It's a pretty big deal to have a stage race in the states these days that amateur's and pro's can compete in. This format, a Saturday morning individual time trial followed by a criterium later in the afternoon, and finishing up with a road race on Sunday used to be a staple of Mid-West racing. I know I really enjoyed this format when I was actively road racing nearly 20 years ago.
The criterium coarse in downtown Clear Lake Iowa just might be the prettiest place in the state to race a bike. The coarse darts in and out of downtown, passes by city park, then dives into the neighborhoods just before hitting the super fast trip down North Lake View Drive. A few folks have some prime real estate for an afternoon of spectating.
If you follow any of the Grand Tours, you'll find a familiar pattern of a small break away making a move and putting some time up on the field, only to be chased down by the peloton at the very latest moment setting their sprinters up for a frenetic finish. Every once in a while, the peloton can't organize itself, and in the masters race, Daniel Casper, pictured below, put in a huge effort to bring home a convincing solo win.
Women's Pro 1/2/3
In the early laps of the race, it didn't look like anyone wanted to challenge Amanda Miller. Maybe it was Amanda testing the waters, or the rest of the field trying to sort out who the players were going to be.
Pulled up along side the barriers next to city park, or on under the tent on your patio, the fans were treated to plenty of fast paced action.
Things get all serious as the laps dwindle.
Ratchet up the speed
Lap one and you can't even see the front end of the field two corners ahead!
Flying down North Lake View Drive hitting speeds of 31 mph.
A break away group formed within the first ten laps of action. The numbers in the break away group ebbed and flowed throughout the race, and consistently had Erick Thompson racing for Donkey Label in the lead group.
Brian West's face tells the story
A brief respite on the back stretch uphill where the speed slowed and then picked right back up after cresting the top and making the next left hand corner.