Rider Emerson Oronte gives the rundown on the Tour de Murrieta.
Jelly Belly presented by Kenda turned its attention last weekend to a few domestic races as a means of getting some racing in the legs before the first NRC event on the calendar—the Redlands Bicycle Classic. In southern California, a six-man squad contested the Tour de Murrieta while Brad Huff and Luis Lemus raced circles around downtown Tucson, Ariz., in the Old Pueblo Grand Prix. In the end, Brad finished ninth in Tuscon, while Christiaan Kriek and Sean Mazich went 1-2 overall in California.
Racing kicked off Friday in Murrieta with a 4.1 mile-time trial that finished on a 1-mile dirt climb. Despite everything said about “sunny” southern California, we were pretty bummed to wake up and see wet pavement and rain clouds on the horizon. By the time we got on the course, the skies had opened up and we all were sufficiently soaked. Regardless of the elements though, the team went out and put on a good performance—placing three riders in the top five and six in the top 12. Being a points race, this put us in great position heading into the next day’s criterium.
With Saturday’s criterium, our goal was pretty simple (at least on paper):
stack the breakaway and win—thereby securing as many points for as many riders as possible. Once racing started, it took only a hair over 10 minutes for this tactic to come to fruition withme, Christiaan, and Sean getting away with three other riders.
Our gap never reached much more than 25 seconds, so we had to work pretty consistently to stay away. With five laps to go, tactics came into play and guys started attacking to try and get away. With one to go, I put in a bit of a dig to make the other three guys work while Sean and Chris sat on. Despite being caught with around half a lap to go, Christiaan and Sean were still able to seal the deal by finishing first and second on the stage — making Christiaan the overall leader as well.
Sunday’s final stage consisted of 16 laps of a rolling 3.5-mile loop. Even with the leader’s jersey, we still planned to race with the intention of putting as many guys into a winning move as possible. However, with the success of the previous day’s break, I think a lot of the other riders had the same plan in mind as racing was aggressive pretty consistently throughout the day. In the end, only in the last five miles a move containing Sean and one other rider broke clear and stayed away. When all was said and done, Sean took second on the day while back in the pack Christiaan and Ricardo Van der Velde finished in fifth and sixth respectively. With their results, Chris and Sean triumphed as first and second overall in the race. And with four riders in the top 10 overall, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda took home the team prize.
All-in-all, I would say it was a successful weekend for the bean team—good racing, good results and a few good laughs. We plan to keep the ball rolling at the upcoming Tucson Bicycle Classic, so be sure to check back for updates on how it’s going. For more immediate information about what we’re up to, you can check out our Twitter (@JellyBellyTeam) and Facebook pages.
As a final note, see the links below for more photos, videos and even a race report by Christiaan Kriek on this weekend’s racing from our friends at Cycling Illustrated and SoCalCycling.com.