Sunday, August 7, 2011

Brentwood Grand Prix 2011...

Alright then, the 2011 edition of the Raymond Fouquet Brentwood Grand Prix has played out and shown off, and now it is time for a little recap. There was about as much action, about as much suspense, as you could pack into a tight little one mile circuit, with some interesting turn-around configurations at each end, through the downtown area of Brentwood. Hosted by Velo Club La Grange, which is one of the oldest, most storied teams/clubs in the southland, this year's edition of the race also served as the California State Criterium Championships for the Elite level. While Velo Club La Grange is an interesting story on their own, being founded in 1969 by, now 90 year old, Raymond Fouquet, the club's story is well documented elsewhere; suffice it to say that many clubs come onto the scene, and then fade out a few years later, the idea that this one has been able to prosper for more than 40 years says something about their dedication. I believe I heard over the speakers at one point, that the venerable Monsieur Fouquet himself, was at the race. No doubt in a place of honor at the VIP tent next to the start/finish line.

So, what were some of my impressions, what did I see? 

While the racers themselves generate excitement through breaks and sprints, it is left to the spectators to interpret and give meaning to the action. All criteriums should be so fortunate as to be held in a downtown area, an area with a life of its own, capable of drawing in locals from the surrounding city; there were crowds alright, and cowbells, and cheering, so many that I couldn't get any good finishing sprint photos. A worthy tradeoff. 

The expo area was first rate. Honestly, I thought it put the expo at the Tour of California stage 7 in Claremont to shame. It was packed - with spectators and exhibitors. Manufacturers, organizations, nutrition products, cycling club, etc. I found it interesting that no food was being sold. A lot of times you will find non-local food vendors with tents set up at events like this, but not here. If you wanted something to eat, you went to one of the restaurants or other food service businesses lining the course. Whether this was done to placate their fears of lost business or not, I think it worked.

The LACBC, the largest [?] bicycling advocacy organization in the Los Angeles region had a bike corral set up, and it was full. Many local residents rode into the venue (as well as the racers) and had a free, secure place to park their bikes. Yay, I'm a member, maybe you should be as well.

Dorothy, of SoCalCross, and her crew had a neat mini cyclocross course set up at one end of the race venue, complete with most of the obstacles you might expect to see at a cx race. They had some bikes and you could give it a try. Fun stuff.

A crash in the public kids race. In that tight first turn, two riders came together and went down. There was no prize money at stake, just glory and satisfaction, and they got right back up and continued on, giving it their best effort. Our future.

While the racing thoroughbreds may have been the stars of the day, there were some other bikes out there grabbing their own fair share of attention (see photos below).

An angry exchange in the pro race where much more than glory and satisfaction was on the line. Imagine a break is up the road with a sizable gap. Among the racers in that group is Rahsaan Bahati, one of the most potent sprinters in the domestic peloton. It is a strong group and the potential exists that they will stay away. Numerically speaking, one team is represented in the break by superior numbers. Now imagine the break falters and is ultimately absorbed back into the peloton. The accusation is that the one team with numerical superiority did not contribute their fair share. That basically is what the argument seemed to be; a difference of opinion being angrily expressed as they raced by. If racing were just mano-a-mano, and no strategy were involved, would it be as exciting? Probably not.

Fast times. When the Masters 35+ race was well into the heat of its competition, they were setting the fastest lap times of the day. But then the pros came out, and they were taking an additional 30 or more seconds off those already fast lap times. Thirty seconds over a mile; ouch, that is fast.

OOooopps. During the awards ceremony for the professionals. The race winner was given, and put on, the California State Champions jersey. But then someone pointed out that he was from Arizona. So, off came the jersey, which was instead put onto the shoulders of the second place finisher, a Californian. One minute you are a State Champion, the next you are simply the winner of the 2011 Brentwood Grand Prix.

Men Cat. 3 (more)

Master Men 35+ (more)

Not only do locals ride bikes, but they apparently give their
transportation options some serious thought

I watched people walking by this one.
Everyone gave it a long look
(more misc. and public kids races)

Women Cat. 1/2/3 (more)

Men Pro/1/2. Early break, Bahati, Canevari, Gritters, and DeMarchi (more).

The point of contention. Did CashCall contribute enough to the effort,
relative to their numbers? Were they working for their leader, who was
not in this break? Strategy.

Men Pro/1/2 Podium (l to r: Anthony Canevari, Eric Marcotte, David Santos)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...