By Josh Cook
Three Louisvillians were among the 14 national champions crowned Thursday in the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships.
Tracy Tolson won the women’s 45-59 age group road race at Cherokee Park, while Matthew Lerner (Louisville, Ky./Scheller’s Racing Team) and Larry Stickler (Louisville, Ky./Sonovelo) paired up for the win in the 70+ men’s tandem category.
Friday will be the final day of road racing at Cherokee Park before the nationals cross the Ohio River and finish in Jeffersonville, Ind. on Saturday and Sunday.
Sara Tussey (Winston-Salem, NC/Carolina Bicycle Company) and Rip Nicholson (Winston-Salem, NC/Carolina Flyers) won the women’s 30-34 and 35-39 age groups, respectively. Both races, however, were cut one lap short due to early-morning thunderstorms that rolled into the area.
Debbie Milne (Belden, Miss./Absolute Racing Team) then won the women’s 40-44 race.
“It was a very slippery course and we were being very tentative on the first lap,” Milne explained said of the early-morning conditions following some rain showers. “Despite that, four people went down right beside me. So the third time up the hill, I decided I would try to thin it out a bit. So I attacked on it and was actually able to just get away from the group and thought ‘Hey, I might as well go for it.’”
Tolson, riding for Kentucky Flyers, broke away with a group of five after about two laps of the seven-lap, 56-kilometer race. Then Tolson out-sprinted Terrie Clouse (Monument, Colo./ColoBikeLaw.com) and Giselle Weekes (Greenville, SC/Greenville Spinners Bicycle Club) for the title.
Pamela Schuster (San Diego, Calif./Southern California Velo) won the 50-54 age group, Ann Marie Miller (New York, NY/Century Road Club Association) took 55-59 and Kay Tsui (Arlington, Va./HPC) captured 60-64.
In addition to all of the women’s categories that raced for national titles Thursday, six gold medals were awarded to tandem pairs. They included John Elgart (Sacramento, Calif./Alto Velo) and Jan Elsbach (Davis, Calif./VOS Racing) 110+ (the combined age of the racers), while O’Brien Forbes (West Chester, Ohio/Cincinnati Velo Club) and John Gatch (Terrace Park, Ohio/Cincinnati Velo Club) rode to the national title in 90+. Lerner and Stickler won the 10-lap, 80km race in 70+.
In the mixed tandem, Sherry Berde Townsend (Mendota Heights/Gopher Wheelmen) and Charles Townsend (Mendota Heights/St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club) teamed up to take the 110+ group, Brian and Kim Eppen (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City Cycling Club) won the 70+ competition and Patrick Aimone (Belleville, Mich./Wolverine Sports Club) and Anne Marie Phillips (Northville, Mich./Wolverine Sports Club) captured the 90+ event.
For more information, including complete results and a schedule of events, visit www.usacycling.org.