Teammates- none. Drove the course the week before. It’s a beast. You don’t have to be a climber to do well, but you have to be able to climb.
Got my country on during the ride up. I figured the Pploton would get shattered on the first lap. Didn’t know too many guys, but there was one Peet’s. Chatted him up on the first lap.
First lap was mild, I stayed up front and pulled without really putting out any effort. Get through the hardest climb on, which is at the finish, and didn’t have to go to deep to stay up front. 1/3 of the field dropped. 2nd lap was also pretty mellow.
Decided on the 3rd lap, on the last climb was the time to go. I chatted up the Peet’s guy – if we get away, nobody is going to work to catch us. We hit the 3rd climb hard. I tell the Peet’s guy to hit it to the top of the first tier and then I’ll take over. He gets there and I try to come around. I pull along side as we hit the base of the longest stretch of the climb and I can’t get by him. We come over the crest shot, but got a few guys rotating. 4 of us got away. A Sierra Nevada guy bridges up, they have 2. I attack the break a few times, but can’t shake anyone. I look back and see a 6th guy bridging. We hit the accelerator and he disappeared. Decide to sit in to conserve for climb at the finish. We hit it together and the Peet’s guy takes off. CA technologies rider responds and I jump. Stayed close, but strung out hitting the finish line. 3rd Place. Proud to represent. Next up, Golden State.
First let me say 70 degrees my ass! Our race started at 12:20 in the second wave, it was dang cold! We had 100 pre registered riders and most showed up at the start. Most of the main teams showed up with their full squad, R4R, Coretech, Hammer, Peets, Morgan Stanley, Audi, etc. it was a stacked field with all the local celebrities. Don Langley, Kevin Metcalf, Dan Martin and about a dozen more. This is going to be Awesome! Most of us were under dressed for the weather and were freezing. The wind was picking up too. But It did not take long to warm up. Representing Folsom Bike at the start were Steve McCaw, Marty Cunningham, Todd Dambly, Mark Fiori and Chris Morris. A great turnout by the Team. We were ready. The not so “neutral” rollout was as white knuckle as it always is, everyone jockeying for position. The minute we were released, the pace shot up. The first lap was wicked fast, thanks to Dan Martin. I imagine about 25% of the field was taken out of the equation, attacks were happening back to back. Top speeds 34 mph. My body was turned inside out, can’t speak for the rest of the group. Second lap mellowed just a touch, the remaining laps were full gas. Most break attempts were easily dispatched, and McCaw was on the front chasing everything down, but lap 3 a small break was established. At the turn at Los Cerritos heading down the fast section a strong group got off the front, it was a dangerous break that included the strongest riders from Coretech, Audi, Peets, Morgan Stanley, looked to be about 7 guys. I am riding pretty hard trying to get to the front when I realize Audi and others are just pacing the pack when one of the Audi guys volunteers that they are not working because Fonseca is in the break. Crap! I can see them and start winding up when Tait Smith, RIO, goes to bridge hard and a R4R is behind him, I grab the back of them and we hit the hill hard when the R4R cuts me off on the hill and slows. After a few choice exchanges I see Tait taking off and I pin it after him. I catch him on the second hill and he is smoked. I look back and see no one, I am almost at the break and keep rolling when a second group bridges to us and we catch them before the turn. Ok match burned. Someone pulls up to me when the pack catches and says “Morris, you putting on a bubble blowing show for us with snot from your nose” yea that kinda match. I notice Dan Martin pulls to the side and he is out, mechanical, Kevin Metcalf I believe stops for him. Pace keeps going. I look to do inventory of the Team, I know where McCaw is be as he is up front protecting and dealing it out. Todd was keeping up with us, but had enough after Lap 3, I learned Fiori flatted, no sign of Marty. I knew Marty was with us because we were both hanging out mid pack together. But Marty disappeared, I thought maybe he had a mechanical and he did, it was apparently a bio-mechanical, he had to stop for a second, such is the life as a Super Master 👍, been there done that. So we head into the bell lap, I think we’ll I better get up there with McCaw. So I push and surf to grab his wheel. I soon realize what a great rider Steve is, and how he is smaller than me. I am very comfortable on his wheel, but that dude is slippery! He is finding space where there is none! I have to squeeze through before the opportunity closes. We get to the front and make the right turn on Los Cerritos, the pace is smoking and we are in a good spot, I am literally fighting for Steve’s wheel as we hit the rollers we are still in a good. The pace is super fast and Steve and I are in a good spot on the right, but I see an opportunity on the left, Heaton, Stockwell, Coretech, Hammer and it is picking up so I shoot over and yell for Steve to follow. We are at 2k and I am in a great position, I know Heaton is going to go for it, he shoots to the inside I look and it closes, damn, still in a great spot about 10 back. A few shuffles and hit the 1k still good spot and I have plenty in the tank. Going to be a fast sprint. I hesitate so I can save something for the hill finish. That cost me. Lost a couple of spots and ended up 16. Yeah Heaton won. I knew that was the right wheel. Tally at the end, only 48 finishers. I am convinced our 45 + Masters are holding our own against the best out there. Cheers!
–Race Report by John Novikoff–
Race Report Snelling:
I was coaxed into doing this race by Steve Thomsen who said he and Jim would go, and that it fills up fast so I better register. Having only done this race once as a Cat4 and hearing the windy, rain soaked horror stories of years past…I was going to pass. But register I did, and down to Snelling I drove leaving at 4am.
I got there my usual 1 hour too early and milled about with access to unused port-a-potties. Being early does have it benefits. I made the call to race in a light jacket and pinned my number on. In attendance was Steve Thomsen, Jim Herzman, Brian Brown, Michael Claudio and myself. Plan was to get our guys in the break and block accordingly. My role would be to sit in, and if it came down to a pack finish, to be fresh.
The pace on the first lap was pretty lively, but things settled down. I stayed near the front as I didn’t want to be caught up in any crashes or miss a split due to some wind on the course. It wasn’t physically expensive to do so. I drifted towards the back on lap three as things seemed to be relatively relaxed, but apparently this is when the break just simply rolled off the front represented by Peets Coffee Racing, Team Stand, Specialized/Touchstone and Chico Masters. Fielding large teams were Mikes Bikes, Squadra, and Thirsty Bear with no representation in the break yet they seemed content as the race went up the road. A quick organization of the three including some help from us and others, would have reeled the break in, but not to be. I had no idea there was even a break up the road unfortunately which leads to some disappointment later. I would have started pushing the point with the other teams if I was aware.
As I was under the impression we were all together, I found Michael Claudio towards the front and on the last lap made sure I stayed top 10. The usual suspects were there, Espy, Baker, Sayers…I knew staying up front would pay off when the pace was upped on the road leading to the final corner. And so it did. Michael and I stayed close but there was much shuffling going on. The group had a pretty good pace going into the corner, I took the inside line and grabbed Sayers wheel leading up to the finish. I was 6 deep in a perfect spot and hit it when the guys started to slow due to the hill. I came around all but Chris Baker to finish 2nd ( in the field Sprint). I was making up ground, but he had a pretty good charge to the line.
Having thought I just got us a podium for 2nd, Michael broke the news that there four were up the road and it was a 6thplace for us. I was still happy. We got the coveted ugly Snelling T-shirt.
I saw much action from all the guys, attacking, chasing stuff down and having a great time.
Another fun day racing with the Folsom Bike/Trek/Raleys Team!
It seems as if mother nature has a plan for good weather, and it revolves around bike racing. Wow! Another gorgeous day to rally the troops and play bike racer for a day.
After the breakaway-palooza at Cal Aggie, we decided to play things a bit more simple. I had one responsibility all day….sit. I did absolutely nothing while watching the antics unfold at the front. Our guys were so attentive, not letting anything off. We had a great group with Brian Brown, Matt Tufts, Steve Thomsen, Wilson Gorrell, Chris Morris and Michael Claudio covering all the moves, and instigating antics. I was chilling with the motion of the peloton ocean waiting for fireworks.
With 4 to go, the peloton was together, and I had moved near the front awaiting the other guys. I was sitting on the Peets Coffee Racing train as they were lined up 6 deep and sent a flyer. Just as I started asking myself “where my boys at”…Bam! We all aggregated towards the front and in a fluid motion….we are lined up.
- A quick side note. It sure is nice to race with professional non-professionals. When we all put in the kind of time and effort into this passion/hobby of ours, it is nice to be with a group that gels, communicates, has experience and are tacticians. All this was apparent on Saturday.
Okay, Back to it. Before one to go, Michael Claudio puts us on the front, and he pushes his gas pedal down. He strings the field out, and here we go through the start finish with all four of us, on the front, looking as pro as it gets. I had goose bumps seeing it from my vantage point. These are the moments we ride for. Our train kept the pace high. Once Michael was done, Matt was out of the saddle drilling it, then Brian kept the gas on. As we approached the corner, I felt a lull, as Brian started to tire and I hesitated. For some reason I thought we would get through the corner when I should have drilled it just before. Even being positioned to the right, would have blocked the surge a bit. My hesitation allowed the group from behind to move in from the right. We went 5 wide through the final corner and I was pressed up against the curb for a couple seconds. I opened up and went around a few guys and even though I was faster, making up ground, I rolled a crossed second.
I am proud of the guys and how they rode. I will say I am disappointed with my hesitation, as I wanted to bring it home for the guys who did so much.
Great efforts gentlemen!
By John Novikoff:
This race marks the season opener for us. Excitement was in the air as the weather cleared, temps were perfect, course was dry and we were racing together with familiar faces on our new squad. We talked initially about the usual suspects in the group, the tactics for the day, but things were pretty relaxed as we are all competent tacticians and can communicate. We initially didn’t think breaks were going to form as the group has 99% of the time stayed together on this course so we thought cool heads would prevail.
The whistle blew and there were our crisp clean looking kits on the front, with numbers just hanging out. Strangely I saw Dan Martin wind it up on the outside on the first lap. I thought two things, he was either trying to draw out some of us to wear us down, or lapping the field coming off his world championships, so I carried a bit of momentum and got on his wheel. He wasn’t riding breakaway light’s out speed, just putting some power down. Either way, it wasn’t costing me much to sit there, so I did. I had no intentions of contributing when a thirsty bear guy rolled up and joined us, so it shut down quickly as the rest of he field was fresh. It was lap one for Pete’s sake.
Michael Claudio was intent on getting some fireworks started. He rolled to the front and pulled an entire lap at speed. He had the peleton strung out pretty well. He is riding real strong. I thought breaks might be the call of the day as there may be varying levels of fitness due to the weather patterns over the past couple months and that happened to be right. Once some attacks had settled, we had a rough crash where forks and wheels went flying past other riders. Looked like someone threw a frag grenade in the group. A few got caught up and our own Brian Brown was involved. Nothing too serious as he was back in the race quickly after the race was suspended for 20 minutes for emergency vehicles. Thoughts are with everyone especially the Chico guy who took a hard fall.
Once the race was back on it was attack city. The pace was hot the rest of the race. I saw Michael Claudio up towards the front with about 8-10 guys and it appeared to be another from our team. Brian Brown and I met each other at the front and I said, that we had two up the road in what was about to be a solid break so lets block. We slowed the pace and the break was established. Guys accelerated around us after a bit and as I looked at wheels thinking the break would get caught, I realized that the break did form and was going to stick. I did not see the other Folsom guy up there anymore but wasn’t going to risk the bridge up and take the group with me. Just then, a Rio guy hit the gas with the intention of making the break so I followed. He gave me a free ride up to the group. Just as we were about to get on, Mike Sayers crashed off the back of the break. He was up quickly, and seemed okay. Finally I get on, and have zero time to take a breath when Dan Bryant and a Thirsty Bear rider attacked the break. I was in a bad spot to cover. I moved around and saw a Chico guy attempt to close the gap by stringing us out for a little bit. With Dan Martin and another Thirsty Bear rider on his wheel, I knew the chase was doomed once he was out of gas. I KNEW that was the winning move off the front and when Chico let up, I drilled it. I was closing for a lap and was oh so close and thought I would get them in the chicane, but it didn’t happen. After almost a lap, I could only keep pace with the two and not close anymore distance. With 2 laps to go, I was still in no-mans land and thought I might be able to solo for 3rd since it seemed I had a good gap on the break. I started to wear a bit and was eventually caught with 1 to go by the break. I stayed near the front of the group and Michael saw I had returned, got next to me on the back side, and brought us right to the front. He drilled it hard and took us into the final corner 1,2. I started to sprint and thought maybe I might make this, but was cooked. I had nothing left. I tried pedaling, but the effort from the 3 laps hit me hard. I have no clue where we finished and will check results later.
This was a tough race tactically. Besides it not sticking together for us to play our usual leadout antics, the race was highly animated. Getting a free ride to the break, I saw our guys all over the front blocking and nullifying the field, it was awesome. Making the move to bridge the attack from the break was the winning move, I just didn’t close it. Had one other attacked with me, or if I had made connection, things may have been different. I am disappointed I didn’t make the bridge, but hey, I held pace with Dan Bryant and some other guy who rode Dan off his wheel to win just in front of me for a couple laps.
We showed our presence as a strong team. We communicated well and played into the developments. I am so stoked for what the season holds for us. Big Props to Steve and Jim for driving over the hill. Well done gentlemen!
By Ric Reinhardt
Felt sharp in the new kit, shoes and helmet. The Trek is wicked fast. Best bike I’ve ever ridden.
E3 – We were aggressive with several attacks. Was a good start to learning to work together. I got in a break with another guy and a junior that looked to be 14-15. Was great to have him with us. We stayed off for a bit, but not enough efforts to bridge by others to make it worthwhile. I was in good position going into the first shikane but several sketchy moves by others made me hesitate. I’ve been down hard, I don’t want to go through that again. Finished 11th.
35+ – This was back to back with the E3. Sucked air out the gate and held onto the tail. According in and out of every turn. Pace was blistering in the beginning. It’s a great deal of effort to work up to the front from 50th. I loved how our team communicated. Everyone stayed in touch and grouped together in 2s and 3s. There was a nasty crash. A bike with a separated wheel flew about 10 ft in the air. A few went down, including Brian B. He got lucky with only minor scrapes. After the restart there was a break with big numbers. I figured it was over. We were represented, so rotated up front to influence the pace. I didn’t hear how Claudio finished, but John put it out there, but couldn’t bridge to the lead break.
I had a really good time today. I loved the communication and strength of the squads. Proud to represent.
Today was awesome, Folsom Bike was represented by Ted Toribio, Marty Cunningham and me.
I personally look forward to This race every season. It is a chance to race against the best Racers in our age group and it is a fast non-technical course where anything can happen. It is about a 3/4 mile course with great pavement and smooth turns. Last year Dan Shore rode off the front with 2 to go to win and this year what looked to be a bunch sprint turned into a couple of splits in the last lap that looked like they where not going to be reeled in.
Throughout the race a couple of racers, Ed Moon (no team) and Hans Gouwens (Thirsty Bear) were trying very hard to get away only to be pulled back to the group, but one or the other would launch solo attacks almost immediately. Ted was on the front covering every move, I was trying for once not to spend too much time on the front and was sitting middle of the pack with Marty. About half way through the race, some of the more seasoned racers started the attacks with Michael O’Rourke (Chronos) Eric Saltzman and Jerome Nadel (Coretech) instigating the moves! Marty, Ted and me were always there to cover. This group kept on the gas for a couple of attempts and when they realized they were not going to get a good enough split they fell back in place. This is when Hans Gouwens ( Thirsty Bear) countered, he was off the front solo with a solid move and Marty made a serious dig to bridge, no one followed! Marty was awesome ( after riding 8 hours cross the day before), he was away for about 5 or 6 laps, Ted and I got to take a ride. After Marty and Hans were caught things settled in for what was looking like a pack sprint with about 5 to go. We rode this out until 2 to go when just after turn 2 Dan Shore tries to catch people sleeping, he launches a hard attack and only one racer can hold his wheel, they are gone. Coming through the final lap, Andrew Nevitt (National Champion) takes a huge dig to try to bring Dan Shore back! I see the move and dig to get to him I takes me until just before turn 3 for me to catch him and Andrew to catch Dan. By then we have things strung out and Jerome Nadel starts his sprint. It felt way too early, but it worked, the group strung out and Ted and I were able to hang on for 7 and 8. Jerome won the race with that move.
Oh and somewhere along the way, I ended up getting into split with a big dude (kit I did not recognize) and Max Mack. We take the split through turn 3 and Max is in front of me with the big dude pulling to the final turn. Max is smoked, he does not realize I am there and tells the guy “I won’t take a sprint, you can have the Preem, well I did not agree with that so I launched and took it with a pretty good gap. I mean, a bottle of good wine is worth working for, am I right?
Great to have great Teammates that are old enough to race the Super Seniors together!
After an inspiring conversation with J Novikoff and M Tufts on the CR ride, I put in a hard block of training on the trainer at home and hoped for the best. I felt fit, but the legs were quite sore. Still, the Colavita course suits me and I felt my chances were really good for a podium.
The race was fast the entire 60 minutes. I believe the race averaged 29mph. Mikes bikes had several riders in the race and they did a good job of controlling things at the front and never let anyone slip away. The race stayed together and made for a hotly contested 2 laps to go.
With 2 to go, I started moving up through the field and had a big helper in Chris Morris pulling me towards the front. He have gave all he had and helped put me in a good position.
As we went through the last chicane and rounded the last corner, I just didn’t have all the legs I needed and crossed the line in 7-8th place.
I was bummed to not land on the podium, especially on a course I like, but I felt good with the how the race went and to walk away with all my skin.
The feeling of a job well done was minimized by the scoring staff at the finish line, as they misplaced many many riders throughout the day, and mistakenly placed me at 15th. Oh well. Colavita GP will still be on my calendar next year. Hope to see more of you guys out there!
Thanks for reading.