5 years ago by Sam Wiebe

Taming the Vail circuit


The men and women of Rally Cycling tackled a truly unique doubleheader of racing in Vail. It was a circuit race of the technical, varied, and unforgiving variety. It had it all: a super steep gravel climb, a dark tunnel, cobbled streets, and a wild sprint finish. Seeing Vail laced with orange race barricades and cheering fans was a great first chapter to stage one of the Colorado Classic. Read our race report to see how things went down inside the peloton.


Life on the road means spending time in a lot of hotel rooms, where laundry isn’t so easy to process. Communications Director Tom Soladay uses a balcony for convenient drying.
Sara Poidevin wears number one at the Colorado Classic after her coup on the race in last year’s final stage. She won the stage, overall, and all (!) of the classification jerseys after a seriously bold ride in the mountains.
Abby Mickey warms up outside Vail Villiage on the team’s Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer. Mickey has experience at the highest levels of the sport and knows a bit of extra warmup can make a huge difference.
A pre-race spin on the trainer is also a good time for the mechanic to make last minute tweaks to a riders position.
Gillian Ellsay shows off one of the lesser known features of road bicycle racing, the earpiece that connects you to live radio communication with the directors in the caravan vehicles.
The women’s peloton winds through the heart of Vail Villiage. Vail’s European inspired streets make for exciting, technical bike racing.
Gillian Ellsay and Allison Beveridge chase the TV moto through a tight, slippery corner. “Why slippery?” You might be asking…
Minutes later, Beveridge slid out before entering a tunnel. It was a mild crash, and the tough Canadian was back in the mix the following lap.
Gillian Ellsay leads the peloton through Vail, which carries a distinctly Germanic vibe throughout.
Emma White has been a force to be reckoned with almost since the moment she zipped up her Rally kit three years ago. The course was tailor-made for a tough all arounder like Emma.
Colorado native Abby Mickey, who grew up in Aspen rading skis, is no stranger to the thin air and gravel roads that criss cross the Rocky Mountains.
Mechanic Tim Sparks was spotted here hoofing it up to the top of the gravel section of the course with spare wheels, just in case. He brought a pretty beefy Diamondback.
Sara Poidevin won the Most Aggressive jersey, which was a very complimentary hue for the Rally Cycling star.
The finishing straight was anything but, with a crazy pin curve that spat the riders directly onto a steep, gravel ascent through the mountains.
Rob Britton is quite simply one of the most focused, driven, and talented cyclists on the world circuit. He’s a leader on Rally Cycling and has the palmares to prove it.
Britton exits the tunnel, sharing the pace setting with riders from EF Education First.
Kim and Susanne of Oakland are a pair of Rally Cycling superfans, and followed the team during the Tour of Utah and now Colorado. What a rad couple!
A lone fan waits patiently on the gravel climb. Many of the fans were streaming the race on their phones during these moments of downtime. Even in the Vail mountains, technology is never far away.
Britton and “Downtown” Nate Brown battle it out on the grueling Mill Creek climb, the course’s most challenging feature.
Nigel Ellsay and Kyle Murphy feel the effects of the thin mountain air. The entirety of the race took place over 8000′.
The pain and suffering came in spades, even for a climbing ace like Evan Huffman.
The team’s Acura RDX remains one of the pelotons most luxurious and striking caravan cars.
Britton leads sprinter Ty Magner through a tight corner on one of the race’s final laps. Magner went on to finish 6th in the sprint.
Nothing is more precious than hydration at high altitudes, and the rider’s suck down untold amounts of water after a race.
Tired and hungry, the final step is getting your room key, a rider’s gateway to R&R. “The best part,” said Murphy.