For a simple local short track circuit Wednesday nights, the Animas Orthopedic Associates and Durango DEVO weekly races are drawing a lot of attention from a lot of big names.Travis Brown, a former Olympian and two-time singlespeed world champion, and Andy Schultz, the 2007 cross country U23 national champion, raced to an A men's first-place photo finish in Wednesday's fourth short track cross country race of the season. They finished in a tie.
Not far behind, Joey Thompson, an alumnus of the storied Fort Lewis College cycling program, and Jeremy Powers, a two-time cyclocross national champion, tied for second.
"Amazingly, the second group also tied as a finish-straight-sprint led to the same result," DEVO coach Chad Cheeney said in a news release to The Durango Herald. "Organizers talked of the need for a video camera to decipher future close calls, but the racers laughed it off and were amused by the random chance of the finish."
Shonny VanLandingham, a former NORBA series champion, pedaled away from the pack in the second of eight laps to win the A women's race.
Teal Stetson-Lee withheld Tina Dominic's repeated attacks to finish second.
"The crowd at the Factory Trails was 50 strong with spectators lined up at various action spots on the course," Cheeney said. "When the final bell lap rings, the crowds migrate to the finish where the racers throw in their last-ditch efforts."
Wednesday's race produced three cyclists from Fla. and Texas and one from Conn., each preparing for the USA Cycling National Championships on July 17 in Sol Vista.
The Factory Trails course at FLC was developed by the program's coaching staff in 2000 and has been used every fall during the Squawker Classic collegiate short track races. The course is fast and open, with high-speed dirt roads and singletrack sections.
A cyclists race eight laps, while B cyclists race six. The children's race, won Wednesday by DEVO riders Wyeth Rossi (boys) and Sarah Vierling (girls), is an option of one or two laps.
Christopher Blevins won the B men's race.
"(He was) off the front solo from the gun," Cheeney said. "Chris pushed big gears the entire race."
DEVO U14 teammates Hank Stowers and James Shahan took second and third, respectively.
"Hank Stowers finished second after having bad cramps from prerace pizza," Cheeney said. "Coming to a stop and contemplating not finishing, he decided to keep going when fellow DEVO teammate James Shahan came into sight.
"James finished his best race of the series in third place."
DEVO U19 cyclist Hannah Madden led five of six laps en route to her B women's victory.
On Lap 5, the chase group of Annie Cheeney, Mary Monroe and Kaylee Blevins caught Madden, with Cheeney taking the lead into the homestretch of the final lap. Cheeney, however, dropped chain in a choppy corner, which "gave Hannah the gap needed to stay in front," said Chad Cheeney, Annie's husband.
Monroe (Trails 2000) finished second, Blevins (DEVO U14) third and Cheeney (DEVO) fourth.
"Next Wednesday will see a similar course," Chad Cheeney said. "Overall series standings will play a role, as series leaders will be called up in order of their overall ranking."
Prize money will be handed out to the top three B men and women and top five men and women.
"The race is rumored to be a tribute race to the great John Elway," Cheeney said.
"The race will offer good training for those competing in Sol Vista."