The women had District and National champions to go with an assortment of regular season wins, but then topped it with a world TT champ! Presented with typically smaller fields than they’d like, a lot of race directors opt to combine various women’s groups into one race at their events. This didn’t faze our ladies as they typically raced women of all ages and came out on top anyway! True to ThirstyBear form, the Lady Bears competed over all types of terrain in the different disciplines – Road, Crit, TT, Stage Races, and Hill Climbs. They even moved over to mountain biking and running, making them the most versatile of all our TB groups. I’ll cover the road racing here (results taken from USAC):
The TB women started out quietly early on, but a trip to the Tucson desert in March saw a most dramatic 45+ stage race dual resulting in a 1 second GC margin of victory. Taking the TT by 8 seconds, but dropping 10 seconds in the road race set up the circuit race for all the marbles. The race for yellow would come down to the lunge for the tape at the end. It would require a “Coryn Rivera” type effort to take home the yellow jersey. No problem for TB on this day as we not only got the 2 seconds needed for the win, we took an extra second just for good measure. Big weekend for the team in Tucson with GC wins in the women’s 45+ to go with the men’s 45+ and 55+. Back home, TB got on the TT bike for the Red Kite 35+ and P12 titles. Finishing out the month, TB easily went 1-2 at Copperopolis in the 30+ classic.
Rain seems to hit at least one or two of our favorite races and that was the case again in our late spring season. After a win in the 35+ at Turlock, it was over to Berkeley in the rain-soaked local favorite. A few trips up and down the “Bears” of Berkeley Hills, these Bears ascended the final pitch off the front for a 1-2 finish setting up our ladies for a trip to Nationals. Unfortunately, the “crit disguised as a road race” didn’t have wind, rain, or even hills to cause selections at Nats. However, TB did take the national 45-49 TT title over the rollers in North Carolina. Why was the TT course hillier than the road race? A quick flight home to get back on the hills of Mt Hamilton saw TB on the top step of the 35+ race there.
Pescadero and Hamilton on back-to-back weekends are a climber’s favorite time of the year. TB sealed their 35+ domination of the mountains with a 1-2 finish at Pesky. The NCNCA District TT and Hill Climb followed in the month after Nationals. And the medals piled up with jerseys in the 45-49 TT, 50-54 TT, 45-49 HC, and 1-2 in the 50-54 HC. TB threw in the Calaveras 35+ TT and Fort Ord Circuit 35+ wins as well.
Patterson is another team favorite and certainly one of the most challenging races on our calendar due to the strong winds and steep climbs. A win the 35+ wrapped up the road haul for the ladies in 2017. Then it was more TT time with wins at the Altamont Tribute 35+ and Red Kite 35+. The year ended, fittingly, with a World title in the 45-49 TT.
The 21 “Wins”
1 Stage Race GC
8 RR/Circuit Races
Meredith Stowe-Christie, Annie Carrino, Tanya Fredricks, Leila Cavanaugh, Anne Valta, Christy Smith, Chris Lundy, Jenny Wong
The NCAA considers certain sports as “team” sports (basketball, baseball, etc…) and others as “individual” sports (cross country, track & field, etc..). Team sports typically involve some sort of prop like a ball or bat and a little hoop or net to toss things into with the same number of athletes trying to accomplish the goal as there are trying to stop the goal. These games don’t exist without full teams competing. Individual sports are just that – sport. Not games. And these can be staged with any variety of team members. Cycling would fall into the “individual” category. However, the key to success in these individual sports is to treat them as team sports. There is a great saying in team sport – “we play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.” We’ve taken that mentality with the masters riders wearing the ThirstyBear logo on the front of their jerseys (and on the back, and on the sleeves, and on the leg warmers, and on the socks, …. more logos than Nascar). Treating this individual sport as a team sport is what makes this club the fun experience for all. I’ve recapped the old and the older guys the past two days – here I’ll cover the youngsters of the 35+ team where the speeds are higher, the competition fierce, and the power is measured in kilowatts (results taken from USAC):
As mentioned in the 45+ recap, a few old guys drop down to race with the 35’s on occasion which is what was happening early in the year. Like most every race, there is typically more than a couple teammates behind each win throughout the year. After the Cal Aggie Crit win, the team gathered for the Chico Stage Race to capture the GC (with the top TT time as well). Chico turns into a team camp of sorts and a great way to start the year.
A lot of racing takes place in these months but race victories are hard to come by in the ultra competitive 35+ division with the top masters targeting this division combining with the youngsters who are a minute removed from the P12 fields. TB emerged victorious in the rain over at the Berkeley Hills race, a favorite of the club and one where we occupy the podium every year in each division. A trip to North Carolina for the National Championships resulted in 2nd place for the 35-39 TT in one of the fastest overall times of the day.
It took a few months but once the boys got warmed up, the results flooded in beginning with the NCNCA TT Champs. Fastest 35+ time of the day over the new Loyalton course went to TB. The following weekend, TB turned out to be the baddest of the bad boys in what is likely one of the toughest crits in the country – Nevada City. Shortly after, the crit racing continued with wins at Colavita and Red Kite. The month of July typically sees a Bear migration to Bend, OR for the Cascade Classic Stage Race. With each masters division racing together, we had a good size team to go after the 35+ GC. As in 2016 when TB took control of the event to win GC, the boys returned with a different cast of characters but the same plan. From day 1, it was all TB. A win in the opening road race up Bachelor put the team in yellow. The top TT time the next day sealed the deal. The team protected the lead on the final day’s tough circuit race. Not only did TB win the 35+ GC, but had the top GC time when all master’s divisions were combined. Results won’t show how much teammates help in a stage race, but rest assured that the sacrifices for team do not go unnoticed by those who are in the race. Team cohesiveness is the key to stage racing.
The combination of the 35 and 45 fields at Patterson made for some unique racing opportunities for our boys. Teamwork prevailed. The result – a win in the 35 (overall champ) and a sweep in the 45’s. Not to be outdone, the next day at the Red Kite crit, TB nearly swept the podium with 1-3-4 in a very competitive field. University (in Santa Cruz) is another hilly race and one that appeals to those who like a course that doesn’t have an inch of flat terrain. Up and down, round and round. Coming off the fun of Patterson, another TB win here tilted the late summer trophy haul toward the climbers of the club…. But the crit-men had the last word at the NCNCA Championships. In a small field, the two TB teammates were active in the non-stop attacking over the course of the sixty minute slugfest emerging victorious in the 35-39 event. Taking the bunch sprint for 2nd overall in the 40-44 gave TB another medal at the District Crit. Always nice to win your last race of the year, and that’s how the boys went out at Henleyville in the 35+.
Ariel Herrmann, Chris Evans, Jacob Berkman, Jan Weissenberger, Jason Grefrath, Corey Scobie, Erick Pierce, Moritz Steiner, Neil Bartley, Piers Barry, David Mai
New additions: Erik Camacho, Michael Claudio, Hanns Detlefsen.
Back in the 70’s there was a “running boom” where everyone started jogging. Those youngsters are now our elders in the world of rec-league cycling. They can certainly claim some responsibility for the wave of popularity in the 55+ cycling races. As we know, many of these cyclists are just injured runners who needed to find another thing to do – trading overuse injuries for high impact ones. In the past couple years, the fields of 55+ races have increased dramatically and so has the speed and competition. TB has a small, tough group of guys who race frequently with the attitude of “attack from the gun.” I’ll recap the 55/65 team below (results taken from USAC):
The NCNCA race calendar goes from the New Year’s Day San Bruno Hill Climb all the way through the end of September. So why not get going a few hours into the year by taking the 65+ race at San Bruno? Following that opening act, TB headed to Pine Flat to tune up for Chico with a win in the 55+ above the hills of Fresno. Two stage races were targeted for the early spring – Chico and Tucson. With a great team gathering of 45’s and 55’s at one house in Chico, ThirstyBear was all pro. Attack after attack resulted in a road race win and second on GC. The RD combined the 45 and 55 fields for the crit. With around 80 guys circling the town, it was quite a sight to see both 45 and 55 yellow jerseys on the backs of TB riders with many teammates guiding them through. A trip to the Arizona desert resulted in 1-3 in the GC and a win in the TT there. The guys were rolling again as March closed out going 1-3 at Copperopolis.
The boys headed to the highly competitive Sea Otter Classic with a huge team result of 1-3-4 at the circuit race. Wente had a rare 65+ race (more of these are coming we hope). TB took that one and then it was off to nationals for the club. With a strong TB presence in the road race, the attacks were on from the gun and true to form, our boys made the race. A well deserved 2nd on the nationals road race podium was the highlight of the weekend for the club. Back at home, TB snagged the Mt Hamilton 55+ race.
The 65+ NCNCA Hill Climb jersey was brought home at Mt Diablo in June while the 55+ took it’s only crit victory of the year at Colavita in July. The club earned it’s only NCNCA District Road Race jersey in the 65+ at San Ardo in August.
108 races between 5 guys…
29 podiums (top-3)…
Nationals Podium – 2nd 55+ RR
NCNCA Champions – 65+ HC; 65+ RR
Stage Race GC – Tucson 55+
Brian McAndrews, Alan Roberts, Hans Gouwens, Joseph Lemire, Max Thompson
Lance Haag ages up to the 55’s and the club welcomes two new additions: Joseph Foster, and Jerome Nadel.
As the “middle” age group for the club, the 45+ team gets to race down with the 35’s and also have the 55’s race with us on occasion. For 2016, the club, in general, enjoyed great success and many fun times out there on the roads. I’ll recap the 45 team below (results taken from USAC):
We got going early with a win at the Cal Aggie Crit in the 35+ prior to what would become a huge weekend at the Chico Stage Race. Spreading out over the 35+ and 45+ races, we would win both GC’s and both TT’s at Chico. As part of that event, we posted a ridiculous 1-2-3 in the 45+ road race that showed the incredible teamwork that would produce 1-2-4 in the overall 45+ GC. A trip to Arizona for the Tucson Bicycle Classic followed in March with the Bears going 1-3 in the final circuit race resulting in 1-3 GC as well. Copperopolis is one of the early classic spring road races and a favorite of climbers and those who like rough roads. We somehow got three Bears in a break of four and played it well resulting in a 1-3-4 finish.
A 35+ win at Berkeley was the lead in to nationals where we placed two Bears on the 4th step of the TT podium (45-49; 50-54). Mt Hamilton saw TB on the top step once again as the spring season came to a close.
The NCNCA TT and Hill Climb Championships were held in June. Districts and Nationals break up into 5 year age groups while most every other event during the year consists of 10 yr age groups. The Bears took the top step in the 50-54 TT and 45-49 HC with a 2-3 podium in the 45-49 TT. Then it was time to go after the crits with wins at Burlingame, Colavita, and Red Kite-July. On one late weekend in July, TB took the Crossfire Hurricane TT and the Bump-Summer races. San Rafael Crit closed out the month with TB taking the top step in the 45+3/4 race.
August is full of hard racing and that was just fine with TB. Combining the 35+ and 45+ in one race at Patterson turned out to give the 45’s a rare chance to help the 35 team in a race. After about halfway, TB had the 45+ podium wrapped up with only three TB’s left at the front of the race. We turned our attention to helping the 35’s win that division…. And they did! Dunnigan followed with a rather unique race plan to get TB in the break and then try to bridge up (essentially chasing down the teammate in the break). This was by design and the race plan certainly confused many in the peloton. It resulted in an extremely hard race with a successful bridge to the remnants of the break which included a teammate giving two TB’s in a pack of three at the end. Teamwork once again (see Copperopolis) put us on the top step (and third step) for the day. Of course we kept our presence in the crits winning the Red Kite-August 35+ race and the NCNCA 50-54 championships. To complete the well-rounded results, the 45+ Bears closed out the year winning the Esparto TT.
Chris Phipps, Gardie Jackson, Shawn Daly, Jay Newton, Tom Lyons, Dan Quirk, Brenon Daly, Holger Steinbach, Scot McLean, Lance Haag, Rod Sperling, Jim Grant, Peter Baderstcher, Eric Lagier, Aaron Long, Duane Coughlin, CJ Wolf, Dan Palmer, Phil Hynes
Lance Haag graduates to the 55’s and we welcome Ken Gallardo into the 45’s plus new addition Dan Tedford.