March Madness begins in NorCal
The Red Kite Racing Series kicked off on Sunday with a superb criterium nestled right at the base of the greenly covered hills of east Livermore. Steve Rosefield is the head of NorCal’s newest professional promoting company and has already put himself at the head of the pack. The venue was knockout-well done – with easy parking, close food, vendor tents, results and podium easily seen, and a great sound system. Grade A promotion of an event.
This weekend was an interesting look at 3 of NorCal’s current promoting companies with Red Kite in the East Bay, CCCX in Monterey, and VeloPromo in Madera – as they all had events this weekend. For someone outside of NorCal, you can draw an image of each companies event if thought of as a category/type of racer:
freshly minted Cat 1 license – Red Kite is like that new cat 1 who’s trained 25 hours a week all winter and is so excited to race it can barely stop shaking at the start line. Red Kite is that new cat 1 with a ton of potential bristling underneath a jersey to get it fitting right.
the grizzled cat 2 license – CCCX is real racing. Hellyeah there’s a podium, and there’s cash and merchandise as bounty for those who suffer enough for results … but a CCCX event is about loving the game, and going about the business of doing it well. CCCX events are smart, hard, and open to a lot of different rider types to do well on … as long as your fit and ready to put in the pain.
that dumbass cat 3 – and then there’s VeloPromo, that cat 3 masters racer who puts on that same kit from the early 90s every year to chase his 9 events, making the same mistakes year after year, less interested in upgrading and more cynical about doing with each passing season.
ALISON STARNES - one woman wrecking crew
Starnes is in huge form right now and took the wacking stick to two of the strongest amateur teams in the nation – Pinnacle Argon and Metromint. Starnes won the Madera GC, taking the criterium and road race in solo moves – especially impressive in the road race a series of crushing accelerations away from small’ish, but strong field.
Metromint had another display of team depth and talent at Madera – and, will be very interesting to watch in 2013. The dots put riders in GC 3,4,5: Joanna Dahl, Molly Van Houweling, and Rikke Preisler. Dahl is a mtb motor transitioning to road racing and is in the perfect program to develop as a racer.
Pinnacle Argon had Tanja Meyer in 2nd for GC, but also Jane Despas and Sara Clafferty in the top-10. Pinnacle was very aggressive in Sunday’s road race, with Clafferty making another case for being one of NorCal’s next big shooting stars to rise meteorically – as she threw in solo attacks off the front, did yeoman’s work at the front for her teammate’s GC, and kicked in a field sprint for 4th behind behind the last lap, 3-rider winning break of Tetrick, Mary Maroon, and Rikke Priesler.
Other notables from Madera:
- Lucia Mokres of Los Gatos got stung twice by some angry bees and had a massively allergic reaction. It was so bad she booked out of her hotel and started driving home on Saturday. The swelling started to go down on the freeway, so she said ‘screw it’ and turned around, found another hotel room and finished out the weekend’s racing. #awesomesauce
- I know I should be writing a ton about the men’s race at Madera … but, meh.The news for men’s racing out of Madera has to be 1) the returning superform of KirkCarlsen; 2) the rising dominance of Adrien Costa … the superclimber can flatlander TT – #protour; 3) Mike’s Bikes finally won a crit in 2013.
RED KITE RACING – You Got Axell’d
The field in the women’s race was about 40 riders, as it was a 1,2,3 field with cat 3s picked separately. Pacific Crush’s Sonja Klein won the cat 3 race, somewhere in the top 5 or 6 in the big, fast and wide-open field sprint.
Fremont Bank’s Marissa Axell won the field sprint in an almost-photo finish. I was at the line and certainly couldn’t tell who won it … it was a knuckles-down, pain injected last few pedalstrokes as Axell, Tanya Grossman, and Sunny Townsend threw their bikes at the line. We’ve got interviews of all three riders – so, be sure to check out NCCN podcasts to hear them.
Townsend was impressive at the Red Kite opener, taking the first 3 primes and active until the last lap in breakaway attempts. Grossman was in her second p1/2 event and over-the-moon happy with finding the right wheel in the sprint and putting in a solid result.
The men’s race was won by Freddie Rodriguez in a lavishly heroic solo attack with out of 5-rider breakaway, just as the breakaway would be swept up by a ClifBar lead chasing pack. Fast Freddie would fly solo for 2 finishing laps as the field would never catch him. Impressive solo chasing effort by James Laberge in the final lap … very, very impressive.
CCCX results and report … we need one!
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