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2014-07-27 Berkeley Bicycle Club Criterium E2/E3 Race Report by Brian Zimny

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I decided to do just one race at the 30th Annual Berkeley Criterium.  The nature of the course being technical, a bit bumpy, and having some climbing in it made me shy away from 2 races back to back.

I made sure to stay in the top 10 for the first 10+ minutes both to stay out of trouble and keep from having the accordion wear me out as the group expanded and contracted.  After only 12 minutes of racing, 4 of the stronger riders went off the front, each from a different team that was well represented.  At the bottom of the course I jumped to bridge up with one other rider.  Once the group of the 6 of us got organized we worked pretty hard to get a gap but it hovered for a long time around 30 seconds.  I was taken by surprise by how strong some of the guys were as I regularly saw over 500 watts in the draft on the climbing section lap after lap.  With 45 minutes of racing left I tried to be smart about my contributions, especially when it seemed like we were going to stay away the whole race.  Our gap grew late in the race to over a minute and I was confident we would stay away so I practiced the art of the “soft pull.” I stayed in the rotation but only pulled hard enough to make it around the lead rider as he drifted back.  By the time we hit the bell lap I was fairly rested…. just in time for one of the thinner riders to go for a 1 lap flyer.  Being third in the rotation when he jumped, the lead rider looked around for some one to chase.  I knew if I hesitated, everyone else would do the same and the win would be gone up the road.  This guy had been turning the screws on all of us up the hill every lap so I knew he had the legs, but probably wasn’t confident in his sprint.  I jumped after him and ended up towing the rest of the break back up to him and we regained contact at the bottom of the climb.  I hoped no one would attack at that point as I needed a little bit of jockeying for position to catch my breath before the sprint.  That is exactly what happened and we more or less soft pedaled until half way down the straight leading to the final corner.  I see a Pinnacle-Reactor rider that won the Colavita Grand Prix last weekend jump out of the corner of my eye.  I jump too and we are side by side sprinting toward the final corner.  I am leaving nothing in the tank for the final straight but still losing ground after my chase move earlier in the lap burned a match or two.  As we approach the turn he is carrying a ton of speed so I sit up and allow him to roll through the corner first.  He exits the turn in front of me with another rider in tow and as he rolls over the crown of the road and hits the off camber section, his rear wheel washes out and down he goes.  The rider following him also goes down.  I hit the brakes a little just in case they fall back into my line and when I realize I am safe (and now HORRIBLY over-geared for the sprint) I get back on the gas and grind out a sprint at what feels like 70 RPM before I cross the line for the win.  Behind me the crashed riders show serious mettle by getting back up and running across the line before the pack to preserve their placings.
Here is a video from the race taken by the second rider to crash:
I then got to relax and watch former teammate and Folsom Bike employee Matt Chatlaong crush the P/1/2 field easily and win the sprint by 4 bike lengths.  He attacked every lap on the climb until the 50 rider field was reduced to 15.  I would likely have been one of his victims to fall off the back as well after my efforts in the first race.
Thanks for reading!

2014-07-26 San Rafael Twilight Criterium 35+ 45+ 1/2/3 Race Report by Kevin Metcalfe

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I didn’t get the greatest start position and my first thoughts after the gun was “Some of you guys need to either get Speedplay pedals or start at the back.”   :-)

 

I got to the front after a few laps.  There were lots of attacks early on and there appeared to be a pattern.

 

Dirk attacked a lot. Mikes Bikes seemed to be getting guys into breaks, but I guess not liking the combination as the guy tended to not work and their guys behind tended to block for them. Specialized was working for Jeromy to win the Premier series and Craig Roemer was his policeman.  He wasn’t letting anything without Jeromy go and he wasn’t interested in working in a break without Jeromy. Mike Sayers was aggressive as always.

I saw people doing dumb stuff and though I had the guy in front of me skid out in turn 4 one lap and scared the crap out of me, nothing bad happened and nobody that I saw went down.  But all the more reason to get up near the front and stay there.

BTW, raise your hand if this has happened to you.  You get up to the front and you pick a side/line, let’s say the right side.  Then shortly after you get there the guy at the front of the side/line you picked sits up nobody goes around him and you get bogged down while the guys on the other side/line go around and now you’re back in 35th position again and get to start all over like Sisyphus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus   Yeah, I see a lot of hands.  Kind of like how you pick the faster lane on the freeway only to have it slow down while the lane you were in speeds past.  :-)

Anyway, cutting to the chase we were active in the race.  Jason was active, Dean was in one move and lurking near the front the whole race.  I was active, but nothing was sticking for much more than a lap or two.  Late in the race Jason got away for a  few laps, but nobody joined him and he was brought back with 4 or 5 to go.  Dirk countered and got a slight gap.  With 4 to go I went into control the race for our sprinters mode and spent most of a lap on the front bringing Dirk back.  A couple of guys went around me and when I looked back we had a gap.  I’m not sure why as I hadn’t attacked and I KNOW that I wasn’t riding so hard that nobody could hang.  I think somebody must have been a little tired and sat up and more or less said “somebody else do this”, or somebody (maybe Craig) sat up to let the gap open because of who they had up front.

The group consisted of myself, Mike Sayers, Jeromy, Scott Broomstead (all registered 35+) and Dirk and Dan Shore (registered 45+).  With Jason and Dean behind I didn’t drive the group.  With Specialized, Mikes Bikes and Folsom Bike represented, the pool of potential chasers was small and our little gap was holding.  Between turns 1 and 2 just after seeing 2 laps to go Mike Sayers attacked.  I saw him go and was in position to try and follow but didn’t.  For this I have much regret.  After the fact it is easy to second guess why I didn’t go.  The two biggest reasons were that I had just make a 1 lap effort to close down Dirk and was tired, and I wanted somebody else to do it.  Of course nobody did.  I wanted to make the same move on the last lap but when we got there the opportunity didn’t present itself.  This is where I made my second mistake.  We came around turn 2 and I wanted to move up.  I started to, but got a bit passive and didn’t fight for a better spot and ended up where I started which was behind Dirk, Jeromy, Scott, and Dan.  Through turns 3 and 4 and we sprinted out of the final corner.   I was closing on Dan, but ran out of time and finished 6th across the line and 4th in the 35+.

 

Lessons learned.

1.       I should have gone with Mike.  Even in the worse case I would have finished in the same spot, last in our group and 4th in the 35’s.  In the best case I might have latched onto the winning move.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Yeah I was hurting, but that is why that kind of move works, because EVERYBODY is hurting and the guy who wins does so because he ignores it and lets everybody else give up.  I know this, but  when it counted, I was weak.

2.       San Rafael is more or less a race for the final corner.  Yeah, somebody like Dean can probably come around a few guys, but for somebody like me it’s hard as the sprint it too short to get up to speed.  And what that really means is that it’s a sprint for turn 3.  And what that means is that coming out of turn 2 is when I should have gone hard.  The best case would have had move quickly moving into 2nd and then sprinting around before turn 3 and then holding my lead to the line or getting taken by 1 or two guys.  In the worst case I might have had to drag race all the way to turn 3 and then continue to the line.  Similar result and in either case a higher finish would have been the end result.

3.       Even though I first did this race in 1988(!) and I’ve done it many times I should have taken the time to think about the finish.  Had I taken the time to think it through I would have known to make the big effort half way through the last lap as opposed to trying to weigh the best option in the fog of oxygen debt.

 

All in all though it was a fun race, but I wish I could have a “do over”.

2014-07-05 Leesville Road Race Report by Kevin Metcalfe

On the climb a Davis guy (Matt Rodriguez?) rode away .  Behind josh Dapice myself and Dan Bryant came together with a good gap on the rest.  We caught Matt a bit before the turn around.  Then we lost him in the upper valley to a flat.  The three of us pulled and pulled and pulled.  The gap hovered around 1 minute.  At about 10 miles to go the chasers picked it up and started eating into our lead.
Long story short.  After being away for about 70km we got caught with 2 km to go.  I waited for an attack and lull and countered with a bit over 1km to go.  4 of us were together.  We took a couple of pulls and I attacked again at around 500 to go.  Behind Dan followed wheels and opened up his sprint just right to win a very close sprint.  I sat up and rolled in 7th.
I was very disappointed that we got caught, but the final result made it all okay.
We are ready for Cascade.

2014-07-05 Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals Race Report by Jason Walker

This past weekend was the national championship mtn bike marathon nationals in Sun Valley, ID.  This is a superb and demanding 20 mile course we complete 2x.  I raced here last year, finished 3rd and had a blast, which put it on my short list of target races for 2014.

Preparation for the race this year was moving along smoothly until I got sick 2 weeks ago.  Whatever, I was still going to race even if I wasn’t in top condition though I thought I’d be okay.

The race starts harmlessly with a 2.5 mile bike path roll-out that leads to a 15min fire road climb.  I settled in nicely and didn’t think I went too deep as we finished the climb and started the 40min singletrack traverse/climb to the top of the course.  This is where things started going south.  I couldn’t sustain any power on the singletrack.  I got passed by a couple guys and felt so poorly that I stopped pedaling and thought about pulling over.  Not good.  I settled in and tried to gather it in but was only going about half as fast as I should have been.  Miraculously nobody else passed me before I started the descent.

I started the descent in about 7th place and felt horrible.  I did what I could and made sure to not crash but after the descent and the small climbs within had dropped out of the top 10.  I grabbed my bottle at start/finish and latched on to 3 guys on the bike path to see if I could recover.  I drank the entire bottle in 5 min and had some food as we started the climb.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but didn’t want to quit so I just focused on the wheel in front.  Well, I started feeling better, not sure why but I did.  I had another feed coming near the top of the climb and had dropped the guys I followed on the bike path.  On the long singletrack climb I passed another guy and tried to maintain power.

I started the final descent in about 9th position but I wasn’t sure.  The second time down was much better than the first and I ended up passing 3 guys in my category before the final section of singletrack –  I thought I might salvage a podium spot so I kept the gas on.  Well, I ended up sixth.  My time was 7min slower than last year and somehow rode a faster second lap than first (that’s how bad the first was).  I am disappointed but still had a great time.

Thanks to Wilson and Erin for the bike loan.

Next up – Cascade!

2014-07-06 Red Kite Race Report by Brian Zimny

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E2/3 race report:

As summer sets in, you can see it on riders faces when it’s hot and dry.  My Garmin said it was 108 deg so that means it was probably low 90’s and windy at the start so it was like riding in a blow dryer.  Some riders got water feeds during the race, but without that option I just used the bottles I had to wet my mouth down so that I could breathe comfortably.  I think the heat made the race fairly calm for a while and so I just marked a couple riders that had been winning or getting on the podium recently.  One from Squadra SF that was tall and made a good break away companion, the other from Pinnacle Reactor was more my size (vertically challenged) with a good sprint.  I stayed attentive to any dangerous moves and jumped across to a couple that had potential but quickly nothing came of them.  One of the marked men initiated a strong move with 10 laps to go so I went with it.  I turned around and 15 of us had split off from the field.  There was the normal shouting for people to pull through and away we went.  I kept rotating through and trying to keep everyone motivated but then I noticed that my two marks were not pulling through with about 3 laps to go.  In a large break of 15, I suspected they might attack the break to thin the herd so after checking behind to make sure our lead was going to stay to the end I went to the back to hang out with them.  Right away the Pinnacle rider stuck to my wheel and he stayed there the next 3 laps.  With 2 laps to go I got back into the rotation and made my way forward.  With half a lap to go, the Squadra SF rider attacked.  Really early move but not surprising with his physique tending more toward time trialing.  I jumped with him and slotted into 3rd with 2 corners to go.  Exiting the corner he sees everyone on him and sits up.  Another rider goes (still pretty early) and I jump onto him as well.  I can tell he is going for broke but it won’t be enough so with about 50 meters to the final corner I jump around him both to lead through the final corner and hopefully use him as a road block to everyone else behind me.  The tailwind final stretch meant I got up to speed quickly out of the last corner and looking through the bike I could see one rider on my wheel but not gaining.  I sit up and go to raise both arms for victory when I simultaneously hit a pretty good bump that kicked my front wheel sideways and gave me a scare.  I quickly put my arms back on the bars and instead gave a one arm punch.
Pro/1/2 race report:
Between races I quickly downed a full bottle and filled both back up for the second race.  Based on past experience, a second race for me is a challenge.  I usually spend about 10 minutes recovering from the previous race and then try to play it conservative to try and avoid cramping before the end.  Dave Grundman from Bicycles Plus and current BAR points leader attacked with one other rider after only about 10 min so my recovery time more or less ended then.  The group split a couple times as the Cat 2 riders on their second race, reluctant to chase too hard, allowed gaps to open up.  The lap cards came out with about 8 to go and I could feel the twitches in my legs as the cramps started.  My water was nearly gone and I was feeling like a raisin out there in the sun.  The attacks started to get more aggressive and the group began splintering and reforming.  I probably waited a little too long as some of the small groups of 2 and 3 reformed ahead of the pack into 10+ riders.  I went with the next bridge attempt and just barely made it across with 2 other riders.  Once there I was spent.  I had very little to contribute to the chase but rolled through as best I could a couple times.  With 3 laps to go, the attacks came again and I couldn’t respond.  I hung back with a couple masters on their second races and we rolled through to the finish.  I ended up 14th with 3 or 4 riders ahead of the main chase.
Also, holding true to my onboard camera’s tendency, I got the first 6 min of the first race only on video before the camera crapped out.  When there is nothing exciting to record, I get it all… when I get a result, the camera doesn’t work.
Thanks for reading.

2014-06-29 Sattley Time Trial TT/TTT NCNCA Championship Results

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The team went out in force to race the NCNCA TT/TTT Championships in Sattley, just north of Truckee. Here are the results:

Brian Choi won the 40-44 individual TT
Dan won the 45-49 individual TT and set a new national record with his time of ~48:28. He broke Kent Bostick’s old record of 49:57 by almost 1:30!
Kevin won the 50-54 individual TT
Kevin, Dan, Jason Walker and Chris Lyman won the TTT – Pro category
Scott Kingston won the TTT – Open 1234 Category (with 2 non FB riders)
Gus and Angie Platis won the Tandem Elite Mixed category

2014-06-20 Little City Stage Race Report by Jason Boynton

Riders: Dan Bryant, Jason Walker, Chris Lyman and Jason Boynton.
4 stages 3 days scored as am omnium.  Dan loves that…

Stage one.  Diamond valley course.  5 laps.  We figured that we could do pretty well.  Hot and a little windy.  The race started pretty fast, a few guys tried to get away but nothing could really stick or get a big gap. On lap 3 of 5 we decided to go hard in the little crosswind section.  I went to the front just before in the headwind and kept it hard as we entered the crosswind. As luck would have it 4 of us had a pretty good gap and so we pushed it.  Walker and a couple other guys bridged up and we picked up Brannon Daly and another and we were 9.  Dan was able to bridge up solo and we had 10.  Walker, Dan and myself 4 or 5 thirsty bears and a couple of others.  It took a while to get coordinate but eventually we got everyone working and built a pretty good gap. On the final lap, dan hit the two climbs hard; softened the field on the first and then blew the field up on the second. He got a small gap with Brennan, I then bridged up to Phil Haynes of TB and walker followed on the downhill.  We caught Dan and Brennan and we were 3 on 2.  We took turns attacking and Dan finally got away with about 5k and held it for the win.  Behind walker and I sat on Phil’s wheel until about 400m to go.  Walker attacked first and Brennan followed. I was on his wheel and when Jason slowed I went and ended up 2nd and JW held Brennan off for 3rd.  1-2-3.
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Stage two.  Awesome circuit race at the beautiful fernley raceway.  Tons of fast turns and wide open.  Super hot and super windy.
The race was fast and hard.  A few early moves couldn’t stay away in the brutal headwind start-finish section.  Hans of TB got a little gap about halfway through and after the S-F Brennan bridged up with me on his wheel.  We where able to build a minute+ gap and held it to the finish.  I was 1 vs 2 and got impatient at the finish thinking we might get caught when we were almost track standing coming to the line and ended up leading Brennan out and he came around me for the win.  Behind Walker won the field sprint for 4th and Dan showing that he can sprint go 6th.

Stage three.  Diamond valley TT.
Not much to say but 1-2-3 again.  Of course Dan won at around 19:30, I was second at 19:55  and Chris showing he recovering from his injuries came in third at 20:00. Walker finished well enough to maintain 3rd overall, but by only 1 point over Brennan and a couple more to Phil.

Stage four.  Downtown Minden crit.
Goal was to make sure Walker finished ahead of Brennan.  Thirsty bear was super active as was Roemer and Dirk. Chris and I killed ourselves to keep it together and we came to the line in perfect position. Roemer, Walker, Richard Steele, me, and Daly was behind.  Walker took the win with Steele second and me third.  Dan finished safely but too far back and Walker jumped him for 2nd overall.
When all was said we went 1-2-3 overall:  JB, JW, DB with Chris riding like a champ and doing all that was needed to keep the overall as it was.

Next up Cascade.

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