Dunnigan Hills reportage from the day prior is being assembled. Alex Chiu and Chris Harland-Dunaway collaborated on this report.
The breezy streets of downtown Suisun City adjacent to the small local harbor were filled with bike racers for the annual Suisun Harbor Criterium on Sunday. The course is exceedingly small, perhaps the smallest in the NCNCA, which transforms the straightforward 4-corner affair into much more technical race. To complicate matters, a long line of cones tapers into the course after turn #2, bottlenecking the riders each lap.
Men’s P/1/2 Race
Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase’s primary goal was to win, and secondly, to help Adam Switters in his unfolding Cal Cup battle against Chris Harland-Dunaway of Marc Pro – Strava. After Dunnigan Hills, the day before, Switters had gained a small lead in the series and no doubt sought to open up the advantage on one of NorCal’s familiar crits he has mastered over the years.
Brandon Trafton (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) escaped solo to begin the race. What first appeared to be a fruitless mission off the front alone would turn into an incredible clinic in power output, continuing well after he was joined by other riders. His power file reported an average of 371 watts for an hour.
Those who joined Trafton were, Adam Switters (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase), Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro – Strava), Kurt Wolfgang (Squadra SF), Ariel Herrmann (Metromint), Luciano Sponza (Lombardi p/b VuMedi), David Grundman (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada), and Colin Joyce (Cal Giant). Eric Riggs (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) bridged up to the break too, giving the team favorable odds.
GigaOM-Pistachios mounted a diligent chase, bringing the breakaway within 10 seconds, but the effort eventually collapsed. Matt Chataloang (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s), David Mesa (Chica Sexy), and Chris Harland-Dunaway (Marc Pro – Strava) were the only riders to make inroads into the time gap with their own bridge attempts of their own. Still, the breakaway remained out of reach and it became clear with 10 laps to go that it was gone. Officials pulled the entire field with 6 laps remaining to allow the race for the top 10 to proceed unimpeded.
Exciting attacks lit up the dwindling lap cards. An unusual two-man attack by Eric Riggs and Brandon Trafton burst out of the breakaway, but was reeled back by Chuck Hutcheson
On the last lap, Ariel Herrmann unleashed an impressive turn of speed on the backstretch before being pulled back within reach by Eric Riggs. While Herrmann took the final turn wide, Riggs took it tightly, and in between the two, Adam Switters exploded like a rocket. Other riders in the break with the legs to follow were hopelessly gapped by Switters’ maneuver.
In the sprint for the remaining places, Colin Joyce finished 2nd, and David Grundman finished in 3rd.
Switters’ win at Suisun put him into 1st in the Cal Cup standings, turning his slim 6 point lead over Harland-Dunaway into a more substantial 21 point lead according to an unofficial tally: 55 to 34. Official Cal Cup standings will be linked as soon as they are obtained from Velopromo.
Listen to the post-race interview with Adam Switters on SoundCloud below:
Women’s 1/2/3 Race
For the women’s 1/2/3 field, there was no dominant team that was out in force. The field size overall was on the low side – nonetheless women that had raced in the previous Cal Cup event the day before – Dunnigan Hills Road Race were ready for more and were joined by other competitors as well. Among the start list included Amy Chandos (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), who had won yesterday’s road race due to substantial efforts by her teammates Marley Smith and Fiona Strouts. One Mary Maroon (Steven’s Bicycles Racing) was also amongst the field.
From the gun, it was not clear how the race would develop, but at about 10 minutes into the race it would be Jeanette Haggas (Leopard-Sapporo) that would join with Maroon in a promising breakaway. “She went up the road and I was able to bridge to her and we stayed away for a really long time. We just kind of swapped pulls and there was a prime while we were out. We had a 25 second gap, and then they rang the prime bell. So, we split the prime, but that sort of started our creep back to the pack, or they started to chase harder I think”, said Maroon in a post-race interview. They would end up getting caught about twenty minutes later.
Once Maroon and Haggas were caught, Metromint began a series of attacks that resulted in teammate Lina Martensson would go off the front and form a gap about halfway through the race. Spectators could often see Martensson in full time trial mode – hands in the drops, head down, looking back to see how close the field (led by primarily Maroon). Martensson later said that she was encouraged by all the cheering and time differences yelled by the spectators. She would manage to hold off the chasing field for about 10 minutes before being caught. A post-race Mary said: “She’s got a pretty good time trial, but a lot of my moves were covered, so I just had to be really careful about how I spent my energy at that point. I would have loved to gotten into a break with her too…we could have both stayed away, but I didn’t think that I would be able to get to her without bringing someone else successfully”.
In the end the final sprint to the finish from the last right hand turn saw a charging field, but from within the field emerged Maroon, Chandos (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), and Cristina Hughes (Hub Coffee Roasters p/b Tahoe Carson Radiology) that would take it to the line, and therefore take the podium.
Listen to the post-race interview with Mary Maroon on SoundCloud below:
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