Chuck Pontius Omnium: Castillo Wins Road Race & Overall – By Cory Lockwood

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

The Chuck Pontius Omnium is a very challenging race weekend. The event was comprised of two days of racing and some of the toughest competition in SoCal. The courses are not to be taken lightly, with the first day being one of the toughest road races on the calendar. Weighing at 85 miles and 8,000 feet of vertical ascent, the Castaic Lake Road Race is a tough one. To add extra toppings of difficulty, the course is known for its harsh winds and high heat conditions, making for a very brutal day in the saddle.

Day two is the Chuck Pontius Memorial Criterium, which may look easy on paper because it is only 60 minutes compared to the monstrous road race the day before. But make no mistake, it is equally as challenging. The course is a simple sweeping 4 corner design, where the challenge lies in the high pace and tough competition. Being that the race is an omnium and scored by points, not time, means that there are no time cuts and riders are free to race one or both stages as they feel it suits them.

Day One: Castaic Lake Road Race. The race was promised to be a tough one with the temperature already at 70 degrees at 9:30am. The pace was going to be high as well, with members of the SoCal Cycling Team, Cyclance Cycling, and our KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo squad and more, staged at the line. After our brief team meeting, we rolled out at 9:30am sharp for 3 laps on the challenging course.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

There was no warm up in the race, it was just straight down to business. The first lap saw huge attrition in numbers with the pace on the course being very hard, forcing wattage numbers and efforts to be driven sky high. After constant attacks and counter attacks, a two man break was able to roll up the road. As the break became established, the pace settled for a brief time before another volley of attacks and attempted moves began, which ultimately separated the field even more.

Every team suffered losses from the aggressive pace. By the time the second lap was completed, the field that began with 40+ riders was down to a group of 10 with the two man break at 1:30 up the road. My teammate Ulises Castillo made dozens of attacks on the last lap that whittled the field down even more. The time gap to the break eventually was brought down, and the group collected the two men at the turn-around on lap 3. This marked a whole new set of attacks and counter attack moves instigated by SoCal Cycling, Stefano Barberi and Ulises and me in an attempt to take control of the race.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

The final inbound climb to the finish was to be the final selection for the sprint finish 10k up the road. Needles to say, the pace was brutal and the pack that came over the top afterwards was even smaller. The last 5k was full of attacks that boiled down to a final sprint to the finish where my teammate Ulises was able to take the victory and I sprinted to 4th on the day.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

Day Two: The Chuck Ponditus Memorial Criterium and the 2nd day of the omnium event. The 60 minute event was a very tough race with a whole new crop of fresh riders that opted to not race the road race on Sunday. With the attendance of different riders in the mix, the race would be full-on from the opening lap.

There was attack after attack, where members of every team found themselves in a break and then were reshufflded again for another group. It wasn’t until half way through the race that one break of two men stuck. The gap started to grow, and then another group of 4 riders rolled up the road with two of our KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo riders, Fabrizio and Ulises, attempting to bridge. The race stayed in this configuration for the remainder of the closing laps and ended in 3 separate groups of sprints.

Ultimately, Ulises finished in the top five on the day, placing him on the top of the podium again, winning the Overall at the Chuck Pontius Omnium for the 2nd year in a row!

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, Infinit Nutrition, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Big Wheel Coaching, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

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