By Ryan Barrett
June 2011 – It was a banner day for the host team Ski Utah-MarketStar at the Derek Leyde Memorial Downtown Criterium with team members Michael Booth and Laura Howat winning the Men Pro 1-2 and Women Pro 1-3 events, respectively. The race, which was the Utah State Criterium Championships was held on a beautiful May day and featured four corners around Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City.
The women’s 60 minute event started aggressively. The break of the day came out of a prime sprint with Laura Howat and Laura Patten (both Ski Utah-MarketStar) and Chantel Thackeray-Olsen and Kirsten Kotval (both Primal Utah). These four were kept honest with the field never far behind. On the final lap, it was Patten leading out Howat down the backstretch. Howat was able to take a clean sprint in front of Kotval and Olsen.
The Pro 1-2 men’s event was equally aggressive with all the best local teams and racers ready to fight for the title of state champ. About 1/3 of the way into the 90 minute event, Booth took off solo and was quickly marked by Chase Pinkham (Bissell Pro Cycling). Next to make it across was Mike Wilcox (FFKR) and Eric Pardyjak (Canyon Bicycles). Ryan Littlefield (Contender Bicycles) was the last to make contact and they were off. The field, led primarily by the Revolution Mountain Sports team attempted a chase, but the talent off the front would be hard to catch and the breakaway lapped the field with about 15 minutes remaining. The last few laps became more and more tense and the final lap featured multiple crashes (including the author!). Pinkham led the sprint out of the 3rd turn and Booth turned on the afterburners heading into the final turn to take a comfortable win in front of Pinkham and Wilcox.