Pro 1/2 race of the 805 Criterium Weekend Avenue of Flags started out with temperatures reaching up to a 102 degrees and the wind picking up as the afternoon went on. Just before the race started riders were looking for any spot of shade they could keep cool in before the start of the race.
The course was on a somewhat technical, slightly undulating .75 mile course with riders from some of the top U.S. Pro teams and top amateur teams lining up. With this awesome and challenging course, a large purse on the line and solid riders lining up along with the heat and wind this had all the makings for epic Crit.
This is exactly what happened! The race started out fast and was bound to break up and within the first 5 to 10 minutes in the race the field started to fracture. Several riders went up the road to make breaks that looked good but for them only to be caught and then reshuffle to form new breaks within the first 1/2 hr of the race. With about 45 minutes into the race, three riders including, Michael Weicht (CashCall Mortgage), Chris Barton (CashCall Mortgage) and Brandon Gritters (Rokform/Rock n Road), pulled away from the large break which swelled up to 18 riders at one point. This group started to split that into small chase groups that would soon cave into the sweltering heat and wind and tactics that started to really take it toll on all the riders that had made early efforts. The three riders that had escaped the break managed to lap the field and each had teammates in the field so they could keep the pace high from any chase groups from getting to close. As the race neared the final laps you would see the 3 riders teams that had lapped the field come to the front and start positioning there riders for the finishing sprint.
As they came out of the last corner you would see mostly CashCall on the front leading it out hard for Michael Weicht to take the win and the field sprint, with Jesse Anthony (Optum) and Brandon Gritters rounding it the top 3. Now, that was an exciting race to watch!
In the Women’s 1-3 race, Joy McCulloch (CashCall Mortgage) broke away and soloed to victory ahead of the field which hovered at 10 – 15 seconds back. Alexis Ryan (NOW and Novartis for MS) won the field sprint for second, followed by Suzanne Sonye (Team Helens) for third.
805 Criterium Weekend Avenue of Flags p/b Buellton Winners
Cat 4 Christopher Rea. ( UCSB Cycling)
Cat 5 Kirk Nordgren
Women 3-4 Vikki Appel Southbay Wheelmen
Masters 35+ 3/4 Bill Kesselring (Rock Solid Cycling)
Masters 35+ Phil Tintsman (MRI Endurane Elite Masters)
Cat 40 4-5 Robert MacPherson (South Bay Wheelmen)
Masters 45 + Alan Flores (SPy Giant RIDE)
Masters 55+ Mark Hoffenberg Rokform / Rock N’ Road
Masters 60+ Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery / JW Floors
Women 1-3 Joy McCulloch (CashCall Mortgage)
Cat 1-2 Michael Weicht (CashCall Mortgage)
Report by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com