• Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cascade

    by  • July 13, 2014 • Crit, norcal scene, race coverage

    13 July 2014
    Watsonville Criterium

    ICE Sportswear presented by Pinnacle Racing are sending a team to the Cascade Cycling Classic and decided to stretch their legs en route. Velo Promo’s small but precious Watsonville Criterium welcomed the riders to the Women’s race upon which the team set about winning; the spoils went to Felcia Gomez as she turned a solo break into a comfortable win. Gomez’ ICE Sportswear teammate Brittany Lindores saw a more difficult race trying to get away from Hanna Muegge (Don Chapin Monterey Racing Team) but eventually the Aussie prevailed for second place.

    Later, Cal Giant took the Men’s Pro/1/2 race by its scruff as Benjamin Wolfe lapped all but two of the field for a Berry-red win. Meanwhile, Tobin Ortenblad attacked late to grab second place ahead of former teammate Sam Cerruti (Family Cycling Center). Cerruti, a clear crowd favourite along the final straightaway, had to contend with both Cal Giant riders in a break but did earn a third place finish.

    Felicia Gomez takes a Comfortable Win at Watsonville

    Felicia Gomez takes a Comfortable Win at Watsonville

    The Women’s race began at a fair clip with the field remaining intact. Carolina Gomez-Villafañe (Vanderkitten) took a turn leading the field over the finish line on lap four but that would be the last time one of the Cat 4 racers would head the field. ICE Sportswear racers were animated on the following lap before first Lindores and then Felicia Gomez attacked. This did the job of splintering the field leaving Gomez out front as Lindores tussled with Muegge as the chase group.

    “The plan was to wait for 10 minutes just to see what the pack was going to do,” described Gomez. “Actually I really wanted Brittany [Lindores] to win. She went and got chased. I just happened be able to get off by myself. I was hoping that she could get rid of Hanna Muegge and I would have waited for Brit.”

    As Gomez built her lead to over 40 seconds, Linderos and Muegge added a sense of competition to the race. Linderos made a mid-race attack but Muegge stubbornly kept the gap close. The pair eventually came back together again. With her huge lead, it was clear Gomez was in control of the race. Meanwhile, Jane Despas (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing) and Sumar Avila (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing) marked the field behind the chase group.

    “Hanna’s very, very strong,” continued Gomez. “She’s an awesome competitor. I’ve raced against her before.”

    Linderos made another late attempt to drop Muegge but again couldn’t separate herself. Nevertheless, second place came down to a sprint that Linderos was able to secure. Muegge crossed for third. Behind them, Jane Despas finished in fourth place with Jennifer Kalich (Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club) grabbing fifth.

    A Valient Hanna Muegge Takes the Third Step of the Podium

    A Valient Hanna Muegge Takes the Third Step of the Podium


    The larger Men’s Pro/1/2 field took very little time to become animated. With the local California Giant Berry Farms as a sponsor, the race always sees Giant Berry red in the pack. This time it was Benjamin Wolfe and Tobin Ortenblad quickly setting about deciding the outcome. Sam Cerruti did not let the Berries have it all their own way as he bravely put his stamp on the race.

    First it was Wolfe and Ortenblad increasing the pace to spread out the field. It worked and Wolfe and Cerruti made the big attack to stay away. The pair managed leads of 15 seconds and more until Ortenblad bridged up. Then, the gap increased to 25 seconds with Cerruti in an unenviable position amongst the Cal Giant pair.

    The Wolfe, Cerruti, Ortenblad Break

    The Wolfe, Cerruti, Ortenblad Break

    As the three stretched out their lead, the field dominated by iRT-Reactor p/b JL Velo racers saw two of that team’s riders form a chase group. Aaron Patterson and Nathanael Christensen did managed to increase their gap over the field to above 10 seconds but made very little progress on the three leaders. Wolfe, Cerruti, and Ortenblad, meanwhile, were getting closer and closer to catching the field.

    As the race drew down, first Jules Goguely (Rhode Island School of Design) bridged to the iRT-Reactor chasers. The Providence racer was then followed by the rest of the pack as the leaders began to catch glimpses of the field along the long finish straightaway. In what would become the race-decider, over the space of 2 laps, Cerruti flicks out his elbow to Wolfe, Wolfe attacks and catches the field, then the Cal Giant rider proceeds to lead the lapped racers around the course.

    Cerruti and Ortenblad remained on the lead lap though they were not closing the gap to the pack and Wolfe. Spectators near the finish line were hopeful for Cerruti and vocal in their support. However, that very late attack from Ortenblad was made with authority and Cal Giant took the first two steps of the podium.

    Randy Bramblett (iRT-Reactor p/b JL Velo) won the field sprint for fourth ahead of teammate Nathaneal Christensen.

    Wolfe Takes Watsonville

    Wolfe Takes Watsonville

    Complete results available at USA Cycling.

     
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    "Quod nomen mihi est?" Cranking the glass to capture photographs at bicycle races.