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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: 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.

The End.

CP

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.

Cheers
DQ

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
Etc….

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.

b

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.

Ken Gallardo and Scot McLean goes “Pro” at Turlock Lake RR PRO 1/2

Ken sprinting for 4th. Photo: Katie Truong
Ken sprinting for 4th. Photo: Katie Truong
A few days ago Scot mentioned he was interested in racing Turlock Lake RR in the P / 1 / 2 category since it was the only morning field he could attend as a freshly minted Cat 2. Since the race is only an hour and a half from my dad’s house, I was also interested. A quick review of the pre-reg list showed a few strong teams with big numbers so I knew we’d have our work cut out for us. Working in our favor though is the fact that as master’s racers the young guys probably had no clue who we were and what kind of hurt a couple old guys could hand down. Well, they know now…
Despite some last minute concerns about the weather, Scot and I arrived at the lake with plenty of time to reg, Castelli SanRemo suit up! and spin around a bit. I suggested that we ride reverse of the course and check out the finish since I’d never done this race before (Scot did it last year). Scot gave me the low-down – the course is a mix of good and poor pavement and combines a little of the Snelling (in reverse) and Merco RR courses along with a nice series of rollers. And, best of all, lots of full road closure! Our plan for the day was to cover any break that had a Mike’s Bikes, Vu Medi and Marc Pro as these teams could easily put a couple strong guys in the break and block very effectively on the narrow sections of the course.
Ken – super focused on keeping the race in check
Ken – super focused on keeping the race in check

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).

Once we got going, the group worked together really well. I was pretty sure that as long as we rode a solid pace, we’d go faster than the peloton (which had been very inconsistent during all the attacking) plus all the big teams were well represented so only the stragglers would be available to chase. I can tell you that after some of the early season races, this break was hard but manageable. In contrast, the 35+ break at Snelling was (and I’m gonna get technical here) way, WAY harder. I was totally on the rivet the whole time at Snelling and nearly got dropped. I felt great today (perhaps, nah, no way, but just maybe I’m getting a little more fitness) and figured I had a pretty good chance of doing well if we could stay away.
Well, by the time we were halfway through the 2nd lap (of 4) we’d already built over a minute lead on the peloton. Unfortunately, the Marc Pro Strava guy touched wheels with someone on one of the rolling climbs and went down pretty hard. We slowed down for a couple minutes but when we’d gone two more rollers and didn’t see him anywhere we went back to business. Bummer for him and now we’re down to 7 guys.
On the 3rd lap, I can see some guys are starting to tire a bit and a couple guys are sweating pretty good. In contrast, I’d managed to forget my base layer, arm warmers and long fingered gloves so I’d been quite cool the whole time. I didn’t eat enough though and my legs were starting to hint that eating and drinking more might be a good idea. On the plus side, our gap on the field had been very quickly going up and by the start of the 4th lap we had 4 minutes. This should’ve been raising alarm bells but I figured the group wouldn’t want to blow a 4 minute lead by spending an entire lap attacking and cat-and-mousing. FAIL!
Almost as soon as we’d gotten the bell the knives came out. Roman reminded us that there was a full road closure by going full left (trying to get whatever “gutter” he could with the 5 MPH crosswind) and going full gas up the road. I’m caught a bit on the back foot as I’d just finished a pull so I was going backwards on the right when everyone dove left and accelerated. I managed to get back on terms and now it was no more Mr Nice Guy. I knew I couldn’t solo away for 20 miles so I figured I needed to watch Roman and bide my time. There were lots of attacks and I was attentive as possible and even launched a few of my own when I thought the timing was right. What I really wanted to to whittle the group down to 3 or less and at one point there were 4 of us but it was a bit too disorganized and the other 3 chased us down.
Then I made my big mistake. I rolled to the front and as I started to slow a bit, Roman launched. I was in the wrong gear on the wrong side of the road and didn’t react quick enough. Alex Freund of VuMedi jumped across off my wheel but nobody else did. Now Roman’s teammate Marcus was right on my wheel and nobody else would come around. 10 miles to go…I’m going full throttle but the engine room is screaming about fuel shortages and this hurts and why are you pulling these guys. Claudio makes an attempt to go across but I jump quickly onto his wheel but he shuts down. Now we’re racing for 3rd…

Somewhere in all the excitement we dropped the other VuMedi guy so now we have a 3 man chase with Smith sitting on. Unfortunately, Claudio isn’t contributing but keeps attacking so as we pass 3 km to go and he attacks, I let him go and let Prince take up the chase. He’s starting to fade so I jump off of Smith’s wheel and go by Claudio as hard as I can. Unfortunately he gets onto Smith’s wheel so I sit up and Claudio attacks again. Now I’m on his wheel and that’s where I’m staying. We pass 1 km to go and I can see Roman sprinting away for the win just like I knew he would. Damn! Now I have to be patient. 500 m to go and everyone is looking at each other, Claudio on the front, then me, then Smith, then Prince. I’m waiting as long as I can but know I’ll have to go right around 200 m if I want to get the jump. The finish is atop a *small* hill after a slight right hand bend (so glad I recon’d this and didn’t try to assess it during the race!). As we start up the hill and pass 200 m to go, Claudio opens the door on the right and I give it everything.
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.

Wow, what a race and what a finish. I’m really pleased with making the break and getting 4th. 2 out of the 3 guys who finished in front of me are only a couple years older than my son so, hey, they better beat this old guy! And what can I say, Roman is a talented ex-pro and I knew he’d be the guy to beat today. I kicked myself a couple times for missing that opportunity but now I know what to do next time…
Scot came in with the fractured field (he said once the field realized we were gone, the attacks starting flying fast and furious) so we both got a great workout and lots of quality, dry miles. We caught up with Alan and Joe and they congratulated me on a great finish. Hopefully some of my luck rubbed off and they do well!
Just in case anyone’s wondering, my night-before-the-race meal was this: http://www.theppk.com/2010/12/rustic-winter-stew-with-polenta/ AND homemade gluten, dairy, soy free apple crisp. Yum!

ThirstyBear Cycling Dominating the Chico Stage Race 35+ 123

ThirstyBear Bad Ass Bikers: Chris P., Jason G., Ken G., Ron C., Dan Q. Photography by Tahra Makinson-Sanders
ThirstyBear Bad Ass Bikers: Chris P., Jason G., Ken G., Ron C., Dan Q. Photography by Tahra Makinson-Sanders

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

Stage 1
The Thunderhill Raceway stage 1 racing on a track where cars go over 100mph the pavement smooth. Probably one of the best venues for a race I have been to.
Our team goal was to put one of us high up in the results. There were a few power climbs on the course and we would try and have Chris attack them to string things out. Ken and Jason were on the front a bunch during the race making sure it was nice and fast. Chris attacked the longer hill in the race stringing the race out and making people chase him. Dan and Ron were riding near me keeping me out of the wind and in good position.

We did 7 total laps in 50 minutes. The last two laps were quite fast. Dan and Ron both kept me in good position each time I fell back a bit. Dan dropped me off in the top ten right before the hill where Chris rode so hard the group was strung out. It cause Folsom Bike to chase with Jesse Moore, Jason Walker and Dean LaBerge. Chris had a little gap letting me sit on the chase. Coming into the 500 m to go We just passed Chris and it was all good, but then Folsom ran out of steam and we were getting swarmed. This is when Dean started his sprint as we were approaching 200m to go. I sat patiently and then jumped hard and was able to come around Dean and lunge for the line to win the first stage and take the Yellow Jersey for our team.

Ken controlling the race from the front!

Time to attack – Rapid Ron goes off the front.
Time for Jan to kick a 1000 Watts!

Thats how it looks like when you make it big!

A well deserved Win to new ThirstyBear teammate Jan Weissenberger – or as we call him “Jan WinSprinter”.

Stage 2

Jan actually looks good in Yellow!! Photography by Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Jan actually looks good in Yellow!! Photography by Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Paskenta RR – From Dust to Dirk.
Paskenta RR – From Dust to Dirk.
The Paskenta Road Race is 90 miles long and 3 miles of that is through a gravel section with rollers. Another epic road course. Our goal today was to either get Jason, Chris or me to win the stage.
The race started and the wind was blowing pretty hard which made this race even harder. The first lap was not very eventful. Ken and Jason were again riding near the front of the group to keep things in control. The first time through the gravel we were going quite fast and we dropped a few guys making the main group a little smaller. I think Ken rode on the front for nearly half the entire second lap. The rest of us were trying to stay out of the wind. Dan attacked a ways before the gravel section and no one chased for a while. Then things got serious and it was full gas into the second time through the gravel section we were all quite well positioned, but then Jason flatted, Ken was getting tired and falling a little behind, Dan was a little gassed from his effort, Chris and I were still in the front group. We exited the gravel section Chris was riding hard on the front with Josh Dapice from Audi. We were coming up to 3km to go and I was feeling good. It was a small group of about 15 riders. 1km to go still good and fighting for a good position. Craig Roemer comes to the front to lead it out and I sit on. I see 200m and I jump as hard as I can. I cross the line thinking I had won the race when I look up and see Mike Buckley and Dan Bryant just ahead. So I was third. Still not bad, but we had let our two main rivals get some time on us which was not good. But we were confident that Chris would ride a strong time trial.
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!

Stage 3

Stage 3 by Chris Phipps – 10 mile flat TT with 2 right turns.
Going into the TT, I was sitting 15 seconds behind Dan Bryant (Folsom Bike) and 23 seconds behind Mike Buckley (Specialized). Buckley had won the TT in 2013 in 21:00, so I knew that I’d have to be close to 20:00 to take the overall lead.  I think I went as well as I could have, even paced, gave everything in the last 3K and ended up with a 20:27 (29.2 mph), a time I was happy with. But within a few minutes, Bryant came in with a 20:09 and Buckley with a 20:45, so I ended up second in the TT and moved up to 3rd in GC going into the stage 4 Criterium.  Jan was 15th in the TT in 22:00 with Dan & Ken in 26th & 27th at 22:40 & 22:48.  Jason was holding back to save his legs for the crit because he had lost time in the road race & we didn’t know that team GC was scored by top 3 in each stage (d’oh!).

Ken the steam train powers by!
Chris Phipps in this usual no draft position.

 

Jason cruising by.

Stage 4

I just love racing crits. Especially downtown crits. This one is a fun one because the course is tight and short. It makes it hard to be able to move up and the field stayed strung out for most of the race. Again Ken and Jason were riding near the front to control and make sure we wouldn’t miss out on a break.

Crit at its best.

Chris and I were riding near the back getting our legs back from the TT effort. After 20 min though we moved up a little. With the last 5 laps I found Dan and Jason. With 3 to go we found Ken and the four of us were trying to line it up. But the course is so tight it was hard to squeeze by. We separated and with one to go Ken moved me up as far as he could, and I did the rest of the work. I was sitting fourth wheel around the last corner and would finish in 4th as I had no more power to come around anyone. Four hard stages and we ended up with Chris in 3rd in GC and I ended up in 8th. We had one stage win, Chris got 2nd in the TT, I was third in the road race and 4th in the crit. That’s a great weekend of racing for out team. Super proud of my teammates for riding so hard all weekend and making this one of the most fun stage races I have been to.

Congratulations to Dan BRYANT  @folsombike  Michael BUCKLEY @specializedncal 3rd Chris PHIPPS @ThirstyBears
Thank you to our sponsors: Osmo Nutrition, City Cycle, Trek Bikes and Castelli Clothing.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressive Team Effort See Jan Weissenberger Get Podium at Bariani Road Race 35+ 123

70 Miles – 5 laps

Teammates: Chris P., Jason G., Ken G., Dan Q.
about 70 starters
Riders of note: Andres Gil, Dean LaBerge, Mike Sayers, Larry Nolan, Chris Baker, Chris Espy, Jason Boynton, Scott Penzarella
Result: 3rd

Ken, Chris and I carpooled to Bariani. On the way we discussed how we would like the race to play out and talked a little strategy. There was a chance for an omnium prize since we had finished 2nd the day before at the Crit. All we had to do was to beat Mike Sayers and we would get the omnium prize. That was one of our goals. The other goal was to get a high placing in the race. Ken, Chris and Jason were free to get into breaks. If it looked like a field sprint then save ourselves for an attempt at a lead out for me.
8:05am the whistle blows and we are off. The field was big for these small skinny roads as center line rule was in full effect, except by the run into the finish about 2.5km. The rest of the course was a bit rough with potholes, tight and narrow so really hard to move up. Specialized had 6 guys, Folsom Bike had 7 guys, LangeTwins had 6 guys, Studio Velo had 5 guys.
Lap 1 –  was pretty uneventful and we all just rolled it and everyone got a look at the course. It was a bit chilly at the start, but would warm up by our finish.
Lap 2 – was faster and about 1/4 of the way into the lap I ended up flatting my front tire. Dan stopped with me, gave me his front wheel. I look up and Chris is waiting for me. Chris and I chase back on to the back of the field in less then 5 minutes, few that was close…Chris did all of the work, so that I could just sit on. We then move back up through the field to seek shelter and recover a bit. As we come by the finish Dan rides up next to me and says hey I got a wheel I am back too. Awesome. We were all back in it.
Lap 3…Chris flats and chases back on solo, otherwise pretty uneventful.
Lap 4 – Much of the same, but we have Ken and Jason riding near the front jumping into break attempts and just watching that nothing gets away with out us in the move. The course is really pretty bumpy with a lot of pot holes and lose gravel.
Lap 5 – Here is where the fun starts. We are all together and it looks like it is going to come down to a field sprint. I have saved my energy for the sprint to try and get a good placing for our team. Ken and Jason are still near the front and setting a nice tempo. Then all of a sudden I feel my rear tire going soft. I am like ‘oh nooooo’. I ride up to the front and tell Ken and Jason I have a flat.
Jason reacts and attacks the field, while Ken stops with me. I asked him ‘hey do you have Shimano’, referring to the pedals, he says ‘yes’, referring to his components and not pedals. I take his bike and start pedaling as I see Chris, again, waiting for me. Well I didn’t realize Ken’s bike is not only TOO big but also I can’t clip in. I sit on Chris at 30mph out of the saddle and not being able to get into the pedals. Shit. We get close to the pack and Dan is just off the back waiting for us. I asked him if he had Shimano pedals, he says ‘yes’. So I say ‘ok lets switch bikes’. He hands me his bike, and then Chris and I chase the field for what seemed like an eternity. His bike still a little too big for me but at least I could get into the pedals and somewhat be able to sit down. We get back onto the field with about 4KM to go. I move right up to the front. We make the last right hand turn into the finishing straight of 3km. Specialized is on the front setting pace. With 500m to go I am in decent position. Mark Anderson is on my right and I have Mike Sayers in my sight as well as Chris Baker from Specialized. At 150 to go the sprint starts. All of the sudden I see Mark going down pretty hard right next to me (oh no…Marks a good friend of mine).  I start my sprint, but a little too late as Chris Baker, Specialized, wins, and Mike Sayers finished just in front of me. I ended up 3rd.

I am not a quiter!! Jan gets 3rd after 2 flats.
After 2 flats, riding on a bike that was not his, Jan Weissenberger sprinted to win! Photo: Alex Chiu Photography.
After 2 flats, riding on a bike that was not his, Jan Weissenberger sprinted to win! Photo: Alex Chiu Photography.
BUT WOW that was a day of errors and such awesome teamwork, I was left speechless by the selflessness by all my teammates. A thank you just didn’t seem enough by any stretch. Luckily I had the beer I won from the Crit with me which we all shared right after we got back to the cars. What a day.

Amazing team efforts pays of at the end. Chris, Ken, Jan, Dan and Jason celebrating Jan’s podium spot.
Also, a special thanks to our sponsors: Osmo Nutrition, City Cycle, Trek Bikes, Castelli Clothing,

Corey Scooby-Doo VICTORY at RedKit Masters 35+ 3/4

Corey sprinting for the win!
Corey sprinting for the win!
I started this race with the full intention of sitting in and waiting for the inevitable pack sprint finish. Breaks rarely work in the 3/4s because of the mixed field and lack of coordination from teams to help a break get established. So right out of the gate we let 1 solo guy roll off the front and the rest of the pack rolled around and looked at each other. After a few laps, some attacks hit and were covered and the solo guy in the break yoyo’d in his gap. During one of these yoyos on the back straight (during the tailwind) an Audi guy rolled away from the group and went on a mission to bridge. After a short while, he joined the leader and now the break was a slightly more solid 2. One of the interesting aspects of racing 3/4 as compared to 1/2/3 is that the fields are a lot more varied and the likelihood that anyone knows who is consistently strong is low – so when someone comes out of the pack to bridge, it is hard to tell if that is a move you should go with or if anyone is marking you. I rode very near the front for the first 1/2 of the race. I missed my chance to bridge with Audi guy but studied the break carefully trying to determine if they were solid, working together and whether or not I thought this could be a winning move. We were maintaining the break in sight but their lead was consistently 1 straight (1/4 lap).
About 1/2 way through the race we came through the 2nd corner onto the tailwind back straight. I was about 5 wheels back and one of the first two guys dropped a chain or had some kind of mechanical and caused disorganization at the front of the pack. Until that moment, I had not considered a bridge attempt – but as I came through to the front I looked up and the break looked closer on the long fast straight than they had in a few laps so I cranked it up a few hundred watts and accelerated off the front of the pack. One would never get away solo in the 1/2/3s with a move like that but in the 3/4 I could easily accelerate smoothly and seated and establish a gap. By the end of that 1st straight I had closed about a 1/3rd of the gap and was clear off the front of the group so I put my head down and crushed it for the remainder of the lap to complete the bridge.
My 2 break mates were happy to see some more support arrive and after sitting out one rotation to recover from my bridge I fell into rotation. We rode the break fast and efficiently but kept it within the bounds of everyone there. My break mates were Monster Media (Brian Scholl) and Audi (didn’t ever catch his name). We successfully rolled through the first few lap cards with a solid gap but with 2 to go, the pack was closing. I knew they wouldn’t be that organized and could see that they were right there but as we came through on the bell lap, the 3 of us still had 10 seconds or so on a charging field. As I rolled through the line, I could see many teammates and friends exuberantly cheering us on. I looked up to see Jan standing there and giving me the universal sign for “hit the gas” as I rotated through. For those of you that don’t know and need to – the universal sign for “hit the gas” is to pretend you are riding a motorcycle and twist the throttle with your right arm – while yelling GO GO GO! So I “hit the gas” and immediately pulled the Audi guy off the back. Now it was just me and Monster Media. I had already worked out that the other guy should have the last pull (straight before the sprint) so I laid on the power on the back straight. We came around the 2nd to last corner and it was desperate. We still had the gap but the pack was charging and we couldn’t back off. MM guy hung me out for the first 1/3 of that last straight before the sprint, but ultimately came around with a strong pull and that allowed me a few pedal strokes of recovery.

We came into the last corner and I would have liked to stay in his draft for the first 100m before opening up – but I was so aware of the looming pack that I felt I needed to launch my sprint right away. We rounded the corner – I jumped on the inside line – and we were off on a drag race to the line. My jump was strong enough to get clear by quite a bit but the sprint was long so I knew that holding on would be tough. As we closed through 50 to go I had my eye on Monster Media trying to step back out of my draft and come around but I knew as we closed that he had run out of road and I had him. We came across the line and I threw just to make sure but I had him by about 1/2 a bike length, with 3rd place coming out of the charging pack about 10 feet back.
It was super cool to be in a break in a 3/4 race that worked and to hold on for the win. One or two more like that and I won’t be able to race with them any more – but I will be able to torture myself in the P1/2 with Chris and the big boys!
Regards,

–Corey

Superstars Phil and Scot “double down” at Madera E3 Stage Race

ThirstyBear participants – Phil Hynes, Scot McLean
Stages – 3 (TT and crit on Saturday and road race on Sunday)
Field – 73
Average age – 22?  (Would have been 19 were it not for Phil and me.)
I had cleared this race with the family about a month ago using my birthday as leverage.  Getting away in March for a stage race is unprecetended for this kid.  I am looking to upgrade this year and this weekend was an opprtunity to amass some points.  Phil and I were both focused on the stage 1 TT as our opportunity to establish ourselves as GC contenders.
This ended up being weekend full of surprises: a lucky break for me the night before stage 1, an unexpected decision from the official’s relating to Saturday’s crit, and a few unfortunate occurrences on Sunday.
I had decided to book a room in Madera Friday night in order to be as fresh as possible for Saturday morning’s 9 am TT (Madera is a two and three quarter hour drive from Marin).  As I pulled into the Madera Quality Inn check-in area, I felt a strange bump on the top of my car and heard what sounded like two soft knocks on a front door.  Then I was immediately in the grip of terror having realized what had taken place – I had forgotten that my my road bike was mounted at the top of my car (TT was in the back seat), and I had just driven into a covered parking area with just eight and a half of feet of clearance.  I jumped out of my car expecting to see the bike demolished..  My God!  It looked ok.  It turns out that the front of the saddle had just cleared the roof of the structure.  The back of the saddle, however, made contact and the bike was compressed and then released once the clearance increased to nine feet – that explained the bump and the two knock noises.  My rear tubular was flexible enough to prevent any damage to tthe seat post or frame.  Disaster was narrowly averted.
Stage 1 TT (Saturday AM)
Stage 1 was about a 20 minute drive North to a little town called Chowchilla.  The TT was a flat, three turn stretch of bumpy country road (10.5 miles).  Phil and I met up during warm-up and chatted a bit.  Phil started about 5 minutes in front of me – starts were every 30 seconds.  The wind kicked up and we had a headwind for the first three miles, and then a cross wind after the first turn (didn’t really enjoy a tailwind until the last two miles).  I worked hard in the first half of the ride, fighting the wind and shifting my line to avoid potholes.  It felt slow but I stayed down and caught my 30 second guy at the two mile mark.  I caught two others later on and motored in with some momentum.  I wanted a 22:40 (based on times posted last year)but ended up at 23:11.  I was initially disappointed.  Phil and I met up – hist time of 23:02 (9 seconds faster) looked like time to beat.  Now, I felt a bit better.  If I was just 9 seconds in back of Phil, then I was surely top 5.
It turns out that we were 1, 2 by a lomg stretch,  Phil had 9 seconds on my time,  and I had 23 seconds on third place.
Stage 2 Crit (Saturday afternoon -1 hour – ended up being a 27 mile crit)

Phil Hynes going full power
Phil and I were a bit disheartened to learn that the time bonuses for top 3 crit placings were so high – 20, 10, and 5.  Twenty second bonus for the win!?  There were also two 5 second prem laps.  We had marked the four guys in back of us and watched them like hawks.  Everything was fine and it looked like our time gaps were safe until a crash on the last lap – I was and half the field were separated from the first half by about two seconds.  That was enough for the field judge to award a 9 second time difference between the first and second halves of the race.  This 9 second penalty ended up being the crucial difference for me.  Phil was safe – he cruised across in seventh.  Phil looked absolutely unbeatable.  He was the class of the field.
Power house Scot Mclean pulling at the front
Power house Scot Mclean pulling at the front
Stage 3 (Sunday – 4 laps, 64 miles)
This was it.  Having not done this race before, I was quite anxious about this rough road section. I  was told that it was worse than Copperopolis.  I had no idea.  Phil and I lined up at the start.  We both knew that this could come down to equipment.  We were still 1,2.  I was vulnerable (now just 17 seconds in front of third and 20-25 in front of three or four others), but Phil’s lead looked insurmountable.   We rolled and hit the first lap bumpy section about.  I had started in the front part of the race but was soon falling back and struggling to find a line to avoid these gaping holes in the earth.  This was like jet turblance from hell.  the stretch seemed to go on and on.  Finally, the road seemed to smooth over, but the first lap had taken its toll on the field.  We had lost maybe five on that first lap.  Oh no, there was Phil as I road by!  He had flatted.  I road on as the new GC leader, but I was sick about Phil.  I was able to stay near the front for the remainder of the race, and the bumpy road section became more and more manageable over the succeeding three laps.

Phil chasing back after flat in final stage. A long ride home…
As we road through the final set of rollers, I was in a great spot – probably sixth wheel.  One of the GC threats took off solo and I let him go a bit, waiting for the last 1k before I hit the gas.  I just need to reel him in a bit to preserve the GC win.  I think it was my fourth or fifth peddle stroke out of the saddle when I was suddenly hit hard from the back.
All this way and then full stop for Scot
All this way and then full stop for Scot
I was smacked down on the road immediately on my left side – no warning at all.  Three or four others went down as well.  I was stunned and dazed.  A few guys road over me and my bike.  I rolled off to the side of the road, hoping to avoid further injury.  I was fairly lucky.  I realized that I was cut up pretty bad and my bike was a disaster – twisted and torn at the top.

Victory vanished in a split second, but still Scot gets on the bike and finish. A true sportsman “Never surrender”.
After about sixty seconds, I decided to get back on and peddle across the line in case it mattered.  I soon learned that one retains pack time in crashes within 3k of the finish.  I still had a chance.  I waited for two hours to learn that I had lost the GC win as a result of an arcane tiebreak rule.  I wom’t bore you with the math, but I ended up second.

Congratulations for Scot stepping up on the podium seriously bruised but still smiling!

Folks, this was Phil’s race.  He deserved the win and would have had it easily were it not for the mechanical.  I merely limped in for second.  Hats off to you Phil and sorry for what happened.  You were the man!
Scot

Unstoppable Jason Gets Victory Pie at Cherry Pie Crit +35 123

For the second day in a row, Jason steps up on the podium!
For the second day in a row, Jason steps up on the podium!

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, 

Jason