Woodruff, Uhl claim criterium titles at Carson City Off-Road
Chloe Woodruff and Tristan Uhl are the new criterium champions of the Carson City Off-Road event.
Woodruff led the first lap, dropped back a bit and then passed Kaysee Armstrong, Hannah Finchamp, Crystal Anthony and two-time defending champ Katerina Nash on the final lap to grab the women’s title Friday.
Uhl, meanwhile, was second on the first lap and then was never in the top five until the last lap when he overtook Ryan Standish, Keegan Swenson, Garrett Gerchar, Payson McIlveen and two-time defending champ Geoff Kabush to win the men’s title.
Woodruff ripped off a big first lap, winning $150 in the process. Race officials had indicated the fastest opening lap would get extra money. Woodruff never led another lap until the last one, though she was among the top five racers on six of the final seven laps.
“I didn’t expect such a gap on the first lap,” Woodruff said. “I tried to mix things up a couple of times. It was fun. I’m riding really well right now.
“I settled in after that first lap. Other riders were working at the front. Oh, God, yeah, I was aware of where she (Nash) was. She is more experienced, and she is one of the smartest racers out there.”
Larissa Connors led the most laps (four) and Armstrong led two laps. Amy Beisel, Olivia Dillon and Sofia Gomez-Villafane, who was fourth a year ago, led one lap apiece.
Gomez-Villafane was second to her teammate and Nash was third.
“There was no strategy,” Gomez-Villafane said. “I just wanted to stay upright. There are some tight, dangerous turns with so many riders. Amy (Beisel) and Katrina (Nash) took it a little wide on the last corner.”
Nash never led a lap the entire race, but she was always in the mix. She was third the final three laps, but never got any closer.
Woodruff said she is looking forward to Sunday’s 50-miler.
“That’s the big day,” she said. “I had a chance to preview the new course. It’s so beautiful.”
Gomez-Villafane said she knows nothing about the new course, but talked to people who have ridden it (except for the flume portion) and she was told it was pretty self-explanatory.
Uhl was fifth at Grand Junction and 19th at Whiskey Road in Arizona. He literally hid in the pack from laps 2 through 11 before bursting into the top spot in the latter stages of the race.
Fernando Riveros was second, Kabush third, McIlveen was fourth, former Reno resident Jake Yackle was fifth and Ben Sonntag was sixth.
“I was hiding out,” Uhl admitted. “I was hoping it would come down to a sprint. I kept working my way up, and with about three corners (from the end) I jumped in front of everybody.
“I knew all the guys to watch. Geoff is always on the podium. He was the guy I was watching.”
Keegan Swenson led for three laps and was in the top three on five other laps. He bolted to a big lead on the ninth lap before being caught by Ryan Standish on the 11th lap. Standish was unable to hold off Uhl’s charge on the final lap.
Uhl’s win didn’t surprise Howard Grotts, who finished 13th after racking up a fourth-place finish in 2017. Grotts is the overall leader (for the 50-mile event) going into Sunday. He leads by more than five minutes.
Carson is the third stop on the four-city Epic Rides Series. A fifth race is being added next year in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“It (the race) was tough,” Grotts said. “Keegan got going, and I was trying to reel him back. He is really strong, and he played it perfectly.
“Tristan winning isn’t much of a surprise. He is used to running in games like this. He is a strong rider.”
Uhl admitted that he usually does better in crits than in the longer races. He said he is working on his climbing.
The Capital 15 kicked off the activities Friday afternoon.
Sam Evans, 15, of Reno won the race in 1-hour 27-minutes and 54 seconds. He was followed to the finish line by Alec Ramos (1:33.57), Logan Macarthy (1:34.01), Giovanni Galeoto (1:38.45) and Peter Hippert, a 14-year-old Sparks resident, was fifth in 1:41.56.
Michael Rupert, 27, and Taylor Phillips, also 27, finished ninth and 10th, respectively. Both are from Carson City.
The youngest rider was 9-year-old Charles Thomas, who was 48th in 2:21.30. The oldest rider was 66-year-old Jack Harrison of Boise, Idaho, who was 37th and covered the distance in 2:15.04.
Rose Grant, who was second in the last two Carson City crits and won the 50-miler last year, was in attendance. She said she is going to have shoulder surgery and won’t return to riding until next season.
Paul Morris was the only Carson City racer in the men’s criterium. He finished 30th out of 65 riders.
The Capital 35 and Capital 50, which are for amateur riders, are scheduled for Saturday.
The 50-miler kicks off at 7:30 a.m. and the 35-miler is at 8:15.