Berglund, Stieda See Way to Victory : Winners Have Moving Experiences at La Jolla Grand Prix

There was some awfully good karma going around Sunday at the fifth annual Bud Light La Jolla Grand Prix bicycle race.

Marianne Berglund had a vision; Alex Stieda had a feeling.

Berglund, from the Lycra team, turned vision into reality by winning the women’s division of the event for the third time. And Stieda’s feeling was a winning one as he captured the race in the men’s division.

“I try to visualize a race the night before,” said Berglund, a native of Shelleflea, Sweden who lives in Cardiff. “I had a good plan. It doesn’t always work because of what the other riders do, but today it was the ultimate situation for me.”


Berglund, who won the race in 1986 and 1988, had the lead several times during the 20-mile, 33-lap race and was never farther than 20 yards from first place.

“I had planned on staying up front,” said Berglund, who last week finished seventh in the 10-day Tour of Texas race. “I wasn’t going to let anything get away.”

Sally Zack, from the Lowrey’s team, finished about 15 yards behind Berglund, while Karen Bliss, from the DIS Club, finished third. Berglund won $1,250, which she said she will split with teammate Jeannie Golay, who Berglund said helped her on the last lap.

Stieda, a native of Vancouver, took turns owning the lead with his 7-Eleven teammates in the 40-mile, 66-lap race through the streets of downtown La Jolla. But with six laps to go, Stieda, who turned 28 Thursday, got his feeling that the race was his to win.

“It’s something you can’t really explain,” said Stieda, who finished 10th in the ’84 Olympics points bicycle race while competing for Canada. “You have to feel the moment. A lot depends on how the pack reacts. The pack hesitated and my teammates did a good job of blocking for me.”

Graeme Miller, from the IME Panasonic team, took second and Doug Shapiro from the Silver Bullets team was third.

Stieda’s teammates--Scott McKinley, Jens Veggerby, Brian Walton, Frank Andreu and Tom Schuler--each jumped in front for at least four laps.

“The strategy was to always have someone out front,” said Stieda, who collected $3,000 for his victory. “I just happened to be off the front at the end.”

Fortunately for Stieda, the race ended when it did.

“I couldn’t have done another lap,” he said.