Photography: Adriana Mazariegos
Article: Nelson Queralta Jr
The following article was written by Nelson Queralta Jr, in which he speaks about his personal race experience.
With the PRO123 race over, the CAT45 race followed at the yearly Rosewood Winter Series Criterium races held at Brian Piccolo park. Much like the Pro race, the anticipation and excitement to get the racing season started was high. This was a very special race for me, because it was my first time ever pinning numbers and setting up at a start line. I’ve done a lot of group rides throughout the city, a lot of really fast group rides and thanks to that plus some good training I was able to ready myself for this race.
In complete honesty I didn’t know what to expect, I was confident in my skills as a road cyclist and I’ve been part of many close calls out on the streets. I knew that this was a beginner category and with that came the uncertainty of being around some riders that didn’t have much experience in riding in a group, and more specifically racing in a group.
But thankfully, there were no accidents. Everyone was very respectful and knew what they were doing. The competition was high and intense and there was definitely some rubbing of elbows but the rubber stayed down the whole race.
Another reason why this was such a great race for me personally, is because I was racing with two of my friends. Jose Alamo and co-founder of Morning Ride, Jason Delgado. Together we had all trained in preparation, testing our racing strategies and improving our fitness.
So the race starts and I found myself riding either in the middle of the pack and sometimes off the front. But for the most part in the middle, which it was something I didn’t want to do but with the tight layout combined with my noob race jitters, it was really hard to move up. Which is one thing I came back learning from this race, position is everything. Race strategy and fitness are also very important but positioning is right up there.
Jason & Fabian were in the front for a large portion of the race. Both of them have more race experience and understood the importance of being up front for as long as possible. Fabian Garcia was rocking the Rush Couriers kit but the team name will change to Rush Couriers/Piquet and a new kit design is on it’s way. They’re one of the strongest teams this season in the PRO123 category and one that he co-owns with Randy Caraballo, who was also racing in the CAT45.
Randy and I actually attempted a breakaway about halfway through the race.
But it didn’t stick and I ended up alone in the track for about half a lap until the group caught up to me.
As the race went on the 45 Minutes + 3 laps were drawing to a close and the peloton started getting more anxious and tension started building.
Everyone was sizing each other up and trying to see how the group was holding up, who had the legs and who didn’t. It’s something I’ve seen plenty of times on the fast local group rides so when this started happening I didn’t panic.
And then the pace got high and the group started getting strung out.
After a hard push on the last lap of the race it was Jorge Garcia who had the legs to go for the win.
I ended up in the middle of the pack, coming into the last turn I was in the tail end of the bunch sprint which was basically a sprint for third place since the top positions had already been filled via a breakaway towards the end of the last lap. Finishing 15th in my first race was a lot more than I expected and definitely gave me the learning experience I was hoping to get in order to improve my results for the next race.
At the end, it was a hell of fun race and I can’t wait until the next one, since the race bug has officially bit me and I’m hooked. Huge thanks to Fernando Angel for hosting the yearly Rosewood Winter Series and all the sponsors that are part of the event. Below are links to the Rosewood Facebook along with links to the race results.