Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twilight Criterium a bright stop for valley cyclists

Thousands watch downtown Boise race

There was a big crowd, and Wood River Valley cyclists Reid Pletcher and Taylor Benz came home with big prizes from Saturday's 22nd annual Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium in downtown Boise.

Sun Summit Cycling Club racer Benz captured first place out of 39 finishers in the Men's Category 4/5 final. Ketchum's Miles Fink-Debray was fifth and Jackson Long of Sun Summit Cycling Team placed 33rd.

Last year's Twilight Criterium Men's Category 3 winner Pletcher, fresh off his Tour of Pennsylvania performance with the California Giant/Specialized team, won the Men's Category 2 race Saturday with a 49:13 time that was faster than the other 32 finishers in the group.

Sun Valley Road & Dirt's Eric Carlson of Ketchum was third in Category 2, Hailey's Brandon Lynch of California Giant/Specialized finished seventh and Ketchum's Scott Robinson of Sun Valley Road & Dirt placed 27th out of 33 Cat 2 finishers.

In the 46-racer Pro Men's group, Hilton Clarke of Newport Beach, Ca. and Toyota-United prevailed in 1.28:24 but Stanford University's Ryan Parnes of Ketchum and Metromint Cycling wasn't far behind in 17th place. Olympian Kristin Armstrong (50:18) easily captured Pro Women, winning by 71 seconds.

Winning the largest class of all, the 49-racer Men's Master Category 3, was Timothy Root of Boise and George's/Bode in 44:47.

Placing ninth was Max Durtschi of Ketchum and Sun Summit Cycling Club, while Ben Flandro of Sun Valley Road & Dirt ended up 19th. Two other Sun Valley Road & Dirt riders, Erik Kafka and Joe Kafka, finished 47th and 48th respectively.

Thousands of spectators lined the brand new Twilight Criterium course that was essentially a 1-kilometer rectangular loop with four right hand turns starting from a spot near the Grove Plaza. Racing started at 4 p.m. and lasted until 10 p.m.

In all, there were 182 cyclists finishing the Twilight Criterium plus another 56 DNFs for a total field of 238. Among the DNFs were Joshua Wells, Colby Benz, Mark Estrebillo and Bryan Funsten.

State Criterium finals

Sunday morning, several young Ketchum riders did well in the Intermountain Orthopaedics Idaho State Criterium Championships staged at Hidden Springs in Boise. Sponsor was Lost River Cycling. There were about 160 competitors.

Jackson Long won the Junior Boys 13-14 category and Sara Youmans was the winner of Junior Girls 13-14. Tyler Spence had a fine race with an excellent sprint at the end, but he had a gear problem and settled for 11th place in Junior 10-15.

Colby Benz finished fourth in the Juniors 15-18 class. Among the Men Masters A 35-plus racers, Eric Carlson placed third and Scott Robinson eighth among the 15 cyclists.

Ketchum's Ryan Parnes won the Pro Men's 1/2 state criterium with Brandon Lynch placing eighth in the top men's group. Ben Flandro was seventh, Joe Kafka 20th and Erik Kafka 31st in Men's Category 3. John Swyers won Men Masters 65-plus.

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