OGDEN, Utah -- After the final day of the 2012 USA Cycling Championships, King College achieved a spot of the final podium, placing fifth overall in the Team Omnium standings. The Team Omnium is a combination of the point values of both men's and women's road races and criterium races and ranks them against the field of teams competing. The Tornado cyclists were among 44 Division II teams that were invited to Ogden, Utah to compete in the three-day event. Full release in the following story!
Click here for the official home page of the 2012 USA Cycling National Championships!
Click here for results to all races
Watch our special edition of Tornado Watch! with Dan Kreiss as he explains the events of the weekend, plus the experience Ogden, Utah has provided at the 2012 USA Cycling National Championships!
Watch our special video as four members of the King cycling team graduated. Two are with us in Ogden, Utah and had to watch the live stream so we had the video camera rolling!
UPDATES: (will be done sporadically throughout the weekend)
7:55 a.m. MST -- The Baker family arrives at the house for their son Brent's graduation ceremony which most of the team woke up to watch online, via streaming video.
8:59 a.m. -- We gather and watch the show from nearly 2,400 miles away and celebrate with Brent, his family, Zach Nave (also graduating), and the team.
11:03 a.m. -- Made scramble to get numbers on, uniforms dresses properly, and for the always-hurried SID to get video uploaded and then ready for the trip to the downtown Ogden course for today's criterium.
11:30 a.m. -- On the road for the downtown course! Lots happening in downtown today, but WE are the main attraction!
11:38 a.m. -- We arrive in our parking spot and are unloading the truck! Oh baby, the time is near!
12:29 p.m. -- Just interviewed newly graduated senior Brent Baker about the upcoming crit. Everyone is excited, the plan has been laid out, and now its just time to perform! The women's race will begin at 1 p.m. MST / 3 p.m. EST and last approximately 1:15. The men will follow around 3 p.m. MST / 5 p.m. EST. Stay tuned for Brent's interview!
12:40 p.m. -- Heading out the start/finish line now! Be back later, hopefully for some good results!
3:58 p.m. -- Stephanie Cucaz finishes in 6th place overall, just one spot shy of a podium finish. She moved at least four spots on the final breakaway but got cut off in the final turn by the fifth place finisher. Amanda Komestat finished one lap down, not sure on a number. All results are unofficial at this moment.
Also just had some incredible deli sandwiches from Gandolfo's ... wow. Food has been awesome since we've been here.
5:39 p.m. -- We've just returned to the bus after the men's crit and results posting. Alex Jensen tops the King leaderboard with a 13th place finish in the men's criterium. Brent Baker overcomes a pretty substantial wreck to take 30th place. Zach Nave just misses on taking points, placing 51st overall. He definitely was roughed up as he had to pit four times due to crashes in front of him. Julian Cabra was in sixth place with six laps to go when a racer in front of him blew a tire and forced a miniature pileup. Cabra had no free lap to play with and finished 71st. They also took seven preen points. Team is a bit upset at the overall finish, but a really good run for Jensen. Very strong field.
Being this was my first cycling event, I have to say that this is VERY real and intense. I definitely agree with Coach Kreiss that this is something you have to experience to appreciate. I still am an amateur but understand much better about what the sport is about. The team has been great in educating me. Banquet is later tonight...both teams' road races tomorrow early in the morning!
10:57 p.m. -- The troops are bedded down for the night and boy do we have an early morning. Word is that we are leaving at 6:15 a.m. for the road course that involves a resevoire! Everybody was pretty tired coming out of the banquet and looking forward to dates with their pillows upon return. With a long day, late night, and early morning I don't really blame them. Even after all the wrecks, everybody is in good physical health. Some are disapointed, but Brent Baker has done an excellent job at keeping the team up, motivated, and hungry for success!
Tonight's banquet held in the downtown area was excellent. The food was remarkable (as were the desserts), short and concise speakers (something I wish more banquets and events would invest in) and a good setup for the podium winners that were introduced after team time trials and criterium racing over the last two days. King missed out on the podium by just one position not once, but TWICE. The women's team of Amanda Komestat, Stephanie Cucaz, and Caroline Gentry placed sixth in the team time trials and Cucaz individually took sixth in a heated women's criterium race. Very close, but very encouraging. Brent Baker, upon seeing all the podium placers take their mark on stage, kept saying how badly he wanted a medal and one of the Stars and Stripes tops (I know Alex Jensen will smack his head again for my lack of knowledge on what a cycling uniform is ACTUALLY called). Maybe he will get his own and/or the team ones to wear on Sunday.
As a team, King is currently in fifth place in the overall omnium so if the competition ended tonight they would podium overall. After talking with Head Coach Dan Kreiss, he feels that with a strong performance in Sunday's road race King has a decent shot to podium after all is said and done. But that is why they race the race, because anything can happen!
SUNDAY (May 6)
7:57 a.m. MST -- Our internet situation was looking fairly bleak there for a moment, but we have it back on track. By the looks of the town I thought I would never get internet. It is VERY old school. They still have a General Store, for those that are familiar with those.
We were all up early and out the door by 6:15 a.m. and came out into "true Utah weather". I now see my breath and no signs of warming up anytime soon.
The county came to the road couse (which is beautiful by the way) and changed the start/finish line so we are a little behind, but not by much. Stephanie Cucaz and Amanda Komestat now heading to staging! Be back for more later...
8:10 a.m. -- And the D2 women are off! Stephanie Cucaz in the front line of a slightly smaller field of racers. We're heading to the feeding zone now. Hoping to get a little video and photos of the pass by.
10:23 a.m. -- Just got back from the feed zone and saw two passes through. By the looks of it, both Cucaz and Komestat are in good positions. They are both riding in the middle of the pack and using the entire field to feed off of heading into the final big loop. According to Coach Kreiss, it will come down to how each riding handles the incredible climb that is in the final loop of the course. Each rider takes two laps around the regular road course and the final lap takes them off the beaten path and up a pretty sizeable mountain. Both sides will have challenges with the climb and has been known to make or break riders. We'll have to wait to see how the ladies do as they come down the final stretch and toward the start/finish line.
11:45 a.m. -- Unofficial results as Cucaz and Komestat cross the line. I believe Cucaz was 15th overall in the Women's DII race. Komestat not far behind somewhere in the 19-22 place range. Going to go check the results at the main tent now. Report from the field was that there was a major crash somewhere along the course where ambulance and police units were needed. Everybody from the SECCC is accounted for and safe. Not sure many more details but good finishes that will get the team a lot of points from our women's team.
11:54 a.m. -- Just went to the results tent and the official word is Cucaz finishes 15th/26 and Komestat 21st/26. Saw one of the racers in the crash. It must have been a mix of DII and DI riders (mostly DI). Young lady from University of Oregon walked by very scraped up and bandaged. Looked pretty rough but apparently she was one of the lucky ones.
2:47 p.m. -- Just spend the last couple hours up in the feed zone. If you didn't catch the Twitter feed, on the first passthrough a couple riders in the front tried to stretch the pack and attack but instead caused a monster crash that knocked out at least 10 racers. Among those was King's Alex Jensen who cracked his frame and could not get a neutral support bike to continue the race. He was forced to exit, which is a big blow to the Tornado men's team.
On the last passthrough, Julian Cabra and Brent Baker both were sitting well among the majority of the field. With a pair of top-15 finishes, the Tornado may just pull off a spot on the podium! But it will all come down to the finish in about 45 minutes and how the points shake down.
If you check the standings at this moment, King sits in fifth place in the team omnium and with a decent finish can sustain that and a podium finish. They are 15 points back of Cumberlands and we just got word that one of their top racers was among those that were involved in the crash and out, so that bodes well for King.
Another sidenote: Stephanie Cucaz has finished eighth in the individual female omnium. HUGE accomplishment for the freshman!
4:23 p.m. -- Just watched the finish of the men's road race and I think King may take the podium for overall team omnium after our finish and four of Duke University's five riders crashing out in the big tussel early in the race! T.J. Killelia had an amazing performance. The kid had a migraine that made him sick all night last night, woke up dehydrated, wrecked in the massive pileup early in the road race and still topped the King leaderboard. No official placement yet but I believe he and Brent Baker both finished top-30 or top-35. Julian Cabra was the third King racer to place and his points will be the last to account for the Tornado's team score.
We'll have to see how the results shake down. We're heading to the main tent for results and podium announcements soon. Hopefully, King will be able to take the podium for overall team omnium in their first trip to nationals...a HUGE accomplishment. More to come...
6:15 p.m. -- WE DID IT! King College is a podium placer in the 2012 USA Cycling Championships in just its first year competing at that level and just the third year of the program's existance. Unbelievable. It is still sinking in with the team as we sit here in the housing getting cleaned up for a celebratory meal. Nobody could be happier than senior Brent Baker. I mean, the kid did make the entire team kiss his medal in celebration!
Congratulations to Julian Cabra, Zach Nave, Brent Baker, Alex Jensen, T.J. Killelia, Blake Adams (support), Stephanie Cucaz, Caroline Gentry, and Amanda Komestat for an incredible and memorable performance! More to come later tonight including an official release!