By LIBBY CLUETT
With clear skies, nearly 350 racers from across the state and country converged on Palo Pinto County over the weekend to give their all in the Iris Stagner Memorial Stage Race.
Some racers and workers described the race as an all-round event, which tests an individual cyclist’s speed, endurance and negotiation skills.
During Saturday’s criterium, or crit, racers circled the Baker Hotel for a defined number of laps. This leg of the stage race proved challenging as a number of racers took spills on the course, especially at the slightly downhill, right-hand turn from N.E. 6th Avenue onto East Hubbard Street.
Also on Saturday, racers rode a 7-mile time trial, one and a time, for the fastest time. This took place along State Highway 337 and presented riders with three large hills – one of the many stretches in this county that Iris Stagner once said she enjoyed riding.
The stage race, which has run for the past few years, was named after Stagner, who was killed on a training ride in September 2012. Stagner raced with many of the cyclists who competed last weekend.
On Sunday, racers faced the road race, circling the northern part of the county, starting from Graford High School and traveling along State Highways 254, 16 and 337.
Unlike past years, which have provided monsoon-like showers, racers had a rare rainless ride.
Organizer Andy Hollinger called this year’s race a “great race.” He said, “It worked out fabulously with lots of positive comments.”
After the weekend of racing, here are the overall winners in each division:
• Women’s Open: individual winner – Scotti Wilborne, Leborne Development; team winner – ThinkFinance Racing.
• Women’s category 3-4: individual winner – Jan Bennett, FCS|Cycling: p/b Zngine + Mr. Restore; team winner – Rockwall Cycling.
• Junior division: individual winner – Connor Bazley of Nac Velo-Bike Shop; team winner – Christian Cycling.
Men’s Professional 1: individual winner – Nicolai Brøchner, Team Bicycle Heaven; team winner – Plano Athletic Cycling Club (PACC)
• Men’s Cat. 2: individual winner – Noah Williams of Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development; team winner – Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development.
• Men’s Cat. 3: individual winner – Adam Biwan, PACC; team winner – Team Undiscovered.
• Men’s Cat. 4: individual winner – Ian Rey Amuan, Dominion-Falcon Bank; team winner – SimplexQ Racing Team.
• Men’s Cat. 5: individual winner – Derek Berry of LeBorne Development; team winner – Sun & Ski / Champion Core Racing.
• Masters, age 60-plus: individual winner – David Parks of Mirage.
• Masters, age 50/60-plus: individual winner – Scott Munroe of Team Flat Belly Organics; team winner – Team Soundpony.
• Age 40-plus, Cat. 1-4: individual winner – Paul Bonds, Oklahoma City Velo Club; team winner – Oklahoma City Velo Club.
• Age 35-plus, Cat. 4-5: individual winner – Matthew Looney of McKinney Velo Club; team winner – McKinney Velo Club.