Tucson Bicycle Classic

Team Winded took a trip to the Dirty-T for one of the state’s biggest races. Approximately 500 racers competed in the stage race, with Winded registering 14 riders. The majority of our riders did the senior categories; it was the first senior stage race for some of our juniors. Everyone enjoyed a radical weekend, which continually improved.

The short prologue brought pain to many people. Pacing was vital to success, in light of how many riders blew up halfway through the course. Our cat 3s had the best result, placing 10th (Jake), 18th, (Dominic) and 20th (Scotty). Jake and Dominic both went under 9 minutes. Ryan C pedaled into bad luck, ripping off his crank arm. Despite being forced to make a bikeswap, he finished in under 11 minutes… without being able to clip in to his pedals! All things considered, it was a great effort by him. The team was very satisfied with Jake’s placing, and they were motivated to support him. The cat 3s were definitely our highlight from the prologue. In the cat 2s, Josh rode to 27th place, after a shifting malfunction cost him a couple of valuable seconds, and John placed 41st on his road bike. Austin C was our highest finisher in the cat 4s (27th place), followed by Tyler in 50th. Dorian, Braden, and Chris came further down on GC.

Kaden and Austin Swang raced the Jr 15-16 and 17-18 fields, respectively. Kaden began what would be a very successful weekend, taking 5th place. Austin placed 4th in his category. There were only 4 boys in the 17-18s, but they were all very strong riders, the winner being Cat 2-eligible. Austin rode bravely throughout the weekend. He did not quit.

The road race proved to be decisive. Some of our guys ran into trouble. Kaden dropped his chain on the last lap and had to settle for 5th place again. Crosby lost a lot of time due to a nasty fit of nausea. Braden had to get off his bike after severe back pain. Alejandro crashed (he was an innocent party), in what was an unsatisfying weekend for himself. Other riders simply fell off the very difficult pace.

The Cat 2 race was perhaps the most shattered field of the day. Only 13 riders finished in the lead group, which had a huge gap over the rest of the racers. John Ryan pulled off a robust ride to form the selection and finish 13th. His legs seized up in the end, but he was thankful to have made the split. He was now in 12th overall!

The Cat 3 peloton was actually quite unfrazzled A very dense and hectic mass sprint prevailed, with Dominic taking 6th! Jake and Scotty were in the pack, with Ryan losing a bit of time from dodging a crash. The boys had raced well, covering moves for Jake. They came out of it extremely pleased and confident.

The Cat 4 race was brutal for our team, but it was a major improvement. As previously stated, we lost Braden, and our GC guy (Crosby) lost a lot of time, but we found silver linings. Dorian survived until the halfway point of the 60 mile race, while Crosby and Chris lasted until about 18 miles to go. Tyler was our lone survivor in an absolutely decimated. He moved up in GC by 20 spots!

Because TBC doesn’t have a crit, each stage offers drastic changes in the general classification. While Sunday’s circuit race did not change much, it really got the lactic acid pumping. The Cat 4s did a great job. Chris and Dorian lost contact with the peloton, but they kept on fighting and moved up multiple GC spots. Back in the pack, Crosby sprinted to 6th place, with Tyler in 20th! One has to wonder how Crosby would have done without Saturday’s breakdown; he is growing mentally and physically. Tyler isn’t a sprinter. A grinding battle of attrition is what suits him best, and he got just that at TBC. In the end, he was our top Cat 4 rider, in 22nd place. That’s a good result.

Kaden and Swang finished their junior races. Kaden took 4th in the final sprint! Everyone on the team has been noting his progression. Swang spent a lot of time on his own, but he showed tremendous perseverance. His allergies had hit him hard, but he did not dwell on the negatives. He just went out and raced. Alejandro also did not quit, as he suffered in the Cat 5s. Two more races, and he will be a Cat 4.

Nothing much happened in the Cat 3s until 3 laps to go. A 3 man break containing 2 guys close to Jake on GC got off.  To our chagrin, we missed out on it, and that came back to haunt us. Following an attack is a split-second decision, and I don’t think we were aware of the attackers’ GC positions. The breakaway survived, displacing the race leader. Although those 2 riders passed Jake in GC, he actually moved up to 9th! It was a rewarding weekend for Spelman, who has been itching for a big result all year long. 

The Cat 2 circuit race ended our stage race. The pace was fairly easy, as Sabino Cycles controlled the pack. John pulled out an 11th place finish, and Josh took 18th. Both of them were a part of a 20-some rider finishing group. John sealed 12th overall- a super solid result. Josh was pleased after entering his first Cat 2 race and demonstrating competence.

All-in-all, it was a pretty successful weekend. Our riders are riding pretty well and gelling as a team. We’ll see how we perform in the bigger stage race that is San Dimas. Off now to California!