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Washington Cup #2
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Bob Hansing Cup #1



The Watership Downs (Coal Miner's Classic)

Louisville, Colorado, Sunday June 29, 2003

By Chris Hawkins

Down (doun), n. 2. Open rolling upland country with fairly smooth, grassy slopes.

The Storage Tek Corporation headquarters in Louisville, Colorado, was the typical Sunday ghost town on June 29 - except for the 400 racers who descended upon its real estate for the annual Coal Miner's Classic. The natural hardships that greeted each rider with every turn of the pedals belied the civilized, Initech-like corporate buildings of brick and glass situated at the race venue.

The course, a 1 ¼ mile rolling stretch of tarmac snaked around the company's campus and through stretches of grassy fields that also served as a warren to a population of rabbits. The course and occasionally, the rabbits showed little mercy to the riders.

A long slow drag up the finishing straight, an annoying northerly breeze, and the sun's hot rays trampled the Men's Pro I/II field. The rabbits also played their part, periodically having a sit-down in the middle of the final, fast corner. Their presence startled more than a few experienced cyclists in the bunch.

The speed in the opening two laps was hotter than the asphalt under their tires. The field stretched out single file coming through the uphill straightaway grinding out a furious pace. It was on the third lap when the rubber band finally snapped. Thirty-two riders made the front group with another similar sized group, about 20 seconds back. Further behind, the discarded continued their death marches onward and up the ¼ mile straight. Some rode solo, others in groups of three or four. The looks on their faces said it all as they tried to force motion through the pedals. The leg-biting pace was too much. The exposure to the heat and wind on the course was inescapable. This was to be the Pickett's charge of cycling - an astonishingly large number of casualties strewn throughout the entire battlefield.

From the third lap on, the two large groups continued to inflict pain on anyone who tried to stay in the line. From these groups the strong pounced on the weak mercilessly. Early race animators included Andy Bajadali (Ofoto), Alex Robles (Jimmy D. Racing), Dan Bowman (Suburban Homes), John Stierwalt (Rio Grande), and Max Clauson (GS Ciao). Each of these men clawed themselves into various small breaks within the first thirty minutes of action. At the fifty minute mark, these riders along with Eddy Gragus and Jeff Hartmann (Jimmy D. Racing), Jon "Teton" Tarkington (Vitamin Cottage) and Dirk Friel joined forces to form a powerful lead train with a 20 second advantage on the next chasing group.

It wasn't long before Tarkington, Gragus, and Bajadali ramped up the pace past ten to a blistering eleven. It was enough wattage to keep the remaining six from stealing back the show as these three proved they were the headliners on the downs. The uphill sprint for rabbit-like Gragus looked like a formality as he crossed the line with his arms raised about a bike length clear of Tarkington and Bajadali. Another tough race down on the downs for these riders.


Men Pro 1/2
1 Eddy Gragus (Jimmy D. Racing)
2 Jon Tarkington (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
3 Andrew Bajadali (OFOTO/Lombardi Sports)
4 Jeffrey Hartmann (Jimmy D. Racing)
5 Alex Robles (Jimmy D. Racing)
6 Dan Bowman (Suburban Homes)
7 Dirk Friel (Unattached)
8 Max Clauson (GS CIAO)
9 Jon Stierwalt (Team Rio Grande)
10 Joseph Siciliano (Team Rio Grande)
11 Mark Southard (Jimmy D. Racing)
12 Kelly Ruddick (Pro Peloton Velo)
13 Christian McCarthy (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
14 Jeffrey Hartman (Big Shark Racing Team)
15 Jim Copeland (Jimmy D. Racing)
16 Ian MacGregor (Duane Duggan RE/MAX)
17 Nate Busch (Jimmy D. Racing)
18 Sheldon Deeny (Rocky Mtn Cycling Education Foundation)
19 Michael Larsen (Pro Peloton Velo)
20 Joshua Barnett (GS CIAO)
21 Jeff Courter (GS CIAO)
22 Jay Ku (5280/Subaru)
23 Nicholas Traggis (Twin Peaks Racing Team)
24 Joseph Taddeucci (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
25 Brent Jenkins (Intermountain Color)
26 Travis Baugh (GS CIAO)
27 Don Powell (Onion River Sports)
28 Torsten Lyon (Twin Peaks Racing Team)
29 Jeffrey Dickinson (Schwab Cycles/Torelli Velo Project LLC)
30 Blake Caldwell (5280/Subaru)
31 Angetti Sheldrake (5280/Subaru)
32 Ainslie MacEachran (AST Cycling Team)
33 Jeremie Texier (GS CIAO)
34 Tim Duggan (Duane Duggan RE/MAX)
35 Jonathan Heidemann (Rocky Mtn Cycling Education Foundation)
36 Tomasz Dolak (Fort Collins Cycling and Racing Club)
37 Michael Gibson (Pro Peloton Velo)
38 Joseph Cooper (Go Fast/Team Pure Altitude)
39 Thad Stocker (Team Rio Grande)
40 Zachary Vestal (Jimmy D. Racing)
41 Christopher Brennan (Jimmy D. Racing)
42 Billy Masterson (Excel Sports)
43 Steve Owens (Colorado Premier Training)
44 Brian Hludzinski (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
45 Derrick Nickel (Cody Racing Team)
46 Lew Perna (Schwab Cycles/Torelli Velo Project LLC)
47 Christopher Price (Twin Peaks Racing Team)
DNF Grayson Pointer (Schwab Cycles/Torelli Velo Project LLC)
DNF Michael Sandler (Unattached)
DNF Ben Huff (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
DNF Mike Rosaasen (Colorado Velo - Denver Spoke)
DNF Daniel DePaemelaere (Rocky Mtn Cycling Education Foundation)
DNF Joseph Pinkerton (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
DNF Jeff Wardell (Louisville Velo Club)
DNF Bryan Merritt (Rocky Mtn Cycling Education Foundation)
DNF Colby Pearce (5280/Subaru)
DNF Chad Moore (GS CIAO)
DNF John Cimbura (AST Cycling Team)
DNF Sam Horn (Unattached)
DNF Patrick Sullivan (GS CIAO)
DNF Steve Sonhein (Team Turin)
DNF Andy Clark (Team Rio Grande)
DNF Hugh MacEachran (AST Cycling Team)
DNF Daniel Burnam (AST Cycling Team)
DNF Jonathan Baker (Pro Peloton Velo)
DNF Andrew Dietrich (Boulder/Denver Couriers)
DNF Brian Chimileski (Duane Duggan RE/MAX)
DNF James Englert (Schwab Cycles/Torelli Velo Project LLC)
DNF Mike Inglis (LZ Racing)
DNF Michael Carter (Colorado Velo - Denver Spoke)
DNF Joseph Rudman (Cicli Casati Cycling Team)
DNF Neil Flock (Duane Duggan RE/MAX)
DNF Jay Salazar (Haul N Ass Racing Team)
DNF Guy Coffey (Pro Peloton Velo)
DNF Travis Jones (Twin Peaks Racing Team)
DNF Keith Harper (Unattached)
Women Pro 1/2
1 Allison Lusby (Unattached)
2 Mari Holden (T-Mobile)
3 Anne Lannan (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team)
5 Maatje Benassi (Intermountain Cycling Organization)
6 Emily Gloeckner (TDS Telecom)
7 Megan Melamed (La Forza)
8 Missy Thompson (Vitamin Cottage Cycling Team)
10 Jennifer Martin (La Forza)
11 Sy Rae Weikle (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team)
12 Carla Flores (Lakewood Racing Team)
14 Lisa Matlock (Ford Outfitter)
19 Jacqueline Wood (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team)
20 Kendra Keeley (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team)
21 Elizabeth Fisk (Colorado Velo - Denver Spoke)
23 Leslie Lowery-Abate (Valdoro Mountain Lodge Cycling Team)
DNF Jilayne Lovejoy (Excel Sports) 

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