Feb 24-26th: Chico Stage Race. Panaracer Tubulars triumph on the Gravel
The StorckCCN Development Team is a Northern California based road team aiming to cultivate U25 riders in the biggest US races, preparing them to take the next steps to the UCI ranks. The team has been sponsored by Panaracer Tires for two years, and opened their 2017 season at the Chico Stage Race. Read on for a race recap from team manager and racer AJ Kennedy.
The first "team" race of the season is always a bit of an unknown. We were excited to get together, race hard, suffer, learn and have a good time.
Photo: The benind the scenes preparation for the season takes a lot of teamwork and coordination!
Stage 1. Thunder Hill Circuit Race. The team ran Race A EVO3 tubulars, Thunder Hill is usually hosting track days or races for motorcycles and cars. Today was a perfect track day for Panaracer rubber and some excellent racing. With multiple teams vying for the yellow jersey, it was set to be a great 90 minutes of hard circuit style racing. Watch the video below for a quick idea of how fast the races was.
The team was excited about Stage 2: the day consisted of a 90 mile road race, taking in close 12 miles of dirt/gravel roads. Notorious for its poor conditions and pothole induced flats, we were happy to be riding on the Panaracer RaceC 26 mm Tubulars. The tires were flawless on the gravel/dirt roads. Like most European classics, the jockeying for position before the crucial sectors is usually much harder than the gravel itself. The team was able to get Owen Gillot up near the front as riders were frantically trying to move up when there was no room to safely do so. The team was able to set up Owen for a solid finish in the finally.
photo: The gravel sections of stage 2 were all about positioning. Here, the StorckCCN team rides close to the front in order to stay out of trouble.
Stage 3. The Time Trial was flat and fast. Such an awesome discipline. After racing against 90 other guys the previous two days, it was nice to be only racing against the clock for 8.5 miles. Race A tubulars and clinchers were the tire of choice on the day.
Photo: The heavy winter rain has made the Chico area very green, making for pretty scenery, but also treacherous road conditions on the final stages of the race.
Three hours later, we were headed to downtown Chico for the last stage. The downtown Criterium - Stage 4 is always a fun event as there is usually a good turnout and the last chance to try to make something out of the race.
We were all super motivated to get underway. Our bikes were mounted with the Panaracer Race A EVO3 tires and we were ready to rock it. The race started fast, After about ten minutes we all settled down and found the rhythm and flow of the course. Unfortunately for some - but fortunately for us - it started raining around the same time as everyone was getting comfortable. The Storck-CCN boys were glued to the pavement even though it essentially became like riding on ice with manhole covers and cat eyes in the road to add an extra level of difficulty. As riders were pulling out lap after lap our entire team managed to all stay upright and rubber side down avoiding four crashes in five laps!