On the eve of the first NRC stage race of the year, I can’t help but be excited for the team that is competing in REdlands, CA this weekend. From my laptop last weekend I saw the potential of what our team and riders can do against some of the best in the country in the San Dimas Stage Race. Joe Schmalz came within just seconds of taking the overall title. He and Heath had an incredible ride in the roughest of conditions on a bike with the atrocious conditions the road race presented. Heath helped set up the win for young Joe in what we believe will be just a sign of what’s to come. The criterium was fast paced and nail-biting as the overall was within just seconds for us. A nervous breakaway was up the road with the threat of a very strong Morgan Schmitt from Exergy, but the deep and well drilled Kenda/5-Hour team having the overall leader, Ben Jacques-Maynes kept the break in check. Our team helped chip in near the end to ensure it being caught, and to ensure our second place overall/Best young rider, Joe Schmalz. A very powerful sprint was unleashed by reigning Criterium Champion Eric Young from Bissell. It looks as though teams like Kenda, Competitive Cyclist, Exergy, and Bissell (amongst others) all looking to make a mark at the start of the season have done their work in the off season to do just that.
I feel very lucky to be a part of the team and though I was not in the action due to injury, I’m very proud of how the guys rode last weekend. It shows what type of team we have and the level of riders they are. It will pay dividends as the season progresses as we will now have some respect in the peleton to be at the front.
I wish the guys best of luck and to give it their all out there this weekend. I know they’ll be delivering some great results in the time trial and be in the mix on the overall top 10 and G.C.