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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…

Back on the bike the last week of July I felt weak and unmotivated. I also had to deal with Worlds logistics (USA cycling was messing me up with license issues), wheel problems (new front wheel I got was too high and rubbing on the top of the fork on my TT bike), and just general nervousness of the task at hand (“what am I thinking traveling to Worlds and trying to race with some really great gals from around the world??”).

Finally in Denmark I was totally overwhelmed and wide-eyed with everything I saw and heard, and had a minor crash a day before the race requiring me to spend some time in a local Specialized store (they had two excellent stores just a short drive from our hotel in a community of 25,000 people!). The race day came and the wind was howling but at least it didn’t rain while the women raced (poor men had to fight with the wind and puddles). The 12 mile course was the most technical I’ve ever done on my TT bike. It had 8 turns and the second to last one (less than a mile from the finish) was on the bottom of a fast downhill. As I was hunched over in the aero position going 43mph, being pushed around with gusty cross wind all I could think was “you can’t crash this close to the finish but you do have to come up soon and shift to a lower gear to get out of that turn!” I heard there were some unfortunate riders who did crash pretty hard :(.
My initial feeling of the 3rd place was a huge disappointment. I wanted to win. In the hindsight, I was up against pretty experienced riders (1st place woman won it last year as well). I hadn’t practiced in those conditions (some wind yes, but not wind AND lots of turns), and I was out of my comfort zone with the traveling part and the grandeur of the event. I was the 5th fastest woman among the 120 female competitors, so at least that made me smile a little. Now all I had to do was to make a quick turnaround and race in the Nationals, 6000ft higher and with 9 hour time difference in less than a week…
 

When I got to Tahoe some 24 hours after leaving Denmark, I felt like I had been hit with a wrecking ball. My heart rate was sky high and I wasn’t sleeping well. My two rides over the weekend before getting to Utah weren’t too encouraging. I got the sinking feeling that I had swallowed too big of a bite doing two huge events in such a short time with long travels in between. And of course everyone was expecting me to win in Utah again, including myself.
But I swear there is something magical in that place because after some restless nights in my tower of power (as I called my room in Ogden’s team house), because when I was warming up on my trainer on the day of the TT, I felt awesome. Although I had the same initial feeling as Chris did (slower on the outbound leg), I was pretty confident since I was catching up on my slower competitors, and at the end I was able to PR by 1.5 minutes on the whole course. It felt really good to win again and I was almost able to get the best time of the day for women (off by 9secs). The pressure was off now, and I could just go and have fun in my RR (if you can call a painfully slow slog to the bottom of the final climb fun?! 🙂
I mostly wanted to write this email to have a chance to thank everyone who’s been part of this season’s success for me. I raced 24 races and placed on a podium in all but one. So many of you helped me get ready for Worlds and Nationals by lending/giving me equipment, driving me to and from Utah, handing bottles, food etc, giving advice and encouragement, and by cheering and pushing me forward. Thank you! I’m forever grateful for all that. I also want to thank our sponsors and anyone outside this team but somehow connected to it who’s been part of this season’s success. It all counts. Happy to have such great people around me. I’ll see you all on the Tam climb!
Anne Valta from ThirstyBear p/b Akamai wins 2 gold medals at US Nationals Masters RR and TT.
Anne Valta from ThirstyBear p/b Akamai wins 2 gold medals at US Nationals Masters RR and TT.
Anne

Jan “Sprint King” is 2nd fastest in California at Masters 40-44 Criterium State Championships

Masters 40-44 Criterium Championships

Teammate: Corey Scobie
40 racers
50 minute race
Pleasanton, CA
This was one of the races I have been trying to peak for all year. I love racing crits and really wanted to win the state champ jersey.
Corey, who lives in Pleasanton, invited me to his house so we can be away from the course and just have a relaxing warm up and get out of the sun/heat if we wanted to. I thought the race was at 3pm, when in fact the race was at 4pm. So I showed up an hour early. Better early then late.
Corey and I watched some of the Vuelta stage and hung out inside the AC’ed house. His kids were playing in the pool, which sorta looked more fun then trying to race in 90 degree weather.
We warmed up cruising around Pleasanton. Then went back to the house to grab some ice to bring to the race. We rode the 10 minutes over to the course, watched the 45-49 finish, and then packed our jerseys with ice cubes.
We lined up with the rest of the 40-44 guys, about 40 of us. Mikes Bikes had 7 guys, Zoca had 4 guys, and the rest were ones and twos. I was hoping for a breakaway.

The race starts and we are off. I make a fake attack in the first lap to see who is interested in going. This sort of starts the race, and we are going hard from then on. Mikes chases us back. Then there are a few more attempts at breaks but everything is being chased back. 10 minutes into the race I find myself chasing Steve Pelaez from Mikes, who is off the front. I take one guy with me, who is from SoCal and can’t win the State Championship, but can win the race…He just isn’t eligible for the jersey. Thinking this might be a good move, we get to Steve a lap later and we start out three man rotation. We get as much as 25 seconds, but really only had 20 seconds most of the race. At some point Oliver Ryan from Mikes bridges up to our three man group. Now Mikes has two guys. I attack to see if I can split the group, but the guy from SoCal chases me down with the two Mikes guys on his wheel. I settle for the 4 man rotation keeping an eye on the Mikes guys for an attack. We then see the lap cards count down, but we also hear the gap at 15 sec. We are all tired from the long break, are giving it gas still, but we get caught with two laps to go. Shit. Now I turn to sprint mode. I fight for position near the front of the pack. I want Dana Williams’ wheel since he is my main competition. But Mikes Scot Bromstead is sitting on Dana’s wheel as the sweeper. As we round the course I know I HAVE to be on Dana’s wheel if I want a chance to win. So just before the third corner I move up next to Scot and on to Dana’s wheel. Patiently waiting for the last corner I try to jump as hard as I can out of the last corner, but Dana, who had been sitting in the entire race and not spending any effort was fresher then me, and he beats me for the win. I end up 2nd, Scot was third and Corey finished 7th.
Obviously I wish I could have won this race, but 2nd place isn’t bad. Corey and I tried our best and we stuck to our plan.

Tanya wins Gold and Piers Silver at California State Championship Hill Climb in Fremont

Piers chasing up the hill.
Piers chasing up the hill.
7 min ahead of the rest. Thats how strong Tanya is climbing.
7 min ahead of the rest. Thats how strong Tanya is climbing.

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?  

 Piers 

Chris Phipps steps to the podium after super strong effort by all 8 Thirstybears at Winters 45+ 123

Strong team efforts sees Phipps on the podium
Strong team efforts sees Phipps on the podium
Field 50 with 8 Bears!
Alan, Brenon, Duane, Hans, Holger, Josef, Shawn & myself.
The day’s plan was to use our bearpower to make the race as hard as possible & hopefully have just a small group going into the final few kms with a couple bears to set up Brenon for the sprint win.  Cloudy skies, slightly damp roads & cool temps to start. It was a windy day with a strong breeze coming out of the south.
After the lead moto led us the wrong way out of town (how many times have we done this race?), we turned around & began the race.  The bears were at the front in force in the headwind section, with Josef, Alan & Hans initiating & covering the early attacks that went nowhere.  In the short crosswind section, we had a nice bearchelon at the front & Duane got a little gap. I don’t know if it was intentional, but we backed off to let others chase.  The first time up the Cantelow climb, we had good representation at the front and were pushing the pace, but so were several others including Bryan Hoadley (R4R Make a wish), David Passmore (Specialized) & Steve Archer (Morgan Stanley).  I led over the top of the climb & on the short technical descent to Pleasants Valley road where we had a nice tailwind.  The group was strung out with little gaps, but most people were still there clawing to get back on.  Those of us on the front were doing our best to keep that from happening. Alan took a few super hard pulls as did Jay Newton (Victory Velo), but most of the field was still together as we went through the finish for the first time. I think Hans attacked solo here. He was off the front so many times, I can’t remember for sure.  Hans got brought back, but attacked solo again as we were headed to Cantelow for the second time.
We stayed near the front, but let others set the pace until Hans came back, then I went to the front to turn it up a bit. I led over the top again & after the descent & turn on to Pleasants Valley, we had a group of 8 with a small gap. We had Brenon, Holger & myself in there along with Hoadley, Ott (Chronos), Shore (Hammer), Passmore & Stockwell (Sierra Nevada). With 2 teammates in there, I went to the from to take a hard pull, but after a minute drifted back & noticed Brenon was missing & the pack was close to catching us, so I sat up.  Turns out Brenon had flatted & was done for the day, so that was a real bummer.
Our group slowed & swelled up again as all the guys who had been dropped or taken a free lap (Bubba) rejoined our group.  There was a lull, so I took a solo flier & TTd for about 5 miles with the group a constant 20-30 sec back. I hit the headwind section, & was hoping someone would bridge up. Then I saw Jay coming with Duane in tow,  but the pack was only a few seconds back, so we were quickly absorbed. Duane then took a solo flier though and lasted for a long time. We caught him as we got close to the climb, then Hans went again!  This was great for me as I was just sitting 3rd or 4th wheel and went on the attack right as we caught Hans. By the top of the climb, it was just me & Hoadley.  We were able to 2 man TT to the finish, where I lost the 2 up sprint & got 2nd.  Sorry I couldn’t deliver the win for the team, but I was happy for Bryan though as he had done a lot of work all day. Stockwell won the small chase group sprint for 3rd ahead of Shore. Holger & Josef were close behind in 9th & 11th with Shawn, Hans, Duane and Alan not too far back.
The team was great today though! All 8 of us were at the front or off the front the whole race which makes racing really fun.
CP

Jacob Berkman climbs to the top at University Road Race 35+ 123

COURSE DESCRIPTION
“A 3-mile mountainous loop of well-paved University roads.”

Basically a long 1-corner crit, with a hill. The hill has 2 longer,
gradual sections up to the start/finish/feed, then flattens out before
a short, steep section. Non-technical descent with a corner before
starting the climb again.

14 laps; no free lap rule 🙁
PREVIOUS RESULTS
2010 (E4/5): DNP (Broken seat post binder at bottom of hill on 1st lap!)
2011 (P/1/2): 14th/43
2014 (P/1/2): DNF (no legs after San Ardo)

WEATHER
Overcast, cool, calm.

TEAMMATES
Chris Phipps, Brenon Daly, & Joel Pennington.

GOALS
Thirsty Bear win.

PLAN
“It is a fairly straight-forward race, so I don’t think we need too much of a plan.” — Brenon

RACE SUMMARY
A “small but strong” field; Carinio + a couple of teammates, Birky (last year’s winner) & Hoadley for R4R, Jonathan Baker, and Roemer, plus a few others.
The first time up the hill there were a couple of attacks; one by Jason Siegle which was covered by Joel but pretty much came back together. 2nd lap the two R4R guys start to roll off the front and I jumped to cover it, then Jason Siegle came up and sort of countered and I jumped on that, and the pack “let” us go (this time up was my peak 1’-5’ power for the race).
I’d like to say that I just hammered away in the break all day, but since I was lucky enough to have two teammates in the pack who’ve won this race in the past, and my legs had felt terrible for the last couple of weeks, I was just covering and wasn’t pulling. To my surprise, Jason seemed to be OK pulling all the way up the climb, as long as I took a (short) pull on the descent.
He kept the pace pretty high on the climb but it was pretty steady and after a few laps wasn’t worried about hanging on. We couldn’t see the pack behind us, and got a time gap from the feed: 2:30.
Situations like this don’t come up for me often, and I really didn’t want to blow it after “sitting in” all day. At the bottom of the descent on the last lap, Jason didn’t pull through like he’d done every lap, so I just rode hard tempo up the climb. We hit the last pitch and he hadn’t jumped yet so I took off. I could see his front wheel behind me slipping back as I crossed the line for my first win in 2 1/2 years!
Chris had gotten away from the field with a lap or two to go with another rider and took 4th, with Brenon in 5th to bring home half the t-shirts.
RESULTS
1st Me
4th Chris Phipps
5th Brenon Daly
DNP (?) Joel Pennington (slow leak in rear tire)
TAKEAWAYS
Even if your legs feel bad, Golden Cheetah knows best.



NUMBERS
Distance: 61.4 km
Time: 1:45:24
Elevation Gain: ~1463 m
Avg Speed: 34.8 km/h
Max Speed: 66.4 km/h
Avg HR: 154 bpm
Max HR: 178 bpm
Avg Power: 245 W
Max Power: 837 W
TSS: 180

http://www.strava.com/activities/375981392

// j

Victory Sprint Finish By Jan Weissenberger at Suisun Criterium

Strong sprint sees Jan to the top of the podium at Suisun Harbor Criterium.
Strong sprint sees Jan to the top of the podium at Suisun Harbor Criterium.

Suisun Criterium

Masters 35+ 1/2/3

45 min race around downtown Suisun

No Teammates

Place: 1st

After “racing” Dunnigan Road Race on Saturday, and only lasting 2.5 hours, I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. I did go to Recharge in Fairfax after I got home Saturday to try and recover for the crit Sunday. I woke up Sunday am and the legs weren’t too sore. 

Once I got to the race I warmed up nice and easy. Just spinning the legs. I did a couple of minutes at a harder pace and felt surprisingly ok. 

I packed my pockets with ice and grabbed an ice cold water bottle then headed to the start line. It was hot. 

The race started and we were at speed very quickly. If you haven’t done Suisun before, the course is very short, at about .5 mile. It is a four corner crit and the turns are sharp and tight. 

The attacks started right from the gun. Chris Evans, Ben Albracht, Aaron Patterson, Jonathan Baker, Scott Cox and others wanted to get a break going. 

Evans would attack and guys would chase or follow. Then Baker would attack and same thing guys would chase or follow. This was how the race kept going and I was right in there along with Dean LaBerge and Steve Pelaez.

It was the most active race I have been in in quite a while. I was getting very tired from all the chasing and closing down moves. Then, finally, four of us got a good gap just when the pack let up a little and gave us “an inch”. Chris Evans, Jonathan Baker, Steve Pelaez and I were gone. We had about 15 sec and about 15 min to go. Evans and Baker were very strong, and Steve and I were taking shorter pulls playing the sprinter roles. At one point I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay in the break. 

It was a chess game at this point. Evans sat on us for a while, then I sat on for a bit. Baker took strong pulls on the front hurting us. Once the lap cards came out I went into countdown mode and just shut off the head. 

With two to go Evans put in an attack got a gap and the three of us just looked at each other. Then Baker jumps after Evans and Steve and I follow. The three of us take pulls and close Evans back. As we exit the last corner I am behind Baker and Steve. I knew from the start that it would be best to sprint on the left side of the course to the finish and I was hoping to get that line. Steve broke right off Bakers wheel and I went left, great. I put my head down and gunned for the line. I was able to come away with the win with Steve in 2nd, Baker in 3rd and Evans in 4th. It took everything I had to stay in the break. These guys were riding very strong. I was lucky to be able to come away with the win. 

A big thanks to all our sponsors Akamai, Cogniance, Red Whale Coffee, Cloud Made, Sutter Health, HVR Software, The Ride Home, TNT Plumbing, Warman Security, iWin, ACME Bikes, Castelli and OSMO.

 

Tom “The Lyon King” puts the hammer down at Dunnigan Hills 45+123

Dunnigan Hills 45+123 (one of two sections for the 45+).
I went to Dunnigan to bake my brain in the wind and smoke. We had 50 guys in a 45+ 123 field but none of my teammates figured out how to enter on time to race with me (there was a second field with 25 guys that Hans and Scot raced). I was in no mood for a leisurely ride around the central valley and pleasantly surprised to see our break form about two miles into the race. Only 88mi to go but we had 9 guys. The main teams were represented: Make A Wish (Hoadley/Martin); Hammertime (Ziesing); Chronos (Ott/Fairbanks); Sierra (Stockwell). Plus we had Jay Newton! And, moving to our field race morning was the instant race favorite, Scott Fonseca. I knew we’d stay away but never imagined we’d get an 8 minute lead in the first lap (at least that’s what the moto told us). We would be out for a long time so we all settled down and kept the pace reasonable once we established the break. It was a lot of fun with this group and we all worked pretty well together.
Near the end of lap #1, Kerry Stockwell crashed. I’m not sure what caused it. We all waited for him and he got back in as we crossed over I-5 leading to the finish area. Near the top of the hill after the finish line and just prior to getting a “tailwind,” I was on the front with no one rotating through. I decided to surge and see who had the legs. But also hoping to reduce the group. I stayed away for the 9mi section but was caught as we turned east toward 505. I made them work but made sure I kept it measured so that I could still race when they caught me. Apparently Jay put in the biggest efforts to bring me back (that’s what he does). But he brought everyone back….
After we went down along 505 (more tailwind), we turned into the wind again and that’s where some attacking reduced our group (losing Ziesing, Hoadley, and Fairbanks). We were down to six working well together, and moving clear of those guys. With 15 mi to go, we hit the headwind section. It was getting painful for all of us. We were getting a little delirious with all the heat stroke and dehydration trying not to run into each other…. It was along the headwind section that I was trying to figure out when to do some attacks because I didn’t want to sprint with Ott and Fonseca. Jay started cramping so I gave him a salt tablet, then Chris Ott attacked with about 4mi to go before the finish. I covered and then things changed in our group. It was going to turn into a great game of cat and mouse. We had an insurmountable lead so we could each play our cards. Scott, Chris, and I attacked a handful of times in our own way. None of us could crack the group except when Jay slipped off the back with his cramping.
No one wanted to lead into the final stretch but I found myself on the front over the freeway so I just rode easy along the centerline. Jay caught back on and took the lead out responsibilities (that’s what he does – he rides hard!). I jumped about 400m out with Chris on my wheel and Scott on his. I gapped them while the other three in the break fell off the pace. I went as hard as I could but it was way too early. My legs were very resistant to doing anything more than survive after about 15 seconds of “sprinting” so I muscled my way up the hill as best I could. I was surprised that no one was coming around but the finish line was still pretty far away. As it turned out, Scott passed Chris as he was trying to close on me, and then Scott got me in the last 50 meters pretty easily. I held on for second with Chris coming in next.
It was a hot day and the smoke from nearby fires made it a bit unpleasant for all. I believe I drank about 10 bottles (started with 4). And was so happy that the neutral feed didn’t run out of water this year. There was a lot of carnage out there. Everyone was cooked whether they had good days or rough times. Congrats to all TB’s who raced today.
Tom Lyons

ThirstyBears Dominate Cascade Cycling Classic Stage Race 2015

Friday’s Road Race

The boys put in huge efforts yesterday to set up Jason and I. Hans pulled Piers off the front to save him and a wise move it was after his huge TT today.

Jacob, Eric, Joel, Duane, DQ, Brenon, Piers, and Hans were on the front for much of the first 50-60mi of the race as a GC favorite was solo off the front. They did a great job keeping it at 1:00 gap. And then as we approached the feed zone #2 (with Dani, Jules, Lex, and Otis ready to hand out bottles), we heard the cat-2’s were catching us. So the boys brought back the breakman to keep us together in case we were neutralized. Eric then led us up the hill for about 8mi to discourage any attacks. I sat on Brenon’s wheel the whole way as he led Jason and I up a few wheels back. Piers was close by and took over after Eric’s massive effort. We hit the last 3k into a strong head wind and attacks came but nothing stuck. Brenon and Piers continued to shut things down. I got up to second wheel with Jason on me. I jumped on a couple moves in the last 1k and followed a guy into the final 600m as we turned into the driveway toward the line. I took the lead with 400 to go and went hard up into the wind. Held it through 200 as we swung left with a tailwind.2013 National 45-49 crit champ, Eric Martin, came by like I was standing still. A huge guy, Joel Brazil, was next followed by 35 leader, Eric Sheagley (DQ’s former Oregon teammate). The line was fast approaching and then I felt a guy coming in the right. I lunged for the line, hoping to snag 3rd in the 45’s but got nipped…. by Jason! Smiles all around….. When you have 8 guys killing themselves to put you in position to succeed, it feels great when the result comes. Piers and Brenon came in the front group of about 25 as well. My memories of this day will be sitting in the pack looking up to see TB on the front….

Saturday  – Time Trial

It was windy with some rollers (into the wind), and a couple tight turns over the 9mi course. I had a goal of breaking 19:00 (stretch) or at least getting 19:15 ( hopeful reality) which I thought could give me the 45 GC lead. I was pleasantly surprised to catch my 30 sec guy, Sargent, halfway through where I also was averaging over 30mph (tailwind…). Pasco was my 1:00 man and I had gained 20secs on him by then too. The headwind and rollers came next, reminding all of us that we would pay for a fast early pace. I gained a little more on Pasco toward the end but the last 1/2 is a blur. Just glad I made it safely through the turns (no risks). I figured my 18:53 was going to be enough to do it and was thrilled to hear that only Dan Bryant (18:19) was ahead of me in 35/45.Jason had a good day next fastest at 19:07, followed by Sheagley in 19:09, and then our secret weapon, Piers in 19:23 (in borrowed shoes, disc wheel, and helmet from Hans because he left that stuff at the condo)! We had 3 in the top-5 overall today!GC – 45+
Lyons
Pasco +33
Lopera +45
Brazil +57
Martin +57GC – 35+
Bryant
Sheagley +40
Grefrath +44
Barry +1:04
Wuepper +1:24

 

Saturday afternoon Crit, and Sunday Circuit Race.

 

Saturday – The Crit

I’ve never seen anything but the tail end of this Crit while I’ve raced here. I figure someone’s got to sit on the back and wave goodbye as people drop off the group. But, since Jacob really wanted that job, and the announcer called me up to the start line in my yellow jersey first, I thought I’d see if I could stay with the front of the race for as long as possible, then go join Jacob when that inevitably didn’t work out. I don’t remember much except that it was the “easiest” crit I’ve done. If I slipped back from the top-5, I would just move up to the front and pull a little then slide back in once someone attacked. I do remember Brenon magically appearing from time to time to sit on the front and keep a steady, non-attackable, pace (it’s an “easy” crit when you have teammates like this). Eric and DQ were there too. Jason got the call up and he never left the front either. Apparently some knucklehead slammed into Dan Bryant causing a domino crash just behind the front group on a tight turn which resulted in some obvious issues with getting back on/in. However, I had no idea it happened right behind me (Crit guys will tell you this is why you ride at the front!). None of our guys went down luckily. I was considering leading it out along the backstretch to keep it safe (somewhere in the back of my mind it seemed like Yellow could do this for the field) when Dan Bryant beat me to it. I slotted in about 10th wheel and then thought I’d give the sprint a go when we came off the last turn. I ran out of room on the side and came in right next to the top-3 45’s who were right with the top-3 35’s. 7th on the stage. Speed topped out at 39mph (downhill, tailwind)! Everyone got group time and I kept my GC lead.

Sunday – The Circuit Race:

Sunday morning, we had Jason 3rd and Piers 4th in GC on the 35+, while I had the lead in the 45’s over Robert Pasco (33s), Maikey Lopera (45s), and a handful of others within 1:00. We had some ideas on how to move Jason and Piers up, but also obviously wanted to keep an eye on the 45’s. It didn’t quite work out for our 35’s – Eric Sheagley, in 2nd GC, wasn’t letting that happen, and Chris Lyman was taking care of Dan Bryant’s lead (Dan was noticeably limping around after his crash). After many attacks over the course of 2.5 laps which were elegantly controlled by ALL of our guys, two 35+ guys with poor etiquette attacked the feed zone and rolled away. Eric jumped on another 35+ bridging and away it went. We let it go to give our guys a break on the front which worked for half a lap. The biggest threat was 2:00 down on GC (around 1:00 behind Jason/Piers), so we kept it at 1:00 and eventually brought it back to within 15 secs at the end. Eric hung on for 3rd! TB came in with the pack. That’s the quick summary.

The details are that every one of our guys came up, checked with me on the front, and rode like champs all day. I felt like I was in a Grand Tour. At least a half dozen guys in the peloton came up to me during the race saying what an impressive, unbeatable, team we had. Same thing after the race – anyone I talked to expressed how impressed they were with us and that we earned it. I stayed on the front all day and was never alone. As you scan the results, the places don’t reflect the fact that we had 7 other guys who all could have been where Piers, Jason, and I were but they sacrificed that to make sure the team had a shot to win. We all belong on the top step because it took all of us to get TB there! I would think it’s uncommon for a group of 10 people to work in such a way together when this is just a silly hobby. I learned last year when Gardie, DQ, and I went to nationals to “help” Chris win it, that it is often just as satisfying to be the one to do the work to help the team win as it is to be the one who gets to go for the individual win. While biking is my forced substitution for running, I’m forever grateful to Hans for creating this team and all his work to organize this type of experience for a bunch of old guys/gals who think this is a fun way to spend a weekend…..
Tom
“I’ve been on five different NorCal amateur teams in my racing “career”.  The racers, quality people, that we have on this team is uncommonly awesome.  It is truly unique and special in the ranks of amateur racing.  I’m floored at how many committed, selfless, and also strong and smart racers we have on ThirstyBear p/b Akamai.  I’m serious when I say that EACH ONE of our guys at Cascade contributed to the team’s success, each in his own way, on and off the road.  I’m super proud and super impressed.” Jason Grefrath 3rd GC 35+

“The Circuit Race Breakaway” A note from Eric:

Hans had encouraged me to be on the outlook for a break and be ready to bridge up if the opportunity arose. With 20 miles to go, just after the feedzone, Shane Savage from Mighty and Rob Evans, Bear Development Team (3rd in the crit), attacked and got a small gap. Stephen Bedford, who had won the Crit and been on a solo break for 50miles in Friday’s road race went for it to get in the break. This guy should win the most active rider at Cascade trophy. I was fortunately up at the front, as Tom had told me that this was the spot where most breaks would form. So as soon I saw Stephen take off, I jumped and stayed in his wheel. We quickly got contact with Rob and Shane. Knowing I had 9 other hungry Bears in the field and 2 GC contenders, they all looked at me, and asked if I was going to pull or not. I looked back, saw we had a gap and I said “lets do it”. We got a good break going constantly rotating. Rob and Stephen were further down in the general classification, while Shane was 36sec. ahead of me and 1.45min behind Jason after 3rd stage so I should be careful how we played this. We gradually extended your lead from 55sec to 1.55min at 10 miles to go, but could then hear that the pace had picked up in the field and at 5 miles to go we only had 55 sec. At the bottom of Archie Briggs we knew that the field was closing in on us fast. No reason to play tactical or not pull, this was pure survival and we all gave it all we had. Stephen managed to get a gap, but I tried to chase with Rob in my wheel. Rob went by me at the flat section and bridged up and passed Stephen, while Shane was trailing behind after he had done some massive pulls in the break. I tried to push the pace, but there was no more juice in the tank. As we approached the steep finish I could hear the main field coming like a steam train. I squeezed out the last drops of power and managed to drag my bike over the finish line as 3rd, with Piers finishing 4th, same time as me. That was close. Super excited to get this prominent podium spot thanks to a strong team effort.

A note for our Editor in Chief Hans Gouwens:

It has been about 8 years that Tom started showing up for the Tuesday Night Alpine Ride. Just like Chris Phipps, Tom was looking for something else since the “runners high” was running low due to aching bones and joints.
Not sure who else was there that late spring evening when Tom showed up with his styrofoam helmet and his 22 lbs aluminum bike with down tube shifters, but we all spanked his fat ass and hairy legs. It took him about 3 months of determination to reverse that process and make us look like a bunch of overdressed Euro Pro fools.Tom started racing in 2008 with a few Hill Climbs to make sure he was safe and less likely to crash. In 2009 he won his first road race at Wente as a Cat 5 and quickly became a Cat 3 after that.
In 2010, he won his first 45+123 road race at Spring Hill and in 2011 he was kind enough to measure his sprint for the line to give me the win at the Mount Hamilton Classic – what a team mate!
After that, he went on to win the State Criterium Championship and three Stage Races. This past weekend, however, truly showed how strong and determined Tom has been lately. No more hairy legs, but an eye for detail and specifics to get the job done to grab the biggest win so far. It was truly fantastic to see Tom pull it off and wear that yellow jersey all the way back to Fairfax. Tom, you made us all look good!

Sprinter King Jan takes 3rd at San Rafael Sunset Criterium

Impressive result by Thirstybear p/b Akamai rider Jan Weissenberger Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Impressive result by Thirstybear p/b Akamai rider Jan Weissenberger Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com

 

San Rafael Criterium

Masters 35+ 1/2/3
Teammates: Alan Roberts
Place: 3rd
To be honest I was not looking forward to this crit. I stayed away from it last year because of all the sketchy riding the previous year (2013). This race had become a sketchy crit that everyone wanted to win.
Ready to release the horses! Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Ready to release the horses! Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Mike’s Bikes ended up saving this event which was almost cancelled. Mike’s stepped in the place of the previous promoter. They kept the great vibe going. This year the racing was very safe and I am so happy I raced it.
The field was quite big as they grouped the 45+ with the 35+ racers. I think we had a total of 60-70 racers. Mike’s had about 9 guys in the field and Chronus also had 6 guys. My plan was to just ride relaxed and wait for the finish. And if anything dangerous got up the road to try and bridge up to it.
Lets go 400 watts. Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Lets go 400 watts. Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
The race was very fast from the gun. Mike’s did a great job attacking and keeping the pace high. Also on the front of the field were Craig Roemer, Chris Evans and Kevin Metcalf keeping things strung out. Dana Williams got off the front with about 30 min to go, but he was pulled back by Chris Evans and Craig Roemer, and the Chronus guys helped out a bit too. I settled in for the final sprint. With 4 to go I had Alan right in front of me keeping me out of the wind. We lost each other in the next two laps. With two to go I knew I had to be close to top 15 so I moved up a bit. With bell lap I was in good position. We sprinted up the little hill and I was slotted in behind Dana Williams and Mark Niiro. We came off the downhill with a good amount of speed and Dana ended up winning ahead of Mark (2nd place)  and myself (3rd place).
Lets push it even more! Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Lets push it even more! Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
I was quite happy with this race and how it played out. The group of riders were all very respectful of each other and no one rode sketchy. The atmosphere was so great. There were a ton of spectators out.
Strong finish sees Jan Weissenberger finish 3rd Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com
Strong finish sees Jan Weissenberger finish 3rd Photo: Alex Chui acaurora.smugmug.com

ThirstyBear Dan Q wins 25th Annual LODOGA ROAD RACE

Powerful finish sees Dan Quirk to Victory
Powerful finish sees Dan Quirk to Victory
After not racing since the end of may due to work I was not sure how my race fitness would be. Well there’s only one way to find out…race.
I enter in the 45+ cat. We were combined with a few other fields to actually make a group. Of course in classic Velo Promo style they don’t tell us our start will be delayed 45mins until we line up for our race. Good news is I get to race w/ Anne since she is the only female there.
So we start out with about 20pp. The course is 65 miles total, 20 miles of flat, a small 5ish min hill, followed by a 15ish min hill. Turn around and come back. We figured all the sorting out would be done on the hills. Not totally the case. There were a few half hearted attacks that nver really got much room. Then about 15 miles in a strong group started to form off the front. I jumped across and made it there in time to sit in a little before the hills. (unfortunately Anne was on the bad side of the split but we did give a wave to each other while passing on the out and back)
 We had about 12pp now, with the hammer team doing most of the work. When we hit the first short climb we widdled the group down to 8, then on the long hill Cale Reeder pushed the tempo and we were down to 6. Hunter Z from hammer being the last one to come off.
The other 5 were: Reeder and Dan Shore from hammer, John Hancock from the Sierra Nev team, Steve Archer from Morgan Stanley, and John Ornstil. (archer and Orstill were in the 55+ cat)
Well the hammer guys would not work b/ they were waiting for Hunter and it turns out Jonh O had some kind of pre-race parking lot deal with Hunter also, so he would not work. fortunately Archer had the most to gain on keeping away since he was in the 55+.  Archer pulled us along for the next hour or so at 20mph. I attacked a few times but the hammer guys were on me quick. So I just waited, waited…and waited. At 1K were were all together and I got on Reeder’s wheel, Shore was leading him out but I jumped 1st to the left at about 200M and took advantage of a little crosswind coming from the right and got to the line with at least a bike length to spare.
1st win of the season for me…..I’ll take it
Cheers
DQ