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Boom Boom Brenon Takes Win at Snelling

This is what victory looks like. Photo by Craig Huffman
Snelling RR:60 miles (sans the long rollout) and we covered it in 2:22, so averaged 25+ mph. (Or in energy:avg 290 watts, NP 320.) So not particularly taxing (in fact, at 2400kjs, several hundred less than most races. But this being early season, I’ll take it.)
Never my favorite race, Snelling is one of those races that I always seem to just get trapped in the pack and spin along through Stanislaus County, taking in the scenery. So this year, I figured ‘enough of that’ and decided to to do everything (anything!) to get in a break. There were a flurry of attacks mid-way through the first lap, a couple of which felt really promising (last year’s winner, Dan Langely, came up to one and I thought ‘OK, off we go.’). But it was still clumped at the front after 4-5 attempts.
Finally, I rolled away solo (just a tiny, little bit) and Scott Fonesca blew past me with Rich DelValle in tow. I swung over to their tandem and we started pulling hard to get out of sight. Rich was super strong today and took the heaviest pulls of our trio. He’s a no-nonsense racer and a good guy on/off the bike. I always enjoy getting in a break with him.
We stayed on the pedals for the next 4 laps, solidly holding about 60-90secs over the main group (or so we guessed). After the race, both Chris and Shawn both said there was no organized chase from the field. Unfortunately, we only got 2 time-checks so didn’t know where we were, relative to the main field. I kind of figured that the field would pull us back, if just because there were probably 4 different teams that had at least 8 riders to use in the chase.
On the bell lap, Fonseca started skipping pulls, leaving Rich and I to drive. But then he’d hang with Rich when Rich would surge on some of the short climbs around the course.
On the final straight before the turn, which ends just 500 meters from the line, we could see a group kind of massing behind us. No updates or anything, so we just assumed it was the main group. I didn’t like the look of it, so just outside the 1km sign, I tore off from our break. I really didn’t think I would make it (who did I think I was?? Fabian Cancellara??) but figured I’d go out in a blaze of glory (or something).
Anyway, Fonseca pulls me back. But I am not done yet. So I drop behind both Rich and Scott as they round the final corner. Neither of them really give it full-stick at the bottom of the two-step climb, so I just put my head down and tear away on the inside. I fly up the first bump and hit the middle plateau feeling like a beast. Unfortunately, I still had the second bump to get up. (To show how imbalanced it was: 950 watts in the first section of the final sprint, but barely cracked 600 by the line.) It wasn’t pretty but I got across the line first and let out a big ol’ roar, bear-style. Fonseca finished second and Rich, who was the strongest in our group, came home third.
All in all, a great way to start the new season (if I retired now, I’d be undefeated in 2015…)
But naaah, let’s all go get some more this season.

Victory is sweet! ThirstyBear Cycling p/b Akamai 2014 in review. Welcome Race Season 2015!

As we stand at the entry to 2015, its a good time to once again celebrate the many fantastic accomplishments we had throughout 2014.

The 2014 season started out with a BANG!  On January 1st, ThirstyBear swept the mens masters podium at the San Bruno Hill Climb with Chris Phipps, Hans Gouwens, and Dan Quirk while Tanya Fredricks won the womens race.  Early season form saw Eric Lagier winning Knight’s Ferry Road Race in February, while Jason Grefrath put his stamp on podium spots with a win at Cherry Pie Criterium, followed by a second place at BP Winters Criterium. In March, Phil Hynes and Scot McLean dominated the Madera Stage Race, while Corey Scobie started his streak of wins at the Red Kite Criteriums in Pleasanton. Jan finished 3rd at Bariani Road Race. 

The April races saw huge performances by our top masters at the Chico Stage Race, resulting in a Stage win by Jan Weissenberger and multiple podium spots in the other stages and the overall. Ken Gallardo had a superb race in the Pro/1/2 field at Turlock Lake Road Race, taking fourth.  Other Spring highlights were Oddvar Kaarboe winning the Berkeley Hills Road Race and taking 3rd at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, while Jan scored another second place at the Santa Cruz Classic Criterium and Brenon Daly taking second at the Wente Road Race in Livermore. In May, the masters men crushed the field at the Mount Hamilton Road Race with Chris Phipps taking the top spot, flanked by Dan Quirk, Brenon Daly.

Early summer provided us with Tom Lyons winning the Eugene Celebration Stage Race in Oregon, with Dan Quirk getting on the podium as well in one of the stages. Chris Phipps, Gardie Jackson, Scot McLean, and Hans Gouwens were awarded with Gold medals at the Steve Dunlop Team Time Trial, while Tanya Fredricks claimed Silver in the Individual Time Trial.

The Little City Stage Race gave us a few more podium spots with Brenon and Hans going 1,3 in the Circuit Race.

August saw another dominating performance by the masters men at the Patterson Pass Road Race, placing six Bears in the top nine with Phipps and Daly going first and second and Tanya Fredricks climbing on the top step of the female masters podium.

Brenon Daly finished his season with a Bronze Medal at Masters Districts Championship in San Ardo, but September was really dominated by Chris Phipps winning his second Masters Road National Championship in Ogden, Utah and taking second in the Time Trial. Tanya Fredricks won her second Silver Medal in the Road Race, while Alan Roberts finished a strong 5th in the Time Trial.

Clearly a very successful season and a testament to the dedicated masters racers that ThirstyBear Cycling has managed to attract over the years. We are very fortunate to continue this trend into the 2015 season with the addition of new riders and new sponsors.

New to the team are current Road Race and Time Trial National Champion Anne Valta and Criterium National Championship Bronze Medal winner Kim Wik. The womens team has also added Carla Cosentino and Meredith Stowe, while the mens team has been strengthened with Jacob Berkman, Moritz Steiner, Shawn Daly, and Dino Acri.

With the success of 2014 in mind and the addition of some super strong masters racers the outlook for 2015 is very promising. Thanks to our great sponsors for making it possible for us to compete and win.

Jet Engine Jason Powers to the Podium at Red Kite Bump Circuit Race

Come rain or shine. Great photo by Katie Truong
Come rain or shine. Great photo by Katie Truong



For the last two years, you can be certain of a couple things. First, it will rain for team camp. Second, I will race team camp weekend. Third, I will have good results at these races. Fourth, it will be “epic” rain and wind conditions throughout the race.

Check, check, check, and check for all four above. Coming into the Red Kite Bump Circuit Races, I rode the team camp ride, 100 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing the day prior. I really didn’t know if I was going to magically run out of matches when it counted the most, but hey, that’s what B and early season races are for, right?

With team representation from Chronos, Squadra, Mikes, and LangeTwins in our field of 25 and me being the solo ThirstyBear rider, I knew I had to be smart with the moves I went with and had to play the race conservatively.

The first lap was slow, and I mean driving Miss Daisy slow. 14mph on a 2% grade slow (we were 19mph+ on the other laps). When were the teams going to take control? Once the hills ramped up, some half-hearted moves started going off the front, but the group was content to keep everything together.

Second lap, during the hills, a small group forms up the road. The field is keeping them close, but Patrick Stanko from “Stand” manages to slip off the front. The dude has serious ninja skills, because not only did nobody know he was off the front, but nobody was marking him. Stanko stayed away for the 2nd half/rest of the race.

The final climb. Thanks to Katie Truong for a great photo
The final climb. Thanks to Katie Truong for a great photo

The group was still mostly together coming into the last lap, with Chronos and Squadra setting good hard tempo. Moves were given a short leash and typically pulled back quickly. Coming into the final 1km, Chronos and Squadra riders have made moves, but nothing has stuck. I find myself attacking into the final 1000m and stretching the field out. Zimney is on my wheel coming into the final turn which leads to the “bump”. I tried to let him pass, hop on his wheel, then come back around, but I didn’t have enough to come back through and ended 3rd.

Thanks to Jim Elder for the Photoshop edit
Thanks to Jim Elder for the Photoshop edit

Results: Stanko (Stand), Zimney (Chronos), Grefrath (ThirstyBear p/b Akamai) – results are up, btw: