The cycling season got off to a fast start Saturday morning as a total of 325 riders from across the state converged in Copperas Cove for the fifth annual Megan Baab Memorial Road Race.
Competing in nine different divisions, racers of various levels pedaled their way to some impressive showings along courses measuring either 54 or 85 miles in length.
After starting at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, the cyclists cruised approximately 11 miles along FM 1113 to Topsey before beginning a 31.27-mile loop, traversing toward Pidcoke before passing through Izora and Rumley and back to Copperas Cove. Professional and other elite groups completed two laps before returning to the Civic Center.
Prizes were awarded to the top five in each contest.
Heath Blackgrove placed first overall among the professional riders, who competed alongside the category 1, 2 and 3 racers, beating out Ryan Wohlrabe and Michael Pincus, who placed second and third, respectively. Fourth-place Andrew Willis followed in the final standings and was trailed by Grant Koontz.
Bernave Velasquez was the top finisher in category 3 — a subset of the P123 category — with Vitor Zucco Schizzi, John Paul Blanton and Jason Newman rounding out the top four.
In the men’s category 3/4, Michael Jones was the first rider to cross the finish line, with Joseph Long and Kyle Walker placing second and third, respectively, while Brice Hansen, William Martin and Jordan Patik followed.
Kellen Winslow II was tops among the men’s category 4/5, beating out Michael Krutak, Brian Van Orman, Ian Anderson and Lucas Bourgoyne, who completed the top five.
Loren Graham won the men’s category 5 division with Lucien Fuertes placing second, beating out Noah Bartsch, Mark Brandt and Christopher Hill.
In the women’s open division, Flora Yan won. She was followed by second-place Jan Bennett. Carolyn Defoore, Jennifer Mix and Amy Campbell were third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Mix was also the top finisher among the women’s category 4 riders, which is a subset of the women’s open division, while Andrea Fox placed second, Madeline Barrett was third, and Carol Morelan was fourth, beating out Katherine Hill.
In the masters 40-plus race, consisting of riders who are at least 40 years old, Michael Brown was the top performer, beating out Danny Finlan, Jonathan Jennings, Andrew Kutach and David Gersch, who rounded out the top five in that order.
In the masters 50-plus division — a subset of the masters 40-plus division — Brown was again the first rider to complete the course. Rick Francis placed second, while R. Les Terrill and Adam Salladin were third and fourth, respectively. Anthony Marlar was fifth and Gary Dutschmann placed sixth.