SAN DIEGO — For the past few months, Skip Cutting has devoted at least 12 hours a day, last week even more, smoothing out details for the Atlas Hotels Masters World Cup Cycling event.
His training had dwindled since he placed fourth in 40-44 Criterium at the Nationals here in July. Since then, he has made occasional rides on a tandem bike or has worked out on a track.
And it wasn't until 45 minutes before the start of the World Cup men's 40-44 Criterium at the Fashion Valley Mall parking lot Tuesday that Cutting, of Laguna Beach, decided to race.
Cutting surprised not only himself, but possibly a few skeptics that figured his lack of training would deter him, when he pulled away on the final sprint to win the race.
"I haven't been able to really train," Cutting said. "I'm still in shape and figured if the race wasn't too hard I'd be OK but it was a hard race.
"If the riders had been real aggressive at the end I wouldn't have won." Placing second was a friend of Cutting, world road race champion Ken Fuller of Anaheim Hills. Both were involved in several breakaways in the 40-kilometer (60-lap) race but it wasn't until the turn before the final stretch that they secured a lead.
Meg Berry of Vista, working with world road race champion Tisha Whitney of Irvine, won the women's 35-44 Criterium. This victory was especially nice for Berry because a collision during the Criterium at Nationals spoiled a top finish for her.
"Nationals was a down point," Berry said. "Since then my cycling has been moving uphill.
"Tisha and I made a deal to work as a team, then neutralize with two laps to go. I'm a better sprinter and I started sprinting 50 meters before she expected and opened it up."
Whitney and Berry broke away and lapped the field twice.
"I was pretty confident when we got away and didn't have to mess around with anyone else," Berry said.