While Europe had its Paris-Roubaix, Humboldt hosted its own “Hell of the North”
By Vicky Sama
Marina Marcroft and Cole Humphrey run alongside Nancy Vargas as she races in Saturday’s individual time trial up Thompkins Hill Road. Photo by Vicky Sama.
Cobbles, cowbells, forest and fodder… the HSU Cycling races had it all on April 6 and 7.
The first event was Saturday’s individual time trial up Thompkins Hill Road near Loleta—a 5.5-mile steep climb through the Redwoods with more than 600 feet of elevation gain. Cycling fans ran up the road–almost as fast as riders could pedal it–ringing cowbells and cheering riders on the tortuous ascent. HSU’s Skye Salganek passed every rider in her class, winning the Women’s C ITT in 24:03, the third-fastest time of all women racers. Nancy Vargas got 2nd, in 27:02.
In the Men’s B time trial, Steven Pearl finished second in 19:41, seven seconds behind the winner. Alvin Garlejo got fourth, Jason Covey finished fifth and Justin Graves came in 11th place. Dylan Wright represented HSU in the Men’s C, finishing 3rd. Zachary Thompson and Gilbert Marquez got 3rd and 4th in the Men’s D time trial.
Saturday afternoon’s road race in Loleta had stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, but with with a hefty price: strong coastal winds that took their toll on the Men’s B field. Graves was the only HSU rider to finish the 57-mile race. In the Men’s C 38-mile race, Wright finished 11th. Thompson and Michael Nystrom finished back-to-back in 7th and 8th places in the Men’s D road race. Marquez rolled in at 10th.
Humboldt State swept the podium in the Women’s C 29-mile road race with Salganek, Jessie Roughgarden and Ashley Hansen finishing 1, 2, 3. Vargas got fourth, Marina Marcroft finished 7th and Sara Schneider 8th..
Sunday’s crit on the Humboldt State campus was a close complement to the Paris-Roubaix—the brick road on B Street was wet from an overnight storm. And like the Belgian spring classic, a few riders slipped in the turn, but thanks to a wall made of hay, there were no serious injuries.
The crit’s finish line was strategically placed at the top of a block-long hill, making for an exciting pack-sprint finish in the Men’s B race. Berkeley’s Simon Gertler barely inched out HSU’s Alvin Garlejo for the win. “I knew he would get it,” Garlejo said after the race.
Pearl finished right behind Garlejo in 4th, and Graves got 11th.
HSU’s Vargas won the Women’s C crit and all of the primes.
Thompson and Marquez finished the Men’s D crit in 8th and 9th.