Stacked fields climbed their way through Arizona’s hardest road race on Saturday, with most races concluding in breakaway victories.
La Vuelta a Santa Catalina Road Race challenged riders with relentless ascents, with the 80-mile variety gaining more than 4,500 feet.
Women’s Pro 1/2/3 & Collegiate A
Olympian and pro mountain biker Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) dropped the Women’s Pro 1/2/3 and Collegiate Women’s A field about five miles from the finish, sailing across the line solo on her Pivot Vault cyclocross bike (with road tires).
“At about the 2:30 hour mark today I was actually feeling pretty rough but just tried to come up with a few different finish scenarios in my head,” Woodruff said.
The Prescott, Ariz. resident said she tried to be efficient and keep a steady tempo in the group while keeping her eye on Cara O’Neill (UA Cycling), Emma Lujan (unattached) and Maddy Ward (unattached), who she said she pegged as strong climbers.
“About 4.5 to 5 miles out, I attacked hard and tried to be a little sneaky about it,” Woodruff said. “I struggle with commitment in these scenarios, so I made sure to make the move count. It worked!”
O’Neill finished second after taking a last-second dig toward the line. Janelle Cole (Landis/Trek), formerly of United Healthcare Pro Cycling, took third.
Woodruff, whose last road race was in 2014 at Oracle, said she opted to come out because it’s affiliated with the UA Grand Prix crit, a race she was involved in organizing when she raced collegiately as a Wildcat. It also helped that she just finished a team training camp in Tucson.
“I still prefer the dirt, but I had a fun time today,” Woodruff said. “Plus I can now say I’ve won a race on my Pivot Vault.”
Men’s Pro 1/2/3 & Collegiate A
Junior National Road Race champion Quinn Simmons (LUX/Specialized by Cynergy) broke away from a field of more than 60 riders at the bottom of the first descent then made his efforts look easy as he crossed the line solo for the win.
“Me, Matthew [Riccitello] (LUX/Specialized by Cynergy) and Travis [McCabe] (Floyd’s Pro Cycling Team) and a few other local guys went just at the bottom of the first descent,” Simmons said. “Matthew put in a pretty big effort early and I launched off the top of that.”
Simmons said he wasn’t sure the break would stick for the first 30k, but once the gap reached two minutes he became more confident. When his breakaway group hit the 9k mark, or about 5.5 miles, before the finish Simmons attacked and stayed away to the line.
The race was his first in the stars and bars jersey.
“It’s cool, you know,” Simmons said. “Just wearing the jersey is really cool and being able to do it winning as a first year is kind of rare, so having a full year in it is going to be exciting.”
Nickolas Zukowsky (Floyd’s Pro Cycling Team) finished second and McCabe finished third.
Women’s Cat 5 raced combined with Cat 4, and Brianna Troska (unattached) crossed the line first. The Men’s Cat 5 field also raced in tandem with Cat 4s. In that race, Hayden Palmer (Landis/Trek) got the victory.