Burke Swindlehurst was all ready to pull an 11th-hour switcheroo.
After initially not being able to make the event, the three-time and defending champion was set to make the trek from Salt Lake City to Durango for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic mens road race.
That is, until his indoor plumbing reared its ugly head, causing him to cancel.
Life is getting in the way, Swindlehurst said with a laugh. I get to spend my Memorial Day working on my home.
While the defending champ wont be here, several notables will be spending their Memorial Day in sunny Durango for todays road race. The entry list as of Friday afternoon registration ended at 9 p.m. on Friday included past champions Rolando Gonzalez, Alexi Grewal and Drew Miller, with four-time winner Ned Overend expected to join them. Overend said he was glad to see another former winner from the races early days join the fray.
Its good to see (Grewal) back, Overend, who will turn 56 in August, said. Hes a little different case in that he took a long time off, at least 10 years, and now is trying to make a comeback. ... Im a little different in that I never stopped racing.
The former winners will be greeted by a capable field looking for a breakthrough. Last years omnium winner and third-place finisher in the road race, Greg Krause, will try to get his omnium defense off to a good start.
Rotem Ishay, who recently finished second in the road race at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals for Fort Lewis College, will join his coach, Chris McGovern, in the field, alongside former FLC riders Jesse Dekrey and Ben Kneller and Durangoan Troy Wells.
On the womens side, Mara Abbott again appears to be the rider to beat, having won the last three road races. Her last race was a runner-up showing at the Tour of the Gila, and although shes looking for the four-peat, Abbott is keeping her expectations tempered.
I havent had that much racing. The calendars pretty limited this year just in terms of people having races. ... You cant have too much confidence until you cross the finish line, she said.
The runner-up in all three Abbott victories, Marisa Asplund, isnt on the entry list, having made the switch from cycling to triathlons.
But fellow Durangoans Carmen Small, AliciaRose Pastore, Kristin McGrath, Caitlyn McCullough, Shannon Gibson and Lauren Catlin will vie to knock Abbott off her perch, as will last years sixth-place finisher Shantelle Pierce, eighth-place finisher Tiffany Pezzulo and ninth-place finisher Mindy Caruso. Former champion Tammy Jacques will ride as well, adding to Abbotts challenge.
The criterium titles will go to new riders this year, with defending champions Alison Testroete and Dan Bowman elsewhere this weekend. Pezzulo and Cara Bussell finished second and third last year, and both return to the womens field. Krause is the highest returning mens rider from last year. He finished third behind Bowman and Alex Hagman.
The crit schedule was moved up, with the womens pro event now set for 3:20 p.m. Sunday, and the mens pro race will follow at 4:15 p.m.
The pro men will be joined by the category 2/3 men, but both will be scored seperately.
The return of the mountain bikes to the IHBC brought out some top talent for Sundays event. Mountain Bike Hall of Famers and former multiple IHBC cross country champions Overend and Travis Brown are expected to ride the course, which includes a trek through Steamworks Brewing Co., where theyll be joined by Elliott, Gonzalez, Kneller, Ishay, Wells, Durango DEVO standout Howard Grotts and Durangos Ben Sonntag.
All these young kids coming up, theyre improving more than we are, Overend said. Its a great spectator course, coming right through town. We should be able to build a lot of enthusiasm.