 10 Women Omnium Standings after 2 races
1. Jennifer Purcell (MSU Cycling) 44 pts
2. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) 35
3. Christina Gokey-Smith (Veloforma) 34
4. Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 31
5. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) 28
6. Nichole Wansgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite) 26
7. Amanda Miller (Team TIBCO) 26
8. Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) 26
9. Amy McGuire (Wheelworks Racing) 25
10. Jen McRae (Chann McRae Coaching) 19