–SAN DIMAS, CALIFORNIA–
This past weekend, five of our riders competed in the San Dimas Stage Race, a 3-day event located in the suburbs northeast of Los Angeles, California.
STAGE 1: Glendora Mountain Road Time Trial (3.29.19)
Friday was a straightforward affair. The 7km uphill time trial on the lower sections of the famous Glendora Mountain Road would test riders’ raw wattage. Sam would finish 4th by fractions of a second, completing the course in 15:05 and would wear the green points jersey for the next day.
STAGE 2: San Dimas Hospital Road Race (3.30.19)
Saturday’s road race saw the peloton complete 12 laps of a 12.5-kilometer course circling the Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. The protected rider of the day was Quinten Kirby, as the course’s undulating profile and flat sprint suited him well.
An early break of four–including a rider from Elevate-KHS, Legion of Los Angeles, Hewdog Racing, and Gateway Development Cycling–got up the road early and would amass a gap of 1:15 within the the first half of the race. But with the leader’s team represented in the break and no other teams having the numerical advantage to chase, an effort to bring back the break never formed. WGPC would get to the front and make the race hard to try and force a chase move to go up the road and close the gap, which by the time the peloton had 4 laps to go, had ballooned to almost 3 minutes.
The break was gone at that point, however, and the goal became to shepherd Quinten as much as possible so he could sprint for the podium. The finish of this race is a notably chaotic one, as the final climb up Heckler’s hill comes about 4km from the finish line, with a slight downhill on the final run-in. It’s long enough out that riders who would normally be popped off are motivated to dig deep knowing there is time to recover and sit in a draft before the finish.
Going into the last lap, Ulises Castillo of Elevate-KHS was still off the front, while Cory Williams of Legion, Connor Schunk of Gateway Devo, and Alex Amiri of Hewdog racing had all been dropped and caught. Schunk’s teammate, Sean Gardner, threw in an attack out of the peloton and would gain quick time up the road from the peloton.
Quinten was able to float through the pack and navigate it perfectly on the final stretches and was able to take the bunch sprint to round out the podium in third. Castillo would take the yellow leader’s jersey, but Sean Quinn, who was placed in front of Sam going into the stage, lost time in the road race, allowing Sam to maintain his 4th place in the GC.
STAGE 3: DOWNTOWN CRITERIUM
Going into the final stage, Sam was sitting only 1 second behind 3rd place. With two time bonuses available with 60 minutes to go and 30 minutes to go, the team had opportunities to move up. The plan going into the stage was to sprint for the first time bonus to bump Sam up a GC position, and then devote the rest of the stage to positioning and sheltering Quinten.
A confusion in the first sprint, however, would derail the plans slightly. Organizers rung the bell 5 minutes earlier than the listed time for the bonus sprint, and Sam, thinking it was just a prime lap, did not sprint.
The team had to resort to the second time bonus as their only option to move Sam up. Leading into the bell lap for the bonus seconds, Sam was wildly out of position, with a break of about 10 about 5 seconds up the road going into the first turn. Sam would dig and bridge to the move, where Camden was sitting in. Camden would guide Sam through the neighborhood turns, where Quinten would drill it to link up with the team and complete the lead out going into the downhill before the final turn. Sam took the sprint, gaining 3 seconds in doing so and leap-frogging to a podium spot in the GC.
The rest of the race would be a game of zipping up the pack whenever a move went up the road in order to set up Quinten for a field sprint. However, a late move of four escaped with 10 laps to go, notably containing 2nd place-GC rider, James Piccoli of Elevate-KHS. He would attack his breakaway companions with 5 laps to go, whom the pack would swallow up.
In the final lap, Camden and Sam tried to stretch the field out, so Quinten could have a safer ride to the sprint. Both would pop off as the Elevate-KHS leadout train took over. Quinten was tailing the line, but a split-second hesitation in the final turn, forced him to take an outside line that pushed him into the barriers and stalled his sprint.
– – –
Overall, it was a successful weekend for Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling. The team came away with a stage podium, a GC podium, and the Best Young Rider’s Jersey.