San Dimas Stage Race - 2012
This past weekend me and my family hosted Team Specialized Racing for the San Dimas Stage Race at
Casa Castellano. The team arrived Thursday night and left Sunday
after the Crit. Most of the team stayed at a hotel in Upland near my
house due to the fact that there would be no room for 12 Juniors in one
house. So our house was instead better suited as a place to have team
dinners and meeting. It was a lot of fun having all the teammates
together once again.
first stage was the GMR TT on Friday. It would be my first real test of
the season on how my climbing legs really are, especially riding on a
new team issue Specialized Allez and team Zipp 202s. At the end of the day, I
clocked in the 3.80 mile climb at 16:10, good enough for 17th place and a
new PR in the Cat 3 field of 100. Teammate Diego turned in an
impressive time of 15:35, sitting in pretty at 4th place. Right off the
bat me, Jon, and Jason knew we would be protecting our GC leader for the weekend
and we would be gladly playing the role of domestiques. After the TT we
all headed back to my house for our first team dinner of the weekend.
The Lansing Family (Diego's parents) took charge of that nights
delicious and nutritious Italian meal while all the other parents were
there to help out with whatever cooking they can do. That dinner was the
perfect meal to have before the next day's epic circuit road race. It was also a good time to wind down with the team.
next day was the Stage 2 circuit road race around Bonelli Park. We had
brutal conditions with rain, wind, and chilling temperatures all day.
The last wave (Cat 2, 3, and Pro1) of races probably had the worst of
that days weather. This was the perfect day to put the new Zipp 101s and
Tangent tubular clinchers to the test. I'm happy to report that they
performed flawlessly and were the right choice of wheel for that day.
started in a light drizzle and eventually raced the majority of our race in a
downpour. We had 8 laps (56 miles) of racing. The first 5 laps were steady and
controlled even though the weather still put our bodies through the test
of will and determination. Our team stayed together near the front safe
and out of danger. The front was by far the safest place to be. With 3 laps
to go, the weather finally hit everybody. The rain came down extremely
hard (with some hail), winds at about 25 mph, temps at mid to high 40s, and
rising oils on the road causing riders to have some nasty spills if they
weren't cautious enough. I doubled up my gloves and that still wasn't enough
to keep my hands from freezing. That made it hard to eat, drink,
shift, and brake. The temps were so cold my legs were not functioning as
I would have liked them to. I sucked it up and kept going. A solo rider
had broken off the field and opened up a 3 minute gap. During his time
out front, the field was neutralized due to the Pro field passing. As we
were neutralized, Diego came beside me and Jon telling us to chase
after we were done neutralized. We did just that with very little
help from the field with 2 laps to go and gave it our all with the
we kept chasing to minimize the time gap, we crested the second to last
climb, Diego was on my wheel while I was at the front pushing the pace.
I pushed the pace as hard as I could and eventually caused a split in
the field with about 20 guys in the front group containing me and Diego.
We made it back around to the final climb of the race and my body
finally told me I had done all I could for the day. That effort kept
Diego that lead group and ended up with a solid finish. I came in
exhausted just behind the main group. Jon made the time cut and was able
to start the help us out the next day. Immediately after finishing, we
jumped in the team van, shivering and wanting to warm up. It was nice to
get home to a delicious Mexican meal waiting for us and the rest of the
last and final stage was the Old Town San Dimas Grand Prix. Our plan
was to go for a stage win and help Diego move up a couple of spots in
GC. All race we were attacking, being attentive of other riders, and
staying at the front. Each time one of us attacked or someone else
attacked, the whole peloton would chase, especially the team holdin the
yellow jersey. With 2 laps to go it looked like it was going to finish
in a field sprint. Me and Jon stayed at the front keeping Diego safe and
in good position. With one lap to go, Diego maintained position up at
the front as me and Jon lost position with a big swarm of riders. Diego
ended up coming out of the corner 2nd and sprinted away for 2nd place.
He was one second off of being 5th in GC for an overall podium which was
a bummer but still an amazing job by him and the team for finishing
high up in GC.
weekend turned out to be a good race for Team Specialized and a great
weekend of teamwork with a GC win by Jack Maddux in the 15-16 and
Marcus Smith winning the 17-18 Circuit Race. A special thank you to
Billy Innes for building up this beauty of a bike. It performed solidly.
Thanks to Smith Optics for providing eye wear and a clear lense for the
brutal rain conditions! Thank you to my parents for hosting Team
Specialized and the NCCF for all the support. Also, a special thanks to
Team Director (and coach) Larry Nolan for his time in helping me and the team prepare
for this important race.
Until next time, Thanks for reading.
Nicholas (Nick) Castellano