2014 UCLA Juniper Hills Road Race


Quite a day out in the high desert. If allowed to say so, I think it was probably as nice a day as you could expect. As the name of the race suggests, the Juniper Hills RR is UCLAs hosted race on the collegiate calendar, but also offers USA Cycling category races as well - Cat 5 through Pro, and Masters. The race takes place around an almost 12.5 mile loop with an elevation gain of 1500 feet per lap. Depending on the category racers do between two and six laps. Unless you are off the back, there is no place to rest, because you are either going slowly up, or quickly down. For photos I staked out a spot on the Juniper Hills Road just shy of its summit, which is also the high point on the course.

While sitting up there I started to write down random thoughts, observations:

"Wind is sometimes sighing, sometimes roaring, always moving, never calm. A flag at a house across the road tells the tale - headwind, at least for this final push to the top. I can see the far turn back down the road from here, and a painful slog from that point it looks to be, especially during those moments when the wind rises to a roar."

"Not a lot of conversation at the top, most riders are more concerned with conserving their precious breath. Some riders, though, ask where they can find the photos. Clear (CLR) Effect, I yell."

"Big gaps between racers now - only a handful on the road back to the far turn. Ones and pairs only for the past few minutes. Survival mode. I must say, I like this spot on the road for photos; there is a little rise, before a slight leveling off where I am - a helmet appears, then shoulders, sometimes rocking with the effort. Next legs pumping - fast, slow, everyone has a different cadence. The climb is not a great equalizer. I quickly separates riders."

"A rag tag group of women just came by - last lap I thought they were the lead group, but nope. What was a cohesive unit twelve and a half miles ago is now destroyed, everyone on their own. Wind is picking up now; the roar is much more fierce, become a howl, and much more frequent. That flag over there is straining to break loose from its tether."

"Only one rider in sight down the road now, a lonely place to be. Cranks are turning ever so slowly. As he gets closer there is a break in the wind and I can hear his breathing - heavy and fast as he tops the rise. The Lantern Rouge, but at this point he will finish, so Chapeau!"

"Was hoping the lady Gaucho would come past one more time, I would have given her a rousing cheer - Ole, Go Gauchos. But apparently she is done for the day."

"Waiting. That second wave of races obviously done by now. Pro/1/2, Collegiate 'A', Cat 3s, Masters 35+ and Masters 45+  will be starting soon."

"The road below me undulates like some long inchworm doing a slow crawl across a table top, although there is no flatness here at the base of the mountains; you are either heading up or down."

"I decided to time the groups from that turn down there to where I am near the summit - what is it a half mile, three quarters at the longest? Pros clocked about 3:55, collegiate 'A's made it in about 4:20, Cat 3s in 4:28."

Pro field has just came by on their second lap and the wind is actually a bit more calm right now, and has even changed direction - lucky them. Ooops, reverse that now - it can't make up its mind what it wants to do. Swirling. The wind can be such a tease at times. It lets up a little, gives you some hope, and then smashes down on you, destroying any resolve you may have had left."




Women's Pro/1/2/3 race charges to the summit


here is someone who understands the unwritten agreement - acknowledge my presence with a smile, a wave, flash a peace sign, or a one-fingered salute, you get your photo on the front page. guaranteed.

lead bunch of the Pro/1/2 race, second lap

first chase group, second lap, Pro/1/2 race

Seth Britton, Cat 3 race



Go Gauchos. UCSB well represented in the lead group, Collegiate 'A's

top of the hill, approximately right here, is roughly three miles from the start. in that distance this cat 3 rider (sorry don't have the name, yet) built up that much lead. a lap later, the gap was even greater.


how the race looks three laps in. destruction. singles, pairs, small groups spread all the way back down the road.

Click for the Flickr photo set - 142 pics. Keep in mind I took another 500 that did not make the set, so there are likely to be photos of everyone from the second and third waves of races. I will check if you let  me know.

Comments

  1. Do you happen to have any from the CAT 4/5 race? Great action pics. Looking for more from the Rock Sports Racing Team if possible!! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes Jason, there are a couple more from that late morning group of races. Not sure if they are Cat 4,
    Cat 5, or 35+ 4/5. Pretty sure all the decent shots from the afternoon races with Rock Sports racers in them made the Flickr set. You can get my email from my profile at the top - just send me a note and I will get a copy of any that didn't make the set to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Just sent you an email!! Appreciate the response back

      Delete
  3. I'm wondering if you have any of USC racers in the collegiate B's. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately the 'B' race was done by the time I arrived.

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