Menlo Park GP
22 July 2012
Both Logan Loader (Team Exergy) and Mary Elizabeth Maroon (Folsom Bike/Mercedes Benz) powered their way up the long finish straightaway to take wins in their respective categories at the 7th Annual Velo Girls™ Menlo Park Grand Prix, presented by Mikes Bikes. The flat, 1.4 miles is a long criterium course with 350 meters from the last corner to the finish line.
The race for Women Pro-1-2 saw early activity from Metromint Cycling racers as the team put different racers at the front. An Emily Thurston (Touchstone Climbing) attack was the first to get good separation but this was quickly covered by Alison Tetrick (Exergy Twenty12) and Vanessa Drigo (Vanderkitten-Focus). Soon afterwards, Carol Irving (Touchstone Climbing) and Julie Bellerose (Metromint Cycling) managed a 7-second gap before they were brought back. A break by Metromint racers Molly Van Houweling and Rikke Preisler started to look dangerous before the field quickly became grupo compacto.
As the race wound down to its conclusion, Metromint again made their mark and started moving racers to the front of the pack. Each of the three laps before the bell saw a ‘Mint lead the field down the start-finish straight with several other team mates nearby. The impressive teamwork had an ominous warning. However, coming down the last stretch for the field sprint, it was Maroon charging hard down the left side for the win. “I was glad to see so many Touchstone, Metromint, and Exergy [racers].” wrote Maroon via e-mail, “Touchstone and Metromint kept the race pace high by attacking and counter attacking and attacking in pairs. Exergy would keep tabs on the front of the race and that was all I could do. There were a few break attempts but I think everyone was hungry for a sprint finish. Metromint executed a beautiful lead out. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen them do as a team.”
Finishing second to Maroon was Starla Teddergreen (Vanderkitten-Focus) as Heather Ross (Team TIBCO II) came home in third place. Juliette Olsen (Red Racing) took fourth place with Thurston in fifth. Maroon’s top category win adds to her win earlier in the day in the NCNCA State District Championships for Women 35+. “I had two good finishes today because of my team.” continued Maroon, “Folsom Bike/Mercedes Benz is so supportive and consistent. It feels really good to be able to show them their effort is worth it.”
The Men Pro-1-2 race started out much like the Women’s race; there were plenty of attacks and different leaders. But, the field stayed together as the outcome looked to be going toward a field sprint. At nine-to-go, however, a group of eleven racers got away on a break and the race picked up. A few racers dropped off the break leaving leaving seven out front: Julian Martinez (Fremont Bank Cycling Team), Brian Heneghan (SJBC), Dean LaBerge (Team Specialized Racing Masters), Stephen Vogel (Wake Forest University), Keith Hillier (Marc Pro-Strava), Dirk Himley (Echelon/Charity of Choice), and Diego Garavito (Village Peddler). At one point, the break had a lead of 15 seconds over the field.
Back in the pack, Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Strava) made attempts to bridge up and was successful on his second try. Loader followed Hutcheson into the break at one-lap-to-go with the field closing the gap on the bell lap. “When I went across I went solo,” reported Loader, “Chuck [Hutcheson] had already been able to rest for a bit so he attacked again right as I got to the group. By the time I opened up for the sprint Chuck [Hutcheson] had laid it down for his race and they had caught him already. It was an all out field sprint.”
Earlier in the race Loader had a small break with Dirk Himley chasing. Describing this move, Loader said “There were a few reasons [for the move]. There were a lot of teams here and I know that, if I don’t make the teams work early on in the race, then I’m stuck by myself going against teams of five or six guys. So [the move] was more to soften up the field and make guys work earlier…to have a level playing field [at the end of the race].”
Hutcheson described the pivotal moment in his race as the early attempt to bridge to the break with Loader. “I had Logan [Loader] and Andres Gil on my wheel. We’re getting almost all the way across and Logan [Loader] takes a hard pull. [Then] I take a hard pull and drop Logan [Loader].” In some smack-talking, Hutcheson said “At the end there we were [going] around the last turn. I saw Logan was on my wheel and we [went] around everybody. I felt bad about dropping him earlier – I know it hurts his feelings – so I feathered my brakes.” In response, Loader didn’t notice any feathering and said “I was able to bring the field back up to him so there’s no problem.”
Hutcheson’s efforts earned him third place as Joshua Carling (Michael David Winery Cycling Team) grabbed second. Hillier was fourth with fifth place going to Gregory White (Davis Bike Club Race Team).
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