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Winds of change blow through Squawker Classic criterium

Sydney Edmonson and the rest of the Fort Lewis College cycling team needed to adjust to a new venue for the Squawker Classic criterium. It moved to FLC’s campus from downtown Durango.

After eight years of running the Squawker Classic criterium in downtown Durango, Fort Lewis Cycling technical director Dave Hagen decided to give the neighborhood a break.

“It takes a lot of work, we have to get a lot of signatures, close a lot of streets, displace a lot of people,” Hagen said of hosting the race downtown. “Another reason for running it on campus is we’ve never had a criterium on campus that didn’t get boycotted by other teams.”

The race moved to the FLC campus Saturday, tracing a route from Pine Hall on Skyhawk Avenue before taking a right on Rim Drive and heading around behind the Community Concert Hall to the finish.

Racers mostly reacted to the change positively, but there was one aspect of the race they could’ve done without – the wind.

“That was the biggest factor today because it made it so hard to chase,” FLC rider Zack Noonan. “You hit that back stretch and just get blasted with wind. It was a hard race.”

The venue change also robbed the Skyhawks of their familiarity with the traditional course.

“That was one variable that made a big difference – not knowing how the course would race,” FLC road coach Ian Burnett said. “It was hard to know what a group of that size and with that speed would do.”

Even with the relative success of 2015’s criterium on campus, Hagen isn’t sure whether it will return downtown next year or stay up at the Fort.

“I’ll evaluate that as it comes around again next year,” he said. “We may do a different version of the crit downtown next year, maybe make it longer – change it up.”

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