cycling utah October 1999

Rider of the Year

cycling utah recognizes the outstanding athletes and events of the 1999 cycling season

Geez, time flies when you're having fun.

Well, it's October and the road and mountain seasons are unofficially over, save for a couple of more events on the calendar. It also marks the beginning of the up and coming cyclo cross season. Cyclo cross was the buzz at the Interbike a couple of years ago and sure enough it's catching on. But that's another story.

In a way the end of 1999 is much the same as the six other season finales that cycling utah has witnessed. It's our annual Best of the Year awards. Sorry no Jeeps, Mercedes or what have you. Just a pat on the back and three atta boy's (and girl's). We spare no expense.

When talking professional sports, much has been said about parity among the teams that fill the sports pages and sports shows. This parity has even trickled into our sport. We're seeing many more riders out there that on any given day can pull off a win. This leads to exciting races and great competition and nervous racers.

But even so, there are always those individuals who make their mark on any given year. We hope to acknowledge some of those who made an impression on us during the course of the year.

Each year we honor who we feel is the top rider in the state. And each year it's been a tough decision. And 1999 wasn't any different. Utah, we think, is unique in that we boast two national champions: USPro national champion and Junior national champion. Our congratulations to Marty Jemison and Brad Buccambuso for their respective wins.

See it's a tough choice. But the future of cycling in the country and especially in Utah lies in our youth and that said cycling utah chooses Brad Buccambuso of Logan Race Club as Utah's Rider of the Year.

Buccambuso won the national title in Cincinnati, Ohio June 25 on a daring solo breakaway. His winning margin was 39 seconds over second place Devon Hoff-Weckes of California. He surprised many local riders by winning the time trial, taking second in the criterium and finishing fifth overall at the High Uintas Classic earlier in June. He backed up his national title by winning the international stage race Tour de l'Abitibi in Canada. He recently traveled with the national team to compete at the world championships in Italy but withdrew after a big crash and then a flat tire.

Congratulations Brad for a great season.

Many cyclists in Utah recognize the name John Osguthorpe from his exploits on a mountain bike. But he turned his talent to the road in 1999 and he really shined.

He was a consistent high finisher while competing for Rocky Mountain Cycling Club/Rhodes. He was second to pro Saturn rider Burke Swindlehurst at the Snowbird Hill Climb and turned in an incredible solo win at the longest single day race in the United States, Logan to Jackson (LOTOJA). Other notable performances were third at High Uintas Classic and third at the Utah State Mountain Bike Champion-ships at Deer Valley Rally, despite crashing on the final descent that sent him to the hospital for observation of a head injury.

Efforts like his have earned him the Male Road Rider of the Year.

Cycling is a tough, unforgiving sport. You can be at the top of the heap one year and off the back the next. That happened to our Female Road Rider of the Year.

Heather Albert enjoyed great success a couple of years ago that included a stage win at the Hewlett Packard International Women's Challenge. Then illness knocked her off the bike for much of last season. So 1999 was a comeback year for Albert and come back she did.

Her fifth place at the U.S. Senior National Road Race was an announcement; "I'm back." She has had a successful season racing for the Schwab team nationally and locally for Team Nissan. Albert was third at the Downtown Criterium and then won the High Uintas Classic, District Time Trial, Xterra Criterium at Sugarhouse Park and the Snowbird Hill Climb.

Glad to have you back Heather.

On the mountain bike side of our sport more tough decisions.

But cycling utah's choice of Male Mountain Bike Rider of the Year is Sobe/Head Shock's Eric Jones. When not competing on the NCS circuit, he's winning races locally. He was the overall Intermountain Cup series champion and had wins at Zion, Tooele, Brian Head, Jackson Hole and Evanston. He placed 15th at the Deer Valley NCS race. Now if only Eric will start training before the first race of the year in St. George.

Our Female Mountain Bike Rider of the Year is Intermountain Cup series champion Mindy Gillespie. Gillespie is a model of consistency and she races a lot. Her wins include the Showdown at 5-Mile Pass, Zion, Snowbird, Draper and Deer Valley NCS in Senior Women Expert. In the races she didn't win, it seemed she was second or third. And she's still learning how to descend fast, look out when it starts to click.

Now on to the events.

It's been 17 years since Dave Bern thought up the race from Logan, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming. 203 miles through three states. It had a European ring to it then and it still does today. The 1999 version was arguably the best edition yet. The folks at epek Sports and Promotion made their sophomore year a memorable one. The LOTOJA Classic gets our nod as 1999 Road Race of the Year.

The National Championship Series, better known as NCS, has been stopping at Deer Valley for a few years now and the folks at Team Big Bear know how to put on a really big show. This is a HUGE production and it's a class act from start to finish. So we recognize the NCS at Deer Valley as 1999 Mountain Bike Race of the Year.

1999 Road Tour of the Year is truly a community effort. It's unfortunate that a tragedy that changed many people's lives was at the heart of the event. What it does show however is how closely knit the cycling community really is. An accident forever changed the lives of Brian Carlson, Brookanne Mickelson, Maikel Wise and their families. To witness well over 300 people participate in The Cycle For Life Benefit Ride was inspiring and much appreciated by the victims.

The 1999 Mountain Tour of the Year was more proof that cyclists step up and help. The Buffalo Bike Ride is a once-a-year fundraiser for the trail system on Antelope Island and is organized by Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club. Fifty percent of the proceeds go for trail work and maintenance. With this kind of help, more trails await us.

Our recognition of great efforts in 1999 would be incomplete if we didn't say a big thank you to some tireless people who make things happen in and around Utah. Join us is giving a big thanks to promoters of five great series. Without Dirk Cowley and Matt Ohran putting on the Rocky Mountain Raceways, DMV criteriums, time trial series, Canyon Park series and the Cyclo cross series, where would we race? You guys deserve a round of applause for the efforts you put into cycling. And the mountain bike calendar is chock full of great events because of Ed Chauner and the Intermountain Cup series. Keep up the great work Dirk, Matt and Ed.

That about wraps up another season of bicycling in Utah. But don't hang up those bikes yet. Remember the cyclo cross series and you can always ride just for the fun of it. We still have a couple of months left in 1999. Happy roads and trails to all. See you next year.

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