Heavy Winds & Fierce Throws: The 2013 Dare To Race Grand Prix...

The wind was bad enough late in the morning through the early afternoon, they were even worse in the morning, prompting Ralph Elliot to dub this race the Dare to Race Grand Prix, Cyclone Edition.

Rigoberto Meza (Coates Cycling) throws his bike for a prime during the Pro/1/2/3 race

I will start off with the last race of the day, the Pro/1/2/3. While the winds, earlier in the day, continually rocked me back on my heels, ripped flags from their posts, and had little kids tumbling across the street, by the time the pros took off there was barely enough to push a feather around. That means the racers did not have that massive tailwind driving them down the finish straight, and it is quite possible that they were not the fastest race of the day. It also meant that the race was tighter; the wind played havoc with the earlier races, but during the pros not a single break attempt was able to gain much ground.

The powerful, and numerically superior, MRI team who had been active at the front for the entire race, powered it up and took charge with two laps to go. At the end, the finish sprint was neck and neck between two riders, with Dion Smith of Full Circle Cycling initially declared the victor. A quick check and conference among the officials decided that Orlando Garibay (MRI U23 Team) just nipped Smith at the line to claim the top step of the podium. Anthony Canevari (SoCalCycling.com) took 3rd just behind the front two.

Daniel Clifford (Full Circle Cycling p/b Pure Gear) in the midst of the fray

Chris DeMarchi drives at the head of the MRI train with two laps to go

the sprint for 1st was tight between Garibay and Smith; the sprint for 3rd was just as tight - just look at those wheels!

I don't think there is any question that the wind impacted the middle races (as well as the early ones, though I wasn't there to see them) - the 45+, 35+ and Cat 3's all had significant, and successful breaks. As usual the 35+ race was one of the more exciting of the day - a four rider break formed early in the race, built  a 40 second gap, lost about 20 of those seconds by late in the race, but continued working and pulled away again. The question for the 35+'s was, what to do about Charon Smith who has been on a tear so far this year? The break was the answer - neutralize him by taking him out of the sprint. Now, what to do about Smith's teammates, one of whom, at the end, proved fastest of the four; John Wike (Surf City Cyclery) took the honors ahead of Kayle Leo Grande (MRI Endurance Elite Masters), Patrick Caro (Full Circle Cycle) and Robert Kamppila (Surf City Cyclery). The team is deep - take away one, another steps up.

yet another bike throw, this one in the masters 45+ race

SC Velo in their new kit were out in force in the 30+ 4/5 race

fist pumping win for Derryl Halpern (MetalMtn Cycling) in the 40+ 1-4 race

Cat 3's around the final turn

break in the 35+ 1-4 race

centerline, shadows, and first chase group in the 35+ 1-4 race

John Wike takes the 35+ win

Cat 4/5's rounding the first turn

Sixty-one of the better photos can be seen by clicking here.