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2014-04-13 Red Kite 3 35+ 1/2/3 and 45+ 1/2/3 Race Report by Kevin Metcalfe


I decided to skip Sea Otter this year and since I hadn’t raced since Snelling for various reasons I signed up for the Red Kite on Sunday. Business park criteriums are hardly my forte or something that I focus so on went on a really long and hilly ride on Saturday (http://www.strava.com/activities/129604604) to properly prepare for the races that I will focus on in the coming weeks. But we didn’t too hard so I felt okay on Sunday.

Before the race Chris Morris, Tony Martinez, Jim Rademann, Brian Acord, and I gathered for a quick strategy session. Jess was busy announcing at the time. The gist of it was to ride aggressively and when it comes down to the inevitable field sprint we would try and keep it fast and try to set somebody up for the sprint. (Not me!) Chris Phipps is 45 this year and had other ideas. He attacked literally from the gun. That one came back but it was just the first of many. I made a few probing attacks and counters and got absolutely nowhere. Chris, Tony, Jim, Brian and Jess were very active too, but nothing was staying away. With about 25 minutes to go Phipps attacked again. I took off after him with a couple of other guys and it looked like we might get clear to bridge up but we didn’t cooperate and came back shortly. A couple of laps later I was able to sneak away and as I got half way across Chris eased up to wait for me. (Thanks Chris!)

My first impression of Chris some years ago was that he was a great climber. This was correct. But he also has quite a flat land motor as his recent TT results indicate. He was on good form on Sunday. Chris is a bit stronger than me right now and there is nowhere to hide behind him when he pulled in his aerodynamic tuck. That combination made my life harder and harder. We started out taking even pulls, but then I started having trouble when he pulled because he was going so hard and I couldn’t recover. My pulls got shorter and shorter. Finally on the back straight on the last lap he basically rode me off his wheel to stay away and win. We had enough gap so that I easily stayed away for 2nd. I guess if my life depended on it I could have dug deep and stayed with him, but it didn’t and I didn’t.

The tactical lesson for me I guess is that I should have seen it coming and eased back on my pulls fairly early on to try and save something for the finish. On the other hand, it’s the Red Kite crit not world’s and killing myself only to get second now will pay more dividends later when it counts.

Between the 45+ and 35+ race I didn’t roll around much and the start of the 35+ race was a rude awakening. I sat near for the back for the first 20 minutes or so to warm up and rest before moving up towards the front. Chris was active again, but probably working with the idea of setting up his team mate Jan for the field sprint. Around half way through though Jan crashed out. Again with about 20 minutes to go I got into a break with Chris, A.J. Kennedy (Vumedi), Trevor White (Vumedi), Dan Martin (Safeway) and Aaron Patterson (Pinnacle). Chris and Dan were particularly strong and again there was much pain.

After 6 laps to go though we saw 2 laps to go and then as we came around the race was stopped for an ambulance to take Jan away. He had hit his head and blacked out for a moment along with breaking his collar bone.

The plan was to restart the race with 5 laps to go and our group having a 13 second head start. During the break I went to my truck to drink some Mountain Dew, Tweeted (of course) https://twitter.com/nslckevin/status/455480507430494208 and had a chat with the guys. My idea was that Dean and I should trade jersey’s and he should do the last 5 laps in the break but we thought they might notice. Plan B was that I would sit on the break and Dean and the guys would kill it behind to bring it together and set up Dean for the field sprint. That made sense because there was no way I was going to win in that break. Both Dan and AJ are better sprinters than me and were both fresher.

I soft pedaled off the line to get on the back and again the hard effort after sitting around was painful. I had to work hard to slot onto the back. I took a couple of pulls where I was in the way more than helping but the group behind was not closing the gap. With 1.5 to go I stopped pulling. I would have preferred to take a flier coming into turn 3 on the last lap but tired legs and a headwind on that leg made that choice a non-starter. I wanted the sprint to start coming into turn 4 so that I could hit that turn at full speed (my jump does not really exist right now) in maybe 2nd or 3rd wheel. I executed that poorly and came around the corner in fourth spot gapped and there I stayed.

It was fun to be out racing again and I’m looking forward to Copperopolis this weekend.

2014-04-12 Sea Otter Classic 35+ 4 Road Race Report by Paul Higley

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So I’m driving down to Sea Otter in Monterey from Redding, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic along 680 which made my 5 hr drive into 7. I’m like, WTF am I doing. So then later I’m tucked into my luxurious Motel 6 room which is nearly as awesome as a dirty campsite while people talk outside, slam doors and stomp on the ceiling. I’m like, WTF am I doing. When I arrived at the Sea Otter venue the next morning, I was like.. OH THIS is what I’m doing! What an awesome event!!

I’ve been pointing my fitness towards this month since last fall, and Sea Otter was the first of my A road races. After mucking around with a bunch of low probability (but fun) attacking and racing ‘dumb’ during early races, I had prepared my mind to truly race well this time. It helped that Sea Otter is race of attrition with 4700′ in 45 miles.. I knew the terrain would gradually wear down the field, and I was certain the last 1.5 mi 6% finish would be selective. I vowed to let other guys beat each other up while I scrimped and saved watts for the finish.

We only had 25 in the 35+ cat 4 field, but everyone was strong the entire race. After the neutral roll out to the course, we started fast on the first of 5 laps and were strung out immediately. Good, I thought, the tougher the better.

There were five 7 mile loops before the final climb, and it was a stout course.. climbs weren’t long, but there were a ton of them and they took their toll. A few strong dudes tried to get away but never got much time and came back sooner or later. We hammered our way along the course, which was super fun with closed roads, twisty fast descending, and just enough coastal wind to make drafting important on the false flat sections. Several of the strongest riders continued to blow themselves up while other guys chased. At one point we had a gap with about 6 guys, so we started hammering and rotating well but it all came back together in a few minutes, & by lap 4 I was really feeling it. Gaps were starting to open up on the climbs.. guys were getting tired but were still able to close them down. As we hammered into the base of the finish climb we still had at least 20 guys! I didn’t feel shattered yet, but I wasn’t sure how much I had left. As we rolled up the climb I was 3rd wheel and I could hear guys breathing hard and labored, but I felt like I was in a sustainable place for the moment… encouraging. We saw the 1k to go sign, but it was only getting steeper towards the 10% finish &and there was a noticeable headwind. I expected attacks to come, and I knew it would only take a single acceleration to blow me up.. I was on my limit. The two lead guys were gradually pulling away and they clearly had a bit more than me as the line came into view. My heart rate was pinned and I was drowning in a sea of oxygen.. it was slow motion suffocation! I stole a glance behind me at 200m and there was a gap of a few seconds to the shattered group. I saw one dude get out of the saddle for a last ditch effort and I jumped toward the line just to guarantee he didn’t steal my 3rd placeand the last few points I needed for a cat 3 upgrade. Psyched!!

The podium was super fun with the announcer, medal thingy around my neck, cute podium girl kiss, handshakes with the other guys and arms raised! As always, I’m proud to wear the Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s kit and do right by a great team and awesome sponsors. Thanks for reading.

2014-04-05 Topsport Stage Race 45+ 1/2/3 Race Report by Joe Staron

topsport podium

Good showing for Folsom Bike at Top Sport.  I’m not big on the blow by blow, but a tough windy 75 mile road race, followed the next day by a 60 plus minute circuit race and then a TT makes for some sore legs on Monday.  Props to Steve McCaw for driving  the angry peloton to catch a solo break with 2k to go to in the road race to keep us in the game for the GC.  Alas, I couldn’t close the deal in the TT and we settled for 2nd in the GC.

 

See you out there,

Joe Staron

GC

Joe Staron 2nd

Steve McCaw 6th

RR

Joe Staron 3rd

Steve McCaw 5th

TT

Joe Staron 2nd

2014-04-05 Central Coast Circuit Race Series #3 Race Report by Chris Lyman

CCCX Road Race Fort Ord 4-5-14-33-XL

After showing George what’s up at the Fondo I headed to the CCCX circuits Saturday to contest my first race for the elderly.

 

Rolling to the 45+ start I surveyed assembled riders, spotting Phipps and a gaggle of Thirsty Bears, Kevin Klein & Pat Briggs, other deuces, and more grey hair than a Diana Ross concert.

Being without <cough, cough> teammates and heavily outgunned, I wanted to keep the power dry as long as possible and opportunistic following moves with Thirsty Bears.  The whistle blew and at first slight rise Phipps got to lashing the geezers, though everything stayed together.

Round 2 and Phipps resumes landing body blows, this time leaving carnage strewn about Ft. Ord. Thirsty Bear Brenon Daly jumped and I followed along with Kevin Klein, sensing the ensuing chaos might provide cover to slip away. Brenon and I were Morgan Stanley teammates and he’s a good guy. KK and I once had our differences but resolved them with couple’s therapy in a 48-mile break at Merco SR (along with Brian C and Jason B).  So off we went, with 5 laps to go.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  Goal 1: keep the powder dry early – FAIL. Lumpy courses give me a hard time and this became 45-minutes of “Shut Up Legs!” I especially wouldn’t look to ride a break with two guys that will lite me up in a sprint but having few cards to play, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

With 2 to go we had a decent cushion and I let off the gas to hold something in reserve. Kevin must have sensed the same because he stopped taking pulls, feigning fatigue. As the saying goes, “there are no friends in a bike race” and I knew Kevin would be crafty and cutthroat.

As another saying goes, “it’s good to have friends in a bike race.” Starting the bell lap I told Brenon I wouldn’t chase. He nodded in agreement and when we hit the backside rollers he took a dig that Kevin covered, I countered, and then Brenon went again, which resulted in me getting dropped. I kept pedaling and Brenon stated true to his word, sitting up on the final descent.  I reached into my European Carryall, extracted a handful of courage, and hit it as hard as I could, going by them with a knockout blow.

Final score: Lyman, 1; Elderly Bike Racers, 0.

In the 35 race I had far more patience, holding off until lap 3 for an all-chips-in bridge to the select group of 5 chasing Matt Carinio and a Bear. Two came in tow but the race was headed up the road so there was little choice. I made the move for 3rd step of podium and had sensations, though none of them good.  I came up short and rolled in for 10th.

2014-03-29 Gold Country Gran Fondo featured in CyclingWest!

Our recent Gold Country Gran Fondo was featured in several online publications, including CyclingWest! Check out the story here. More photos available here.

2014-03-29 Turlock Road Race 45+ 1/2/3 Report by Steve McCaw

Masters 45+ 1-3

Turlock Lake RR, 68mi, 3 laps

Sunny, some wind, ~55f, No Rain!
US: Tony Martinez 14th, Steve McCaw 5th
Them: ~26 starts, Plenty of Morgan Stanley, DBC and D. Himley.

Doppler is awesome.  Rain storm’s already is full bloom Stockton north but a swath of sunshine was visible Turlock and south.  So with 3 hrs till start time, I head out.

With barely enough time to pin on my number I lined up with Tony Martinez to a beautiful spring blue sky day.  Race instructions given were muffled but what I heard was ‘mostly closed roads with some exceptions’.  I didn’t hear of the KOM sprint or which roads were open.  And with that, we we’re off.  After 5 minutes of soft peddling a small group forms with the majority of guys watching and waiting for Dirk to react.  But he nor Langely budged.  Perfect, I thought, isolate Dirk in the field and bridge to the group.  Which I did.  The group was a tad too big with ~8 riders but we were gaining ground fast.  I only knew a few of the riders well and by he looks of it, I didnt expect much of the unknowns.  2 min’s was announced by the moto in a short time, which grew to 3 minutes.  Along the southwardly route the road climbed a bit and a 1k sign appeared for a sprint.  Yum, an uphill sprint.  Easily took that and with it came a Cycles Gladiator hat (thanks Jess) and on we went.  With 8 of us working ‘ok’  the gap waffled up and down.  Things changed a lot on the 2nd lap as guys started to beg out of working, or taking 50% turns.  Certainly not enough to keep the field off.  In hindsight, I should have more adamantly taken some riders and take  it in a smaller group.  But even the chosen couldn’t or wouldn’t trust their fitness and banked on staying in the safety of the Pod.   Fully understanding that a certain guy back there that will be coming, and come he did.  In the span of 1/2 lap Dirk come across bringing another strong finisher with him, Don Langly.  Mr Kilo.  Worst fears becomes a reality.  Now we have 3 MS in the break which, as they should have, began launching attacks at the  group until one got away, Clint Gaver. Who stayed away and won.  The last 1/3 of lap three was so tough.  Dirk and Don wouldn’t let anything go so it was to be a field sprint.  Seeing that, i tagged the gutter along the cross wind sections to kept the pace controlled along with everyone else until 3 k and let the other begin the scrum. The finish is after a short riser and flat.  Dirk provided some fore-warning and knowing Don is a world class Kilo rider I prepared for a long one.  And without fail, Dirk goes long with Don firmly attached who comes around him easily for 2nd, Dirk holds on for 3rd by a bike length, and dammit, Stan T comes by me for 4th.  Good rides by the Morgan’s.  I was pleased to have gotten into another 65 mile break again, and best finish of 2014 for me.  Tony was stuck chasing dirk in the field, and by the sounds of it, it was no easy task.

I hope the others in the break leaned a few things.  Don’t expect the field to give up.  Don’t overlap my wheel.  Put your best foot forward and do some work. Rotations do have rules. And I will bark at you for not doing your share of the load when a predator is lurking.

This was an excellent course which favored the ZIPP 404′s and Giro Air Attack!!  But when doesn’t it !?!

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2014-03-22 OTF Omnium P/1/2 Race Report by Brian Zimny


With the big Chico Stage Race going on (and me not able to attend), I assumed I would have a quiet weekend of training until I heard a few people talking about the OTF omnium in Fresno. I had no idea this race was on the calendar until a couple days before, and it had an uphill 2K time trial with 300 feet gain and a wall of 16% in the last 0.4 miles, followed by a circuit race with 100 ft climbing per 2 mile lap, then a flat crit on Sunday. I figured the TT might be a good opportunity for me and I was right. No time trial bike required, just 4 minutes of excruciating pain, I can handle that.

The race had a pretty low turnout with Chico going on. Only 14 registered for the Pro/1/2 Time Trial, so I was hoping for more riders in the other two races. I rolled up to the start of the TT and a local guy held me up as I clipped in. The starter was counting down with his hand waving fingers in front of my face. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!” I anticipate his “go” and roll right on it. My arm hits his arm and I hear him say, “Whoa!” No matter, I am off. My plan for the TT was almost completely dependent on my new Quarq power meter and historical data from past training. I decided I would target the first half of the TT where the gradient was flat or very gradual as a seated effort with my wattage appropriate for that portion. Once I was forced to stand for the 16% wall at the end I knew I would be able to push more power using different muscle groups and my own body weight to assist. I crossed the line gasping and with no where to spin or cool down I just stopped and waited for the pain to go away. I tied for 2nd place with Travis Lyons of Mike’s Bikes but was penalized 1 second for jumping the start. The official considered me hitting his arm as a jump start and I was reduced to third place despite there being no difference in time. Strava later confirmed my time as identical with Travis Lyons. The winner was Jack Maddux, a 17 year kid on Hot Tubes development team on a TT bike that smoked us all by 12 seconds. Pretty big time gap for such a short effort. 4th place was a further 6 seconds behind me including a couple strong guys Chuck Hutcheson of Marc Pro Strava and Blake Anton of Clif Bar. In an omnium though it doesn’t matter how many seconds, it matters for points. Regardless, the TT/prologue was fun and I hit my target wattage spot on. I had never done anything like that before and I had a good time coming up with a strategy for it and of course coming out with a good result helps too.

In the afternoon the circuit race on part of the same course as the time trial. As I said before it had a stairstepping 100 feet of climbing per lap and a fast 40mph sweeping downhill. Really fun course but boy was it was hard. Really hard. A very aggressive rider showed for the CR race that didn’t do the TT. Vincent Owens was a Yahoo pro a couple years ago and has a history as a very aggressive attacking rider. The first half hour was very painful as he and others threw down attacks multiple times per lap up the climb and with no where to hide in a field of 16, I chased a lot to defend my spot in the overall, hoping that the next attack would lead to a breakaway with a more steady pace. Each time, the moves were brought back. Eventually Jack Maddux went off solo and then a couple others bridged up including Hutcheson, Anton, and Owens. I was in the lead chase until about 15 min to go when the pace slowed considerably and both of my quads locked in cramps. I couldn’t pedal at all. I pulled over to the side and watched my omnium position ride away. Unable to stretch without making it worse, it took 5 minutes standing on the curb before my muscles would relax. I then soft pedaled the remaining 2 laps after being lapped by everyone and finished 11th. I was a bit disappointed in my body for failing me but I can’t really blame it. I haven’t done any of those types of sprinting workouts yet this year so it isn’t that surprising I didn’t have the repeatability required.

The next day I hoped I would have something for the crit to at least get a single day result but my legs were toast from cramping so badly the day before. It felt like I was in a bicycle crash and not a bicycle race. I sat in most of the race and covered a couple pack splits resulting from a crash and windy conditions. 3 guys lapped the field including the omnium leader Jack Maddux. On the final lap, I stood up to sprint for the finish and cramped both quads again. Finished 14th out of a larger field of 25. 8th overall in the omnium. Overall I hope I gained some fitness from the trip and sometimes this is just how bike racing goes. I would definitely go back to that race for the TT and Circuit race. They were fun courses. Thanks for reading!

Photo credit from the TT and Circuit Race to Gary Brooks.

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