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Morgul-Bismark wins recall early racing days for Mickey and Burleigh

May 18, 2015

Abby Mickey (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) and Michael Burleigh (GS CIAO) won from the pro-1-2 fields after breaking away late at Colorado’s Morgul-Bismark road race. The Morgul-Bismark took place on day three of the Superior Morgul event which opened with a time trial last Friday.

They each savored victories that transpired on the course where their competitive cycling days began.

Abbey Mickey wins the 2015 Morgul-Bismark road race after summitting "The Wall."

Abby Mickey wins the 2015 Morgul-Bismark road race after summiting “The Wall”

Mickey crossed the line with an extensive post-up sequence. It began with arms raised in a victory salute. Then she smoothed out and pointed to the “UHC” logo on her blue and white jersey. Finally, she extended her arms wide looking for all the world like she was embracing the entire scene: finish line truss, official’s trailer, and the spectators watching from behind orange fencing and up on the adjoining hill.

“It’s not a huge race, but it is one of the first races I ever did on the road,” Mickey said. “I love this course.

“And to take the win with such a big gap and by myself, it was really fun. And even better to go one-two [with teammate Coryn Rivera].” Mickey’s advantage measured three minutes.

During her first Morgul-Bismark outing she had competed as a Cat 4 rider. Now she’s twenty-four and in her second professional racing year.

Michael Burleigh moments before winning the 2015 Morgul-Bismark road race. GS CIAO's next race is Winston-Salem Michael Burleigh moments before winning the 2015 Morgul-Bismark road race. GS CIAO's next race is Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.

Michael Burleigh moments before winning the 2015 Morgul-Bismark road race. GS CIAO’s next race is Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.

Burleigh began his celebration with a peaceful expression near the crest of the final steep climb dubbed “The Wall;” the rise concludes the 13 mile loop the men circled six times. Then he punched one fist skyward over the line. He chose the hand on the same side as his heavily bandaged right leg which had been injured in a crash the day before.

“I love this course,” Burleigh said. “This is the first road race I ever did, as a Cat 5, and I was hooked. So this is incredible to win in the p-1-2’s here. It’s certainly the best result of my cycling career.”

Burleigh is thirty-two and started racing about four years ago. GS CIAO is one of the top amateur men’s cycling teams in America.

Reduced men's pack chases Michael Burleigh into the Flatirons

A reduced men’s pack chases Michael Burleigh into the Flatirons

With under two laps remaining Burleigh stepped up the pace to put pressure on the other teams in defense of teammate Josh Yeaton’s placement in the omnium competition. He soon realized he’d outdistanced the reduced peloton.

“I didn’t really imagine I would be able to hold that to the line,” he said. When his lead steadied at a minute and a half he changed his outlook.

“I started to let myself believe I might hold that and I did. It was quite a great redemption after yesterday, hitting the deck so hard and taking myself out of the GC and causing so many of my teammates to have to drop back to get me.”

The satisfaction these two athletes experienced stemmed from a significant span of progression, from newbie to queen and king of “The Wall,” a storied hill made famous by the Coors Classic.

Of course progression takes more shapes than winning, and sometimes it shows in those you’ve influenced. Jennifer Sharp (Stages Cycling) coaches with retired pro racer Alison Powers at Alp Cycles Coaching. Mickey is one of their clients and Sharp motor-paces her. While cooling down after the race coach Sharp was ecstatic about the UnitedHealthcare rider’s victory.

Jennifer Sharp chicking a guy with one to go

Jennifer Sharp chicks a guy on “The Wall” with one to go

Sharp also enjoyed her own effort while racing in the pro-1-2 field. Despite the fact that the hilly Morgul-Bismark course isn’t her favorite playground, midway through the race she decided to try to leave a cautious pack.

“Then I had this gap and was like, ‘OK, they’re not worried about me. I’m just going to go.’ So I went.”

Mickey bridged up to her and flew away on a hill. Sharp powered on and with one lap to go she still held a gap to the pack. But she’d run out of water and ended up in nineteenth place.

“That’s all right,” Sharp said. “This is definitely not my cup of tea, but to have that kind of redemption on a day when you don’t think you have it, it’s success.”

For full results from Superior Morgul visit the Without Limits Productions website.

Gallery (more to come)


From → Road Racing

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