The forecast was looking like a repeat of last year’s VeloTek Grand Prix ~ rain, lightning and thunder for the time trial! Luckily, it was just raining and wet for the .7-mile uphill time trial, helping us to avoid the 2 hour and 15 minute delay we experienced in 2015. The skies actually cleared as the riders in the Men’s 1/2 category took to the line – check out Kent Woermann’s onboard footage here, with an official time of 2:20.26, to put our times in perspective.
Paul Aldeguer posted a time of 2:26.81, with Joe Kleidosty close behind with a time of 2:28.40, placing them 4th and 5th in the General Classification in Men’s 40+ 1/2/3.
Cody Jones had the fastest time in Men’s Cat 4, putting down a time of 2:22.00. Chip Zimmer placed a very respectable time of 2:42.21, giving him 4th in the GC, with Leo Simbaqueva close behind in 5th in the Men’s 40+ 4/5 category.
Kathy Johnson got her toes wet in the biggest stage race in Kansas, literally, posting a time in the TT that would put her 8th in her Women’s Cat 4 GC.
With the winds picking up and skies clearing momentarily, the crit course at Clinton Lake was drying off. The excellent volunteers at this event worked hard to clear big puddles off the course for the first crits of the day.
In the Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 category, Aldeguer and Kleidosty were able to maintain 5th and 6th position after the criterium, when Paul Bonds leapfrogged up to 1st place.
The only other noteworthy event was Cody Jones working hard to protect his leader position in Men’s Cat 4. He was in excellent position for most of the race and also won the prime sprint, earning 3 bonus seconds.
Towards the end of the race, though, he was out of position. In an attempt to move up, wheels were crossed and a crash occurrred. Jones suffered severe road rash, but he fought through it to finish the road race the following day! Since the crash occurred close to the finish, those involved with the crash were given the same time as the lead finishers. With the finish bonus seconds, though, Jones moved down to 2nd place, down 7 seconds.
Zimmer, Simbaqueva and Ben Christian got gapped in the final lap of the criterium, each losing 3 seconds on the GC. Zimmer was still in 5th place, though, following the criterium.
The stage race finished on Sunday with a 28-mile road race for the Women’s Cat 4, Juniors, and Men’s 40+ 4/5 fields, and with a 56-mile road race for Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 field.
The biggest GC shakeup occurred in the Men’s 40+ 1/2/3 race, where Aldeguer, Kleidosty, Greg Vaught, Jim Clevenger and Raupp truly worked as a team. Going into the race, the plan was to try to move Aldeguer higher in the GC. As always, things don’t always go according to plan in a race, so adapt we must, hmmm.
Raupp was near the front of the race in the first few miles, giving some protection to Kleidosty early on. Clevenger had a mechanical within a few miles, but caught up with Raupp and worked with him for a bit to try to get him pulled up to the peloton.
The race started out fast with several attacks occurring. Kleidosty covered the attacks and started attacks, while never able to get sight of Aldeguer during the race. Around the 18-mile mark, Kleidosty rolled off the front again on a 3% grade. Around this time, Vaught found his legs, rolled past Kleidosty and yelled, “Sit in.”
When Vaught moved up to the front, he advised Aldeguer to follow him, but Aldeguer sat back, thinking Rick Moseley and Paul Bonds, the GC leaders, were marking him. It was hard for Aldeguer to do, but his decision likely helped the winning breakaway to form.
Within a mile, around 19-mile mark, a couple OKC Velo racers rolled by, and Kleidosty yelled at Vaught, “Go! Go! Go!” Vaught jumped out of his saddle and looked like he just got tased. At this point, the breakaway was descending at a high rate. After a series of hills, a breakaway of five was formed, which included Kleidosty, Chris Johnson, Bruce Tanner, Trey Harrison and Peter Erdoes.
The breakaway of five would stay together until the 52-mile mark, when Tanner and Johnson were dropped on a long, punchy climb. Kleidosty earned a couple bonus seconds, getting 2nd in the prime lap of the road race. Kleidosty also got 2nd on the final lap, earning another six bonus seconds. This put him at 2nd overall in the GC.
The breakaway put more than four minutes on the chase group and more than seven minutes on the group after that, which did a complete change of the GC.
Zimmer did a lot of work in his road race, but was unable to maintain his 5th place in the GC. He, however, performed well in all stages, earning 6th overall, just behind Simbaqueva, who earned 5th overall in Men’s 40+ 4/5. Christian enjoyed the stage race and gained valuable experience in the process.
Kathy Johnson had a great time in her first stage race and learned how to do an uphill time trial!
Jones showed pure grit and determination in his road race, earning a bonus second while getting 3rd on the prime lap. He also got 2nd on the road race, earning another 6 bonus seconds. It was not enough to win the Men’s Cat 4 overall, but he earned a solid 2nd place!
Nigel Vaught faced some tougher competition in this stage race, but performed admirably in all stages, even winning the criterium race! His performance in all stages earned him 2nd overall in his GC!