ThirstyBear Chris Phipps celebrates his 2nd consecutive US Masters National Championship
Chris Phipps in Monster TT Style. Photo: Chris Phipps Monster TT style. Photo: pbcreativephoto.com
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: pbcreativephoto.com
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: pbcreativephoto.com
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.
Another one to the collection!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A good day for the Bears, slotting two in the Top 5 at a tough race.
Hope to see everyone again at Berkeley Hills.
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.
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
Scot and I managed to line up on the front row. The P / 1 / 2′s took a leisurely approach to lining up, getting there about 2 minutes before the start with some guys rolling up just as the whistle blew. Right away, the attacks started and fortunately most guys forgot that the first stretch of road was full closure so being near the front was a big advantage. The attacks continued most of the first lap and I was covering everything that looked remotely dangerous. About 20 miles into the race 8 guys finally got clear and after a little encouragement from yours truly (hey guys, we have a solid gap, let’s quit goofing around and ride!) we were off to the races.
It wasn’t the best break from the standpoint of numbers because there were two Mike’s Bikes guys Roman Kilun (who from the get go I knew would be the guy to watch) and Marcus Smith, two guys from VuMedi (Alexander Freund and Taylor Cody) and one each from ThirstyBear (me!!!), Red Peloton (Michael Claudio), Marc Pro Strava (never got his name) and Fresh Air Bicycles (Jared Prince).
There’s a spectator on the road and I scream at him to GET OUT OF THE WAY! (and I didn’t use any expletives either) and I’m out of the saddle and the legs are screaming too and I can sense Smith coming alongside so I kick again but I need to shift and it’s not gonna happen and I throw my bike but come up short by a couple inches in the sprint.
Stage 1: Thunderhill Raceway 50 Min (7 laps)
Stage 2: Paskenta Road Race 90 miles (2 laps)
Stage 3: Time Trial 10 miles
Stage 4: Criterium downtown Chico 45 min
A well deserved Win to new ThirstyBear teammate Jan Weissenberger – or as we call him “Jan WinSprinter”.
- Ken setting the pace down the dusty road! Photography by Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Chris flies over the dirt road!
After a long day on the road – this ThirstyBear surely needs a cold beer!
Jason cruising by.
70 Miles – 5 laps
Congratulations for Scot stepping up on the podium seriously bruised but still smiling!
After having lapped the field and finished 2nd at BP Winter Crit, Jason is right back at it! Here is how it went down…
Late… because I always run late for crits, I got my number and got dressed in the car, listening to the heavy pelting wind and rain. “It’s nice in here,” I thought. “Maybe I should just stay warm instead of racing.” I took my time getting dressed and had already resigned myself to an abbreviated warm-up. I forgot my trainer, so I rolled down the parking lot hill a couple times and my butt was already getting soggy from the road.
Rolling to the start, there were 4 Mikes Bikes, 4 LangeTwins, and a collection of others. Hunter Ziesing from Hammer showed up with the wrong number and quickly joined our field. It was his second (maybe third) race. There were about 10 of us total. Hunter said he was going to attack from the gun… and he did.
I started from the back of the group, being extra cautious on the first turn and Hunter, Greg Tsutaoka (LangeTwins), and Mike Foley (Mikes Bikes) went clear right away. With several teammates in the field, I knew that this first lap break was likely the move that would stick, so I immediately motored up to their group. By the time I got there, Greg was already calling “uncle” and was unable to pull through.
Mike & Hunter were both barking at Greg for him to pull through & I said that we needed him in our group if we were going to stay clear. Greg was in our group for now.
The race continued for a couple more laps with everyone but Greg taking some pulls. There was a nasty headwind on the final stretch and it always sapped your energy when you did work into the wind, then had to hit the final 400m climb. Greg dropped out of our group & pulled the plug on himself and then there were 3 of us.
Mike took 2 primes and I took 2. Hunter sat out of all of them, saying, “I’m just happy to be out here.” Our tempo was good and we had locked up the podium.
With about 6 to go, the chief ref screams at us that Hunter didn’t register and that he needs to drop from the race. Huh? Hunter continues with us and would end up being ineligible for the race.
Two laps to go, I try a hard dig on the backside and coming into the straight and final stretch. I pull off in the final stretch, letting Mike come by. We are going a bunch slower and he’s in the wind. Coming into the hill, he’s a bit agitated and swings wide right for one of us to pull through.
Wide open door! I pin it to the top of the hill and motor really fast through the turn at the bottom of the hill. Hunter is with me. Mike is off our group. I continue to motor hard through the back side and then into the final stretch.
Looking back, we’re clear, so I need to keep something in reserve for the final sprint. I ease up a bit, watching to see if Hunter is going to try to pull around. At about 200m to go, I pop and give it everything I have… First. Pie and primes are yummy!
Thanks for reading,