Nevada City Classic
Nevada City Classic – 17 June 2012
The 52nd Annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic was a hot, sweltering affair. The high temperature was in the nineties and a welcome spot on the course was the feed zone and its supply of cold water. It was a well-attended event, nevertheless, and spectators were treated to excellent racing throughout the day.
Chris Phipps (IronDataThirstyBearCycling.com) won in the Master 35+ race ahead of Kyle Dixon (Velo Reno p/b Tamarack Junction) in second and Andres Gil (Michael David Winery Cycling Team) in third. Jason Walker (Team Specialized Racing Masters) beat out Jason Grefrath (Lange Twins Winery p/b Great Basin Imaging) for fourth place. “[This was] probably one of the hardest races I’ve ever done,” commented Phipps, “For only a 50-minute race it was extremely hard the whole way. Even though you’ve got a little bit of a rest on the descent, it’s just so hard and hot each time up the hill. I am very excited about [winning]. I’ve never won this race before; I’ve been second once and third twice so I’m really happy to finally win one.” Following his two wins from the time trials, Phipps has nearly eroded Gil’s lead in the standings for the Premier Series. After the Mt. Hamilton Road Race at the end of May, Gil had 96 points to 45 for Phipps. Now the gap is down to three although Gil still maintains a lead on 108 points.
Dirk Himley (Echelon/Charity of Choice) was the winner in the Master 45+ category. This impressive win for the animated racer followed wins in two categories the day before under even hotter temperatures. Robert Pasco (SAFEWAY/GA PRC Group/Bicycles Plus) finished second just behind Himley with Kevin Klein (HDR Racing p/b Lombardi Sports) crossing the finish line in third. Fourth place went to Marty Cunningham while Dan Shore (Fun Sport Bikes Cycling Team) took the fifth position. Shore was another racer that raced in the heat the day before. Klein’s second place finish brings him within 6 points of the series leader, Cale Reeder (Echelon Gran Fondo/Charity of Choice), while Himley jumps from 11th to third overall.
Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Flavia Oliveira (Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team) were part of an early break of twelve racers in the Women Pro-1-2-3-4 race; with attrition, they contested the race to the end until the two-racer sprint decided the win by a very narrow margin. Nash was victorious for her third Nevada City Classic win in as many years. Oliveira stuck close to Nash’s attacks on the final lap and took second in the tough race. Commenting on the conditions, Nash said, “You try not to think about the heat. We were super lucky to have people handing out cold water on the top and even having a little shower with cold water. So I rode through it, just cooled off a few times and that was awesome.” Amy Thornquist (Steven’s Bikes p/b Pactimo) finished in third with Elle Anderson (Touchstone Climbing) racing to a fourth place finish. Devon Gorry (NOW and Novartis for MS) held on for fifth.
The race for Men Pro-1-2 was the last on the day. Even though temperatures were starting to drop and a small cooling breeze picked up, there was still heavy attrition. A couple of early breaks tried to get away but the race came down to one by Nate English (Kenda/5 Hour Energy) joined by Stephen Leece (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized). The pair built their lead beyond 2 minutes with five laps remaining. Leece jumped on the wheel of team mate Chris Stastny as the two-racer break caught up to a trailing group. This helped Leece maintain his speed and pull around for the fast downhill sprint, Leece taking the win ahead of English. Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Strava) took third place and with it a valuable 12 points for his Premier Series campaign. James Oram (Bontrager-Livestrong) was fourth with Kirk Carlsen (Full Circle Cycling powered by Pure Gear) coming home in fifth place.