Breakaway from Cancer® and the Dana Point Grand Prix
The 5th Annual Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling offered up fun, excitement and inspiration
by Andrea Swayne Dana Point Times
May 6, 2011
Crowds estimated at between 10,000 and 12,000 lined the streets of Dana Point’s town center and historic Santa Clara neighborhood on Sunday to witness the 5th Annual Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling. Whether toddlers with training wheels or elite nationally-ranked professionals were on the course, spectators went wild as competitors whizzed past. The sights and sounds of the event varied—from the buzzing of super thin racing tires tracking steady lines and the blur of multi-colored spandex to bicycle bells and zig-zagging lines—but the roar of the crowd never ceased.
The criterium, a six-turn L-shaped relatively flat and fast course saw racers hit speeds upwards of 35 miles per hour in the men’s pro division. At the conclusion of that race, it was Brad Huff of team Jelly Belly who took the win. A prize purse of $15,000 was split among the top 20. Offers of premiums—or “preems”—shouted at racers by announcers as they passed the start/finish line of cash and prizes for the winner of randomly chosen laps, turned up the excitement , sped things up, opened up the pack and gave riders added chances at prize money.
“Moving the start/finish line to Del Prado this year made the course even better,” said Grand Prix Director Russell Ames. “All day I have had people come up to me and tell me this is the best event we’ve ever had. The vibe today is really positive and we are thrilled to see so many more entries than in the past.”
Many visitors made a day of it, visiting the many food and product vendors and attending BMX demos and cycling related booths. Area restaurants were hopping as spectators took a break from the sunny day to enjoy a relaxing meal indoors.
In honor of this year’s title sponsor AMGEN’s Breakaway from Cancer, the Grand Prix included the Breakaway from Cancer Walk, an inspirational gathering of cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and the families of those both fighting and taken by the disease.
|Maryla and Terry Latham|
Dana Point resident Terry Latham who is currently battling mesothelioma and a patient of the Pacific Meso Center was among the walkers.
“Without the Pacific Meso Center I wouldn’t be here,” said Latham. “Dr. Robert Cameron operated on me and saved my life. Events like this not only raise money to help find a cure it raises awareness of the need for funding and also honors the special people who care for cancer patients.”
Latham’s wife Maryla added that she was blown away to see so many people come out to walk in support of those struggling with cancer. “It is very important to have the support of family, friend and even strangers who care. This is a very important part of caring for cancer patients emotionally,” said Maryla. “Bless everyone who came out today.”
Event proceeds will be given to the Pacific Meso Center to support continued research and a search for a cure for mesothelioma.
For more information on the Dana Point Grand Prix, visit the event website at www.danapointgrandprix.com. To read more about Breakaway from Cancer, the Pacific Meso Center and Latham’s story, go to www.breakawayfromcancer.com and www.pacificmesocenter.org