The Redlands Bicycle Classic is the first major stage race of the U.S. domestic pro cycling calendar and is the first full gathering of all the pro and elite amateur teams in the U.S. For me it was also my first time getting to work with the Gateway Harley Davidson U25 squad out of St. Louis. With my own GS CIAO team moving to a juniors program this year, I had offered to guest direct for them at a few select races this year and they were happy to take me up on it. Garrett (our mechanic) and I got into the car for a 14 hour Sunday cruise from Boulder, CO to Redlands (with a brief layover in Mesquite, NV so Garrett could hit the casinos.), and soon found ourselves in downtown heading to Stell for a mandatory lunch stop. After that it was time to meet the rest of the guys and get the team registered for the week.
What most people don’t know is that the team actually had its initial application turned down and only received a last minute invite to the race after another team cancelled. At registration, I joked with race director Eric Reiser about being in the “1%” , as in having a 1% chance of getting in the race! In our pre-race meetings I reminded the guys of this fact and told them to take advantage of being the unknown. While the rest of the peloton might not have known much of the team at first, I knew the talent level of most of the riders and came into the race with very high expectations and ambition for what we could accomplish. With a stage win and green jersey overall I would say we easily met and exceeded those expectations on every level. However, I think I will just let some pictures speak for the rest of the week!
Stage 1: Highland Circuit Race – Dennis Ramirez set the tone for the week by making the winning break and contesting the KOM and time bonus sprints. Unfortunately Dennis would eventually flat out of the move. Photo: Bob Simpson
Boom! Sepp Kuss takes the stage win on top of Oak Glen. Sepp is a young mountain biker that was introduced to me this fall and is a climbing phenom in the making,. I am looking forward to seeing how far he can go. What you don’t see in this picture is the other 6 riders who perfectly executed our plan that day to deliver Sepp in perfect position for the win. Photo: Micah Escamilla/Redlands Daily Facts
Celebrating Sepp’s stage win. It was pretty cool when the team owner, Chris Creed, and other sponsors asked to do a conference call with us that night so they could give their regards and share in the celebration. There is a great family style culture in this program that I enjoy.
Garrett Suydam preparing one of our time trial bikes for the Stage 3 TT. Garrett is a top notch wrench and and also an accomplished artist. Check out his work here: garrettsuydam.com
Our 2016 Kia Sportage worked flawlessly all week and I have to say that the air conditioned seats are a must have for 4 hour days in the caravan! i25kia.com has been a long time supporter of Boulder Sports Management and are one of the best in the business!
Our host Marc asked us to come cheer on his daughter, Lily, in the kid’s race before the Stage 4 Criterium. We did him one better and jumped in the race with her! Not many 9 year olds get a professional leadout!
Leading our pre-race meeting before the final Stage 5: Sunset Road Race. You might notice Bryan Gomez in the green sprinter’s jersey which he won with some savvy and aggressive riding in the previous night’s criterium. Bryan and Max Ackerman did a great job defending the jersey on the final stage.
Your final jersey winners! Photo: Bob Simpson
Your 2016 Redlands Classic Squad: Nick, Isaiah, Daniel, Max, Sepp, Micah, Bryan, George, Dennis