Gap closes on Prokopiw in time trial No. 4 |

Gap closes on Prokopiw in time trial No. 4

COPPER MOUNTAIN – It is a ride most cyclists in Thursday’s time trial have done many times, but racing uphill from Copper Mountain to the summit of Vail Pass didn’t come easily for anyone.

Those with an aptitude for climbing excelled despite unforeseen obstacles at the beginning of the course and a headwind throughout.

Regular time trial winner Steve Prokopiw of Summit County Cycling Club continued his streak, finishing first in 17 minutes, 45.75 seconds. The gap is getting smaller between he and other riders, however. Jason Marks was less than two seconds behind Prokopiw with a time of 17:47.43. Marks finished three seconds behind Prokopiw in the last time trial and expects the margin between the two to close even further in the final two trials of the Great Adventure series.

“Last time it was three seconds, this time it was two seconds, next time it will be one,” Marks said. “Steve is a great, humble guy … but I’d love to beat him.”

Matt Powers wasn’t far behind the frontrunner either, finishing third in 17:50.77.

For women, no one came close to winner Karin Carestia of Backcountry Brewery, who finished in 19:40.59. Jody Thompson (Valdoro Mountain Lodge) was the closest contender, finishing second in 21:08.91. Amy Jamison finished third in 21:58.95.

Cody Racing Team’s Mark Thompson, who was fresh off the boat from Alaska, where he was thwarted by a snowstorm while trying to summit Mt. Denali, finished fourth in 18:02.36. He said he was hurting after the race.

“I really struggled to ride my own race tonight,” he said. “Mark Taylor (13th place in 18:51.69) went right in front of me, and we were battling for a long time. That’s kind of distracting in a way. You just forget about what your game plan is, and you start riding against each other.

The wind definitely got my attention. It wasn’t too bad, but it’s interesting how much harder it is to ride up (Vail Pass) in a race versus a training ride. Training, I do the whole thing in my big chain ring, no problem. My game plan was to push bigger gears, and I ended up blowing my heart rate up a little too early, so I had to retreat to the little chain ring. Unless you’re signing up for hill climbs, this is a tough time trial.”

Racers sprinted out of the start in the middle of Copper Village, where skinny tires clattered over loose cobblestones and veered around cones and tourists to reach the bike path. Once on the path, riders had five miles and almost 1,000 feet of elevation to climb, partially in the form of steep, tight switchbacks.

“You go out hard and you hit some hills midway, and you have to kind of pace yourself for those,” Marks said. “Then you hit the flats and can crank it again. I’ve ridden this a million times. Then, they threw the part in through Copper Village, which was a little disorienting. I had to throw on the brakes a few times. I had to swerve around some tourists. I got off course for a second, had to jump a curb and almost bit it. But overall, it was a good race. It was a climber’s race, definitely.”

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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