• No Time for ‘Watchin’ the Tide Roll Away’ at Suisun Harbour Crit

    by  • August 13, 2012 • Cal Cup, norcal scene, race coverage

    Suisun Harbour Criterium
    Suisun City – 12 August 2012

    Alex Chiu and Chuck Hutcheson contributed to this report.

    Somewhat a day of contrasts for the Suisun Harbour Crit, compared to the the previous day’s Cal Cup event. Dunnigan Hills saw triple-digit temperatures around a 78-km (44-mile) course. Suisun City stayed well below the century mark for the 0.9km (0.54-km) course; as the day began, it was downright cold with some racers bundled under extra kit. In case one is wondering, Suisun is pronounced ‘suh-soon’, according to the Solano County Guide.

    In his report on the race for Men Pro-1-2, Chuck Hutcheson described the course as fast with three tight turns (two abreast). The back side had a wicked headwind and the start/finish had a tail wind that left most guys spun out for the final sprint. California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized and Marc Pro-Strava had full squads – probably because these are the two team in contention for the Cal Cup. Team Mike’s Bikes only had four riders, notably Tyler Brandt and Eric Riggs (who is riding like a beast).

    There was plenty of attacking early but the backside’s headwind doomed most of those breaks. Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Starva) got clear with a few others – Cal Giant, mostly Benny Swedberg, pulled it back. When Cal Giant Torry Phillips (at the time leading the Cal Cup) got away with one other, Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Strava) pulled for 3 laps to bring it in. Once it was caught, Justin Rossi (at the time 2nd in the Cal Cup) went with 5 others (to include one Cal Giant and NO Mike’s Bikes). Notable – Torry Phillips was still in the field.

    At six-to-go, Team Mike’s Bikes put all their riders on the front to pull in the break; they received no help from other teams. At two-to-go, Rossi and Kurt Wolfgang (SquadraSF) leave the break and almost lap field. Rossi grabbed the two up sprint for the win with a photo-finish over Wolfgang. Recently promoted Cat-2 racer Cody Kaiser (California Giant/Specialized) finished in third ahead of Bubba Melcher (Team Specilized Racing Masters) in fourth, Blake Anton (Team Clif Bar Cycling) in fifth, and Christopher Harland Dunaway (Davis Bike Club) in sixth. Chuck Hutcheson won the field sprint for 7th.

    Very little between Wolfgang and Rossi at the finish line

    Very little between Wolfgang and Rossi at the finish line

    The Women’s 1-2-3 race was a measured affair. Kristin Drumm (Cycles FANATIC Factory Racing) and Maura Kinsella (Vaderkitten-Focus) were the considered two big threats in the field of thirteen. The race saw several different leaders and prime winners but the pack stayed compact for the most part. Mid-way through, Drumm looked a threat with a small gap as she swept through turn-two. All the while, Mary Ellen Ash (Steven’s Bikes p/b Pactimo) could be seen somewhere near mid pack.

    Kristin Drumm leads the field onto the backstretch

    Kristin Drumm leads the field onto the backstretch

    “The last three laps were bunched. It was a very tactical race between Drumm and Kinsella. We were all just clustered at the back.” described Ash, “A couple of the Cat 2, 3′s were willing to release at a hard steady pace at the front to keep it smooth. [I was] fourth wheel out of the final corner. I didn’t actually think about [and] just smashed the pedals and kept accelerating to the line. My friend Holly [Roberts (SJBC)] was just trying to place herself well in the final sprint…she ended being my leadout. I don’t think she knew that.”

    In a good recap of the race, the announcer declared Ash leading the only lap that mattered. Drumm finished in second place a bike’s length ahead of Christina Hughes. Roberts secured fourth by just beating Cybil Silberman (Early Bird Womens Developmental Cycling Team) to the line. Janelle Kellman (Red Racing) come home in sixth with Kimberly Ford (Tri Valley Velo) taking seventh place.

    Ash raises her arm in victory

    Ash raises her arm in victory

    For more Cal Cup coverage, please see Hellyer’s Women’s Cal Cup Week 2.

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    "Quod nomen mihi est?" Cranking the glass to capture photographs at bicycle races.