2015 Icebreaker Grand Prix: Sprinting in the Rain
Icebreaker Grand Prix? Maybe we should have gone with Rain Maker Grand Prix for this years' road season kick off race. It was grey, it was gloomy, it was wet. The rain was little more than a heavy mist for the earliest races, a typical Irish soft day, but conditions worsened progressively, becoming more storm-like for the end of the Junior Men 17-18, the Masters 50+, and the Category 4s. Umbrellas were sprouting like mushrooms, and while the rain never became torrential enough to wash people away, standing room under the scattering of easy-ups became prime real estate. Attrition took a heavy toll before some races even began. Consider the Masters 55+ race where only eight of twenty-two pre-registered riders toed the line. Consider the Masters 50+ race where only nineteen of forty-five pre-registered racers toed the line. What's with those guys between 50 and 60 anyway? The over-60s didn't have an aversion to the morning wet, the Junior fields were healthy, and the Cat 4 race was a fair size. Well, for those who did forsake the warm house and strong cup of morning coffee, they found themselves with a better than normal chance as a result.
Breaks developed in a couple of the morning races. In the 55+ race the trio of Marvin Hall, Greg Hayes, and Joseph Gonzalez went off almost from the very first lap. Though a fourth rider unsuccessfully attempted to bridge up to the three, the break drummed on even as the fall of rain increased, becoming heaviest just in time for the sprint finish where Hall, windbreaker flapping in the windy wake, outsprinted Hayes for a wet win.
In the Junior Men 17-18 another trio broke away, though their move came later in the race. The early part of that race was the typical cat and mouse game; various attacks were attempted, but each was brought back. Finally, three Lux-Specialized riders (Bo Knickman, Brandon McNulty, Adam Alvarez) moved away and built a comfortable lead which lasted to the end. The remaining Lux riders back in the bunch prowled around the front in order to shut down any moves by other teams or riders. Their efforts paid off with, not just the top three, but fourth place as well.
Juniors 10-12 (I think, but am not quite sure)
Women Pro 1-3: 1st Colleen Gulick (Riptide Cycling), 2nd Shelby Reynolds (Southern California Velo), 3rd Amelia Tanner (JET Cycling)
Junior Men 17-18: 1st Bo Knickman (Lux-Specialized), 2nd Brandon McNulty (Lux-Specialized), 3rd Adam Alvarez (Lux-Specialized)
Masters 50+: 1st Marvin Hall (SOS Foundation/Trek), 2nd Greg Hayes, 3rd Joseph Gonzalez (SSI Velo Masters)
Even though days like this can create some dramatic conditions, they are not ideal for photos. Everything is this monochromatic graphite tone, color washed out by the lack of light, and so I switched the camera over to a monochrome setting to match, and left it there all morning. The photo link to the Flickr album (a selection of 99 photos) is a click away.
Speaking of the photos, you are welcome to download what you see here or in the Flickr album. You can also send me an email address and I will send a full size file, just feel free to give me some recognition as the photographer. There is no charge. But. Yes, there is always a but - when you have some time check out the racing annual (Seasons in the Sun) I publish at the end of each year, it is full of photos and stuff from each of the races I made it out to. After that if you like what you saw, order a copy. You can preview the book by clicking the link in the right hand column of this blog. I also always carry copies with me at the races, so you can check out the actual book in person.