Dana Point Grand Prix
by Ivan Dominguez
Racing in Dana Point this weekend for me was really possible due to MRI Endurance. I had barely joined the team a few days before the race, but this was a really great way to start back in the field. Everyone was very excited and I wanted to support and contribute in every way I could from the start.
The race, at 50 minutes long, was very different than what I was used to racing. The peloton and dynamics of the peloton are different from pro-level. This was my first race with the masters. There was a lot of anticipation in the air that made the race very exciting to compete in and for the public to watch.
Dana Point Grand Prix: THE RACE
by Charon Smith (Surf City Cyclery)
Sunday, we raced the granddaddy of them all for SoCal. Many consider this the race of the year if you are a local of California. USA Cycling has rated it as the top one-day criterium in America because of the number of riders it attracts, along with the course and the crowds that turn out. The 35+ race had a lot of hype around it for many reasons, but, let’s all be honest, it was because we had a superstar coming out of retirement, Ivan Dominguez aka “The Cuban Missile”.
The race had great build up around it and I am certain everyone had it on his mind for the whole week leading up to it, going through over and over, ‘how can I win DPGP or set one of my teammates up?’
I felt very calm the whole week and I was feeling good, especially since the SCC/Sterling BMW boys and I had just come off a win the week prior. I did not change my approach and kept telling myself, ‘it is bike racing. Just race your bike no matter who lines up and the best guy on that day will win. Period.’ I spoke to my mom on Friday, telling her the rival team, whom she refers to as “that green team,” had signed this really good guy who has won just about every big race against some of the top guys in the world. Her response was, “Can they do that?” I said, “Yes.” On Saturday, she asked, “When is your race? I am coming and let me know what time you are leaving on Sunday. I need to come and pray over your legs.” [Read more…]
Dana Point Grand Prix (Men 35+)
by Tommy Robles”Rock N Road Cyclery”
Thank you for asking me to give a race report on the DPGP. I normally shy away from giving write ups because they sound like self-promotion, or airing out excuses. To me this is simple: it’s amateur bike racing. We are not curing cancer or solving world hunger. We are just riding our bikes fast. It’s an absolute privilege to do this, not a necessity. I’m grateful to be able to do this and I will never take it for granted.
First, I want to thank my team. My team is not in the form of a bunch of riders dressed like me. It’s people who support and believe in me. I’m a solo rider that has the awesome support from Matt Ford and the men and women at “Rock N Road Cyclery”, Andrew Backhaus of Alto Lab USA, my beautiful wife Susan, my 4-year-old daughter Ruby, and my mother- and father in-law.
Dana Point Grand Prix
by Suzanne Sonye (Helen’s)
I LOVE doing this race! The city is awesome. The course is awesome. The spectators are awesome. The competition is always awesome. Our field size may not be as large as the masters races or the other categories, but our racing is just as exciting in my opinion and I felt we tried to put on a great race. The unfortunate fact about Dana Point Grand Prix for women is the that you have Tour of Gila and Speed Week going on at the same time. I believe that if these conflicts were not there this race would be HUGE for women because the atmosphere is so awesome! [Read more…]
Spy Giant wins Dana Point GP 45+
By Aron Gadhia
Not just an old man winning an old men’s race.
Dana Point Grand Prix is the biggest crieirium of the year for us here in SoCal. On a good day, I dread racing crits. On a day like this, I am not only dreading it but have had a night of obsessing about as well as visualizing every possible scenario, with most of them being negative.
But I do love to race, and this will be my first race back since having a new baby girl 7 weeks ago.
The team and I have one plan: get me safely out of the last turn in 2nd or 3rd wheel and let me sprint to a win. Johnny Walsh, Alan Flores, John Nist, Taylor Fenstermacher, Jim Pappe, and our fearless team captain John Hatchitt are all professional riders with lots of experience and confidence. They are the best guys, synergistically speaking, that I’ve ever raced with, so I feel not only lucky, but also determined to live up to their expectations. Johnny Walsh says, “You got this,” and he’s always a person who tells me what he thinks and never sugar coats it. Still, I have doubts.
At the start line, Roger Worthington calls up to the front the many multiple world and national champions in our field. Right after that, the heavens open with the first and only rain all day, making the last turn on the first lap very slippery. I take the turn wide so I can ride thru the apex straight. My rear wheel slides, but I manage to keep the bike upright. A bunch of guys behind me, contenders like Thurlow Rogers (BFC) and Bert Glennon (BFC), aren’t so lucky and a loud crash takes them out with Thurlow suffering a broken collarbone.
Lots of moves driving up the road and sketchy fast turns are all part of crit racing, and Dana Point does not let the spectators down. It is fast and furious.
I have raced 35+ for years and been lucky enough to win a race or two in that field. I can say that the speed might be half- to 1 mile per hour faster there, but the 45+ guys, the sprinters that is, have decades of experience to call on. This makes it a very tough race, particularly in the last lap, which is usually very physical. This particular race had riders like Mark Scott (Surf City), Craig miller (BBC), Michael McMann (Team Velocity), and Armin Ramin (Time) who are famous for riding aggressively and would all be threats in the finale.
In the final few laps Mark Noble (Time), Johnny Walsh, and Alan Flores (Spy Giant) all make their moves, keeping it fast. The rest of Spy Giant; Jim, John Nist, Taylor, and John Hatchitt go to the front and bring back moves without our team in them. The final lap is complete mayhem, with guys yelling and chopping and bumping. I drive up the final rise into turn 3 and 4, staying in 3rd position by floating up and trying to beat the inevitable waves of riders that come around the front in the end of a race if the pace isn’t fast enough. The pace is clearly fast, but I don’t want to take any chances.
Into the last turn, 2 riders crank into the lead. I am 3rd wheel, but have to bump and work to stay there. In the past I might have given up the fight, but from experience I know that giving it up will mean losing the race.
There is a gap between me and 1st and 2nd wheel coming out of the final turn, so I jump hard knowing it is my only chance. A hole on the outside next to the barriers stays open for me and with my legs burning; I sprint past Craig Miller (BBI-SIC) and Steve Strickler (BFC) to win by a solid margin.
The best part of the day is meeting up with the team afterwards. They all executed the plan perfectly. I am once again so grateful to them, as well as to Michael Marx from Spy, Brent Garrigus from Ride Bike shop, Giant Bikes, and Bont shoes!
Dana Point Grand Prix (Pro Race)
by Shane Kline ( Team Smart Stop p/b Mountain Khakis)
We had a rough time traveling here, with cancelled flights and 4AM wakeup calls, but we made it, and boy are we glad we did!
Coming into today we had a fair bit of pressure on our shoulders, with Smart Stop Self Storage headquarters only a few miles away in Ladera Ranch. Fortunately, the boys were up for the challenge.
Knowing this race normally ends in a bunch sprint, my teammates put their faith in me and sacrificed there chances to win by just shutting everything down and keeping me protected all day. Our leadout suffered a bit due to the guys having to race so hard, but they were still able to place me in good position coming into one lap to go! From there I just had to finish the job. Coming into the last turn I was about 5th or 6th wheel. Since it’s a bit of a downhill before the last kick to the line, I actually backed off the slightest bit to carry all the speed from the downhill and just put my head down and had a good old-fashioned drag race to the line!
It was huge to come out on top in front of the sponsors. The boys rode too well to let them down! I’m just glad I could be the one to take the team’s first NCC win of the year.