Turlock Road Race … a classic right out ‘da wrapper
Spread the word far and wide – the folks at Fun Sport Bikes put on one of the best supported races of this early 2011 season. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more … the cupcakes at the finish, the painfully beautiful central valley rollers, or the super snazzy Rabobank gear all the volunteers were styling around the race course.
With their rich tradition of using cycling to advertise in Europe, Rabobank threw in all the little things that make an event special at this year’s Turlock Road Race. While not many would have known that Rabobank had made in-roads into the Californian market before this weekend, after the Turlock RR … we ALL know that they’re here now. With Rabobank cycling lights stashed in our race bags, Rabobank labeled sunscreen given out, and the bank’s iconic logo on the t-shirt … an easy thousand people – a thousand people with expendable income – got a serious dose of brand loyalty snookered into them.
Well played Rabobank. And superbly promoted, Fun Sport Bikes. Be sure to visit the FSB Facebook page and give them positive feedback about the race. Their event sponsors need to know how we’ll be back a twice the size for 2012.
The Racing … Women first
The P1/2/3 women’s race was dominated early by the bashing attacks of Fremont Bank Cycling Team’s Susannah Breen and Beth Newell. Touchstone Climbing’s Marley Smith was also bravely active, showing again that she’s never afraid to launch out solo against the wind and hard roads.
Newell is fresh from an eye-opening experience at Redlands – seeing just how powerful and thrash’erific real professional women can be … and she wants it. Already an established sprinter on the Norcal scene, now Newell is turning to what it takes to compete at the NRC level – a fierce commitment to suffering and burying one’s self for fitness. Look for her and Breen to be a powerful one-two punch at the upcoming races as the Norcal calendar begins in earnest.
There was an unfortunate crash in the women’s field on lap 2 when their pack came into a section of road narrowed by medical response to an earlier crash in the men’s p1/2 field. Two Fremont Bank riders, Francesca Barsamian and Tanja Meyer Tamguney, hit a bad section of pavement as the women’s field narrowed quickly to avoid the medical response on the side of the road. It was darkspot on an otherwise pristine day. Be sure to send your well wishes to Francesca and Tanja on the Fremont Bank facebook page.
The promoters of Turlock have already reached out to both riders and are sending their own special wishes of recovery and fast healing. What class. That’s what being part of a cycling community is all about.
The remaining women’s field had to do a strong bit of chasing on the final lap, as Marley Smith went off again in a solo bid for the win. It was a small pack that sprinted it out for the finish, with Jane Despot just over Red Racing’s Emily Mathieu and Metromint’s Jane Robertson.
A note on Jane Robertson. I’m continually impressed with Robertson as a rider. She’s always willing to race hard, even when work has killed her all week and she hasn’t been able to train to her own standards. She’s an excellent team rider and another one of the reasons why I’m such a fan of the Metromint women’s squad.
Men’s p1/2 – coffee stop, without the coffee
All racing was stopped for the medical response … a good while … long enough to wish you had placed an order for a cappucino, or two. And a scone.
The p1/2 men’s race has a good write up by one of the new up-and-comers in the Specialized ranks – James Laberge. He recounts the delay:
“We laid down on the warm pavement for over an hour, stretching and talking and having fun making jokes. It even got to the point of Kevin and I talking about how we could be blogging at the time about the race while we were stuck for the hour.”
I’m just psyched that a teenager is still using the term ‘blogging.’ That doesn’t make me feel as old as racing my bike does. Speaking of old … CalGiant’s Steve Reaney looks to be finally coming out of hibernation to crush the world again. Laberge notes how the current US crit champion launched away on the final lap with only the toughest able to even contemplate going after him. Reaney would be caught, but still manage a strong sprint with the field, just beaten to the line by Marc Pro Strava’s Frank Spiteri in a wicked looking gallop.
It’s going to be good to have Reaney out there again.
Men’s 3 … 20 seconds to victory
I know, I should write more about the p1/2 race … but, I wasn’t in it – and there’s only so much bullsh*t i can toss out in one evening.
But, I have to mention the monster effort put in by the cat 3 podium riders at Turlock. A small group was away when the race was stopped, and the officials gave them a 20-second gap over the field at the restart. Oooof – sitting around for a few dozen minutes, then sprinting out a final 7 miles is just wicked to the body. The four men pounded away, with the cat 3 pack drilling it behind.
Another MarcProStrava recruit was the only man to bridge across, and then won it from the original break – just ahead of David Meza of San Francisco. What a race!
Again, I should write more … but, it’s been a long day at work and dinner is gurgling in my belly for a serious lay-down.
ok, sorry … 35+ personal report
I raced the 35+ race at Turlock after not being on my bike for a couple weeks. There was no way I had 107 miles in my legs to do the p1/2 … and truth be told, I only had about 70 miles in them for the 80 mile old-guys race.
But I must say, it was an absolute blast racing with the fellas out there.
The first 25 miles were chock full of rat-attack-tack from the entire field. Thirsty Bear had guys launching left and right, led by the ridiculously talented Chris Phipps. I LOVE racing with Phipps – he’s always willing to suffer and will fight to the death like he’s wearing a red-shirt in an old StarTrek episode. The new Michael David Winery team had a good turnout – with most eyes on the central valley hardman, Andres Gil. Andres is the nicest guy you love to hate. He attacks at the batshit craziest parts of the race, and rarely at the best. He’s all balls.
The other large team in the race was the HDR/Lombardi squad. meh.
At the end of the first lap, a group of 7 of us got away from the pack – with Lombardi missing the move. Yeah! I love making those pretty boys work.
But since they’re so pretty … screw em.
In the end, the break stayed away and fought it out for the win. Thirsty Bear had Paul Drywal and Ron Castia. Castia worked his ass off to make the move stick, but was suffering quite a bit and had to miss some pulls late. But, Castia is a good man and played it super honorable by leading out the sprint from a couple kilometers out – when he could have tag teamed with Drywal to make life hell for us in the final miles. Michael David Winery had Michael Ricks in it … pulling super smooth all day long and never showing any weakness. None. Also in the break was an uber-resilient looking Dave Levine from Taleo, Squadra Ovest’s Toby Long, Santa Cruz rider Troy Parker, and me.
Long was totally committed to the break, and I was impressed with his toughness. It’s weird riding in a break for 55 miles with a small group of riders … you feel like you really learn about them. It’s sort of like summer camp and you know it has to end, and you really are looking forward to going home afterwards … but it still kind of gnaws at you how much you’ll miss it when it’s over.
Anyway … the break in the 35+ race at Turlock was just rolling good times. The course was very challenging, but not so difficult that it would crack you in half. We rolled into the finish on Castia’s wheel and opened up our sprints as best we could. Ricks took the win, Levine 3rd, I think Parker was 4th, Long 5th after clipping out of his pedal, Drywal 6th, and Castia 7th.
Thanks for the fun, fellas.
Yeah, I know i’m due for a downgrade on my race reporting of late. Be sure to heckle in the comments, and make fun of me in person at the next shindig.
Chico Stage Race, folks … it’s going to be one helluva good time.
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