By John Hernandez
San Manuel Miner
The first of what could become an annual event was held on Sunday, Feb. 2 in Oracle. The Oracle Road Race was organized by the University of Arizona Cycling Team and sponsored by Sabino Cycles of Tucson. The race included collegiate Team Time Trials (TTT), Men’s Professional, collegiate men and women’s teams, and club riders of different age and class divisions. The races were divided by class and distances. The distances were varied with the Collegiate TTT being 10 miles. There were races of 20 miles for juniors, 40 miles, 60 miles and 80 miles depending on the class and age division. Riders from other parts of the country, Canada and even a team from Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico participated.
The races started at the Pinal County Court House. The course went down American Avenue to Highway 77 turning right onto Redington Road to Webb Avenue up the back road to Mt. Lemmon Road and continuing into Oracle and the court house, a 20 mile loop. The race was organized by Joey Iuliano, vice president, Road of the U of A Cycling Club. He said he was helped by many volunteers and Alicia Bristow, president of the Oracle Women’s Network. He wanted to recognize and thank the Oracle businesses for their support and donations. The business sponsors were Oracle Ford (Mark Phelps), Huntington Chiropractic (Dr. John Huntington), Oracle Land and Homes (Helen Vinson). Supporters were Casa Rivera (Rudi and Gloria), Oracle Market and Oracle Inn (Darimont Family), Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, El Rancho Robles, and OWN (Oracle Women’s Network). At the awards ceremony, Joey Iuliano thanked everyone and urged them to try some of the local businesses and restaurants. He mentioned the following by name, Oracle Inn, Patio Café, DeMarcos, Nonna Marias, and Casa Rivera’s.
Close to 800 people showed up for the race which included 430 cyclists and their family, friends and supporters. Joey said that 200 more racers showed up than they expected. He said for the first time having the event and for only giving the town of Oracle a weeks notice, the event went really well. Next year it will be better planned and more notice will be given. He would like to see more locals come out and cheer the cyclists on.
This could be a big thing for Oracle if held annually. The people attending and participating in the race spent money locally and with more promotion and community involvement, could be a bigger and better event. Many of the racers were from other parts of the country and Canada. Some of them train in Tucson and ride up to the Oracle and San Manuel area frequently. Joey is also looking at trying to attract the Collegiate Nationals to the area as the racing course was popular and scenic. There are 300 collegiate cycling teams. This would bring even more people to the area.
The Collegiate teams racing were the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and Grand Canyon University. They are members of the Southwest Collegiate Cycling Conference which also includes the University of New Mexico, Santa Fe Community College, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and Prescott College. Some of the winners in the collegiate races were first place men’s, Quinn Keogh (U of A); second, Constantine Schreiber (ASU); and third, Max Rich (U of A). Collegiate Women’s first, Amy Chandos (NAU); second, Alexis Gannis (Grand Canyon University) ; third, Lindsey Ryder (ASU).
The University of Arizona Cycling Club is made up of UA faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduates students who come together to enjoy bicycling. They have group rides, races including competition in the SWCCC. They also promote and support the cycling community. They currently have 50 members. To find out more about UA Cycling visit their website at www.uacycling.com.