When David Grundman went looking for a criterium this weekend, he took a quick liking to Modesto’s.
Yes, it was the only game around. But, the downtown, hourglass-shaped layout also favored a technical rider over a sprinter, and was both challenging and interesting.
“Normally, a lot of crits (criteriums) are in warehouse or industrial areas,” said the cyclist from Davis. “It’s just a big square. It feels like a NASCAR race.
“This is a little bit shorter, a little bit more developed and a little bit more fun.”
He was all smiles Saturday after winning the Surla’s Modesto Downtown Criterium’s elite Pro race, holding off about 40 other cyclists.
“This course really suits me,” he said. “It’s not really a sprinter’s course. You have to go long, and you have to go hard.
“Every turn you have to get up and go ... every single time. Eight turns per lap means eight times you’re having to turn the throttle. It was kind of hard.”
Grundman, who races for Team BP/Sierra Nevada/Reliable, won by less than a bike length over runner-up Brandon Borth of Lockeford and Matt Chatlaong of Roseville.
Grundman, who will compete this morning in the Modesto Road Race near Salida, was strong throughout the criterium, winning all four primes (pronouced preems), which are sprints within the race. This was his second victory in three weeks and his sixth consecutive top-6 finish.
The key to victory in the 60-minute timed race, he said, was staying close to the front.
“I was making sure if a break was up the road, I was trying to be in it,” he said. “If a break was up the road and I wasn’t in it, I made sure to bring it back. Once you get about 10 or 15 seconds on this course, it’s all over.”
For the victory, Grundman received a share of his race’s $450 purse.
There were six races total in the event held in conjunction with the city’s Family Cycling Festival, also held downtown.
Other winners Saturday were Chris Flower (Category 4/5), Dirk Himley (Master 35+ Category 1/2/3), Garin Moore (Master 35+, Category 4/5), Kevin Klein (Master 45+, Category 1/2/3), and Ronnie Leavitt (Masters 45+, Category 3/4/5).