It all came down to one race for University of Arizona to lock up Southwest Collegiate Cycling Conference championship podiums Sunday at the South Mountain Bicycle Classic.
The Wildcats, outnumbering Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University in the Men’s and Women’s A races, knew they would win the overall team competition as well as the Men’s A individual title.
But Sun Devil Tori Riemersma was leading the Women’s A contest going into Sunday by a small margin of 36 points to UA’s Kat Salthouse.
With final race prime points doubled, which went four deep, and a hilly course, Salthouse and her UA teammate Erica Clevenger rode away from Riemersma. Clevenger put herself between Salthouse and Riemersma to maximize her teammate’s points acquisition.
Although Clevenger took the race win, Salthouse was able to eek out a 12-point win over Riemersma for the leader’s jersey and conference championship.
“It was a good day,” Salthouse said. “We had great execution of team tactics, which is always amazing. Now I just want to nap until [Tour of the] Gila. Today was a lot of work.”
Riemersma said she had hoped to hold onto the leader’s jersey, and it was a really close fight.
“UA has really phenomenal ladies and excellent teamwork; I really can’t be upset about how things turned out, I’m just happy to race with such high-quality female athletes,” she said.
Salthouse and Riemersma happen to be teammates on their trade team, Landis/Trek, and Salthouse said she and Riemersma joke that they aren’t friends when in their collegiate kits.
“Then the second we put on Landis kits we are friends again,” Salthouse said. “It’s hard emotionally working against someone who is your teammate most of the time.”
Wildcat Josh Pratt-Ferguson won the conference championship for the Men’s A by three points over teammate David Greif, who wore the leader’s jersey for the race, which he won.