What's left for John Tomac? Well, for one thing, there are already too many lefts.
Tomac, who at 21 is among the youngest members of the U. S. National Team, would like to ply his trade in Europe, where road racing is king. Tomac was 20th in Sunday's Subaru Cycling Invitational in Beverly Hills, a criterium where the field lapped Gucci's more often than Zsa Zsa ever fantasized.
Tomac prefers road racing to criteriums, so Europe beckons.
"You get sick of turning left after a while," he said, laughing. "The problem with U. S. cycling is there are too many criteriums. The real core of cycling is road races and stage races."
Tomac conceded that criteriums have gained popularity in America at a faster rate than other disciplines for the same reasons fans are drawn to auto races: the promise of a fast pace and a course strewn with wrecks. And--for another fine American tradition--spectators can sit and watch without having to move around a lot.
"They just like to make it more appealing," he said. "But I think (road races like) the Tour de Trump will help it a lot."
Tomac will compete in the World Road Championships' race Aug. 23-27 in Chambery, France, and is an alternate on the U. S. National Team's time trial team.
"I'm pretty confident with the top level of amateur racing," he said. "I don't think I'm too far off from that line.
"I'm 21, and the best road cyclists peak out at 27 or 28. So I have a ways to go. Professional racing in Europe is where I'm heading."
And the less left turns along the way, the better.
Add Tomac: It was incorrectly reported that Tomac had mechanical problems during last week's Senior National Road and Time Trial Championships, held recently in Park City, Utah.
In the road race final, Tomac, the defending national criterium champion and among the road race favorites, finished out of the leaders' group. Race officials reported that Tomac had two flat tires on the course.
Wrong, says Tomac.
"I was going to wait and make my move around the halfway point," he said. "But I ended up working as a team player.
"There's always guys getting flats. Maybe they mistook me for one of my teammates."
Add Senior Nationals: John Williams, the Agoura Hills rider who recently joined Team USA, would have finished 21st in the qualifying heat for the road race final, but was disqualified for crossing the center line. The field's top 40 cyclists are given berths in the final.
According to Williams, "some dudes" crashed ahead of him at the 25-mile mark of the 35-mile race and he veered across the line to avoid becoming entangled in the wreckage. Race officials determined he could have veered back sooner.
"To avoid the crash," Williams said, "I had to go onto the other side of the road just to get out of the way."
So Williams flew back to Colorado Springs to continue his training, but not before stating his case to anyone who would listen.
"You talk about arguing and bitching?" he said. "I think they were glad to get rid of me.
"I'm trying to justify to myself that it was a stupid decision, and I feel kinda good about the experience. These are top-notch riders."
Covering his tracks: David Brinton has taken to the road. And it to him.
The 22-year-old North Hollywood resident did not return to defend his title in this year's 4,000-meter individual pursuit at the Senior National Track Championships in Redmond, Wash. Instead, Brinton will continue competing with Team Crest in road races and criteriums.
"Basically, after the Olympics I retired from track racing," Brinton said. "I feel there's a time to move on. There's a lot more prestige and money to be made in road racing.
"Track racing was good to me, with a Pan American Games gold medal and the Olympic team. But I figured if I'm not going to go after the track with all my energy, then I'm not going to go after it."
And that's final. Sort of.
"I'm not saying there will be no more track . . .," he added.
The Juniors: The list of Valley entrants in the United States Cycling Federation Junior National Championships continues to grow. Held in Colorado Springs from Aug. 3-13, the championships will include Scott Lerner and Mike Raczuk of Northridge, Matt Sorenson of Tarzana, Ed Walsh of Chatsworth, Josh Pelter of Granada Hills and Justin Greene of West Hills.
Some of the juniors will compete the following week in the Tour of the Future, a USCF-sanctioned stage race championship in Bisbee, Ariz.
Return of the Century: There's still time to finish that Century you promised yourself you would at the beginning of the summer.
Join the San Fernando Valley Bicycle Club as its members ride the Santa Rosa Valley Century on Aug. 6, the Cool Breeze Century on Aug. 19 and the Oh Hi, Ojai!, a challenging 129-miler, on Aug. 26.
The Art of Bicycle Maintenance: The Wilderness Institute is offering a six-hour class on bicycle maintenance Sunday at its outdoor center in Agoura Hills.
The class, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will teach maintaining your bike on a regular basis as well as roadside and emergency repairs. The institute, located in Woodland Hills, also offers periodic bicycle tours and rides.
Lights out: The Encino Velodrome will not hold its usual slate of racing Saturday night because of the conflict with this week's Senior National Track Championships in Seattle.
The venue's regular racing schedule resumes Aug. 5.