The first race of the Rosena Ranch Circuit Race series was a who’s who of regional teams as several teams had full squads lined up to take on the tough circuit. The course was a two mile circuit that was a mile out and a mile back for 25 laps, which came out to 50 miles of which I’m glad I was spectating.
This demanding course and a strong showing of the regional teams was going to make for a good test for some of the harder races coming up this season and would show who was on form.
Lining up on the start line were teams from Cylance-Cannondale, KHS-Maxxis, SoCalCycling.com, Centric, TRU and a host of other strong teams and riders ready to throw down!
The race started with close to 80 riders. Right away, the race started out with a break trying to force the pace with KHS launching guys up the road and the breaks never stopped coming. It seemed like every break that went up the road would get absorbed for the first part of the race. Then mid way a large group got up the road, but it seemed disorganized. Eventually with the high speeds and too many riders in the group there was a crash that took out several riders that would end their day and for some unfortunately maybe their season.
It seemed like it took several laps for the injured riders, ambulance and fire truck to get cleared from the course, however the race went on. The riders in the break lost their momentum and once again it came back together.
Attacks would continue for the remainder of the race and they would continually get absorbed back in the peloton. However, with the race closing down the last several laps there was an attack with three riders including Centric, KHS and Cylance-Cannnondale. With only half of the field only remaining due to attrition, mechanicals and crashes, the trio would gain up to 35 seconds very quickly as they worked well to gain a good margin. It would be up to the SoCalCycling.com Team and the other teams that missed out on the move to come forward to help close down the gap. It was becoming crunch time and any bridge attempts would have to be made if they wanted to catch the trio without taking the field along with them. So, that’s exactly what happened as the trio started to lose steam and lost ground from a hard chase from the SoCalCycling.com Team. The gap got within striking distance to jump across with two riders from Team Illuminate and from Team Specialized Racing. So, now the lead group had more horse power so the gap started to grow again. This left the SoCalCycling.com Team out of the lead group that was starting to roll away and gain time on the pack and it looked like it would just be the five riders sprinting to the line. However, the hero move of the day came from SoCalCycling.com’s Inno Zavyalov (The Russian Rocket) with a solo move to bridge across to the break of five riders, with Inno’s good early season form and his superb time trialing skills. Once he caught the break, he proceeded to go straight past them to keep them on their toes.
Once everyone regained there composure in the break, the bell lap would be in play and the riders were marking each other. As they come around the last bend it looked like Inno Zavyalov had pulled ahead to try and hold off the sprinters in the break, however Diego Sandoval was able to close the gap to Inno and just recover enough to sprint ahead of Zavyalov for his first well deserved win of the year. Inno almost had a second kick to the line, and came close but was able to hold off the remaining riders for second. Patrik Ericsson (Centric) rounded out the podium for third place.
In the women’s race, Joy McCulloch (KHS-Maxxis) soloed to victory, with Jenny Rios (Monster Media) in second and Megan Jastrab (Swami’s Junior Development) in third.
Photos © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com
Report by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com