Little City Stage Race Report by Tanya Fredricks
Teammates: me, myself and I
W1234 (Cat 3/4 picked sep)
Number racers: 32
Stage 1: Crit
Goal: Don’t chicken out and stay upright.
This was the scariest part of the stage race for me. Never having done a crit/TT/stage race…I had butterflies in my stomach for the week prior.
Race day was perfect weather on great roads which lended me some relief. Unfortunately the minute I parked next to the course, I witnessed two crashes in the men’s race…oh no!
The first few laps I just sat in and got use to crit flow. Mostly I stayed on the outside and midway back. After finally relaxing a bit around the corners, I actually felt ok. At about 10 laps to go, I found myself on the inside and sucked up to the front without meaning to. The next thing I know I’m on the front leading the charge. At 9 laps to go, I won my first prime! Final lap, I tried to stay near the front, but I was two women away from a crash on the chicane before the finish. Being a bit alarmed at swerving to miss the gal falling into the line of fire, I lost some ground and had to sprint to catch the front group. I passed a few gals right before the finish, but ended up 15th out of the 3/4’s. Happy to be alive : )
Stage 2: TT
Goal: Race it like a 5K running race
As we noticed the proceeding day, the winds seemed to be quite strong in the afternoon. I decided to forgo the disk wheel when I saw the dark clouds pressing forward. It would just be me, my clip on bars (thank you Jim!) and my alien helmet (thank you Hans!). Good call. A tailwind out sent me sailing at 26 mph average to the turn around, only to be smacked in the face by cross/head winds on the return, reducing my speed average to 19+ . Big rain drops, feeling like hail, also joined me on the return….which was almost a refreshing break from the sweltering 100 degree heat all day. Finished 6th. Now 11th GC
Note: Most of our tents at the campsite were uncovered because of the extreme heat, thus we returned to the campsite only to find our tents now with indoor swimming pools ; )
Stage 3: Road Race 44 miles (4 laps)
Goal: Stay on the wheels of the P12’s as long as possible.
Started out off the back somehow on the early decent which cause some panic in me. The narrow road made it difficult to find any room to move up. I tried to be patient on the first climb, still stuck in the back and feeling a bit claustrophobic because I was unable to set my own tempo up the hill. As the second hill approached, I was able to squeeze through holes to get to the front. This is where I wanted to be now!
Attrition occurred every lap at the hills. There were 6 of us who always made it to the top together. I tried to rally some organization with the six of us, but no one seemed to commit. Three of us tried, but the others just sat on. We now became 10 again.
At the final climb, just as expected, three of us reached the peak and began to work a bit together over the top. We managed to drop a fourth rider about 4.5 miles from the finish. Then no one would work. I kept suggesting working together, but both seemed comfortable to just let me do the work. I tried out an attack to see what would happen about 3 miles out, and got a gap for a bit until they caught on again. Still not willing to help, I attacked again, which resulted in a slower recovery of the two gals to get back on. Looking up, I noticed I was now almost at 1K to go. I downshifted and pedaled as hard as I could with my head down for as long as I could and then took a peek back. To my surprise, neither gal responded! 200 to go my legs aren’t happy, but I stand up to make sure to keep the gap. It’s closing, but not fast enough….phew! Result first place.
Only after the race did Hans kindly point out to me that the two women behind me were P12’s and I didn’t even need to be racing them to win my category. Duh.
Overall GC: 3rd for Cat 3/4
Best part: Completing my first stage race in one piece! Camaraderie with TB teammates. Supportive, encouraging, generous, kind, and fun!
Worst part: Not even my soaking wet sleeping bag and swimming pools in my tent won for the worst part , but rather leaving behind such a fantastic weekend of camping, racing, and Bear family. Thanks to all!
Little City Stage Race – 35+ 1/2/3
In its 2nd year, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite events of the season due to the courses and beautiful mountain scenery. Unlike other stage races, this is a points based Omnium, so the criterium is just as important as the time trial. Representing Thirsty Bear Cycling were Kyle Ashton, Piers Barry, Phil Hynes and myself.
First up was the TT, a 9.5 mile out & back along the final 5 miles of the RR course. I had won this last year, and thought I laid down a good effort, but it was only good for 3rd behind Dave Bailey (18:37.77) and Mike Buckley (18:51.39). My time of 18:52.05 (30.53 mph) was just 0.66 seconds behind 2nd. That really hurt!
Piers had a solid TT to finish 12th, with Phil in 14th and Kyle in 18th.
On to the criterium. The temp for our 2:20PM downtown Minden criterium was 102 degrees and the plan was to just stay safe and try to chase down anything dangerous and hopefully get me into the top 10 to pick up some points. About halfway through the race, Chris Baker and Chris Lyman from Folsom Bike got away and we and the other teams decided not to waste the bullets chasing since they had both finished out of the points in the TT. Instead we just sat in and were patient waiting for the sprint to pick up as many points as possible. I was able to stay near the front for the final few laps and get onto Jan Weissenberger’s (Zipz) wheel in the final lap and luckily we avoided the crash that took down Jeromy Cottell (Specialized) in what looked like a nasty fly over the bars. Jan ended up 4th and I was 6th, so I scored better than I expected. Piers unfortunately went down in the final lap, but luckily no one was seriously hurt with just road rashes and bruises & nothing broken.
After stage 2, I was sitting in 2nd place with 104 points between Mike Buckley (106) and Jason Walker (103) from Folsom Bike, with Jan in 4th at 95. I knew I would need to beat both Buckley and Walker to win the overall, and they had 7 guys so getting away and staying away would not be easy.
Final stage road race. 6 times an 11 mile loop with 800 ft of climbing per lap. Our race started at 11:25 and it was already 90+ by then and was just getting warmer. The plan was to stay cool as long as possible (thanks so much for our Thirsty Bears in the feed zone with the ice cold bottles!), but also to start pushing the climbs after the 1st lap to put the pressure on Folsom and hopefully get rid of a few of them.
We were pretty relaxed for the first lap but on the 2nd climb, Jan powered away and had a gap. I considered bridging, but knew Folsom would react, so I stayed in the bunch. Jan was soon joined by teammate Ben Albracht, which was a dangerous move, but Folsom was working the front keeping them within 20 seconds, so they sat up. Kyle, Phil and Piers went to the front as we started the 2nd lap climbs and with Piers on the front on the 2nd climb started to split up the field. At the crest, Jeromy Cottell surged and had a gap. I was right there at the front and bridged up and asked him if he wanted company or if he wanted me to sit up since I knew I was break poison, but he said no, let’s just ride tempo and see if anyone bridges. We started the 3rd lap climbs with about 30 seconds and just rode tempo, hoping some help would come across and at the top of the 1st climb were joined by Jean Luc Perez (PrimeTime) who was very willing to work for about 4 miles until he realized we weren’t getting any further ahead, so he sat on. After he skipped a few pulls, Jeromy let me roll of the front then when I had a gap he jumped across to me and we were working the tempo again.
We started the 4th lap climbs, still with about 30 seconds over the pack and again rode relaxed to see if anyone would bridge, but by the top of the 2nd climb we could see no one was bridging, so we decided to soft pedal until we were caught by the remains of the pack, which was now about 15 guys. By this time the wind was really picking up and the final 3 mile stretch to the finish had a harsh cross wind from the right. Once we were caught, Folsom when to the front and drilled it with a small echelon along just to the right of the center line. This was the hardest part of the race for me, as I was right at the line really struggling to stay on. Thankfully Phil was there and I told him to ride to my right and he was able to protect me from the wind so I could catch my breath. Then Walker attacked on the front and the other Folsom guys sat up. Phil asked if we should chase and I told him to just keep Walker close and I would try to bridge to him on the next climb. Phil dug deep and we caught Walker just before the climb. Chris Lyman from Folsom set a hard tempo on the climbs so I decided to be patient and save it for the final lap. We were now down to about 10 riders and I was isolated. On the crosswind section Lyman attacked and had a gap. I decided the best way to chase would be to go to the centerline, put my head down and gutter everyone into the other lane. This worked pretty well, especially since there was an official there yelling at guys to get back to the right on the centerline. I caught Lyman and only Walker was able to hold my wheel, so the 3 of us had a gap on the descent toward the final climb. Lyman was pulling at tempo and “encouraging” me to pull through since the guys we had dropped were catching up. I pulled through slowly a couple times, but was saving all I could for the final climbs. About 7 or so guys caught back on and as soon as we started the climb I attacked and soon had a gap. At the top of the 1st climb, Ben from Zipz was able to grab my wheel and followed me across to the 2nd climb. I wanted to keep him with me for some help on the windy final stretch, but had to keep the climb full gas to build my lead on the chasers and he fell back. As I crested the climb, I just put my head down and thought “just 7 polo field laps to the finish”. The whole rest of the way I just stared at my Garmin as the distance ticked down. I took a look back at 1K to go and still had about 30 seconds, so I was able to ease up a bit and enjoy the finish with family & teammates cheering me on. The stage win also gave me the GC title over Jan who won the sprint over Dave Bailey for 2ndon the stage. Phil held on for 14th overall to add a little more $ to the team haul! Thanks Kyle, Piers & Phil it was a lot of fun racing with you guys!
I can’t say for sure if my TT performance was a bit off, but the night before I had only had 1 Stella instead of my regular 2 or 3 IPAs, while I had 3 IPAs on Saturday night and felt real strong on Sunday. Coincidence or correlation?
Race: Central Coast Circuit
Classification: 35+ 3 & 4
Time: 50 min
Field size: 11
In my desperate hunt for upgrade points, I find myself driving 2+ hours for a 50 min race with 11 people. Their usual circuit coarse was being occupied by a 5k run so the race organizers had to use an alternative coarse which was as generic as they come. It was a 3 mile out and back – down a hill, 180 degree turn, back up the hill, down another hill, 180 turn and back up. One team, Don Chapin, had two riders and in the first lap one of them attacked into the headwind and nobody went with him. I was trying to organize the group and a few people did some work over the next lap but I was doing the bulk of the work. So instead of pulling everyone along – I attacked at the bottom of one of the short hills halfway through the 2nd lap and when we got to the top- the field was reduced from 10 to 5. Then after the next turn, I attacked again and only the other Don Chapin rider and other rider remained. Since the Don Chapin rider had a guy up front, he just sat in and the other guy was dead weight only doing about 10% of the work. I thought I could catch the solo rider so I stayed on the front dragging the two riders along. The gap was 30 seconds and to my disappointment, it didn’t come down through 4 laps so it was now a race for 2nd place. As we approached the final turn – I wanted to be in the lead to prevent getting jumped coming out of the sharp turn (my bike handling needs some work). The finish was about 300-400 meters with a short climb, flat and then another climb. I attacked out of the turn hoping to get a gap but the Don Chapin rider that had been sitting in the entire race stuck to my wheel as we drop the other rider. The Chapin rider came around on the flat and I couldn’t close on the last knoll thus settling for 3rd. Although this wasn’t my first top 3 finish -it was my first time stepping on a podium thus making the drive worthwhile (photo attached). Now I just need to move up two steps.
An hour later I did the elite cat 3/4 and at the start the guy to my left was 16 (almost a 1/3 of my age) and the guy to my right was 20 . The top 3 finishers were half my age and it was their first race of the day. It was a good workout and I finished 5th (out of a mass field of 11).
35+ 123 By Kyle Ashton
Women 1234 By Tanya Fredricks
Temp: perfect except for the 100 degrees at the finish
45+ 123 By Max McKinley
Racers: Approx 25 (7 45 1,2,3 the rest were 3’s)
Thirsty Bears: Han’s, Lance and Max
Weather HOT 100deg
Course: 8900′ climbing with many unrelenting undulations and breathtaking view
Field: Combined Cat 3’s 18+ M45 1,2,3 (7) 25 total
Placings: Max 1st, Hans 2nd, Lance 5th (Hans was 3rd overall, I was 2nd overall)
Han’s and I planned pre-race that Carl Nielsen was the guy to watch on the climbs a very fast climber. The course set off easy for the first mile then the torture set in up a steep 2 mile 12%++ gradient to the KOM (which I didn’t know about). We raced with the Cat 3’s (most of which were young enough to be my son’s:) , one guy was charging up the hill full gas to start, my goal was to keep Carl in my sights and stay with the lead group up this critical climb that would make a selection fur sure. Carl likes to race in the front of the group, about 1/4 the way up he guns it and jumps to the front and is riding about 2 bike lengths off the front going hard, harder, harder trying to whittle the group down and it’s working. I’m red lined (this is a great warm up by the way 10min into racing, try it sometime if you haven’t already) but I’m hanging in 4th or 5th wheel with mostly 3’s, there was another 45 guy but he cracked. There’s a Pen Velo guy (soon to be my break away companion), a few Squadra guys, and another few random teams that are all hanging together just behind Carl as the road just get’s steeper and goes on for what seems like an eternity. Carl is putting on the pressure, I look back I don’t see my TB team mates, were going harder and harder, redline, redline, I’m not losing contact but I’m gassed, good thing is so are the others! I see some old spray painting on the road 1k to go some more, steep undulations, stair stepping up, 12%+, ok I’m warmed up now! The group is now about 7 guys with Carl leading the climbing, finally a slight ease in the gradient, our group is all together, then up a bit more, finally with Carl shifting into a bigger gear and getting ready to sprint for the KOM, I was right on his wheel but to late to take the KOM, Carl thanked me (I didn’t really mean to give it to him, I just didn’t know about there being a KOM, oh well) he thanked me because he knew I could out sprint him. The road went down a little for a quick recovery here at the summit but guess what not for long, up some more and our 7 man group is still together. Finally we crest what appears to be a considerable downhill and Carl is on his brakes, YES, I’m going around him with the Pen Velo rider, we blaze down this super fast, fun, twisty descent and string out the field with Chris(Pen Velo) and I leading the charge, at this point one of the Cat 3’s (not sure what club) got away and Chris later told me he had won Nevada city recently and another big race. We manage to separate Carl from our now break of 5 or so (Squadra, Pen velo, another 2 random guys, and I) this is perfect!!! I’m wishing Hans/Lance had made our group but we push on up the now rolling terrain with considerable climbing still, it’s amazing scenery, I’m really having a great time on these scenic roads with no cars and beautiful views!! As we finally reach another big descent Chris and I look back and now it’s just the 2 of us due to hitting the rollers hard (we did not let up at all after the main climb or these rollers), Chris and I are matched well except that he can really power the flats. I look down at the mileage and it’s only 25 miles, were finally at the coast!!!! We have decent separation from Carl and the others(we never got any time gaps so it was unclear as to what our gaps were. I can’t believe this was only 25 miles, I feel like we’ve ridden 50mi mostly uphill! Chris had lost his water bottle on the downhill so as we make the turn onto Hwy1 (incredible views, AGAIN!!) I see that he’s suffering so I give him enough water to keep him going, he’s doing a lot of work here so I’m getting a nice recovery with some short pulls but he did a lot of work. At a certain point we come up to a place on Hwy 1 where there’s some construction and there’s a temporary stop light guess what, It’s RED!! there’s cars sec coming on the one open lane, we STOP!! Waiting, waiting, 10 sec- 15sec, no more cars it’s still red but we can’t wait with a a chasing field, we risk it and fly down the one lane with potential oncoming traffic, phew, no cars we make it through. At one point we looked back and could see chasers coming at 1min back so we put our heads down and dig deeper on the coast into the wind.I keep giving Chris sips of water (glad I carried 3 large bottles) we knew the neutral was at mile 40 so I was conserving with only about 3/4 of a bottle left and still another climb before water stop. We finally make a right turn and climb up some more 2+ miles to the neutral water. I also want to say that I cramp in heat typically, but with a good amount of training recently and some great racing at Mt Hood I was feeling strong.
One of the things I did though to help combat the heat was to start taking electrolytes (I use brand name: Electrolyte Stamina) the night before and have packets to take in the am and during the race (worked great no cramps). The coast was much cooler but it was already getting hot up the 1st climb. Next year I’ll carry more water if they only have 1 neutral feed. Chris and I are keeping a hard effort on all the time both up the climbs and on the rollers, not much flat road at all, even on the coast it was a head wind all the way up to the turn. Up, up and finally it’s the OSMO neutral support (Nirvana!!) relief, this is perfect we each get 2 bottles, saved! Turn back on the gas with renewed energy from hydration, power up the remaining rollers, up, up mostly. We pass Greg who is pushing on his own, we pass Eric, keep going. We pass Ken walking his bike (flat, he was in the lead, sorry to see him there), keep pushing with Chris, trade pulls up the last rollers, then DOWN to Hwy 128! We pass a swimming spot, I wish I could jump in the cold water, but no time to think about the heat, slam the last of my electrolytes, hydration, push on.
We get to Hwy 128, make the right start to catch Piers, he’s riding well, legs are ok no cramps!!!! Temps about 100deg now, keep pushing we catch 1st place Cat 3, he’s smoked, cramping, Chris starts pulling, I roll up to him and say let the other guy pull since now there in the lead for 1st place in the 3’s ( I want my breakaway companion Chris to win the 3’s). Chris sits back, then at about 3.5mi to go Chris attacks his competition, great move!! they were both cramping, but Chris goes anyway, drops the other 3! Chris is out of sight up the final climb, I’m happy for him. We hit the final grueling hill another run up the 12% + 2.5mi climb to the finish (2nd time up this) the now 2nd place Cat 3 guy is in front of me but blows up on the hill, I slowly pull away from him and drop him, keep climbing, up, up, its sweltering hot but at least there’s tree cover. No cramps yet, hit the 1k to go mark, I’m red lined up this final section, see the line, I take a final look back, no one coming, sprint to get as fast a time as possible, I”I’m DONE!!! Hans comes across in 2nd place, then Lance in 5th!!! It was an amazing race for both Hans and I. So much fun racing here. I couldn’t have done it without Chris, helping so much. Finish time about 3hr46min. Carl didn’t come across until about 9min later from me, he’s a super nice guy. Turns out Hans beat Carl up on the descent also and got rid of him before the final climb to the finish. Great racing!