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Masters Women 2016 Year-in-Review

Mens 35+ 2016 Year in Review

Contributor: Tom Lyons

The NCAA considers certain sports as “team” sports (basketball, baseball, etc…) and others as “individual” sports (cross country, track & field, etc..). Team sports typically involve some sort of prop like a ball or bat and a little hoop or net to toss things into with the same number of athletes trying to accomplish the goal as there are trying to stop the goal. These games don’t exist without full teams competing. Individual sports are just that – sport. Not games. And these can be staged with any variety of team members. Cycling would fall into the “individual” category. However, the key to success in these individual sports is to treat them as team sports. There is a great saying in team sport – “we play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.” We’ve taken that mentality with the masters riders wearing the ThirstyBear logo on the front of their jerseys (and on the back, and on the sleeves, and on the leg warmers, and on the socks, …. more logos than Nascar). Treating this individual sport as a team sport is what makes this club the fun experience for all. I’ve recapped the old and the older guys the past two days – here I’ll cover the youngsters of the 35+ team where the speeds are higher, the competition fierce, and the power is measured in kilowatts (results taken from USAC):
As mentioned in the 45+ recap, a few old guys drop down to race with the 35’s on occasion which is what was happening early in the year. Like most every race, there is typically more than a couple teammates behind each win throughout the year. After the Cal Aggie Crit win, the team gathered for the Chico Stage Race to capture the GC (with the top TT time as well). Chico turns into a team camp of sorts and a great way to start the year.
A lot of racing takes place in these months but race victories are hard to come by in the ultra competitive 35+ division with the top masters targeting this division combining with the youngsters who are a minute removed from the P12 fields. TB emerged victorious in the rain over at the Berkeley Hills race, a favorite of the club and one where we occupy the podium every year in each division. A trip to North Carolina for the National Championships resulted in 2nd place for the 35-39 TT in one of the fastest overall times of the day.


It took a few months but once the boys got warmed up, the results flooded in beginning with the NCNCA TT Champs. Fastest 35+ time of the day over the new Loyalton course went to TB. The following weekend, TB turned out to be the baddest of the bad boys in what is likely one of the toughest crits in the country – Nevada City. Shortly after, the crit racing continued with wins at Colavita and Red Kite. The month of July typically sees a Bear migration to Bend, OR for the Cascade Classic Stage Race. With each masters division racing together, we had a good size team to go after the 35+ GC. As in 2016 when TB took control of the event to win GC, the boys returned with a different cast of characters but the same plan. From day 1, it was all TB. A win in the opening road race up Bachelor put the team in yellow. The top TT time the next day sealed the deal. The team protected the lead on the final day’s tough circuit race. Not only did TB win the 35+ GC, but had the top GC time when all master’s divisions were combined. Results won’t show how much teammates help in a stage race, but rest assured that the sacrifices for team do not go unnoticed by those who are in the race. Team cohesiveness is the key to stage racing.


The combination of the 35 and 45 fields at Patterson made for some unique racing opportunities for our boys. Teamwork prevailed. The result – a win in the 35 (overall champ) and a sweep in the 45’s. Not to be outdone, the next day at the Red Kite crit, TB nearly swept the podium with 1-3-4 in a very competitive field. University (in Santa Cruz) is another hilly race and one that appeals to those who like a course that doesn’t have an inch of flat terrain. Up and down, round and round. Coming off the fun of Patterson, another TB win here tilted the late summer trophy haul toward the climbers of the club…. But the crit-men had the last word at the NCNCA Championships. In a small field, the two TB teammates were active in the non-stop attacking over the course of the sixty minute slugfest emerging victorious in the 35-39 event. Taking the bunch sprint for 2nd overall in the 40-44 gave TB another medal at the District Crit. Always nice to win your last race of the year, and that’s how the boys went out at Henleyville in the 35+.
The team:
Ariel Herrmann, Chris Evans, Jacob Berkman, Jan Weissenberger, Jason Grefrath, Corey Scobie, Erick Pierce, Moritz Steiner, Neil Bartley, Piers Barry, David Mai

New additions: Erik Camacho, Michael Claudio, Hanns Detlefsen.

Men’s 55+ 2016 Year-in-review

Contributor: Tom Lyons

Men’s 45+ 2016 Year-in-Review

Contributor: Tom Lyons
As the “middle” age group for the club, the 45+ team gets to race down with the 35’s and also have the 55’s race with us on occasion. For 2016, the club, in general, enjoyed great success and many fun times out there on the roads. I’ll recap the 45 team below (results taken from USAC):
We got going early with a win at the Cal Aggie Crit in the 35+ prior to what would become a huge weekend at the Chico Stage Race. Spreading out over the 35+ and 45+ races, we would win both GC’s and both TT’s at Chico. As part of that event, we posted a ridiculous 1-2-3 in the 45+ road race that showed the incredible teamwork that would produce 1-2-4 in the overall 45+ GC. A trip to Arizona for the Tucson Bicycle Classic followed in March with the Bears going 1-3 in the final circuit race resulting in 1-3 GC as well. Copperopolis is one of the early classic spring road races and a favorite of climbers and those who like rough roads. We somehow got three Bears in a break of four and played it well resulting in a 1-3-4 finish.
A 35+ win at Berkeley was the lead in to nationals where we placed two Bears on the 4th step of the TT podium (45-49; 50-54). Mt Hamilton saw TB on the top step once again as the spring season came to a close.
The NCNCA TT and Hill Climb Championships were held in June. Districts and Nationals break up into 5 year age groups while most every other event during the year consists of 10 yr age groups. The Bears took the top step in the 50-54 TT and 45-49 HC with a 2-3 podium in the 45-49 TT. Then it was time to go after the crits with wins at Burlingame, Colavita, and Red Kite-July. On one late weekend in July, TB took the Crossfire Hurricane TT and the Bump-Summer races. San Rafael Crit closed out the month with TB taking the top step in the 45+3/4 race.


August is full of hard racing and that was just fine with TB. Combining the 35+ and 45+ in one race at Patterson turned out to give the 45’s a rare chance to help the 35 team in a race. After about halfway, TB had the 45+ podium wrapped up with only three TB’s left at the front of the race. We turned our attention to helping the 35’s win that division…. And they did! Dunnigan followed with a rather unique race plan to get TB in the break and then try to bridge up (essentially chasing down the teammate in the break). This was by design and the race plan certainly confused many in the peloton. It resulted in an extremely hard race with a successful bridge to the remnants of the break which included a teammate giving two TB’s in a pack of three at the end. Teamwork once again (see Copperopolis) put us on the top step (and third step) for the day. Of course we kept our presence in the crits winning the Red Kite-August 35+ race and the NCNCA 50-54 championships. To complete the well-rounded results, the 45+ Bears closed out the year winning the Esparto TT.

The team:
Chris Phipps, Gardie Jackson, Shawn Daly, Jay Newton, Tom Lyons, Dan Quirk, Brenon Daly, Holger Steinbach, Scot McLean, Lance Haag, Rod Sperling, Jim Grant, Peter Baderstcher, Eric Lagier, Aaron Long, Duane Coughlin, CJ Wolf, Dan Palmer, Phil Hynes
Lance Haag graduates to the 55’s and we welcome Ken Gallardo into the 45’s plus new addition Dan Tedford.
San Bruno is coming soon…. Here we go again!

Hans Gouwens wins Copperopolis 55+

ThirstyBears: Alan, Brian, Max, myself

Race plan: control the first lap, have someone up the road if there is a break going early, ride a hard tempo up the main climb on the final lap, and save Max for the sprint.

After doing 5 laps for 100+ miles with Phipps in the P12 last year, 2 laps of racing in the 55+ might seem like an easy spin around the block. We even got to sleep in because our race didn’t start until 11:25 am.  Fun to see all the action of the 35+123 and 45+123 go by with ThirstyBears at the front of the race every single lap.

The guys in our race to watch were Steve Archer (Morgan Stanley), Jon Ornstil (Hammer), Rob Anderson and Larry Nolan (Specialized), Jan Elsbach (Davis), and dark horse Mark Caldwell (Truckee Bicycle Team, but has probably won every NCNCA race on the calendar once or twice for Morgan Stanley).
We rolled out with 25 racers and Alan set a solid tempo all the way through the feed and the first part of the climb. As expected, Ornstil took over and tried to impress us all with his fitness. Anderson joined him up front and I was happy to sit third wheel. As we approached the top of the climb I glanced back and realized that Archer got gapped with Max sitting on his wheel. I surged to see what would happen and Anderson was the only one to respond, but wouldn’t pull through. I figured he wanted to keep it together for Nolan.
Max, Archer, Ornstil, and three or four others caught up with us, but except for Max and Archer nobody looked interested to keep the pace high, so I put in another dig to see if people would join me in the effort. Again, it was Anderson who came after me, but wouldn’t come through. I asked him if he was just going to sit on my wheel, but he could barely answer as he was still sputtering spit from the previous effort to chase me down.
A towed him for a while, but once we made the 90 degree left turn at the reservoir he pulled through and did his share of the work.  We quickly gained 40 seconds and the rest of the 36 mile race became a two men time trial.
At the start of the second lap we had about 2 minutes and decided to take it down a notch. With 10 miles to go Rob asked me, “so how are we going to play this out”? I told him that I knew his strength and my own weakness and that it would take some smart racing to beat him. I had given him the impression the second time up the main climb that I had trouble holding his wheel on the steeper parts, opening up a three bike length gap while breathing heavily.
As we approached the final climb before the long descent to the finish, I had Rob take a longer pull and attacked him hard into the wind. Gave it a maximum effort for about a minute before looking back once I started my downhill journey and realized I was solo.
I kept the pace high all the way to the finish and won by about 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, the second time up the main climb Max and Archer were able ride away from the remaining group of 10-12 chasers which included Alan and Brian. Max was able to distance Archer to take the last podium spot. Alan took 8th and Brian 11th.

Looking forward to the next race and hopefully I can return the favor to my teammates to set them up for a win 😉

Hans Gouwens

True sportsmanship at Copperopolis. Kudos to Chris Ott

Scot McLean have misunderstood the concept of a Triathlon, and thinks he should finish running. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Scot McLean have misunderstood the concept of a Triathlon, and thinks he should finish running. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Hey Bears –
I am dropping a quick note to tell you what happened to me at the finish line at Copperopolis last weekend (the men’s 45 +123 race).  I had a respectable race and was coming in to the finishing descent with four others – was setting up for 6th, 7th or 8th place – not bad.  As I hit the flat section at the bottom, I began to turn the cranks but was sensing no torque. I soon realized that my chain had come off of the big ring on of the larger bumps, and, in the process of trying to “peddle through it,”  I succeeded in wrapping the chain around the crank several times, rendering the bike useless.  After a futile attempt at untangling the chain, I began to jog toward the finish, bike in tow.  I was able to mount the bike and coast through the last little downhill section for a few hundred meters, but was forced to jog the final uphill section (about a half K).  Five riders passed during this time.
I was disappointed and a little embarrassed as I came to the last 200 meters.  Those at the finish line were cheering and chuckling (rightly so) – it was pretty hysterical.  About 100 meters out, a Peets rider rode slowly alongside.  He looked over at me and smiled, patted me on the back, and exhorted me onward.  He announced that he would absolutely not come by me.  The rider was Chris Ott.  His was a small gesture of kindness, but one that I will not forget.  I didn’t know Chris before the race – I had heard of him and understood that he was a nice guy (and a helluva bike racer).  Well, folks – he is a nice guy and his display of sportsmanship is an example for all of us out there.  This is what it is all about!
Scot McLean

ThirstyBears pb Akamai show true team effort to win Copperopolis 45+

Tom Lyons wins the sprint at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Tom Lyons wins the sprint at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Copperopolis Road Race
64mi (3 laps)
ThirstyBear p/b Akamai Lineup – Brenon Daly, Shawn Daly, Chris Phipps, Scot McLean, Dan Palmer, Tom Lyons
Field – 32
Three laps of rough road – a gradual descent to start the loop followed by a 4mi climb through the feed zone to the reservoir, a long section of flat and rolling terrain through the upper valley finishing with a 1mi climb and 3mi spine chilling descent. It’s about a mile from the bottom of the hill to the finish over a couple rollers with the last 300mi uphill to the line.
The main cast of characters in our race included Peet’s (Dan Bryant, Chris Ott, Dean LeBerge, Ron Reade), and Make A Wish (Bryan Hoadley, Cameron Birky, Todd Bell, Roger Martin). Individuals included Robert Pasco (Safeway) and Bill Laddish (Castro Valley).
Shawn and I took our customary spot patrolling the back of the peloton in the early miles. Soon Brenon, Roger Martin, and another rider got a gap on the climb and the initial break was set. By the top of the climb, we had gapped a handful of guys but everyone soon got back on. Right about then, Chris got a flat. We stopped and Dan gave Chris his wheel. This was the story of the race – how a teammate would take his whole Saturday just to ride for a half hour then give up his wheel, and his race. Dan is just getting back into racing after a couple years break – to do this for Chris was an amazing gesture and obviously what it means to have a strong team bond among the riders. Scot, Shawn, and I paced Chris back to a lethargic peloton. If nothing else, we felt like a pro team but it could have been a dangerous move leaving no one in the peloton. In the end, our quick reaction to adversity proved beneficial.
Peet’s was left out of the break so Dean LeBerge went to the front with very little help from others. It wasn’t working to bring back the break so Dan Bryant took things into his own hands. He led the chase from the end of the upper valley, over the hill, down the hill, and back to the main climb. It was fast and by the time he caught the break half way up the main climb, guys were hurting on the back.
There were only a few of us left (including Chris, Scot, and I) when we caught the break. Chris went to the front and kept the pace high. Brenon jumped on and after a short time I looked back to see the chasers 100 meters behind us. We went over the top with 45 secs lead and three ThirstyBears (Chris, Brenon, and I) with Dan Bryant in front. Scot was in a chase group of eight (Pasco, Hobb’s, etc..). Dan was a little reluctant to work with us but we agreed he would rotate but take shorter pulls. To which I suggested Chris do the same and let Brenon and I do the majority of the work to get the break established. We did that for a lap and our break grew to over 2:00 (maybe more – the moto wasn’t giving us much). Our scenario lended itself to a couple of interesting scenarios. We could get a guy solo off the front to try to win it that way. But that would require a lot of attacking since Dan has no weakness. Or we would have to wait until the sprint which is always a risky move (see 2015 Hiet Nieuwsblad where Ian Stannard beats three Etixx guys in a break). We did not want to be Etixx. We also knew we wouldn’t be Thirsty Bear going 1-2-3 out of the break from the Chico Stage Race Master’s Pro 45 road race.
Brenon Daly leads the break at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Brenon Daly leads the break at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Obviously our main play was to have Chris attack the main climb and see if he can get away there.  He tried. I even got in on the attacks there to help things but all it did was tire me out for the final steep pitch. Chris couldn’t shake Dan. This is where we took advantage of having numbers in a break. Brenon and I kept our pace reasonable and Chris just sat on Dan who did not want to drag Chris around the course for 15 miles. Brenon and I easily rejoined the two Stars and Stripes boys. And then over the next 10 miles in the upper valley, Chris and I attacked and counterattacked Dan over and over. And he kept coming back. I couldn’t believe it. I’m sure all of us wanted it to end at some point but we just kept doing it. And Dan kept responding. Brenon was struggling from the early break miles and recovering from his nasty illness (how in the world he rode as strong as he did, I have no idea!). He would get gapped on these surges but then come back to us once we calmed down. He attacked a few times too. Near the end of the valley I got gapped on a couple of Chris’s counterattacks and realized I should now just stop doing this and save it for the sprint. Chris kindly sat on Dan each time and Brenon and I got back on. On the last one, Dan probably should have just gone to the front and not let us back, but his prize for doing that was to drag Chris to the line. Just before the final climb, Chris asked me if I had a sprint in me to which I said “yes.” I think that convinced him not to hammer the last climb and change our plan to “leave it to the sprint.”
The pace was still high up the hill causing Brenon to drift back. I wanted to lead the downhill so I could see the route and also not get gapped by Dan. We got to the bottom and both guys came by me. Then Dan wound up on the front up the little rise before 1K. We almost came to a standstill. It was down to 10mph. Real track stuff. Dan, me, then Chris in that order. The perfect setup for Chris to attack. And then wham! From 10mph to 40mph instantly. I was ready and got low behind Dan able to coast some while he pedaled furiously to try to close on Chris. Chris gave the perfect lead out – he went as hard as he could for as long as he could without regard to the finish line. It took Dan all the way until the 300m mark to catch Chris. I followed Dan into the last turn and jumped hard to the finish. A very satisfying team win. And very relieved that we were able to NOT be team Etixx ’15.
Really impressed with how the 45+ team has raced this year. When everyone is there to race for the team result, good things happen. Sure makes this hobby of ours a lot of fun.
Tom Lyons

ThirstyBears p/b Akamai dominate the podium with Tom Lyons first and National Champ Chris Phipps 3rd.
ThirstyBears p/b Akamai dominate the podium with Tom Lyons first and National Champ Chris Phipps 3rd.

ThirstyBear’s Aaron Long takes Silver medal at the 2016 Season opener down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aaron Long is showing great strength and finish 2nd.
Aaron Long is showing great strength and finish 2nd.

2016 Copa Rio Series Race  #1  Circuit Race

March 13. 2016
Class M50+
Wet with a downpour about half way into the hour long event.
4.4 km flat loop with 2 hairpins, 4 lanes wide, sprint narrowed to 2 for some unknown reason! – huge puddles mid race
As the first race of 2016 in a new age category the plan was to sit in and read the race…especially with early season fitness.
Knew going in Afonso Celso was the 2015 Brazil National Ranking points winner and favored  the sprint.
Douglas, new to the age group too had won some big races last season, also a sprinter.
As I’ve never been the fastest finisher I was looking to get into a move in the 2nd half of the event and take my chances…
With 25 racers on the line the whistle sounded and off we went into mind numbing pedestrian pace…
virtually no one looking to work just ride the wheel.  Eventually we had a few attacks and Vanderlay managing a solo lap with about a 15” gap but winds, rain and other age groups unfortunately for him, assisting in the chase.  Moto’s did not do their job initially separating groups and that discouraged any moves for a few laps.  With about 20’mins to go I tried a number attacks but always either Afonso or Douglas always glued to the wheel and unwilling to work.  I’m fairly certain that anyone rolling a T-Bear kit is on the ‘no fly’ list these days with all the successes at U.S. Nate…thanks guys!
Into the last corner I came second exiting in the lead and let the dogs out – Full Gaz! …thought my chance for a result would be from the front by creating a gap but with 500m to the line it was a bit optimistic.  With about 100m to go I looked back (don’t do that) and had 10m but they were charging and I held on for a podium.

If you’re gonna pin all your hopes and dream on one monster last lap move go all in and Don’t look back!
Focus on the finish line and go all the way though.
While watching the race that followed – during a victory salute a racer got pipped on the line! …don’t ever want to be that guy!
NP 279
P-max 1092
HR 149
Cad 89
Vel 38kph
Time 1:00:53

Format credit to: //jacob

ThirstyBear p/b Akamai Best All Round Team in the USA!!

The DREAM TEAM!! US Best Masters Cycling Team. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai
The DREAM TEAM!! US Best Masters Cycling Team. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai

6 Gold medals, 2 bronze and Women’s & Men’s best rider award. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai deserved to be awarded “Best All Round team at US Nationals Masters Racing.

Double Gold medal winner Anne Valta (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Anne Valta (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Chris Phipps (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Chris Phipps (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Joe Lemire (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Joe Lemire (Road Race and Time Trial)