US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, COLORADO – Sunday was another
outstanding early-season day for road racing at the early season Front Range
Classic with COS Racing landing on the podium at least once during multiple challenging
races amongst packed fields and tough national-level competition. The road race took place on a fast 13-mile hilly
course on the US Air Force Academy.
More than a dozen COS Racing riders entered the Mens, Womens,
and Masters Road Races. According to multiple competitors, the preceding week’s
blizzards had cancelled travel plans for many professional and elite teams
headquartered in Colorado resulting in a surge in elite-level participation in
this event. By race morning this meant
that nearly every race was full with a waiting list for many categories. This was not limited to professional
categories. Nearly every race reached
capacity with fields of 75 riders.
Although the fields were large, the hilly course rapidly stretched out
most fields into small groups and individuals riders.
In the Mens Masters (40+) Pro/1/2/3/4/5 race, four COS Racing
riders – David Neis, Glen Larson, Ian Matteson, and Erik Hartel – competed against
a sold-out field of mostly-elite level riders. On the first lap, a group of seven created an
early break which resulted in a brutally-fast start for the event as other
teams chased to close the gap before the climb. By the middle of the first climb up Pine
Drive, the Masters’ field had largely exploded into a small lead group,
multiple smaller chase groups, and a long line of stragglers. David Neis was able to catch was able to
bridge to the lead group before the summit and remained there throughout. On
the same climb, Larson, Matteson, and Hartel fell off. Larson and Matteson were able to hang with
the lead-group stragglers until a second group coalesced around them. Led by Larson, this group rode to a
respectable mid-pack finish. Neis stayed
towards the front eventually finishing 17th overall. Afterwards, looking a bit dazed, Neis stated,
“I expected this race to be hard, but not that hard.”
COS Racing riders from the Mens 4/5 race expressed similar sentiments. Riders Michael Brothers, Peter Jackman, George York, Ron Budhi, Tom Rathbun, Matt Payne, Mark Leenheer, Vladimir Dragomirov, and others competed in a full field of competitive riders. Riding a gravel bike, Michael Brothers lost contact early, however most others remained with the lead group during what Budhi described as an easy first lap until the first climb up Pine Drive. This climb attrited more than half of the lead group but left the majority of the COS Racing’s Cat 4/5 team intact. On the second climb, Jackman led teammates Buhdi and Dragomirov in closing a gap to the attacking group of ten riders. After the group came back together, the pace slackened for the much of the final lap in preparation for the final ascent.
“…from my perspective, the [final] shakeup happened around the fire station. I just kind of looked back and saw that there was a good-sized gap that had opened. I ended up cramping a bit so lost contact with the group of 10 or so, but got back on.” – Peter Jackman, 5th in Mens Cat 4/5 race
Jackman sprinted to fifth place from a small lead group with the remainder of the COS Racing team finishing shortly thereafter.
Other COS Racing Riders Peter Tonn and Matt Brady, as well as Liz Woods and Marisa Faro ccompeted in the Men’s 3/4 race and the Women’s road race, respectively. More details will be published as results from those events become available.