Quicky race report from Sunday. Turn out was only a little smaller than normal despite San Ardo and University Road Races also going on. I looked for strong riders in the first 15-20 minutes to form a break away since that seems to be happening more and more in these crits. A few promising moves went with strong riders and I jumped on immediately but we were caught as there were still too many fresh legs to chase. At the 25 min mark we had a hard lap, followed by a prime lap, then the always aggressive Johnathan Christensen from Limitless Cycling made a move with one other Squadra SF rider Alex Lockwood. It’s a good start, especially since Squadra always brings a bunch of riders so they can shut the field down if you get into a break with one of their guys. I jumped across with a Pinnacle Reactor rider Aaron Patterson who has won quite a few races this year and we made a good group of 4. We started rolling away and had over 30 seconds (more than 1 straight away) pretty quickly. We were working (or at least I was) REALLY hard. My heart rate was into the 190’s for 20 minutes straight (high for me). Then I looked back and saw 2 riders attempting to bridge across. I almost couldn’t believe it. They made it up to us a little bit later and it allowed me to catch my breath some but not a lot. One of the riders to bridge across was recently crowned 30-34 district RR champ Chris Evans of Squadra so now they had 2 riders in the break. I tried to pull through easy to catch my breath before the final laps when I knew it was going to get ugly. Sure enough with 2 laps to go, both Squadra guys launch together. Now it was up to the other 4 to chase them down and act like teammates just long enough to bring it back. I only pulled through once I think and I was back at my limit quickly. The Pinnacle rider took a huge pull and we rolled up beside the Squadra pair with half a lap to go. I was hoping we could just continue past them but they latched on. Leading up to the final turn I am totally worked over. Unlike the past few races where I had enough time at the end to recover and sprint while everyone jockeyed for position, this time I came into the sprint with nothing left. Alex Lockwood from Squadra initiated the sprint with one other rider on his wheel, Pinnacle in third and me in 4th through the final corner. Out of the corner I just followed wheels to the line to finish in 4th place as the three in front of me fanned out and all crossed the line within half a bike length of each other with Aaron Patterson taking the win and securing his Cat 1 upgrade. Congrats to him, he was the strongest guy on the day.
3, 22 mile laps with a total of 6000 ft of climbing. fortunately the previously predicted heat never arrived and the temperatures were humid but comfortable. However, the winds were coming out of the west which was very favorable for breakaways.
Riders: Dan Bryant, Stephan Giachino, Jason Boynton
The race started normally with a tolerable tempo up the the first climb. We went hard on the descent and Dan Martin and Todd Bell went away as we started the second climb. No one really reacted or seemed to care. Dan set a hard tempo up the second climb and I attacked hard at the top and kept it going until we came off the Wente Climb, but nothing was going and Martin had put on the gas. When we hit the big climb the second time, Dan went full TT mode and rode an insane tempo up the entire climb. This put most riders in trouble. I went hard over the top, but we where catching another field and that messed things up. When we hit the second climb Dan again set a hard tempo and I again attacked at the top. This time we had small group but we weren’t going anywhere. The field had reduced to 8 though. At the bottom Cottell tried some efforts and I countered the final one and got away with Eropkin. He wasn’t going to do much with Martin ahead, but he rode some on the flats, and I was able to get rid of him on the climb. I caught and rode through Bell and saw Martin 1-2 minutes ahead on the climb but never saw him again. He held on for an impressive solo win, I held on for solo second and Eropkin held on for a solo 3rd. I think the only sprint was for 5-7.
Good day in the saddle.
Thanks for reading,
Not only did I not have any major goals for Dville this year, I had to get talked into doing it by my friend at the last minute. My family and I are moving to Wenatchee on the 12th and things have been busy. But as my friend Matt reminded me, “Jason, you said this was your favorite race from last year; and btw, you got 2nd.”
Race didn’t kick off until 9:35 for us so we were able to sleep in our own beds and got there with plenty of time.
As others who have done this race would surely attest – the atmosphere at this race is 2nd to none. The town of Sierra City quadruples in size for the race (no real data, just a guess), with presumably everyone who lives there volunteering.
My biggest concern for the race, in true road race prima donna/weight weenie fashion, was how was I going to get fed on top of Packer Saddle. Last year I had the whole family there so Kerri was able to give me a bottle but not this year. I figured I could probably find a friend with a significant other to assist. And I did!
As I said, I had no real goals than the obvious – don’t hurt yourself – but I did think I could do well and maybe win the thing. But as I bumped into my former teammate Nate Freed, whose fiancée Janelle was going to feed him (and now me), Nate let me know Jesse Miller-Smith was racing as well, and in my group. This gave me pause. If you don’t know JMS he holds the KOMs up Geiger (beating Bobby Julich’s record when Bobby was still racing) and Mt Rose, among thousands of others. He is a world-class climber, so things just got a bit tougher.
We started, and as predicted, JMS took off a couple minutes into the pavement climb and was quickly by himself. There were a few other eager beavers and I entered the dirt in 5th place. I quickly got by 2 and then 5 min later got by another but couldn’t see Jesse.
One of the great parts about mountain bike racing, and especially Dville, is the effort you need to expend to pass people (or get passed by people on the DH). Almost immediately into the dirt we were catching Pro Men and Women; I must have made 10-15 super-spin efforts to get by people through unfriendly lines but I had to keep the pressure on hoping JMS would flat and I might see him again.
I topped out, got my feed and started the singletrack in 2nd place. I felt good.
From here my main goals were to limit how many times I got passed. Last year I yo-yo’d with a few people and probably got passed by 20+. I’m no slouch going down but there are some serious riders in this race.
So far I made it through Sunrise and baby heads w/o getting passed, flatting or crashing so I was happy. But I hadn’t passed anyone either (other than on the climb between DHs) and still no sign of JMS.
The trail seemed quite a bit rougher and dustier than last year; I talked with several riders from last year and everyone thought conditions were more challenging and the times showed it. Last year Carl Decker won the race in 1:55; this year Levi won in 2:00, with Moeschler and Decker right behind them.
But I was feeling good and finally about half way through the descent I caught Jesse. I was on Marc-Pro/Strava a few years back with Jesse and we are pretty good friends, so I felt okay talking a little shit to him. I screamed “Ah Jesse, I’m going to get you!” I then asked him if he flatted (I meant this seriously, not as a complete d*&^head statement). He told me he’d been cramping. I asked him if was going to make me earn or if he was going to let me by. He let me by.
If he was cramping, and assuming no mechanicals, I thought this was the end of it. But I kept the pressure on. About 10 minutes later I got passed by the fastest/craziest descender I’ve ever been in a race with. It’s hard to describe how much faster he was going than me but I was actually scared for him. This rattled me for a minute and resulted in my crashing as I was approaching the bridge before Misery hill. I somehow landed on my feet (much practice dismounting bike) which got a huge cheer from the aid station volunteers and I caught my bike before it ended up in the river. I got back on and proceeded to stack it up on the bridge and some other guy got by me.
Last year I thought I won this race. My friend, Stosh Bankston, who finished right behind me also thought I won. Somewhere near the end of the race I’d been passed by Garrett Heitman and I had no idea. So having these 2 guys get by me concerned me a bit because I didn’t recognize them from the pros and I also didn’t know where Jesse was. I kept chasing.
The pivotal moment in the DH was about to take place and it was foreshadowed in a discussion with my friend Matt on the way to the race. He was talking about a section of the course near the finish where there is a BIG rock. I had no clue what he was talking about as I’ve only ridden the DH 3x. He said you’ll remember it this year. And I would. As I approached the big rock it looked like I could ride up it on the left side but I hadn’t shifter properly and was in too big of a gear. I got about half way up and quickly jumped off my bike; this thwarted the progress of the 2 pros behind me and to my surprise JESSE! He was right on my ass. Everyone had to get off their bikes and the pros got in front of Jesse with me in front of them and I quickly got a gap on him.
From here there was some flowy singletrack, some fireroad flats and descents and the pavement into town. I went into TT mode and never saw the others again.
But I still wasn’t sure if I’d won and the 2 guys that passed me were at the finish line, so I looked at their numbers. Sure enough, different categories. I won!
The race course is cool (epic really) but the event in Dville apres race is amazing. There are vendors everywhere, a bike check, bike- river jumping and beer. I recommend everyone does the race at least 1x.
Thanks to Sierra Buttes for putting on such a great event and thanks to Folsom bike and all our sponsors for their support.
P.S. I do have my Folsom jersey on but they gave me that winners jersey and felt obliged to put it on.
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 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+.
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”.
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!