Steamboat Springs The key, Bill Meyers said, was the road race. A 7-kilometer climb loomed near the finish line of the U.S. Masters Road National Championships in Bend, Ore.
The 75-year-old charger who lives near Stagecoach Reservoir powered up the incline with a group of riders from the age division below his and, to his delight, his arch rival (and close friend) Franz Hammer, of Oro Valley, Ariz., didn’t.
“I saw he wasn’t with us. That was good news, so I put my head down, kept my pace up and crossed the finish line about a minute in front of him,” Meyers said.
That rare win over Hammer in the road race paved the way for Meyers’ overall championship in his age group in the three-event race, earning a 12th stars and stripes jersey that comes with the national championship.
“That jersey is the real deal,” he said. “You can wear those forever.”
Given the rate at which he’s collecting them, at this point he’s just stretching out the time before he needs to do laundry.
Meyers won the road race and was second in the criterium and the time trial, earning him the overall victory.
“It was beautiful weather and a beautiful setting,” Meyers said. “It was a great experience, and we had a great time.”