The Rider of the Year (ROTY) given to an Arizona rider who has made a positive impact on the sport. The stories are written by former district rep. Albert Hopper. Below is a list of recipients and their stories.
2003: Drew Miller
Residence: Flagstaff, AZ
Team: Landis/Trek/VW Trek/VW All Stars
1st La Vuelta De Bisbee, General Classification
1st La Vuelta De Bisbee, Mule Pass Prologue TT
1st La Vuelta De Bisbee, Stage 3 Road Race
1st Tour of the Gila, General Classification
1st Tour of the Gila, Stage 2 Mogollon Pass Road Race
2nd Tour of the Gila, Stage 1, Tyrone Time Trial
2nd Tour of the Gila, Stage 5, Gila Monster Road Race
7th Redlands Bicycle Classic, Oak Glen Road Race
1st Death Valley to Mt. Whitney Stage Race
1st Everest Challenge Stage Race
1st North American Climbers Cup
1st Mt. Graham Hillclimb (New Record)
1st Snowbowl Hillclimb (New Record)
1st Sandia Crest Road Race
2nd Iron Horse Classic Road Race
2nd Mt Evans Hillclimb
2004: Curtis Gunn
Residence: Tucson, AZ
I raced the 10-stage UCI 2.5 Tour of Southland in New Zealand and came home with the green sprinter’s jersey. I also placed top-10 in 4 of the stages. Then at the end of Nov, I raced the US National Talent Pool Selection Race and won the Individual 4 km Pursuit on the track. Last, on Nov 20, I set the 30-34 age group World Hour Best Performance riding 47.764 km in the hour.
And, to wrap up a great season, the Monday before Thanksgiving I was offered and accepted a contract to race professionally next year with Team Seasilver out of San Diego. So, I will be racing the NRC calendar next year in support of Team Seasilver. If all goes well, I will get to race Georgia, Philly, NYC, San Fran, etc. Should be fun!
Muratti Cup 10 Mile Scratch Invitational Champion-England (2004)
Elite Team Pursuit National Champion (2003)
Masters 30-34 Individual Pursuit National Champion (2003, 2004)
Masters 30-34 Points Race National Champion (2003, 2004)
Masters Team Pursuit National Champion (2004)
Elite Team Pursuit National Championships (2nd, 2004)
Elite Individual Pursuit National Championships (3rd, 2004)
Masters Madison National Championships (3rd, 2004)
Stage 2, FBD Milk Ras (4th, UCI 2.5) and 3 other Top-25 finishes
Masters Worlds 30-34, Points Race (2nd, 2003 & 2004)
Masters Worlds 30-34, Individual Pursuit (3rd, 2003; 2nd, 2004)
Elite National Criterium Championships (4th and won mid-race $500 prime, Cat I, 2004)
2005: Norman Kibble
Residence: Tucson, AZ
’05 Team: Team RPM
I’ll never forget during a training ride in the early 70’s, Norman coming up alongside and saying: Albert, pull in your elbows. As a novice to the sport, I was honored that he would care to give me a pointer. Over the years, Norman Kibble has interacted in a positive way with countless Arizona riders.
A lot of that interaction, however, has been watching the wily fox come around at the end of a furious crit to take the win. Agh! where did that guy come from? In the competitive setting, Stormin’ Norman has probably taught more riders a thing about race tactics than they would want to admit.
Whether it’s bicycle racing, building a set of wheels, playing the guitar, Norman always accomplishes the task with great skill.
Thirty + years racing:
1991: Master 45+ National Road Champion
1992: Master 45+ National Criterium Champion
2002: Master 55+ National Criterium Champion
2005: Southern CA/NV Crit Championships 1st
16 consecutive AZ Criterium Championships
DNF’s Last’s, 3rd’s, 2nd’s and over 200 career wins.
2006: Brian Lemke
Residence: Cave Creek, AZ
Team: White Mtn Road Club
What aspect of Brian’s involvement in the sport do you talk about first: rider, team leader, or event promoter? Brian has been a loyal member of WMRC almost since he started racing in 1991. He has been the manager of the elite team since 2000. For three years, Brian was president of WMRC; in ’03, it was named USA Cycling club of the year. For the past 3 years, Brian has been race director of the Valley of the Sun SR.
Green means go! Brian’s strong conviction and powerful effort have guided him to much personal succes; he has held the AZ MM35 40K TT record since 1999. His selfless support of his team has contributed to the WMRC elite team being the most successful in the state. Need a chase? Need a break? Where’s Brian? At the front!
1st 2005, Arizona State Criterium Championship
1st 2000, 1999 National Time Trial Championship
1st 2000 Masters 35-39 National Road Race Championship
1st 2003, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997 Arizona State Time Trial Championship
Arizona State Record Masters 35-39 51:10
1st 1996 Arizona State Road Race Championship
1st Moriarty Record Challenge Time Trial, Fastest Personal Time: 48:39
13th 2000 Elite National Time Trial Championship / US Olympic Trials (Fourth Amateur)
USA Cycling National Record, Masters 90+ 40 km Tandem Time Trial with Charles Schelberg (47:54.39)
2007: Brian Forbes
Residence: Mesa, AZ
He earned the most points in the ’07 ABRA Senior Men 1-2 category. This year he won the McDowell 30+ Circuit Race and also took 3rd in the same Pro, 1-2 event. Ditto -> Hungry Dog Crit. Ditto -> Scottsdale Old Town Crit. Ditto ->Swiss Crit. Does this guy like to race bikes?
Actually, for Brian, it’s a second go-around with racing. He has had the dreams of making it big in cycling and also the stress to perform as a domestique for the Jelly Belly Pro squad. A break of 2 years and a different attitude has made the sport a lot more fun and successful. For Brian, it’s all about energy management; putting his physical and emotional intensity where it will be the most effective.
1st, AZ State Road Race Championship
1st, AZ State TTT Championships
1st, Tumacacori Road Race
2nd GC, Tucson Bicycle Classic
3rd GC, Summit Center Classic
2008: Melissa McWhirter
Residence: Scottsdale, AZ
Team: Colavita AZ
Moving up does not seem to be a problem for Melissa. Having started racing only in 2006, she quickly advanced through the category ranks to Cat. 1. But it’s mountains where McWhirter really climbs!
In 1985, Angela French set the Women’s record up Mt Graham with a time of 1:47:35. That record held for 23 years until this past September 28th when Melissa cut an unbelievable 8+ minutes off that time for the new record of 1:39:23. She did the same thing at Kitt Peak; new record!
Melissa’s goals for the future? With her coach, Steve Owen’s help, she would like to continue to improve her power to weight ratio and do well in NRC races. It will not seem to be a problem.
1st GC, Cat 3 Valley of the Sun SR
1st, AZ State TT Championships
1st, Skull Valley Road Race
1st, Kitt Peak Hill Climb
1st, Mt Graham Hill Climb
1st GC, Hammerfest SR
2009: Don Melhado
Residence: Tucson, AZ
Team: Saguaro Velo
When a medical lab took a sample of Don’s blood and looked at it under a microscope, they found tiny bicycles flowing through his veins. The Arizona bicycle racing community is extremely fortunate to have this Cyclonic Man involved in our sport.
Since 1984, when Don first bought a USCF license, he has worked tirelessly to start a club (Cut and Dry, now Saguaro Velo), promote events (Picacho TTs), Mt Lemmon TT, Sonoita-Patagonia TT, and Arizona Track), and direct AZ cycling as an ABRA Board member and its Administrator.
So, on a cold spring morning, with riders warming up to start a race, look at the S/F platform that Don set up hours earlier and see him smiling with enthusiasm. Here we go again “it’s just another bike race” in Arizona.
4 silvers, 4 bronzes: AZ Time Trial Champs
1 bronze: AZ Hill Climb Champs
5 golds, 2 silvers: AZ Track Champs
5th: 500 meters Masters National Track Champs
6th: match sprint Masters National Track Champs
Rode in the first El Tour de Tucson
2011: Daniel Eaton
Residence: Mesa, AZ
Team: Strada Racing Club
How do you get started? BMX, Mt Bike, Ride with your Mom and Dad, Friends, a Coach, the Club? Getting wired about road racing as a kid can be lots of fun. It can lead to setting goals like joining a U23 Development Team or, later, riding for a UCI pro tour team. For Daniel Eaton, it’s all of the above.
For most Juniors, however, as teenagers sorting things out in their lives, competitive cycling is abandoned. So when a young man or woman comes along with potential and heart a little recognition a “good going”, may make the future hard work of training and racing a little less painful. Good luck, Daniel.
• 7th GC at GP Ruebliland UCI 2.1 – Switzerland
• 6th Stage 1 GP Ruebliland
• 10th GC Tour l’Abitibi UCI 2.N
• 1st Sea Otter Road Race – Junior 17-18
• 1st Hungry Dog Criterium Cat Pro1/2
• 1st AZ State Criterium, Junior 17-18
• 1st AZ State Road Race, Junior 17-18
• 1st AZ State Track,Junior 17-18: 1K, 3K, Flying 200 (State Records)
• Top Points: 2011 Copper Cup Series, Junior 17-18
• 579th: 2009 El Tour de Tucson, 05:15:59
2012: Melanie and Kyle Colavito
Residence: Tucson, AZ
Team: Bicycle Haus Elite
Residence: Tucson, AZ
Team: Landis/ Trek Cycling Team
Can bike racing be a family affair? For the Colavito’s, the answer is yes! This bright couple is active in pursuing post-graduate degrees, developing technical careers, AND competing on and off the road.
Both have had success in collegiate and national events as well as many in state& races. They are giving back to the sport by helping with the U of A Cycling Club. Melanie is currently the ABRA Treasurer. She also manages the Facebook & Twitter features for the website. Best wishes in their many endeavors.
2012: AZ State Road Championships: 4th
2011: Mt. Graham AZ State Hill Climb Champs: 4th
2009: Tumacacori RR: 1st
Collegiate Road Nationals D1: 10th RR
2008: Summit Center Classic: 2nd Overall
AZ State Road Championships: 4th
Copper Valley RR: 3rd
2007: Tour del Paso: 1st TT, 3rd Overall
Tour of the Gila: 23rd Overall (Pro,1)
2006: Summit Center Classic: 1st Overall
AZ Bicycle Racing Association (ABRA) Board of Directors: Treasurer (2012 – present)
AZ Women’s Cycling Task Force: Founder (2012 – present)
Missing Link Coaching/ Specialized: Team Captain, Sponsorship Coordinator, Webmaster, 2009 – 2011
2012: AZ State Road Championships (Cat 1/2): 1st
AZ State Crit Championships (Cat 1/2): 2nd
2011: Collegiate Road Nationals D1: 4th RR & 6th Omnium
SW Collegiate RR Champs: 1st
2010: Women’s SnowBowl Hill Climb Record
Collegiate Road Nationals D1 RR: 4th
Tour of Gila: 10th GC & 7th Gila Monster RR
2009: AZ State Team Time Trial: 1st
Elite US Road Nationals: 34th TT & 33rd RR
Collegiate Road Nationals D1: 4th RR; 5th Omium; 4th TTT
2008: Attended USAC Women’s Talent ID Camp
AZ Copper Cup Series Champ – Women 1/2
Collegiate Road Nationals D1: 4th RR & 3rd TTT
AZ State Pro MTB Champs: 1st
2013: Nate Davis and Dave Swanson
’13 Team: Sabino Cycles, also US Paralympic Cycling
Home Town: Tucson
’13 Team: Sabino Cycles, also Tolero Racing
Home Town: Tucson
The dynamic duo from Sabino Cycles Racing Team
When two recently upgraded Cat 1 riders from the same team get together, everybody else had better watch out. That’s just what everybody else did this year as Nate Davis & Dave Swanson from the Sabino Cycles Racing Team earned the most points in the Copper Cup Series in the SM1-2 division. For them their focus paid off: That was our goal, put all egos aside and win as a team.
Each rider has his own strengths which helped give them success. For Dave, it’s time trialing and track. Since 2007, Dave has also been the tandem pilot with Clark Rachfal, a visually impaired cyclist from Annapolis, MD, in the US Paracycling program. Together, they have won several national championships on the road and track.
For Nate, it’s time trialing and climbing. He holds the Cat 3 record up Mt Graham with a time of 1:28:05. Unfortunately, an effort to take the top 3 spots in the AZ Crit ended with teammates taking 1st & 2nd – but saw Nate crash and slide into 9th place.
TBC, Cat 2 overall: 1st
AZ Crit, Cat 2: 1st
AZ TT, Cat 2: 1st
Kitt Peak HC: 1st
Mt Graham HC: 2nd
AZ TT, Cat 1: 2nd
2014: Franz Hammer
NEVER TOO OLD: FRANZ HAMMER
Racing Age: 77
’14 Team: O2 Modern Fitness
Home Town: Oro Valley
In his own words:
Growing up in Switzerland, I followed my passion and had a successful career in downhill ski racing and subsequently as a coach/instructor in New Zealand and since 1963 in the US.
At age 35, finally, I had the opportunity to pursue my other passion, bike racing. Since 1977 I was fortunate to win 32 National Masters Championships in Road racing, Time trials, Crits and Track pursuit. Winning all Road events at the Nike Masters World Games in ’97, was a special thrill also.
Into my early 60’s I continued to race as a Cat 1 in the Seattle/NW/Vancouver, B.C. area, but eventually one pays tribute to getting older!
Living in beautiful Oro Valley for the past 10 years renewed my motivation to train and race; it is also a privilege to be part of a great racing community in AZ. I hope to be able to continue on this path for many more years.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 years ago was a big wake-up call. I had major surgery in ’02, getting back on the bike was a top priority. A lesson I learned riding/racing a bike in all these years: never give up!
AZ Road, TT, & Crit Champion, Cat 75+
TBC: All stages, GC, 1st, Cat 75+
Many TT’s: 1st, Cat 75+