Hundreds of professional and wannabe cyclists burned up the asphalt around Isla Vista’s Embarcadero Loop this Saturday, furiously zipping through the town’s main way in search of first place and some bragging rights.
The second annual Island View Classic brought a throng of spectators to the streets of I.V. as hundreds of amateur, collegiate and professional cyclists duked it out around the Embarcadero Loop and Cordoba Road. With motor vehicle traffic blocked, bikers whizzed through the seemingly endless laps, while onlookers spread themselves around the street’s curbs and restaurants.
And although UCSB was unable to come away with the victory in the collegiate competition, organizers heralded the event as a great success and fundraiser – money from the cruiser race registration fees will go toward the Isla Vista Skatepark project.
“[The Cycling Club] has gone out of their way to put on an event of this stature. If you look around, it’s not only bikers and cycling fans out here, but the whole I.V. community. The cycling team has really given the community a special and unique event,” said Adam Duvendeck, coach of the UCSB Cycling Team.
The race created some fierce collegiate competition and had its fair share of crashes, but UCSB came off well, taking second place in the less competitive Men’s B race and winning the Women’s B race. It was Stanford, however, that dominated both of the most competitive races, winning the Men’s and Women’s A races.
Nick Martinez, a second-year mechanical engineering and economics major, was the top finisher for UCSB in the Men’s A competition.
“I was satisfied with my position but the sprint was raced pretty ugly,” Martinez said. “The whole race, however, has been a great success and a good fundraiser. I can’t wait till next year.”
The beach cruiser race proved to be the comic relief for the day, as about 40 contestants – most of whom were dressed in stylish costumes – jockeyed for the lead and a brand new cruiser, courtesy of Associated Students BIKES. Fourth-year triathlon team member Craig Fellers took first place, while wearing nothing but a gold Speedo.
According to Fellers, “the key to racing is determination, body position and a sick-ass gold Speedo.”
One of the highlights of the cruiser race, and the entire day, was the much-touted race between Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone and Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf. Despite the strong words and tough-as-nails attitude Firestone had going into the face-off, he made it only one and a half laps into the four-lap race. His disappearance confused the crowd until he appeared at the finish line three laps later, riding in a golf cart.
Local business owners, who complained last year about losing business because of the closed-off streets, seemed slightly more content this year. Mehrdad Homayouni, owner of Sam’s to Go on Pardall Road, said that despite a loss in business from student patrons, there was an increase in business from Santa Barbara residents who came to watch the race.
Chancellor Henry T. Yang was in attendance as well, and dutifully presented the trophy to the winning school. Yang, however, said he had a bit of an accident on his way to the podium. While riding a bike backwards – a trick he said he learned as a young man – he toppled over sideways, his bike landing on top of him. But the Chancellor was not hurt and even joked about the spill with a race announcer later.
Unlike other events in I.V., I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Sol Linver said crowd control was not an issue at the race.
“The crowds are doing a pretty good job controlling themselves. Everyone’s enjoying the race and staying out of the way,” Linver said.