DANA POINT, CA (BRAIN)—Darrin Duhamel, owner of Revo Cycles, beamed with excitement Sunday as thousands of competitors and spectators clogged the streets of this small Southern California coastal community.
And Duhamel had every right to be pleased. This was the third year of the Dana Point Grand Prix, a full day of fast and tight racing through an exclusive slice of high-income homes that spun onto heavily trafficked Pacific Coast Highway.
SmartEtailing’s Mark Graff, in the crowd watching, was pleased with the attendance—a great mix of non-cyclists, kids and enthusiasts. “I've been to a lot of bike races all over the U.S. and Canada and it's hard to beat the Dana Point Grand Prix,” he said.
“Mix a fast, challenging course with fan-friendly amenities, then throw in amazing views of the Pacific shore and harbor and you get one breathtaking event," he said.
Adding zest to the event, besides $30,000 in cash and prizes, was Floyd Landis and Team Ouch/Maxxis Cycling and Rock Racing’s Rahsaan Bahati. Bahati won the men’s pro crit in a blazing 44 mph sprint out of the final corner.
The event is on USA Cycling’s national calendar. But there was a host of racing—early-in-the-day kids’ and amateur races, a women’s pro-am and a 90-minute pro-level finale. The pros covered the eight-tenths-of-a mile, six-turn course in 90 seconds pushing speeds in excess of 35 mph on the grandstand straightaway.
Duhamel, along with others, began working with city leaders more than three years ago to get approval for the event—no small task given the normal skepticism of the business community and the heavy Sunday traffic on PCH.
Duhamel, standing in his tent across from a major Oakley exhibit, said early estimates placed Sunday’s crowd at between 10,000 and 12,000. Some of the exhibitors included Felt, Cannondale, Mavic, Shimano and others.