Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Bantam Classic

"Why do you wanna drive 4,000 miles just to race your bike?"

Like the lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter, or the geographic division between Hardee's and Carl's Jr., some things are difficult to understand.  

I offer this.

Friday Pre-Ride

Petaluma CA is a beautiful Sonoma Co. city steeped in history. Once known as the "Egg Capitol of the World", its roots are agricultural with a laid back farming vibe. I immediately like this place. 

I'm here to attend Yuri & Vanessa Hauswald's Bantam Classic. This 5th iteration of the Bantam produced record attendance accompanied by perfect weather. Bantam HQ is located at mother Hauswald's "Gypsy Acres Ranch". A stunningly beautiful setting with outdoor living space equal to the indoor, and a fluid line between the two. At Gypsy Acres you immediately feel welcome and leave as a friend.

A Friday pre-ride gives me a taste of the punchy rollers the Bantam course offers, helping shake out the lazy legs that have been sitting in the Honda for the past 2-1/2 days. Windy but scenic. 

Race Morning Buzz

Vanessa Hauswald working the Reg.

Yuri's goal with Bantam is emulate the European spring classics. The 45ish mile course has it all, punchy climbs, railing descents, and a section of "technical" pave'. The Bantam lands between Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold on the calendar, and in my mind, would satisfy all but the most demanding classics veteran.

The Roll-Out

Race morning had Olympians, Pro & Semi-Pro riders, ridiculously strong collegiate riders, and High School students toeing the line. With no official timing, and a neutral roll-out to the suggested starting line area, the Bantam win is for bragging rights only. But know this, there will be no gimmes. None. 

Quite Possibly the Coolest Bicycle / Chicken Picture Ever.

The post race vibe is magic. Great food, tons of prizes, and hand-crafted goodness for the fastest women and men.  

The Bantam Classic is a solid cycling soirĂ©e. All are encouraged to enjoy the workout, experience the local vibe, and build community. 

Yuri and Vanessa, along with NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), have a noble goal, they want "more kids on bikes". I couldn't agree more. One of those kids just happens to be a middle-aged man from Missouri.

Cycling is a universal language. Learn as many dialects as you can.