Story and photos by Vicky Sama
Gilbert Marquez, Gavin Merczak-Dinolfo, Josh Chapman and Ryan Wiegman after their 36-mile road race in Paicines on Saturday. Photo by Vicky Sama.
In his first-ever collegiate road race, Josh Chapman sprinted from a 17-man breakaway to 2nd place in the men’s D road race on Saturday, throwing his bike forward at the line and missing first place by only a half a wheel length.
“I don’t consider myself a sprinter,” Chapman said after the race. “But I watched some pro race videos this week, and I tried to copy what they do.”
Chapman and the lead pack averaged more than 19 miles-per-hour in the two-hour race over challenging hills that broke the 50-man field apart. Teammates Gavin Merczak-Dinolfo and Gilbert Marquez finished the day in 33rd and 47th. Ryan Wiegman upgraded to the men’s C category and rallied to finish 35th.
On Sunday, Zachary Thompson joined the foursome for the criterium at the Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill. Thompson and Wiegman looked strong in the men’s C race, but a series of crashes took its toll. Wiegman survived a late-race wreck that sent four riders to the hospital. Officials temporarily stopped the crit to allow emergency responders to scoop up the injured. After about an hour, the race restarted with the remaining riders getting five laps, and Wiegman, with his left knee bleeding, finished in the top 20.
In the men’s D crit, Gilbert Marquez had one of his best races yet, pushing a hard pace at the front of the pack and causing the field to break apart. Those who couldn’t stay in contact were pulled. Marquez, Chapman and Merczak-Dinolfo raced well. Chapman had the highest finish among them, in 12th place.
Merczak-Dinolfo and Wiegman riding trainers in front of the Specialized Bicycle headquarters on Sunday.
Thompson (l) helps Marquez (r) with a rear wheel mishap.
See more race photos at Humboldt State Cycling on Facebook.