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Chris Phipps leads the way to the podium for ThirstyBear Cycling at Mt. Hamilton Road Race NCNCA Championship, Masters 40-44

Mt. Hamilton Road Race – NCNCA Championship, Masters 40-44

By: Chris Phipps (ThirstyBear Cycling)

Field: 31

ThirstyBear Teammates: Ken Gallardo, Greg McQuaid, Alan Nevin

Before this race I put a lot of thought into which wheelset to use.  My lightest wheels (Zipp 303s) would be best on the climb, my Bontrager RXL tubeless would be best for the steep descent and my Bontrager Aeolus 5 d3 were my most aero and would be best for the final 40 miles into the headwind and since that’s where the race is won or lost, I went with those.  When we arrived and it was drizzling, I kind of wished I had my tubeless, but thankfully the descent ended up being dry.

The setup for the race
The setup for the race

The race plan was for me to attack on the last 5K of the main climb and hopefully after the descent, we would have 3 or 4 of us in the selection, then from there would try attacking & counter attacking to get one of us away solo or with one other rider from Folsom since they were the big team with 6 riders.

The race started off with Greg feeling good and setting a hard tempo for the whole 1st 25 min of the main climb.  This probably wasn’t the best thing to help his chances later in the day, but it was great for us to keep anyone from attacking and tire some guys out before the last part of the climb.  On the short middle section of the climb, Nathan Parks (Folsom Bike) put in a hard attack, that really strung out the field and popped a few guys, but all the key guys were still there.

As we started the last 10K of the climb, the steepest part, Ken was setting a hard pace along with Todd Bell from Morgan Stanley, then as it started to kick up I launched an attack. Parks quickly got to my wheel and I could see the rest of the field was coming back, so I put in another hard dig & broke free.  After about 30 seconds I looked back & had a gap & was able to ride my own pace the rest of the way and take the KOM.  I had about 45 seconds on the chase at the top and I think the descent went well since only Jason Boynton (Folsom Bike) caught me on the way down and we were joined by Andres Gil (Michael David Winery) and Scott Bromstead (Barclay’s Racing) as we crossed Isabel Creek.  The 4 of us had about 30 seconds on a chase group of 6 which included Ken, 2 Folsom Bike (Parks & Bryant) and defending national champ Matt Carinio (Art’s Cyclery.  The 4 of us worked together and our advantage grew to over a minute by the feedzone climb (thanks to Alan’s wife Tracy for the feed!) where we lost Bromstead & were down to 3.  With a headwind all the way to the finish, there was really no good place for an attack and the race came down to a sprint.  I was actually in the ideal position heading into the final 200M 3rd wheel behind Boynton & Gil, but I got impatient and jumped 1st with 200M to go.  I got a small gap and for a few seconds thought I might take it, but reality set in with 100M to go as Gil went by me for the win and Boynton for 2nd.

In the chase group, Dan Bryant attacked out of it for 4th with Carinio winning the sprint for 5th.  Ken finished 9th, Alan 15th and Greg in 27th.  Throw in the 40 mile “cooldown” back to the car and we were all ready for an IPA (thanks Greg!)



Podium Phipps as we started to call him.
Podium Phipps as we started to call him.


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