Local cycling team represents at Sea Otter Classic | SierraSun.com

Local cycling team represents at Sea Otter Classic

Paul McKenzie
Courtesy of Alanna HughesAmateur Circuit race winner Andy Scott, center, takes time out for a photo with teammates Matt Chapell, left, and Ramsey Etchison during the Sea Otter Classic near Monterey this past weekend. The trio is part of the Truckee-based Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing team.

– Editor’s Note: Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy. Team members will be writing in this space throughout the season on everything from local and regional cycling news and events, tips on training and bike maintenance, and anything else related to human-powered pedaling on two wheels.

The Sea Otter Classic, held April 16-19, is the largest and most celebrated cycling festival in North America. Racers make the annual pilgrimage to the Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey to participate in cycling’s best competitive road and mountain biking events, while up to 50,000 spectators take in the festival and the racing.

For the Truckee-based Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries (CWC) Racing team, the Sea Otter Classic is the best opportunity for the team to flex its muscles in both road and mountain disciplines. The group didn’t disappoint: In all, CWC Racing’s 13 athletes came away with 16 top-10 finishes, including eight podiums (top five) and three wins.

Though primarily a road-based team, the CWC squad includes athletes who are equally comfortable racing off-road. Most notably, Truckee’s Conrad Snover won the Pro/Cat 1 Single-Speed contest, a grueling 38-mile mountain bike race on bikes equipped with only one gear ” a hard one.

“As soon as I realized the other racers couldn’t match my pace, I turned it up a little further to put me out of their sight,” Snover said of his race. The effort paid off. Snover’s winning margin was over six minutes.

Teammates Rich Blanco and Matt Chapell placed 11th and 22nd, respectively, in the same race, while Benjamin Ragains finished 20th in the Category 1 Cross Country race riding a less manly, “geared” bike.

Road events include a criterium, a circuit race held on the Laguna Seca race track, and a road race. CWC racers Nick Schaffner and Nathan Freed, both of Truckee, raced head to head with two-time Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer, and the Bissel Professional Cycling Team, including the likes of brothers Ben and Andy Jacques-Mayne in the Pro 1,2 Category.

“Racing against the elite domestic U.S. teams and a Tour de France podium finisher is like getting drafted from a JV basketball team to the NBA,” Freed said.

Truckee’s Masters Nordic Skiing phenom, Rick Reynolds, hung up the skis and came to Sea Otter to win his amateur Masters Circuit Race.

“Racing on the Laguna Seca race track was the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike,” Reynolds said after the event.

Teammate Andy Scott posted a win in the amateur Elite Circuit Race and had this to say about the Sea Otter event: “It’s like bike nirvana with all sub-cultures of cycling coming together.”

For more information and results from the event, visit http://www.seaotterclassic.com.

” For more information about Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries (CWC) Racing, results, and upcoming events, visit http://www.cwcracing.org or talk to Greg at Cyclepaths Bike Shop in Truckee. One can also swing by Wild Cherries Coffee House, check in with Kristin and browse the bulletin board outside the shop.

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