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Tanya Fredricks and Chris Lundy Climb to the top at Sea Otter Road Race

I am writing this under pressure from  top management….
Chris Lundy, Jenny Wong, Christy Smith and I all had plans to race the Sea Otter road race, but when we got there and felt the heat, we considered just going surfing for the day.  Unfortunately, because of the cost of the race and the lure of the thousands of sweaty people all around, we decided to stay.
53 Cat 3/4 women started together (and maybe more that never got in the results, including Christy) for the 41 mile 4 laps of hot fun.  I’m not totally sure what transpired in the first lap, although I heard one gal say that half the field was dropped up the first climb.  Chris, Jenny and myself remained in the front group of about 15 for the remaining 3 laps.  The only attacking seemed to be on the descents (great, I just love that) by the other Tania in the race (who ended up third).  Chris and I were usually the first two up the climbs, and then I found myself in mid pack for most of the descents (no surprise there).  Thankfully the race ended on a hill : )
The pace picked up when we approached the final climb out of the canyon.  A couple gals got on the front of our group of 15 and held tempo as we started the climb.  Things got strung out quickly, with only about 10 of us now still hanging on.  With 1K to go, the shedding peaked.  Now we were down to about 5 or 6 gals.  It’s about here where I looked down and found my little pain cave so I’m not sure when I passed the last gal (maybe 300 to go?).  I could hear the 16 year old behind me at 200 to go, but hoped she would feel sorry for the old gal and let me cross the line without a fight.  Nope.  No age before beauty.  She caught me at the line by about a wheels length.  Thankfully she was Cat 4 : ) 
Chris came in right behind with gearing issues and all (and “I’m just going to sit in the back of this race for training”).  Jenny got 8th!  Christy came in strong despite being feverish and sore although the results don’t have her listed?    Great job Thirsty Gals!

Phipps takes Santa Cruz with a gutsy move!

44th Annual Santa Cruz Classic Criterium
April 15, 2012
Category 35+ 1/2/3
Field – 57 – Teammates – none
Previous results – 9th in 2009
I am not a big fan of crits, but this one has a nice little hill on it that climbs about 50 feet in 2/10 of a mile and a hairpin 180 on the descent that makes chasing a break a little tougher than on your flat 4 corner nascar crit courses, so it’s one of my top 2 favorite crit courses. I’ve been feeling real strong this season and the plan with no teammates was to try & be patient (yeah right) and wait for a strong break to go and try to jump across to it.  If that didn’t work, I would try a solo flier with 4 or 3 laps to go.  Also, I knew that Specialized would do everything they could to set it up for LaBerge in a sprint, so it didn’t make much sense to go solo too early.
Our race was 20 laps and I started the 1st 2 laps in the back with Larry Nolan, who always makes a comment to me when we’re in the back together that I should be at the front.   There was a headwind on the hill, which was most noticeable on the false flat between the top of the hill and the finish line, so it was pretty easy to move up to the front on the hill & just afterward if you were willing to put your nose in the wind. At the end of the 2nd lap, I moved up to about 5th wheel, just as Jan Weissenberger  (GnarLube) was attacking.  I thought about jumping across, but it was early so I decided to just sit in and wait for the field to bring him back, which we did after about 3 laps.  Then they rang the bell for a prime and I attacked & had a small gap, so I went with it and soloed a lap for the $20 cash.  If nothing else, I had already paid for my gas.  This was too early to go solo, so I soft pedaled until I got caught.  I recovered a lap, then went with the next break, which was with Ben Albracht (GnarLube) and Andres Gil (I think).  We got caught, I sat in a lap, then they rang the bell for the next prime and I attacked again and did a solo lap for another $20, but it was still 11 laps to go, and since I was feeling real good, I thought I could still get away again later, so I sat up & sat in for 2 laps before the next break went.  This one was real promising with 5 of us in there including Andres Gil (Michael David Winery), Jeromy Cottell (Pen Velo), & 2 others (I’m drawing a blank on who they were).  I thought this would be the winning break and then I saw Jan bridging solo (great!). Jan caught us with 5 laps to go, but Specialized had Metcalfe, Nolan and Langley trying to pull us back to set up LaBerge and we got caught with 3 to go.
I sat in around 5th wheel to catch my breath & decided to make one final attack with 2 to go since I knew the Specialized guys (who had also done the 45+ race earlier) must be gassed.  As we crested the hill I made my move & got a gap. This was it now, I was all in TT mode for the final 3.5 minutes.  The first lap didn’t feel too bad, but as I started getting closer to the win and pushing harder my legs were screaming with lactic acid.  I really thought I would get caught on the sprint to the finish & was just hoping that I could hold on for a top 10 & a T-shirt, but as I crested the hill to the scream of “they’re catching you, use a bigger gear!” from Chris Black, so I shifted to “one harder” & got out of the saddle for my “sprint”.  I took a glance back about 50M from the finish and knew I had it! I think Dean LaBerge was going twice as fast as me and if he had another 50M would’ve caught me. 
P/1/2 race – goal – get a good workout and if I feel good with 5 laps to go try something.
Result: 29th
At 39 laps, this race was nearly twice as long as the masters I spent most of the 1st half of the race in the back with Kevin Metcalfe who was in his 3rd race of the day!  At some point a 5 man break got away and had about 20-25 seconds.  I saw that James Mattis (Cal Giant) was by himself and was doing a lot of work at the front to bring the break back.  I decided to give my fitness a try & lent a hand to bringing back the break, pulling for a lap a few times.  We did manage to pull the break back in the final 2 laps, but there were Mike’s Bikes guys everywhere and I was too far back by this point to do anything.  Mike’s Bikes ended up finishing 1-3-5-7! Very impressive.
Btw, average lap in 35+ race was 1:53.25 and average lap in P/1/2 race was 1:53.95, but twice as long.

Joe Amon and Duane Coughlan take top spots in Monterey.

Race Report by Joe Amon

Thanks for all the congrats, people. Scot McLean and I did the Masters 45 3/4.

There is not a whole lot of race report to do when you just sit in and wait fora sprint, so this will be brief. Forty-one starters in our race. Several break attempts went off on all laps but nothing getting more than 20 seconds. I told Scot I wouldn’t put this in the report, but he said if I didn’t he would. Coming into the second-to-last lap, Scot came around to the front and started drilling it just before the Start/Finish line. I was tucked in 4th wheel and was thinking, Damn, he’s putting in a dig.

And then he sat up after he crossed the line, and I said, “Dude, you need to save that for the last lap.” He looked at me and said, “duh, I’m such an idiot. I thought that was the last lap.” On the actual last lap, going over the last hill, I was sitting third wheel which I thought was a little too far forward. I’d rather have a little more draft for that flat stretch before the two turns into the final 100 meters. But that’s where I was.The Symantec guy on the front had attacked several times, so I assumed he was pretty tired. I just tucked in and drafted, and he kept drilling it on the descent and the whole flat stretch leading into the second-to-last corner. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt going into a sprint, so I was able to think clearly. I knew there was no way this Symantec guy could hold this to theline, and I was running the risk of finding myself at the front with too far togo. But I started my sprint anyway sooner than I normally would, hoping to catch people by surprise and it worked. I know it was just a 3/4 race, but it sure felt good to win. Thanks again, everybody!

Duane Coughlan got in a 5 man break in the 35+1234 race and finished a solid second – well done Duane!

Photo credits: Tim Westmore

Thirsty and Tired, but we pulled it off! Chris Phipps wins Merco Cycling Classic Stage Race

Merco Cycling Classic – a race report by Tim Gotsick
What a day.  This was the hardest race I have ever done, and it took the whole Iron Data/Thristy Bear team through every emotion known to man and beast over its 96 mile length.  This is a long story, made the more so by my efforts to depict the emotional and physical twists and turns of the day, so you may want to go get a cup of coffee before you start reading…
Stage One
The race was four times over a 24 mile circuit.  The terrain was flat to rolling, with minimal wind.  Sunny skies, around 50F at the 8:05 AM start, but the day warmed rapidly to 70F.   Cattle pastures and almond orchards, with thousands of trees frilled by the white flowers of spring, lined the rural course.  A beautiful setting and a beautiful day.

The fourth and final stage started with 64 participants, down from the 74 the first stage had.  Our GC man, Chris Phipps, had been in yellow since the first day, when he finished 1:08 ahead of Chris Lyman (Specialized) and got a 10s bonus for winning the stage.  Chris rode a strong time trial against Lyman, who is a National Champion in the discipline, but ended up with his lead trimmed down to 0:56.  The crit finished in a pack, so no time changes came from that event.  So the last race began with Chris in yellow by 0:56 and the eight of us expecting an onslaught from Specialized to try and erase their deficit.

Chris Lyman and Chris Phipps
The night before, we had discussed at length how to best protect Chris and the yellow jersey during the race.   With 8 strong riders on the team, we actually had a lot of good options, and eventually settled on a conservative phased-defense strategy.  Alex and Arthur would ride near the front on the first lap, covering all attacks, while Hans and Dan would be riding a little further back and resting for later laps.  Paul, myself, and Chris would hide in the pack and stay out of the wind.  On lap two, Dan and Hans would take point on the peloton, with Alex and Arthur falling back with Ron to provide support.  The plan then was that Paul and I would take up point on the 3rd and 4th laps, with the others able to support us as needed.  With no climbs and little wind, it seemed entirely possible that the field could stay together, and so any of us who wound up following attacks were under strict orders to sit like anchors on the back, no matter how good the break looked.   Finishing with an intact peloton meant a comfortable victory for Chris and success for the team, and that’s what we were aiming for.
The first lap was quick, with a lot of tentative attacks that were covered with only moderate difficulty by Ron, Arthur, and Alex.  The pavement was very poor, pave-class bumpy for several kilometers in places, so although we had a full road closure and use of the entire width of the road, there were some sections where it was difficult to move up through the field.  There were also sprint points awarded at the finish line each time around, so the guys in contention for the sprint jersey lit the field up the first time around, but they let up after the sprint and the long line that had formed coalesced back into a tight peloton in the feed zone that came immediately afteward.  The second lap was much like the first, with Dan, Alex, and Hans keeping everything in check nicely.  
The second time around, the field got stretched out again for the sprint points, and I found myself 100-150 meters from the front, with Phipps only a few places ahead of me.  And here we made a major tactical error, because that lined-out field had Chris Lyman and Craig Roemer of Specialized near the front of it, and they are both world-class TT guys.  They took the opportunity and punched it through the feed and soon had 50 meters on the field, but none of us knew they were in there.   Hans, thank god, had positioned himself well and was able to latch onto the train as it left the station.  I saw the group of 9-11 with a little gap, but could see that Hans was with them, so I figured the move was covered and would drift back to us.  Chris was near me but I didn’t see Paul, who I’d been taking my tactical cues from all weekend, going to the front to chase, so I elected to sit and wait.  Huge mistake. 
It turned out that Paul had experienced a major mechanical malfunction during the middle of the first lap and was struggling to get back to a 28+ mph peloton with only a few functional gears (Paul later packed it in when it became clear that no amount of desire or work would get him back into the race).  None of us knew this at the time.  The first indication I had of exactly how much peril we faced was when I saw Ron rush up and try to launch Chris off to bridge to the group, which by now was several hundred meters away.   Predicatably, the field lit up as soon as they saw the yellow jersey at the front.  Chris was unable to get a gap as red-and-white Specialized jerseys swarmed all over his tail.  I still didn’t realize that Lyman and Roemer were in the break at this point, but I knew that I had to go try and pull the break back.  I went to the front and started the donkey drill in earnest.  I think I did start to drag them back a bit and at one point I really felt like I was going to succeed, but they (Lyman, Roemer, Diego Garavito – 3rd on GC, Brian Choi, Nick Theobald, Jens Hillen – 4th on GC, Kevin Klein – 5th on GC) got more organized and I started to tire and their lead began to expand out as we reached the mid-point of the 3rd lap. 

Fortunately, there were was one other team, Veloce from Oregon, who had the 4th place GC man and had also missed the break.   Two of them came to the front and started rotating through strongly with Chris and I.  With the pace as high as we had it, it took a little while, but eventually Dan and Alex also came to the front and we had 4-6 of us pulling hard.  We now learned that Roemer and Lyman were in the break, and they continued to pull slowly away from us, even with 5-6 of us rotating through at our limits.  I have never worked so hard, desperately fighting fatigue and despair as we watched the winning break receding into the distance.  We weren’t getting a lot of information on the gap, but it it was clearly over a minute and the yellow jersey looked lost due to our inattention. 

Chris had been putting in strong pulls throughout this chase, and as we got towards the end of the 3rd lap, I had to admit to him that I wasn’t going to be able to keep the pace up much longer.  I tried every ‘shut up, legs’ technique I’ve ever heard of to keep going, but there came a point where mind-over-matter simply wasn’t working any more.  Alex and Dan also started reaching their limits as well, and we had to start dropping back into the 30-rider pack to recover for a while.  All of us went back to the front repeatedly to try and lend a hand, but our chase was not that of ravenous hyenas, rather more like that of the desperate lone zebra trying to outrun a closing predator. And here’s where I have to really tip my hat to Chris.  Clearly the strongest rider on the team, Chris also displayed enormous metaphorical heart as well as literal heart-and-lungs.  The responsibility for the chase fell on him alone for extended periods of time on the last lap.  Head down, legs pumping furiously, he drove the pack on single-handedly for long stretches while half a dozen Specialized riders coasted along in his wake, laughing at his seemingly futile struggle.  Truly an awesome display of character and resolve, I learned a lot about what ‘never say die’ really means by watching Chris in this race, and every time I could, I went up to try and give him at least a little help.  Arthur came up to me with gels and water, which probably saved me from dying on the side of the road and let me do a few more pulls.  But we hadn’t even seen the break in a 30 minutes or more, and it increasingly looked as though the day was going to end as a cataclysmic disaster. With maybe 10k to go, we got the first glimmer of hope – we caught sight of the chase group up the road as they crested a rolling hill.  Although they still looked impossibly far away, at least we could see them.  

Chris continued to pound away at the front, and the pack seemed to take some interest in the chase for the first time too.  The pace picked up to a level where I was struggling to hold on, but it definitely picked up as we approached the finish, which ended with a slight climb.  Although the group finished strong (hell, most of them hadn’t seen the wind in 75 miles), when we crossed the line it still seemed that we’d blown the lead and race.  Chris, understandably tired and upset after the herculean effort he’d put in, had torn the yellow jersey off by a hundred meters past the finish line and rode off.   I couldn’t imagine the frustration he was feeling, and figured that nothing I could say would make it any better.  The rest of us congregated around the food tent and lamented our screw up, debating how long was appropriate to wait before going to offer our apologies to Chris.
But then things started to get interesting.  It turned out that Hans had been very crafty up there in that break.  Roemer and Lyman had been putting in a lot of effort to keep themselves away and they were tired.  Their breakaway companions knew how strong they were and how much it meant for them to keep the break alive, so it sounded like everyone else only put in just enough work to stay away.  Strong as they are, even Lyman and Roemer can’t ride that hard for that long without effect.  As they tired, Hans made a gutsy and tactically brilliant move.  He attacked the break to draw out riders seeking the stage win and break up the group.  And it worked, because the guys who’d been sitting in the Specialized wake lit it up and Lyman and Roemer got gapped.  At the finish, Lyman was 7s back from the winner and Roemer 24s.  This made all the difference in the world.
As big a mistake we made in letting that break go, Lyman made an even bigger one in not pushing himself just a little bit harder to stay with the finishing sprint.  When the times were tallied, Chris was in yellow by one second.  One second!  When I heard that, I felt a huge rush of relief.  I still felt like a dolt for missing the break, but at least we dodged the bullet and took the final yellow jersey that Chris so richly deserved.  I was filled with pride to have been part of the Iron Data/Thirsty Bear team when they called Chris up for the final presentation.  My happiness   was on several levels.  Largely for Chris and the grit he showed when all looked lost, but also for Hans who derailed the sprinters train with more than 1km to go.  And for Ron, Alex, Arthur, Dan, and Paul, each of who eagerly and unselfishly worked their asses off to make the result possible in every race.  I don’t think you could dream up a more dramatic series of twists and turns to a bike race, or a better example of why the sport is so great.
And thus concluded what for me ranks as the most exciting, physically demanding, emotionally draining, and personally satisfying weekend of racing I have ever done.
Diego Garavito (Team Clover) points jersey winner, Christopher Phipps ( GC winner, Jens Hillen (Gnarlube) 45+ winner

IronDataThirstyBear Cycling Team Camp a huge success!

We had over 25 riders taking part in this year’s camp in Sonoma County.  On day one (Levi Gran Fondo route) Chris Phipps took several Strava KOMs from Levi.  On day two (95 miles) we had over 15 guys pushing the pace for the classic Geysers route – ouch!  We even ran across Leipheimer himself just outside Santa Rosa.  On day three, Tanya Fredricks demolished all women’s climbing records on her brand new TREK from City Cycle!

Starting 2012 with multiple podiums at San Bruno

Perfect racing weather made for some fast times at the annual San Bruno Hill Climb the first day of the New Year.

Chris Phipps opted to make his day as challenging as possible by racing the Pro/1/2, while new member Erin Werner crushed the women’s field in all categories to win the race in a very fast time.

Greg McQuaid (see photo above) was nipped at the line by team friend Marcel Appelman in the 35+1/2/3 category, while Leila Cavanaugh had a solid race by grabbing the last spot on the women’s podium of the 3/4 race.

Men – Pro/Cat 1/2
  Place Points Name City, State Time  USAC # Bib Team
1 140.81 Nathaniel English    Berkeley, CA 00:14:20 258309 11  Yahoo Cycling Team
2 155.54 Christopher Phipps (1 – Cat1)    San Francisco, CA 00:15:03 233623
3 170.27 Keith Wong (1 – Cat2)    Menlo Park, CA 00:15:32 240222 Metromint Cycling

Men – Cat 1/2/3 – Master – 35-99
  Place  Points  Name City, State Time  USAC # Bib Team
1 214.27 Marcel Appelman (1 – Cat3)    San Francisco, CA 00:15:47  293642   33  Dolce Vita Cycling
2 223.03 Greg McQuaid (1 – Cat2)    San Francisco, CA 00:15:59  249424   28
3 231.79 Tracy Colwell (2 – Cat2)    Sunnyvale, CA 00:16:11  125475   32  Webcor/Alto Velo

Women – Cat 3/4
  Place Points Name City, State Time  USAC # Bib Team
1 421.40 Erin Werner (1 – Cat4)    Greenbrae, CA 00:18:56 333208 268
2 427.02 Tanya Grossman (2 – Cat4)    San Leandro, CA 00:18:57 356222 293 Forward Motion Race Club
3 432.64 Leila Cavanaugh    Lafayette, CA 00:21:07 351304 272


Richard Bolt (2 – Cat5)    Mountain View, CA 00:17:41 114640 169

12 Eric LaFranchi (8 – Cat3)    Calistoga, CA 00:21:07  199575   56
14 Irving Arguello (10 – Cat3)    Millbrae, CA 00:21:43  134895   66

6 Jennifer Wong (4 – Cat4)    Oakland, CA 00:21:41  80924   285
27   Pennie Sponsel (17 – Cat4)    Millbrae, CA 00:25:15  196260   276

The Lyon of Dunnigan

Paul Dyrwal crashes in the 35+123, but Tom Lyons wins the 45+123 race, Jay Klein taking 5th.  Alan Nevin takes 6th in the 35+4, Alan Roberts 9th in the 45+4.

Race report Tom Lyons:

Jay Klein and I headed out to Dunnigan today for our 86mi race in the 45+123s . I entered last week when I saw it was two laps. My goal was to help Jay get a top-6 t-shirt and have some fun out there over the longer race distance. We went back and forth with race talk during the week and I felt good about our plans. My plan was to NOT sit in the pack, be in a break, and have Jay there too at some point. After about 10mi of easy riding, I told Jay I was getting impatient and then asked Jan Elsbach if he wanted to get in a break. He thought it was too early, which was probably right. However, I wound up in the front of the race about five seconds after that and shifted, stood, and mashed the pedals for a bit. I got a gap then held it for a couple miles waiting for a group to bridge up. The whole pack caught me and settled in for about a half a second and I went again from the front. This time, after a few miles, four guys came up (Elsbach, a Davis guy, a Sierra Nevada guy (Brown), and Molinari from Form Fitness. It looked like a good group with one problem: no Morgan Stanley guys. For the next 20 miles, we only got a minute up then were caught by a couple MS guys. I was hoping Jay was enjoying the ride but he told me later he was a bit more involved with trying to latch on to bridge attempts.

Shortly after the start of the second lap, the big chase group caught up and we were back together. My break-mates settled in but I stayed near the front looking for more action. Pasco (Safeway) looked interested along with a couple other guys. Jay got a solo gap after a hill and I followed the others up to him. We had a group of six but not Morgan Stanley, so I thought we were doomed. However, I think those guys were not interested in chasing it down again so we opened it to 2:45 at one point. Jay and I were two of six in the break! A new Davis guy (Schnaars), a Wells Fargo guy (Vandenberghe), and one other. I was starting to realize that if this stuck, I would be in a break for about 70mi today. And, I was starting to feel the effects! Jay was looking good. We were talking. All I cared about was keeping this group together to the end and making sure he was in it. I did my part but Pasco made it stick. Schnarrs did some work too. As did Jay. We were doing great and then one guy drifted off the back. With 3mi to go we could tell it was going to stick and we started thinking of the finish. I don’t know if any of us were looking forward to the sprint, but we gave it a go as we rounded a corner and headed 1500m to the line across a potholed road. With five of us, the poor road conditions were not a problem. Jay took the lead setting up a nice pace from 800m to 200m which enabled me to get in position to sprint. At 200m to go, Pasco jumped. Wells Fargo was next. I was on him and Schnarrs was boxed on the right. We had the whole road and I swung out and give it a real hard acceleration to the line. I looked back at 50m and was relieved to see that no one was able to get on my wheel when I jumped. I came across a bike length ahead of Pasco with Schnaars (Davis) ahead of WF. Jay was 5th. Mission accomplished.

This season has been a lot of fun in the races we’ve had multiple IDTB guys in the the action. Today was a huge highlight having Jay in the break and finishing together like that. I’ve mentioned before – Jay was instrumental in our team’s success at Hamilton and Pescadero this summer. I was thrilled when I saw he was entered today and even more fired up that we pulled off a huge race. Great teamwork!

Tom Lyons

Double wins at Cascade!

While Chris Phipps won the overall in the 35+ at the Cascade Cycling Classic Stage Race in Bend, Arthur Jones was able to solo in for the victory during the final stage of the 45+ race.  He attacked with 10k to go and held off a very strong national class field by almost half a minute – race reports below.

Chris Lyman (Specialized Racing), Chris Phipps, Sam Krieg (Ski Utah MarketStar)
All this was possible by some great team work from Ken Gallardo, Paul Dyrwal, Ron Castia, Brenon Daly, Duane Coughlan, and Corey Scobie in the 35+ race and by Alex Osborne, Dan Palmer, Alan Roberts, and Lance Haag in the 45+ race.  Scot McLean finished in the top half of the cat 3 race.

See below for a race recap of stage 1 by Michael Hernandez:

Chris Phipps was a total rockstar … as was his entire IronData/Thirsty Bear squad. Ron Castia was up front setting ass-churning tempo all day long, with a gaggle of his teammates. Moves were away all day long, but the break of the day was started by Andres Gil.
So anyway, Phipps crushed the final climb and I think Andres stayed up there. When Andres went away, I bridged across with hardman Paul Drywal of Phipp’s team. It was a good move to make all the Oregonians chase.
There were four of us away … and it was pretty stupid for me to be there … but, I figured I owed Andres a bit of a gap on the field for the climb, and it was good to give Chris Phipps a free ride in the pack so he could unleash hell on the final climb. It was pretty textbook.
I’m sure results will be up soon … and I hope Phipps can hold off the TT specialists tomorrow. It’s a perfect TT for him, all uphill out for a few miles, then a bitchslap of 55t on the way back. He’ll be rockstar. And, I’ll be happy to lend him a hand in the circuit race to make sure he sticks the win.
But, Chris Lyman might be a super contender with his TT prowess … and there’s always the Oregonians and Utah highlanders to contend with. Fun times!

Ken Gallardo’s synopsis of the race…

Having returned from Europe on Tuesday and catching some sort of intestinal bug, I wasn’t sure if I’d even start Friday’s race. But, Imodium in hand, I set off for Bend with my kids and a buddy’s college-age daughter as their au pair and hoped I felt better Friday morning. 

Stage 1 – 72 mile RR
Well, I felt OK on Friday and fortunately was stuck mid-pack for most of the first half of the race while Castia, Coughlan, Daly, Dyrwal, and Scobie monitored the front of the pack. Dyrwal decided to be the sacrificial lamb and got into a long break that allowed me to move to the front and help block and got caught as we approached the final climb. 

Once we hit the climb, Chris sprang away with two guys for company (Eropkin of Safeway and Sam Krieg from Ski Utah) and one guy (Andres Gil) up the road from Paul’s break. Chris dropped Eropkin and Krieg like bad habits and shortly thereafter disposed of Gil. And he looked like he wasn’t even going that hard – disgusting. Anyway, I managed to get into the chase group and hang on, watching Lyman scream at the others to chase (not hardly!) and waited for my opportunity. I was glad we’d dropped a car at the finish as that allowed me to view the last 500m which I knew suited me for sprinting out of a small group. 

Well, Chris stayed away to the end, so I just tailgunned my group as we turned into the ski resort. I kept an eye on the guys I knew and sure enough, Eropkin took a flier with 400 to go. I was close enough behind him to follow around the group but I let someone else close the gap (no sense chasing a NorCal guy!) and when we caught Eropkin at 150 to go, I hit the gas at the same time as Carinio (from SoCal) did. Well, he beat me to the line, but I snatched 3rd and the 4 second time bonus that came with it (along with the beer and podium girl). And thanks to Carinio’s littering penalty of 30 seconds, IDTB was 1-2 after the 1st stage. 

Stage 2 – Time Trial
Well, I knew that wouldn’t last as my time trialing has been pathetic this season. So, I game planned my best options and figured out that by sacrificing aerodynamics, I’d go faster. Plus, Chris got his buddy to loan me a Sub9. So, I rode the TT of my life to finish 14th, about 2 mins down, leaving my 11th overall. It also helped to have my 1 minute man miss his start and go from behind me to provide me with a nice ‘rabbit’ to chase up the hill. Lyman won the stage but Chris was 2nd, only 11 seconds slower so he was still leading the race. 

Stage 3 – Crit
What can I say, I’m not a crit rider, so I was happy not to waste too much energy and not crash. Finished with the bunch so still 11th overall at the end of Day 2. Andres Gil won the stage, so another Norcal win. 

Stage 4 – Circuit Race
Full rolling enclosure, rolling terrain, beautiful scenery…and attacks from every side. What a blast of a race. Of course, having felt decent the previous 2 days meant that my stomach needed to act up today. I was really glad my fitness has been continuing to improve because I needed every last ounce of strength today. Every sip of my bottle made my stomach flip flop. Not fun. Getting into a break on the 2nd lap probably wasn’t that smart either, but there was no way I was letting a Bend guy get away without a ThirstyBear on his wheel. 

Huge thanks again to another great team effort by Castia, Coughlan, Daly, Dyrwal, and Scobie. Their chase and bridging efforts allowed me to sit in as much as possible and totally discouraged guys who thought they’d have an opportunity for a stage win. We made sure there wouldn’t be a repeat of Madera where a break took 2 minutes on the final stage and turned the standing upside down. 

I managed to conserve and take in some diluted fluids and not get dropped on the 3rd lap, so I was ready for the flurry of attacks on the final lap. The final climbs whittled the field down to 17 guys and we headed for the finale with Chris driving the pace. I decided to skip the opportunity for a stage win and instead went to the front to keep it lined out for Chris and knowing Andres Gil was sitting pretty 3rd wheel, so I hoped our efforts would still result in a NorCal win. I drilled it from 1k to go all the way to the final corner (about 300 to go) where most of the group swarmed past but succeeded in hanging onto the bunch and only losing a couple of seconds. Plus, we’d dropped a guy (Jason Boynton) who was ahead of me, so I moved up to 10th overall. Wow! Not bad for feeling as bad as I did all week. A great team effort. 

Thanks for reading!

Ken G 

Alan Roberts driving the pace in the 45+ field during Stage 3

…and here is Ron Castia’s report

I’ll keep this short, but to the point.
Corey and I went up with one major goal in mind, get Chris the win and ride for team victory.
Each choice made was focused on that result, and I consistently asked myself what the net result of my next effort would be. Is it going to help the team goal, or is it for myself?
That kept me focused on the game and how things would play out.

Stage 1.
Patrolled the front early on and watched for moves. A couple of Oregonians went off and Bend Broadband went to the front. Paul and I agreed, let the Interstate rivalry play out and burn their matches.
Later a Broadband rider went off and they called their team to the front and started riding tempo. Corey and I took note of what they were doing and went to the front and road steady hard tempo for about 20 minutes and brought the rider back enough to have the deck reshuffle.
After a long coffee break, and a brief nap in the comfort of the field I went back up to get updated on the situation. Paul was off in a break and they were out of site. I asked Chris if he liked this card and wanted to play it out. He said yes, so Brennan and I sat close to the front but not in the way of the organized chase. We only let people in of they were there to work, otherwise we kept the door closed.
We hit the first of the two climbs and I did not have the juice to respond to the surge, but I kept it in the big ring and drug myself back to the pack. The pack had caught the break and slowed down, Hernandez who was in the break was now at the back of the field. My engine was running now, so I jumped up to the front to see what needed to be done. I did not see Paul and I figured he was still off, so I put my self on guard duty. Chris said we need to set tempo and started riding hard. Message received! I punched it and took over the pace making for the next 2 miles with everything I had. Tongue, snot, and mung hanging out, I churned as hard as I could until the lights went out.
It got us to the base of the final climb, and gave me a front row seat to watch Chris spread his wings and fly. It was exactly as we planned and I loved every minute of that moment.

Stage 2: Meh!

Stage 3: Keep Chris out of trouble and try to lead Corey out for a the Crit win.
I managed to get into position with 2 laps to go. We were sitting 3rd and 4th wheel as we got within 200 meters of the start of the last lap. I was tucked in nicely behind Broadband’s team van (huge rider with big power). I thought this was sweet as I had seen this big boy go, surely he is going to ramp this thing up. 
He sat there in 2nd wheel and let the pace drop. 
Not Good! It was too early to start Corey’s lead out, but I could also feel the swarm coming as we started the final lap. 
The plan was to drill it down the back stretch and keep Corey in position. I need legs to do that, and going early might have put Corey too far in the front.
In hind site, I should have changed the game plan and hit it early to put Corey in position to surf the front of the swarm. Bummer!
But we still had yellow, and a good day of racing ahead of us.

Stage 4: Simple plan, keep a strangle hold on the pack and cover everything. We effectively smashed them into submission and they realized that nothing was getting away. 
Efforts made were to cover were less about getting into a break, and more about ramping the speed of the pack up and dragging the attackers back.
After the second time up the wall and making the selection, and just as I had started working my way back up to the front I heard something plastic hit the ground. Just then Greg Anderson says “your Go Pro just fell off”. Corey and I had mounted his Go Pro camera on the saddle and for some reason the mount broke.
Well, I am not about to leave $300 camera on the side if the road and I figured we still had 5 teammates left in the field. I grabbed the camera and finished up lap 3 as a recovery ride.

I got to watch Ken and Chris come home safely in the pack for the GC win, and later to see Arthur win the stage for the 45s.
Pretty awesome weekend of racing, this one will stick with me for a long time.

Okay, final race report from our GC man!

Ron and Ken,
Thanks for the race reports.  I’ve been trying to write one too, but have been slammed catching up at work, but here are my additions. 
Stage 1 – This race was pretty stressfull since we didn’t have full road closure and everyone wanted to be at the front.  The pace was fast though and with all the Oregon infighting, no break ever got more than 30 seconds for the first 35 miles.  Paul was near the front and very observant of the Oregon team tactics knowing that Bend Broadband wanted to keep it together for their guy Michael Larsen, so we could sit near the front and let the other teams chase and attack while we saved our bullets.  Around the 35 mile point a lot of the stronger guys started attacking and we were well represented at the front jumping on everything until Andres Gil got away with a Bend Broadband guy.  Before they got too far ahead, Michael Hernandez jumped & Paul went with him.  The 2 of them made it up to the leaders, so now there were 4 up the road with 3 NorCal (2 guys without teammates) and 1 Bend Broadband.  When Ron asked if I was OK with this, I said sure because I knew that only 2 teams in the field had someone up the road & everyone else would have to chase.  Having Paul up there with those strong guys working really hard really helped us and put the other teams under pressure to send guys to the front.  When the chase caught the break, it was only Paul & Hernandez who came back into the fold as Gil & the Bend guy were a little bit ahead and the chase stopped & the 2 leaders started to pull away again.  No one wanted to work, so that’s when Ron came to the front & took a monster pull to bring the other 2 back just as we started the climb.  I felt great when the climb started and was able to break free for the solo win.  I didn’t sit up at the finish though as I knew every second would count and my 20 second winning margin plus 10 sec time bonus proved to be the difference in the race. Also happy to see that Ken was able to snag the final time bonus in the sprint & stand on the stage podium with me!
Stage 2 – TT – First of all, thanks to Paul for the faux disk covers for my rear 303 and to Appel from Dolce Vita for letting me borrow his front Zipp 808.  My 2 min man, former winner Michael Larsen missed his start and had to start 10 sec behind Ken (my minute man).  Having 3 guys within sight on the way out really helped motivate me to ride hard.  I actually got stuck behind a couple cars for a several seconds who were too timid to pass my 30 sec man.  As I was passing one car on the right I almost went off the road since he didn’t give me any room.  After that though I was able to go full gas & caught & passed my 30 sec man, then Ken and caught & passed Larsen on the descent.  He was pretty impressed by this & said in 10+ years he had never been passed on that TT. I even got the Strava KOM on the descent! When the dust settled I had ended up with the 2nd best time of the day, just 11 sec behind former national champion Chris Lyman & still in yellow by 19 sec. This was definitely the best TT I ever rode. 
Stage 3 – Crit – It was great to get a call-up to the front, but this race was so fast & aggressive that I quickly slipped back into the field.  I have been feeling good in crits lately, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling good in this one.  The pace was so fast that I wasn’t worried about a break getting any time, but I wanted to be closer to the front incase there was a split and the 2nd group was given a time gap.  As the race went on though it seemed harder & harder for me to maintain position.  I was also having shifting problems and couldn’t pedal hard when out of the saddle.  Thankfully, Brenon and Michael Hernandez were watcing me & pulled me closer to the front several times on the finishing straight.  I was happy to finish safely with the main group & afterward realized my rear wheel was misaligned & the brake had been rubbing.  That also explained the shifting problems.
Stage 3.5 – Friend’s wedding in Sisters at 5:30 PM – after waiting for the Yellow Jersey presentation 45 min after the crit I had to hustle back to the condo for a quick shower and jump in the car for a 30 min drive to my friend’s wedding in Sisters.  I arrived just as the ceremony was starting, phew!  Sorry I didn’t get to have dinner with my teammates, but couldn’t miss my college roommate’s wedding.
Stage 4 – Circuit Race – The whole team was awesome!  Nothing ever got away and we had a lot of fun chasing everything down.  Duane & Ron were up front early, Corey did a great job setting tempo on the front with me on his wheel leading into the climb on the first 3 laps.  Paul & Brenon were having a grand ol’ time on the front chasing down all the attacks from the GC contenders and Ken & I finished safely in the lead group of 18 riders to maintain GC positions.
This weekend was definitely the most satisfying & enjoyable race experience I have ever had!  It was my first ever stage race win and I am so appreciative to my teammates, Brenon, Corey, Duane, Ken, Paul & Ron (and virtual teammate Michael Hernandez) for all the hard work they did to get me the win on stage one and help me keep the lead until the end! 
Wish we had taken a team photo on the podium since this really was a team effort.  Maybe we can photoshop something together?  Looking forward to paying you guys back in the races ahead!