NEVADA CITY, California (April 21, 2014) — Every June, on Father’s Day, Sacramento’s best cyclists challenge a Gold Country course that experts consider the toughest criterium in the U.S. – the Nevada City Bicycle Classic. In the past 3 years, Sacramento riders have finished 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in Nevada City, but have not won a gold medal there. Two of Sacramento’s riders have missed 1st place by less than 1 second.
The 54th Annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic will be held on Sunday, June 15th, holding to its Father’s Day tradition. More than 30 Sacramento area racers are expected to take part.
Since 1960, Nevada City has drawn top road cyclists to its narrow Victorian streets, staging a European-style race that has been won by three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, two-time U.S. national champion Levi Leipheimer, and Alexi Grewald, the first man to win Olympic cycling gold for the USA. As a 19 year-old, Lance Armstrong raced in Nevada City in 1991, taking 2nd place.
Emily Kachorek – 2nd place finisher in 2011 (Women – Pro/Category 1/2/3)
The sole, recent silver medal brought home by a Sacramento rider was won by Emily Kachorek. A UC Davis undergrad with a master’s degree in conservation biology from CSU Sacramento , Kachorek is a pro racer with #ghetomoto and Vanderkitten, the Berkeley apparel brand (“Clothing for women who kick ass!”).
Kachorek has finished more than 200 races since 2003, but didn’t race at all from 2004 to 2008 after two of her friends crashed, one seriously and one fatally, in separate bicycling accidents. Eventually, after finding renewed inspiration from casual rides on the 32 car-free miles of the American River bike trail, Kachorek resumed racing and has since become, in the words of ESPN, “a cyclist you should know.”
In a poem entitled “Why I Ride” posted at a cause-related Facebook page for women cyclists, Kachorek shares her motivations. Among them: “I ride because it stabilizes my life and creates balance. I ride because going downhill at 40mph makes me feel wild and free. I ride because I can’t cry and pedal and the same time.”
The year following her silver medal in Nevada City, Kachorek joined the U.S. National Team. Recently, she has devoted more attention to cyclocross, which she describes as “absolutely brutal” and “super different” from the refined tactics and nuances of road racing.
Kachorek entered the Classic again in 2013, finishing 6th.
Chuck Hutcheson – 3rd place finisher in 2012 (Men – Pro/Category 1/2)
Sacramento’s Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro – Strava) has finished 1st in over 50 events, including a dramatic victory last year at Snelling, a road race with a large field that is the first on the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) calendar. In that race, Hutcheson edged past Freddie Rodriguez – known as “Fast Freddy” and a rider that Hutcheson describes as “winner of pretty much everything,” including the 2013 U.S. National Road Racing Championship.
In addition to his victory at Snelling, Hutcheson amassed almost a dozen other 1st place finishes in 2013, including the Davis Bike Club 4th of July Criterium, the Menlo Park Grand Prix, and the NCNCA Masters State Criterium Championships.
Although Hutcheson is familiar to cycling blog readers as “Chuck Hutch”, he has also been known as Pfc Charles Hutcheson. As an Army infantryman, Hutcheson was on the Armed Forces Cycling Team, and also rode horses as part of a specialized unit that rides and cares for the horses that carry veterans and Soldiers to their final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. Hutcheson’s cycling career started as a bike messenger, at age 15, and as a youth in small races near his Sacramento home.
At the 2012 Nevada City Classic, Hutcheson finished 3rd in 1:26:41, one second behind 1stplace finisher Stephen Leece from San Luis Obispo, and a fraction of a second behind Berkeley’s Nathaniel English. Hutcheson – who describes the Classic as “way harder than any race needs to be” – sprinted the last 300 meters, to his thorough exhaustion. “I ended up third, went partway around the course and projectile vomited for a few minutes. My body was not happy with what I put it through that last lap.”
Hutcheson nonetheless returned to the Classic in 2013, and again finished in the top 10.
Jason Grefrath – 4th place finisher in 2013 (Men – Master Category 1/2/3 – 35-99)
Another Sacramento rider with a string of top 10 finishes in Nevada City is Jason Grefrath, a Master 35+ racer with Thirsty Bear Cycling. Grefrath placed 20th in 2010, but then moved up to 8th in 2011 and 5th in 2012.
Last year, at the 53rd Annual Nevada City Classic, Grefrath was among four Masters sprinting 47 mph past the finish line, including Jason Walker, the reigning national champion. Walker won the race just a second ahead of Grefrath, who took 4th place. Since then, Grefrath has continued to come on strong. Fighting rain and headwinds, he lapped the field to finish 2ndamong 35+ 1/2/3s at the 2014 Bicycles Plus Winter Criterium, and took 1st place in Napa’s Cherry Pie Criterium.
Marty Cunningham – 4th place finisher in 2012 (Men – Master Category 1/2/3 – 45-99)
In the Master 45+ category 1/2/3, Sacramento’s Marty Cunningham (Sustainable Cycling) finished 4th at the 2012 Classic, after placing 11th in 2009 and 12th in 2011. In other regional races, Cunningham placed 1st at the 2013 Folsom Cyclebration, an event he also won in 2012, and 2nd at the 2012 Lodi Cycle Fest and Golden State Race Series.
The Nevada City Classic is one of the nation’s premiere cycling events
The Nevada City Classic is the largest and oldest 1-day bike race on the West Coast, and the second oldest in the nation. The course is a 1.1 mile loop with 7 turns, 110 feet of climbing per lap, and a straight-away downhill section across the start/finish where racers reach sprint speeds of over 50 mph. According to cyclingillustrated.com, the event has drawn as many as 30,000 road cycling fans to historic Nevada City, located an hour east of Sacramento in the Sierra foothills Gold Country.
Lex Matteini, PHS Communications