Soto Memorial a success, organizers say

Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 7:06pm
Cyclists race through Brentwood on Sunday in the Soto Memorial Cycling Classic. Frederick Breedon IV for The City Paper

It looks like bike racing is becoming a fixture in the Nashville sports scene.

The third annual Edgar Soto Memorial Cycling Classic finished Sunday and the event exceeded expectations and reached the goals of organizers.

The three-day racing event drew more than 250 racers, which was fewer than last year. But this year the weekend of the race moved from Memorial Day to Father’s Day weekend and the format changed to a criterium race.

“It was very well attended,” said Mike Moore, the president of TriStar Cycling, one of the presenters of the event. “We had 250 (racers), which for a criterium is fantastic.”

The Friday portion of the race was a time trial at the Music City Motorplex. Saturday’s portion went through downtown Nashville and Sunday’s final event was at Maryland Farms in Brentwood.

On Sunday, Michael Olheiser of the Marx and Bensdorf team won the elite Professional/Category 1/Category 2 race at Maryland Farms with a time of 1:15.56. Texas Roadhouse team members took the next three spots: Kevin Attkisson was second, Chad Burdzilanskas was third and John Grant was fourth.

In the women’s Category 1-3 race, Leigh Valletti of Vanderkitten Racing captured first. Andrea Wilson was second and Debbie Milne was third.

In Saturday’s Music City Criterium, Burdzilanskas took first place in the Professional/Category 1/Category 2 race. Tim Henry was second and Oscar Mauricio Henao was third.

Wilson won Saturday’s Women’s 1-3 race with Milne and Valletti second and third.

In Friday’s time trial, Spencer Beamer won the Pro/1/2 race with Bobby Sweeting second and Luke Servedio third.

In the women’s Category 1-3 race, Stephanie Bleecher was the winner with Wilson second and Valletti third.

Bryant Funston had a good weekend in the Men’s Category 3 division. He was second on Friday and won Saturday and Sunday’s races.

Moore also called the race a “safe race” as there apparently were no major injuries. That’s one of the main reasons for the Soto Memorial — drawing attention to the importance of bikers and motorists to share the road.

The race is dedicated to Edgar Soto, a cyclist who was killed while riding his bike in the Nashville area in 2003. Saturday was declared “Share the Road: Make Nashville a Bicycle-Safe-Zone Day.”

“The weather cooperated, all of the racers felt everything was well organized and well-run and a lot of fun,” Moore said.

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