For a month, David Wiens had premonitions that Saturday was going to be an important day in his cycling career. But he tried to ignore them. "I've had feelings for a month about Park City, but I kept trying to get it out of my head," he said. "But I kept thinking, man, Park City is going to be good to me."
When Saturday's NORBA Point Series Race finally came around, Park City was good and then some. Wiens, of Gunnison, Colo., won his first national event, finishing the five-lap, 24-mile race in 2:03.16 to claim the Pro/Elite Men's title. The race was held in conjunction with the Park City Motherlode Off-Road Cycling Festival. Competition continues Sunday with a 9 a.m. downhill race (all classes) and Scot Trials at 12:30.In the Pro/Elite women's race, overall Point Series leader Lisa Muhich virtually led from start to finish to claim the win. She finished the women's 19.2-mile race in 2:08.39.
For Wiens, the victory was unexpected, premonitions notwithstanding. Going into Saturday's competition he was in fifth place in the Series standings. But overall leader Daryl Price had troubles on the first lap of the race, and before long the lead belonged to former NORBA champion John Tomac.
Tomac held the first-lap lead, and by the start of the third lap he had a 50-second advantage. With two laps remaining, Wiens trailed Tomac by just 25 seconds, followed by Ned Overend - the No. 2 racer in the standings. But early in the fourth lap, Tomac lost his chain and the ensuing 20-second delay allowed Wiens to catch him.
"It was a dumb error," said Tomac. "Well, that kind of thing is mostly mechanical, but a lot of those things can be caused by the rider. But it was kind of bad luck, too."
After Wiens took the lead he stayed on course, head down, without looking back. "I kept telling myself things would be great. But I didn't dare look back. I kept saying, `Don't think that! Don't!' because things can change just like that. You can crash, have a flat, anything."
Wiens did have one bad moment, falling on a tortuous stretch of the course, fondly referred to as the "spin cycle." It is a maze of chewed-up ground, holes, ruts, rocks, roots and other assorted hazards. "Nasty," said Wiens. "Really nasty."
He finished almost two minutes ahead of Tomac, while Overend finished third. The strong ending provided Overend enough points to overtake Price as the men's leader in the NORBA Point Series.
In the Women's Pro/Elite cateory, Muhich got off to a fast start, and was only caught once - on the first lap by second-place finisher Sara Ballantyne. Muhich, the overall women's point leader from Durango, Colo., called the "spin cycle" section "like a ride on wonder world."
She held a 15-second lead over third-place finisher Susan DiMattei going into the final lap. (For complete results, see Scoreboard, D10.)