For many years i dodged the Snelling/Merced Crit weekend in the NorCal holster. I don’t know what it was about that weekend … maybe i just needed a break from the week-by-week traveling down to that mecca of early spring american bike racing that is The Central Valley. Maybe it was the just the name … “snelling” … i mean, if there were ever a course that better conjured up sounds and smells of riding teeth down on cow shit sprayed roads … well, i’ve never heard it.
Or, maybe i just knew something secret …
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Of course i arrived in “downtown senling” about 15 minutes before the start of the race. Well, maybe i had a few more minutes than that … certainly enough to go hassle some people with the camera and grab a few hands in hey-hey.
I’ve done this race the past 2 years with the geezers, one winning it with jeffe and one where i got across the line first. But, this year i needed some miles and didn’t really want to get up at 3am to drive over to make the real race … so, lined up with the proseys to get in some training miles.
It’s true that the CalGiant Starberries showed up with a full armada of mayhem. They are the 800pound gorillas of NorCal and all the benefits and drags that accompany such status. Are they the strongest men’s non-pro budgeted team in the US?
likely. and, like i’ve said many times … California Strawberries and Big AnthonyG are THE finest supporters of American cycling right now. Hands down.
Now, that doesn’t mean i won’t heckle them fukkers every week, though. Like keith driller-miller, winner of the SanLuis Downtown Crit last year and overall CalGiant hardman. He usually looks all snooty and too-cool for skoool, but actually he’s an intelligent sort with a very quick wit and when he smiles … well, you realize he’s just a guy like you … well, almost.
And then there’s the other Giants like JohntheHunt, BRIGGS, D’OlympiCopeland, US-youngin’ Champ MaxJenks, SReaney, jMattees, and of course Andrew JackMaynard … all are exceptional bike riders, even if they all look dorky as hell in spandex.
well, they actually have beefed up their man-meat ratio this year. CalGiant recruited the hot-packages Tyler Dimples and Ken-doll Hansen. Holee sheeet, talk about a serious upgrade in sexy-peals. And with Ozzie O starting to actually eat sandwhiches now and … get a butt … those three might be able to shake off the nerd-stick that seemed to wack the rest of their squad with extreme prejudice.
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Anyway, enough of the bio-blahblah … back to the Snelling Road Race Report of Retardation.
So, one of the problems with having a powerful squad like CalGiant is that so much of the race responsibility gets piled on your shoulders … and we know how narrow cycling shoulders can be.
As all the boys lined up for the start, i was dicking around at the back talking shit with a few of the pro women starting right behind us. I saw the HighRoad chickas doing their uber-alles gig as they prep theyselves for what will be some MONSTER racing these next few weeks. I cannot wait to see that Womens’ Merco Crit this weekend. Even though it’s not NRC this year – the Merco weekend is a big target for a lot of women because it’s part of the newly formed Highway 99 Series AND is a perfect lead-in to the big-money and big-prestige Sequoia Cycling Classic.
Oh yeah, the Sequoia Classic … that’s going to be a weekend to remember (And i’ll be covering it in-depth for the site, yo. So get ready to be inner-viewed, racers and volunteers – yeah, that means you pro-ho.).
Other femmes fatale seen were the PROMAN’s big E-Zell (who has just been called up by the National Team to race in Europe, by the way. What is PROMAN now the US National farm team? … jeesus, what a great program.) She’ll be joining that young east-coast stallion, Megan Guarnier as they travel to Europe to do an event with the US Natz team and then hook up with a French regional squad to get a bit more taste of eurotrash bike racing.
good luck, chickas.
So anyway, back to the racing … but, let’s continue in this womanly stream of consciousness – The High Road women guttered the race from the gun … just like the CalGiant boys would do in the men’s side of the action. It was a very, very large women’s field that took the start, but by the end of lap 1 … it was absolute carnage on the roadways. The field was shattered into small grouplets of riders pushing through the wind with whatever reserves of pedaling willpower remained in their legs and hearts.
With a lap to go in the Women’s race, I was stuck on the side of the road changing a flat … and might i mention – it was the LONGEST flat change in the history of the multi-verse … what a fuktard i am. Anyway, as I was dinking around with tirelevers and mini-pumps, the lead group of women rumbled through the newly paved, but still quite bumpy, last few k’s of the Smelling loop.
High Road’s Anderson (i’m pretty sure) was in the move and helping out young MeganC with some rear derailleur issues. As they shot past, I heard Megan thanking Anderson and a return from her of no worries, and off their little pack went. Awesome.
In the end, the HighRoad rider would power away and solo in with some serious winning style. What an athlete. Behind, it would be her teammate Fahlin taking second in front of one of the biggest prospects in women’s cycling right now, Rushlee Buchanon of Tibco. TIBCO’s Brooke Miller is the unquestionable leader on that squad – but, i’m a fan of their program because they are working hard on adding depth and firepower to their roster. Great to see.
Olivia Dillon of Touchstone put in a massive bit of improvement this winter and it is really showing with her form right now. She was 4th in the hardwoman’s race, with MeganC of PROMAN rounding out the top-5, almost beating some prosey boys to the line in a sprint. Right on, you little brawler.
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Speaking of Prosey boys, like I said – CalGiant had their armada in full-effect and shattered the field from moment-one. When i saw the blue lined up across the road after the neutral dropped, with that little wolverine Wohlberg tucked in sideways on a wheel … i knew the day was over. For me, having a grand total of 70 minutes on the bike that week, i gratefully opted out of the warfare up front, and just rode comfortably behind, waiting to snatch up all the shards and get a group willing to put in some chasing miles.
Well, after a lap – our group swelled and dropped in size per the perils and gyrations of the course and the knock-down, drag-outs that took place in the winds. Good times. In our group were such such notables as Andres the Gil … one of the hardest mo’fos i have ever met. This guy will ride full-gas until his balls fall off. He’s core to the core, baby. We also had a couple of MetroMint riders who were fukkal strong. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get them from blowing out the group by pushing harder on the pedals than everyone else thought appropriate. But i definitely put a note-to-self stickit on my forehead … “if there are Mintys in the race, they are gawdamn strong”.
which leads me to my mini-rant about the young bucks in our region. Snelling is a good example of some of the weaknesses our region has in its racing at the p1/2 level. On the first lap, when all went ape-shit and the pack splintered ~ a TON of riders straight-up took themselves out of the race by their decisions to go at it solo and not “team-up” with other DROPPED riders.
When you’re behind a lead group of 40+ riders … it isn’t a break – you are dropped. And the only way to get back to that lead group is through organization with your fellow dropped dawgs. And for that first lap, there was NO cooperation in the chasers. It was kind of laughable to see small group after small group gutter themselves … for no reason.
Ah well, it takes time to learn how to properly eschelon, i guess.
but the real commentary is how it seems that our region’s pro1/2 fields are so used to … knifing each other (for lack of a better descriptor), that they forget to put those fukking weapons away when you NEED those guys with you.
So, lesson i’d like some of our prosey riders to look into is this notion that cooperation is often times quite beneficial to all involved. AND, keep those knives ready guys … because you’ll need them when it is appropriate to use them. Like, at the finish of a race … not in the first 20 miles of one … when you’re dropped from the lead eschelon.
And it is worth noting that the group we rode with (from lap 1!) ended up being in the top 15-20 finishers … so, think about that.
Patience, cooperation, taking out the knives when needed.
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Anywho ~ at the start of the final lap, US Crit Champ Danny Holloway hit out on a HUGE attack with what looked to be Andy JM on his wheel. Wohlberg jumped the pack to give chase – but you could tell that the move was likely to come back. Apparently it did and there was some serious jockeying in the final lap that saw Symmetric’s Wohlberg crush away solo for yet another NorCal win for the crazed-canuck. He was definitely the benefactor of a bit of in-fighting between CalGiant’s Hansen and Holloway – as the two sprinters focused on beating each other up, giving just enough opening for both Wohlberg AND that new phenom from Davis, Taylor Kuphaldt to slip away for the top-2 spots. What an engine that Davis rider is ~ watch him, folks.
Great race – but, i’m out of time and this is about as much dancing this monkey can do in one morning.
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