By Roger Worthington, Prez, The DPCCF, Inc
Wake up, time to race.
Yes, the Dana Point Grand Prix Presented by Amgen Breakaway from Cancer is more than a race, what with the burgers, beers, beach, Breakaway from Cancer walk and action-packed kids races.
But, in the end, it comes down to The Race. Who will make The Move? Who will steal The Show? Who will do The Work? Who will ignite The Crowd? Who will mount The Podie? Who will wear The Jersey? And who will add their name to the DPGP Gallery of Big Guns?
I’m not going to plug the race anymore. If you don’t know by now, you’ve been living in an ice cave in Antarctica and it doesn’t matter. Instead, I’m going to handicap the major categories. If this won’t fire you up, stay home.
Men’s Pro Race: Brad Huff of Jelly Belly returns as the Defending Champ. He will be challenged by former NRC Champion Karl Menzies, and his teammate, Hilton Clarke, the current NCC points leader. Also, former DPGP winners Rashaan Bahati, Sterling Magnell, and Karl Bordine will give it a go. Luke Keough, Heath Blackgrove, Sergio Hernandez and hometown Heart Throb Devon Dunn will make the early moves, but in the end, there can only be one, and that super hero is.
Hilton Clarke. This little fire plug just keeps getting smarter and faster. Plus, Clarke loves the South County. He won the very first race Russ and I promoted in San Clemente back in 2006. Man’s got a nose for big bank, big crowds and big-time glory.
Men’s 35+ : This “masters” race will be every bit as exciting as the Pro Race. Remember, Chris Horner is a 40 year old “master” and he’s a contender for the Tour De France. Tons of national champions will line up: Jamie Paolinetti, Chris DeMarchi, Kayle LeoGrande, and Randall Coxworthy.
But one guy, without teammates, will do what 12 big dogs on Monster Media haven’t been able to all year, and that is beat Surf City Cyclery’s Sharon Smith, the biggest and baddest of them all. Who will beat The Beast? Answer: Michael “MJ” Johnson, of Breakaway from Cancer. Trust me.
Men’s 45+: Another who’s who in US crit racing. This throw down will feature current national champion Richard Meeker, of Breakaway from Cancer, and former national champions John Walsh, Bill Harris, and Even Teske. Lately, the once unbeatable Mr. Meeker has been chasing the back of BBI/Shroeder Iron’s Craig Miller, whose supported by a cast of die hards who will throw down for their closer. But BfC’s got a few thoroughbreds in it’s stable, too. The winner? Richard Meeker.
Men’s 50+: My buddy Jimbo, a PHD in biomechanics, has pretty much proven that fast twitch muscle fiber is impervious to the ravages of time. Older means “as fast” or maybe even faster, with the proper motivation. And there will be plenty of mo-jo in this barn burner. Defending National Champion Bubba Melcher will grace our streets, where he will butt heads with former national champions Thurlow “All World” Rogers, Steve Stickler, and Mark Hoffenberg. Meeker will likely race with the “old guys,” too. If he does, and it comes down to a sprint, there’s your winner. But it won’t come down to a sprint. Rogers will break away mid-race with a lucky ducky or two, beat them into submission, and take the victory. This will turn out to be a warm up for the ageless warrior, who will do the heavy lifting in the 45+ and 35+ plus races later in the day.
I can safely predict that each of the other races will be equally fast, furious and full of ups, downs and all-arounds. It’s also worth mentioning that Paolinetti, who produced the hard core bike race movies “Pro” and “The Hard Road,” will have his film crew on hand to record the sights and sounds of the DPGP for a reality show called “Race Day.” Hollywood Dreamers, this is your casting call.
Last prediction: you will cry like a baby if and when the fields fill up and you are turned away by our lovely registration table swimsuit models. Get to Dana Point early and stay all day. This will be a Day for The Books. Cheers!
Prez, The DPCCF, Inc