Lodi Cyclefest Criterium
As the 12th of the Premiere Series for the NCNCA, the Lodi Cyclefest Criterium takes place south of Sacramento and Elk Grove in the downtown area of a city known for its wineries. Set up as a figure 8 course with a long stretch to the archway and the finish line several feet behind it, the road had good pavement and the most of the turns were wide enough to ensure the safety of the riders. While the course may not have been extremely technical, an observed high of 105F would present the challenge of staying hydrated for many, as several riders in the later afternoon races had to pull out prematurely. In addition to the VIP tent with food and beer available, many teams and sponsors set up tents alongside the barriers past the finish line with plenty of hydration to make sure everyone had enough liquids. Personality Micheal Hernandez of Hellyer Velodrome kept the races entertaining with his wit and charm for both the athletes and spectators alike throughout the day. He also would be presenting the podiums as the day progressed, which involved the winners standing on wine barrels, fitting for the region’s influenced by the area’s neighboring wineries.
In the men’s 45+ 1/2/3 race, there were initial breaks from Michael David Winery and Leopard-Sapporo Cycling. Those breaks were caught, and the solo break that would make the race would be from Primetime Cycling Team’s Kevin Klein 15 minutes into the race. Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s tried several times to send people up the road to bridge to the break, but without success as their solo efforts were not joined by others, with Dirk Himley (Hammer Nutrition) staying at or near the front of the peloton for the entire race. Klein’s gap was sizeable from the start, and he rode solo straight into first place on the podium.
The 35+ 1/2/3 race had several strong teams contending, including Primetime Cycling and Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s. Primetime Cycling worked early on to get a break going or would do their best to be in the break if there was one. Andres Gil (Michael David Winery) would also be very active in the initial laps to be in the break. The big name that stood out within the crowd, though, was Michael Sayers of Team Specialized. Bridging up to the break with Gil and Scotti Fonseca (Primetime Cycling), the break would grow to include Sayers and representation from the other teams. Sayers would then go off the front of the break and soloed on his own, with a chasing grouppo compacto spearheaded mainly by Primetime Cycling. The Team Specialized rider would remain off the front for the remainder of the race in what would have been a guaranteed win if it weren’t for a flat/mechanical on the second to last lap. This left the podium’s top spot wide open, and the race concluded with a sprint finish with Alex Holtz (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s), Dean Laberge (Primetime Cycling), and Judd Van Sickle (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s) taking the top 3 spots.
For the women’s P/1/2/3, big names Mary Maroon (Steven’s Bicycles) and Beth Newell (NOW/Novartis) were present, in addition to the spotlight teams Pinnacle p/b Argon 18 as well as Folsom Bike/Cervelo. In the first few laps it was Maroon (Steven’s Bicycles Racing) and Danielle Haulman (Folsom Bike/Cervelo) taking turns as they maintained a solid gap over the field led by Amy Thornquist, Sara Clafferty, and the rest of the Pinnacle contingent. However as the race progressed Maroon would be on her own, and then finally caught by the pack. Afterwards, a second break began to form, consisting of Clafferty, Martina Patella (unattached), Amy Chandos (Folsom Bike/Cervelo), Kim Fong (Cycles FANATIC), and Jennie Phillips (Contra Costa Cycling Club/Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team). As the lap cards went by, though, it would whittle down to Clafferty, Chandos, and Patella. In the final sprint to the finish, Patella would take the top spot on the podium, followed by Clafferty and Chandos.
Finally, the men’s P/1/2 race was dominantly controlled by Mike’s Bike’s p/b Incase. With the numbers and power, there was at least one member of the team in any break. Marc-Pro/Strava was also present, as the only other team with the horsepower to match. Through multiple attacks, breakaways, and bridges splintering off involving Mike’s Bike’s team mates Adam Switters, Shawn Rosenthal, Roman Kilun, Travis Lyons, Eric Riggs, and newly joined Brandon Trafton battling against Marc-Pro/Strava’s Chuck Hutcheson, Nate Freed, and Chris Harland-Dunaway. Towards the second half there were three distinct groups: a break consisting of Hutcheson, Kilun, Josh Carling (Bicycles Plus/Sierra), and Trafton followed by a bridging group with Max Jenkins (Kenda/5 Hour Energy), Jared Kessler (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s), Harland-Dunaway, Riggs, Rosenthal, Trafton, and Carling. When the lap counter read 0, though, the final stretch saw Roman Kilun crossing the finish line first, followed by Hutcheson and finally Trafton.