Recap on NorCal racing May 31, June 1.
Day 1: Montserrat Circuit Race
Folsom/Cervelo Succeeds With A Majority of Riders
In a paltry showing of women’s racers, typical of the 2014 season thus far in both the men’s and women’s pelotons, riders lined up for one of NorCal’s most underrated and well-managed races – Loomis Basin Sierra de Montserrat Circuit Race.
As the race got underway on the first lap, Marley Smith (Folsom Bike/Cervelo) attacked, taking Audrey Biehle from Velo Sports Group went with her. Biehle started to tire following the move and Smith attacked to go solo. Heather Van Sickle (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), noticed the events transpiring ahead and bridged from the main field to Smith. The two Folsom Bike Cervelo riders rode the remaining 40 minutes together went 1-2 with Van Sickle taking the honors.
Herrmann Notches First Ever P/1/2 Win
With a larger field, the men’s race was impacted by a number of aggressors, starting with Torey Philipp (Cal Giant) who attacked from the gun and dangled 5-15 seconds off of the front. Sustained attacking kept the field stretched out and a 5 rider breakaway emerged. The break contained Torey Philipp, Dirk Himley (Hammer/Charity of Choice), Andrew Shimizu (Data Driven Athlete), and the duo of Josh Carling and Ariel Herrmann both from Marc Pro – Strava.
There was no cooperation in the break, as Dirk Himley, true to style, alternated between driving the breakaway and attacking it. The same was true for the rest of riders in the ruthless crew, although no single one was able to sustain their solo bid for glory.
In the finale, Himley lead from the final roundabout, driving for the finish with Herrmann and Carling of Marc Pro – Strava behind. With 150 meters remaining, Herrmann dug deep for the line up the last rise with teammate Carling in tow. The two finished 1-2, with Philipp finishing 3rd to round out the podium.
In response to the weather, which was notably cooler than the 103 degree clime of last year, Herrmann remarked, “It was less foggy than in the city”. Herrmann, who was rightfully thrilled with his very first P/1/2 victory of his career, assured NCCN that, “I have great desire to blog this race.”
Day 2: Downtown Auburn Criterium
The Downtown Auburn Criterium is a special course in old town Auburn that passes brick-front gold rush era buildings and starts with a short and steep climb. The course climbs gradually afterwards, culminating with a fast and technical descent into a 90 degree right turn with the finish line only 200 meters after.
Women’s P/1/2: Folsom Bike/Cervelo Dominates Again
Folsom Bike/Cervelo entered Sunday in lead on the omnium standings and hoped to seal the win for Heather Lipana.
Judy Wexler of Folsom Bike/Cervelo attacked early riding solo for quite a while, putting on an exciting show for the spectators despite the small field assembled at the line.
The intended effect was to tire out Audrey Biehle (Velo Sports Group) by forcing her to chase, but it was becoming apparent that the plan was not going to succeed. Wexler returned to the group and Folsom/Cervelo worked to keep the group together for Lipana. Lipana expressed that she was not feeling in top form on the day, so Claire Morgan (Folsom/Cervelo) positioned herself at the front after the climb going into the descent and bombed down the hill, opening a respectable gap. Morgan was able to hold on for the win for Folsom/Cervelo. Meanwhile, with a tenacious ride, Biehle was able to take over the lead in the omnium standings and win for Velo Sports Group.
Men’s P/1/2: Cal Giant & Marc Pro – Strava Duel
Willie Myers (Marc Pro – Strava) attacked on the first lap, dangling in front of the peloton as downtown Auburn’s steep climb unmercifully shook the riders’ legs awake.
Eventually, Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) attacked in order to bridge across, taking Jared Kessler (Marc Pro – Strava) with him. On the following lap up the climb, Torey Philipp surged at the base to join the breakaway with Josh Carling (Marc Pro – Strava) following closely. Carling was unwilling to work with Phillip, in the interest of protecting his chances at the omnium victory, which Phillip was the chief threat.
The breakaway was reabsorbed into the field, but shortly after, Tobin Ortenblad attacked again, emphatically, on the steep climb. Carling and Kessler followed, and immediately realized the large gap behind. The three riders traded pulls cohesively and it became increasingly apparent that the trio would stay away to the finish.
On the final lap, Carling mustered a big attack over the crest of the climb, opening a gap and sustaining it through the descent. Making the final turn onto the homestretch, Carling sprinted, keeping the gap open and held on to win. Ortenblad succeeded in taking the sprint for second over a nevertheless delighted Jared Kessler.
Josh Carling’s win on day 2 of the omnium series secured an overall victory for the weekend with Marc Pro – Strava teammate Ariel Herrmann holding on for 2nd.
“This was an awesome weekend of racing with two of the best courses on our calendar. The whole event was run very professionally by Victory Velo and the prizes were incredible. Let’s get out next year and give it the support that it deserves,” winner Josh Carling commented.
ICC DASH for CASH
Men’s P/1/2: Against All Odds
ICC Dash for Cash criterium in Pleasanton is a prime-lovers dream, with $10 awarded at the end of every single lap. Both Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator and Squadra SF arrived with 11 riders each, eager for the win.
Willie Myers (Marc Pro – Strava) and David Grundman (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada/Reliable) attacked fiercely from the gun trying to instigate a breakaway. Unsuccessful, they were brought back by the group.
Attacks flew from the group for the next 15 minutes until the field started to split apart in the wind and the rush for cash every lap. At the 20 minute mark, a group of 7 broke off of the front of the field containing Willie Myers (Marc Pro – Strava), Michael Grundman (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada/Reliable), Dana Williams and Reese Levine of Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator, Matt Mikul (Squadra SF), Aaron Patterson (iRT – Reactor p/b JL Velo), and Michael Jacques (Team Clif Bar).
The group rotated together cohesively until the announcer noted that Chris Reikert and Ranier Schaefer (Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator) were trying to bridge across to the breakaway. Dana Williams and Reese Levine reduced their contributions to the group hoping that their 2 teammates would be able to make it across.
It became apparent as the sand fell through the hourglass that time was running out and the bridging duo of Reikert and Schaefer would be unable to complete the bridge. Reese Levine lead the break to the final turn with David Grundman, teammate Dana Williams, and Willie Myers behind. Twenty meters after the exit of the final turn, Willie Myers made his move.
“Two laps to go I was sort of zoned out, 1 lap to go, okay gotta do this thing”, Myers explained, “I just shifted until I was in my 11 and motored away”. Grundman finished 2nd and Matt Mikul of Squadra SF finished 3rd.
“I wanted to post up for the win with two hands but I was afraid of crashing in the crosswinds. The announcer said I had a gap so I decided to do it. I’m very happy with it, this is my first win in Northern California this year,” Myers concluded.
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