By Ben Towery — The 2013 edition of the Tour de Park City, held on August 3, was full of heat and wind but rewarded all those who participated with grand vistas, international level competition and valuable UCA Premiere Series points. 608 riders tackled the classic long 157 mile course and shorter 100 and 50 mile courses.
The Tour de Park City has occupied an important place on the Utah cycling calendar as many riders use the long course as a tune up for LOTOJA but the event is clearly stepping into its own as many riders use it as their go-to event for the year. With three separate categories selling out, the popularity of TdePC is certainly growing and just as last year, the event drew international level pros competing for the $4000 prize purse and beautiful trophies.
The competition was stiff with two separate 50 rider Cat 5 groups and a 75 rider Masters B (Cat 4/5 35+), but the women’s categories also had their best turnouts in the history of the event.
In the women’s Pro/1/2/3 race a solid group of riders broke away on the east to west climb of Bald Mountain Pass. The select group, which included Amy Charity (Vanderkitten), Anne Perry (DNA Cycling/Plan 7), Breanne Nalder (DNA Cycling/Plan 7), Shirley Leydsman (Red Rock) and Melinda Mcfarlane (Harristone/Sun Valley Mortgage) made their move and stuck together on the fast and technical downhill into Kamas. Among this breakaway of five ladies were LOTOJA winners, state champions, national champions and card-carrying pro. They managed to stay away all the way to the final climbs to the finish. With just a few kilometers to go, Amy Charity began to separate herself from her competition and raced across the finish line in 7 hrs 56 mins 28 secs. Anne Perry was second just 4 seconds back with Breanne Nalder third another 16 seconds back. Shirley Leydsman and Melinda Mcfarlane rounded out the top 5. It wasn’t until 15 minutes later that the next group finished.
In the men’s Pro/1/2/3 race, after 7 hours of racing, it came down to a sprint finish between the top four riders. Cameron Hoffman (Intermountain Live Well), Ricky Bangerter (Intermountain Live Well) Chase Pinkham (Jamis/Hagens Berman), Cortlan Brown (Astellas Oncology) and Bonn Turkington (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) disposed of the peloton on the long climb to the 10,750’ summit of Bald Mountain Pass. The Intermountain Live Well duo of Hoffman and Bangerter did what to could to stay on top of things but at the final 2k to go, Hoffman was left fend for himself with Pinkham, Brown and Turkington. The TdePC course finishes with one last steep climb with 1k to go and then is downhill and flat ove the last 500 meters. At the top of the last steep climb, Hoffman, Pinkham, Brown and Turkington were neck and neck. Hoffman made the first move into the stiff wind with about 200 meters to go. It was Turkington however who was best shielded from the breeze and was able to come around all 3 of his rivals and cross the finish line first. Brown took second and Pinkham was third in the photo finish. Hoffman was right there finishing .2 seconds back with his teammate Bangerter coming in 2 minutes behind in fifth.
The elite categories weren’t the only ones with photo finishes. The Masters Men 35+ also came down to a three-way sprint with Justin Wilson (Revolution Café Rio) just beating out Ira Sorensen (Infinite Cycles) and Louis Amelburu (Microseal Racing Team). The Masters B race came down to the final meters as well with Jon Rose (Adobe) just inching out a win over Mckay Robinson (Infinite Cycles) at the line.
With so much wind and almost 9,000 feet of climbing, several riders indicated this was the hardest race they’ve ever done. Some estimated they faced a headwind nearly 80% of the race. It wasn’t just wind that riders had to contend with however. Chalk Creek Road has seen its share of unruly residents in the past. Last year they fired bottle rockets at the riders and this year was no different with 3 residents heckling riders and even pulling their trucks out in front of riders.
This year’s race was filled with other great stories as riders continue to put TdePC on their must do list each year. The prestige of just finishing such an epic adventure looms large for many riders who come from all over the country to leave their mark on the high roads of Northern Utah and Southern Wyoming.