By John Steggall
The race team’s primary missions are to bolster the sport by bringing in new riders (especially kids), and to support young, elite racers, and women. People in the club complain about the paucity of young people and women in the sport. I’m here to tell you that the race team is doing something about that.
Our Juniors squad (kids < 18) had a successful transition during the season to new leadership. Russ Kanz and Toni Terhaar took over the manager duties from Kristen Hill and have done a wonderful job keeping continuity in the program. It’s tough work as many of the families are just getting into cycling and there is a lot to learn. The Juniors racked up impressive results and are looking forward to another great season in 2015. We had 13 kids who competed in 119 road races, including 25 road podium appearances (placed in the top 3). Six DBC kids finished on the podium for the region’s Junior Point Series. Off road, David L. won the Prairie City mountain bike series and won the State mountain bike championship. All in all, it was an impressive year!
Our Elite squad had a stellar season. The Elites are category 1 and 2 racers, 18 to 28 years old. They race at the highest amateur level, often mixed in with professionals racers. Compared to the semi-professional and pro team we compete against, DBC is a relatively low-budget Elite squad. The main point of our Elite squad is to support our own riders as they “graduate” into the top amateur level and prepare them for the next step, i.e., semi-professional racing. We have had success integrating UC Davis Aggie riders into our program, providing a good synergy between the two programs. This year, the DBC Elites made it onto the podium 36 times, with 118 top-ten placings. Rider Matt Rodrigues was so successful that he was able to sign a contract with the US-based Continental squad Airgas-Safeway for 2015. He will be racing with 2013 Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner (http://goo.gl/nls04j). Follow Matt and his team at http://goo.gl/nzqwNe. We’ve lost several other Elite members at the end of this season so 2015 will be a rebuilding year.
The race team has been struggling to build a women’s program for years, so we were delighted to launch our Women’s Development Program this year. Check them out here: http://goo.gl/xnHEiP. Early in January this year, we were contacted by Robin Farina, a professional racer living near Nevada City. Robin was the 2011 national road race champion and is also the president of the Women’s Cycling Association. Robin was interested in building grass roots women’s programs and DBC was a good fit for this endeavor. We worked out a plan to pay Robin a small stipend which seemed fair considering we were already paying for coaching for our Elite men’s squad. The club gave the race team $7,500 to kickstart the Women’s Development Program and we ran a film screening of the movie “Half the Road” in May to bring in another $6,000.
Since the race team only had a few women starting this year, Robin had to recruit a team, practically from scratch. Robin managed to bring on most of the UC Davis women and a few others from the area, despite the fact that most teams had been formed many months before we got started. Considering the circumstances, we were ecstatic with the results the group brought in – a total of 12 podium appearances and 44 top-ten finishes. We are now looking for cash sponsors who can help keep the program running into the 2015 season. Please contact us if you can help.
To sum up, 2014 was a busy and successful year for the race team. Overall, DBC was ranked number 7 of 93 teams in our Northern California and Nevada region (the most competitive region in the US). In closing, I’d like to thank the race team board members and welcome incoming 2015 race team director, Bernhard Sturm. It’s been a pleasure working with them and we appreciate their hard work.