Once again the Sho-air/Sonance Juniors were well represented at three races this weekend (Feb 6-7): Boulevard Road Race on Saturday, and the CSULB Sprint Triathlon and Fiesta Island TT on Sunday. Let’s start with the road race…
Boulevard Road Race – Sat 2/6/10
With conditions more akin to a northern European classics race, Boulevard Road Race east of San Diego offered up a healthy dose of rain, chilly temps in the 39-45 degree range, 15 mph winds, and pockets of thick fog to challenge Saturday’s racers. Despite these menacing conditions five Club Velosport Juniors braved the weather to test themselves on two laps of the 22.5 mile circuit for a total of 45 miles of racing with 3,000 feet of climbing. Juniors Taylor Tongate, Chris Wyman, Kevin McQuaid and Michael Shein raced in the only junior category: M17-18, and Geoffrey Curran signed up for the men’s CAT-4 race.
M17/18 Race – 7AM:
The weather must have kept less intrepid riders away, because the M17-18 race was reduced to a starting field of 9 men. However two of the juniors (one who’d drove all the way from Nevada) would not be at the start line: one due a pending parental waiver for his USA Cycling license, and another locked his keys in his car… along with his wheels, shoes and kit! Talk about disappointment. While nothing is a given Sho-air’s odds of landing a podium spot were looking good at this point, fielding four of seven riders at the start of the junior race.
After a delayed start due to the weather (7:17AM) Team Sho-air worked together in the group of 7 to set a good tempo. During the first lap, one of the Non-Sho-air riders had a mechanical and was dropped from the group of seven but did ultimately finish. Taylor worked hard, but despite his best efforts succumbed to the weather conditions and was dropped out on the first lap. So at the end of lap one, Sho-air was leading the remaining group of five with Michael 30 seconds at the front and Chris and Kevin in the hunt for a podium spot. The group of five rejoined on the descent on the early part of the second lap. At this point the three remaining Sho-air riders hung back and plotted a strategy for the final big climb. Over two hours… and 45 miles of racing later it was Michael Shein in the lead with a 25 second gap between him and 2nd place as he crossed the finish line for his first road-race win. Most notable because Michael had aged-up to compete in the M17-18, making his feat even more impressive. Kevin McQuaid and Chris Wyman also road courageously with 3rd and 5th place finishes respectively. Michael was the first to credit Kevin and Chris with their support and help in his 1st place finish; it was a true team effort. This may have been a small field but consider that most people wouldn’t have gotten out of bed for a training ride in these conditions, let alone compete in a 45 mile suffer-fest. It took the boys over half an hour to thaw out, but they began to feel better once their race results sank in… great job guys.
CAT-4 – 9AM:
With weather conditions similar to the earlier morning contests Geoffrey Curran joined the field of 58 riders in the CAT-4 race. The rain wasn’t too bad for the first lap, but then coming across the finish line for lap two it really started to pour as the winds picked up. On the descents the rain pelted the racer’s faces and stung all over, but everyone was suffering equally so Geoffrey just put his head down and charged on.
Despite the nasty weather Geoffrey was having a good race. After falling off slightly from the main group who were pushing the pace, he chased back with a few other riders and regained contact. However, today was not to be his day, while cresting the top of a roller his chain came off the large chainring - not uncommon when using a small 45-tooth chainring for junior gearing. The chain got tangled around the crank arm and wasn’t coming free. Geoffrey spent some 3 minutes fighting with it, trying to break it loose, at which point a CHP officer pulled alongside and offered Geoffrey a ride back to the finish line. He was just about to accept, but as fate would have it Geoffrey gave the chain one last yank and it came free. At this point he was some 3+ minutes behind the main field so he set a new goal for himself… just finish the race. He rode on, occasionally dismounting, eating, peeling some clothing off, and continuing to ride. In the end a sopping wet Geoffrey crossed the finish line 42nd out of 58 riders; all things considered a very respectable result. After the race Geoffrey remarked that despite the tough weather conditions and mechanical setback, he was glad he’d done it. He had proven to himself that at half the size and with less gearing he could hang with front runners in the CAT4 group under some grueling conditions.
I don’t know about you, but based on the last two recaps I’d say we have the makings of some classics’ hard-men here in our junior squad… look out Tom Boonen.
Fiesta Island Time Trial (20k) – Sun 2/7/10
Kicking off the popular Fiesta Island TT series, Sunday’s season opener down in San Diego offered less than ideal conditions with mud and standing water scattered throughout the course, leftover from the previous day’s rain storm and lingering morning showers. Hoping to spare his equipment some wear and tear and content with the previous day’s road win, Michael Shein elected to sit out this contest and cheer on his Sho-air team mate and TT wattage-cottage Kyle Torres to a good result. It’s no secret but one of Kyle’s goals for the season is to win the TT State Championship (M15-16) and pick up another TT podium at US Nationals as he did a few years ago. Kyle takes just about every opportunity to test himself against the clock and fine tune his aero position on the bike, even when conditions aren’t optimal for a PR. Without his disc and fighting a strong headwind on the back stretch that forced many age-groupers below 17 mph on that section, Kyle handily won his age group with a 25.08 mph average over the 20K course and was also the top junior overall. What more can you say… Kyle dominated! After the race both Michael and Kyle stretched their legs and took a 35 mile spin up the coast to Oceanside before heading home.
CSULB Reverse Sprint Triathlon (R5k/B40k/S400m) – Sun 2/7/10
Further north in Long Beach and with clearing skies, Sho-air Junior’s Chris Wyman and Jason Lupo competed in Cal State Long Beach’s Reverse Sprint Triathlon where athletes first race in a 5k run followed by a 40k bike leg, and lastly a quick 400m swim in an Olympic sized swimming pool. The race is an important early season test because it gives racers a first look at most of their competition for the rest of the year, and a sense of where everyone’s fitness level is at after the off-season. Jason and Chris were both competing in the high school division, with several of the nation’s top junior triathletes also in attendance.
Jason had a good run and came into T1 with a few other top runners and collegiate athletes, and Chris rolled in not far behind. On the bike leg Jason rode strong and moved into 1st; but Chris too rode well and moved up a few spots finishing the bike leg in 2nd place. Waiting for them out of T2 was a 400m swim which Jason and Chris made short work of…they crossed the line 1st and 2nd respectively in their high school division, and 17th and 21st overall, beating out most of the collegiate athletes. This was Jason and Chris’ first race together and I think they both surprised each other with how closely matched they are at each one of the three disciplines. In any event two more podium finishes… great job guys. Also, in case you’re keeping score this is Chris Wyman’s 4th event in the past two weekends… way to go Chris!
Thanks again to all the juniors who competed and proudly represented Club Velosport this weekend, and all the parents who supported their kids at the races.
Contributions from: Geoffrey Curran, Jason Lupo, Teresa Wyman, Jeff Shein, John Torres, and Brian Côté.