The final stage of the Redlands Cycling Classic on Sunday was exciting as always, and once again included multiple circuits around the Sunset Loop, a beautiful residential area in the hills above Redlands that includes challenging climbs and twisty descents. The women's race was first, and I was unable to get podium shots because as soon as I'd grabbed a few interviews, I had to jump in a media vehicle to get back out on the course in time for the men's race. But, as always, you can read my story here on VeloNews.com, and see the much more professional snaps of Casey Gibson.
I did get a few snaps of the men's podium after their race was over. This is Santiago Botero after his team secured his overall win. He's waiting to don the yellow and red jerseys, and held onto that bottle of vitamin water through each new fitting. And, what can be said about those Rock Racing kits?....they've definitely added color to the men's peloton...
Here's the final men's podium from a pretty bad camera angle since Rock Racing's entourage was pretty excited at their overall win, and were dominating the press area. Toyota-United's Chris Baldwin took second, and Burke Swindlehurst of Bissell came in at third.
And there was a lot of schwag for Botero, including a Redlands Classic framed poster and trophy. He kept trying to leave the podium but they just kept bringing him stuff.
Race over, I stayed up late to write my last report for VeloNews, and then slept in -- aaaahhhh! While most of the ValueAct Capital team had left before I even got home from the race, a few spent the night, too, so we all said some tearful goodbyes in the morning. This is Martina giving a very heartfelt hug to host mom, Leslie.
And this is Martina trying to find a place to sit in the team car for a 5-hour ride back to Oakland...
...and from the other side of the car, you can really see that it was a tight squeeze with all the team gear! In the end, they had to transfer some equipment to a couple other cars so Martina could sit in the car instead of riding with the bikes on top!
Since I hadn't had much time to take pics at the host house all week, I made everyone pose for one final group shot. This is, left to right, team mechanic, John, from Boston; team soigneur, Molly, from Portland; the famous Martina, a racer from Oakland; Lara, another racer who I met for the first time this week, who lives in Colorado; host dad, Joe; racer Sharon, who lives in Denver; racer Hannah, from Australia; and back to the left in front, host mom, Leslie. Just part of the fabulous crew that welcomed me into their race world this week -- it was definitely an honor, and fun to boot!