Youth Is Served As High-Schoolers Best Olympians and National Champions
In unusually cool temperatures and under the threat of rain, the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic began its three-day run at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine with an evening of hot racing.
In the men’s field, the surprise was the performance of Colton Barrett (Texas Roadhouse), a local speedskater and first-year senior in bicycle racing. In two of the three race finals (miss and out and 60-lap scratch race), Barrett outsprinted 2008 Fixed Gear Classic winner Emile Abraham (Aerocat) for the win. Matt Baranoski (Alliance Environmental), a 17-year-old took the Keirin in convincing fashion.
Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co/TWENTY12) won the match sprints and the miss and out to take the first-day lead over Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft) – winner of the 60-lap scratch race.
Action at the velodrome continues through Sunday as elite men and women racers from around the country contest both sprint and endurance events.
The men’s miss and out final was contested by 10 riders. The high early pace made the easy line inside the sure way to elimination. With four riders left, Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse) was eliminated when he couldn’t recover from being pushed up the track in the final turn. Colby Pearce (Big Shark Bicycle) then faded behind Abraham and Barrett. In the final lap, Barrett accelerated around Abraham to take the win.
Twenty riders raced the men’s 60-lap scratch race. Stephen Meyer (Jet Fuel Coffee) tried riding off the front from the gun. He gained as much as half a lap but Bergman, Barrett, and Pearce reeled him in. Al Urbanski (WDT-Allvoi) then tried the first of several attacks. Pat Lemieux (Texas Roadhouse) bridged and the two stayed out for three laps. But a fast chase brought them back. The most serious attack of the race came with 40 laps to go when Dan Harm (Doppio Cycling) took off with Pearce. Brian Crosby (Speedfix p/b Zubaz) responded but the pace was too high for a solo effort. Harm and Pearce got half a lap on the field and held it for 14 laps, only to be swallowed by the chasing field with 28 laps to go.
The remainder of the race saw brief attacks every time the pace slackened but no one got more than 10 meters as the field responded quickly. With seven to go, Lemieux attacked with Pearce following. Lemieux faded and Pearce tried to get away by himself getting up to 30 meters on the field. With three laps to go, he gave it up and the peloton organized for the final sprint. Andy Kruse (Speedfix p/b Zubaz) led the field at the bell followed by Barrett. In the furious finish Barrett outsprinted a charging Abraham and won by a wheel width.
In the keirin, six survivors of early heats contested the final. At the gun, there was some quick jockeying to get the position behind the motor pacer. As the motor approached its exit with two-and-a-half laps to go, Daniel DeFranceschi (Jet Fuel Coffee) timed his acceleration from back in the line and gained a gap on the others that lasted for a lap, but the junior Baranoski shot out of the group, closed the gap and kept on for the win going away. DeFranceschi crossed second with Kruse leading Ryan Belew (Rocky Mountain Cycling), Jon Linchitz (Affinity Cycles), and Dan Currell (Bianchi/Grand Performance) across the line.
The women started their events with a flying 200-meter time trial to seed the match sprints. A stiff wind from the north made the backstretch a slog. Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co./TWENTY12) logged the best time of 12.62 seconds for 1st Seed. Higgins, Maddie Godby (Trek Stores), Dena Eaton (She Pedals Cycling), and Liz Carlson (Classic Cycling Essentials) advanced to the semifinals where Higgins rode over Carlson and Godby held off Eaton. In the bronze medal race, Carlson tried to pin Eaton to the balustrade. Eaton was able to drop underneath but Carlson responded in time to get the sprinter’s lane for third place. In the first gold medal race, Higgins led the race at a leisurely pace until, with 400 meters to go, she started the sprint from the front and held Godby off to the line. In the second gold medal race, Godby led the first lap at a moderate pace and upped the speed with 500 meters to go. In the last lap, Higgins attacked from behind and won it at the line by inches to take the second of three gold medal series.
The women’s miss and out featured 10 riders advancing from the heats. As with the men, the women found that the easier, inside line was the way to elimination. Vera Divenyi (Rocky Mounts-Izze) and Colleen Gulick (Team Kenda) were the last two to be eliminated inside for fifth and fourth, respectively. Anissa Cobb (Sum Bike Team) was eliminated for third when she couldn’t match the leader’s pace. In the final sprint, Higgins dropped under Julie Manley (Rocky Mounts-Izze) to get a gap that held to the line.
Fifteen women contested a fast 60-lap points race, with sprints every 10. It was a classic points race – with no rider lapping the field and three riders collecting the majority of the points on offer. Kristin Meshberg (Flatlandia/Nature Valley Cycling Team) tried early to get off the front and stayed out to take the first sprint but was caught and remained with the field the rest of the way. Several racers tried to stay off the front. None gained a significant gap and none lasted for more than a lap or so. Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft) sprinted consistently and won the race with points in each sprint: two firsts, two seconds and two thirds. Higgins took three sprint firsts and a third, good enough for runner-up in the race. Gulick, third in the race, collected 12 points with lower placings in five of the sprints. Meshberg’s early sprint win was good enough for fourth place in the race.
Omnium Standings after Day 1
1, Colton Barrett, Texas Roadhouse, 12 points.
2, Emile Abraham, Aerocat, 10 points.
3, Matt Baranoski, Alliance Environmental, 9 points.
1. Cari Higgins, Peanut Butter & Co/TWENTY12, 17 points.
2, Kacey Manderfield, Cycle Loft, 12 points.
3, Colleen Gulick, Team Kenda, 7 points.