What an awesome time!!!
The Stillwater Crit was a ton of fun to check out in person and I highly recommend it to everyone next year. We unfortunately missed the women's race as we arrived during the last 15 min but it took 20 min to find parking so that didn't work out so well, but the men's race more than made up for it.
L & I staked out a spot in the shade halfway up Chilkoot hill and waited for the fun to begin (Fun only because we were watching). Unfortunately Nathan O'Neill had to drop out due to illness, but even if he had been there I don't think anything outside of a crash was keeping Ivan Stevic from the yellow jersey at the end of the day.
I was impressed with the number of breaks that tried to get away given the insanity of the hill every lap, but they were all brought back until with just over 1 lap to go Frank Pipp, Darren Lill, and Rory Sutherland went off the front and were able to keep ahead of the peleton on the final sprint up the hill to the finish. It was crazy watching Stevic move up in the pack to ensure no one got enough gap to make a difference in the standings.
Heck just the power the riders had left at the end to "sprint" an 18% grade to the finish is insane. Given the lack of sidewalks, those of us on the hill could practically reach out and touch the riders. This wa a great vantage to watch the strategy even of the riders. You could see the peloton all strung out on the bottom of the hill, but every time they would reform and stretch out across the road and you could see people go from mid pack to the front by moving on the outside. Crazy.
The intensity of the hill had a couple of other affects as well. We saw quite a few chains dropped and luckily enough people knew what was up to give the riders a little send off to get started again and also the large number of riders dropping out after the halfway point.
I will hopefully post some of the pictures I took tomorrow but here is the stage info and final GC standings
1 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 1.00.09
2 Darren Lill (RSA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
3 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis
4 Phil Zajicek (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
5 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis
6 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team
7 Cesar Augusto Grajales (Col) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team 0.07
8 Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light
9 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell 0.10
10 Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies - Medifast 0.16
1 Ivan Stevic (SCG) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team 8.35.48
2 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net p/b Maxxis 0.27
3 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 0.39
4 Phil Zajicek (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 0.40
5 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team p/b Bissell 0.41
6 Darren Lill (RSA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 0.45
7 Anthony Colby (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 0.50
8 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 0.56
9 Cesar Augusto Grajales (Col) The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team 1.02
10 Jeff Louder (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 1.25