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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.


This Is How The Race Was Won. US National Champion Chris Phipps ThirstyBear Cycling

ThirstyBear Chris Phipps celebrates his 2nd consecutive US Masters National Championship

Chris Phipps in Monster TT Style. Photo: Chris Phipps Monster TT style. Photo:

On Labor Day I arrived at Alan’s at 7:30 to load up every bike thing I own into his Prius & make the 760 mile drive to Ogden. Thanks to Alan’s new radar detector & heavy foot, we made the trip in just about 11 hours including 3 gas/food/pee stops. Holger had arrived earlier and had some awesome pasta waiting for us so we didn’t have to worry about making dinner when we arrived. Thanks Holger!

Tuesday was check out the TT course day. Alan, team friend Anne Valta & I loaded up the Prius & headed out to Antelope Island in the middle of The Great Salt Lake to check out what we were to be in for the next day.  The course had a 400 ft climb in the first couple miles that we’d have to go over on the way out & back, but was pretty much flat & non technical otherwise (except for the open range Bison).

Wednesday, TT Day! Unlike the day before, the wind was blowing strong from the north, which meant tailwind out, headwind back. I was lucky to start last in the 45-49, 30 sec behind favorite Dan Bryant (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s), but he was so fast I never saw him. The was out was flying & I averaged 31mph (thanks to Dyrwal’s super aero disc!), with the tail wind, but knew the way back would be the real race. I did catch minute man Paul Thomas (Core Cycling), 2 other guys, then finally Craig Roemer (Specialized)  my 90 sec man, right as I was cresting the climb with 2 km to go. Just as I was passing Craig, I took a peek up & saw a huge Bison crossing the road right in front of me! Luckily, both Craig & I were able to avoid it & power on to the finish.  I left it all out there & as I crossed the line in 44:14 (well under my 45 min goal!), I thought I had a chance of taking the win, but Bryant had crushed everyone with a 42:39, but I was very happy to take silver again!

Alan had a great ride to finish on the podium in 5th in the 55-59 & Holger had an off day & was 19th in a deep 50-54 field. Anne ended up crushing the 45-49 field for the gold!

On to Thursday – RR course preview day. While Anne & Tanya were racing to a 1-2 finish in the women’s race (congrats!), Dan Q, my buddy from Vegas, Ray & I took a spin around to preview the course.  I really liked the final 10 km with 2 climbs with around 500M of elevation gain!
Gardie, Dan, Tom & I had been going over the race plan for many weeks & we spent a lot of time going over every likely scenario & how we would handle it. We knew the riders to watch & the plan would be to try & get me to the base of the final climb with the lead group and for Tom to get in a break with 1 or 2 guys who were not a major threat & who we knew Tom could beat on the climb if it stayed away. Gardie & Dan would then have to make sure no dangerous riders made it across and ride tempo on the front as we got to the final climb.

Friday -Race day!!! We had 68 starters for the 97km (60 mile) race which started with a tough 1.5 km climb that saw many fields lose 10-30% of their fields followed by a 10 km descent with speeds over 80 km/hr!  I would guess that we lost around 20 guys on the climb & even though I was near the front & descended fast, I ended up in the tail group with Roemer & a few others about 10 seconds behind the main field by the bottom of the descent. Luckily we didn’t panic & DQ dropped back to pace me & the others on my wheel back to the field while Tom went to the front to try & slow things down. After I got back on, it was fast with attacks, but Tom, Gardie & DQ were up there like pros, getting on everything until Tom ended up getting away with Kyle Glerum from Safeway.

This is how to win!  Photo:

This was perfect for us to have 2 strong guys out there drilling it since now DQ & Gardie could sit near the front with help from Nick Theobald from Safeway working for Dan Martin to keep anyone else dangerous from getting there. One other big guy bridged over & helped the break for a while, but for some reason he ended up sitting up at some point & it was just Tom & Kyle out there. Their lead grew to as big as 1:10 & as little as 15 seconds at which point they were almost caught & I got nervous that dangerous guys would counter, but luckily, the pack never was able to close it & the lead grew back to a minute as we rode the final lap & approached the deciding climb. So far all according to plan!

When we made the left turn up to Snow Basin, Tom & Kyle had about 50 seconds & were within site. As everyone fought to get to the front, I found myself about 20 places back with Gardie on the front drilling it for the first couple minutes to string it out and enabling me to move up to around 5th wheel, right behind Dan Bryant & Dan Martin. I didn’t feel great, but knew that I usually don’t feel great until it gets real hard, so I was just patiently waiting for the other climbers to make their moves first. The first to attack was Thomas Cooke (Park City, UT – The X-Men), so I picked up the pace to his wheel & let him & Nico Toutenhoofd (Boulder, CO, juwi-slipstream) set the pace. After about 8 minutes we caught Kyle & Tom & were down to 6 guys. I was starting to feel good & decided to test the waters with a hard surge & before long it was just Dan Martin left with me, but Nico & Bryant were not too far back. I put in another dig for the final 400M before the summit of the 1st climb & powered down the 1st 200M of the descent to try & extend my advantage. Martin made up some ground and was back on my wheel as we ramped into the final 5km to the finish.

The road climbed for about a kilometer before flattening out & descending a little before the final steep 3 km.  With Martin on my wheel I stopped pedaling as it flattened out & let Nico & Bryant come by since Nico seemed eager to push the pace & extend our advantage over any chasers. I got on Nico’s wheel, then when the slope kicked up again I threw in another surge that gapped Nico but Bryant & Martin were still there. At this point, it was looking like it would be an all NorCal top 3!  I surged again & Martin popped with 2.5 km to go. Another surge at 2 km to go and I could see a gap growing behind me to Bryant so I knew this was it, just 6 more minutes of pain and it would be over!

That last 2km felt like 10km & I was now really wishing that the road would flatten out so I could pick up a little speed, but I knew it didn’t ease up until the final 400m so I just had to keep suffering. The moto ref was giving me updates. 20 sec, 25 sec, then 2 together at 30 sec with 1km to go!  This was it, just 3 more minutes of effort and I’d be national champion for another year! Don’t let up & let all that training & the hard work & sacrifices that Tom, Gardie & Dan made be for naught! I didn’t get any more time gap updates & didn’t dare look back or let up. This is all out all the way to the line! It was quite a different experience from last year & so awesome to have several teammates & team friends screaming for me over the final 500M!  Thanks guys, that really helped me get there!

So proud to be on this team and thankful for all my incredible teammates!!!

ThirstyBear on the top. Congratulations Chris Phipps.

I’ll let others submit reports, but our other results were: Corey 53rd, Ken 63rd (40-44), Gardie 14th (NICE!!!), Tom 23rd & DQ 34th (45-49), Holger 20th, Hans 29th (50-54) & Alan 23rd (55-59)

After the race I peed in a cup again (In the USADA room, I was able to pass the 35-39 and 40-44 winners who had finished 20 & 10 min ahead of me & pee first!), then come out & celebrated with my teammates, but not as much as last year as I still had a crit to worry about.

Saturday – Crit day was fun! First, we got to watch Dave Burnett (who was staying in the condo above us & is the father in law if my good friend Brian Gillis), win the 70-74 crit to complete an amazing triple gold weekend for his first 3 national titles after many years of trying!
Next up, Alan was off the front in the 55-59 in a move I thought would make it to the line, but he was caught with one to go. Amazingly, he still led the pack out for the final sprint (won by Larry Nolan) & finished 23rd.

Chris Phipps Crit racing with the best of the best. Chris Phipps Monster TT style. Photo:
I survived my crit & finished 31st which was good enough to clinch the Best All-Around Rider mug for the 45-49!  Dan Martin won my race and I was very happy to see him win his first US title. Great work in the race by Kyle & Nick to help him stay away.

Next up was the 40-44 won by Matt Carinio who was off the front with Matt Gates for about 50 minutes. Corey had a great race to finish 12th in a super deep 74 rider field!
In the final race of the weekend, Jan & Neil lined up in the 35-39 race but unfortunately missed out on the winning 6 man break & couldn’t get across. Jan had an impressive sprint to finish 2nd in the field sprint (8th overall) to Kayle Leo Grande with Neil finishing 19th.

The DREAM TEAM!! Gardie 14th (NICE!!!), Tom 23rd & DQ 34th (45-49)

Afterward we had a few beers & some gelato & Alan woke up screaming with a mouse in his bed at 4AM.

The End.


Another one to the collection!

Double Victory to ThirstyBears Tom and Dan at Eugene Celebration

While the real racing today is in San Ardo, Dan Quirk and I drove north yesterday for the Eugene Celebration Stage Race. After 9 hours and 550mi driving we jumped out of the rig and went 1-2 in the 40+ for the Prologue uphill 3mi TT (750′ gain). Everyone used road bikes. I tried to stay in my big ring but couldn’t do it all the way up. Probably cost me at the end.

Today is the road race. Goal is the same. 1-2 in stage and 1-2 in GC.

There are 21 guys in our race. Top guys are 11:44 (me), 12:00 (Dan), 12:05, 12:19, 12:40, …. A couple good 40+ local guys went P12 and went a little quicker than us.

Since Dan has done this stage race 5-6 times, we are going to try to get him the GC crown….


Race report from the great northwest
After Tom and I went 1-2 in the prologue yesterday we hatched a diabolical plan to keep us there. Which really means getting me a cushion going into the long TT tomorrow? The course was a 20 miles loop with one good 5 min climb and some other rollers we did 3 laps.

Lap 1-
Before the neutral start had even ended 2 guys attacked and got a gap, all heads turned to Tom and I to chase, which we did. After a few mins of a TB 2 man team TT the group was all back together again. Then another guys counters and gets a gap….all heads turn to TB to chase, we were starting to see a pattern here and were not liking it. We close down that break then from there on out we go on the offensive. When the group hits the hill on the 1st lap I set a good tempo up it, when we get near the top Tom rolls up and keeps on the gas over the top and back down the other side, at the bottom of the hill we look around and take inventory. We are down to a group of about 13 with all of our major GC rivals still there.

Lap 2-
Tom puts in a big dig and gets a gap on the field, I just follow wheels and watch. I can see what’s left of the pack is not feeling so fresh anymore and gaps are occurring. They catch Tom and I go…They catch me and Tom goes…They catch Tom and I go and the field just sits up, all will has been broken from the pack. 2 guys who gate keeper Tom allowed to get away b/ they were non GC threats starts bridging across, I see them coming and soft pedal until they get there. The 3 of us work well together and roll over the hill playing nice. When Toms group gets to the hill they do not play nice and Tom and 2 others get to the top alone. Our gap quickly grows to over a min as we start the 3rd lap thanks to Tom sitting on in the 3 man chase group.

Lap 3
Our plan was to get me a little gap going into the TT and still finish 1-2 in GC so as my lead group of 3 worked off the front Tom would do some work with his breakmates to keep the gap around 45secs-1min. About half way through the last lap one of my group started cramping and stopped working, he promised not to sprint at the end so we let him hang around. With around 5K to go the other guy who was not cramping started taking short pulls and I knew he wanted the stage, I wanted time so I kept working and at 1k led it out, he came around me at around 200m and took the stage, I ended up 2nd. I turned around to see Tom roll in with one other guy about 30secs behind.

Plan laid down plan executed we are now 1-2 in GC
1st DQ..2nd Tom back by 10 secs, 3 other guys about 45secs back one of whom beat me in this same TT by 1 min 2 yrs ago. Tom was a total stud and sacrificed with smile on his face the whole way. I can’t wait to see him back in the leader’s jersey tomorrow.


CJ Johnson, Team Cycle Sport, Daniel Quirk, ThirstyBear Cycling, and David DiMarco broke away off the front of the stage 1 of Eugene Celebration. Photo by Catherine Cooper of CLC Photography.

We wrapped up 1-2 in GC with a well executed plan. It was very satisfying and fun. TB is fortunate that DQ looked us up when he moved here. He was a fantastic teammate and real fun to race with.

Going into the last day Dan was leading GC over me by 19 secs, and our chief rival Dave Campbell by 54 secs (he was back in 5th). Dan had a rough TT most likely due to being in the break on a hot day in the road race. I wanted to catch the GC guys starting in front of me (which I did) figuring that would keep me ahead of everyone and hoping Dan would keep close enough to stay atop the GC or at least 16secs up on 3rd (to counter the winner 15s time bonus in the CRIT coming up).

After the TT (I was +1:22 winner), the GC was sewn up for TB with me in first, but so close with Campbell only 17 secs behind Dan. We were sitting pretty because it would be hard for Campbell to beat Dan even though there was 15-10-5 secs time bonus in the CRIT.

Our CRIT plan was to attack often and if I go solo, Dan stays on Campbell. If the field stays together, Dan wanted to set me up for the sprint (Campbell was the best sprinter in the field).

After 20min and a nice attack by Dan, I took advantage of the crosswind and attacked on the windy side while Campbell was hiding on the protected side. I heard him yell something to coax anyone to chase but I was gone (smiling inside).

I went about 20min (8mi or so) solo getting up to a 29s gap but looking back at the same spot each lap to make sure Dan was with Campbell. If Campbell shook him and got across I was going to sit up and bring Dan back to him. There was no way we were leaving Eugene without the GC 1-2! After I crossed the line I got to see Campbell’s sprint but also happily saw Dan come in with the pack.

Final GC:
Lyons (TB) 3:52:01
Quirk (TB) +2:18
Campbell (Hutch’s) +2:25
DiMarco (Hutch’s) +2:41

I told Dan going in that I wanted us to go 1-2 in every stage, get all CRIT primes, and take 1-2 in GC. Big talk and of course kind of silly. But the message we had was that we were going to try to win everything. Don’t have much control over the TT’s but certainly the road race and CRIT would be fun to try for 1-2. We came away with three 1st places and two 2nd places in the four stages. Plus the top two spots in GC.

Tom Lyons

True Team effort sees Brenon take 2nd at Wente 45+

What a team we had for Wente in the 45+, and all of us ready to ride for one another:
-Oddvar the Engine
-Hans (attacking from the parking lot)
-Gardie, who kept smiling through some bad luck
-Nobody hung tougher than Scott
-and Brenon, who rediscovered the finishing kick he had misplaced for the past season or so.
Hans got it started early, taking a flyer: Photo: Katie Truong
Hans got it started early, taking a flyer: Photo: Katie Truong

Hans got it started early, taking a flyer as soon as the flag dropped (literally). Gardie jumped on the solo bridger (Dirk). Hans drifted back to us in the group on the rollers along the ridge. So as we rolled the first lap, it looked like Gardie was set for a bit of moto-pacing behind Dirk for the day.

Gardie set for a bit of moto-pacing behind Dirk for the day. Photo: Katie Truong
Gardie set for a bit of moto-pacing behind Dirk for the day. Photo: Katie Truong

Unfortunately, Gardie flatted at the bottom of our second trip up the finishing hill. He let us know Dirk was solo and running about 1min ahead of us. The rest of the lap involved a lot of looking around. Oddvar and Hans took turns riding hard tempo, but only 2-3 other people were willing to work. Too many passengers.

So the next trip up the finishing hill, I tried to stretch it out a bit. Did manage to shed a few stragglers but still had maybe 14 (and Dirk had 3+ mins at this point.)

I learned my lesson about going 90% on the hill (it doesn’t work) so I decided to ramp it up the next trip up the finishing climb. Coretech’s Rich had the same idea and so he mashed it up with me and we opened a decent gap. Unfortunately Kevin Klein and John Hunt tagged on as we hit the rollers on the ridge. Kevin was soft-pedaling and Hunt was sitting on the back, so the chasers were able to keep us in sight. They reconnected as we dropped off the ridge.

At that point, we’re about 20km from the finish. A lot of looking around. So Oddvar says ‘If you want to look for me, look for me at the finish’ — and he’s gone.It’s a stiff crosswind so he stretches out a pretty good gap pretty quickly. Klein shoots off in pursuit, but I’m boxed in so have to be a spectator on that (disappointing because nothing would make me happier than to sit on a guy who only sits on. Karma and all.)

Once we make the right turn onto Tesla Rd (the start road) and hit the hill, Rich starts to bridge across. I decide to wait for others to close that down. So I wait. And wait. And wait. Nobody is going to make it, so I jump hard, sprint over the crest and catch onto the three-man train, powered by Oddvar.
All four of us rotate through until around about the start line. At that point, Oddvar rolls beside me and says, “Save yourself for the final climb”. He then takes over and drills it for the next 10k, by himself. Amazing effort, and incredibly selfless. (I look forward to returning the favor.)

Oddvar pulling the chasing group. Photo: Katie Truong
Oddvar pulling the chasing group. Photo: Katie Truong

Oddvar leads us around the right-hander onto the finishing climb. After all the work Oddvar did, there’s no way I’m letting him — or the team — down. So I figure I’ll let Klein and Rich ride the climb how they want and then I’ll smash the last 200m. (Ok, not a ‘Jan-style’ smashing, but …) And that, my friends, is what happened: best of the rest (Dirk won by 6mins or something) + bonus with Oddvar coming in 5th. Hans and Scott came home with the chasers.

Oddvar finishing strong as 5th Photo: Katie Truong
Oddvar finishing strong as 5th Photo: Katie Truong

A good day for the Bears, slotting two in the Top 5 at a tough race.

Brenon pulling hard Photo: Katie Truong
Brenon pulling hard Photo: Katie Truong

Hope to see everyone again at Berkeley Hills.


Jan “Winsprinter” to take Second at Santa Cruz Classic Masters 35+ 123

Congratulations to Matt Carinio. Jan Weissenberger 2nd and Scott Bromstead third.
Congratulations to Matt Carinio. Jan Weissenberger 2nd and Scott Bromstead third.

Originally we were planning to field 4 Thirsty Bears, Neil, Ken, Gardie and me, but as things happen it was only Neil and me for the Masters race this time. We were definitely out numbered looking around at the start line seeing that Mike’s Bikes had 9 guys, Squadra had 6 guys. We would have to watch the moves going up the road and make sure we were at least covering them. One good thing was that Matt Carinio and Craig Nunes of Art’s Cyclery were in the race and always race aggressively. The first 25 minutes several Mike’s Bikes riders were trying to get off the front. Then a chase would ensue, and we would either have a small break of the field would be back together.

Mike’s Bikes controlling the front with Neil checking it out.
Mike’s Bikes controlling the front with Neil checking it out.

Craig did a lot of work throughout the entire race either chasing things down or towing the field. Matt and I were in several moves together, but no one was committed to work and everything was brought back. With the lap cards counting down I stayed near the front, but out of the wind. Mike’s bikes did their lead out starting on the last lap with Squadra right behind them. So I was about 9 riders back from the front. I told myself that is too far back you gotta move up. So I slotted myself in right behind the Mike’s lead out. Coming into the last corner one of the Mike’s guys clips his pedal and goes down causing a moment of hesitation. Our speed slows just enough for the group to get closer to the front guys going up the hill into the stiff headwind. I knew I had to wait to start my sprint otherwise I would be leading it out. I jump off Scott’s Bromstead’s wheel and have a clear line to the finish, when I hear the whoosh whoosh of Matt’s wheels and he gets me at the line. Matt Carinio wins with me second and Scott Bromstead in third.

Thanks to our sponsors: Osmo Nutrition, City Cycle, Trek Bikes and Castelli


Neil Bartley in the right element
Neil Bartley in the right element
Congratulations to Matt Carinio for a great sprint finish!
Congratulations to Matt Carinio for a great sprint finish!


Thirsty Bear Mascot – will be permanently mounted on Jan’s handlebars.
Thirsty Bear Mascot – will be permanently mounted on Jan’s handlebars.