Centurion Cycling Co-Founders Graham Fraser and Len Pettyjohn expressed satisfaction with the turnout for the first Lyons Centurion Bike Race held here last Sunday (July 18). They were, of course, hoping
for more participants, but since the two race promoters were creating something completely out of nothing, Fraser said the nearly 750 racers were “a good start,” and they plan to build from there.
Fraser, who formerly owned/produced the world famous Ironman Races, and Pettyjohn came to the Lyons Board of Trustees last year with the vision of creating a European-style mass start race, which would begin and end in Lyons, and would include an Expo with industry reps, vendors, food, and music. They chose Lyons because of the challenging bicycle racing terrain (mountains), the small town feel, and its proximity to all the avid bicyclists in the Boulder/Front Range area. The pair has two more races scheduled for this season, one in Madison, Wisconsin, and the other in Toronto, Canada.
The event was extremely well organized, from start to finish, and really didn’t cause too much disruption for residents with street/road closures around town, considering the scale of the race (see letter to the editor in this edition for a differing viewpoint). Although we did hear of a resident who would have preferred that the location of the “port-a-potties” not be quite so close to her back deck. Understandable, and the sort of thing that can be “tweaked” in years to come. Town officials and event organizers plan to sit down later and do a post-mortem to discuss what worked, and what didn’t, and public input will be valuable.
This year’s event was actually three races in one. The first was a 25-mile race, with 65 entrants (should be much more popular next year) that started in Lyons, went east on Rte. 66, made a big loop up towards Berthoud, and then back into Lyons on Rte. 66. The second was the 50-mile race with 259 racers. It went out of Lyons toward Boulder on Rte. 36, up Left Hand Canyon to the Peak-to-Peak Highway, and then down Rte. 7 and into Lyons. The 100-mile race rolled right down Main Street (at 7 a.m.), and then basically doubled the 50-miler, with a small loop toward Hygiene thrown in for good measure. This turned out to be the most popular choice, with 417 people electing to challenge themselves on the torturous double climb! After the race Lyons’ resident Dan Farrell, opined, “The most difficult part of the race was passing my house after 50 miles, and not stopping for a cold beer and a nap.”
Speaking of Lyons, the local biking community did themselves proud. In the 25-mile race, Bill and Marylyn Palmer (first Lyons finishers) took top honors in their age/gender groups. Stephanie Kurland and Jonelle Tucker finished second in their respective age groups, and Eric Zilling, Mark Browning, and Julie Van Domelen got on the podium with third place finishes. In the 50-mile race, Kelly Yelverton rode away with first place honors in her age group (Mom Eileen and Dad Forrest finished well too), and Steve Kurland finished second in his age group. Top overall female Lyons finishers in the 50 were Connie Sullivan, Eileen Yelverton, and Annie Sirotniak. Top overall male Lyons finishers in the 50 were Tod Kimbell, Art Karsel, and Neil Sullivan. In the 100-mile race, Chris Legh and Matthew Gates just missed the podium finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Although it should be noted that Legh won the “King of the Mountain” segment of the race, awarded to the rider with the fastest time climbing from the bottom of Left Hand Canyon to the top of the Peak-to Peak. For a complete listing of the results in all three events, you can visit www.centurioncycling.com, and click on “here” in the “huge success” article, and for more photos you can visit www.lyonsrecorder.com.
The various civic groups within in Lyons did very well for themselves also. Centurion was donating $500 to groups who supplied 25 volunteers to work the event. Several groups, like the Lyons Booster Club, Lyons Community Foundation, and the LYBSA took advantage of the opportunity as scores of familiar faces manned the registration tables, food tables, stuffed “schwag bags,” etc.