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51st Mt. Tam Hill Climb 2013 September 14th

Love doing 2,000 feet of climbing in 12 Miles then The Mt. Tam Hill Climb is the right place. Marking the end of the season all the main riders in great Marin area summon for a day of race and after race celebration.

Saturday, September 14, 2013 Golden Gate Velo and ThirstyBear Cycling will host the 51st Mt. Tamalpais Hill Climb. Register NOW here

See all the great pictures from the the 50th Mt. Tamalpais Hill Climb.

Congratulations to Adrien Costa for taking the victory in the Pro 1-2 field 2012!

1 Adrien COSTA (1 – Cat2) Los Altos, CA 0:41:43 296167 104 Slipstream-Craddock

2 Christopher PHIPPS (1 – Cat1) San Francisco, CA 0:41:45 233623 112 IronDataThirstyBearC

3 Julian MARTINEZ (2 – Cat1) Walnut Creek, CA 0:42:47 214569 110 Fremont Bank Cycling

 

For more race results check out http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2012-2956

Start Line at Stinson Beach Park, US Highway 1, Stinson Beach, CA. Race goes north up Highway 1, right on Bolinas-Fairfax Road, right on Ridgecrest, finishing at the Rock Spring parking lot on the West Peak of Mt. Tam.

Mt. Tam Hill Climb official course
Mt. Tam Hill Climb official course

For more check out http://www.goldengatevelo.org/tam and register at https://www.usacycling.org/register/2013-2970

Thanks to last years great sponsors including Joseph Mendes, real estate and loan services, Pelo Fitness, City Cycle and GU.

ThirstyBears Tom ‘Mountain’ Lyons takes the victory at Little City Stage Race 2013.

45+ 123 by Tom Lyons.
Tom Lyons winning at Little city Stage Race
Tom Lyons winning at Little city Stage Race
In the tent up in Tahoe. Cramping like everyone who rode today. I drank two bottles per lap and the thing is I drained them half way through each lap! Ridiculous heat out there. Thanks to all the families and friends who were in the feed zone. Made the difference for all of us!
In the 45’s, Hans set out a plan to make sure Max and I could stay sheltered and get high placings. The team was great setting us up with a shattered field in the second half. Holger did a lot of work and then came in 5th on the stage. Whoa – he was real happy! Max got 4th getting out sprinted by Larry Nolan. I got away with 15mi to go and came in solo at 2nd behind Dirk (who jumped on lap-2).
Overall we were:
1-4(Max)-8(Holger)-14(Hans) and took home close to $800 in GC prize money!
Thanks team. I really appreciate the efforts from everyone out there this weekend. I wanted to win this thing and trained hard for it. When the team and crew set things up like it went this weekend, it was so motivating. It was the difference for me. It was so fun to be part of such a great team performance today. Looking up ahead and seeing our guys setting the pace made it feel like we were playing big-time cyclists. And it worked!

ThirstyBear Cycling’s CJ Wolf steps onto the podium at Central Coast Circuit

Race: Central Coast Circuit
Classification: 35+ 3 & 4
Time: 50 min
Field size: 11

In my desperate hunt for upgrade points, I find myself driving 2+ hours for a 50 min race with 11 people. Their usual circuit coarse was being occupied by a 5k run so the race organizers had to use an alternative coarse which was as generic as they come. It was a 3 mile out and back – down a hill, 180 degree turn, back up the hill, down another hill, 180 turn and back up. One team, Don Chapin, had two riders and in the first lap one of them attacked into the headwind and nobody went with him. I was trying to organize the group and a few people did some work over the next lap but I was doing the bulk of the work. So instead of pulling everyone along – I attacked at the bottom of one of the short hills halfway through the 2nd lap and when we got to the top- the field was reduced from 10 to 5. Then after the next turn, I attacked again and only the other Don Chapin rider and other rider remained. Since the Don Chapin rider had a guy up front, he just sat in and the other guy was dead weight only doing about 10% of the work. I thought I could catch the solo rider so I stayed on the front dragging the two riders along. The gap was 30 seconds and to my disappointment, it didn’t come down through 4 laps so it was now a race for 2nd place. As we approached the final turn – I wanted to be in the lead to prevent getting jumped coming out of the sharp turn (my bike handling needs some work). The finish was about 300-400 meters with a short climb, flat and then another climb. I attacked out of the turn hoping to get a gap but the Don Chapin rider that had been sitting in the entire race stuck to my wheel as we drop the other rider. The Chapin rider came around on the flat and I couldn’t close on the last knoll thus settling for 3rd. Although this wasn’t my first top 3 finish -it was my first time stepping on a podium thus making the drive worthwhile (photo attached). Now I just need to move up two steps.

An hour later I did the elite cat 3/4 and at the start the guy to my left was 16 (almost a 1/3 of my age) and the guy to my right was 20 . The top 3 finishers were half my age and it was their first race of the day. It was a good workout and I finished 5th (out of a mass field of 11).

ThirstyBearCycling crit specialist CJ Wolf once again steps onto the podium this time at Central Coast Circuit
ThirstyBearCycling crit specialist CJ Wolf once again steps onto the podium this time at Central Coast Circuit

CJ Wolf

 

Lots of action in the 45+123 Pescadero RR. Tom and Holger finish in top 10

Pescadero RR
45+123
75mi

Thirsty Bear Team: Alan Roberts (DNP), Holger Steinbach (9th), Gardie Jackson (35th), Max Thompson (DNP), Duane Coughlin (14th), Lance Haag (33rd) , and me (6th) (49 started the race).

A cold and wet start of Pescadero – Tom Lyons keeping warm.
A cold and wet start of Pescadero – Tom Lyons keeping warm.

 

We talked about the race a little in advance it seemed that Max, Holger, and I had aspirations to be active on the front while Duane, Lance, and Alan were hoping to stick with the pack over all the hills. Gardie was uncertain after being off the bike for a couple weeks, but we knew he’d be mixing it up. It was great to have so many teammates and a couple that I’ve raced with often (Max and Holger). The field was loaded. The list was impressive and deep. With that size field and all the strong riders, it was set up to be a hard race. And it was. One of the best race experiences I’ve been a part of in that there was a lot of action a lot of the time. Never a dull moment and the climbs were tough too.

Duane pushing the pace up the first climb
Duane pushing the pace up the first climb

 

After a number of attempts in the first lap, things calmed down and we went up Haskins Hill controlled but still pretty fast. We lost some guys but then they caught back on during the descent. Not before Holger (TB), Hunter Z (Hammer), Jay Klein (former TB), and Chris Courtney (SJBC) got away. We slowed to a crawl and I was fine with that as I thought we had the strongest guy in the break. On the Stage Road hills, things heated up again and by the time we hit Route 84, Cale Reeder (Hammer), Dirk Himley (Hammer), Chris Wire (Prime Time) were up the road. Our pack was down to about 8 other guys including Kevin Metcalfe (Specialized), John Hunt (Cal Giant), Kevin Susco (Strava), David Passmore (SJBC), Max Thompson (TB) and some other dudes.

Max looking strong while he still could race on 2 wheels.
Max looking strong while he still could race on 2 wheels.

It was a good group but then John Cavanaugh (Prime Time) bridged up and a few of us got it together to bring that back quickly. Once together, we saw the break up the road. We kept them in front of us but right before the feed zone, a group of 20 caught us including Duane and Gardie. We hit the climb, we popped some guys, and we caught the break. Over the top with a lap to go there were about a dozen guys. Only two more caught on and as we came toward town, I got in a few attempts with Alex Osborne and Courtney but things came together with our pack of about 14 heading into the sprint prime. That is when Hunter Z decided to ride his bike right into Max and Hunter’s pedals caught Max’s spokes which ended Max’s race and ruined his expensive race wheel. Hunter didn’t look back in his sprint for the prime. Later, he shrugged it off as if it was all part of the race.

Max could easily have finished top 10, but was taken out of play due to poor riding skills from competing rider.
Max could easily have finished top 10, but was taken out of play due to poor riding skills from competing rider.

We went up the first Stage climb strong and then down the hill in a long line. I hate that descent and got behind the one other guy who hated it more. When we hit the bottom, the leaders were 100 yards up the hill and going. I had to push hard to get around the destruction going on behind them and then cresting the top closed to within about 10 secs of the 5-man break forming.

Lance making his way down the curvy descent
Lance making his way down the curvy descent

 

No time to smile to the camera for Duane
No time to smile to the camera for Duane

This is where I had to make a decision. Try to catch them down the hill or ride in with whoever came up behind me and give up a chance to be in the final selection. I went for it and caught them at the bottom (in 2011, I lost contact with the 3-man break here so I was eager to do it right this time!). I couldn’t believe it. Especially since there were cars and trucks and bikes all over that road. It probably helped to slow those guys down a bit but it was also a pain for me. We rotated well all the way along Hwy 84 and hit the climb together well ahead of anyone else in our race.

Holger finishing a great Pescadero as 9th
Holger finishing a great Pescadero as 9th

I was feeling great to be in this group and if I had a pen would have tried for a few autographs. I went as hard as I could and fortunately was able to watch the race unfold with Metcalfe leading Cale, Dirk and Susco duking it out, Hunt dangling off them and just out of reach of me. Cale came around Metcalfe for the win; Dirk closed to a bike length on Metcalfe while Susco was easily 4th. I followed John Hunt in by about 15 secs and then turned to see Holger come in a minute or two later with the next couple guys.

Tom making the decisive move to solo chase the break, catch them and finish 6th. Great effort riding aggressive.
Tom making the decisive move to solo chase the break, catch them and finish 6th. Great effort riding aggressive.

It was real fun today. I was impressed with all of our guys on the team. How fun is it to have 7 guys in the front pack after one lap? I think we did well as a team and each of us had good opportunities to race how we wanted. We always had at least one or two guys right up there at the front (or off the front). I felt like Max was riding fantastic and have absolutely no doubt that he would have been in our 6-man final selection if it weren’t for a very unsafe maneuver that knocked him out of the race with a lap to go.

Thanks.
Tom Lyons

Official results: http://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?permit=2013-516

ThirstyBear Cycling Alan Roberts takes 3rd at Mt. Hamilton District Championship 55+123

Race 55+ Cat 123 60+ & 65+ scored separately for districts
Start: 9:30
Field: 45
Conditions: Damp but not raining about 63 degrees.
Mt Hamilton seems almost like two races, the big climb and then the valley. I don’t seem to be doing so well on early in race climbs lately, so when the likes of Kevin Susco, Steve Archer and Rob Anderson set a strong pace up the hill, I fell back and tried to keep a reasonable gap. This didn’t seem to be happening and even though I was in a small chase group that worked somewhat together, we were losing time on the lead group all the way up. I figured I’d be racing for maybe 10th place, but kept pushing the pace hoping to pull some guys back on the other side.

Alan Roberts turns on the ‘diesel’ engine and crushes the field one by one to finish 3rd.
Guys started blowing up near the top and so the decent was myself and a SJBC guy who knew the road like the back of his hand. A Victory Velo rider joined us at the bottom, so now there were 3 of us working up the hill to the feed zone and off toward the valley. I put my head down and pushed on and both of those guys blew up, but I picked up a Victory Velo guy falling back from the front group. Unfortunately he couldn’t do more than sit on my wheel for probably 15 miles, so I was essentially on my own. (turns out he won the 65+ race, so he owes me a beer)
Reached the other end of the valley and started up the hills. This was made more fun by the fact that my front derailleur had slipped out of adjustment (again) so I only had big ring gears.
I was catching more guys from my field along the way and then caught up to Rob Anderson and a fella named Joe Lemire on the Hammer team. Always nice to pull up behind a guy wearing rainbow stripes, so I paused for a second behind Rob and then rode around him. He reacted by saying “who was that?” as I went by and grabbed onto my wheel along with Joe. I pretty much pulled them up the rest of the climb. Once it started rolling Rob started rotating with me, but Joe was not able to contribute, so he hung on the back. (Joe ended up first in the 60+ field, so I think he owes me a beer too)

At about 5k to go we spotted a Strava rider and a Victory Velo rider ahead. I wasn’t sure where they were in the field, but we were gaining on them quickly.
I gotta say, Rob Anderson is one of the nicest guys I’ve ridden with in a race. When he saw the riders ahead he said “let’s not catch them too soon, Alan. They don’t know were back here and surprise is on our side”. “Let’s pull up behind them and hit them at 1k”. Now, having a world champion coaching you in a race is pretty cool, so I paid attention. We caught up to them at about 2k and sat on their wheel for a bit but they looked pretty beat, so Rob waved me up and said “attack now!” and I did. Came around them fast with Rob on my wheel. He took one turn and then started yelling “go Alan go!” I mean seriously, a WC cheering you on from behind, how awesome is that?
I looked back at 200m to see them coming hard, so I put my head down and pushed harder. Next time I looked back I’d put 50m on them and was clear going across the line. Not having been at the front of the race, I didn’t know how many were ahead of me, so I had to ask around a bit to see where I finished. Turns out Susco and Archer had been off the front, finishing 1st and 2nd and I ended up 3rd place.
Took forever to get the awards, but thankfully Lance stuck around to ride the 45 miles back to the cars with me with a little burrito stop along the way. Nice 109 mile day!

Sprint Superstar Joe Amon is back! Winning at Modesto RR 45+ 123

ThirstyBear Cycling Joe Amon top podium spot at Modesto Road Race. After 3 month of non racing Joe shows us all that he is back!
ThirstyBear Cycling Joe Amon top podium spot at Modesto Road Race. After 3 month of non racing Joe shows us all that he is back!

Modesto Road Race

Masters 45+ 1/2/3

About 50 guys. Hot and windy.  Six laps, 60 or so miles. No teammates.

 

This was my first race back after a yoga-injury earlier this year that had me off the bike for almost three months.  Fucking yoga.

Hunter Ziesing told me before the race that he and Chris Courtney were going to try and split the field any chance they got, given the many crosswind sections.  And sure enough, from the gun, Hunter and a few others attack.  I pause and wait for wheels to jump on, knowing that my fitness is not so good, and this happens several times in the first three laps.

I’m starting to feel all the surges and I let the next break go.  Sure enough it’s got most teams represented, and I just don’t feel strong enough to bridge up to it.  There’s 10 guys in the break, and they just start pulling away and no one is responding.  It probably takes us a lap to get organized and figure out who doesn’t have someone in the break.  It turns out Kouvaris and Cortex don’t, so 2 Cortex, 2 Kouvaris, 1 other guy (can’t remember his team) and I start working well together.

Modesto RR – Made for men like Joe.
Modesto RR – Made for men like Joe.

The break is 45 seconds up the road and we just hold that.  It goes up and down, 35 to 45 seconds for two laps.  I’m skipping pulls every third or fourth time ‘cause my back’s cramping. I’m telling one of the Cortex guys, I’m not going to be able to keep this up much longer. And then in the confusion of passing other fields and dropped riders, suddenly we’re right on them. They were surprised to see us again. Hunter did say after the race that some of the guys were talking about how everyone was represented, so no one would be chasing.

With only one lap left I start to think oh, I can totally hang on for another lap. Shut up, back.

The whole last lap I’m just hanging on to the surges and hoping I can hang on for a sprint. Every acceleration I’m getting gapped and then I just decide that if I let this gap get any bigger, it’s just over, so I manage to close them down.  Once I get to a couple K to go, I realize that this is going to come down to a sprint, and I’m going to be able to hang on and do whatever it takes.

From the previous laps, I knew that it needed to be a patient sprint given the headwind.  I wouldn’t want to be too close to the front in the final 90-degree left-hand turn, which leaves you with 800 meters dead-straight to the finish.

So going into that final left, I slid back a few spots into about 10th position and just waited patiently while guys were drilling it on the front, into the wind.  After the first few guys burned out, I was about 5thwheel when we got inside 100 meters, and I just pulled out into the wind and gave it everything I had. To my surprise I was pulling around all the guys, expecting guys to come shooting around me because it didn’t feel like the best sprint, but I got it by about half a bike-length.

Results page: http://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2013-1423

ThirstyBear Cycling Powerhouse Chris Phipps stays away in the break and take 2nd at Cat’s Hill Classic Crit 2013

World-class bicycle racing again makes its way to Los Gatos on May 4, 2013 for the 40th Annual Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Races presented by Mike’s Bikes and the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club.  Staged among the historic Victorian homes at Tait and Nicholson Avenues just two blocks off North Santa Cruz Avenue in beautiful Los Gatos, CA, the Cat’s Hill Classic Bicycle Race is renowned as one of the most difficult closed circuit cycling races in the United States!  Racers repeatedly climb up the challenging 23% grade of “Cat’s Hill” on Nicholson Avenue and complete the mile-long neighborhood loop with a 50+mph hair-raising descent onto the crowd-lined finishing stretch.

ThirstyBears: Greg McQuaid & Chris Phipps

The day started off as planned with Greg Picking me up at 11AM, which would give us plenty of time to reg & warm-up for our race at 2:15. After we loaded up his car I ran across the street to buy a vitamin water & then hopped back in the car and we were off. Unfortunately, about the time we were at the end of 19th Ave entering Daly City I realized my wallet was missing, so Greg drove us back to my place and had a look around, but no luck. So we were now headed back down about an hour later than planned & I was calling my bank & credit card companies canceling my cards.

After arriving, finding parking, getting numbers & pinning them on we had about 40 minutes before the race. After cruising around a bit and going up a steep climb in the neighborhood I noticed that my shifting wasn’t working very well and I couldn’t get into my 23 or 26 cogs, which would be vital in this race if I wanted to stay in the big ring on the climb. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I went to the Mike’s Bikes (15 min before race!) & they immediately figured out that the stop that holds the cable housing near the rear derailleur had cracked, so the cable housing had been pulled into the frame. They were able to fix it and I was off to the start with 5 min to warm up.

Cat’s Hill Classic Crit 2013
Cat’s Hill Classic Crit 2013

The race was off & I started in the back with Greg around mid pack. Since this was a combined field, we had around 65 starters & I was worried that it would be tough to move up, but I was patient and wanted to move up slow to get warmed up. I moved up around 10-15 riders per lap for the first 4 laps, then was close enough to the front that when Jeromy Cottell (Specialized) attacked at the top of the course I was able to jump across to his wheel. It was a good move because his teammate Kevin Metcalfe was at the front of the pack with everyone on his left & Jeromy attacked up the right side.
We quickly had a few seconds and worked pretty evenly and within a few laps had 20 seconds, then a few laps later had 45 seconds. By this time we were able to throttle back a bit. I wanted to attack to try to solo it in, & gave it a couple tries at the top of the climb, but just didn’t have the pop for that kind of effort. I let Jeromy lead the last half lap hoping to come around him in the sprint, but that didn’t work out too well.

Chris Phipps at the front of the break. Photo thanks to David Cheung.

I was happy with 2nd though & glad to see Jeromy get a win since he’s been so aggressive in the races lately. Greg said the pack essentially gave up chasing after a few laps (I was expecting Cale or Dirk to try to bridge across), but was still fast enough to drop about 1/3 of the field. In the sprint, Greg ended up 14th, just a couple places out of the Premier Series points.

Jeromy Cottell 1st, Chris Phipps 2nd and Jan Weissenberger 3rd.
Jeromy Cottell 1st, Chris Phipps 2nd and Jan Weissenberger 3rd.

Next week it’s onto Berkeley HILLS!
Yes, HILLS & not the Dunnigan “hills”.

ThirstyBear Cycling race to win at Tour of the Gila

 

Race: Tour of the Gila
Dates: May 1-5, 2013
Category: 40+ “A” (1/2/3)
Field: 45 starters
Placings:
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 5th
Stage 3: 5th
Stage 4: 15th
Stage 5: 6th
Overall: 3rd
ThirstyBears: Ron Castia, Ken Gallardo, Hans Gouwens, Dan Palmer, Holger Steinbach, Max Thompson

Before I say anything else, I have to say that THANK YOU doesn’t even cover how I feel about the team’s performance at this race. Every single teammate trained for months and put in a stellar performance. Every person I talked to said that our team was amazing, how we worked together so smoothly and basically rode like a Pro team. And how 4 out of the 6 were over 50 and that we had 2 guys in the top 10 and 4 guys in the top 20 (and swept the 50+).

Is that the Team bus?
Is that the Team bus?

Reader’s Digest version: The race went almost according to the plan I had in my head – get Hans into a break and well-placed on Stage 1, perhaps even into the race lead (which he did on Stage 2), ride myself into a good position overall; attack on Stage 2 to get some time; not lose too much time on Stage 3 (TT) and hopefully take the race lead (or be close to Hans with him leading), finish with the pack in the crit and then go for broke on Stage 5. It all went bad with 2 km to go on the really steep climb about 20 km from Stage 5’s finish when Carinio looked back, drifted back and left, forcing Calvert to come back and left and cut my front wheel and left me lying on the road. They sort of waited for me, but I had to go full gas to catch up and when I was about a bike length behind, Carinio attacked and I had no answer. Lost about a minute despite a valiant chase by Hans (who dropped back from the break to help me) and I and ended up 3rd overall.

Holger, Hans and Max all made major efforts to secure great results for the team at Tour Of The Gila.
Holger, Hans and Max all made major efforts to secure great results for the team at Tour Of The Gila.

Stage 1: Mogollon Road Race (115 km)

Tour Of The Gila Stage 1: 73.5mi, 4,837ft,<br />03:32:39
Tour Of The Gila Stage 1: 73.5mi, 4,837ft,
03:32:39

The plan was to ride conservatively, perhaps get Hans into a break with some less capable climbers and into red while I relax in the field and follow the strong climbers at the end. The team rode amazingly, with Hans getting into a break and the field basically letting it go, then as we approached the final climb, ThirstyBear went to the front and strung out the field with me sitting nicely behind Ron, Max and Holger who rode a tempo that cut the field down to about 15 guys. Carinio attacked when the climb got steeper but slowed on the plateau which allowed Max to get on the front to control a few late attacks. At 4 km to go, Damian Calvert (multiple NM state champ, just turning 40 this year) took up the pace and I could only follow. The pace cut the field down to Calvert, me and Carinio with a couple others not far behind. We caught the two guys from Hans’ break at 3 km to go and I was doing good until Calvert attacked at 2 km to go. I lost contact and Carinio went around but couldn’t hang on either. Hans held on until 1 km to go and only got pipped at the line to be 3rd on the day. I started pedaling squares and two more guys came by me at the end so I ended up 6th.

Ken, Holger and Hans after a successful stage 5.
Ken, Holger and Hans after a successful stage 5.

Stage 2: Inner Loop Road Race (120 km)

We came into this stage with multiple ThirstyBears within striking distance of red, with Hans in 3rd, me in 6th, Holger in 11th and Max in 13th. Our plan was to let others set the pace on the first big climb so we’d have as many ThirstyBears as possible once the race reached the long valley road where we’d go on the offensive, using our large number of teammates to attack until we got someone away. Once again, the guys rode spectacularly, with everyone making the selection over the climb (also thanks to an unfortunate crash about 2 km from the KOM by Travis Dixon, the 2010 winner, and the good sportsmanship of Calvert to neutralize until Travis recovered). The descent and following rolling uphill were fun, with Ron and I giving the peloton a lesson in descending. Things got interesting about 5 km from the feed zone when Brenon’s brother Shawn attacked and 2 km later Hans followed a bridge group of two riders. Carinio hit the gas as we entered the feed zone and by the top we were all back together and headed DOWN. Mark Legg-Compton (yes, Katie’s hubbie was in our race and Katie was in the Pro Women’s race!) started railing the corners and I was right there with him. The group stayed pretty close together (though was down to about 20 guys after Carinio’s acceleration) until we got to the real fun – a 5 km fast technical descent similar to Hamilton. After MLC power slid the first corner with his rear wheel locked, I went around him and showed him how we ThirstyBears descend – like a stone! At the end of the descent, MLC was about 50 meters back and the rest of the group was nowhere in sight so we started working, but after a couple minutes we could see the group so we chatted for a minute until we were caught. A mile later, one of Hans’ Stage 1 break-mates (Al Senft, who turned out to be a “composite” team member of Calvert’s) rode off the front about 100 m as we went through some large rollers. The field seemed content to let him go, so as we headed down the next roller, I let a small gap open in front of me (I was 2nd wheel) and then, taking a page from Dan Martin of Safeway, I absolutely drilled the next hill, sweeping up past Al at warp 1 and opening a big gap on the field). Al managed to catch me on the next downhill but the field had apparently decided to let us go figuring it was still a long 40 miles to the finish. Al proceeded to sit on as I built a 1 minute…2 minute…3 minute…4 minute lead over the next 10 miles. By the time we hit the 2nd mid-race sprint point (which Al wisely let me take as my plan was to counter-attack him if he came around), the field was so far back that we were out of sight. Somewhere in here, Hans managed to bridge up to a solo attack by Craig Nunes of Art’s Cyclery and was joined by Travis Dixon (who wasn’t badly injured in his earlier crash) and they eventually joined us right after the 2nd feed zone (yes, I made them work for it!). By then the moto ref said we were up to a 6 minute lead so I knew we would stay away. I told Hans to sit on and cover any attacks because I wasn’t sure I’d have the legs after my 30 mile ITT. What I didn’t realize was that Hans has about as much of a sprint as Mr. Phipps (no offense Chris!) and what we should have done was use our numbers to break the group apart or for Hans to work and give me a short break to recover and then for me to sprint in the finale. In any case, the group was content to let me do the bulk to the work with some help from Travis so as we rolled into the finishing straight, I led it out and watched in horror as Nunes took off at 300 m with Hans gapped off the back. I should have done more accelerating of my own as my spectating cost me 5 seconds. The field must have finally woken up because they came in about 3 minutes later but our aggression put Hans into the race lead and me in 2nd, 21 seconds behind him. Calvert and Carinio were now nearly 4 minutes behind Hans and nearly 3 behind me. I definitely would’ve liked that to be more like 6 minutes and 5 minutes, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Two ThirstyBears with matching sun glasses.
Two ThirstyBears with matching sun glasses.

Stage 3: Tyrone Memorial Time Trial (28 km)

What can I say about a time trial? I need to work at it some more. This one seems to suit me pretty well since it’s windy, hardly any flat and a bit longer at 28 km (vs the typical 16-20 km we usually race). I knew I’d have to race hard and figured I had a good target in Craig Nunes in front of me. After I put 20 seconds into Nunes in the first half, I thought I’d be faster than last year, but the wind wasn’t favorable on the downhill and I was slower by about 20 seconds. Carinio was slower too, but not as much and I gave back 1 minute 45 seconds and was 5th on the day. The effort was still good enough to take over the race lead, but the time gaps were now small with less than a minute separating the top 5 guys on GC. Oof…my legs were really sore after the TT. Now the real fun begins…

Stage 4: Downtown Silver City Criterium (20 laps, about 50 minutes)

I really love this crit course – it has a nice power climb, technical cornering, a fast downhill and long finishing straight. I had very little trouble staying close to the front last year so I knew I just needed to keep Carinio in check (he solo’d away for the win and 38 seconds last year) and the team was strong and ready. Well…or so we thought! 3 laps in and Carinio comes by me on the right and when I try to follow I nearly get put into the barriers by the guy next to me. Where’s the respect for the race leader?! Around turn 1 and again nearly barriered as Carinio hits the gas, bridging up to a small group of non-threatening guys who’d gone after the first two primes on laps 1 and 2. I get to the front and it’s full-gas chasing. I get close but after pulling solo for two full laps I need help because Carinio has gotten the break organized. One guy drops out a lap later and then the rest are popped on lap 6 up the hill so now it’s just Carinio solo. A couple guys from other teams are helping out as they want to preserve the GC and throw down on the Gila Monster. The team worked their way to the front one by one but we couldn’t really really get organized because as soon as we hit the hill, the counter-attacks would fly and I’d be forced to chase again.We slowly ate into Carinio’s lead which was never more than 10 or 15 seconds and he was back in the fold with 5 to go. The guys finally had a chance to get it together at the front and we kept the field in check until 2 to go when all the top GC guys attacked the hill. By now I’d gotten a little reprieve and easily followed and just sat on the wheels for the final lap madness (some really dangerous moves by the crit guys who benefited from the small field and no time cuts) and was happy to cruise in at 15th. Carinio was pipped at the line so he only got a 6 second time bonus and moved into 4th, just 3 seconds ahead of Calvert. The rest of the GC was unchanged and I felt better than I had after the TT.

Took a nice 1 hour power nap and then came down to watch the Pros throw down. United HealthCare took 5 laps to reel in a 2-man break that had a minute gap and set up their sprinter, Hilton Clarke perfectly. Impressive work. I’ll share some photos I snapped when I get home and have a chance to edit them and upload.

Stage 5: Gila Monster Road Race (119 km)

Tour Of The Gila: Stage 5. 67.9mi, 5,334ft, 03:09:22
Tour Of The Gila: Stage 5. 67.9mi, 5,334ft, 03:09:22

With Carinio and Calvert 42 and 45 seconds behind me, I knew I’d have to be ready for a showdown in the final 25 km which starts with a 5 km steep climb. Before that, though, the team would have to control the race over a series of big rollers to start the day and then the long valley road in reverse of the Stage 2 route. However, I knew we had the ability and we set out in search of glory, a couple final red jerseys (hopefully one for me and another for Hans) and a couple of Mimbres pottery bowls. The team performed perfectly, keeping all the early break attempts by the top 10 guys on GC in check. Just after the first sprint point (taken by Calvert which put him equal on time with Carinio) Shawn Daly attacked. We let him go and shortly after that his teammate bridged up. Both were pretty far down on time so we (and the rest of the field) seemed content to let them dangle as we headed down towards Mimbres and the Continental Divide. Their lead got up to a minute as the guys rode a steady tempo at the front like Sky in last year’s Tour. When Nunes attacked at about the 25 mile mark, Hans followed and we dialed back the pace just a bit to see if anyone else would take up the chase, but the field was content to sit on our wheels. The break never got more than 1 minute 45 seconds and the guys literally delivered me to the base of the final climb having hardly broken a sweat. As we turned uphill, Calvert went to the front and turned on the gas which blew the field apart. After about 3 minutes it was just Calvert, me and Carinio. Let the games begin! I was thankful for the nice steady head-crosswind which allowed me to sit on but Calvert slowed a bit and his teammate Al Senft re-joined us and attacked. I followed quickly and Calvert countered but I was able to jump quickly onto his wheel. After he slowed, Carinio took a dig which I was slow to cover, thinking Calvert might pull it back. Instead, he wisely took my wheel and then took the tight, steep inside line of the next corner to try and jump across but I pulled him back with a steady turn of the pedals. We’re back together and alone with about 2 km to go to where the climb flattens out ever so slightly and as I’m sliding right to get out of the wind, Calvert suddenly dips back, overlaps my wheel and then sweeps left. I almost save it but can’t and I high side then tuck and roll as I go down. I pick myself up and run back to my bike which is 10 feet downhill and look up to see Carinio and Calvert riding away. They do slow down slightly, but I still have to go full throttle for a minute to catch up (after I fumble and fumble in my haste to get clipped in) and just before I’m able to make contact, Carinio attacks. Calvert is forced to follow and they slowly pull away. Hans sees them go by (remember, he was up the road) and drops back to pull like 10 men for the next 6 miles but Carinio and Calvert are clearly working together and build a minute lead. Once the climb levels out, three other guys from the group that caught me after I fell are helping but it’s not consistent because Nunes and Senft are sitting on and disrupting. Hans popped with about 8 km to go so I towed the group all the way to 500 m to go where Nunes muscles past me and then attacks. I managed to hang on for 6th on the day and 3rd overall.

Ken Gallardo finishing a great Tour Of The Gila on the Podium.
Ken Gallardo finishing a great Tour Of The Gila on the Podium.

Interestingly enough, the officials had seen what happened and asked if I wanted to protest. I was curious why and they asked if I thought it had been intentional. I said I didn’t mostly because I didn’t care at that point and certainly didn’t want to win because of a protest. It turned out that Carinio had looked back to see if Calvert and I were still with him and that had caused him to drift back and left, forcing Calvert to do the same.

In the end, I feel good about the final result. I was 3rd behind the 40-44 National Champion and the multi-titled New Mexico State Champion. Not too shabby for a guy who only started racing back in 2007…

Cheers,

Ken G

A true Champ. Hans Gouwens of ThirstyBearCycling.com taking the over all win in the Masters 50+ at Tour of the Gila. Hans rode an amazing race taking the lead early on the first of 5 stages with a 3 man breakaway 45 miles out from the finishing climb up The Mogollon. Hans was the only survivor of the the 3 man break.
A true Champ. Hans Gouwens of ThirstyBearCycling.com taking the over all win in the Masters 50+ at Tour of the Gila. Hans rode an amazing race taking the lead early on the first of 5 stages with a 3 man breakaway 45 miles out from the finishing climb up The Mogollon. Hans was the only survivor of the the 3 man break.

 

Piers powers through Sea Otter Classic RR 35+ 4 to take 2nd.

Piers continue his rise in the cat 4s taking 2nd after solo chase for the finish.

Great Podium finish for ThirstyBearCycling Piers Barry
Great Podium finish for ThirstyBearCycling Piers Barry

Race: Sea Otter Classic Road Race 35+ Cat 4

Conditions: 68 F, Sunny, perfect riding conditions
Riders: CJ Wolf, Eric Lagier, Piers Barry
Places: Piers Barry 2nd, CJ Wolf 7th, Eric Lagier 15th
Finally the entire ThirstyBear Cycling Cat 4 team was set to race together for the 1st time (and CJ’s first race of the season).  We were pretty excited about this race, especially as Eric’s brother Christian has won here before.  We drove down together in CJ’s tiny Saab and planned out possibilities of places to attack in the feed zone, or at the final climb up Barloy.  We wanted to wait until the final lap.
At the race we had perfect weather conditions and after a neutral start on the Laguna Seca Race way we got down to business on the first lap.  No one seemed very interested in attacking or racing at the start.  After completing the first lap with just a few probing attacks from other teams one rider managed to get away solo midway through the second lap.  He dangled off the front, wasting a bit of energy and we were happy to let him.  He was soon joined by another rider but it didn’t seem too threatening.  We started to close the gap of 30 seconds or so, but a few riders refused to work and kept going near the front, slowing down and breaking up the chase.  (No these were not actually breakaway riders’ teammates but they were doing a good job acting the part).

The same pattern continued.  CJ and Eric and I represented Thirstybear doing the majority of the work with only a few other riders from the pack.  Mid-way through the third lap we caught one of the riders just leaving a solo rider up front.   The race motor cycle kept bringing back the gap time which went from 30 to 40 seconds to over a minute but few riders would help chase.  At the top of every climb the pack slowed to almost a stand still.  Finally on the final lap I went to front, led up the last big climb, pulled almost all the way to the feed zone with Eddie Silva from One Way Cycling.  No one else would work and just sat in our slip stream.   I attacked out of the feed zone and quickly opened up 30 seconds on the field.  I kept trying to close the gap to the leader, and pulled up within sight of the lead car and rider.  I managed to put 1:10 on the field and closed the 1:40 down to 49 seconds but ran out of road.  The break away rider turned out to be Kenny Burt a pro mountain bike rider from Auburn who seriously deserved the win after being out front all day.  A really great day of racing out there and can’t wait to do more races with the full Cat 4 squad triple threat.

Powerhouse Chris Phipps takes 2nd at Santa Cruz Classic

Had a great time at the Santa Cruz Criterium doing the 35+ 1/2/3 with Phil, then coming back for a workout in the P/1/2 (20 + 39 hard laps = very thirsty Phipps).

Phil & I stayed in the middle of the 52 rider pack for the first several laps, then alternated trying to get in a move, but every time I went there was a Prime Time rider glued to my wheel. With 2 to go it was all together, so I tried one last solo flier up the side and had just a Prime Time (Fonseca I think) on my wheel, but I think he decided to drop back and help his teammates pull me back for LaBerge. So, I was solo for the last 1.5 laps & really thought I was going to win solo, just like last year, but with 50M to go I got caught by LaBerge who got me by a bike length (if only I had worn a skinsuit…)
Anyway, very happy to hold onto 2nd ahead of a hard charging field that included Dan Martin in 3rd & Andres Gil in 4th and I picked up a few Premier Series points on those two. Phil held on for 22nd in this tough field.

 

ThirstyBearCycling Powerhouse Chris Phipps at Santa Cruz Classic
ThirstyBearCycling Powerhouse Chris Phipps at Santa Cruz Classic
Santa Cruz Classic – Crit That is a lot of laps!
Santa Cruz Classic – Crit That is a lot of laps!

In the P/1/2, I sat in for 37 laps, then attacked with 2 to go, but didn’t have the legs. There was a 2 man break about 30 sec ahead that went 1-2 won by Tobin Ortenblad from Bear Development team ahead of pro Ben Jacques Mayne (awesome!)
I got swarmed with 1/2 a lap to go and ended up 29th.

CP