Writing: Jesse “Gonzo” Gonzalez
Photography: Nelson Queralta Jr
Jesse “Gonzo” Gonzalez of the developmental SilCarbon/Elite Cycle Team will be a regular contributor on Morning Ride CC for the next few months of the racing season. Please give him a follow on his personal blog, where he will also share more of his racing experience.
Whether it was your season or maybe not quite, 2016 has departed and in has come 2017; a new year that already seems to bring a promising season for local South Florida Criterium racers. For years the Rosewood Series Pro1/2/3 field has been dominated by the usual handful of veteran riders. To no surprise 2016 was increasingly tough as well, as only a few riders trickled into the elite level of racing.
This year, however, there seems to be a bigger wave of motivated cyclists forming their own squads focused on taking over the series in 2017. With the Rosewood Winter Series underway as pre-season training races, we all expect to witness a true display of teamwork this year.
The Elite field has always been a small bunch in the past with pelotons usually consisting of 18-25 riders. When compared to the Category 4/5 field, which would contain 30+ riders including local favorites, the latter Category would always be the highlight of the day. Teams like Stradalli, All4Cycling and South Miami Bike shop, and others from Broward, were the usual teams from Miami that consistently remained on top at every event in P123. But this year is different.
With new up and coming teams like RUSH/Piquet, equipped with 6 riders in the Elite field and Silcarbon/Elite Cycling coming into contention with 4 developing riders, the veterans have to stay even more on guard. Not to mention the freshly formed teams like Vivo Cycling Attorney and other Broward County teams who rolled in with at least 5 riders each.
January 8th, 2017 was the first race of the Rosewood Winter Series and it did not disappoint. All the teams showed up with high spirits, a lot of energy and more importantly, respect & professionalism. Everyone knew what to do, how to do it and how hard it was going to be to get the win. From the gun the race was in full speed. Turn after turn, this technical 6 turn course leaves everyone exposed to the brutal winds that were present that cold Sunday morning.
45 riders strung out in a single file nearly the entire race, making it difficult for anyone to move up in position or make any jumps in hopes of a break. Yet, 15 minutes into the race, the field splits with around 12 riders, Including Gunter Hermanni Luis Zaya of team All4Cycling, rolling away from the peloton. With riders from Rush/Piquet, All4Cycling, Stradali and even Silcarbon Elite involved in the break, the peloton’s average speed became inconsistent while the break charged on.
With harsh and cold wind conditions throughout the 1 hour + 3 lap race, riders from the peloton and the break group slowly fell back and dropped out of the race leaving only 23 riders to cross the finish line. The few that remained in the break had tremendous teamwork involved allowing them to stick it out and resulting in Luis Zayas of Team All4Cycling taking 1st in South Florida’s first criterium race of the year.
Luis Romero of Team D Professional finishing 2nd and Andrew Geffner of Team Rush/Piquet finishing 3rd in the Pro/1/2 category.
In the Category 3 Field, Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez of Team Rush/Piquet managed to also remain in the lead group finishing 1st place as well in his category. Ariel Lee of Team Cornerstone finishing 2nd and Yuniet del Toro finishing 3rd representing team Stradalli as well as consideration for 4th place, secured by Max Kolisch of Silcarbon/Elite Cycling team.
Three more races to go in the Winter Series coming every Sunday this January. Remembering the fact that these races are still considered to be training races as well as still being early in the year. Have other teams or members held back their full potential? Have other riders not reached their peak forms just yet? All that is what makes cycling such an unique and complex sport. Another week of training approaches us as we wait to get into the 2nd race of the training series this coming Sunday, January 15th.
With the first race of the year at this caliber, and many more to come, who will be the hammer and who will be the nail?
For race results please check out Miami Masters and a huge thank you to Fernando and the whole Miami Masters team for putting together a great event.