• California Early Birds

    by  • January 10, 2012 • Crit

    If you want to know how crazy it is that racing in California starts in January, just call up one of your friends on the east coast and see what they say.  The typical response is silence, disbelief, and then annoyance.  A comment about the cost of housing and earthquakes will likely be in there, followed by some complaints about how it’s really hard to be a masters racer in Pennsylvania because of all the sandbaggers.  Life is hard for outside the reaches of the Golden Gate.

    Early Birds kicked off on January 8th and the series continues through the rest of the month. Sunday’s edition had a smaller P/1/2/3 turn out than normal, mostly likely due to fair weathered cyclocross racers, and the phenomenal weather.  Still, 40 riders lined up for the P/1/2/3 and San Jose native and Hellyer bad boy Daniel Farinha showed some early season form and took the “win” in the first “training” race of the year.  Farinha, who raced for the U25 Firefighters squad last year, showed flashes of brilliance on the track at several races the last two years, where he was the only local to finish on the same lap as the pros.  Farinha, whose father is my favorite ref (cause he’s awesome), might be a rider to watch this year .

    Sunday’s early bird saw 375 riders show up with strong turn outs in the Elite 4, Junior, and Women’s categories.  USAC Development Coach of the Year nominee, Larry Nolan, was a little disappointed in the turnout in the old guy 45+ category.  “The 45+ attendance was low, and thats one of the fastest growing demographics in the sport,” Larry said after the race “These old guys say ‘I don’t need any crit skills because I’m not going to do crits… And you know me, i’m all about skills.”

    Nolan’s frank assessment will probably sting a few but after having seen how many top ranked juniors move through the Specialized program onto national team stints, and pro/development teams it’s kinda hard for me not to nod my head in agreement.  Add into the equation Nolan is a late comer to the sport that can win pretty much any discipline, except Mount Hamilton, it’s worth taking note of his approach since it got him to where he is.  That and a ridiculous work ethic and good genes.

    Early Bird Info

    Dates: Sundays, January 8,15,22,29 (training races/clinics) and Feb 12 (race) 2012

    Sunday, January 22 – “Meet the Teams Day” – racers not yet on a team will have the chance to talk to teams and consider what they have to offer (and want in return) No cost, casual, pop up a tent, set up a table and enjoy the day. Moved to January 29 if raining. (Teams should check in prior to the Day with Robert at velopro1@sonnet.com to reserve a spot and get the details)


    Race Calendar
    8:30 Men Category 4 race (45 min.)
    9:15- Men Category 4 post race talk
    9:30 Early Bird Mentored Skills Clinic #1 for Juniors, Women Category 4, and Men Under 30 Category 5
    10:45 U30 (under age 30) Men Category 5 race (40 min.)
    11:25 U30 Men Category 5 post-race talk
    11:30 Women Category 4 race, split fields based on experience if attendance warrants (40 min.)
    11:30am Juniors ages 8 to 16 skills clinic
    12:10 Women Category 4 post-race talk
    12:15 Juniors race (30 min.)
    12:45 Juniors post-race talk
    12:45 Early Bird Mentored Skills Clinic #2 for 30+ Men Category 5
    2:00 30-44 year old Men Category 5 race (40 min.)
    2:40 30-44 year old Men Category 5 post-race talk
    2:45 45+ year old Men Category 5 race (40 min.)
    3:25 45+ year old Men Category 5 post-race tal
    3:30 Category 1/2/3/Pro race (60 min.)

    While your at it Save the California Condor



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    Former NorCal resident now residing in Madison,Wisconsin. I race cross, but I'm named after a velodrome. Support your local bike shop, NorCal race promoters, and go learn to race on a track. Hellyer Velodrome - http://www.ridethetrack.com