Mormon Lake road race draws riders to Flagstaff, sheriff stops Pro 1/2 men peloton

More than 200 riders left the heat of their nearby cities for cooler temperatures on Saturday in Flagstaff and the first of a two-day road race omnium.

Riders raced around the town of Mormon Lake, which sits at 7,100 feet of elevation east of Flagstaff and off of Lake Mary Road, a popular cycling road leading out of the city.

“It felt great to be road racing in Flagstaff,” said Sally Aston, who came away with the win for the Women’s Pro 1/2. “The temperature and course were great. The only thing missing was enough oxygen.”

But the Men’s Pro 1/2 field, which had to complete five laps, was unable to finish the race due to complaints that riders in general were not slowing down through the neutral zone in the town of Mormon Lake, according to Joey Iuliano, vice president of the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office shut down the race before they were able to finish and threatened to cancel the race the following day on Perkinsville Road, Iuliano said. He, race organizers and officials facilitated communication with the Sheriff’s Office and discussed improvements. Sunday’s race is still on.

Marco Colex (Team Winded) was in the lead group of riders when the race was stopped.

“I wanted to finish the race, and I was kind of shocked when they just told us to stop because the race’s permit was revoked,” Colex said. “My hamstring started to cramp a bit cause they made us stop all of a sudden.”

He said he still enjoyed the race.

“Other than that it was a fun race, I couldn’t go with the first breakaway, but went later and had a teammate in it, which was pretty cool,” Colex said. “Tomorrow should be a good one too.”

Most riders were not affected by the mid-race cancelation and hauled up a punchy climb to the finish.

Kat Salthouse (Sabino Cycles Racing), who competed in the Cat 3 men field, came in 17th.

“It was a ton of fun being in a field that had tactics being put to use; plus, the look on a guy’s face when I pull through is always amusing,” Salthouse said. “I didn’t want to ride in a group of two or three for 65 miles, so I opted for a brutal training race with the guys instead.”

Results are still being finalized. Stay tuned for updates.

Sarah Muench