The day is heavy with news
Jeremy Regalado was killed Sunday in a freak electrical accident while setting up for Sunday’s Velopromo race. Many of you will have taken a neutral bottle feed from this fine young man over the last couple years – his generous hand reaching out, a sunburned face from long hours out on the roads to assist cyclists. Or, you may have been directed in a helpful way where to ride safely, where to park your car … or been smiled at as you registered to race your bicycle.
Jeremy was smart and funny … and was skirting around the idea of getting into race announcing. Last year we joked about it lightly, treading softly around the subject as it’s always hard to nurture something that will put a person out in the open … to be judged. But the seed was in him … and it was sprouting ~ because he had the talent.
And this year … in the early road races ~ seeing him out there, seeing the sparkle in his eyes. We would have had him. We would have had another ‘lifer’ in our sport … not someone who races, but someone who loves racing. Someone who sees the beauty in our sport and wants to contribute … to the community.
You will be missed, Jeremy. You will be missed.
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Landpark thoughts …
I am a huge fan of the Landpark Criterium … it’s been around for years, draws a great mix of new and elder riders, and offers a course design that begs for streetbrawl racing tactics. It’s a wide-open sufferfest ready for speed.
The women’s racing was fantastic last weekend – in both the 4s and 1,2,3s events. Alissa Maglaty of Early Bird Women’s Development Program took a very close field sprint over Lisa Tupper of Metromint in the cat 4 race. The EB program is headed by Laurel Green … and it’s producing fantastic results, with women not only learning how to race well ~ but having a damn good time doing it. Kudos to yet another good (and model) program being run here in NorCal.
The cat 4 race was chock full of attacks and strong chases, tense tactics, and late race drama. Team Bicycle Trip/Symantec’s Michele Heaton put in a very strong late move to try and solo away, but Team iPass would be diligent in the chase and set up for a spine-tingler of a field sprint.Good, safe, fast racing.
New(ell) kids on the block … NorCal is going places
The Women’s 1,2,3 crit at Landpark was fantastic for spectators and showed again that NorCal is THE hotspot for women’s racing in America. Young riders like Larissa Fitchett, Amy Chandos, Brianna Hand and a slew more were out and pounding the pavement in Sactown last Sunday.
Larissa Fitchett was very noteworthy for gobbling up a couple of primes during the race and being active in multiple attacks and breakaway attempts. Fitchett is one of those riders with fire in her belly ~ the type of rider that shows courage and bravado. A rider who will be a fan favorite because of her … panache. Her UCDavis collegiate racing partner, Amy Chandos, has been getting stronger and more saavy each time I see her race, and I feel that this is a rider who has a significant amount of untapped power in her legs. It will be quite interesting to track these two emerging stars in the near future. But the big stories of the Landpark criterium were the powerful displays put on by Alison Starnes, the Metromint team, Wells Fargo’s Emily Kachorek, and Beth Newell.
To put it bluntly … Ali Starnes rode her ass off. We must remember that it was but a couple years ago that Starnes was the winner of the Cat 4 Bariani Cup … and now she’s on one of the biggest, most powerful professional squads in the United States. It is extremely beneficial for Starnes to be racing events like Landpark, because they offer her chances to learn more about how to race bikes in different situations … how to read riders, how to time attacks, how to FIND ways to win.
As a pro with TIBCO … most of her hours in races are spent slaving away under team directives. But thankfully, with the shitcanning of race radios, she’ll have more opportunity to learn how to race instead of being ordered how to race. And it’s events like Landpark that give her chances to experiment, risk, and learn. Kudos for killing it out there, Starnes.
Metromint absolutely threw themselves at the Bariani/Landpark weekend, constantly on the accelerator … and it was beautiful to watch. Jane Robertson fought every millimeter during the final 200meters of the field sprint at Landpark, just edging out a very fast finishing Emily Kachorek. Kachorek was stellar again in showing that she has the instincts and resilience to be in move after move during a criterium. She timed her attacks well and responded instantly to dangerous accelerations out of the field. It was very surprising that a breakaway didn’t shatter out of the women’s field last Sunday … but offering good evidence of how strong and deep the startlist was, as speeds remained high and all were hungry for results.
Jane Robertson’s powerful final 5 pedalstrokes kept her ahead of Kachorek, but were unable to close the distance on the surprise winner of the Landpark Criterium, cat 3 rider Beth Newell. Beth has been working very hard on her acceleration … and it showed in spades as she sensed a slight hesitation from the front of the field with 300meters to go and instantly rocketed up the side, full-tilt and with utter commitment.
Newell’s strike left the field shocked, instantly opening up a dozen bike lengths on the group as she powered to the line. Phenomenal move made by the track rider as she continues to progress in the road, as well.
Men’s racing … all about aggression
Chad Gerlach was the winner again in the 30+ field for the men, but it would be a crash in the later p1/2 race that would shock us all. Gerlach is recovering strongly from the spill and will be out making his daughter proud again soon. Alex Holtz put in a good showing for second in the masters race, with the powerful Safeway squad getting another podium with Michael O’Rourke.
The 45+ crit was another victory for Safeway, with Gregg Betonte taking the win over Vince Gee of Mellow Johnny’s and Clover’s John O’Niell. The 55+ field saw a Morgan Spinely packing of the podium with Brian Fessenden, Mark Caldwell, and Joe Saunders going 1,2,3.
The p1/2 event finally saw Webcor/Alto Velo taking a big win in 2010 … with Rand Miller forcing a late break in the event and seeing fit to come out on top. Joe Iannarelli continues to impress and nabbed a silver on the day behind Miller. The 22-year old Clif rider has been consistently in the action and is showing an increasing diversity of skills on the road. He will be a rider to watch. Max Polin finished on the podium just ahead of the old campaigner, Peter Knudsen. Knudsen has seen his share of NRC events in the past, and it is very satisfying to have another quality mind out there in NorCal showing the rising stars how to mix it up.
Topsport Stage Race
Molly Van Houweling did it. The Metromint rider attacked the final road race stage of the Topsport challenge … even though she was ahead on time in the GC. Her ferocity was rewarded with an overall title and two very satisfying stage wins. Kachorek took the circuit race field sprint ahead of Dolce Vita’s Kate Ligler and Janelle Kellman.
Roman Kilun was leading the men’s race by a scant couple seconds going into the difficult final road race stage by taking first in the time trial … and then was able to win the road race as well, securing the overall win. The circuit race was won by young Andrew Goessling of Lombardi’s … and excellent showing, indeed.
Copperopolis awaits … and then we get crits
Yes, the classic has come. It’s the NorCal’s epic spring slugfest … and nothing has changed about this beautifully painful race. The roads are just as choppy, the descents every bit as butt-clencherific, and the climbs haven’t gotten any less angry as they smack down cyclists who aren’t willing to bleed for it.
Copperopolis is one of the crown jewels in the NorCal calendar … and if you’ve never taken been a part of this event … now is the time.
And then the following week we have a slew of criteriums on hand. Leading the charge is the Hippstar Menlo Park Grand Prix. I’ll be out announcing at Menlo Park, and look forward to screaming out your name to the sky. Menlo is a great location with pleasant grass to hunker down in and spectate as riders kick their engines into overdrive on this wide-open throttlefest of a course.
And on Saturday, you have the Apple Pie classic to race up in Santa Rosa … an always fast and safe course put on by the cool folks at Colavita & NorCal Racing. There’s also a crit in Napa and a CCCX circuit race in Monterey to choose from on the day. Lot of racing for one day in NorCal….
Pro teams periodically sell off their slightly used stuff to the public as they make way for the new product bike companies want them displaying and advertising.
These sales are very cool and if you haven’t heard about the amazing deals offered by the TIBCO team … now is the time to check it out.
April 10th from 9am to 1pm in Los Altos, 1577 Fairway Drive … time it between your trips to the Menlo Park Grand Prix and take advantage of some incredible deals on equipment, clothing, wheels & bikes … hell, all things cycling.
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see you out there ~ be safe, have fun … go fast.
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