Will this hill ever end?

 A race weekend at Berkeley

By Michael Nystrom

UC Berkeley CritHSU’s Alvin Garlejo finished in 5th place at the UC Berkeley criterium on March 17. Photo courtesy of Cal Cycling.

HSU cyclists started their spring break this past weekend at UC Berkeley’s road race and criterium. After the all-too-familiar long drive south through the Redwood Curtain, we arrived at the house of our teammate and chef, Zachary Thompson, for a late night carbo-load before catching some Z’s.

Saturday’s ten-mile road circuit started on Franklin Canyon Road, descended into the town of Crockett, and then finished with the ominous McEwen climb. Cheered on by his girlfriend, Tori Shen, Alvin Garlejo competed in the Men’s B race and ultimately finished 15th.  Jason Covey, Alvin’s partner-in-crime and HSU Men’s B racer, came down with a fever and was unable to compete.

Zach, Gilbert Marquez, and I competed in the Men’s D race later in the afternoon. Immediately following the start whistle, Gilbert passed me, headed toward the front of the pack and consistently stayed within the top five riders for almost two-thirds of a lap.  When a breakaway threatened to separate the field, I heard Gilbert scream “GO HUMBOLDT” then take off up the hill—ultimately bridging a gap. Zach and I worked together for the entire race and finished near the middle of the pack. Gilbert’s “this is Sparta” moment was easily one of the highlights of the weekend, but cost him in the standings. Later that night, HSU cycling alumni, “Nasty Nate” Abel, joined us for dinner and stayed with us at Zach’s house.

Sunday’s 0.4-mile clockwise criterium took place on Berkeley’s campus with an uphill start and finish.  Zach, Gilbert, and I represented HSU in the Men’s D race and Zach finished in 8th place, earning valuable points. Gilbert did better than the previous day’s road race, finishing 13th in the crit. I got 15th. Alvin competed in the fast, 45-minute Men’s B race, while Nate showed us the art of sideline heckling as Alvin and the other riders rode past us on the uphill climb.  After getting a flat and taking a free lap, Alvin swapped out his front wheel and reentered the race—finishing 5th in the sprint.

c. Michael NystromWe checked out some of the downtown Berkeley shops with Tori, who had been patiently waiting all weekend for a Trader Joe’s and Urban Outfitters run, and found some frozen yogurt and smoothies before the long trip home.

HSU cyclists will compete next at our home race on April 6-7.

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