The dots were seen all over the 2007 season of the West Coast Collegiate Cycling Conference (WCCC), eight sets of them to be exact and, with everyone flying school colors, appearing most often on water bottles or decals, though every now and then turning up on some gloves or arm warmers.
The place to start is with Stanford?s Collegiate Nationals triumph. Cat 2s Ryan Parnes, Evan Pickett, and Max Haines-Stiles helped their team place second overall in the WCCC and put together some impressive performances to bring the national title home to Palo Alto. Ryan had a great showing at Nationals, finishing 11th in the road race and the criterium. His crit finish featured a powerful attack on the last lap that resulted in a dominating field sprint win by half a dozen bike lengths. In the WCCC, he finished the season 6th in the Men?s A Omnium with two 2nd place finishes, one 3rd, and one 4th. Evan also had a good Nationals showing and placed in the top 20 in the As Omnium with a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and two other top ten finishes ? especially impressive results considering he rode in support of his team?s sprinters for most of the season. Max finished 4th in the Men?s B Omnium with one win, two 2nd place finishes, one 3rd, and two 4th place finishes. He also saw a late-season upgrade to Men?s A, which must have been due not only to his results on paper but also to his consistently aggressive work off the front the whole season.
Our lone rider in the south, Cat 2 Fred Stamm, helped his Cal Poly teammate to a Men?s A Omnium win and himself to 10th in the Omnium. It would have been mistaken to take his laid back demeanor and the skis in his car as a sign of a lack of seriousness: he put up one win, two 2nd place finishes, and three other top tens. Always game for catching up with his Metromint teammates, he was a joy to run into at races.
Fielding 5 minties this year, Cal Cycling continued their longstanding representation of Metromint in the collegiate peloton. In only his second season, Cat 2 Dan Blomgren finished 9th in the Men?s A Omnium, posting one 2nd place finish, one 5th, and four other top tens. Most impressive was his 9th place finish at the Nationals Criterium. He got into a ten man break early in the race that stayed away for good. With half a lap to go, and with the break hammering, Dan attacked in the hopes of a repeat of the 1/2/3 win in April that he earned for Metromint. He was caught with 50 meters to go, but the effort was a valiant one - and 9th in that field is no joke.
Cat 3s Rob Dahl and Dan Adkins, along with Cat 4 Tom Reynolds, raced Men?s B for Cal, placing Rob second in the Omnium by just 11 painful points out of first. Complimenting his ?magic fitness? with so-called ?fitness-by-training,? Rob had a big season with one win, one 2nd place finish, a 3rd, four 5th place finishes, and one other top ten. Dan, who before the season started went on the record saying that he would not be doing much collegiate racing, showed up big time to rally the troops and race like an animal. With one top ten finish, a spattering of other points, and his aggressive ?make-our-opponents-suffer? style of riding, Dan played an integral role in Rob?s Omnium placing and in the rest of Cal?s successes this season. So too with Tom. He finished 5th twice, picked up a handful of other crucial points, and tag-teamed with Dan and the other Cal Bs to support Rob and the rest of the team. After battling illness and other obligations during the first half of the season, this journalist managed to pull on the blue and gold for five Men?s C races. They were filled with middle to top quarter of the pack finishes, some spirited riding for teammates, and, most of all, fun.
To top the whole season off, academic progress was made and degrees were earned. Collegiate veterans Bri Hand (UCB), Don Seymour (UCD), and Virginia Solomon (USC) for the most part stuck to the books rather than the road this spring. Bri spent the term in Italy. Virginia earned her MA in art history, leaving her with just that little PhD thing to take care of. Sidelined by a crash right before the beginning of the collegiate season, Don was fortunate enough to get out for one race. He spent most of the season recuperating, putting in base miles, and working his way through his pre-dental undergrad studies. The two Dans also hammered away at school while racing like crazy. Blomgren finished up his undergraduate studies and Adkins brought the light at the end of the tunnel within view: by the end of the summer he?ll have his PhD in computer science. Both finished their collegiate racing careers with memorable moments: Blomgren?s finishing 9th finish at the Nationals Criterium and Adkins? making his last appearance in the collegiate peloton his first as an A rider.
So the relationship between Metromint Cycling and collegiate cycling still flourishes. Indeed, most of the riders on the team grew their pedaling legs while earning their degrees. And as recruiting continues to draw on the great source of young, talented cyclists in the collegiate scene, the relationship is sure to continue.
- By Tony Bezsylko