William Barta was a boy among men Saturday afternoon.
But he more than held his own.
Barta, 16, a junior-to-be at Boise High, competed in the Mens Category 2/3 race that preceded the mens and womens pro events of the 26th annual Twilight Criterium.
The race was won by Hugo Fregoso in 58 minutes, 0.3 seconds. Barta finished 24th in 58:04.7.
Barta admitted it can be a little nerve-wracking racing against men twice his age.
But I train as hard as them, he said. Its mainly just the size difference that can be a little intimidating.
Barta has been a member of the Boise Young Riders Development Squad for six years, and he has become pretty serious about his fledgling cycling career.
Barta has reached Category 2 level, and hopes to one day go pro. He finished fourth in both the time trial and the criterium at the USA Elite Road National Championships in June in Augusta, Ga.
Saturday was the second time Barta has raced in the Twilight Criteriums Mens Category 2/3 race, and he didnt go into the race hoping to just finish. He figured before the race he might as well go for the win.
Thats what I was hoping for, he said.
The good news? At his age, hell probably have many more opportunities.
AGE IS RELATIVE, PART II
Heres a little fact that most outside of the cycling world arent aware of:
Cycling age and real age are two different things.
Thats how 34-year-old Robb Floth won the Masters 35 Plus race.
My racing age is 35, but Im 34, the Kuna cyclist said. I turn 35 in October.
After several laps of give and take among the racers, Floth ran away with the race. He separated himself from the pack with more than a lap to go and beat second-place finisher Cody Rohovit by more than 4 seconds.
I went for it, but I didnt think I was going to make it, Floth said.
He said it was an unsettling feeling being ahead of the field for that length of time.
Its very scary, he said. Its all or nothing. Youre going to go out the back if they catch you.
Nobody caught him, however, and he won going away.
Was there any guilt in winning the Masters race at age 34?
No, Ill take em when I get them, he said with a smile. I dont get that many.
MORE RACING SUNDAY
The Hidden Springs community is hosting the Idaho State Criterium Championship races beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday.
The races are sanctioned by USA Cycling and will feature Idaho racers of a wide range of age and skill categories.
Races continue throughout the day and the event concludes with a Pro 1/2 mens race at 4:20 p.m.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424