With three out of eight laps to go, Eric Barnett of Galion was leading the peloton, or a pack of bicyclists, as he crossed the finish line at the town square of Uptowne Galion during the city’s inaugural CritFest Saturday afternoon.
“You got to be suspicious when they let the newbie out,” he said.
Barnett was among the 21 participants in the Category 5, or beginner’s, race. He placed 8th, finishing the race with a flat tire, which Barnett suspects was caused by a bump on a curve during last lap.
This was Barnett’s first race ever, the rookie bicyclist has a taste to do more races in the future.
“I felt like I [caught] the bug to do this more,” he said.
Sponsored by the Cycling Sports Center in Galion, the Galion CritFest featured an all-day event of 5K and 10K runs, followed by bike races sanctioned by USA Cycling. More than 150 racers participated, said Troy Chipka, co-owner of the local bike shop.
Tyler Hardin of Eaton was the winner of the Category 5 race. He’s participated in eight races and decided to try Galion’s course after crashing in his last few races.
“I came out here for redemption today,” Hardin said.
“It was a great course,” he added. “A little windy on the backside.”
Mirto Monroy, a native of Salvador but now living in Columbus, placed second, while Jordan Reynolds of Lorain placed third.
In the All 15-18 Junior race, Sergejs Bowers of Columbus placed first, followed by Bryan Ream of Galloway and Zach Niles of Maple Heights.
Megan Bair of Uniontown placed first in the Women’s Category 4 race, followed by Jen Toops and Jennifer McCarty of Cuyahoga Falls.
Bair said she rides every six days a week and liked the course.
In the Men’s Category 4/5 race, Micahel Emerson of Milford placed first. Kelsey Smith of Bellville, who is part of the Cycling Sports Center team, finished second with Dave Bradshaw of Hudon at third.
Smith said it’s his second year riding with the Cycling Sports Center team, having done about 12 races.
“This is my highest place,” he said.
Smith said being runner-up in this particular race was more meaningful.
“Especially since it’s the hometown race,” he said.
In the Men 50-99 Masters race, Christopher Grisvard of Dublin was first, Scott Kroske of Birmingham, M.I., at second and Terry Ritter of Royal Oak, M.I., was third.
Robert Sherman of Loveland placed first in the Men 40-99 Masters, followed by Rodney Roof of Blue Ash and Henry Swinty of Fort Wane, Ind.
For the Men 9-99 Cat 3/4 race, Clatyon Travis of Hudon was first with Justin Austin of Akron in second and Sergejs Bowers of Columbus in third.
In the Women 9-99 Cat 1/2/3, for more advanced racers, Mallory Miller of Cleveland won, while Marnie Paumier of Wooster was second and Lori Nedescu of Columbus was third.
And Samuel Kieffer of Dublin placed first in the Men 9-99 Cat 1/2/3 race, while Jeffrey Pendlebury of Fredericksburg was second and Jack McCann of Cincinnati was third.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.