Santa Cruz Classic Criterium

March 20, 2016

This race never gets old but it’s also never the same as the previous year.  Usually held on the same weekend as the uber popular Sea Otter Classic, the race this year saw much higher participation thanks to the new early season race date.  The clouds were gathering, dark but dry, as the womens race drew closer.  As the 21 ladies took to the line, many expressed their gratitude that the weather was holding off for now.  The hard, fast laps started immediately after the whistle and the women strung out as the first hairpin corner rattled with cyclists trying to remember the best line from prior races.  Various mikes bikes riders went for attacks during the short race, with the last being 5 laps to go.  As the much smaller field crested the hill and caught Sam’s attack, the field saw 4 to go.  That 4th lap was angsty, and quiet like the calm before a storm.  As we passed 3 to go, Amy caught Liz’s attention.  After her upgrade post-Chico, no one in the field knew our secret weapon yet.  Amy told Liz, go after the descent.  Liz took GO to heart and took off like a bat out of hell.  Everyone looked around nervously.  Was that a crazy go or a real go? The pace ramped up, and up, and finally with half a lap to go, everyone was going all out.  Liz’s attack had stayed away and was slowly coming back, but not before the line.  With a last ditch effort up the kicker, JLVelo tried to bridge the gap but it was too little too late.  Liz took home her third win of the Norcal season and Sam and Amy rolled in with huge grins on their faces.  A huge shout out to the organizers of this race who make sure, year after year, that the women have parity with the men when it comes time for pay out at the SC Classic Crit.  It might seem like a small race in a small town, but the impacts of the serious purse prize are noticeable and appreciated.