Cal Aggie Criterium … inside shorts
The Men’s P1/2 was very, very quick for a late January affair and before half the group had even clicked into their pedals, Webcor’s Rand Miller was already scorching up to 30mph, mullet taunting boys to come and play with him.
The first couple laps saw some jostling and renegotiations amongst who would be suffering for sixty minutes at the sharp end of things … but eventually the race would widdle down to 4 men off the front of a suprisingly large and rebellious pack of riders.
Rand Miller, the new CalGiantBerry Evan Huffman, Keith Hillier of the emerging Marc Pro- Strava team, and Sacto homeboy Adam Switters were the four horsemen pounding pavement out in front of the race. Switters was the final rider to get across ~ making an impressive 10 second solo bridge through the long turn 1 sweeper. It was very clear that these four would have the resilience and speed to put to test the chasing capacities of the field. Huffman is a national champion and emerging professional star, Miller is the consumate breakaway artist in NorCal, Hillier is a proven all-arounder, and Switters is … Switters.
The chase was led by the new kids on the block, the Fremont Bank Cycling team. Mark Deterline and Rob Scheffler were especially strong in their pursuits and, honestly, with any other breakaway contingent up the road – the Fremont fellas would have likely brought back the move. But, lap after lap … the fearsome foursome out front continued to lash each other with speed and tenacity. The Webcor team had a decent number of guys there and Justin Fraga was doing a superb job of monitoring the front end of things while Miller was swashbuckling up the road.
The Clif Bar team and a host of individual strongmen like Joe Innarelli, Logan Loader, and Colin Samaan would sporadically add their efforts to the chase … and although the pack never reduced significantly in speed, there wasn’t quite enough speed, coordination, or commitment to bring back the break away.
I felt sorry for the Fremont Bank Cycling team … they were really slaying themselves out there to try and bring the four men back. Not sorry enough to assist them in the chase, mind you … as i was pretty useless after getting sasquatched by Jan Weissenberg out of the break in the 35+ race a bit earlier. But I did try and steal away a move late in the p1/2s to bridge across to the break. Unfortunately, I went solo and didn’t have gnat’s chance in a headwind to get across. But, if there was any recommendation I could have made to the Fremont boys, it would have been to try and attack the field in 2s to try and form a secondary break to chase the four off the front. A small group of 3 or 4 committed riders could have rotated enough to get across the 20 seconds to the leading break … even with a Webcor or CalGiant rider sitting on.
The field sprinted in behind the breakaway … and there are a few notable mentions.
- Ryan Gaddow - San Jose Bicycle Club
Watch out for this young man in the future. He is growing into his lanky teen-age frame and if the muscles match the leg speed, this is a rider who will be sprinting with the best of American cyclists … soon. He is a product of good genes and solid mentoring out at Hellyer Velodrome, with wicked bike handling skills and a tremendous burst of ATP. If he learns how to suffer – look out.
- Logan Loader – Verizon vandals
LL put in many a dig and hard pull in the CalAggie Crit and then topped it off with a convincing field sprint. It’s hard to remember that this guy is only 21 years old. But if there’s a guy who has learned the life through hard knocks … it’s Logan. He’s already got years of Euro-experience and has come around to figuring out just how much sacrifice and suffering it takes to make it happen. Look for Logan to put in the training and demand a high price in the coming years.
- Rob Scheffler - Fremont Bank Cycling
Scheffler is a 20-something rider who moonlights as an accountant for an egregiously unethical oil firm out in Texas. Hard to hold that against such an incredibly nice guy … but, I will. But the horsepower shown by this young man was jaw-droppingly impressive on Saturday, and he will be a serious force when the races turn hardman and bumpified in the terrain. Also notable on the Fremont Team from Saturday is Nicholas Oliver.
Anyone who follows the incestuous Sacto scene knows that Oliver has been a civilizing force out on the rager’ific River Rides of late. Personally, I would have liked to have seen him putting in some bridging attempts to the break away at Cal Aggie this weekend, but it’s hard to ignore the smooth’ocity and latent speed in his legs in the pack. With more experience and maybe a lash or two on his backside to be more aggressive – this rider is going to be an explosive force in Norcal crits this year.
In the end, Adam Switters took the sprint out of the break over Rand Miller. Miller’s lack of discipline in sprint training is no excuse for getting beat by a rider who could double as Gumby and still look skinny. Hillier was 3rd with Evan Huffman looking as though he’d poured most of his steam into keeping the move away. The 2011 version of Cal Aggie gives us good signs that we’ll have a fast, powerful, team-oriented racing season in the men’s elite ranks.
Good to see.
Check out the consistently cool pics of the event from Mark Adkison..
Hot Ladies … on Bikes
The Cal Aggie elite women’s field was medium in size, but large on quality. The new Primal Wear/MapMyRide squad had their two local talents in attendance with Liza Rachetto and Emily Kachorek. Joining the Primal women were a number of individual big-namers like the enigmatic and hugely talented former TIBCO pro Jerika Hutchinson, the Euro-experienced and stylistic Lindsey Myers, Touchstone’s kicker Carol Irving, and Vanderkitten’s local powerhouse Vanessa Drigo.
The Fremont Bank Cycling team was represented by Beth Newell, Amy Chandos, and new U-23 recruit Christina Yglesias. The Fremont Femmes rode exceptionally well, with Newell and Chandos rocking the 1-2′s like they’d been riding together for years. Chandos is a superb rider in regards to holding position and seeing the field. Newell is the new road sensation for 2011 … but as yet untested in the big events. Their new teammate Yglesias showed herself well in putting herself in the front when needed, and finishing off the race with a solid field sprint.
Hutchinson, Myers, and
a Dolce Vita rider I didn’t catch the name of Dolce Vita’s Darci Paige were quite aggressive during the race, showing courage and race saavy. There was some strong chasing put in by all the riders, but the Fresno rider from Steven’s Bikes, Ruste Parker and a TIBCO II rider I missed identifying named Danielle Haulmann seemed to be especially active in their pursuits.
Late in the race, Beth Newell launched a solo flyer – but was brought back by the Primal ladies. A crowd pleasing counter attack in the final minutes by Cal Davis rider Karianne Burns about stole the show and would have been a phenomenal result for a very promising young rider – but Ruste Parker did a huge effort to bring her back and it was a field sprint contesting for the win.
Newell took the final chicane in the pole position and led out the sprint for the final 400m. Cal Aggie is a tactical sprint and one that requires a tremendous amount of quickness and speed endurance. The Primal women lined up behind Newell, but Rachetto and Kachorek left it just short, as Newell was able to continue her power all the way to the line and take another win for the early 2011 season.
Meh … masters racing is boring. But, it’s hard not to mention such tremendous efforts. Safeway’s Jan Weissenberg was a terror in the sprint out of an 8 rider, race long breakaway. Chico Cycling’s David Albrecht was 3rd – the former Euro rider showing that he’s going to be very, very strong in 2011. Also in the break was Squadra Ovest’s superfit Mike Hardy, Rio Strada’s berzerker Matt Connely, CalGiant’s Jesse Moore, Scott Fonseca of Zenn, as well as Dan Bryant and a teammate from the new Folsom Bikes.
I tried to come around Weissenberg in the sprint … but it was wasn’t even close. Stupid sprinters.
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CCCX … rain don’t delay
Ok ~ i’m already typing on fumes … but, there are some serious notables from the CCCX opener this Sunday’s rather epic event held under bucket-dropping precipitations:
- This course is HAAAAAAARD. What a beautiful way to torture yourself on a Sunday. If you haven’t checked out the closed course, seriously roller’ific CCCX circuit race … do so now! There’s plenty of parking, easy registration, and a race course that will have you wondering how 20 second rollers could possibly be so painful.
- Logan Loader took a fitness test and beat a small, but strong elite field on Sunday. Webcor’s gladiator Sean Smith brutalized the field for 2nd, with Mike Hardy of O’vest rounding out the podium. Webcor had Rand Miller in the race … but he was listed as a DNP … likely a victim of the many flats out at CCCX.
- Flats … this course is pristine if you ride dead straight down the middle of the road. But, there are some frustratingly sharp little rocks on the sides of the pavement, and if you catch one right – it’ll give you a puncture. I got a flat out there on Sunday, and I will NOT race out there again with out Mr. Tuffy’s strips in there for protection. It’s not a climbers course, so go with flat protection out there.
- TEAM BETH took two victories out there on Sunday, with Newell winning ahead of uber-hardwoman Kim Wik; and, Welliver taking the cat 4 race … her first road event in almost two years (after being banishes to the wilds of Louisiana by her governmental employer).
- The ThirstyBear Masters team put on a clinic with Ken Gallardo and Chris Phipps going 1-2 in the small 35+ field. Bicycle Trip’s Geoff Drake had taken the earlier 45+ event in a 2-man break with VOS’s Scott Hennesey, but in the 35+ it was two teammates motoring away from everyone for an impressive win. Look for the ThirstyBear boys to be a cohesive, striker unit for the toughguy road races this year.
blech … that’s all i can manage. More on the Early Bird Crit and info on how Fast Freddie has joined the Specialized Racing team for 2011.
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