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Hans Gouwens wins Copperopolis 55+

ThirstyBears: Alan, Brian, Max, myself

Race plan: control the first lap, have someone up the road if there is a break going early, ride a hard tempo up the main climb on the final lap, and save Max for the sprint.

After doing 5 laps for 100+ miles with Phipps in the P12 last year, 2 laps of racing in the 55+ might seem like an easy spin around the block. We even got to sleep in because our race didn’t start until 11:25 am.  Fun to see all the action of the 35+123 and 45+123 go by with ThirstyBears at the front of the race every single lap.

The guys in our race to watch were Steve Archer (Morgan Stanley), Jon Ornstil (Hammer), Rob Anderson and Larry Nolan (Specialized), Jan Elsbach (Davis), and dark horse Mark Caldwell (Truckee Bicycle Team, but has probably won every NCNCA race on the calendar once or twice for Morgan Stanley).
We rolled out with 25 racers and Alan set a solid tempo all the way through the feed and the first part of the climb. As expected, Ornstil took over and tried to impress us all with his fitness. Anderson joined him up front and I was happy to sit third wheel. As we approached the top of the climb I glanced back and realized that Archer got gapped with Max sitting on his wheel. I surged to see what would happen and Anderson was the only one to respond, but wouldn’t pull through. I figured he wanted to keep it together for Nolan.
Max, Archer, Ornstil, and three or four others caught up with us, but except for Max and Archer nobody looked interested to keep the pace high, so I put in another dig to see if people would join me in the effort. Again, it was Anderson who came after me, but wouldn’t come through. I asked him if he was just going to sit on my wheel, but he could barely answer as he was still sputtering spit from the previous effort to chase me down.
A towed him for a while, but once we made the 90 degree left turn at the reservoir he pulled through and did his share of the work.  We quickly gained 40 seconds and the rest of the 36 mile race became a two men time trial.
At the start of the second lap we had about 2 minutes and decided to take it down a notch. With 10 miles to go Rob asked me, “so how are we going to play this out”? I told him that I knew his strength and my own weakness and that it would take some smart racing to beat him. I had given him the impression the second time up the main climb that I had trouble holding his wheel on the steeper parts, opening up a three bike length gap while breathing heavily.
As we approached the final climb before the long descent to the finish, I had Rob take a longer pull and attacked him hard into the wind. Gave it a maximum effort for about a minute before looking back once I started my downhill journey and realized I was solo.
I kept the pace high all the way to the finish and won by about 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, the second time up the main climb Max and Archer were able ride away from the remaining group of 10-12 chasers which included Alan and Brian. Max was able to distance Archer to take the last podium spot. Alan took 8th and Brian 11th.

Looking forward to the next race and hopefully I can return the favor to my teammates to set them up for a win 😉

Hans Gouwens

True sportsmanship at Copperopolis. Kudos to Chris Ott

Scot McLean have misunderstood the concept of a Triathlon, and thinks he should finish running. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Scot McLean have misunderstood the concept of a Triathlon, and thinks he should finish running. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Hey Bears –
I am dropping a quick note to tell you what happened to me at the finish line at Copperopolis last weekend (the men’s 45 +123 race).  I had a respectable race and was coming in to the finishing descent with four others – was setting up for 6th, 7th or 8th place – not bad.  As I hit the flat section at the bottom, I began to turn the cranks but was sensing no torque. I soon realized that my chain had come off of the big ring on of the larger bumps, and, in the process of trying to “peddle through it,”  I succeeded in wrapping the chain around the crank several times, rendering the bike useless.  After a futile attempt at untangling the chain, I began to jog toward the finish, bike in tow.  I was able to mount the bike and coast through the last little downhill section for a few hundred meters, but was forced to jog the final uphill section (about a half K).  Five riders passed during this time.
I was disappointed and a little embarrassed as I came to the last 200 meters.  Those at the finish line were cheering and chuckling (rightly so) – it was pretty hysterical.  About 100 meters out, a Peets rider rode slowly alongside.  He looked over at me and smiled, patted me on the back, and exhorted me onward.  He announced that he would absolutely not come by me.  The rider was Chris Ott.  His was a small gesture of kindness, but one that I will not forget.  I didn’t know Chris before the race – I had heard of him and understood that he was a nice guy (and a helluva bike racer).  Well, folks – he is a nice guy and his display of sportsmanship is an example for all of us out there.  This is what it is all about!
Scot McLean

ThirstyBears pb Akamai show true team effort to win Copperopolis 45+

Tom Lyons wins the sprint at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Tom Lyons wins the sprint at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Copperopolis Road Race
64mi (3 laps)
ThirstyBear p/b Akamai Lineup – Brenon Daly, Shawn Daly, Chris Phipps, Scot McLean, Dan Palmer, Tom Lyons
Field – 32
Three laps of rough road – a gradual descent to start the loop followed by a 4mi climb through the feed zone to the reservoir, a long section of flat and rolling terrain through the upper valley finishing with a 1mi climb and 3mi spine chilling descent. It’s about a mile from the bottom of the hill to the finish over a couple rollers with the last 300mi uphill to the line.
The main cast of characters in our race included Peet’s (Dan Bryant, Chris Ott, Dean LeBerge, Ron Reade), and Make A Wish (Bryan Hoadley, Cameron Birky, Todd Bell, Roger Martin). Individuals included Robert Pasco (Safeway) and Bill Laddish (Castro Valley).
Shawn and I took our customary spot patrolling the back of the peloton in the early miles. Soon Brenon, Roger Martin, and another rider got a gap on the climb and the initial break was set. By the top of the climb, we had gapped a handful of guys but everyone soon got back on. Right about then, Chris got a flat. We stopped and Dan gave Chris his wheel. This was the story of the race – how a teammate would take his whole Saturday just to ride for a half hour then give up his wheel, and his race. Dan is just getting back into racing after a couple years break – to do this for Chris was an amazing gesture and obviously what it means to have a strong team bond among the riders. Scot, Shawn, and I paced Chris back to a lethargic peloton. If nothing else, we felt like a pro team but it could have been a dangerous move leaving no one in the peloton. In the end, our quick reaction to adversity proved beneficial.
Peet’s was left out of the break so Dean LeBerge went to the front with very little help from others. It wasn’t working to bring back the break so Dan Bryant took things into his own hands. He led the chase from the end of the upper valley, over the hill, down the hill, and back to the main climb. It was fast and by the time he caught the break half way up the main climb, guys were hurting on the back.
There were only a few of us left (including Chris, Scot, and I) when we caught the break. Chris went to the front and kept the pace high. Brenon jumped on and after a short time I looked back to see the chasers 100 meters behind us. We went over the top with 45 secs lead and three ThirstyBears (Chris, Brenon, and I) with Dan Bryant in front. Scot was in a chase group of eight (Pasco, Hobb’s, etc..). Dan was a little reluctant to work with us but we agreed he would rotate but take shorter pulls. To which I suggested Chris do the same and let Brenon and I do the majority of the work to get the break established. We did that for a lap and our break grew to over 2:00 (maybe more – the moto wasn’t giving us much). Our scenario lended itself to a couple of interesting scenarios. We could get a guy solo off the front to try to win it that way. But that would require a lot of attacking since Dan has no weakness. Or we would have to wait until the sprint which is always a risky move (see 2015 Hiet Nieuwsblad where Ian Stannard beats three Etixx guys in a break). We did not want to be Etixx. We also knew we wouldn’t be Thirsty Bear going 1-2-3 out of the break from the Chico Stage Race Master’s Pro 45 road race.
Brenon Daly leads the break at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Brenon Daly leads the break at Copperopolis 2016. Photo: Alex Chiu Photography
Obviously our main play was to have Chris attack the main climb and see if he can get away there.  He tried. I even got in on the attacks there to help things but all it did was tire me out for the final steep pitch. Chris couldn’t shake Dan. This is where we took advantage of having numbers in a break. Brenon and I kept our pace reasonable and Chris just sat on Dan who did not want to drag Chris around the course for 15 miles. Brenon and I easily rejoined the two Stars and Stripes boys. And then over the next 10 miles in the upper valley, Chris and I attacked and counterattacked Dan over and over. And he kept coming back. I couldn’t believe it. I’m sure all of us wanted it to end at some point but we just kept doing it. And Dan kept responding. Brenon was struggling from the early break miles and recovering from his nasty illness (how in the world he rode as strong as he did, I have no idea!). He would get gapped on these surges but then come back to us once we calmed down. He attacked a few times too. Near the end of the valley I got gapped on a couple of Chris’s counterattacks and realized I should now just stop doing this and save it for the sprint. Chris kindly sat on Dan each time and Brenon and I got back on. On the last one, Dan probably should have just gone to the front and not let us back, but his prize for doing that was to drag Chris to the line. Just before the final climb, Chris asked me if I had a sprint in me to which I said “yes.” I think that convinced him not to hammer the last climb and change our plan to “leave it to the sprint.”
The pace was still high up the hill causing Brenon to drift back. I wanted to lead the downhill so I could see the route and also not get gapped by Dan. We got to the bottom and both guys came by me. Then Dan wound up on the front up the little rise before 1K. We almost came to a standstill. It was down to 10mph. Real track stuff. Dan, me, then Chris in that order. The perfect setup for Chris to attack. And then wham! From 10mph to 40mph instantly. I was ready and got low behind Dan able to coast some while he pedaled furiously to try to close on Chris. Chris gave the perfect lead out – he went as hard as he could for as long as he could without regard to the finish line. It took Dan all the way until the 300m mark to catch Chris. I followed Dan into the last turn and jumped hard to the finish. A very satisfying team win. And very relieved that we were able to NOT be team Etixx ’15.
Really impressed with how the 45+ team has raced this year. When everyone is there to race for the team result, good things happen. Sure makes this hobby of ours a lot of fun.
Tom Lyons

ThirstyBears p/b Akamai dominate the podium with Tom Lyons first and National Champ Chris Phipps 3rd.
ThirstyBears p/b Akamai dominate the podium with Tom Lyons first and National Champ Chris Phipps 3rd.

ThirstyBear’s Aaron Long takes Silver medal at the 2016 Season opener down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aaron Long is showing great strength and finish 2nd.
Aaron Long is showing great strength and finish 2nd.

2016 Copa Rio Series Race  #1  Circuit Race

March 13. 2016
Class M50+
Wet with a downpour about half way into the hour long event.
4.4 km flat loop with 2 hairpins, 4 lanes wide, sprint narrowed to 2 for some unknown reason! – huge puddles mid race
As the first race of 2016 in a new age category the plan was to sit in and read the race…especially with early season fitness.
Knew going in Afonso Celso was the 2015 Brazil National Ranking points winner and favored  the sprint.
Douglas, new to the age group too had won some big races last season, also a sprinter.
As I’ve never been the fastest finisher I was looking to get into a move in the 2nd half of the event and take my chances…
With 25 racers on the line the whistle sounded and off we went into mind numbing pedestrian pace…
virtually no one looking to work just ride the wheel.  Eventually we had a few attacks and Vanderlay managing a solo lap with about a 15” gap but winds, rain and other age groups unfortunately for him, assisting in the chase.  Moto’s did not do their job initially separating groups and that discouraged any moves for a few laps.  With about 20’mins to go I tried a number attacks but always either Afonso or Douglas always glued to the wheel and unwilling to work.  I’m fairly certain that anyone rolling a T-Bear kit is on the ‘no fly’ list these days with all the successes at U.S. Nate…thanks guys!
Into the last corner I came second exiting in the lead and let the dogs out – Full Gaz! …thought my chance for a result would be from the front by creating a gap but with 500m to the line it was a bit optimistic.  With about 100m to go I looked back (don’t do that) and had 10m but they were charging and I held on for a podium.

If you’re gonna pin all your hopes and dream on one monster last lap move go all in and Don’t look back!
Focus on the finish line and go all the way though.
While watching the race that followed – during a victory salute a racer got pipped on the line! …don’t ever want to be that guy!
NP 279
P-max 1092
HR 149
Cad 89
Vel 38kph
Time 1:00:53

Format credit to: //jacob

ThirstyBear p/b Akamai Best All Round Team in the USA!!

The DREAM TEAM!! US Best Masters Cycling Team. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai
The DREAM TEAM!! US Best Masters Cycling Team. ThirstyBear p/b Akamai

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.

Double Gold medal winner Anne Valta (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Anne Valta (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Chris Phipps (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Chris Phipps (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Joe Lemire (Road Race and Time Trial)
Double Gold medal winner Joe Lemire (Road Race and Time Trial)

Gold Gold!! Chris Phipps wins the double (TT & RR) at US Nationals Master 45-49

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.

Shawn pushing on all cylinders to move his bike faster up the road.
Shawn pushing on all cylinders to move his bike faster up the road.

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!

Jay escaping in the Crit.
Jay escaping in the Crit.

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!


Chris Phipps – Top of the podium
Chris Phipps – Top of the podium

The End.


Max “Thunderdome” finish 3rd at RR and 5th TT at US Nationals TT 55-59

Max & Alan at the Front at US Nationals Master 55-59
Max & Alan at the Front at US Nationals Master 55-59

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.

TT report:

About 24 racers

Weather:  slight tailwind going out

20.1mi 34k.

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

53 Racers

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.

#Akamai #Acme Bikes #Trek bicycles #ThirstyBear #Cogniance #Cloudmade #Sutter Health #HVR software #Red Whale Coffee #The Ride Home #TNT Plumbing #Warman Security #IWIN #Castellli #Osmo #Bontrager

My new name for Chris is “Hops”.

Thanks all,

Max  aka: Thunderdome

Close but no luck for Jan “Sprint King” at US Nationals Master Crit 40-44

Jan in front at US Nationals Master Crit
Jan in front at US Nationals Master Crit
62 starters
Teammates: Corey S. and Jason G.
This year I wanted to focus on the crit, The year had many ups and downs for me personally and with cycling. My plan was like last year fly in the day before, race and then fly home. Luckily our teammate Alan Roberts has a big van, the Pelophant, that carried most of our bikes to Ogden. He had a total of 15 bikes in there allowing me to just fly in.
I got to the house that Alan found on Friday and was swept away by the awesome atmosphere that was going on in the house. Everyone was smiling, joking and in a great mood. It was very infectious. Once I unpacked I went for a little ride with Piers, Alan and Corey. During our ride we stopped by the award ceremony for Chris’ second National Championship the road race.
That night all 15 Bears went to dinner, and again we had such a great time talking eating and hanging out.
Saturday – race day! There was a bit of energy in the house. Crits can be nerve racking for people, but I absolutely love them. Also being in the house around all these awesome people I was able to stay calm and relaxed all day til race time at 5:30pm.
Corey Jason and I spent 40 minutes rolling around Ogden for a nice warm up. Went back to the house to pack some ice in our pockets to stay cool before the race. We went to the course and lined up against the best in the country. This race was going to be tough, but we were ready and had a good game plan.
The whistle blew and we were off. The race was fast right from the start. Guys were trying to launch break aways, but things were too fast. Then a good move went and I went across with two others. It was a larger group about 10 guys. It was Jason and me from ThirstyBear. We were off for a while but then were reeled back in.
A few more attacks and a small group got away, however the big team wasn’t represented. At this point I knew it was going to be a field sprint so I relaxed and rode in the field. Jason and Corey surfed the front. Both doing great work helping to bring back the break. I couldn’t ask for two stronger or better teammates.
Coming into the last laps, the break away was caught and we were all setting up for the sprint. I was well positioned in the last lap and found Charon’s wheel. He was the odds on favorite. I sat right on his wheel about 5th wheel in the last lap. As we came around the course, in the second to last corner (about 300M from the finish) Charon and the guy in front of him crash. Right in front of me. I narrowly avoid going down myself. I had to break hard, then I tried to sprint to go for the line but my rear tire came off my rim and I couldn’t go any further. My race was unfortunately done.
Jason pushing the pace at US Nationals Master Crit
Jason pushing the pace at US Nationals Master Crit
I really want to thank Corey and Jason for their hard work. We were oh so close to a podium spot.
And to all my other Bears. Thank you for cheering and supporting me all year long.
To all the sponsors a big thank you for letting us race our bikes.
Congrats to all the ThirstyBears that raced at Nationals. This was such an amazing experience. This team really has something special going on.

Strong performance by ThirstyBear Joel, Jacob and Piers at US Nationals 35-39

Piers fighting his way to the top.
Piers fighting his way to the top.

Joel, Jacob and I got the pleasure of doing the Road Race, and the Crit together this year.  I also did the TT.

The TT:
I finally got all decked out with new disc wheel (thanks Jan!), new helmet, and shoe covers (Thanks Alan!) and managed to properly assemble all of this equipment before the start. I blew past my hairy legged 30 second man in less than a mile.  I felt fine for a little while then started to feel not so great after 6 miles. I slowed down a little trying to keep everything for the road race.  At the turn around I was about equal with my minute man, but looked back to see a tight pack of 4 cyclists all bunched up behind me.  I really was not enjoying the altitude and then realized why a new helmet was not a good idea.  I bought a size to small and started to get a severe headache.  I was about ready to stop and pull over by mile 15.  New equipment day of race no no strikes again.  I rolled in for 14th happy to just not have spent any energy and gotten ready for the road race.
Steam train Piers Barry dig deep at US Nationals Time Trial
Steam train Piers Barry dig deep at US Nationals Time Trial
Jamey Yanik won the TT in a scorching 43:10.  An average speed of 29.2MPH over a few climbs and rollers at 4300 feet.  He also had just won the National titles in MTB XC and MTB Short Track so this was a bit ominus for the road race where he was 2nd last year.
The Road Race:
We did a nice recon of the race course with descent, one loop of the lake and the long final climb to the finish on Thursday.  It seemed like a great course for me.
Jacob had been in town since Monday.  I had flown in Tuesday.   Joel rolled in late at night Thursday for the Friday race.  We were a bit worried he was lost.
Day of the race we got Pelophant transportation again and suited up.  The descent was incredibly fast and despite what I thought was good positioning I was behind a gap.  Fortunately this just closed up for 3 uneventful laps around the lake.  As predicted Chris Evans went in a break to try to set up Stefano Profumo.  No one seemed to care and then with half a lap to go the pace heated up and the break was nearly back by the base of the climb.
This was unbelievably fast with the pace ramping up more and more with each half mile.  When Yanik and Owen Shott attacked they just rode away.  This shattered the group all over the road with huge gaps opening up.  I was now in the group of 3rd-6th place.  I managed to hang on with a small gap to the 3rd and 4th riders.  I descended the twisting sharp section in the middle quickly and it was 3rd through 5th all together.  Unfortunately a couple more riders bridged up.  At this point I was with Nor Cal guys Matt Adams and Jason Siegle.   When Matt jumped I thought this was too early.  Then I was suddenly in the red zone for a second.   At that same moment a couple riders behind jumped hard up to Matt and I was left with a 30 meter gap I just could not close.  Over the next mile Matt and Cameron Hoffman rode up for a 3/4th finish.  I was with the group of 5/6/7 and was just off my usual climbing game by a tiny bit.  I ended up 7th with Jacob Berkman 30 seconds back for 8th.  Joel had done a ton of work on the front making sure the gap to the break stayed close and he rolled across for 32nd (beating the pants off Kayle Leo Grande who was weighed down by his excessive neck tattoos).
I had thought I could get a top ten, but would have loved a podium spot that was  just a short distance away.  That’s why there’s next year.
The Crit:
After seeing nasty crashes in almost every single race I was pretty nervous.  This was an 8 corner ordeal of 75 minutes.  But all those corners kept the pace a bit slower that it would have been otherwise.   Chris Evan and Matt Adams tried some fruitless solo breaks.  Jacob made sure that no one snuck up on us by successfully tail gunning the entire thing.  Joel tried a little move off the front.  With 2 to go I punched it as hard as I could and rode 1.5 laps on the front with the hope that someone would come up and help or that a late break would form.  This didn’t happen and I got swamped with 4 turns to go.  Still it was really fun — something I generally don’t say about crits!
Next up touring next year’s Nats course in Winston Salem
As has been said so many times I love being on this team which richly deserved the BAT competition win.  The house was great and I really enjoyed the whole trip.

Piers Barry MD