True ’nuff … it’s been a long, long spell since I’ve posted to this website ~ but I do appreciate all the writings put forth by those who’ve volunteered time and wit to the enterprise of spreading the fun of cycling in NorCal. Hopefully, as the road season picks up momentum we’ll have more content rolling through these e-pages of interwebdom.
But for now ~ I’ll throw out some early season sass to help lube the machine. I’ll save my comments for the Masters and Women’s racing … as I know there are at least a couple secret scribblers of this website who were in attendance in SacTown to flesh out all the ins&outs of yesterdays crit-shenanigans. And who knows, maybe we’ll have a word or two about how the Folsom crits shook down, as well.
All hail those who spread the gospel.
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Cal Aggie Criteriums ~ v.2010
Land Park is one of my favorite venues for NorCal racing – it’s quiet enough you can rowdy it up without too much reserve, it’s wide and safe but keeps riders on toes and accurate with a couple of curb-feeler swishy turns on the backside, and it’s always good for a workout that will leave snot dripping from noses and lungs burning for breath.
My kind of day.
Elite Women’s Event
The field at this year’s Cal Aggie Crit was smaller than perhaps hoped for ~ but packed a good strong punch and, i’ll submit, offered a rather insightful microcosm into the state of women’s cycling.
The race began with the invigorated Wells Fargo Racing Squad shooting sparks right off the line. The first 2 laps of the race were very, very quick – with both the Fargo ladies and UCDavis sending a rider each off the front. The pack would chase hard for a couple laps, with SugarCRM doing a good amount of work, as well as Beth Newell.
A lap later, Newell would take a dig at bridging across solo – soon to be joined by another duo from WellsFargo and UCDavis … solidifying the front of the race with 5 riders – 2 WellsFargos, 2 UCDavis, and Newell. These riders would say nothing and ride hard … the best way to run things. Each lap, each rider would take turns at the front – getting in the early season training and doing the hard work of riding a break for the win.
What inspires me tremendously about what was seen on this Sunday in Sactown … was the courage and budding professionalism displayed by the women in the field. The front 5 women were all business – no squabbling for pulls (… note to masters racers …), no games played … just all effort and no bullshit. These women went after it.
Winning the race was Emily Kachorek of Wells Fargo. In the break and finishing behind were Amy Chandos (UCD), Cody Graf (WF), Larissa Fitchett (UCD), and Beth Newell (Bell Lap Racing).. These women show us that the future of NorCal women’s riding is strong and growing … 5 quality riders with a long road of development in front of them. Can’t wait to see how it goes.
And what inspired just as much were the 3 women chasing behind the lead group … giving a thousand percent to stay in the race, be the race, MAKE the race. These 3 women were no less dedicated to racing their bikes than any mens’ field ~ not one iota less brave and not one ounce less exciting to watch. I applaud these women and their willingness to show what it is that makes bike racing a beautiful sport … never giving up, racing with honor, and a little bit of puking once across that finish line.
well done, rockstars
But what frustrated me on Sunday – and where I’ll call out a rider to give more … because i know she has more to give … is the riding of SugarCRM’s Kim Fong. Fong spent the majority of the race on her tops – giving the impression that she didn’t care about the race, didn’t care to expend the effort, just plain … didn’t care. And, getting lapped in the process by BOTH groups of racers.
All this type of riding does is reinforce the negative impression that still resides in some racers, promoters, even officials … that women don’t race their bikes hard and fast, that women aren’t committed to the beauty of the sport.
This type of riding doesn’t reflect well on the team, the advertisers of the team, or her teammates. And perhaps it frustrates me most because the women of SugarCRM are one of my favorite squads to watch in NorCal, favorites to cheer for, favorites to write about. And they still will be – and I’ll look for another opportunity to cheer for Kim Fong, as well. I hope she burns a hole in her chamois in the next race, shoving each and every word I’ve written about her down my craw. Because I know she can.
So do it, damn it.
Masters Racing … same old, same old … with a new kid on the block
Chad Gerlach won the 35+ race at Cal Aggie the way it should be done – the hard way. He was his typical self … relentlessly throwing himself off the front and powering away like a man possessed. And of course, he is.
Joining Gerlach were Matt Ream of Kinetics Cycles/GBI, Andres Gil of Williams Cycling, Nick Theobald of Safeway, Jason Boynton of Rocknasium, and one rider I wasn’t able to identify (apologies).
The men threw down a few kilotons of aggression at the field and each other … showing why racing in NorCal masters fields is so very, very demanding. Each of these riders is a quality p1/2 rider and can mix it up in any region of the US as an elite. But, in NorCal … there is a strong tradition of ‘forever young’ … and these boys exemplified it on Sunday.
The chase behind was always strong with Clover and Zenn being the largest teams to miss the move. They chased sporadically, attempted bridging moves incessantly, and were marked dead in their tracks by the cohesive riding of the break’s teammates.
Classic masters racing – hard, fast, tactical … and a little bit acidic.
In the end, it would be Theobald tossing in some late, strong attacks that would splinter the break – each rider doing their best to bluff, and counter. But it was the hardman’s legs of Gerlach taking the win over Gil, Theobald, then Ream.
Great racing. Almost makes me want to be out there.
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