Don’t believe your eyes! If in doubt, open your mouth (preferably before the finish line)
“Sometimes You Have To Risk Losing Big To Win”. Tanya Fredricks Overall GC Victory at Mariposa Road Race 2015
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: 2ndDay 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.Results:Hill Climb: 1stCircuit Race: 3rdDay Three: Road Race1. 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!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: 2ndStage 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!Tanya
Mariposa Women’s Stage Races starts with a 10 mile mostly flat TT on Friday afternoon. The weather was perfect, not hot like last year with some headwind going out. I had no teammates in my category since Tanya and I decided to split so we could possible both take the win. The 35+ category had the biggest group of riders because all 4 stages were part of the NCNCA women’s series for the masters racers. I was eager to race against the top guns, and it motivated me to better my time from last year, and actually get the fastest time of the day in all categories. At the end of the day, I got 1:14 on Annie Carrino (Sisterhood of Cycling), and 1:45 on Rikke Jeppesen (Metromint).
ThirstyBear p/b Akamai shows who is the big bear at Berkeley Hills RR 2015 45+. Congrats to Brenon for the win, powered by a strong team effort.
Overall field: ~50
Condition: cool, windy at the start, warmed through the race but the wind stayed strong.
Distance: 72miles, with 5900 feet of climbing (the toll: 3:20; 2900kjs).
Placings: A lot of Bears, all at the top of the results page.Like today’s stage at the Giro, ThirstyBear p/b Akamai turned today’s race into a bit of a Team Time Trial. I think we had 5 of the top 10, including first (myself) and third (Phipps). Great day to show the depth and strength of our squad.
Duane and his running mate stayed away until the third trip up Papa Bear (finishing climb). Tom had jumped earlier in the lap, bridged up & through them. Tim was riding well and still a bit of a gap on all of us, but there was a lot of wind for him to fight alone. (Quick aside: Duane gets my vote for ‘man of the match’ today. Even after soldiering for 50+ miles in a two-man break, he hung tough when he got caught and rather than go quietly, he kept throwing punches all the way across San Pablo Dam Road, making other teams chase him down. It looked like so much fun that DQ had to try it too, so he was off the front 4-5 times on his own, stretching the field.)
ThirstyBears: Jan, Eric, Moritz, Jakob, Piers (plus Danielle and Hans G. handing out bottles and taking back vests).
Teammates: Kim, Leila, Meredith and Monica
Bears: HUGE group of 7: Jason, Scot, Joel, Moritz, Jacob, Phil, Piers
ThirstyBear p/b Akamai Results: 1st, 7th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th & 19th
The “race predictor” had me winning this and we had 8 guys in the field, so anything other than a ThirstyBear on the top step of the podium would be a disappointment. We showed up in force with 8 of us in the field (Brenon, Holger, Tom, Hans, Duane, Shawn, Gardie and me).
Chronos had a solid team of 5 and R4R-Make a wish had 3 strong riders. In addition, this was Craig Upton’s first race in 7 years and we knew that he’d be a guy we needed to watch.
The plan was to use our numbers to attack, attack, attack (& attack again Tom!) and either get someone or a couple guys in a break or at least tire out the stronger riders who would be forced to chase while I’d just sit in & save myself for the final climb. The race was fast from the gun with Hans leading the wave of ThirstyBear attacks & counter attacks & the whole field strung out behind.
After the overpass on the first climb, Roger Martin (R4R Make a wish) attacked & got a gap with Duane and Dan Martin (Chronos) bridging up. Then strongman Rich Del Valle (Funsport) attacked to bridge up, but this caused our guys & everyone else to chase, so by the time we got to the bottom of the descent at Patterson Pass Rd. it was all back together.
After more attacks, and a fast 2nd climb, Nick Theobald (Chronos) got away with Tom on his wheel. The pack chased & at some point, Tom came back to the group but Nick stayed away & Jay Newton (Victory Velo & surprise NCNCA RR Champion – he had no teammates & was putting in a lot of work at the front, keep an eye on this guy) was at the front of the remaining group trying to bring back Nick. Gardie then attacked & bridged up to Nick.
At this point, Holger was on the front soft pedaling & the 2 leaders were riding away out of sight. I thought this move might make it to the end, but then Cameron Birkey (R4R) went to the front to set a hard tempo to bring them back.
On the 3rd climb Nick pulled away from Gardie as they went over Altamont Pass. I think it was Bryan Hoadley (R4R) who set the tempo on the climb. On the descent we caught Gardie who was happy to help pull back Nick who we heard had 90 seconds, but by the time we got back to Greenville, he was caught. With the pack all together, we had our guys continue attacking with Tom going again and again keeping the pressure on & got a small gap as we started up the Carroll Road climb the 4th time.
It was at this point that Upton who had been smartly sitting in all day finally went to the front & put in such a hard tempo up the climb that by the time we got to the overpass he had opened up a gap with just me still on his wheel. I was content to just sit there & not look back until he asked for help. When we got to the Flynn Rd. crosswind section he looked back, so I decided to take a look back too. We could see Brenon and Birky about 15 seconds back, then the remains of the field (about 10 guys) another 10-15 seconds behind them. I told him that I didn’t know if I should wait for Brenon or work with him. He said he thought I should work ;-). I was feeling pretty good so I worked with him just enough to keep him working, but saving something for the finale. We worked together for the next 10 miles, passing guys who had been dropped in the earlier fields & taking a look back when we could, but never seeing a threat from our field.
As we approached the final climb to the finish, I was really nervous. I had no idea what Upton had left & I had put the pressure on myself to not let the team down after all the work they had done earlier in the race. I let him lead into the turn onto Carroll, & for about the first 15 seconds of the climb before I attacked hard on the steepest pitch. I went all out for about 30 seconds and had a gap, then settled into a tempo that I hoped I could hold to the finish & that he wouldn’t be able to pull back. As the road flattened out, I sat down, put my head down & just pedaled hard for another minute, then took a look back & knew I had it!
Chris Hobbs (Mike’s) got a good video of the last 100M.
I left out a lot, but we always had our guys near the front, attacking & pulling back the dangerous moves, it was really awesome to be a part of it. Thanks guys!
ThirstyBear p/b Akamai’s Aaron Long Bags double Wins in Brazils Nationally ranked Copa Rio de Janeiro Series!!
Copa Rio de Janeiro Stage One: March 15, 2015
The Itaipava Hillclimb (Rio’s version of Mt Tam Hillclimb)
Generally held in July (when we’re in Europe) they finally moved it and I was able to race.
Weather cooperated with partially cloudy skies and smooth paved and concrete roads.
Starting groups are neutrally promenaded along the first few miles in age divisions of 5 year increments – yours truly rolling 45+ with perhaps 18 of us.
As the road tilted upward early attacks were fast and furious but thankfully short lived!
Our front group went from 20 to 5 riders in a hurry and eventually it was just myself and Orland Shorter (1.87m 59kg) left to duke it out.
In the end we stayed together for the second half of the climb and I stole away with a couple of km’s to go to cross the line solo.
Full Itaipava results here if you’re curious about how the Elites stack up against this ol’ Bear
Copa Rio de Janeiro Stage 2: April 19,2015
Angra dos Reis Road Race (Rio’s version of Mt Hamilton RR)
More than 400 riders appeared for one of the Best events on the 2015 calendar!!
Weather was nice with partially clouded skies again in this classic point to point shuffle.
Roads are smooth and paved with the exception of 3 cobbled 1 min tunnels atop the first main climb!
Routinely here in Rio, races start in age bracketed divisions but today was a little different – Elites went off then ALL Masters from 30+ through 50+ were launched together after the neutral promenade with more than 100 in the peleton. In an effort to make sure no 45+’ers would sneak away I decided to patrol the front. Thankfully we had 400+ series numbers so one could discern who was in your bracket.
As the road tilted upward on the first, major 35+ minute climb I could tell my legs were heavy. One by one riders passed by including Orlando Shorter (main rival & friend) who danced away on the pedals and there wasn’t much I could do but listen to that little voice inside that says; ‘stay riding with in yourself…its just a bad patch and it will pass’. Well eventually the legs did come alive but not before Shorter opened a 2 min gap going over the climb well in front. For the next 2 hours we chased hard as our group swelled to 20+ then shank again in the late rollers to just 5 – and with just 10 minutes to the line we caught our solo & cramping rival. Though not much left in the tank I of course had to oblige racing tactic 101 and attack at the junction which led to solo W by a couple of minutes. A hard-fought battle on an epic course I felt for Orlando as he deserved the Win – but that’s racing! Would be GREAT to have some Northerly TBears down for this one next season!?!
Again full Angra RR results here for reference
And here a nice 5 minute video production with an Elite focus!