It's that time of the season where cyclists of all abilities are making plans for the off-season, whether it be cross training, weight training or couch training.
It's also the time when we make our educated and not-so-educated picks for the best of the year. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes we flip a coin. But many racers made it easy for us this year.
Nineteen ninety seven will certainly be remembered as a historic year in Utah. And the rider that made state history has won this honor before. That helps confirm the athlete's commitment to the sport, the personal dedication the athlete has and the determination the athlete possesses to have reached this goal.
cycling utah's Rider of the Year again goes to Marty Jemison. Jemison ensured his place in Utah cycling history books by becoming the first Utah cyclist to compete in the "Big Show", the Tour de France.
His role in the Tour was that of a domestique, one of those tireless, unselfish team riders who sacrifices everything for the team leader and the team. Jemison exemplifies that role. Jemison proudly executed his role and still finished the race with a respectable 96th place. Rookies are usually not encouraged to finish their first race but Jemison was determined to finish. His Postal Service team was one of only a few teams which finished with all its team riders still competing which contributed to the team finishing in the top 10 in the team standings.
So congratulations to Marty Jemison, cycling utah's Rider of the Year.
Jemison's Tour performance was clearly a highlight for 1997 but local riders
provided flashes of brilliance for all to see.
Male Road Racer of the Year honors go to David Zabriskie of Team Einstein's. Zabriskie started the season in good form and by June was invited to race with the National Junior team. He travelled with the team after he won the Little Mountain Road Race with a solo effort.
Zabriskie travelled to San Sebastian, Spain for the UCI World Road Championships and finished fourth in the junior men's 24.6km individual time trial with a time of 36 minutes, 23 seconds, was 12 seconds behind that of Russian Olympian Alexei Markov, 18. German Torsten Hieckmann, 17, won in a time of 35:56. Australian Michael Rogers, 17, was second, one second behind Hieckmann.
Earlier this year, Zabriskie won the U.S. junior national individual time trial title and also won the individual time trial at the Tour de L'Abitibi Junior World Cup stage race in Canada. Congratulations to David Zabriskie as cycling utah's Male Road Racer of the Year.
Sometimes a year off from racing recharges the competitive batteries. Sometimes the fires go out after a long layoff. In the case of Tana Stone, a year off from racing was just the prescription for a successful, if not dominating, race season. cycling utah picks Tana Stone as Female Road Racer of the Year.
Stone won a number of high-profile races this year. Here's a short list: Chum's Classic stage race, Canyon Circuit Race, Antelope Island road race, Einstein's Downtown Criterium, Little Mountain road race, District Criterium Championships, Snowbird Hillclimb and District Road Race Championships. Anyway, you get the picture. She simply dominated the women's racing in 1997. Our hats off to Tana Stone, cycling utah's Female Road Racer of the Year.
Now the hard pick of the year. In the dirt scene, there wasn't one dominating rider. Talk about competitive racing! Series champions were determined by as few as two points. So we're going to go out on a limb and choose someone who started the season with a bang and stayed at or near the top for the entire, long, grueling season. Cycling Utah's Male Mountain Bike Racer of the Year is Bart Adams.
Adams won the Intermountain Regional Championship Series, better known as the Cannondale Cup series, was second in the Utah State series (and would have been even closer to the championship if not for a DNF in the series finale) and kicked off the season with a strong win at the high-profile Cactus Cup in Phoenix at the beginning of the season. Congratulations to Bart Adams.
Choosing the men's racer of the year was tough but choosing Jennifer Tribe as cycling utah's Female Mountain Bike Racer of the Year was much easier. Tribe got her season rolling with a wins at Vegas Rocks! and South Beach Boogie, followed by wins at NCS finals Hillclimb and Medicine Butte. She capped her fine season with a 2nd-place finish at the NCS finals cross country in Women's Expert. Tribe won the Cannondale Cup series and the Utah State Series in Women's Expert. Congratulation to Jennifer Tribe, cycling utah's Female Mountain Bike Racer of the Year.
As far as events for 1997, we have some easy choices again. On the road side, Cycle Salt Lake is our choice as cycling utah's Road Event(s) of the year. The racing was expanded to include three races on the same weekend this year with a Friday night criterium, Saturday night downtown criterium and a circuit race on Sunday.
The R.C. Willey Express Criterium got the festivities going with Pro/Cat. 1-3 men's and women's races as well as a Masters race. Einstein's Downtown Criterium remained the cornerstone of the weekend races with it's high-profile location around the City/County building in downtown Salt Lake City. The annual classic Hammer at the Slammer race at Point of the Mountain capped off a fine weekend of road racing.
As we go to the trail, the NCS Finals at Deer Valley was the flagship event
of the mountain bike racing season in 1997. To host an important event such
as the national finals is a huge endeavor and the event as a whole was a
huge success. Although not locally produced, the race itself was designed by
local promoter Ron Lindley and local volunteers were a big help in making
the event successful. So the NCS Finals at Deer Valley is cycling utah's
Mountain Event of the Year.