Josh Stephenson/Durango Herald
Mindy Caruso just missed defending her road race title, then opted to sit out a shot at defending her criterium crown.
But on Monday, she kept one championship for another year.
Caruso won the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s pro time trial, riding 13.7 miles up County Road 250 in 36 minutes, 4.41 seconds.
Anne Perry capped a strong first trip to the Iron Horse with a second-place ride, finishing in 36:33.57. With that finish, the Draper, Utah, resident locked up the women’s pro omnium title with 74 points, adding the runner-up finish to a second in the road race and win in the criterium.
A tailwind aided times last year, when Caruso won in 34 minutes, 38.06 seconds. As far as an advantage this year goes, Caruso said riding the course Sunday and reacquainting herself with the intricacies helped, despite the fact she didn’t feel in peak condition.
“I’m learning the corners. It was good,” Caruso said. “I didn’t feel my perkiest, but I still think I had a good run. I’ll give myself kind of an A-minus on the run (Monday).”
Perry said the climb over the final kilometer or so of the course may have caught her off guard a bit, but she added she was pleased with her ride Monday.
“I felt pretty good, but it was that last climb that just really drove it out of me,” Perry said. “You put in 12 miles of good effort, and then the climb seemed like it wouldn’t end.”
Trish Heisdorffer finished third in 37 minutes, 19.07 seconds. Heather Fischer finished fourth and claimed the runner-up spot in the omnium with a total of 68 points. Fischer’s teammate and Durango resident Rebecca Balboni finished in fifth place.
Perry decided less than a month ago to register and make the trip down to Durango for her first Iron Horse Bicycle Classic experience. It turned out to be quite the excellent decision. She narrowly lost out to Mickey for the road race crown, topped the criterium field and put in a good time-trial ride Monday to succeed Caruso as omnium winner.
“It’s wonderful. It’s more than I expected,” Perry said. “Again, I came here for the first time. Kind of decided a couple weeks ago to sign up. Was hoping to do well. But to take the overall, it’s wonderful.”
Caruso swept all three events last year. The time trial can be a bit anticlimactic for the winner just by its nature – there’s no thrusting of hands in the air going across the finish line for the victor, who often doesn’t know he or she has won until later.
Still, the two-time women’s champion found a way to get a celebratory hand-raising in after results were posted. Another year, another title.
“It feels really good,” Caruso said after letting out an enthusiastic whoop. “This is my specialty, so I like to be able to show that I can repeat, for sure. This is fun.”