By Tyler Servoss
The East Canyon Echo Road Race rolled out of Henefer on a cool morning on April 19, 2014. The second UCA road race of the season had plenty of climbing in store, and a number of categories saw record field sizes. The race organizer, James Zwick of Sports Am, along with event producer Marek Shon, chief referees Gary and Louise Bywater, and a slew of volunteers ran a very smooth event.
The racecourse opened with a climb out of Henefer to the top of the “Hogsback” followed by a quick decent and fast flats to the turn around near the East Canyon resort campground. Riders then climbed the backside of the Hogsback and descended to Henefer before heading to Echo Junction and a gradual climb to various turn around points depending upon category. After racing back to Henefer, the riders climbed the south side of the Hogsback one more time for a summit finish.
The men’s Pro 1,2,3 race started with a number of attacks on the opening climb with a small group staying clear to the turn around and back to the base of the second big climb of the day. With several more attacks, the racing came down to the final climb with Erik Slack (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) out sprinting breakaway companions Cortlan Brown (Astellas Cycling Team) and Jake Stocking (Ski Utah PLAN 7) Race winner Erik Slack (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) celebrated an emotional victory with thoughts of his former teammate and close friend Chase Pinkham who tragically passed away recently. He said “as I came up the last climb I thought to myself, how could I NOT win today, for Chase?”
The women’s Pro 1,2,3 race featured a couple of accelerations on the opening climb with the group staying together to the turn around at East Canyon. Upon reaching the backside of the Hogsback also known as “the wall” 4 riders moved off the front of the group. The break consisted of eventual winner Breanne Nalder and Amy Thornquist both (DNA cycling pb K4 Racing) Mindy McCutcheon (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) and Melinda Macfarlane (Harristone Sun Valley Mortgage). They stayed away together to the 2nd turn around in Echo Canyon and on to the opening slopes of the final climb. An attack by Amy Thornquist caused Melinda Macfarlane to slide off the back. She was then countered by her teammate Breanne Nalder who soloed in for the win at the summit with nearly a minute cushion. Breanne was also close friends with Chase Pinkham and attributed her win to thoughts of him.