College students across Colorado competed in the three-race Maverick Cycling Classic in downtown Grand Junction over the weekend.
The race was hosted by CMU’s Cycling Team, which invited collegiate and non-collegiate cyclists to participate.
“This was the first time we’ve ever really attracted athletes from the Front Range,” CMU senior and team coach Richard Geng said. “You have to put on a good race to attract those racers. It shows that we have really stepped it up.”
Previously known as the Mad Cow Classic, the race began with a 10-mile team time trial Saturday morning at K and 21 roads. Cyclists were able to compete in professional, junior or open categories.
The Downtown Criterium was the biggest race of the weekend. Geng estimated that 100-150 cyclists participated. A criterium is a short race with multiple loops. The race began at 5 p.m. at U.S. Bank at the corner of Fourth Street and White Avenue. The 0.8-mile course toured the downtown area by way of White Avenue to Third Street, to Main Street, down to Sixth Street and back to White Avenue. To protect pedestrians and cyclists, the roads were closed to automobile traffic.
Last year, the race was held on a small lot with no exposure. Local cyclists and close fans and families were among the majority of the attendees.
“This was our first year to put on a downtown criterium,” Geng said. “Students came out, which is unusual for a cycling event. Main Street was packed. It was amazing.”
Geng said CMU was much more involved in promoting and implementing the race.
“Last year, putting on the race was a big struggle,” Geng said. “We put a lot of effort into this year’s race. We gained a lot of momentum. We gained lots of respect from the younger crowd.”
A road race was held on Reeder Mesa Sunday morning. The 8-mile route led to the loop on Purdy Mesa, where riders completed multiple laps before retracing to the original 8-mile route back to Reeder Mesa.
Several CMU students placed in the races. Jacob Hadar earned the solo victory in the Men’s B Collegiate and Cullen Easter placed. Geng placed third in the Men’s Open Category and Patric Rostel placed first in the Men’s A Collegiate.
“The amount of people that came to cheer the athletes on was incredible,” Geng said. “I couldn’t be more happy as a coach and as an athlete.”
U.S. Bank and Western Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, P.C. sponsored the races.
The team currently has 18 registered racers and several first-time racers. They have won several national championships. For more information, email Cycling Director Rick Crawford at email@example.com.