Three cyclists place first at 2018 Vuelta del Viento
April 21, 2018
The judge blew his whistle and the cold wind raced against their mist covered helmets as the cyclists reached speeds of 35 miles an hour. Water splashed on their faces and chests as a rider’s wheel sliced through puddles in front of them. The fans rattled their bells, while screaming and cheering each time a group of cyclists passed by. Only one can be named first.
More than 75 cyclists competed in the campus criterium races as part of the 2-Day SCCCC Conference Championship Event and Fixed Gear Criterium, including 14 MSU cyclists competing in various categories.
Though there was heavy rainfall leading up to just minutes before the event, Charlie Zamastil, director of the cycling team, said that was not enough to stop the race.
“As long as it is not flooding, lightning, or tornados we race. Miserable conditions do not stop cyclist,” Zamastil said.
With the competition being set just after heavy rainfall on a cold and windy day, the cyclists had to adjust their strategies to the inclement weather.
Mike Pinson, a firefighter with the Wichita Falls Fire Department who provided on-scene medical care, said, “The weather has a 100 percent chance of affecting the amount of injuries because it is a mixture of beginners and advanced cyclist.”
The slippery concrete made from the heavy rainfall could have significant consequences for someone who is not prepared for the inclement weather.
Zamastil said, “It is a tough person sport who are no stranger to crashing. You want to know what it is like to crash on a bike? Speed up your car to 30 mph, strip down to your underwear and jump out. Thats what it feels like.”
One event that surprised people in the audience was Bill Ash, accounting and finance senior, winning first place in his division despite people not thinking he was going to compete in the first place.
“I took a hiatus from the team this year because I’m looking forward to graduating in the fall. [I wanted to] just focus more on school and trying to get that last summer internship, so that’s been taking up the majority of my time now,” Ash said. “But I still love to come out and try and ride with the guys as much as I can because they’re getting ready for nationals. I love to come here and support them on that.”
Coleman Reidling, one of the cyclists racing on behalf of Baylor University, completed his bachelor’s degree here.
“I love coming back to Wichita Falls, it fells like home to me here. I wouldn’t be cycling if it wasn’t for Charlie or MSU,” Reidling said.
Eight out of the 14 cyclists placed in their respective divisions.
Placements in divisions
- Women’s A Division, First place: Brissia Montalvo
- Women’s A Division, Third place: Amy Floyd
- Men’s A Division, First place: Bill Ash
- Men’s A Division, Second place: Pablo Cruz
- Men’s A Division, Fourth place: Joshua Buchel
- Men’s D Division, First place: Aaron Benton
- Men’s D Division, Second place: Morgan Ballesteros
- Men’s D Division, Fourth place: Daniel Barski
Quotes from those who placed
- Aaron Benton, management and information systems senior | “[The race] was pretty intense, the [ground being] wet made it more challenging and we [the team] tried to work together in the front, but it just kept falling apart and we couldn’t break away. [Winning first in men’s D division] really means a lot to me since this is my last race for MSU and to bring home a win for us means the world to me right now.”
- Bill Ash, accounting and finance senior | “I was starting to get tired, I had a really hard time taking the third corner and wasn’t feeling super confident with all the water in that corner, but [the team] brought me back right at the end there. I knew if I stopped riding I would probably go right out the back so I just went as hard as I could again and it turned out to be just enough [to win].”
- Morgan Ballesteros, physics freshman | “I started riding since I was 12. [The race today] was fun. It was wet and the corners kind of scared me. Getting to race for the season was really fun and [the inclement weather] made it an extra challenge. Just having to jump out of the corners because of [the ground being] wet really hurt, but other than that I think it is great weather for racing. This weekend so far, I have done really great. I really put in a good time in today. To be second, especially behind my teammate is just amazing.”
- Amy Floyd, accounting senior | “These are the best races to watch, because you get to see everybody come around how many times and people are more aggressive. It’s just fun, you get to see [people come around] the corners. There are a lot of tactics that you get to watch happen, so that’s why we like for a lot of people to come out. One it is more positive energy. And two, more people get to see what cycling is about.”
- Brissia Montalvo, exercise physiology graduate student and graduate assistant for track and cross country | “It is always a good when you end up a ride. It was fun. It was a little scary at first [with] the rain and the wet roads. It is always a little nerve-wracking because it gets really slippery. In all, I felt really good, I felt really comfortable. It was cool weather so it wasn’t so it was really good. Winning a home meet is always a goal.”
- Pablo Cruz, exercise physiology senior | “[There] were five [cyclists] in our team, so we tried to be aggressive in the race and have one guy in the front, ahead of the group, just so the other guys in back could stay and control [how fast the cyclists on the opposing team could go] and save their energy in case we finish in a field sprint. That was main idea to keep one guy in the front to be aggressive the whole race and to just keep it entertaining for the people watching the race rooting for MSU.”
Quotes from participants
- Brandon Allen, mechanical engineering senior | “I’ve been preparing for this race since last summer. Our training is similar to a runner’s, we train for endurance and speed months in advance. [Because of the road being wet] there was a crash at turn three. I was behind the crash so I was able to avoid it, but we got pulled from the race because we just couldn’t catch back up with the main group.
- Alan Barrows, management and information systems freshman | “I got into road biking because of the more dangerous side of it- racing with a group of people beside you, I like the adrenaline and bad conditions. I [don’t] feel good [about today’s race] because this season I got acute bronchitis and stopped training for two weeks. I have to build up again, so this is a good race to bring myself together and learn what it means to suffer again.”