Photos by Alex Paris
Though 700 cyclists crossed over the Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling finish line April 30 and May 1, only a handful walked away with part of the $21,000 of prize money.
The 0.8-mile course of the Dana Point Grand Prix wasn’t just for bicycles this year. The event’s 10th anniversary marked the first time the finish line was crossed on foot, with the addition of a 1K run for families and a 5K that coursed through the Dana Point Harbor. The change also brought the addition of a second day and a new name: The Dana Point Grand Prix Sport & Family Festival.
The Grand Prix brought current U.S. National Criterium champion Eric Marcotte to town. He finished second in the John Johnson Family Men Pro Classic Pro Road Tour race behind teammate Luis Alberto Romero Amaran. The two teammates were an integral part of a four-man breakaway that opened a gap from the rest of the cyclists early and eventually grew to a remarkable 35 second lead by the end.
Colleen Gulick, of Seal Beach, won first place in the Women’s Pro 1-2 on Saturday.
“There was no point I knew I was going to win,” Gulick said following her victory. “You come around that last corner and just go as hard as you can and hope for the best.”
“I love coming here,” she added. “Great crowd, great course, great road surface.”
Gulick went on to finish second on Sunday in the Women’s Pro 1-2-3 behind Shelby Reynolds of Long Beach, a competitor she had bumped to second place on Saturday.
Despite the significant changes to Del Prado Avenue since last year’s installment, Gulick said they didn’t have a large effect on her strategy to win the race.
A younger champion, Matios Titizian of Ladera Ranch, shared his secret to winning the race for kids age 7 and 8.
“I pretended like there were tigers chasing me,” Titizian said.
Titizian’s secret helped him open a wide gap during the one-lap race around the Grand Prix circuit—one of the four free races for kids under 12 on Sunday. He hopes the victory will convince his dad to buy him a new road bike.
Although Titizian escaped the imaginary tiger jaws, one professional rider got bit by the asphalt of the course when he went down near the finish line within the last few laps of the Men’s Cat 3 on Sunday. The rider was treated for a hand injury by on-site EMTs. When the race resumed, Anthony Navarra Jr. of San Diego won by a nose after a four-way sprint to the finish.
Following that race was another dramatic finish when Cory Williams of Los Angeles out-sprinted Joshua Taylor of Australia to take first in the Men’s Pro 1-2.