Racing the 2023 Redlands Bicycle Classic – By Caeden Aveling, Team

This spring was my first time doing the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Growing up locally, I’d always heard about the race, but I hadn’t really ever thought about doing it. Until recently, I actually had planned to do it in 2022. But unfortunately, I was not able to. But this year, thanks to the Team, I was able to have the opportunity and Frank Sarate, the team manager, put together a great squad and the Team had a good showing there.

Growing up locally, I’d ridden the roads that the Redlands Classic courses goes on and the races start on  hundreds of times. So I was pretty excited to see how I would do.

Connecting With Young Cycling Fans

Before the race started we had the opportunity to do a local school presentation that was just on the first corner of the Highland Circuit Race. I found that to be fun working with the local kids and would totally do that again.

@socalcyclingteam Team (@socalcyclingteam ♬ original sound – socalcyclingteam – Team

Stage One – Highland Circuit Race 

Stage One was an undulating circuit race around Highland. I was pretty excited but also very nervous because for my first actual pro race I felt great in the bunch. The team was running well. I had a mechanical unfortunately pretty close to the start. So I lost some time, but I’ve managed to make it 15 laps before getting pulled and given a prorated time, which kept me in the time cut easily. The team rode very well. We got fourth on the stage with Conn McDunphy. I was happy to help out a little bit there.

Conn managed to get the KOM Jersey which we’re very excited about as the team rode great for that. Conn finish fourth on the stage almost winning with a late attack just before the hill but hit a bump on the road to have his saddle go downward heading into the last hill which made it hard for Conn to maintain his pace heading into the hill. 

Stage Two -Yucaipa Road Race

Stage Two was the Oak Glen stage. This is the stage I was looking forward to by far the most because I used to live on the other side of Oak Glen. I’ve ridden both sides lots of times. And I was also very excited to see how we could defend the climbers jersey because of calling out the counters yesterday.

The day started off of kind of cold and gloomy. I was not expecting it to be that cold, but the team rode well. We unfortunately lost a couple riders due to the large crash on the corner just before the long fast descent. But for the most part, the four of us that were left in the race stayed together and we’re pretty close to the front, and we did our best to keep calm in a good position leading up to the climb to keep Conn in a good position heading into the final Oak Glen climb.

I came very close to cracking on the last lap but I managed to pull the legs together and have a decent ride up Oak Glen itself and had some decent power there on the final climb.

The atmosphere was great up there and the fog was quite nice and very thick holding back the team caravan cars. I was not expecting that. I really enjoyed that part of the stage. I had no expectations results wise but I managed to roll in for 67th which with a field that large we had 190 starters this year, I was pretty happy about my result and that led me to being pretty excited about the next day which was the time trial.

Stage Three – Route 66 Time Trial

It was quite windy out there and I had some trouble with the bike getting UCI legal before the start, so I had to change my position to get the bike fitted properly. So unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the ride I wanted to, but I still was happy as it was pretty solid performance out there with getting like 73rd. I believe it was quite windy and the team unfortunately we lost a rider due to the UCI being pretty strict about their bike being legally for the time trial with the UCI regulations.  Conn had a solid ride to finish 25th, so that was a pretty good ride from him as well.

Stage Four – Redlands Criterium

This leads us into the criterium which was the next day. I was also pretty excited about this stage. I feel like the flat criterium like this with so many corners suits me pretty well. Especially with the way those corners are like I had a great time ripping through them and dive bombing everyone. But I was definitely pretty nervous on the lead up to it. It was very hot out there and we sat on the start line for at least 35 minutes before we actually were being able to go out on course but it was a good time out there. I was sitting mid pack for most of the race I tried to move up to get to Conn to help him out a bit but unfortunately did not have the legs on the day but still rolled in for mid pack. I think I was 73rd or something like 71st I believe, so pretty good day I would say. The crowd made it a great atmosphere which was great. And I really enjoyed this stage in particular. Conn also had a great ride. He was near the front and got a couple of primes. He was playing around with the other top teams lead out trains so was happy to see the Team representation up in the front with the other top teams mixing it up.

Stage Five – Sunset Road Race

I was very excited with the last stage in particular at Sunset. I believe this kind of course really suits me. I was very nervous at the start. I lined up early and I was in a position of second row. Unfortunately, I missed my pedal and then the guy in front of me also missed his pedal and I’m not really quite sure what happened but unfortunately I got crashed into and I was on the ground and had an untimely mechanical which took a little too long to fix. So immediately I was on the back foot of the race and little off the back and then quite off the back actually. Thankfully I had another guy (the guy that went be down with me originally) to work with so we we did our best to pull down as many people as we could. We both made the time cut. It was also a great atmosphere out there. I love seeing so many people cheering. It was a very technical course but I’ve said that this course suits my strengths. Also great riding by the Team and Conn did quite well out there. Even with the crashing and mechanical issues it was still a great ride with the Team and Conn did great finishing all 12 laps. Also you had my other teammates did quite good well as well. I think he made it eighth and I managed to make timecard so we had a good ride in the Team GC there. Yeah, it was it was a great ride by the team.

The Team had a solid performance and had solid showing out there we were at the front representing the Team jersey. Thanks to all the sponsorship of the Team and Redlands Bicycle Classic that make racing like this possible locally and internationally. This was a great race to prepare for the Tour of Gila, the next big stage race in New Mexico.

Report by Caeden Aveling ( Team)

Photos by Christy Nicholson,

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