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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+
Pasco +33
Lopera +45
Brazil +57
Martin +57GC – 35+
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…..
“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
Impressive result by Thirstybear p/b Akamai rider Jan Weissenberger Photo: Alex Chui


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
Ready to release the horses! Photo: Alex Chui
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
Lets go 400 watts. Photo: Alex Chui
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
Lets push it even more! Photo: Alex Chui
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
Strong finish sees Jan Weissenberger finish 3rd Photo: Alex Chui

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

Jan “Sprinter-king” Go All In To Finish 2nd at Tour de Nez

Jan sprints to finish 2nd. Photo:
Jan sprints to finish 2nd. Photo:

Masters 35+ 1/2/3

Field: 40
Teammates: Chris P., Jason G., Neil B., and Tom L.
Cheering section: Alan R. and Max T.
I have raced this race several times and it has always been hard. This race takes place in downtown Reno and has been one of the best events. It is well organized, the results are up fast, competition is tough and the prizes are cool.
Neil came and stayed over at my house Friday, and our plan was to drive up at 10 am Sat. We left my house at 10 went to Perry’s in Fairfax to get a sandwich for lunch. Well, we ran into the Fairfax downtown parade and it took us 30 min to get around it. We were both stressing a bit trying to get on the road and make it to the race in Reno, 3.5 hour drive. Neil and I drank a ton, knowing how hot it would be in Reno. I think we pulled over 4 times to go pee.
Phipps driving the field forward. Photo:
Phipps driving the field forward. Photo:
We ended up making it to Reno with 2 hours to spare. We found the Pelophant and the other guys as they were getting ready for the 45+ race.

The course was a short one. Lots of turns, some good headwind and a slight riser. Our plan for the 35 race was to either get myself in a break or keep it together for a “field” sprint. Notables in the race are Dean LaBerge, Chuck Hutchinson, Michael Buckley, Justin Rossi, Craig Roemer and plenty of other guys that have been racing very strong this year.
Jason and Neil pushing the pace. Photo:
Jason and Neil pushing the pace. Photo:
As the whistle blew Phipps was on the front driving the pace. Tom jumped on an early move and ended up with a preme. In the first 7 minutes I found myself hurting so bad as if it was the last two laps. The pace, I felt, was so hard, that I was going to drop out of the race. Buckley, Phipps and Chuck were taking turns drilling it on the front to force a break. Luckily Jason came to the front, too, to help cover moves. I looked around after the first 20 minutes and I could tell the field was now down to about 20 guys. And people were getting dropped each lap. 25 min in I was wondering when I would blow up and pull out as well. Gaps kept opening up in front of me and I tried to close them down, slower each time that happened.
Once the lap cards started to show up, 12 to go, I was trying to be a bit more positive in my head, but that was very hard. I wanted to give up, but then I saw Phipps chase down a break, and then Jason would attack or also chase down guys. And I can’t let those guys do this much work without finishing this thing off. Coming into the last few laps I was unsure how things would play out for me. Still doubting myself. With one to go I was about 8 guys back, not a good place to be on a short course with a lot of turns. Luckily I shut off my head long enough to move up to third wheel, but then lost position and ended up 5th wheel around the second to last corner. Then I told myself now or never, got up and hit it hard and sprinted around the guys in front of me. That last corner was coming up fast and my line into it was terrible. I was first through the corner and again hit it towards the line. Put my head down and went and crossed the line with no one coming around me. Here I thought I had won, but Rossi had been off the front for three laps. I was so tired I didn’t even see him go, thinking Chris and Jason brought back all the moves. Well Rossi is one fast dude and he took a well deserved win! I came in second ahead of a stacked group of survivors. This was one of the hardest races I have done. And I can’t wait for next year. I ended up finishing two water bottles in this 50 min race. Phipps ended up with 3-4 premes (we can’t call him a climber anymore).
Power Train. Photo:
Power Train. Photo:
The seven of us who went to Reno had a great time. It was such a fun atmosphere in Reno. Thank you guys for racing and cheering!!
Also 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.

Double Podium for Holger & Lyons at Pescadero RR 45+

Fantastic Finish by Holger and Tom supported by a strong ThirstyBear Team.
Fantastic Finish by Holger and Tom supported by a strong ThirstyBear Team.

I think everyone who raced Pescadero today or in years past would agree that this race is definitely one of the more demanding ones on the race calendar. There’s not really an easy section on the 28 mile lap which race groups traverse 2.7 times. Climbs, technical descends, and wind are the main ingredients on this fun and exciting course, and so it’s clearly my favorite race of the season.

Fast rewind a couple weeks. After riding 130 miles around Mt. Hamilton I didn’t feel much like riding on Memorial Day and thought I’ll do some weight lifting/squads instead.
Maybe I should have spent more time warming up, but I didn’t and paid for it. I hurt my lower back and the pain gradually got worse every day for the next 7 days. On Monday this week I could not even tie my shoes in the morning, so I decided to give my teammates a heads-up that I may not be able to race Pesky on Saturday. Luckily with a lot of alternating icing and heating I finally saw some improvements and when I got out of bed this morning I was almost pain free.
So with no excuse left, I put my bike in the car, drove to race, and lined up with the M45s and M55s at the start at 9:25. I was happy to see on the drive down to Pescadero that the roads were dry, which turned out to be quite important in the progression of the race.
Team ThirstyBear was represented today by Tom, Scot, Duane, and Shawn in the M45s and Alan in the M55s. Contrary to years past, this year did not feature a Sprint Prime, which led to a bit less speedy start of the race. But this didn’t bother Duane who, as soon as the moto took off, put the hammer down and started the race with break. But with a lot of strong teams and rider represented Duane got caught before we got to the first Stage Rd climb.
The pace in lap-1 including the climbs was fast, but not too demanding. Several attacks were launched mainly by Chronos’s Dan Martin, Steve Ott, or Nick Theobald, but between Tom and myself we had every single one covered. As we got up Haskins the first time I made sure I was close to the front as we went into the descend, mainly to avoid being caught behind not so skillful descenders of which we had a few. As I said earlier, the road was dry so I didn’t use my brakes much. As the road flattened out I found myself with Nick, and Brian Hoadley at the front of the race with an already sizable gap. It didn’t take much discussion to get all three of us on the same page. This was a great break opportunity and we took it.
From here on the rest of the race was riding at a hard and steady pace and sharing the load. The sharing part worked well for half a lap until Nick started to show first symptoms of overload on the second half of 84. From here on he sat on and Brian and I did the work. We figured Nick would freshen up after some draft time and we needed him to fight the wind on Pescadero Rd. The second reason to keep him in the break was that it would keep his strong teammates from chasing. So we set a relatively easy pace going up Haskins, but it wasn’t Nick’s day today and we had to leave him behind and push forward if we didn’t want to get caught right away. When we passed the start area the moto told us we had a 1:30 lead (down from 2:20 in lap-2) to a chase group of 10 riders as we started lap-3. When we later looked back on both of the Stage Rd climbs we could not see a group behind us, which meant we were at least 2min ahead at this point.
Unfortunately after a couple miles on 84 my right leg started to cramp and I had to really concentrate and alternate my pedaling to be able to keep riding. Well, I did make it all the way to the finish, but when it came to mounting a sprint with 200m to go my legs refused to move when I got out of the saddle and so Brian got a gap and took the win. It was great seeing Tom arriving at the finish in 3rd position followed by Craig Upton in 4th. Scot took 8th, which put 3 bears in the top 10.
Holger powering to the top. Photo: JABW Photo:
Holger powering to the top. Photo: JABW Photo:
Thanks to everyone in our great team for supporting my break today. I know it take sacrifice and putting personal goals aside. Sorry my cramping legs couldn’t quite secure the win at the end.
To me it was an awesome day after an uncertain week of recovery.
Best, Holger

Phipps finish 2nd in NCNCA Powerful Showdown at Pescadero RR

Matt Adams beats Phipps in the final sprint climb to the finish.
Matt Adams beats Phipps in the final sprint climb to the finish.

Kind of an odd race.
4 strong teams: Arts, Squadra, Mike’s & ThirstyBear.
A break on the 1st lap had one guy from each team (we had Eric), but we caught them the 1st time up Haskins.

On the 2nd lap, Jan attacked solo & got his gap up to over a minute, but he was caught before we got to the feed zone, then immediately attacked again & got away with Profumo.
We caught them on the 2nd Haskins climb, but then after the descent it seemed the 4 teams were all content to just ride slow tempo for the entire 3rd lap & let it come down to the final climb up Haskins.

Jason & Piers went to the front to up the pace as we approached the climb & Piers set a hard pace for the first couple minutes. I went around & attacked hard, trying to get away, but just couldn’t shake Matt Adams (Mike’s). He beat me pretty good in the final 100M sprint.

Phipps in the Zone. Photo: JABW Photo:
Phipps in the Zone. Photo: JABW Photo:


We had Jacob in 8th & Piers hang on for 9th to have 3 in the top 10!

Anne Crushes All Competition at Pescadero RR 2015

Don’t believe your eyes! If in doubt, open your mouth (preferably before the finish line)

There were no teammates in my category but since we started with the cat 3/4 women both Monica and Meredith were racing in the same field. The group was big: over 30 riders and since half of them were 4s I told Monica and Meredith that I will set a good tempo going into the first State Rd. climb so we can string the group out. Camille DeLuca-Flaherty and Helen Casabona were my biggest rivals and I asked them to join me setting the pace at the start to stay safe and not get boxed in on the descent.
Camille took of pretty hard from the gun and the peloton was straining to stay together as we got onto Stage Rd. As soon as the climb started I went up front and set the pace to what was pretty hard even for me at this early on the race but I thought as soon as we get out to 84 I can relax and settle in. This is pretty much what happened. We had a breakaway of about 8 riders with only Camille from my category. She and I kept pushing the paceline so we could establish the break, and we had some interesting conversations with the 4s of how to ride in it :). It looked, and sounded to me that besides some of the more experienced 3s and Camille and I, the rest were ready to pop any minute.
When we got to Haskins I went up the climb with my regular hard, but not all out tempo and was able to form a small gap. Somewhere after the descent flatten out and the headwind started to gain significance I was caught, to my surprise by mostly riders I’ve never raced with or heard of. The only “regular” was Shelagh Fritz from Team Mike’s Bikes. At this point I thought I was the only “oldie” surviving the breaks and I kind of thought I’ll just enjoy the rest of the race working in the paceline but not having to push the pace or initiate any more breaks. But after we got to Stage Rd. Shelagh mentioned to me that the kid in a Stanford kit was wearing a 900-number and she was in my category! I couldn’t think of anyone pre-reged from Stanford in 35+ so I thought she must have signed in that morning, and she also looked really young for 35, but what do I know what the kids look like these days! So I went back to the “serious racing mode” and kept my eyes on her. I was just hoping she hadn’t been sandbagging the first lap since she was one of the riders I thought was on the verge of popping…
As far as kids go, they always seem to be able to sprint at the end so I decided I’ll try the game of attrition. I set the pace on Stage Rd. again and went hard on the descents but I could only establish a small gap that was quickly swallowed as soon as we got onto 84. My mystery Stanford companion, on the other hand, seemed to be gaining strength on every pedal stroke! Finally, we got to Haskins climb, and I went to the front setting a nice tempo, trying to gauge were everyone’s but especially hers strength was at this point. And it quickly dawned on me: she had taken it easy up to this point and she was right there on my wheel. So up we went trying to drop each other off on every stroke with our heart rates (or at least mine!) soaring as our breathing got more and more labored. At 2km mark I stood up to accelerate to try to shake her off thinking she must be tired maybe I can break her will… And I first got a small gap and thought here we go! But as I got to the 1km mark she was right there behind me again. My heart sank and I almost wanted to just declare defeat right there but I heard a small part of my brain calling me to fight. So at 200m to go I stood up again and said “okey legs, what ever you got left please give it to me now!” I pushed as hard as I could thinking I can’t do this it’s too much pain! but kept going for another 100m until I had established 15 meter gap and then I just alternated sitting and standing so I wouldn’t collapse finally crossing that line with my mind, and legs, completely done.
Anne showing true dedication. Photo: JABW Photo:
Anne showing true dedication. Photo: JABW Photo:
When the other riders from our group started coming in I finally spoke to them and found out that the “mystery girl” was not 35 and that she actually raced category 3. Baffled, I went over to her to ask what the deal was, and she looked at her race# and laughed “Oh I must have pinned my # upside down!” I almost said: “Congratulations, you almost made me pass out on that hill!” but instead I said “that’s not very good, because you fooled a couple of people”. I mostly felt really bad for Shelagh who after thinking she wasn’t competing with her, let her go on the last climb. But instead of the officials disqualifying her (which I think would have been not such a bad idea. You are DQed if your number is ripped or unreadable so why is this different?), she was able to share the 1st place with the next rider leaving Shelagh 3rd. Weird situation. All I could say at the end of the day was: a) thank gosh my effort wasn’t washed out by it, and b) I guess you can get to Stanford being dyslectic 😉
A true fighter!! Photo: JABW Photo:
A true fighter!! Photo: JABW Photo:
Meredith and Monica raced hard in the main back and came in 11th and 14th respectively. I couldn’t agree more with Holger’s assessment of the Pescadero race. It’s probably the hardest one in the calendar because of the elements and terrain. There really isn’t any place for rest. It’s just hard work from the get-go until the bitter end 🙂

“Sometimes You Have To Risk Losing Big To Win”. Tanya Fredricks Overall GC Victory at Mariposa Road Race 2015

Victory comes to those who go all in! Photo: Alex Chui
Victory comes to those who go all in! Photo: Alex Chui
was reminded of some basic life lessons this past weekend at the Mariposa Stage Race….
           Day One:  Flat Time Trial:
           1:  Always expect the unexpected:
When a herd of cows are being driven down the entire road for what feels like a mile, and you are stuck behind the posse trying to get to the start of the race, relax.  Everyone else is also stuck behind the madness, too.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff:
When you warm up with a  disc wheel (something you’ve only practiced with once before the race) and then change your mind 15 minutes before the race because the wind has picked up, don’t panic.  Just because you can’t get your regular wheel back on and HAVE to use the disc for the windy race,  keep calm and motor on.
TT Result: 2nd 
Impressive result by Tanya Fredricks of ThirstyBear p/b Akamai to finish 2nd in the time trial.
Impressive result by Tanya Fredricks of ThirstyBear p/b Akamai to finish 2nd in the time trial.
Day two: Hill climb and Circuit race:

1. Stick with what is tried and true:
Questionable Mexican food the night before the Hill Climb?  Maybe not the best choice.  Enough said.
2. Never assume:
Coming into the circuit race, I had almost 2 mins on my closest rival, Camille.  Her teammates were well behind at 7-8 mins. I felt all I had to do was stay glued to Camille and make sure she didn’t get any lap time bonuses.  At the end of the circuit race, I had accomplished this and assumed I was sitting comfortably on top of the GC for the final RR stage.
At dinner later that evening, a friend asked the simple question, “soooo how far up the road were her teammates?”.  Having no clue how far up the road her teammates had gone, I got a huge sinking feeling in my stomach and a complete loss of appetite took over.  It was confirmed after dinner that I was no longer 1st in GC but actually now 4:33 BEHIND the leader going into the final stage.   Although I went to bed at 10pm, not much sleep happened that night.
Hill Climb: 1st
Circuit Race: 3rd
Even smiling when climbing. This defines a ThirstyGal
Even smiling when climbing. This defines a ThirstyGal
Day Three: Road Race
1. Keep your enemies close and your rivals closer:
This is extremely helpful in stage racing when one day your biggest rival may need to be your break mate the next day.
 I thoroughly enjoyed the circuit race, chatting and getting to know Camille.  She is kind, smart, and knows how to race a bike.  We developed a nice rapport as we circled around the 7 lap course (while her teammates quietly time trialed themselves into first and second place in the GC).  Little did I know at the time that this was the perfect plan her team had laid out, and I fell hook, line and sinker into their trap.
Fortunately, she also came to my rescue in the road race and became my break mate for 48 of 50 miles. Together we were able to take back 25 mins and secure my place on top (she placed second GC).
           2. Choose your friends wisely:
  I don’t know what I would have done without the amazing support of my teammates…especially when I realized my huge rookie mistake from the circuit race.  They stayed up late with me to wait for the time gap checks to be posted and  believed in me that I could somehow still pull this off!
Tanya and Camille fighting it out. Photo:
Tanya and Camille fighting it out. Photo:
3. Act like you can:
My only “strategy” to salvage a GC win was to go from the gun and try to recover a minute per lap (read: suffer).  Although this sounded daunting, I decided to think positively and give it my best shot.  I guess my acting skills were good enough to worry my contenders. They kept asking if I would be okay shortening the race to 3 laps. I needed 4 laps to punish myself for my stupidity in the circuit race.  4 laps it was.
 Road Race Result: 2nd
Stage Race Result: 1st in GC!
An incredible weekend of racing with the best team/friends around!  Thank you to all my ThirstyBear teammates, Zac, our sponsors, and our weekend mascot, Timpa!