• A Plague of Locusts: Signs of the Apocalypse at Little City

    by  • June 21, 2014 • norcal scene, race coverage

    Moderate heat, reasonably stout winds, and swarms of locusts greeted fields to stage one of the Little City Stage Race on Friday at the Diamond Valley Road Race course in Woodfords, California. Located near the Nevada border in sagebrush country, the roads featured beautiful views of the nearly Sierra Crest, but a surprise not encountered last year, when the event took place in July: thick clouds of locusts in the open pasturelands segment of the course. Large enough to hurt, the large insects played a part in the day’s proceedings and results.

    Both men’s and women’s P/1/2 fields were together up the second climb for the first lap, indicating a civil pace, and confirmed by racers. “I think we all felt a little bit ashamed when the cat 4s passed us,” quipped Erica Grief (Velo Sports Group). Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Starva) took charge on the second lap with a 30-second gap at the second climb. The chase group, which included four from Cal Giant, was animated and working hard at that summit, which forced a split in the field. Rossi would extend his lead out to 61 seconds on the first climb of lap three. The women’s race became interesting during the second lap as well, with the first climb of the second lap seeing Tetrick leading the field single file. After an attack by Claire Morgan (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), a counter-attack by teammate Diane Moug, then another attack from Greif, a break containing Tetrick, Moug, and Greif stole away, the chasers never to catch.

    Alison Tetrick, Erica Greif, and Diane Moug Away from the Rest of the Field

    Alison Tetrick, Erica Greif, and Diane Moug separate from the field.

    After a long while solo, the chase group eventually caught Rossi on the fourth lap. Following much teamplay and gaming between Cal Giant and Marc Pro-Strava, Torey Phillipp (Cal Giant) lead at the bell by 24 seconds with plenty of Berries in a small chase group. With a bit more than 2 laps remaining in the women’s break, Tetrick simply dropped Moug and Greif, leaving them out of sight. “Alison wasn’t interested in staying away with anyone else,” said Greif. “She stopped pulling through, and then we stopped pulling through, and it became a little cat-and-mouse until she decided to leave…” Tetrick quickly extended her gap to a minute, then two, and comfortably soloed to win.

    Eventually, Colin Joyce (Cal Giant) won the sprint to take the points for Stage 1, comfortably reaching the finish line ahead of Justin Rossi. When asked about Rossi’s early lead, Joyce said “We were worried a little bit. He’s a frikkin’ monster, he’s super strong. We put the four of us on the front trying to bring him back. He just stayed out there. With three laps to go we hit it on the climbs strung it out and were finally able to bring him back. It was a little intimidating because he’s a super strong guy.”

    “We didn’t have a set plan. It was kind of like if you’re feeling good go for it, help follow moves. Once we brought Justin back, Torey was able to get a good acceleration and get a decent gap quickly. That really helped Yannick and myself because from then on we could sit in the draft and follow moves. It really worked out great with Torey being out there going into the bell lap.” Joyce did admit he didn’t coast to an easy win at the line. “I was defintely going cross-eyed a bit. At that point everyones suffering so much. I saw the finish line, decided to go for it, and held it off. It worked out well but it was hard.

    Colin Joyce (Cal Giant) Claims the Stage 1 Victory

    Colin Joyce (Cal Giant) claims stage 1 victory.

    Commenting on the swarms of locusts, Joyce said, “The insects were brutal. It was in the cross-wind, so you’re just slaying, going hard, it’s guttered. And your getting slammed in the face by all the grass hoppers. It adds another novel aspect to the race. On the back stretch I was looking at some other guys and they had grass hoppers crawling over them. It was pretty cool just to just be smacked by them.”

    The race bible notes to bring insect repellent to the Fernely Speedway, site of today’s stage 2 circuit race. What could be in store for racers at the stock car racetrack east of Reno?

    Stage 1 results, P/1/2 men and women

    Top seven men
    1. Colin Joyce
    2. Justin Rossi
    3. Yannick Eckmann
    4. Jared Kessler
    5. Matthew Rodrigues
    6. Christopher Harina
    7. Jacob Albrecht

    Top seven women
    1. Alison Tetrick
    2. Diane Moug
    3. Erica Greif
    4. Aliya Traficante
    5. Tanya Fredricks
    6. Rhonda Serr
    7. Kim Wik

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