Winning month for area cyclists

The Medal Stand returns from a two-week hiatus today after coverage of high school spring sports district and state tournaments, and today’s column takes a look back at a successful weekend for local cyclists.

Three members of the Bill’s Bike Shop race team won state titles in their respective categories on the weekend of May 10. At the Idaho State Road Race Championships in Boise, Tom Baird finished first in the Masters 35+ Category 3, 4, 5 race and Shane Watt was first in the Masters 45+ Category 3, 4, 5 race.

Weston Dunn, Michael Schjeldahl and Jordan Tait were third, fourth and fifth in the men’s Category 5 race and Brian Hobbs finished fifth in the Masters 55+ Category 3, 4, 5 race.

Not in Boise but also representing Bill’s Bike Shop was Nathan Starnes, who competed that same weekend at the Tax Day Circuit Race in Pocatello. He finished first in the Masters 35+ 3, 4, 5 race.

The team has not only grown in numbers, but in talent since gaining sponsors. Some of the veteran members have been meeting for weekly rides — which still take place — before the group became an official team.

“I think the big thing they’re starting to see now is there is enough with Nate Starnes and Tom Baird and Shane Watt, they’ve all been there long enough, they’ve been able to expand the team a little bit,” said Gray Augustus, who is involved with the race team and Bill’s Bike Shop. “It’s been pretty cool. They’ve been doing well against some really big teams.”

As June nears, so does arguably the biggest cycling event to come to Idaho Falls in the inaugural two-day Snake River Cyclefest. It begins June 28 with a criterium and continues June 29 with a circuit race. It is the third stop of the Great Western Cycling Series, which began earlier this month in Salt Lake City and will end in July in Boise.

It will take place the same weekend the Allan Butler Memorial Twilight Criterium traditionally took place and will draw top talent from Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

“We’re looking at the Allen Butler not going forward starting this year,” Augustus said. “The Cyclefest was brought to us by a local gentlemen and he now does race directing across the country. We kinda jumped at it and so did the (Snake River) Landing.”

Coming up locally

The Color Vibe 5k, which has become a national phenomenon since its introduction, comes to Idaho Falls on Saturday. The race begins at 9 a.m. at Snake River Landing.

Also taking place Saturday is the Redfish Lake Lodge Memorial Run half marathon, 10k, 5k and 1-mile kids run in Stanley. The Memorial Day-themed event is in its fourth year with all races beginning and ending at the lodge. The kids run begins at 9:30 with the half marathon following at 10, the 10k at 10:30 and the 5k at 10:45 a.m.

The third annual Foothills to Freedom 5-mile run, 3-mile run and 1-mile run takes place Monday at Boulder Creek in Ammon. Memorial Day ceremonies take place at 8:30 a.m. with the races following at 9 a.m. A pancake breakfast open to the public and race participants is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Team USA update

Michael Phelps got the first win of his comeback at the Grand Prix in Charlotte, N.C., winning the men’s 100-meter butterfly in 52.13 seconds Friday. Jessica Hardy won the women’s 50- and 100-meter breaststroke finals in respective times of 31.17 and 1:06.86, and Mike Alexandrov won the men’s 50- and 100-meter breaststroke finals in 28.01 and 1:01.48, respectively.

Jill Ellis was named the U.S. women’s national team coach May 15. She was interim head coach following the firing of Tom Sermanni in April and was a longtime assistant under former coach Pia Sundhage. U.S. Soccer also released the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup CONCACAF schedule over the weekend, and the U.S. will be hosting the tournament in October.