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August 8-14, 2007

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Timpani Criterium

Photograph by Felipe Buitrago
Get it on, bang a gong: Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club's president Barry Gordon brought a Kubrickesque feel to the Timpani Criterium in Santa Clara last Sunday.

Deliver Us From the Bush of Death

By Felipe Buitrago


JUST AS Charlton Heston had a guy banging the mallets to push the rowers in Ben Hur, Barry Gordon was at the Timpani Criterium in Santa Clara last Sunday to urge the riders on to the beat of the timpani drums. Gordon, the president of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, lent some cred to the race's name, but actually the drum wasn't what inspired it. Named after the race's original sponsors, the Timpani Criterium is a closed-circuit road race that is nine-tenths of a mile in length and takes place once a year in an industrial area of Santa Clara just past the Great America Park. It was originally organized as a fundraiser where juniors and entry-level cyclists would compete in a half day of intense cycling. But the growing popularity of bike racing, which now has over 5,000 licensed riders and more than 280 teams in this state alone, has brought more and more sponsors to the event. Now, more than 10 years since the first Timapani Crit, the race has been upgraded to include all categories from juniors aged 10 to 18, and men and women, from category 5 to elite pro. Certain categories such as the men's category 4, which had space for 100 participants, were sold out well before race day. Match that with the unexplainable phenomenon that is the "Bush of Death" on turn one, an obstacle that has baffled the efforts of the organizers to keep it off the course and somehow creeps up on the riders every year, and you've got the kind of race that makes the winner scream "Fuck, yeah," which this year's first-place finisher did as he sprinted across the finish line.


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