One final climb ends 2003 local time trials
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Never underestimate the power of a head wind – or of a worthy opponent.
As the 2003 Great Adventure Sports time trial series drew to a close Thursday with race No. 6 from Copper Mountain to the summit of Vail Pass, Tim Faia stepped into the crowd and out-pedalled series leader Steve Prokopiw.
Faia finished the 5.5-mile hill climb, featuring 1,000 of elevation gain, in 15 minutes and 59.8 seconds. Prokopiw, who started on course with the latter half of the field that faced a strong wind, which earlier racers said they missed, finished in 17:06.3. Kevin Shelden, who won the men’s 40- to 49-year-old age bracket, also edged Prokopiw with a time of 16:53.
“This course is definitely the most climber-oriented,” said Prokopiw, who leaves for Kenosha, Wis., this weekend in hopes of winning the master’s national track cycling championship, won the masters Colorado state championship Sunday in Colorado Springs.
“The mountain bikers that are good climbers even themselves out with the roadies like me that are time trialers,” he said.
Besides Faia, other prominent road-mountain biking hybrids faired well in Thursday’s race. Jeff Cospolich finished just behind Prokopiw in 17:11.9, and Scott Tanner (17:19.2), Matt Powers (17:20.9) and Mark Cowan (17:26.3, second in 40 to 49 division) were close behind.
Prokopiw was one of many series regulars who vastly improved his time from time trial No. 4 June 26 on the same course (he finished time trial No. 4 in 17:45). Karin Carestia, the women’s reigning champion for the series, won Thursday’s race in 18:24.8 –well over a minute faster than her 19:40 finish time from time trial No. 4.
Helen Cospolich finished second among women racers with a time of 19:47.1. Jered Gruber won of 19 to 29 men in 18:09.1, Colleen Richmond won of 50-plus women in 25:17.9 and Leif Borgeson, who was the only mountain biker and competed on a fixed-gear bike, finished in 21:31.4.
Bruce Dickinson had the fastest time of 50-plus men (18:14.3), and his wife, Laura, won the 40 to 49 women category in 21:37.9.
“I felt sick at the top,” Bruce said, agreeing with many others who had to take a few minutes to unwind at the Vail Pass summit roundabout. “There were variable factors and I did whatever worked.”
“It definitely put a different twist on this ride to be in a fast-pace race mode instead of just casual riding,” Laura said.
The uphill format certainly suited some better than others. Among junior competitors, Garrick Abt won the 13 to 18 boys group in 18:11. Marie Oberriter won the 13 to 18 girls, while her sister, Julie, won of 12-and-under girls. Ivan Rocha won of 12-and-under boys.
“I like it because it’s mostly uphill,” said Rocha, 11, who has finished first in all but one of the time trials. “It has some hard switchbacks, which is good, because if I don’t fall, I get more speed and more control. If I fall, I’ll learn a lesson.”
Most competitors were sorry to see the series end. Many said they finally felt their lungs were conditioned to the 6-mile sprint pace, but all hope to see the series return next year.
“It’s really awesome; Maverick Sports has done a phenomenal job with it,” Laura Dickinson said. “We’re really glad someone has stepped up to do a series for the locals. I only wish more people would come out and support it. We’d love to see it continue. It’s fun to come out and see your friends and meet other people to have a beer at the end. It’s not like a big, nerve-racking event.”
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.