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Tom Lyons Victory at Madera Stage Race 45+

Turbo Tom Lyons securing his Victory at Madera Stage Race thanks to great team effort. Photo <a href="">Alex Chui</a>
Turbo Tom Lyons securing his Victory at Madera Stage Race thanks to great team effort. Photo Alex Chui

Madera Stage Race 45+, Day 1 – Ben Hur Hillclimb TT

10.3mi. First 6mi rolling hills, with 5mi good pavement. Miles 6&7 horrible pavement. Miles 6-9 were uphill and the last mile rolling.

Shawn Daly going all in to finish strong in the TT. Photo Alex Chui
Shawn Daly going all in to finish strong in the TT. Photo Alex Chui

I used a full TT setup; Dan Quirk used aero bars on a road bike; Shawn Daly used foam on his road bike bars to rest his forearms. It looks like it’s going to be a ThirstyBear vs Hammer throw down. Our teams have 6 of the top 9 places. We have a flat 10mi TT tomorrow to set up the GC going into the CRIT and RR.

Results from today: 1. Adams, Hammer 33:12, 2. Lyons, TB +0:20, 3. Ziesing, Hammer +0:58, 4. Nielsen, Ca Tech +1:06, 5. Quirk, TB +1:07, 6. Martin, R4R +1:10, 7. Miller, Victory Velo +2:18, 8. Albrecht, Hammer +2:26, 9. Daly, TB +2:29, 10. Baumgardner, Global CTI +3:12

ThirstyBear Shawn Daly warming up.
ThirstyBear Shawn Daly warming up.

Madera Stage Race – DAY 2

Today we had a flat 10.4mi TT in the morning and a 40min CRIT in the afternoon.

We were down 20 secs in GC going into today and interested in making that up before we started chasing time bonuses in the CRIT (and RR tomorrow). I beat Ron Amos (GC leader from Hammer) by 22 seconds in the TT and took the GC lead …

When TT bike is not an option let us improvise. Photo Alex Chui
When TT bike is not an option let us improvise. Photo Alex Chui

DQ’s time is inaccurate but we think he rode well and kept his 5th place standing. Shawn held his 9th in GC despite his custom foam bar padding falling apart from the rough road.

Dan Quirk in impressive TT Style. Photo Alex Chui
Dan Quirk in impressive TT Style. Photo Alex Chui

Over lunch at Chowchilla’s finest, we devised a plan for the CRIT. I wanted to chase the prime time bonuses (two 5 sec primes) and go for the stage too (20-10-5 sec time bonuses for 1-2-3 on stage). It was a risk because it would depend in me getting in position to sprint and then actually try to win the sprint. But it seemed like a fun challenge so I asked the guys if we could do this.

Dan and Shawn were amazing. They rode solely for the team GC and we controlled the race! They set me up for the first prime which I took over Dave Albrecht. Then Dan got in a two man break that nabbed the second prime. I was up 7 secs on GC now heading into the final laps. I was hoping to get it over 10 because the road race has 30-20-10 time bonuses.
DQ and Shawn took control the last two laps and I picked my place heading into the final turn. I got a good jump but Albrecht blew by in the last 100. Then Chris Ott got me right at the line for 2nd but I held on for third and got 5 more secs time bonus!

We are up 12 seconds in GC going into the road race. Going to be another great team dual…. We are ready for anything!

Results are up at USA cycling.
Not sure if Jason will send an update but he is doing fantastic in the 35+ after his killer TT (he equaled the time of the third place P12 guy today!). He should be leading GC.

Day 3 – Road Race

We raced with the 35’s today which created a little wrinkle to things since Jason was up 14 seconds in 35+ GC and I was up 12 seconds in 45+. With time bonuses of 30-20-10 on the finish line today, we knew there would be some tactics within the groups but we weren’t sure how the 35’s and 45’s would affect each other’s outcome. The race had a few surges and a couple break attempts but the main feature of the race is a 4mi section of really bad “road” that we had to do each lap. We did 4 laps for about 68mi.
They posted a start time of 8:15 for the 45’s (and we were told we were racing with the Cat-4’s) but when we got to the start, it was 8:10 with the 35’s. I barely made it but Shawn and two other guys didn’t get there in time so they missed the race. VeloPromo blew that one – you never start a race earlier than posted.
Dan Quirk was an amazing teammate today (once again – remember Eugene last year)…. We felt that we needed to be the team in charge and also agreed it would be best for him to try to lead the field through the rough road at a good pace to discourage attacks each lap, which he did for laps 2-3-4. I was on his wheel each time. Incredible! A break formed on the last lap with 45+ guys Hunter Z (Hammer), Roger Martin (R4R), and David Maminski (Morgan Stanley). It happened fast and they immediately got a 1:15 gap mostly because our field stopped pedaling when they rode away. Martin and Hunter were 3-4 on GC (2:10/2:40 back). Dan and I got to the front and came up with a plan to keep them within a minute but not catch them. As long as they go 1-2-3 and only win by less than 1:40, we were good. I took the first 5mi smooth road section and pulled it to within 45 secs (towing the entire field, much to their delight I’m sure). Then a Mike’s Bikes 35+ guy took over for a mile before his teammate (Ryan, 2nd on GC) told him to get off the front. Dan came up and brought us through the rough road to the final 2K while I kept an eye on the three leaders. Then some action ensued within our group to position for the sprint but we easily held on to the GC by finishing in the group! The pack finished right on the heels of the three breakaway guys so Dan and I paced it perfectly…. Team TB!!!!!!
Tom Lyons Leading the field at Madera Road Race. Photo Alex Chui
Tom Lyons Leading the field at Madera Road Race. Photo Alex Chui
Jason won the field sprint which meant he won the 35+ race and took GC too. We’ve got the t-shirts….
I loved racing with Dan and Shawn. We took the GC over Hammer and their two national champions with fantastic teamwork. It’s easy to put in the extra effort when you know your teammates are all in and working toward a common goal…. We go yellow, protected it, and took it home….
45+ GC
1. Lyons, TB 4:19:33
2. Amos, Hammer +0:12
3. Martin, R4R +1:49
4. Ziesing, Hammer +2:11
5. Quirk, TB +3:05
6. Albrecht, Hammer +3:18
Thanks to great team effort by Dan and Shawn, Tom Lyons could step up highest on the podium at Madera Stage Race.
Thanks to great team effort by Dan and Shawn, Tom Lyons could step up highest on the podium at Madera Stage Race.

Jet Engine Jason WIN at Madera Stage Race 35+

#EverySecondCounts. Look at how close that finish is.
#EverySecondCounts. Look at how close that finish is.

Madera 35+ 123 Stage Race Report
Most of the 35+ regulars were short on family capital or gassed after strong Chico Stage Race performances the week prior. My TT was running well and I wanted to race more races this year that suited my strengths. Despite the fact that the Time Trial stage is a big decider in Madera, I haven’t had a killer performance there… until this year.

13 of us lined up for Madera 2015 and I was a little nostalgic that this stage race that I cut my stage race teeth on many years ago was now a B or non-race for a lot of people. This race hasn’t changed. Still the same crappy roads on all the stages, late results, and I still love every minute of it.

Criterium – 40 minutes, 25mph avg, crit was pretty slow, but with 2 guys per team (except me and Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus), there were several short and half-hearted attacks, but nothing with gas that would make them stick. Mikes Bikes, Oliver Ryan and Scott Cox worked really well together, taking each a 5 second prime and taking 1st and 2nd in the crit, respectively. It was an exercise in smart teamwork that many of us saw at the Chico Stage Race the weekend prior.

Time Trial – 10.4 miles, 22:08, 28.2mph, 1st and ~40 seconds on 2nd place. My pacing was good from Chico, where I also ran well. Uncharacteristically, I went out hard. I eased up a little in the second section after the first turn with the expectation to crush the final half of the course. I didn’t really look down at my Garmin because I was paranoid about hitting a hole in the road (like I did in 2013 and flatted). Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos was always on the horizon and he was my 1 minute man. I was about 3 seconds off him when I finished. This was a really good run for me and I would have been tied for 3rd place in the P12 field with this time. I was about 40 seconds faster than 2nd place and with time bonuses from the crit, Oli Ryan was ~12 seconds behind me.

Jason Sprinting for the the finish…
Jason Sprinting for the the finish…


Road Race – Early. Cold. Windy. But then the race started and the layers started coming off quickly. We were combined with the 45s field and I was really happy that 12 of us in the 35s didn’t have to mess around for 70 miles playing cat and mouse. It was also good to have Dan, Tom, and Shawn from the 45s group as well as a lot of the “45 guys” who I know already. More racers means more fun racing. John Olsen from ArtsCyclery was off the front early and everyone let him dangle on a short leash. That lasted until about lap 3 when he got reeled in. It wasn’t too crazy or fast on all sections, including the rough pavement and I think Dan Quirk was on the front for every single trip through the rough pavement. The 45 ThirstyBears were controlling and regulating the field really well. I was following Oli Ryan all day who was my only danger man, being 12 seconds down on me meant I couldn’t let him get 1st or 2nd because time bonuses would leap frog him over me on GC. I was going a little nuts as he is a very smart, patient, and tactical rider, and we were on the back a lot, talking, while I wanted to follow every move and attack at every opportunity. On the final lap, the 45 Bears were regulating the front with three 45 non-GC threats up the road. All 35s were in the field and I was staying close to Oli. When we got to 1km to go, approaching a long set of punchy rollers, Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos launches a hard attack off the front. I stay with it and it’s game on. Lines start forming and we are overtaking a 4s field. I use the 4s to my advantage and come around, close to them on the right as most of the field is advancing and moving on the left. 200 meters is marked and I have good position and an open door on the right side. I went as hard as I could and I have that extra couple important pedal strokes to take first place by a wheel, in front of Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus. After playing defense the entire day, I pulled out a strong offense and won the 35s road race and the 35/45 field sprint. The three 45s remained up the road, but by only a couple seconds and Tom kept his GC lead. What a fantastic Madera for ThirstyBear p/b Akamai!!

Impressive solo performance by Jason to win Madera Stage Race
Impressive solo performance by Jason to win Madera Stage Race

PowerGirl Christy Smith finish 3rd overall at Madera Stage Race

Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Last week, after much indecision and encouragement from our ThristyGals, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to give it a go and registered Wed night…
So, I start searching for at least aero bars for my bike & at the lunch ride Thursday Ron offered to let me borrow his actual TT bike!!  Yay Ron!!  And one of the Kovaras riders said he would bring me his TT helmet & bars for my bike (just in case).
Friday I picked up the bike from Ron & left early to try to get out there early enough to pre-ride the TT & see if I could actually ride the TT bike for 10 miles (1st time ever on a TT bike or in aero bars).  So glad I had a chance to do at least do that…
Saturday morning was our crit – they combined us with the 35+ women, who ended up convincing the course director to give them a 30 second start ahead of us.  So, that ended up making for a very cat & mouse crit and basically a sprint at the end since no one wanted to work really (& we still had our TT coming 3 hours later).  I ended up 3rd, about a wheel behind 2nd.
After the crit I pretty much picked up lunch and headed over to the TT course.  There I finally saw Tom, DQ & Shawn.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, especially before the TT.  There is some energy in even knowing there are team mates around.
It seems the wind had shifted since the guys went in the morning & I had head winds on the last 2 stretches.  The women who went before me both managed to get out of site after the 1st corner, but on the 3rd leg I finally saw a carrot, and I managed the catch the 1:30 woman ahead of me basically at the finish line.  So, I ended up in 3rd with 1:27 lead over the 4th place woman.  I really enjoyed the TT, and learned a few things for next time & look forward to working on this a little more…
Sunday for the road race they did actually have us roll out together with the 35+ woman.  For my field the woman in 1st, Tiffany, basically told me she was going to sit on my wheel all day, and the woman in 2nd, Kelly, said she was going to sit on Tiffany’s wheel.  After we came around the corner past the finish line on lap 2 – there were 2 of the 35+ women who took off, part of me wanted to jump on that, but both the woman ahead of me in GC would have no problem holding that as well, and even Tiffany said later she had wanted to jump on that as well, but there was no reason too.  Being as I was really focused on defending my GC, I decided to not risk blowing myself up trying to hold on with a break, especially since the women I would need to gain time on would have gone with me (since they were, as promised, sticking close to my wheel).  It was definitely a different road race strategy knowing the overall goal was the GC.
Last lap we self neutralized to get away from the rest of the 35+ and have a lap & finish of our own.  My biggest concern all race was flatting on the broken, bouncy, crappy section of road…  So, knock on wood, no flats.  =)
The woman in 2nd, lead her teammate (who was in 4th behind me on GC) at the very end for the RR finish (she gave her teammate a lead out in the crit too –  maybe they were hoping the time bonuses would be enough to get both of them podium spots since the teammate who gave up the wins was a strong TT rider).  I ended up crossing in 3rd again, but had enough time that even with time bonus the 4th place rider still couldn’t pass me in GC.
So, for us, the TT was really our deciding race overall.  Even with the time bonus’s in the crit & road race, it was still the TT that really set our places.
I’m really happy that I went, I learned a lot & it was a good race to get a feel for stage racing.  Thanks to Ron & our ThirstyGals for the encouragement & equipment to get there!!

ThirstyBears Max & Alan go 1 and 2 at Chico Stage Race 2015

Alan & Max pulling the pack. Photo: Alex Chiu
Alan & Max pulling the pack. Photo: Alex Chiu

Chico Stage race Mens 55 1,2,3 Report:

Thirstybears: Alan Roberts and me

Stage1 Road race: 45mi (shortest RR ever)

Weather: partly cloudy, cool but perfect for racing, headwind at gravel, tailwind finish.

Field: Approx 35 guys

Saturday Feb 28th, 2:45pm

This was my first ever 55’s road race, wasn’t sure what to expect, Alan made me aware that there’s not much team work in these races(really, come on!). the 2 teams with 6 and 4 were 3′ it’s the law and Audi (I think), a few other teams with 3 guys but they didn’t do much. There was one guy riding for Bahati (LA Crit guys) and he was about 250lbs,   I’ll hand him credit later in the race. Alan and I decided to stay near the front, watch for early attacks, then punch it out of the gravel and try to get rid of some guys. We started off and from the gun 4 guys went up the road(Bahati, 3’, 2 other s), great let the other teams chase, only 3’ had a guy up there so others had to ramp it up, no problem they did. It was Fairly uneventful with the 4 up the road within site. Got to the gravel and I took a little dig at the front to test these guys, some others came up, Alan took a few digs. , we started to catch the guys in the break. With them in site, I did a hard effort and passed them, got near to the end of the gravel, hoped Alan was nearby, we lost a few in the gravel then made the right onto pavement and I went as hard as I could barely made it by the right side of a slow group of guys ahead(had about 2’ to get by), Alan came charging up the left, plan is working we’re hurting the field as hoped, get over the little hill in 3 mins(dang I needed another 15min of climbing!!) good thing is we have about 15 guys now. Pace is steady down the valley, some minor attacks, then we get neutralized 3+ times! A group was passing us then we’d pass them, trouble is the stragglers got back on as did just about everyone(so much for our mini mega efforts). Referee was holding us for at least 4mins (frustration) while going about 7mi an hour downhill. We make the right and now it’s only 8mi or so, no attacks, no one working, then it’s 4mi to go, a few half hearted attacks, Alan and I sitting near the front to make sure no one important goes up the road. There was last year’s winner(Dave Montgomery) in the field 2nd and 3rd place from last year also. We watched them mostly 3’ guys. This is where something really goofy happened, Bahati guy (Anthony) rolls off the front not hard, everyone watches, I ask the teams aren’t you going to go after him it’s only 2mi to go, everyone’s looking around! Im not going after him because he’s no threat to me and it puts the other teams under pressure. It was laughable on their part not to chase him down. Anthony is gone from site now (smart gamble!)as we come inside 3k to go, everyone’s jockeying, 1 k to go! Ramping it up, I’m 2nd wheel, 200’ hill coming, can’t see finish, decide to hit this hill sub sprint pace but shake some guys off, no one comes around. Then I see the finish, guys start passing me, Jonathan Laine (3’) passes me fast, he’s gone, 2 others pass then I go all out and pass them back for 3rd in the field sprint (wish I would’ve known there was another hill after the 1st! (Dohh). Bahati 1st, Jonathan Laine 2nd, I’m happy with 3rd about 12 sec down, perfect! Alan finishes 7th right behind me.

Stage 2 Downtown Crit 30min (so embarrassingly short!!)

Weather: 12-15mph wind, cool, sunny

28 starters, lost 7 yesterday

Sunday March 1st 9:25

The Crit is a 6 corner course, smooth, fun fast. Race got going late after a crash from previous category (guy landed on his face!), pace was steady, not very fast, Alan got up front ramped it up, I cruised around In the top 5 at the front, a few break attempts got brought back. Nothing much to speak of, pace was steady not that fast, guess they were saving it for the TT. Have to say it was a very safe race. Alan got a few primes, then with 2 to go, we both got at near the front, Bahati takes a jump, get’s swarmed with .5 laps to go, Alan is in front going into turn 5, then bumps up the speed, I move up to 3rd wheel, no one comes around, we hit the last turn fast, Alan is rocketing up to the line, guy in front of me fades, pass him Alan WINS! I cross the line about right next to him for 2nd. Thirsty Bear is warming up now!! I’m very happy for Alan and our team! Next up TT

Alan & Max – 1 & 2 at Chico Crit
Alan & Max – 1 & 2 at Chico Crit

Stage 3 Time trial 10mi

Weather: wind 12-15mph (Northwest) perfect clear day.

Sunday 1:00pm

Didn’t have enough warm up,   got to my start, all good, I felt sluggish for the first 4mi (tailwind). Decided to just get in the pain cave at mile 5 and see what my legs would do. Going into the cross headwind I started pushing it, each mile closer to 10 I’d get my power up a little more, 7mi to go, pain cave, dig, 8mi, harder, 9mi (can’t see finish).   Get over the line, thought I’d goofed the TT up. Find out I WON Alan got 3rd in the TT and SO we got 1st and 2nd GC!! Another great weekend of racing!!


Max winning the Chico TT with Alan finishing 3rd. 
Max winning the Chico TT with Alan finishing 3rd. 


Also well done race by Holger, Scot, Chris, DQ, Jason, Moritz, Jacob and Piers.

Holger – Solo breakaway at Chico Stage Race. Photo: <a href="">Alex Chiu</a>
Holger – Solo breakaway at Chico Stage Race. Photo: Alex Chiu

I want to also thank our many gracious sponsors (the big ones Akamai, Cogniance, Cloudmade, Sutter Health Novato and everyone else!), Hans, Kyle and Eric for all they do without them all the team wouldn’t be the same!

Thankful for all the support!!

Max Thompson



Boom Boom Brenon Takes Win at Snelling

This is what victory looks like. Photo by Craig Huffman
Snelling RR:60 miles (sans the long rollout) and we covered it in 2:22, so averaged 25+ mph. (Or in energy:avg 290 watts, NP 320.) So not particularly taxing (in fact, at 2400kjs, several hundred less than most races. But this being early season, I’ll take it.)
Never my favorite race, Snelling is one of those races that I always seem to just get trapped in the pack and spin along through Stanislaus County, taking in the scenery. So this year, I figured ‘enough of that’ and decided to to do everything (anything!) to get in a break. There were a flurry of attacks mid-way through the first lap, a couple of which felt really promising (last year’s winner, Dan Langely, came up to one and I thought ‘OK, off we go.’). But it was still clumped at the front after 4-5 attempts.
Finally, I rolled away solo (just a tiny, little bit) and Scott Fonesca blew past me with Rich DelValle in tow. I swung over to their tandem and we started pulling hard to get out of sight. Rich was super strong today and took the heaviest pulls of our trio. He’s a no-nonsense racer and a good guy on/off the bike. I always enjoy getting in a break with him.
We stayed on the pedals for the next 4 laps, solidly holding about 60-90secs over the main group (or so we guessed). After the race, both Chris and Shawn both said there was no organized chase from the field. Unfortunately, we only got 2 time-checks so didn’t know where we were, relative to the main field. I kind of figured that the field would pull us back, if just because there were probably 4 different teams that had at least 8 riders to use in the chase.
On the bell lap, Fonseca started skipping pulls, leaving Rich and I to drive. But then he’d hang with Rich when Rich would surge on some of the short climbs around the course.
On the final straight before the turn, which ends just 500 meters from the line, we could see a group kind of massing behind us. No updates or anything, so we just assumed it was the main group. I didn’t like the look of it, so just outside the 1km sign, I tore off from our break. I really didn’t think I would make it (who did I think I was?? Fabian Cancellara??) but figured I’d go out in a blaze of glory (or something).
Anyway, Fonseca pulls me back. But I am not done yet. So I drop behind both Rich and Scott as they round the final corner. Neither of them really give it full-stick at the bottom of the two-step climb, so I just put my head down and tear away on the inside. I fly up the first bump and hit the middle plateau feeling like a beast. Unfortunately, I still had the second bump to get up. (To show how imbalanced it was: 950 watts in the first section of the final sprint, but barely cracked 600 by the line.) It wasn’t pretty but I got across the line first and let out a big ol’ roar, bear-style. Fonseca finished second and Rich, who was the strongest in our group, came home third.
All in all, a great way to start the new season (if I retired now, I’d be undefeated in 2015…)
But naaah, let’s all go get some more this season.

Victory is sweet! ThirstyBear Cycling p/b Akamai 2014 in review. Welcome Race Season 2015!

As we stand at the entry to 2015, its a good time to once again celebrate the many fantastic accomplishments we had throughout 2014.

The 2014 season started out with a BANG!  On January 1st, ThirstyBear swept the mens masters podium at the San Bruno Hill Climb with Chris Phipps, Hans Gouwens, and Dan Quirk while Tanya Fredricks won the womens race.  Early season form saw Eric Lagier winning Knight’s Ferry Road Race in February, while Jason Grefrath put his stamp on podium spots with a win at Cherry Pie Criterium, followed by a second place at BP Winters Criterium. In March, Phil Hynes and Scot McLean dominated the Madera Stage Race, while Corey Scobie started his streak of wins at the Red Kite Criteriums in Pleasanton. Jan finished 3rd at Bariani Road Race. 

The April races saw huge performances by our top masters at the Chico Stage Race, resulting in a Stage win by Jan Weissenberger and multiple podium spots in the other stages and the overall. Ken Gallardo had a superb race in the Pro/1/2 field at Turlock Lake Road Race, taking fourth.  Other Spring highlights were Oddvar Kaarboe winning the Berkeley Hills Road Race and taking 3rd at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, while Jan scored another second place at the Santa Cruz Classic Criterium and Brenon Daly taking second at the Wente Road Race in Livermore. In May, the masters men crushed the field at the Mount Hamilton Road Race with Chris Phipps taking the top spot, flanked by Dan Quirk, Brenon Daly.

Early summer provided us with Tom Lyons winning the Eugene Celebration Stage Race in Oregon, with Dan Quirk getting on the podium as well in one of the stages. Chris Phipps, Gardie Jackson, Scot McLean, and Hans Gouwens were awarded with Gold medals at the Steve Dunlop Team Time Trial, while Tanya Fredricks claimed Silver in the Individual Time Trial.

The Little City Stage Race gave us a few more podium spots with Brenon and Hans going 1,3 in the Circuit Race.

August saw another dominating performance by the masters men at the Patterson Pass Road Race, placing six Bears in the top nine with Phipps and Daly going first and second and Tanya Fredricks climbing on the top step of the female masters podium.

Brenon Daly finished his season with a Bronze Medal at Masters Districts Championship in San Ardo, but September was really dominated by Chris Phipps winning his second Masters Road National Championship in Ogden, Utah and taking second in the Time Trial. Tanya Fredricks won her second Silver Medal in the Road Race, while Alan Roberts finished a strong 5th in the Time Trial.

Clearly a very successful season and a testament to the dedicated masters racers that ThirstyBear Cycling has managed to attract over the years. We are very fortunate to continue this trend into the 2015 season with the addition of new riders and new sponsors.

New to the team are current Road Race and Time Trial National Champion Anne Valta and Criterium National Championship Bronze Medal winner Kim Wik. The womens team has also added Carla Cosentino and Meredith Stowe, while the mens team has been strengthened with Jacob Berkman, Moritz Steiner, Shawn Daly, and Dino Acri.

With the success of 2014 in mind and the addition of some super strong masters racers the outlook for 2015 is very promising. Thanks to our great sponsors for making it possible for us to compete and win.

Jet Engine Jason Powers to the Podium at Red Kite Bump Circuit Race

Come rain or shine. Great photo by Katie Truong
Come rain or shine. Great photo by Katie Truong



For the last two years, you can be certain of a couple things. First, it will rain for team camp. Second, I will race team camp weekend. Third, I will have good results at these races. Fourth, it will be “epic” rain and wind conditions throughout the race.

Check, check, check, and check for all four above. Coming into the Red Kite Bump Circuit Races, I rode the team camp ride, 100 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing the day prior. I really didn’t know if I was going to magically run out of matches when it counted the most, but hey, that’s what B and early season races are for, right?

With team representation from Chronos, Squadra, Mikes, and LangeTwins in our field of 25 and me being the solo ThirstyBear rider, I knew I had to be smart with the moves I went with and had to play the race conservatively.

The first lap was slow, and I mean driving Miss Daisy slow. 14mph on a 2% grade slow (we were 19mph+ on the other laps). When were the teams going to take control? Once the hills ramped up, some half-hearted moves started going off the front, but the group was content to keep everything together.

Second lap, during the hills, a small group forms up the road. The field is keeping them close, but Patrick Stanko from “Stand” manages to slip off the front. The dude has serious ninja skills, because not only did nobody know he was off the front, but nobody was marking him. Stanko stayed away for the 2nd half/rest of the race.

The final climb. Thanks to Katie Truong for a great photo
The final climb. Thanks to Katie Truong for a great photo

The group was still mostly together coming into the last lap, with Chronos and Squadra setting good hard tempo. Moves were given a short leash and typically pulled back quickly. Coming into the final 1km, Chronos and Squadra riders have made moves, but nothing has stuck. I find myself attacking into the final 1000m and stretching the field out. Zimney is on my wheel coming into the final turn which leads to the “bump”. I tried to let him pass, hop on his wheel, then come back around, but I didn’t have enough to come back through and ended 3rd.

Thanks to Jim Elder for the Photoshop edit
Thanks to Jim Elder for the Photoshop edit

Results: Stanko (Stand), Zimney (Chronos), Grefrath (ThirstyBear p/b Akamai) – results are up, btw:

Great podium finish by ThirstyBears p/b Akamai at San Bruno Hill Climb

Congrats to Chris Phipps and Jakob Berkman for finishing 2nd and 3rd in a strong field. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Congrats to Chris Phipps and Jakob Berkman for finishing 2nd and 3rd in a strong field. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.


San Bruno Hill Climb – January 1, 2015

Wow, is this already my 10th year in a row waking up early (7AM) on New Year’s Day to go race up San Bruno Mountain?  My how time flies since my 1st time here as a Cat 5 in 2006.  I really love this event, and it’s a great motivator to resist the holiday treats, but as time goes on I find myself indulging a little more each year and showing up to the starting line a bit further than I’d like from my ideal #raceweight.

Since I had won the 45+ 1/2/3 last year, I decided to race down an age-group with the 35+ 1/2/3 and my new teammate Jacob Berkman.  After the junior 35+ gear roll out (joke stolen from Chris Black), our mixed group of 21 35+ 1/2/3 & 35+ 4/5 riders was off.  From the gun, Chris Evans (Squadra SF) took off and quickly had a 5-10 second gap.  Jacob immediately went to the front and set a hard tempo keeping the gap to Evans steady at about 7 seconds.  I hadn’t done anything this hard in a long time and it took me about 3 minutes to get my breathing down to where I started to feel “comfortable”. At about 5 minutes in, I went around Jacob to bridge up to Evans and only Jacob, Hanns Detlefsen (CA Technoligies Racing) and one of the Cat 4/5 guys were left with us in the lead group.

Chris Phipps solo climbing. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Chris Phipps solo climbing. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.

We slowed up a bit at this point, no one wanting to take the lead, so I went to the front and put in a surge as we did the underpass loop entering the park.  After about a minute I slowed a bit to see who would come by and Evans was right there so I got on his wheel.  His lead didn’t last that long though as Detlefsen came around us and quickly opened up a gap. I waited on Evans’ wheel for about 10 seconds, but realized that he wasn’t going to bring Hanns back, so I had to go solo.  I had to dig real deep to get back on Hanns’ wheel & when I got there, he went about another 30 seconds before letting out a big breath, that I mistaking took as a sign that he was done.  We were less than 1 km from the finish and I attacked, expecting to get away solo, but Hanns was right there and about a minute later he came by me, which I thought was perfect as I could now sit on his wheel until the final 500M, then sprint around him for victory, or so I thought.  I was only able to hang on for about another 20 seconds before Hanns started to pull away and open up a gap which he held to the finish posting an impressive 15:35.  I held on for 2nd in 15:46 with Jacob nosing out Evans for 3rd, both timed in 16:04.

Jakob Berkman determined to make it. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Jakob Berkman determined to make it. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.

Though I didn’t win, I was happy to be back under 16 minutes again and going 2-3 to start the 2015 season is not too bad.

ThirstyBear p/b Akamai results:

35+ 1/2/3

2) Chris Phipps

3) Jacob Berkman

45+ 1/2/3

3) Scot McLean

6) Dan Quirk

Women P/1/2

3) Anne Valta

Anne Valta finishing 3rd at San Bruno Hill Climb. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Anne Valta finishing 3rd at San Bruno Hill Climb. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Dan Quirk making it to the top. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Dan Quirk making it to the top. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Anne Valta finishing 3rd at San Bruno Hill Climb. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.
Anne Valta finishing 3rd at San Bruno Hill Climb. Thanks Katie Truong for great pictures.


Giving back to the Community

9th Annual San Francisco Supermarket Street Sweep

Start at Cupid’s Span on the Embarcadero.

From left to right: Zach (the defending champ), Jan, Jason & me.

Jan & I had a great time at the Supermarket Street Sweep on Saturday, finishing 1-2 & each buying & donating about 50 pounds of food to the SF & Marin food bank! (The total food collected by all 134 racers was over 12,000 pounds!!!)

The format was as follows:
At noon we were handed a manifest with 14 grocery stores on it.
5 were worth 10 pts each (downtown area)
5 were worth 20 pts each (further out)
2 were worth 30 pts each (Safeway by Ocean Beach & Trader Joe’s on Westlake) and
2 were worth 40 pts each (Mollie Stone’s in Sausalito & Grocery Outlet on Hickey in South San Francisco)

Each store had specific food items we had to buy (pasta, rice, beans, canned meat, peanut butter etc.) & the amount we had to buy corresponded to the point value at each store (2 pounds for 10 pt stores, 4 pounds for 20 pt stores, etc.).

The object was to get get as many points as possible & still finish before the 4PM cutoff.

The competition was tough & in the previous years this race had always been dominated by the bike messengers (Adam Shap & Zach Morvant had each won it twice I believe), & we knew they’d be tough to beat, but Jan & I had been focused on peaking for this race for many months.

After we were given our manifest, we spent a solid 10 minutes mapping out our route before setting out.  We knew that we wanted to hit both 40 pt & 30 pt stores, then they to stop at as many 10 & 20 pt stores along the way.  We set out with Jason Thorpe & in our enthusiasm went right by our 1st stop, the Whole Foods on 4th Street, but after a 2 minute detour we were back on track and saw many of the other racers leaving just as we arrived.  From there it was on to Trader Joe’s on 9th, then we started making our way to Sausalito with a stop at the Lucky on Fulton & Masonic.  We got pretty lucky that there weren’t too many tourists on the bridge and we made all the lights in Sausalito, so we were able to TTT pretty well for a good stretch.  At Mollie Stones we had to pick up 5 pounds of rice, 2 jars of peanut butter & 2 cans of meat. We were now up to 70 points and loaded down with 15 pounds of food which made the climb out of Sausalito a little tougher than normal.  Back in SF we made our 2nd mistake & went right by the Grocery Outlet on Geary on our way to the Safeway on LaPlaya, but didn’t lose to much time swinging by there on the way out to the Safeway at 17th & Taraval.
It was now a little after 2 PM and we were at 140 pts and carrying about 30 pounds of food on our backs which made Jan’s decision to use 19th Ave to get to Daly City even sketchier, but since it was mostly downhill, we had no problem keeping up with the auto traffic.  TJ’s added another 8 pounds of canned beans to each of our packs and the weight was beginning to take its toll on our speed.

From there it was a quick wiggle of a few miles down to South SF where we added another 10 pounds each and were up to 210 points & about 45 pounds of food with 30 minutes to go.  From there we headed north on El Camino up to the top of Mission in Daly City. I could barely pedal and just watched the addresses knowing that when we got to 6400 that was the top (“Matthews!!! 64 hundred Mission Street, top to the hill, Daly City” – those who grew up in the Bay Area will get it). Finally we crested and it was sweet downhill to Alemany for a final 20pt stop at Pacific Market.  We were now up to 230 points & 50 pounds of food each. The time was 3:45 and we were debating making a final stop at at 10 point street up a steep hill on Cortland in Potrero Hill, but wisely decided to just hightail it back to the finish line at the SF & Marin Food Bank & made it there with just 6 min to spare for Jan & 5 min for me (I flatted in the final couple miles and tire was getting real soft).  We had no idea how we did. Zach was already there when we arrived, but when he told us that he had 220 points I thought we had a great chance for the win.  Then Adam arrived 2 minutes after me, also with 220 points and we knew we had it!

I think that we were the only 2 to get both 40 point stores and that was key to our win.

Here’s my ride on Strava

Post race awards ceremony was in the garage at Sports Basement & included free beer from 21st Amendment.  Jan & I each ended up winning a Timbuck2 messenger bag stuffed with cool hipster prizes & bike parts & other stuff.

Hope to see a few more bears out there next year!

Here’s the event site.