2015 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage Three: Fast at the Finish

Like a good book, SDSR always seems to pick up speed and momentum as the weekend progresses toward its ultimate conclusion. Like a good book, there is a sense of satisfaction, when the last page is flipped, the back cover finally closed. You got your money's worth. The best thing about it is that there was more than one story arc to follow - up to twelve individual races each day, each with their own competitions for the role of main character, or to fill one of the slots of chief protagonist in the story. From a spectating standpoint the flow of the overall story does not get any better than that - twelve chances each day, that the plot will take an unexpected turn at any minute for any number of reasons. Suspense is a compelling characteristic, one that can build over time, keep a reader coming back for more. Take the Masters 40+ race as an example; coming into the third and final stage, Velo Pasadena's Rudy Napolitano held a forty-nine second advantage over his nearest rival, Phil Tinstman of Spy Giant Ride. There is almost no way to gain fifty second in a criterium, so the overall champion was pretty much a given. Napolitano could very wall have simply sat in the bunch, and claimed his victory jersey at the end of the day. Instead he went on the attack with Monster Media Racing's Michael Johnson and, what was it, two maybe three laps to go. The pair built a healthy lead, sacrificing any chance should they be caught by the bunch, they put everything into staying away. 

Monster Media had a large group in the race to hamper the efforts of the chasers but even more numerous was the group of racers from Surf City, and with the one and only Charon Smith in their ranks (announced as the worlds fastest Masters category sprinter) you just knew there would be a massive chase. Once around on the penultimate lap, the duo still maintained their lead, though everyone was in full flight now. Two turns into the final lap the gap was even more tenuous. The Yellow Jersey going for a double victory. But could he. Could he out-sprint Johnson, could he hold off Smith and his cohorts. Around the final turn comes Napolitano and Johnson. They are going to do it. But wait, here come the chasers. It is oh so close. Charging to the line it is Napolitano out kicking Johnson for the win, and the chasers nipping at their back wheels. 

It was one race in twelve, and each of the others playing out to similar scenarios, with different players. 

That's experience. Another perfect flying wedge formation from the Masters 50+/55+ racers.

SDSR has continued to grow in significance. While the bulk of racers, especially in the "lower" categories are mostly drawn from the local peloton, others were drawn from across the US, including Oregon, Texas, and even New York. Meanwhile the international flavor on tap shows how significant the race is at its spot on the racing calendar - racers and teams came in from Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, even the Caribbean Champion was here (I cannot confirm, but am pretty sure I heard the names of some European nations as well).

With 212 photos, the Flickr album for stage 3 is finally complete. It includes a selection from the Cat 4, Women Cat 4, Women Cat 3, Masters 50+ / 55+, Masters 35+ / 40+, Cat 3, Cat 2, Women Pro/1/2/3, and Men Pro/1 races.

The photos are not a complete catalog, but are representative of all the others taken during the day, so if you don't see what, or who, you were looking for in the album, let me know with a race number and I will see what I can find. If you see a photo you like, feel free to download it (credit where credit due, of course). You can also contact me via email and I will gladly send a full size jpeg file of the image.

Want more? Go ahead and order your own copy of the CLR Effect racing annual. There are two editions available right now (2013 and 2014), and you can preview them by clicking the 2014 Seasons in the Sun Book Preview button near the top of the right hand column, or under the title banner at the top of the page.