Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Bike Boy Awards


Hi folks! It took me a long time, but I never gave up hope. Here are your 2nd Annual Bike Boy Awards for Arizona. Enjoy!


Juniors

Most Improved: I think we can all agree that Jesse Gilmer didn’t kick butts last year. It was his year first racing and a short year at that. He progressed in 2012 as he took advantage of his strengths. Made in the mold Nathan Franklin, Gilmer made strong showings at the State Road Race and Gila and asserted his will at Mount Graham. Doubtless, he has further potential unlock.

Best Crit Racer: Kenny Polley was another one of those obvious winners. Although he was not necessarily dominant at climbing or time trialing, K-Poll was the king of the crit in 2012. Out of 25 crits entered, he podiumed 15 times and won 8 times. He won every third race he entered, which, as we all can agree, is not normal.

Best Time Trialer: Ryan Geiger did things many people would call freakish. He rolled a 31 at VOS and smoked the State Time Trial in 26:36. The guy has an engine.

Best Mountain Goat: In a year when I thought there would be no pure climbers, Scott Ford stepped into the role. His performance at Regional Camp was doubtless his greatest achievement,

Most Consistent: Although I think many overlooked him, Donovan Caputo had a season to be envied. At the State Crit he took advantage of his “dark horse” status bridge up to the winning breakaway, a feat of tactics and strength. His L’Abitibi qualification rewarded a year of constant effort.

Best Team: Junior cycling really grew this year, reflected in the teams. This year saw Strada’s fall from numerical dominance- although their presence was still felt- to make way for other Valley teams. Two Wheel Jones more or less maintained their 2011 involvement, and Fly Racing emerged with Team Winded. El Grupo’s community of racers and Landis’ brother tandem ran steady once more. Yuma Bike Club made strides in consistency. However, it’s my opinion that Team Winded brought plentiful participation and solid competition to Arizona cycling. I’m quite comfortable giving this award to my own team. One cannot tell who will take the prize next year. Speculations infer that most of Two Wheel and Fly’s riders have been absorbed by Landis and Winded, and most pundits predict a showdown between the two Phoenix giants, leaning toward Landis- but be wary, be very wary of a dark horse.

Junior Rider of the Year: Taylor Skinner is not Danny Eaton, biologically or results-wise. However, Danny was 18 when he won this award, and Taylor is an underclassman. In February, Skinner tickled the Phenom tag that mankind so often assigns. His performances at VOS and Avondale were impressive to say the least. Although remains to be seen how much development Taylor has in store after two and a half years of rapid improvement, one can expect him to attack the 2013 season with great fervor.

 Masters Men
40-44 Rider of the Year: The spectators of masters’ crits felt an air of inevitability as James Kramer rode at a high level. The argument that Brian Forbes had more wins stands, but I’m of the opinion that Brian falls in to the “Cat 1/2” group. They certainly reinforced the fast reputation of the Master’s category. Kramer earned my gut inclination, and I’m interested to see how he would do in a deeper foray into the Cat 1/2 field.

45-49 Rider of the Year: This was the norm for 2012; in crits, Faster was the biggest and strongest, and in road races, GST was the biggest and strongest. Jim Silverman once again dominated the Copper Cup. 8th at VOS, 2nd at TBC, and 3rd in the State crit and road race. After the phenomenal spring campaign, he and GST annihilated the summer races. One must wonder if Landis/Faster/Southwest/RPM will grow more competitive in road or break GST’s four year State TTT winning streak. Interestingly enough, it was Silverman leading Rideclean to defeat GST’s TTT in 2008. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

50-54 Rider of the Year: Golly, masters racers sure were impressive this year. Keith Brodhagen was very difficult to beat, especially in the context of his age category. Although he wasn’t dominant going uphill, Brodhagen rode great in everything else. He challenged himself with out-of-state races and often entered the 45+ category, complementing a studly Faster line-up. It took a brave solo win from Jeff Biever to prevent him from sealing the State Crit.

55-59 Rider of the Year: Lionel Space won a lot of races, enough to take away the title Dave Bixby seemed to own. Although Space lacks versatility, his sprinting ability is extremely... able.

60+ Rider of the Year: Curveball. Franz Hammer didn’t win it. Reginald Dowdall is my pick. Each man won every single state championship they entered and won their respective Copper Cup (Hammer 75+, Dowdall 65-69), but Dowdall was the clear choice. How could I not be swayed when the guy goes under 1:50 on Mount Graham?

Women
Junior Woman of the Year: I believe the category had a good year, and I look forward to how 2013 goes for these ladies. Andrea Arriaga is my pick for this award. Honestly, I don’t know what more she could have done to earn this beside going undefeated and finishing a 20k in 35:51. I truly hope she and her fellow racers stick to it in 2013.

Cat 4 Woman of the Year: For a good portion of the year, I harped on and on about Liz Srejic. My opinion on Cat 4 awards is that they shouldn’t go to people who dominated throughout the full season (January-October). If you really dominate the Cat 4s in the winter, you should be able to upgrade by the summer. Srejic started in the middle of the year and blossomed as a bike racer in the Summer, taking wins at the Flagstaff Omnium and Mormon Lake Road Race.

Cat 3 Woman of the Year: Lauren Frisk led a strong El Grupo contingent and raced well at the State Road Race and Gila, but I would be unjust in not picking Emily Mcglamery. She took a consistent 2nd place at TBC and won the State Hill Climb and Road Race championships.

Cat 1-2 Woman of the Year: Sabrina Forbes took the Copper Cup quite handily, despite a shortened year. She led what I saw to be a Valley-resurgence.

Best Team: It’s a toss-up.  Jobing.com, Trisports, and Landis all had their victories. However, I noticed the team spirit of Landis the most.

Men Cat 4
Best Crit Racer: Audacious and outspoken, Dominic Suozzi showed himself to be a true sprinter this year, taking three decisive victories. Yes, he upgraded by the middle of the season, but there aren’t a lot of crits during the Arizona summer.

Best Time Trialer: I think the State Time Trial champion Daniel Parkman is worthy of this award. He’s legit.

Most Consistent: Chaz Lane enjoyed a consistent finish to 2012, working his way toward an upgrade at Tolero and Best Buddies.

Men Cat 3
Best Crit Racer: To the chagrin of Shawn Mcnally, I give this to Kenny Polley. While I think he should have upgraded in the summer, the fact remains that the AZ crit season ends before then. This was a tricky award to hand out, but I’ll go with Kenny.

Best Time Trialer: I suppose that every year, the Cat 3 field is filled with fast people, but this year it was rather stacked, and Nathaniel Davis was the best of the its contrarrelojistas.

Best Mountain Goat: Nathan Franklin, is similar Davis. He is lethal in the races he enters, but because he doesn’t enter a ton of races, it appears that he is sandbagging. Also, his first name includes the word “Nathan”.

Most Consistent: Ever present, Jake Spelman raced a pizza-load of events in 2012. He dominated neither the hills nor the sprints, but he did not shy away from neither. He took his first category win at DC Ranch.

Best Team: With Brian A, Dave G, Jake S, Dominic S, Lewis F, David C, Peter S, Craig H, and others I do not know, Faster enjoyed a phenomenal year. Granted, they only succeeded at crits and time trials, but they attended more races than most Cat 3 teams.

Men Cat 1/2
Best Crit Racer: Eric Marcotte, if you can believe it, had an even better year than last. To elaborate on how this year went would be superfluous. You all saw what happened.

Best Mountain Goat: When the Landis juggernaut made its mark on the AZ summer calendar, one man stood in their way: Mark Aasmundstad. The weathered northerner held his own when the rode rose and men became judged by the equation of their power divided by their weight. His performances up Snowbowl and Graham were indicative of a brilliant year.

Best Team: Landis rode with dominance in many races. They used their numbers with potency.

Cat 1/2 Rider of the Year: It’s frightening to think that George Cyrus was in his first year as a Cat 1. He took the crown of State Crit and Tme Trial Champion, plus the Team Time Trial. He truly enjoyed a banner year, one that was actually quite overshadowed.

Miscellaneous
Best Breakaway: Eric Marcotte riding away from the Competitive Cyclist squad at the UofA Crit. Although it’s nearly impossible for him to be considered an underdog, Marcotte was going up against the big dogs that day. Late in the race, he opened up a gap and held it.

The David and Goliath Award: I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect Jeff Biever to win the Masters 50-54 State Crit championship. As a field full of Cat 2s gawked at one another, the Cat 4 rode solo to victory.

The Title of “Best Website” goes to www.larouedeor.com. They have really impacted the AZ Cycling Scene. In 2013, they will run a near majority of the race schedule. Boris is taking over.

The “Holy Socks!” Award (awarded to the best crash) goes to Danny Eaton for going down at VOS. The massive pileup caused by a rogue car incited a frenzied reaction from the Arizona cycling community.

Most Connected: Jay and Tisha Suarez pulled all the strings to promote Team Winded. Clearly, the team was revelatory in 2012, regardless of results, and the Suarez family was at its center.

The Best Display of Team Tactics goes to Landis’s performance at the State Criterium Championship. They occupied the breakaway with many men and shut down the peloton. Sure, they got a little luck with Craig Streit’s flat, but that’s bike racing.

2012 Best Ambassador of Arizona Cycling
In 2012, many people feared a certain man. Californians, Texans, Okies, and Arizonans grew in reverence for Eric Marcotte. He now holds legend status in two states, and his influence grows. Nothing seems to be slowing him down, so all manner of possibilities remain for him in 2013.

2012 Person of the Year
Clayton Peck further established himself as one of Arizona cycling’s most effervescent personalities. He wins this award not because of his efforts with OTR, but because of his passion for this sport. If you’ve been to a race with him, you know what I’m talking about. He loves our sport and our community and wants to better them. I can’t ask for much more than that.