Most of us here in the Norcal acknowledge just how sweet a circuit of racing we have access to throughout the year. We’ve live in a place where a racer can choose between a cross, road, or mtb race on the same weekend … and even have an eye on an upcoming velodrome event horizon, as well.
And though it may be useless to argue which region of the US produces the best racers, it’s not too much of a mind-stretch to rank Norcal as the finest place to race a bike. We’re not limited to the leg-numbing, bar banging parking lots of corpo-crit SoCal, we don’t have the rain and rampant vegan’ism of the great NorWest, and we don’t have to race at 6am like those poor SOBs in NYC.
So yeah … we’ve got a sweet place to race bikes. But ~ what the hell, let’s rank our riders as the best, too.
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USA Champions and Professional Developments
In 2010, Norcal produced 3 criterium champions at the top-level of the sport ~ Daniel Holloway won the American Pro Title, Shelley Olds stormed to the top of the women’s podium, and Steve Reaney overpowered the youngsters to take the men’s Amateur Elite gold.
And, of course there was a bucketfull of masters and junior podiums and jerseys won by local riders, as well.
But our region also tossed out a few more neo-pros into the grinder for the 2011 season:
- CalGiant Strawberries’ Andrew Talansky swung big and went all ProTour’y with Garmin-Cervelo. The young man’s performances at Gila and then in Europe were absolutely mind-boggling.
- The dynamic duo of Ryan Parnes and Phil Mooney swimming cross-pond and going Euro-poofter with Raleigh/Skoda. NorCal Miscreant Rand Miller has already pointed out how we should all be jealous of these guys new gig … but really folks, these fellas are living the dream and you shouldn’t be doing anything other than shit-talking them any chance you get.
- Emily Kachorek also advanced to the big leagues with her recruitment to the new Primal Wear/MapMyRide team. This team is led by Colorado superhot cycling lawyer Megan Hottman and is my pick for getting a gigabyte full of darkhorse results as the big TIBCO/Peanut Butter&Co/HTC blood feud eats itself up this year. The fresh squad has a lot of veteran talent already pumping in their system (Liza Rachetto!) and they will put themselves in the right places.
- Leadout/Fremont Bank Cycling launched not only Kachorek into the pro ranks this year, but also kicked up Collin Samaan and (an almost recruited) Menso de Jong to the fantastically named Wonderful Pistachio Pro Cycling Team. Collin and Menso are two twenty-somethings that will be putting in big efforts in the very strong Ameri-pro ranks of 2011.
- Also going Wonderful is Napa oriented strongman, Tim Farnham and the ever-pro Sterling Magnell. It’s pretty crazy to think that Sterling is still in his 20’s … as those who have followed cycling have seen this rider in the pro ranks for years and years. But Magnell is having another go of it, and here’s wishing luck to a guy who really is the cool that RockRacing tried to be.
Speaking of Wonderful Pistachios ~ if you haven’t checked out their wacknut youtube mini-adverts … well, here’s a taste.
And you wondered why a pistachio company would market through cycling …
But seriously ~ all of these riders have made huge commitments to the suffering, sacrifice, and (often times) slave wages needed to make it to the professional ranks. And that’s just the first rung of the pro-ranks.
So give a shout out and a hayle-yes to these and the other riders making their way to living a dream … absolutely worth working towards.
Well, there’s more to highlight about our region and the folks who make it crazy-ass beautiful. I’ll need a fast and furious set of fingertips to try and capture the wicked kickassery breathed out daily from the likes of Murphy the Mack and Sheila Moon … who bitch-slapping SingleSpeed Worlds to SF next year. Or how Murphy single handedly defended the honor of Norcal in a recent cyclocross race … but that’s for another post(s).
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In the meantime – put this Sunday’s Sacto Savage Sprints on your calendar. It’s good times for a good cause. So turn off your computer, get on a bike, and go fuck shit up.
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