By Luke Ramseth
Three (extremely) dedicated HSU cyclists — Alvin Garlejo, Jason Covey and Michael Nystrom — drove 12 hours to Los Angeles this weekend to race bikes. For Michael — a senior finishing up his environmental science degree — it was his first ever bike race. Alvin and Jason, racing veterans that they are, apparently just wanted to put an early season beatdown on the WCCC Men’s B competition. They did a pretty good job.
I was lucky enough to drive up from San Diego with Hayley Umayam, another HSU Cycling alum, to watch the fellas race in the USC criterium early Sunday morning. I soon gathered that the UCLA road race the day before had gone well, at least as well as a race after two straight days of driving can. Michael finished with the Men’s Ds, which is a fantastic start to his racing career, especially considering there was several thousand feet of climbing on tap. Meanwhile, Jason put his hours of fall and winter training to good use, apparently dropping most of the Bs field, and Alvin along with them. He tried a late race solo attack, but got pulled back, eventually finishing 7th.
In the crit Sunday, the plan was for Jason to cover the attacks and Alvin to save himself for a probable bunch sprint. They played it to perfection; Alvin tucked himself into the group and before long, Jason had bridged up to a strong looking duo with a handful of seconds off the front. Several more riders joined, and soon it appeared the break might stick. Between a late race pack crash on the finishing straight which disrupted the chase effort and several big pulls from Jason, the break’s advantage swelled to over 20 seconds. Jason looked primed for a top-five, but, alas, he made the age-old mistake of failing to realize the last-lap bell had rung, and while he was saving himself at the back, the rest of the boys were sprinting for the win. He ended about 7th again, a very strong result. Alvin came through at the front of the chasing pack, with a 10th or 11th placing. All in all, it looked to be a great start to another season for HSU Cycling.