Racers take their Game to a Hot Lodi Cyclefest
Downtown Lodi – 15 July 2012
Another hot day of racing in Northern California as the 2012 NCNCA Bikereg.com Premier Series saw excellent racing at the Lodi Cyclefest presented by Michael David Winery. Kevin Klein’s win for Master 45+ 1-2-3 may have been the cooler race, with an 8:50am start, but still saw a tremendous effort by the HDR racer. The Master 35+ 1-2-3 category saw a new winner in Alex Holtz (Morgan Stanley/Specialized) whilst both Mary Elizabeth Maroon (Folsom Bikes/Mercedes Benz) and Rand Miller (California Giant/Specialized) capped their two-wins weekend with victories at the Downtown Lodi Criterium.
Kevin Klein lead for about three-quarters of the Master 45+ race on a solo breakaway, taking it all the way to the finish line. “I wanted at some point to get out away from the field,” commented Klein, “I just saw an opportunity and I took it, hoping that somebody would come across, but nobody did. I pegged my effort after halfway through and [establishing] a 25-30 second gap. I could hold it at that but, no, I definitely did not want to go that early; it was a hard effort.” Klein said he was concerned about staying out so long, “I could see them chasing but at eight-to-go I knew if they got close I could lift the pace. They were attacking one another which was slowing them down.”
Marty Cunningham took second place with Nabil Samaan finishing in third. Max Mack (Health is Wealth) came home in fourth as Jeff Poulsen (Safeway) managed to secure fifth place. At the fifteenth event of the season, Klein’s win extends his lead in the Premier Series to 64 points over Cale Reeder (Echelon/Charity of Choice) with Dirk Himley (Echelon/Charity of Choice) a further eight points adrift.
Although the last of the day, the Master 35+ race did not have much respite from the heat. It was a well contested event coming down to a sprint taken by Alex Holtz. “The beginning of the race was mellow. I started off toward the back and waited for it to get fast, which took about two laps,” described Holtz, “I knew it was going to be long because it was hot out there. I moved my way up and tried to stay up front and go with the dangerous moves. I thought [a couple of moves] were going to be solid and stay away but they were always reeled back. I’m not sure who was chasing because most of the breaks we were in seemed to be represented by some of the top guys.”
Holtz credited his team, “My team mates were great. Chris Baker was at the front covering things. Chris Espy…was up there near the end trying to get me across. John Fairbanks also covered some moves.” Holtz continued, “I went from a long way out. I was hoping Andres [Gil] would give me a little help but he knows that I have a good sprint on me.” Andres Gil did secure second place and some of the spoils for his team and event sponsor Michael David Winery. Lange Twins Winery presented by Great Basin Imaging took the next two places with David Albrecht in third and Jeffrey Galland in fourth. Fifth place went to Chris Baker.
The Women’s P-1-2-3 race saw some early breaks but settled into the field racing the course with different leaders at the front; there was no getting away in the heat of the afternoon. A late break by Ruste Sasser and Amanda Seigle (Metromint Cycling) looked dangerous, and they managed to stretch out a 10-second lead, but Emily Thurston (Touchstone Climbing) headed the chase to reel them in, along with some help from Emily Kachorek (Primal/Map My Ride).
In the field sprint, Mary Elizabeth Maroon, racing without team mates, was able to get past Mary Ellen Ash (Steven’s Bikes p/b Pactimo) on the final stretch. Kachorek took third place whilst fourth and fifth went to Marissa Axell (Touchstone Climbing) and Thurston, respectively. “I tried to hide in some other leadouts,” said Maroon, “I just got really lucky to be able to power through the last [stretch]. There are definitely some really strong girls out there today.”
The Man’s P-1-2 race always looked to come down to a sprint between Rand Miller and Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro-Strava). The pair contested the win in the previous Premier Series event and both worked hard throughout the race. Hutcheson, as usual, was often toward the front of the race whilst Miller, after making some early noise, was animated in the chase groups. There was a significant break of nine to ten racers in the latter half of the race that included some top racers not to mention Jared Kessler; the Folsom Bike’s racer tore up Cat 5 fields earlier in the year and impressed many by being the last to drop off Miller and Hutcheson.
As the race wound down, Miller and Hutcheson continued to work hard, eventually catching and lapping the trailing edge of the race. “I did the same thing 2 weeks ago,” said Miller, “I jumped early to sprint and tried to take it from a ‘K’ out. Last time, he [Hutcheson] came around and beat me by half a bike length. I tried a similar tactic this time and I had a little bit more because I had been more reserved throughout the race.” Miller’s margin of victory was two bike lengths. Kessler finished a distant but respectable third. Fourth place went to Adam Switters (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO/Battley Harley-Davidson) with David Grundman (Michael David Winery Cycling Team/Delta Velo) taking fifth.