Stage 1: Highland Circuit Race
This year is the second running of the Highland Stage for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Last year, we did not know what to predict, and so we chose to race a little bit more conservatively. This year, with an idea of how the race would play out from 2014, we decided to be aggressive from the start.
We chose to have several of our riders race for the breakaways, while keeping Fabrizio Von Nacher and Ulises Castillo protected and fresh for the finish. I was tasked with trying to take early KOM points at the top of the climb and to also try and infiltrate the day’s breakaways. The pace was extremely difficult on the climb that featured a 15% grade that lasted around 2 minutes. At the end, a breakaway was not meant to be despite our efforts putting racers into several potentially good moves. With 5 laps to go, it was evident it was going to be a good day for Fabrizio and the sprinters.
Chris Barton and Fabrizio rode well to stay at the front, and position themselves for the sprint. In the chaos of the final assault up the climb, Ulises was able to stay with the front group to take a chance at a GC position. He was able to finish just 3 seconds off the leaders time.
Stage 3: Yucaipa – Oak Glen Stage
As a 10 year resident of the City of Yucaipa, it is nothing short of a privilege to have the opportunity to race on roads that I commute and train on weekly. Although the amount of climbing in the stage made it difficult for everyone but the purest of climbers, I was very excited and motivated to ride hard.
The race was very aggressive for the first two laps (14 miles each with 1,200ft of climbing) as KOM and Sprint points were on offer for those respective jersey’s. After the Sprint on the second lap, it appeared that a breakaway could roll. I began attacking with other riders going into the descent. We established a five rider move as we hit the short climb between the two descents. Very quickly, the five of us worked together cohesively to build a gap on the peloton.
However, my time in the breakaway was short lived. I sped through a downhill off camber turn just a bit too fast and I crashed hard into the dirt on the lefthand side of the road. Luckily, my KHS bicycle is very sturdy and I was able to remount with a quick wheel change from team director Paul Abrahams and mechanic Gary Rennie.
I began my chase back through the caravan and towards the peloton as I was coming up on the feedzone. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the crash, the damage was done to my legs and I was not able to regain contact with the field.
I found myself with Dave Santos who was suffering the affects of a sever respiratory infection. The race referee told us we were too far down time wise on the leaders and we could not continue the race. After getting my wounds dressed by the race doctor, we were excited to see new teammate Efran Flores coming through in a breakaway heading up the final climb up Oak Glen, doing an incredible ride.
Dave and I were able to climb up Oak Glen, one of my favorite climbs, together and we both wished we felt better and that the luck of the day had been in our favor. But it was great to be able to be at the finish to cheer on our teammates. Both Dave and I are looking forward to having another chance to race this iconic Redlands stage.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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