Almost 900 riders registered to ride the 105-mile UCI Cache Gran Fondo world championship qualification race in Utah, USA this past Saturday.
Some were trying to qualify for the upcoming world championships in Poland, some trying to win a rainbow accented jersey by being 1st in their age group, and some just wanting to see how they stack-up against peers.
Due to riders not completing the prescribed route, course marshal misdirection and timing issues, at the end of the day accurate final results were not available – and may never be.
But otherwise the race started out perfectly on an unseasonably cool July morning under cloud covered Utah skies.
Starting from the college town of Logan, with a main street that looks like a Norman Rockwell painting, the event rolled out with police escorts through town and past farms green with summer hay and alfalfa.
The first test of the day came at mile 12 as riders started up the Beaver Dam climb leaving Cache Valley. Although not a difficult climb, it broke the very large pack into smaller groups with the front group 100 riders. A fast descent followed before the route turned north into headwind and across the Idaho state line.
At Malad City the pace quickened, shrinking the front group to 60 by the start of the main climb, a 15 mile 2-3% grade up Deep Creek Road.
At the summit riders were strewn up and down the road in small groups, with the lead group now 15 riders rolling a paceline at 32mph down to the finish in Logan.
Coming into the finish, the front group encountered another group coming the opposite direction. A bit confused, everyone sprinted under the finish banner hoping things would sort out.
GFDN talked with several riders afterwards who said some riders may have been misdirected by a corner marshal and rode a shorter distance.
GFDN reviewed unofficial results and checkpoint data for the 105-mile race, discovering anomalies, including average speeds above 30mph, missing intermediate checkpoint data, riders finishing but not scored, and riders listed in results for 105-mile race that rode the 70-mile course.
Timing and scoring was done by Photo Crazy, a business specializing in photographing participants at sporting events and selling the photos to participants as momentos. Their web site does not indicate they have experience scoring competitive cycling races.
At press time, the race promoter and Photo Crazy have not commented on when official final results will be available or how it affects riders trying to qualify for the 2019 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR NORTH AMERICA here
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR EUROPE here
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR UK GREAT BRITAIN here