Friday, July 6, 2012

Bikers crank through Hailey criterium corners

On Independence Day

Hard through a downtown Hailey turn, bicycle racers tackle the holiday challenge of Wednesday’s 4th of July Bike Criterium. Photo by David N. Seelig

You get the feeling they go together like a bicycle chain and a sprocket when you view the sequence of Wednesday's Mile Long Parade in Hailey followed immediately by the 4th of July Bike Criterium.

Hand-and-glove, they crank out the distance of the holiday afternoon on a direct straight line (the parade) and a four-corner course (the criterium).

But it's only been four years since the post-parade bike criterium has been added to the traditional Independence Day parade to keep people hanging around the downtown area and give bikers a suitable challenge and a stage to show their skills.

Such things have to start somewhere, originating with committed people.

Race director Billy Olson of Hailey's Powerhouse Fit Studio/Road & Dirt talked about how the 4th of July holiday criterium got off the ground in 2008. He spoke after Wednesday's event that attracted 74 cyclists in eight classes.

"Fritz Haemmerle has been the driving force," said Olson about the former Hailey city councilman, now mayor. "He was super pumped to see it happen and has paved the way. And [police Chief] Jeff Gunter jumped on board and has been a tremendous help."

Haemmerle, a longtime bicycle enthusiast, personally donated $2,000 to this year's cash prize purse and encouraged friends in his legal profession to ante up another $2,000, Olson said.

Powerhouse Fit Studio gave $2,000. Atkinsons' Market contributed $1,000. Bashista Construction was a major sponsor.

The Blaine County Recreation District co-sponsored the event.

One of Wednesday's competitors, Men's Cat. 1/2 runner-up Erik Slack, won $1,000 in the numerous cash-lap sprints called preems that heightened the excitement of the criterium.

Preem money totaled $2,300. The top three Elite men earned prizes of $250, $150 and $100, while the top women collected $200, $100 and $50, the race director said.

Here are top criterium results by class:

( Men Cat. 1/2: 1—Sam Johnson. 2—Erik Slack. 3—Russell Stevenson. The class had the most entries, 18.

( Women Cat. 1/2: 1—Sara Youmans. 2—Kemille Garvin. 3—Jena Greaser. Youmans, 16, outsprinted the field after 30 minutes of racing to claim the top prize for a second straight year. She rides for the Keller Rohrback/Stranamanti Cycling Team.

- Men Cat. 3: 1—Miles Fink-Debray. 2—Gabriel Keck. 3—Michael Spring.

- Women Cat. 3: 1—Mikayla Lyman. 2—Vanessa Johnson. 3—Bronwen Raff.

- Men Cat. 4/5: 1—Jackson Swanson. 2—Brad Walker. 3—Joe Gallegos.

- Master Men 35-plus: 1—Chris Berry. 2—Chuck Collins. 3—Henry Harper.

- Master Men 45-plus: 1—Chad Collins. 2—Chris Berry. 3—Rick Greenawalt.

- Juniors: 1—Jarren Garvin. 2—Illiah Pfau. 3—Emerson McCune.

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