The 2014 Ontario Series Grand Prix

Remembrances of last year's frigid conditions during the season opening Ontario Series Grand Prix, may have been on someone's mind when they dubbed today's race the "Icebreaker Criterium", however conditions were far different, and much more pleasant, than they were at this time last year. I missed out on the first few races of the day, so while I didn't get the full slate of competition it was still good to be back out in the whir and the wind - those two sensations, along with the flash of color, are mostly what you get when the bunch passes within a foot or two of where you stand taking photos. 

the Surf City Cyclery dominated break during the Masters 35+ race

If it turned out to be a nice day, yet one more in a long string of nice days, it was an even better one for a certain Mr. Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling), who put the Masters 45+ and 50+ groups on notice by winning both those races. This outcome has become quite a habit for Miller who pulled the same stunt on more than one occasion last year at this very same venue. 

"Ride Hard for Phil" - before the start of the Masters 30+ 4/5 race Ralph reminded everyone of the passing of Phil Richards, a veteran of the Southern California racing scene. Richards lost his life the previous morning as a result of injuries sustained in a collision, back in December, when he was hit by a driver who then fled the scene.

Surf City Cyclery unveiled their bright, shiny new kit. In fact several teams were proudly displaying new looks. It took a moment to adjust the eyes and brain, and thus distinguish just who was who based on what everyone was wearing. I noticed several riders who had switched teams during the off-season, and with some of the big-name teams still absent this early in the year, it is quite likely there will be even more new looks to be sorted out in the coming weeks.

In the 35+ race, the one in which between one-third and one-half the field wore the highly visible yellow of Surf City, the outcome seemed to be pre-determined. Sure enough, it did not take long for a group of five racers to ride clear, four of them representing Surf City. Back in the field there just wasn't enough fire power to overcome the remaining Surf City riders who occupied their time by controlling the back part of the race. Lo, the lone Cal Pools rider in the break, Ruben Meza, though hopelessly outnumbered and taking a little flak from all those yellow jerseys, just rode his race. No more, no less. Ralph Elliot, was putting his money on Meza, and bolstering the hopes of the crowd at the same time, but the Surf City riders were not about to let it come down to a sprint, and with three laps to go one rider bolted free and clear. That rider was Ben Travis, who soloed to the finish. Behind him Kayle LeoGrande, with war whoops and hand signs confirming his teammates' victory, won the four-up sprint for second.

The lead built by The Five grew rapidly, and no amount of wishful thinking by those riders left behind could change that, or the outcome. This does not mean there was no racing to be done back there. Prizes went six deep, so there was one spot still to be filled. With five laps remaining Charon Smith (Surf City) decided to go for that spot. Ultimately, another three riders from the bunch made their way up the road to Smith; none of those three had the legs to match up though in the resulting sprint for the final placing.

Ben Travis (Surf City Cyclery) victorious in the Masters 35+ race

Masters 45+ race

Masters 45+ race

Craig Miller (BBI-SIC), victorious in the Masters 45+ race

Masters 40+ 

signals - was it "I have two teammates up in the break" or something else? Masters 40+

Category 3's

Cat 3 action

Masters 40+

A few results:
Masters 45+: 1st Craig Miller (BBI-SIC Cycling), 2nd Thomas Robles (Team Velosport Club), 3rd Bart Clifford (MRI Endurance Elite Masters)

Masters 50+: 1st Craig Miller, 2nd Andrew King (South Bay Wheelmen), 3rd Frank Schroeder (BBI-SIC Cycling)

Women, Cat 3/4: 1st Amy Firth (South Bay Wheelmen), 2nd Angel Castillo (South Bay Wheelmen), 3rd Riley Ngnyan (unattached)

Women, Cat 1-3: 1st Amy Benner (B4T9 Women's Cycling Team), 2nd Holly Breck (SC Velo/Incycle), 3rd Angelica Frayre (Calimax p/b Pista Palace)

Category 4: 1st Ronnie Toth (Cast a Shadow/Temecula Farmers), 2nd David Miller (Twin Six), 3rd John Lenell (unattached)

Masters 30+ Cat 4/5: 1st Bryan Wierzchucki (SC Velo), 2nd David Miller (Twin Six), 3rd Mike Miranda (unattached)

Masters 40+ Cat 1-4: 1st Brent Garrigus (SPY Giant Ride), 2nd Bill Harris (BBI-SIC Cycling), 3rd James Start (CA Pools/Primal)

Category 3: 1st Jonathan McKenzie (South Bay Wheelmen), 2nd Scott Cohen (LUX Pro Development), 3rd Jose Reyes (SC Velo)

A selection of eighty-seven of the better photos from the Masters 45+ (1-3), Masters 30+ (4/5), Masters 40+ (1-4), Cat 3, Masters 35+ (1-3), and Cat 4/5 races are in this flickr set.