Temecula holds its first Grand Prix event
Friday, September 6th, 2013
Issue 36, Volume 17.
"Our race was born about 32 days ago," said Ernie Sanchez, director of the Temecula Valley Grand Prix. "The city was supportive of doing it."
He is also one of the owners of Stage2 Cyclery, which was sponsoring the event.
Saturday was the second to last race of the series SoCal Cup points, which has been going since June. It is worth money to the riders. They travel to different races, which helps to accumulate points. After Labor Day they get a check, said Ernie Sanchez, director of the grand prix.
The point of having a grand prix was simply for fun. There are people that drove as far as Los Angeles to get a good race in, he said.
There were also nearly 1,300 people that came out to check out the races, according to Sanchez. He said that Temecula is becoming a designated spot to cycle. The grand prix was not just about racing, he said, "it’s about riding your bike."
The course was a 1.6 mile circuit with a big ring climb and 150-ft. elevation change per lap.
"We’ve had a great day of racing," said Dennis Andrews, one of the owners of Stage2 Cyclery. "Even for this type of course, with the hills and the outback, there’s been a lot of tactics, and people have had a lot of fun with it."
The race started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday until the last race at 1:05 p.m. The beginners started the race and the pros finished it.
"In cycling the unwritten rule is that the higher you go, the right you earn to sleep in and race later in the day," Sanchez said.
Although there are benefits to starting later in the day,there are also cons. For example, the winds started to pick up later in the day, which tend to make it harder to ride, as well as being hotter than racing in the morning.
Temecula is an ideal location to race bikes because the ground isn’t flat.
"You really have to search to find a flat spot in Temecula," Sanchez said. This area is what makes biking fun; it makes it more of a challenge.
"These guys don’t want flat, four-corner, industrial park events," he said.
Sanchez also said there have been requests to have a grand prix more than once a year.
"The reality of it is that we have to respect that is does cause streets to be closed," he said. Even though there are no homes in this area right now, there might be in the future.
"When the homes come, we have to be realistic and understand that we probably won’t be able to keep doing this race when homes develop," Sanchez said.
The City of Temecula has also told the group that they can enjoy the venue for as long as they want, as long as there are no homes.
The event also helps local businesses, Sanchez said. As an example, he bought at least 50 people that day food and drinks from a local restaurant.
Despite the extreme heat on Saturday, it beat the rain that could’ve happened, said Andrews.
"Everybody has been drinking and hydrating, and everybody that I’ve talked to has had a great time," he said.
If the cycle does happen next year, Sanchez said he wouldn’t make any changes to the event, except for the time of year when it’s a little bit cooler. He also said he is looking forward to hearing what the City of Temecula thought of the event.
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