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!
The 4th time through the feed zone we nearly ran over a 4 foot snake in the road. The 5th time up the first climb I was feeling great–stronger as the race was going on. The wind was picking up and I knew I needed to save it for the final lap. As we went around the feed zone the 5th time I grabbed a bottle and managed to avoid a rattle snake crawling across the road (going to assume he was getting some OSMO). Meanwhile at the front Dapice and Napolitano attacked again and got a little gap. I was too far back. Carinio and Siegle went off the front as well with two groups of two and ten chasers. I didn’t panic as we had another lap, they would clearly tire out in the wind. We closed it slightly on the rollers with me and Profumo working more than the rest to bring it back. I knew I could bridge up on the last time up the first climb without too much difficulty.
Once it was race time, Hans got it started with a few attacks on the first lap, which helped spring a break of 7 of us. (Gardie, Oddvar and Holger and myself meant the Bears had the numbers; plus with Gardie, we also had the looks. The others: Make-a-Wish’s Cam Birky and Bryan Hoadley, plus Core’s Eric Saltzman, who was in a bit over his head. We missed Hans, but he had drilled it a number of times to set us up, and with a majority in the break, we set about piling it on.)
It’s unusual for the first-lap break to stick at Sea Otter (given it’s a shorter race and the final climb tends to decide everything anyway.) Usually other riders/teams will at least keep a break close. But not this time. We piled it on during the first lap and ran the advantage out to about 1min. All of us were working hard and stretching the gap so that by lap 3 (of 6) we had doubled our advantage. At that point, it was clear we were going to stay away, so both Holger and Oddvar took solo flyers, staying off the front or on the front for a lap each. With those strong efforts, which put pressure on Cam and Bryan, the gap expanded out to 6mins or so.
On the rollers as we headed toward the start of the final lap, Oddvar powered away, taking Birky with him. They drilled it and got a 30sec lead as they hit the short initial climb. It’s my kind of climb (0.5mile, full power), so I hit it hard and bridged to Oddvar and Birky. Oddvar took over and pushed the pace, while Birky sat out of our pulls because he was looking back at Bryan, who was tailed off on the climb but was trying to ride back up to us on the rollers. We didn’t close the door firmly enough (the gap to Bryan never got more than 30sec) and on the feed climb, he re-joined. Well, he would have if Birky hadn’t punched it and rode away from us. All the work that Oddvar did in the break caught up with him, so he and Bryan paired up while I set off up the road to pair up with Birky.
Cam was a little fresher, and was jamming so I just hung back, 10-15secs from him. I was hoping if I dangled, Oddvar could set a target on me and come up before we hit the final climb. Just after we rounded the turn onto the 2mile finishing climb, the four of us were back together. Cam rode hard tempo all the way up the climb, which is fairly shallow at the start but then stiffens a bit around 1km and really stiffens for the last 200m. (The climb: 2.25miles, with varying pitch of 5-15%; we climbed it in just under 9mins.)
Just before we hit the 200m to go sign, I shifted down two gears and sprinted up the inside lane. Since I really didn’t have to do much work during the race (thanks to the team) I was feeling great and had a good kick there at the end. Cam came in a well-deserved second and Byran just nosed ahead of Oddvar for the final podium spot. But after that there was a herd of Bears: Oddvar 4th, Holger 5th, Gardie 6th and Hans as the top finisher from the field in 8th. It’s a great day for the team when you can stack every Bear in the Top 10.
Let’s keep it rolling.
Tanya Fredricks took Silver at the Sea Otter Classic 35+ women’s road race today. She only got beat by one of the most successful American pros Laura Charameda. Excellent result!