How Painful was the New Gopher Criterium at the State Fairgrounds?

How Painful was the New Gopher Criterium at the State Fairgrounds?

The Gopher Criterium or Campus Criterium has been forced to change locations numerous times over the last several years. Even this edition was forced to modify the course slightly away from the St. Paul Campus and toward the State Fairgrounds at the last minute. However, the general response from those that raced this technical course was positive.

Mattio Montesano (Second Chance Racing) said, “Yup, this was one of the tougher crits I’ve done.  Nice job, Noah and Grant and whoever else on the UMCT was involved in making it happen – please pass on my thanks.”

Gopher Crit

Gopher Crit Course on the MN State Fairgrounds

I think this race may suffer a bit from the fitness hangover of the Ken Woods Memorial Road Race happening the day before. However, that might just be the opinion of someone who has always faired poorly in back-to-back weekend races? So who did showed up to race on Sunday and how did all of the races shake out? Here is a Prenzlow Photography perspective of the afternoon races.

Masters 40+/50+

If I was rolling up to the Masters Race (which I didn’t), I would have known clearly that I was in for a world of hurt based on the size of the field (14) and the makeup of the riders . . . or rider (Dan Casper). Small field sizes in crits result in very few places for riders to hide and plenty of opportunities for riders to suffer from wind and aggressive riders.

Gopher Crit

My favorite shot of the day. Rick Laliberte (Vision Racing) looks like he means business rounding the corner in a group of four riders.

At the beginning of the race it Dan Casper (Donkey Label) attempted a few attacks as early as the first lap, but nothing stuck until he initiated a break with Matt Muyres (Vision Racing p/b Harvest Snaps). However, Muyres was content, and smart, to sit on Casper’s wheel for several laps in an attempt to wear him down.

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Casper doing 90% of the work as Muyres sits on in this first break of the race.

Behind the break things had fractured into several smaller groups of both the 40+ and 50+ riders. However, the two men were caught at some point only to get away again with Muyres’s teammate, Rick Lalilberte. In the end, even with Casper doing the lion’s share of the work, he was able to clinch his second win of the weekend by beating Muyres by just over a second at the line. Lalilberte rounded out the podium with a solid performance by Vision Racing.

After the race Andrew Frye (Flanders) commented on the race, “Awesome performance Casper. Thank you for helping me taste my spleen. We’re all just scratching our heads.”

That sounds about right.

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Do I see Dan Casper puffing out his chest at bit at this Donkey Label/Vision Racing post-race meeting?

Average Speed: 23.8 mph

Results:

40+

  1. Daniel Casper (Donkey Label)
  2. Matt Muyres (Vision/Harvest Snap)
  3. Rick Lalilberte (Vision/Harvest Snap)

50+

  1. Dave Gray (Flanders)
  2. Robert Ashton (Flanders)
  3. David Pramann (Silver Cycling)

Full Masters Results

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Juniors/Women Cat 4

The Junior and Women Cat 4 Fields were also quite light at 11 total riders. There were four Junior Boys (10-14) with Nick Carter (NorthStar Development) taking the win as he broke away from the field near the end of the race. I overheard some family members worrying that his break may have occurred too soon, but he was able to gut it out for the win. Congrats Nick!

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Nick Carter (NorthStar Development) in a solo breakaway as he powers up the finishing climb.

There were three Junior Boys (15-18) with Ethan Nelson (St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club) taking the win. Erika Peterson (Northstar Development) was the sole Junior Girls rider, but hung in the mix for the full 30 minute race. Finally, Margeaux Claude (Fix Studio) was the winner of the three rider Women Cat 4 Field. Congrats to you all.

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Ethan Nelson (St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club) rounding on a corner on his way to winning the Boy 15-18 Race.

Full Junior/Women 4 Results

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Cat 4/5

The Cat 4/5 Field was one of the more entertaining of the day. The field of 35 riders pretty much stuck together for the duration of the 30 minute race. It appeared as though riders from Loon State and The Hub Cycling Team were the most aggressive at pushing the pace up front. Sam Berkland (Hub) and Jordan Buth (LSC) both had their nose out front at various points in the race.

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Jordan Buth (Loon State Cycling) assessing the remaining field of 15 riders in the Cat 4/5 Field

However, it was a Sh#t Goose sweep of both the Cat 4 and Cat 5 Fields. After suffering a flat tire at Ken Woods, Ben Hovland road smart and was able to win the field sprint on the final lap to take the Cat 4 Race. His teammate David Smith finished 5th overall and first among all Cat 5 riders. Congrats to you both!

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Ben Hovland (Sh#t Goose Racing) showed off his sprinting skills by edging out Michael Morehead (MSU) for the win.

Results:

Cat 4

  1. Ben Hovland (Sh#t Goose Bike Team)
  2. Michael Morehead (MSU Mankato)
  3. Sam Berkland (The Hub Cycling Team)

Cat 5

  1. David Smith (Sh#t Goose Bike Team)
  2. Tony Chiodi (Diablo Cycling)
  3. Matthew Abel (The Hub Cycling Team)

Full Cat 4/5 Results

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Women Cat 1/2 & Women Cat 3

The Women Cat 1/2 Field had three riders and the Women Cat 3 Field only had two. However, this race still had moments of excitement during the last few laps. Carrie Seipp (St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club) attempted a break with two and a half laps to go, but was caught on the last lap. However, she still had enough energy to edge out her own teammate (Diedre Ribbens) for first place. This was nearly a reverse podium from the day before at Ken Woods Road Race as Corey Coogan (The Fix Studio) came in third.

In the Women Cat 3 Field, Gabrielle Russell (Birchwood) bested her teammate Heather Edwards-Thoerner for the win.

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Heather Edwards-Thoerner attempting to bridge a small gap that formed mid race.

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Carrie Seipp thinking about attacking near the end of the Women 1/2 Race.

Full Women Results

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Men 1/2/3

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30 Cat 1/2 Riders rolled to the line for the Gopher Criterium.

30 riders rolled up the line for the 60 minute Men 1/2/3 Race. Most of the Masters Field doubled-up and were also a part of this race. Could Dan Casper make it two for two? Not today. Even though he was aggressively pushing the pace of the race multiple times during the first 20 minutes, it was his Donkey Label teammate who initiated the definitive break. Levon Kalemkiarian attacked at the mid-point of the race and rode solo for a number of laps before Jameson Ribbens (Revolution/Twinsix) bridged the gap and the two riders were away for the remainder of the race. Both riders had just enough teammates in the field to squash any attempts to shut down the break.

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Levon Kalemkiarian leading the peloton around a corner just before he attacks the field.

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The two break-away riders had teammates in the field who were willing to control the pace and chase down any attempts to bridge up.

The gap that the two-man break had formed did shrink toward the end of the race as many riders in the field were being shelled off the back. A field of 12 riders and a trailing group of 5 riders remained at the end. However, everyone who was still riding had the look of pain in their eyes.

In the end, Jameson attacked Lev on the last lap and won the race by roughly 100 meters. The sprint for the remaining podium spot was close, but Jameson’s teammate Brandon Krawczyk threw his bike at the line for the final spot.

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Another impressive win by Jameson Ribbens at the Gopher Criterium.

Gopher Crit

In the group-sprint of 12 remaining riders, Jameson’s teammate Brandon Krawczyk edged out Adam Froemming for the final podium spot.

While walking back to my car I may have overheard Krawczyk say, “Apparently we know who the best crit racer on our team is. . .”  With Jameson’s current fitness he would be difficult to beat in any type of bike race.

Average Speed: 25.1 mph

Cat 1/2

  1. Jameson Ribbens (Revolution Cycle/Twin Six)
  2. Levon Kalemkiarian (Donkey Label)
  3. Brandon Krawczk (Revolution Cycle/Twin Six)

Cat 3

  1. Alec Guggemons (St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club)
  2. Sam Fritz (Uof M Duluth)
  3. John Heinlein III (Loon State Cyclists)

Full 1/2/3 Results

Congrats to everyone that came out to race. Thanks to the University of Minnesota Cycling Team for the organization and promotion of the Gopher Criterium. Please let me know if I have made any errors within this photo essay write-up at: [email protected]

If you love any photos in the gallery, please purchase a reasonably priced download or print by clicking the “buy” button at the bottom right corner of any of the photos in the gallery and support what I do. Thanks!

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Brady Prenzlow owns Prenzlow Photography, rides for Erik’s Bike Shop, teaches at North Hennepin Community College, and loves everything about cycling from behind the lens and behind the bars.

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