The streets of downtown Turlock were filled with cycling fans on Saturday, who gathered under the summer sun to watch the inaugural TEA Solar Cycling Classic.
A total of 112 cyclists competed in the first-ever USA Cycling criterium race held in Turlock. Event director Mitch Boehs said the turnout could have been better, but "everybody loved the venue, [and] liked the course." He said all the feedback he received from the event was positive.
The event drew cyclists from around the state — and the world. Keisuke Aso of Japan took first place in the Men's Pro category. Rounding out the top finishers for the Men's Pro were Nick Ramos of West Covina, California and Matt Schaupp of Watsonville.
The top three finishers in the Women's Pro category were Gale De Rose of Gold River, California, Kieran Devere of Madera and Lacey Payne of Fresno.
Shaun Bagley heard about the race and traveled from Visalia to participate in the unique downtown course.
“With how the economy is, we want to support the local races as much as we can,” said Bagley, who finished third in the Men's Master 45-99 division.
“I just enjoyed my time since I love to race, it’s a blast,” said Bagley who will be competing for Nationals in September. “I am just getting ready by practicing and racing as much as possible.”
Local spectators also enjoyed the inaugural event.
“I was interested in the things happening downtown and wanted to check it out since races are fun,” said Turlock local Tony Chavez. “It was interesting seeing something different here in Turlock and the whole experience is unique.”
Before the professionals hit the course, youth cyclists got the chance to ride in downtown Turlock.
“I have never been in a race before but I thought this would be fun,” said Grace Lewis, 11, of Turlock.
Lewis was excited to put her cycling skills to the test on a race course.
“It was a goal...to get her in a race before the year ended and it’s here locally which makes it great, but it’s also her chance to race,” said Grace's mother, Maren about her first race.
For a complete list of results from Saturday's event, visit www.usacycling.org and search TEA Solar Cycling Classic.
— Kristina Hacker contributed to this report.