Dam Road opens gates to road cyclists | SummitDaily.com

Dam Road opens gates to road cyclists

Jason Starr

FRISCO – The Wednesday night bike racing club just got a lot bigger.

What for a long time only included mountain bikers now has a racing component, and it gathered Wednesday night for the first of four time trials this season along the Dillon Dam Road.

This is a new concept for Summit Mountain Challenge (SMC) promoter Maverick Sports designed to bring road bikers into the local racing fold. The road races will alternate Wednesdays with the SMC mountain bike races.

“This is a great idea,” said Keystone road rider Michael Schilling. “It’s awesome to be able to come out after work. It gives everyone something to do when the mountain races aren’t going on.”

Schilling is a pure road racer who doesn’t dabble in dirt. He was good enough on the six-mile, up-and-back course to finish sixth. Mark Thompson came out of the 30-39 age group to win in 12 minutes, 31.93 seconds. The next three finishers were in the 20-29 age division. Brett Morgan was second in 12:32.63, John Tarkinton was third in 12.33.96 and Craig Bealer was fourth in 12:59.66.

Breckenridge rider Renee McKeirnan was the fastest woman in 14:11.28.

These are the experienced road racers that Maverick Sports was hoping to attract with the time trials. But the field of 67 also included inexperienced riders, and many who only race on their mountain bikes.

“I just wanted to see how good a shape I was in,” said Breck’s Jason Kline, who broke the top 10 in the 20-29 age class in his first road racing attempt.

“There were some really good road bikers here, and we had the complete opposite end of the spectrum – people who just wanted to try something new,” said race director Mike McCormack. “Everyone comes with the understanding that you’ll see beginners on-course and pros on-course, and hopefully everybody learns a lot from each other.”

But no matter the level of experience, everyone was on the early end of what promises to be a steep learning curve Wednesday, because no one had ridden the course before. The next three races will be on the same route.

“The more you do it, inevitably, people will find out what works best for them,” Schilling said. “You’re trying to find that point where you’ve got the highest speed and a heart-rate you can maintain.”

After McKeirnan, in the 13-rider women’s field, was Jill Walker in 14:33.53. Karin Carestia was third in 14:44.46. There was one junior, Ian Parker, who rode on a mountain bike and finished in 21:32.45.

“About half the field are serious Summit Mountain Challenge competitors, and the other half are roadies who we don’t see on dirt at all,” McCormack said. “It was exciting to see a bunch of raw beginners trying something new.”

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.

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