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My name is B.J. Hale A.K.A. (Sprintfinish on Cyclingillustrated.com) I am the Co-Founder and one of the voices of Cyclingillustrated.com. I am going to be weighing in from time to time on bike races that I have attended. I feel that Cyclingillustrated.com needs a few “Voices” to ensure a balanced opinion. I will try to give a fair assessment of what happens in the races, as will other voices who will be introducing themselves on our site in the near future. I appreciate your loyalty to our site; the premier news site for Southern California cycling. Our goal is to bring you the most recent and thorough news regarding Southern California cycling.
The first race I want to comment on is the Pro 1 Dana Point Grand Prix Race. In preparation for the race coverage, Danny Munson and I met for dinner the night before to discuss strategy (reporting and photography). Danny, not being local, stayed in hotel so we could both arrive early in order to secure the best images and marketing opportunities for cyclingillustrated.com. Danny carried 3 professional sports cameras and tools, weighing in at 30lbs. for 10 hours. I carried a backpack full of shirts and hats, and over the course of the day we covered 10 miles, promoting cyclingillustrated.com and capturing the races’ in the best way possible. I have read many race reports, and this is my personal take:
In the beginning of the race it was clear that not many competitors, spectators, or the public address announcers were going to give Jelly Belly the respect they deserved. I cannot figure out why, with the likes of Sergio Hernandez, Nic Hamilton and reigning champ Brad Huff. It was clear that United Healthcare was the early favorite. That was all about to change. Many breaks were trying to escape, but it seemed like the riders were not aware of who was riding with them – which of course determines whether or not the break will stick. In this case, there seemed to be a lot of wasted energy. The experienced teams, such as, United Healthcare, CashCall Mortgage and Elbowz Racing seemed to do everything right – by sitting-in and conserving energy for the first quarter of the race. In the middle of the race, Stefano Barbari from CashCall Mortgage escaped the field and had a 30 sec. gap; at first, the field did not seem to recognize his talent. Then United Healthcare decided to start working on the front of the peleton to pull back Stefano and the gap that he held. Within a few laps, United Healthcare, the favorite for the race, seemed to have control. In the end, you could not have asked for anything more from United Healthcare and CashCall Mortgage (being 6 man teams); they each setup the classic trains to bring their sprinters to the line. Then, like a bolt of lightening, Sergio Hernandez from Jelly Belly, brought Brad Huff to the front and it was a two-man sprint with Huff having the advantage against Justin Williams of CashCall Mortgage. Brad Huff won the sprint with a 1/2-wheel advantage, despite Justin’s increasing momentum. United Healthcare took 4th place, and seemed shocked by their opposed talent. Great race overall with a dramatic finish that left me wishing there were a couple more laps.
A question to consider is, will Brad Huff three-peat or will the teams be more prepared?
We will have to wait until next year as the Dana Point Grand Prix continues to bring drama and excitement to Southern California Cycling.