25 June 2014
The 2014 Little City Stage Race is now complete but has grown its footprint on the local road bicycle-racing scene. This year, with just 3 weeks notice, the event expanded to four stages over three days. Despite the late change and Friday racing, the registered numbers of participating racers was nominally similar between this year (234) and last (225). In a promising note, there were 36 Juniors that raced in one or more of the stages, up from 25 in 2013.
“Every year you put these races on you hope to be successful,” sad Bubba Melcher, event promoter. “We added a fourth stage this year and under the time constraints we had I think we lost a few people but we also gained a few people. This is only our third year but our numbers are as good as last year and we hope by the fourth and fifth year, 2015 and 2106, that we’ll have a larger turnout. We hope to become one of the biggest Junior stage races in the USA, with the money we give away and the people that come here.”
Responding to the number of Junior racers, Melcher continued, “That’s a great number especially [with] the numbers we had from last year. We really tapped into the Southern California fields. We had no NorCal Juniors. I’m not sure what happened there but last year we had a pretty good turnout there. We thought there was going to be a good North-South contingent but no-one from Northern California showed up. We hope that next year we’ll be able to have something like that for the Juniors.
“Numbers. That’s what always makes a race successful and we’ve had great feedback. I think you’ll find on the social media scene that we only hear positive things about this race. We just want to grow this and at some point if we can add a fifth stage and make this a big-time race, that’s what we’d really like to do.”
“It’s really awesome when parents come up to you afterwards and thank you that we’re doing this. Of course, being a Master racer for as many years as I’ve done it, it’s time to give back and to promote Junior races is one of the better ways to do that.
Little City 2014 opened with afternoon starts at the Diamond Valley Road Race. This 11-mile (18km) loop includes two climbs for a total elevation gain of 850-feet (259m) per lap. Weather conditions were well into the eighties moderated by strong, swirling winds. On the second day, the venue moved to the Fernley Speedway near Fernley, Nevada. The closed race motor racing course was hammered by very gusty winds that made for interesting decisions on when and where to attack.
“Adding the Fernley Speedway was a big positive,” opined Melcher. “That was a 4-mile circuit race with 180s, downhills, uphills, and the wind and everybody loved it.
The final day of the event ran back at Diamond Valley for the time trial and in Minden for the Downtown Minden Criterium. Many racers voiced positive opinions about the crit, held in a combined residential and business neighborhood.
The 10-mile (16km) out-and-back Diamond Valley Time Trial saw moderated temperatures and winds compared to the same venue on the Friday. However, a bicycle-racing novelty, as well as the butt of apocalyptic jokes, swarms of locusts still poured across a short section of the course. More than a few racers, on both days, could find a grasshopper lodged in their helmet, attached to their kit, or tacked onto their bikes.
“It’s very bizarre,” remarked Melcher, “that just out in the middle of nowhere and in a quarter-mile span you have a bunch of locusts and then you don’t see anything again. I heard if you put a piece of chocolate in your mouth then when you eat a grasshopper at least it’s a chocolate-coated grasshopper!”
Next year’s format is planned for the same and, with the challenging and competitive racing on hand, more and more should plan on participating in the years to come.
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