I want to congratulate everyone for a very fun, exciting and rewarding weekend. Despite very early mornings, we had great attendance for a rare weekend of road racing; Saturday’s epic Race Against Time time trial event and Sunday’s new criterium- La Clasica San Manuel. Seeing the El Grupo vans caravan to a bike race was a welcome return and coach Ignacio and I are extremely proud of everyone’s efforts.
The Race Against Time event is a serious time trial. The picturesque course is predominantly downhill at the start before turning along the San Pedro river valley, where athletes would double back at the Pima County Line. Climbing back to San Manuel provides all athletes with challenging terrain and proper pacing strategies come into play.
This was the very first race for many Team El Grupo members, but even the more experienced athletes would be challenged by not only the tough course but the rising heat. Here is a look at the results;
Sunday’s new criterium around San Manuel High School did not disappoint. Joey Iuliano and his UofA cycling team can be really proud of their efforts to bring a good, safe and fun course to competitors. A pentagram shape with some elevation gain through the start finish up to turn two meant no picnic for typical crit riders. Turn 3, 4 and 5 were thrilling high speed affairs to test bike handling skills.
We had big numerical advantage in the junior boys race, but with very capable opponents toeing the line, we’d have to have a solid plan to get the results we wanted. I was extremely impressed with how accepting and how well all team members executed their assigned roles. Yes, we’d sweep the podium but it took the entire team and their willingness to sacrifice to ensure of our success.
Our junior girls would compete against older competition to create a larger field of athletes and I was really proud to see how hard our young women raced. I was even more proud that all the athletes were unanimous to stay and cheer for all the junior boys that would double up to race the 3-4 race later in the afternoon instead of returning home.
The boys would not disappoint and with the addition of Grupito Coach Max Bevier we’d compete against the adults with aplomb. Max and Thomas in particular were instrumental in helping to slow the field so that Axel up in the break could stretch out a winning margin. Once that margin was relatively safe, Axel would drop his breakmate for a fine solo win.
Myles would jump up yet another category to the 1-2 race and place a very credible 4th place. His impressive time Saturday leaves no doubt Myles is one of the very best juniors in the country and it’s exciting to see how his future racing unfolds. Race results to follow
Can you believe it’s now only two weeks before the first NICA race? We are really looking forward to this important race series. With the race season imminent we’ll remind everyone that practices will happen rain or shine.
Here’s our practice schedule for the next couple of weeks;