Joey Chiavetta, a freshman chemical engineering major and member of the Rams Cycling Team, trained in Massonville’s Rist Canyon every week this summer in preparation for the 2009 ACA Rist Canyon Hill Climb.
After reaching a top speed of 50 mph during the 26.7-mile ride through the canyon toward Horsetooth Park, Chiavetta took 3rd place in the Citizen’s Men division.
His strategy, he said, was to “stay in the front of the pack, keep (himself) in a good pace and stay in the draft.”
The hill climb was the roughest part of the track, Chiavetta said, explaining, “You have to drag yourself up by the skin of your teeth.”
This was Chiavetta’s first competitive race in his 12-year career but the last race of the season. In time, he said he aims to compete in the category 4 division, just below the citizen level, and ultimately race for the RCT, a CSU club sport team, at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships by the time he is a senior.
Members of the CSU Rams Cycling club turned out to support Chiavetta and other riders and volunteer as race marshals. They did so, not only because of their desire to support the event and their love of the sport, but to promote the CSU cycling name in an effort to host the USACCRNC in Fort Collins for a third year.
Racing divisions were broken down by age and expertise ranging from general citizen to professional divisions.
In the professional division, Alex Hagman, who races internationally, beat out the competition.
Rushing around a canyon bend with sweat dripping from his brow, Hagman, fully clad in green and black, broke away from the pack of more than 20 racers.
Hagman rapidly closed in on the frontrunner, who attempted to maintain his victor status, plunging his legs to the pedals. Hagman was able to take the lead.
Bob Green, founder of the Velo-one Cyling Club in Fort Collins, said that racing is “a chess game.”
He said team tactics could relieve riders’ stress level. These tactics include establishing a support frame either at the head or the back of the pack, either setting or staying with the pack’s pace or catching a draft to rest or pull ahead to lead.
Trying to create a strategic plan, Hagman invited the once-leader to ride around him and pull ahead, so they could work together as one, taking turns shielding the other from wind resistance.
However, the former leader refused Hagman’s offer and attempted to push further ahead. Hagman noticed this, increased his speed, leaving the rest of the riders in his wake, including the former leader, down the serpentine road.
Nearing the finish line, Hagman rose from his seat, climbing the last steep hill of the race. His team, following him in a gray Mini Cooper, honked their horn to encourage the rider, saying, “Come on Alex. Push it, push it, push it.”
He did so and won.
Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.