6 Gold medals, 2 bronze and Women’s & Men’s best rider award. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai deserved to be awarded “Best All Round team at US Nationals Masters Racing.
On Labor Day I picked up Jacob at 5:30 AM, drove to Marissa’s to meet Alan & load up the Pelophant at 6AM. We made a quick stop to pick up Jason in Sac, then it was a 10 hour 80’s dance party all the way to Ogden & our awesome team house on Jackson Street. Thunderdome (Max) & Josef had arrived earlier and had some awesome salmon & rice waiting for us so we didn’t have to worry about making dinner when we arrived. Thanks guys!
Tuesday was check out the TT course day. We loaded up the Pelophant & headed out to Antelope Island in the middle of The Great Salt Lake. 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 & the “presents” they left us on the course.
Wednesday, TT Day! There was some wind blowing, which seemed like last year & I thought it meant tailwind out, headwind back. I got to start last in the 45-49, 30 sec behind Albert Senft (5th last year) 60 sec behind Walter Durrer (8th last year) & 90 sec behind Igor Rudalev (Georgia State champion who I knew would be tough to beat). The way out was a lot slower than I had thought it would be & as I approached the turn around, I hadn’t caught anyone and was having doubts that it was going to be a good day. Finally, at the U-turn, I caught Senft with Rudalev & Durrer in sight! It didn’t take long to realize that the way back was going to be faster & I had a couple carrots in front of me for motivation. I caught those guys & a few more (I couldn’t catch Jay though!) & just kept pushing all the way through the line hoping that after 2nd place that last 2 years, this would be the year I won it. Shortly after finishing, I turned around & heard Frankie Andreau announce that I had won it! Very happy to see that Josef & Anne had also won and that Tom & Max had also made the podiums! (Thanks again to Scot for the disc!). It took me a long time & 7 bottles of water before I was able to get 90ml of pee for USADA.
On to Thursday – RR course preview day. Dan Q,, Jay, Jason, Corey, Piers, Jacob & I took a spin around to preview the course. Anne had won her race earlier in the day & we were able to watch Josef win his race too! Thunderdome also had a great race to finish 3rd!
Thursday night race planning: Gardie, Dan, Brenon, Shawn, Jay & I gathered downstairs to go over the race plan, going over every likely scenario & how we would handle it. We knew the riders to watch & the plan would be to let a couple guys dangle off the front for most of the race, then bring it back just before the climb.
Friday -Race day!!! We had 57 starters for the 97km (60 mile) race which started with a neutral 1.5 km climb followed by a 10 km descent with speeds over 90 km/hr!
Jay & Shawn got a bit gapped, but were back in the fold soon enough. The attacks started right away & it didn’t take long for 2 guys to get a gap, which we let get up to about a minute. This was perfect to have 2 guys out there drilling it since now DQ, Gardie, Jay, Brenon & Shawn could sit near the front to keep anyone else dangerous from getting up there & keep the break between 45 sec & a minute up the road. We also had help from Leavitt (Specialized) & a couple Audi Reno guys (Heinemann & Pattalock). At DQ’s direction, they eased up every time the break got too close. At one point I asked the moto ref how far up the break was. He sighed & said “the same as it’s been all day, 50 seconds”. Haha, the guys were riding awesome! The lead grew back to a minute on the final lap & as we approached the deciding climb, the T-Bears went to the front & upped the tempo to reel in the break. So far all according to plan!
When we made the left turn up to Snow Basin, the break only had about 10 seconds & were caught within a minute. As everyone fought to get to the front, I found myself about 20 places back with Brenon near the front. 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 & slowly got to his wheel & let him set the pace. After about 8 minutes we were down to 6 guys. I was starting to feel good & decided to put in an attack as we approached “the castle” about a mile before the first summit of the climb. I was able to get a gap, so now it was TT mode for the final 8km to the finish. I powered down the 1st 200M of the descent to try & extend my advantage. By the bottom of the descent I had 20 seconds on a chase group of 5 with 5km to go.
The road climbed for about a kilometer before flattening out & descending a little before the final steep 3 km. I kept getting time gaps every 500M or so, always 5 guys at 20 seconds, I wasn’t gaining anything! The last 2km felt like 10km & I was now really wishing that the road would flatten out but I knew it didn’t ease up until the final 300m so I just had to keep going & blocking out the pain. The moto ref was giving updates. Still just 20 sec, but then it went up to 25 sec, then 30 sec & finally 45 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 give in to the pain & let all the time training & the hard work & sacrifices that Jay, Brenon, Shawn, Gardie & DQ made be for nothing! As I approached the finish, there were many bears & friends cheering, sticking out their hands for a high five, but I was not easing up & just going all out all the way to the line! It was great to see the bears coming in strong 7 hearing the news. I can’t say it enough, how thankful I am to have such incredible teammates!
After the race I peed in a cup again (very happy to see Dapice in there after his win in the 40-44!), then came out & celebrated with the bears!
Saturday – Jay & I survived the crit! I finished 36th which was good enough to clinch the Best All-Around Rider jersey for the 45-49! Dean Laberge won my race and I was very happy to see him win (go NCNCA!)
Afterward we watched the younger guys race (bummed about Jan’s bad luck) had a few beers & some pizza and celebrated the ThirstyBears Best All-around Team victory!
First of all I want to express my gratitude to all of our amazing sponsors and this incredible cycling team that came together to support each other both on and off the bike during Masters Nationals. Everyone present stepped up to race and lend a hand to those racing!!
All The Bears that came to race did the Bears proud with their fantastic results, Jason 6th TT, 6th RR, Joel 32ndRR, Jacob 8th RR!!! Piers rallied to finish 14th TT, 7th RR.
Jan looked very smooth with Corey and Jason working at the front, got into a break that was brought back and was sadly stopped on his podium quest by a crash two turns before the end(I feel for you Jan glad you stayed upright) .
The team is thankful to Alan who drove the Pelophant and 15+ bikes along with racers across 2 states as well as organizing lodging and doing so much more in many other ways. Alan also raced 3 races finishing high (11th TT, 19th RR)
All the selfless workers in the 45’s RR the Daly Bro’s, and Jay “who” , DQ chasing breaks helping close the TB Gold for Phipps.
Anne made it look easy sweeping up gold in the TT and RR. and The energy at the team house in Ogden UT was electric and as a team we swept Gold medals, Bronze medals podium spots, BAR and BAT!!! Everyone knows who ThirstyBear is if they didn’t know before. We stamped the Bear mark on The USA. Very happy for the team.
Also a big thanks to Craig Upton, Stacy Sims, and all my friends and family who cheered along the training path for me!! I could not have done this without all of you. Also want to thank Dani (Piers wife) who really helped the team at the house with food, clean-up bottles despite carrying around a little bambino. I award Dani the ultra team mom award, GOLD medal.
About 24 racers
Weather: slight tailwind going out
I trained for the TT for about for five months and was very excited to see if I could put down a good time. My main competition was Gary Painter who has won nationals multiple times, he had just also returned from world championships with a podium spot in fifth-place . There was also Mark Zimbleman and Mark Schaefer, Joe Foster was my man California competition. I decided I would hit it hard. Everything started out great except I went too hard. Course was smooth I started losing power coming back so the best I could bandage was 46:21 for 5th place. I think I went a little to hard going out(wish I could say I was unique here). As it happened I was only 12 sec off 4th place and 15 or off 3rd.
I had hoped for a much better place but with this competition it was the best I could do this year. At least I was in the medals! Next year I will go out a little slower and try to pick up the pace halfway through.
Next up RR
Weather: About 75deg
Distance 74k or about 45mi.
Flat course with 2 x14min hills to the finish
Thirsty Bears: Alan and I
Alan and I decided basically try to keep the race together for two laps around the reservoir. There were many attacks as we got down to the reservoir, mostly we were marking about five or six guys. Two of those guys started jumping constantly very early and we were able to cover the moves for the most part. With about one lap to go I had been pulling back breaks with Alan and the other two guys went and I was running out of bullets. I waited hoping some of the others would chase but no such luck with four guys off the front they quickly got a minute and a half. As we approached the final two climbs the group split very quickly into about 10 chasers up the hill and we went full gas. I was feeling really good so I put down a hard effort. The group of racers were struggling to stay with me. We came up on one of the four in the break who pulled over on the road. One down three to go. I later found out he pulled over for no reason, very odd(ex pro Alexi Grewal). We started to accelerate more nearing the top of the hill. I punched it and got a gap. I just did 1 mile on my own and build more of a gap. Started to climb the last 3 miles up to the finish. I got into TT mode and hoped to catch up to first and second and 3rd. I was able to take back one minute on the 3 up the road. At about 1 mile to go I passed one of the three who tried to hold on to to me but I dropped him. As I got around to the final 1K to go I could see the two leaders in the distance but it was too late they had 30+ seconds on me.
I was able to finish third-place good enough for another Bronze Medal! My fitness was definitely there, I just missed the winning move. Alan 19th Pl.
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My new name for Chris is “Hops”.
Max aka: Thunderdome
Joel, Jacob and I got the pleasure of doing the Road Race, and the Crit together this year. I also did the TT.
We Got A Winner!!! Thirstybear p/b Akamai Anne Valta Wins Bronze at World Championship in Denmark and TWO Gold Medals at US Nationals
It’s almost surreal. This season is finally over! As I was getting ready for the Worlds I thought this day would never come. And especially when things had started to take wrong turns after Districts TT, and I was losing my confidence. I got really sick two days after returning from Sattley, and was boiling on my sofa watching TdF with 100F fever. When a week went by, I succumbed and asked for a short regimen of antibiotics as my fever and hacking cough didn’t want to leave my body. I could see my Worlds dreams fade away in the distance…
Masters 40-44 Criterium Championships
State Championship event. Didn’t even know there was a separate Hill Climb Jersey!
The course is really great and I hope it sees a bigger turn out next year. 5.8 miles of rolling terrain that’s pretty easy followed by the main course: continuous and challenging climbing up to mile 9 followed by a brief descent and flat elevation but twisting road finale.
It was hot even on the way down carpooling with Hans and Tanya. Only Hanns Detleffson had pre-registered in the 35+ event but Josh Dapice, Scott Giles, me, and Morgan Raines signed up day of.
I almost entered the P/1/2 category as they only had 4 entrants and needed 5 to get maximal prize money of $250.00. I warmed up with Hans almost changed numbers and entries but didn’t get it done (should have!).
The E-3, P/1/2 and 35+ fields started together. Hans Gouwens, Robert Pasco and a 2 guys I didn’t know were in the P/1/2 with us. Luiggi Zuniga, Phil Mai were notable in the E-3’s.
Phil Mai took off and dangled off the front for 5 miles. Surprisingly Scott Giles just sat in the pack waiting for the climb to start. I don’t know if we will ever see that again…..
At 5.8 miles the rollers turn into serious climbing territory.
Right away Josh Dapice put in a few hard attacks but telegraphed every one by changing gears a couple times before stomping on the pedals and jumping away. He’s pretty light and tough and obviously in great shape after winning the Nats Road Race (Hill Climb Championships), so I didn’t want to lose his wheel.
It didn’t seem like there was a lot of sting in his attacks, but after 3 of them it was suddenly just the two of us.
I just let him attack, then sat on his wheel and when he pulled off I just kept riding a nice steady tempo in the saddle. I looked back and we couldn’t see any one in the 4 switchbacks behind us so I just wanted to stay on as long as I could.
At the 5K to go sign it gets steeper and tougher. Josh put in one more hard and sustained attack and I just cracked a tiny bit letting a 15 foot gap open up to his wheel. Psychologically I think this gave him wings as he took off and I couldn’t follow. He took about a minute in the next 3K of climbing and then I took back 15 seconds on the flatter run in to the finish according to the strava comparisons but he had a solid victory. I was happy enough to just stay way away from 3rd placed Hans Detleffson.
All three of us finished way ahead of the P/1/2 group which was won by Luciano Spanzo, followed by Robert Pasco, Elliot Hawks and our very own Hans G! If I had entered that I would have had a nice jersey and gold instead of silver medal. Hind sight! Tanya of course crushed her competition by 7+ minutes and got the gold and the jersey. 🙂
Plus there was free beer at the awards ceremony. How can you beat that?