Craig Richey headed off to Oklahoma this past weekend for Rut's N' Guts, their first ever UCI race, and walked away with two very impressive podium places. The following race reports are written by Tanner Culbreath of Cyclocross Magazine and originally posted on their site.
For the men, Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team) snagged the holeshot with a ripping effort down the start pavement. The same sand section that served as a decision-maker in the Women’s race was a chance to string the men out from their bunch sprint to the grass. Skyler Mackey (KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team) was on the front of this train straight out of the sand and into the woods through the first set of technical turns. Mackey led Durrin, Joachim Parbo (Challenge Tires), Tristan Ulh (Giant South), Yannick Eckmann (Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross Team) and Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER). At this point Craig Richey (Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) was sitting 14th or 15th. Richey had a front row start, so a possible hang-up in the sand set him back.
Durrin made his move, pressing the pace, leaving the others behind. His gap was up to about 10 seconds by lap three and he seemed to look comfortable riding the course. Unexpectedly, he went down hard through the sand and the chasers took back that lead quickly. At this point Eckmann and Mackey had closed the gap, and jumped to gap Durrin. Richey had moved from 14th or 15th all the way into fifth place.
With Eckmann driving the pace, Ulh, Mackey and Juiliano formed the chase. Richey made his move up to Eckmann with Uhl in tow. At this point the other riders started to come unhinged and the trio opened an even bigger gap.
The gap stayed consistent at 15 seconds until Eckmann bobbled in the sand, and with two-and-a-half laps to go. Ulh went hammer down and had the race winning gap. Despite their solid effort, the chasers, Eckmann and Richey were unable to make contact, and Eckmann dropped Richey in the last lap. Day one’s Elite Men’s race would finish Ulh, Eckmann, Richey.
A strong start from Andrew Juiliano (VOLER/HRS/ROCK LOBSTER) put him firmly on the wheel Craig Richey (Red Truck – Garneau p/b Easton Cycling) from the gun. Juliano had snagged 5th Saturday, and rode like he was confident in his ability to stay at the front.
The trio worked together to build a decent little gap through the first lap, and stayed off the front for two laps before Tristan Uhl (Giant South) and Jacob Lasley (SPCX pb RK Black) would connect to begin to pursue the leaders. Uhl hung for a bit, then left Lasley to sit solo just out of podium contention for the remainder of the race.
Less than half a lap later, Uhl had bridged to the leading trio. Juliano appeared to be feeling affects of the fast start, and faded off the group.
A new trio had formed—the battle for the podium was back between Richey, Eckmann, and Uhl.
With two laps to go, attacks started to fly from the leading trio. Many attempts to make a move stick left the pace at the front wildy variable, with each of the leading trio serving as both the hammer and the nail. With half a lap left Richey held a gap, and looked like he may have been able to make it stick until the finish, but Uhl had too much left in the tank catching Richey and dropping him on the last drag up the finish.
The Men’s race would end with Uhl taking the victory, Eckmann grabbing second and Richey right back in third— the same podium as the day prior.