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Mad Max Victory at Sea Otter Classics

Max crossing finish line in great Solo Victory. Photo: Alex Chiu.
Max crossing finish line in great Solo Victory. Photo: Alex Chiu.
Sunday 4/19/2015 2:15pm
5 laps 48mi

No teammates

Weather: windy, but sunny

Field: 20 racers
 The race started out pretty mellow. There was two people from CA technologies: Carl Nielsen and Michael Vetterli both climbers, Larry Nolan(specialized), a Core Tech guy and some others I’ve raced with.   We went up the connector Hill which is about a four minute climb pretty hard the first time, The wind was a factor, keeping the group together.  Larry Nolan was doing well up the hills each lap.   Nothing eventful happened lap 1.   Lap 2 A guy from Alto Velo attacked for about a lap and a half and was up the road about a minute and a half.  He was starting to build a pretty good gap when finally I got some of the guys working together and there was a group of about eight that we got whittled down to.  With some encouragement we managed to pull him back at the beginning of lap 4.  I was feeling pretty good staying near Vetterli and Nielsen, watching for any moves.   A few attacks here and there but nothing stuck.
We made the right up Barlow Canyon and there was a group of eight.  After about a quarter-mile I got a little close to a rider in front of me and I bumped wheels, I just about crashed.   I started falling over rolled into a ditch but I didn’t exactly fall  off my bike,  I put my foot down was able to keep peddling!  I got out of the ditch and caught the group!    Pretty embarrassed I did that!  Good news is I’m back in the race.  We started going up about an 11% roller and I look back it was just me, Vetterli and Nielsen. Perfect!!  Just trying to stay second wheel and keep those guys from attacking me.  Pass the 1km to go, no moves yet, feeling good!  With about 200m to go Vetterli tries to jump but I accelerate  past him and win with about 8 bike lengths!!
Max from ThirstyBear p/b Akamai stepping up on podium at Sea Otter Classic.
Max from ThirstyBear p/b Akamai stepping up on podium at Sea Otter Classic.

Brenon Daly finish 2nd at Copperopolis RR 45+ 2015

Brenon Daly making decisive move at Copperopolis 2015. Photo: Alex Chiu
Brenon Daly making decisive move at Copperopolis 2015. Photo: Alex Chiu


The race took a long time to get going, but Rich and I slipped the field on the final time up the main climb?. We ran out to about a minute gap, working well together. It was just us on the final rollers and I led off the final descent and just stayed on the front for the last 2km. Rich came around me at the end. Not taking anything away from Rich, he’s a deserving winner. I knew I didn’t have a kick so no sense playing games.

More importantly, solid showing from the rest of the Bears, with DQ launching attacks and Max and Holger riding hard, hard tempo when needed. They were all in the mix right up to the end.

So a good day for all of us.

Happy Easter to everyone.


Brenon stepping up on the podium at Copperopolis 2015 45+
Brenon stepping up on the podium at Copperopolis 2015 45+


Piers Barry from Thirstybear p/b Akamai finish 2nd at the “Paris-Roubaix” of California. Copperopolis 2015 35+

Piers Barry stringing out the field. Photo: Alex Chiu
Piers Barry stringing out the field. Photo: Alex Chiu

ThirstyBears: Jacob Berkman, Mortiz Steiner, Piers Barry
Conditions: Chilly morning (37 degrees on the way in!) warm mid morning. Some wind.
Road Conditions: It’s Copperopolis….

Carpooled with Moritz and Danielle who handed up bottles, and collected vests and sleeves. Not sure if anyone else got the full view of the total lunar eclipse and blood moon on the drive in–but I might have to start going to an astrologist to figure out when to race 🙂

Warmed up as always by riding from the porta-potty to the start line. We started off with 33 riders. Mikes Bikes looked strong with 7, Squadra had Chris Evans and a Art’s Cyclery had 3 with Ben Albrecht, Craig Nunes, and Matt Carinio; Pro Cyclocross rider Jason Siegle was solo. Chronos had Theobald, Zimney and Eropkin.
Specialized had Cottel, Buckley and Passmore. Not sure who everyone is yet.
And most of them look the same with helmets and glasses on.

I could tell Ben Albrecht was serious though as he had shaved both his beard and legs….

It stuck together until after the first climb. A break started to form and I jumped in it at Jacob’s smart advice (thanks Jacob!). It came back together for a few miles. Just before the dirt farmhouse section new break formed with 3 riders off the front but no Mike’s or ThirstyBear. Moritz and I both jumped in and over 3 miles dragged a Mike’s Bikes rider with us. That stuck until the big final climb when it came all back together.

On the descent I realized there was something really wrong with my front brake which kept sliding to the left with the right side dragging and heating up the front wheel. I must have pulled it back into place 50-60 times during the rest of the race. I was all back together until Chris Evans slipped off the front after the 1st time through the finish line by the parking lot. No one chased.

Pace was high enough that a few riders started to struggle. All the way through the 1st climb again it stayed fairly strung out. At the riser after the feed zone I was sitting on the front with no one wanting to come around so I just kept increasing the pace as the climb went on (mostly because Alex Chiu was taking pictures there at the time of course). Somehow this pulled out 4 guys from the pack on my wheel. It was a good enough mix with ThirstyBear, Lange twins, Ben Albrecht from Arts, Siegle, and Zimney from Chronos. No Specialized or Mikes who where chasing behind.

We caught Chris Evans up the rode and stuck together with Albrecht and I taking longer and harder pulls than the rest. He’s a great, no BS guy to be in a break with. I pushed it just hard enough up the final climb to keep our gap going without splitting the group apart.

Somewhere Zimney popped off. On the first climb again with 25km to go to the finish Jason Siegle took off and stayed away for 15km. Zeller from Lange Twins was not able (or willing) to help. Evans was worried Ben would take off and join Siegle for the win and sat in the back.

With all this break tactics in our group out front; Matt Carinio and Craig Nunes slid off of the chase group behind. They were closing in on our break continuously. At the foot of the final climb I sat back a couple spots. I knew I could climb away from anyone left in the break but I also needed enough time gap to hold off the better descenders. I waited until just after the right turn onto the steepest part and took off. I thought Ben Albrecht was behind me and climbing really well–but it was actually Matt Carinio who had bridged up at the same moment I took off. I could gap him a little bit but couldn’t get rid of him.

I pulled away from everyone but Carinio who sat on my back wheel until 200 meters to go. He pleaded fatigue from bridging up to our break. He also had a fast descending teammate (Albrect) closing down from behind and I so I really had no choice but to drag him to the line where he annihilated me in the sprint. Which also would have been the sprint result if I sat in his draft for 80 miles….
It was an awesome day of hard racing with no where to hide. Only half the field finished with Mike’s Bikes only having one rider (Bromstead) finish. Jacob and Mortiz finished 10th and 11th with solid riding and team tactics.

Looking forward to the best part of the season coming up…. Great to see all the good results from the team.

Nor Cal Spring Classic here we come! Go ThirstyBear!

Impressive 2nd place at Copperopolis 2015
Impressive 2nd place at Copperopolis 2015


Thirstybear p/b Akamai Victory at Womens NCNCA District Championship

Anne Valta & Tanya Fredricks goes 1 & 2 at Turluck NCNCA District Championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Anne Valta & Tanya Fredricks goes 1 & 2 at Turluck NCNCA District Championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders

Thirsty Bears had the luxury to have 4 bear ladies racing together (Chris, Leila, Tanya and Anne). Carla was basically in our field since the W50-54 started 1 minute behind, and was quickly towed to our pack by Jane Despas. The race was basically between Metromint and us, because we had the numbers over other teams. We also had the strongest riders. The plan was to keep me safe and rested so I could try to get away on the rollers (and hopefully tow Chris and Tanya with me).

Jane kept the pace pretty solid the first half of the first loop. Tanya, Chris and Leila took their time at the front as well, while I tried to settle in and be in good position for the rollers.
My few attempts at Keyes Rd didn’t amount to anything, and it became clear to us that Laurie Furman (MM) had tagged me for the race. I think she would have followed me to the porta john had I stopped for one 🙂 But when I saw the rollers at Hawkins I knew we had a chance. I surged hard on one of the steeper ones and heard Tanya yell: “We have a gap!” I kept my head down and pushed on for a minute or so and then flicked my elbow to let the gals behind know it was their turn to move to the front. No one was willing to work initially so I kept going because I could see more people were starting to catch on. Finally Jane came to my help and when we turned to Lake Rd. there was five of us on the breakaway: Tanya, Chris, myself, Laurie and Jane. We knew Laurie wasn’t going to help in the pace line since we had the numbers on her.
On the second time on Keyes Rd. Jane got tired of our company and took off. For a few seconds I entertained the idea of going with her but decided against it. The section was flat and I hadn’t been able to shake Laurie in my earlier tries there. It was going to go down to the Hawkins rollers, again. I even let Tanya and Chris go 40-50 meters up the road twice and Laurie wouldn’t leave my wheel! So I tried to save as much energy as possible while taking turns up at the front with my teammates. Finally, the steep rollers were in front of us. I took a deep breath and surged as hard as I could hoping it would be enough. Laurie was right next to me for the first few meters but as I crested the top she had dropped behind me. I kept going down the hill with everything I had while taking a peek on my heart rate. I was at my max but I didn’t care because I knew this was my best chance. My great teammates made sure they didn’t help Laurie on the chase, and they let me get away. Not until I heard from the moto that I had a minute on them on Lake Rd, was I able to relax and enjoy the moment. Tanya secured the second place after taking off at 3km to go. Chris had to now play cat and mouse with Laurie and missed the 3rd by less than bike length. Leila came in 8th. It was a hard fought victory and I am so proud of my teammates who helped me defend my title.


 Photos curtesy of Tahra Makinson-Sanders

Max powers to the podium at Northern California District championships 55+

Max leading the pack. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Max leading the pack. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Max finish 2nd at District championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Max finish 2nd at District championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders

Race report
Turlock Road Race Northern California District championships
Thirsty Bear: Max Thompson
2nd place

Category master:55-59 1,2,3
Riders 50
Weather sunny/windy
45miles (that’s just wrong!)


There were a few teams representing
Sun power with 3 guys (1 sprinter). 3 feet it’s the law with 5 to 6 riders(2 sprinters) . Morgan Stanley (coulter and Terisaki). Pen Velo 3 guys and a bunch of other random
Teams. Race started off with a slight downhill the wind was light at this point and we were going fast for first 8-9miles. I stayed near the front to watch for attacks from hammer (hunter) make a wish (Joseph foster) who
Can TT well. 3 feet it’s the law sat in pretty much the whole race. Lots of attacks from Hunter and Joe Foster (joe was working with Hunter the whole race). I would bridge when they got too far but nothing very threatening to begin with. At mile 5, Joseph took a bit of a flyer and I decided to jump on . Legs are feeling pretty good at this point and I saw the KOM (not really a hill)
But thought, okay, I’ll give it a try. I jumped away from Foster, looked back, saw I had a big gap, and got the KOM. Later I found out the KOM was a wood fired pizza that I shared with my teammates.
A bunch of attacks by Foster and Hunter, Reno wheelmen, Audi and a few others. The group let them dangle out there for a while nothing much happened. Pace was pretty fast but peloton wouldn’t let me or anyone else get away. A few random teams tried to get away, Core tech and a guy from the Reno wheelman but no such luck, the field wasn’t having it. Started getting windy towards the second half of the first lap and the field was getting guttered in a
Long line. Few more attacks by the usuals. Have to say these masters don’t really work as teams, most Goya just sitting in. Get through lap one and the fields totally together, starts going fast again and into the headwind. Sprinters are all siting in, zip through first 20mi, usual attackers, I take some flyers with foster and company. I decided to stay at the front and watch for any opportunities that might stick or a solid group that I could get away with. Finally we’re now at mile 42 or so and we make the right onto Lake street straight into the headwind! Perfect now the field is guttered, core tech driving the front, Vetterli moves up(team Ca Tech.) then he and core tech punch it with Foster, most everyone splinters off, groups form. I’m near the front but keep getting gapped, dig deep to bridge the front group, now 2 guys foster and vetterili, me with Hunter chasing them. Hunter says to
Me “pull them
Back we can make it”. I look at him and sit up and say pull through! The chasers are
Coming, Hunter won’t pull through.
I look over to my left and out of the corner of my eye there’s Jonathan Laine (sprinter from 3 feet law team), he flies past us, I hammer to get onto his wheel. In less than a minute we are worth the 2 leaders
(Foster and vetterili), 1.5mi to go! Dropped Hunter, now I’m gassed after just having made it across and bridging all the splits. The field is splintered into chase groups. It’s now a 4 man break, big gap
Back to Hunter and chasing field. We slow down, cat and mouse time. I know it’s going to be me and Jonathan when the sprint comes. It’s 1000m to go, hoping he doesn’t go early, then we’re in the middle of the roller before the finish straight,
He sprints (early) hard,gets the win. A fun day of racing.

Max finish 2nd at District championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders
Max finish 2nd at District championship. Photo: Tahra Makinson-Sanders

More photos from Turluck: Photos thanks to Tahra Makinson-Sanders.

Tom Lyons Victory at Madera Stage Race 45+

Turbo Tom Lyons securing his Victory at Madera Stage Race thanks to great team effort. Photo <a href="">Alex Chui</a>
Turbo Tom Lyons securing his Victory at Madera Stage Race thanks to great team effort. Photo Alex Chui

Madera Stage Race 45+, Day 1 – Ben Hur Hillclimb TT

10.3mi. First 6mi rolling hills, with 5mi good pavement. Miles 6&7 horrible pavement. Miles 6-9 were uphill and the last mile rolling.

Shawn Daly going all in to finish strong in the TT. Photo Alex Chui
Shawn Daly going all in to finish strong in the TT. Photo Alex Chui

I used a full TT setup; Dan Quirk used aero bars on a road bike; Shawn Daly used foam on his road bike bars to rest his forearms. It looks like it’s going to be a ThirstyBear vs Hammer throw down. Our teams have 6 of the top 9 places. We have a flat 10mi TT tomorrow to set up the GC going into the CRIT and RR.

Results from today: 1. Adams, Hammer 33:12, 2. Lyons, TB +0:20, 3. Ziesing, Hammer +0:58, 4. Nielsen, Ca Tech +1:06, 5. Quirk, TB +1:07, 6. Martin, R4R +1:10, 7. Miller, Victory Velo +2:18, 8. Albrecht, Hammer +2:26, 9. Daly, TB +2:29, 10. Baumgardner, Global CTI +3:12

ThirstyBear Shawn Daly warming up.
ThirstyBear Shawn Daly warming up.

Madera Stage Race – DAY 2

Today we had a flat 10.4mi TT in the morning and a 40min CRIT in the afternoon.

We were down 20 secs in GC going into today and interested in making that up before we started chasing time bonuses in the CRIT (and RR tomorrow). I beat Ron Amos (GC leader from Hammer) by 22 seconds in the TT and took the GC lead …

When TT bike is not an option let us improvise. Photo Alex Chui
When TT bike is not an option let us improvise. Photo Alex Chui

DQ’s time is inaccurate but we think he rode well and kept his 5th place standing. Shawn held his 9th in GC despite his custom foam bar padding falling apart from the rough road.

Dan Quirk in impressive TT Style. Photo Alex Chui
Dan Quirk in impressive TT Style. Photo Alex Chui

Over lunch at Chowchilla’s finest, we devised a plan for the CRIT. I wanted to chase the prime time bonuses (two 5 sec primes) and go for the stage too (20-10-5 sec time bonuses for 1-2-3 on stage). It was a risk because it would depend in me getting in position to sprint and then actually try to win the sprint. But it seemed like a fun challenge so I asked the guys if we could do this.

Dan and Shawn were amazing. They rode solely for the team GC and we controlled the race! They set me up for the first prime which I took over Dave Albrecht. Then Dan got in a two man break that nabbed the second prime. I was up 7 secs on GC now heading into the final laps. I was hoping to get it over 10 because the road race has 30-20-10 time bonuses.
DQ and Shawn took control the last two laps and I picked my place heading into the final turn. I got a good jump but Albrecht blew by in the last 100. Then Chris Ott got me right at the line for 2nd but I held on for third and got 5 more secs time bonus!

We are up 12 seconds in GC going into the road race. Going to be another great team dual…. We are ready for anything!

Results are up at USA cycling.
Not sure if Jason will send an update but he is doing fantastic in the 35+ after his killer TT (he equaled the time of the third place P12 guy today!). He should be leading GC.

Day 3 – Road Race

We raced with the 35’s today which created a little wrinkle to things since Jason was up 14 seconds in 35+ GC and I was up 12 seconds in 45+. With time bonuses of 30-20-10 on the finish line today, we knew there would be some tactics within the groups but we weren’t sure how the 35’s and 45’s would affect each other’s outcome. The race had a few surges and a couple break attempts but the main feature of the race is a 4mi section of really bad “road” that we had to do each lap. We did 4 laps for about 68mi.
They posted a start time of 8:15 for the 45’s (and we were told we were racing with the Cat-4’s) but when we got to the start, it was 8:10 with the 35’s. I barely made it but Shawn and two other guys didn’t get there in time so they missed the race. VeloPromo blew that one – you never start a race earlier than posted.
Dan Quirk was an amazing teammate today (once again – remember Eugene last year)…. We felt that we needed to be the team in charge and also agreed it would be best for him to try to lead the field through the rough road at a good pace to discourage attacks each lap, which he did for laps 2-3-4. I was on his wheel each time. Incredible! A break formed on the last lap with 45+ guys Hunter Z (Hammer), Roger Martin (R4R), and David Maminski (Morgan Stanley). It happened fast and they immediately got a 1:15 gap mostly because our field stopped pedaling when they rode away. Martin and Hunter were 3-4 on GC (2:10/2:40 back). Dan and I got to the front and came up with a plan to keep them within a minute but not catch them. As long as they go 1-2-3 and only win by less than 1:40, we were good. I took the first 5mi smooth road section and pulled it to within 45 secs (towing the entire field, much to their delight I’m sure). Then a Mike’s Bikes 35+ guy took over for a mile before his teammate (Ryan, 2nd on GC) told him to get off the front. Dan came up and brought us through the rough road to the final 2K while I kept an eye on the three leaders. Then some action ensued within our group to position for the sprint but we easily held on to the GC by finishing in the group! The pack finished right on the heels of the three breakaway guys so Dan and I paced it perfectly…. Team TB!!!!!!
Tom Lyons Leading the field at Madera Road Race. Photo Alex Chui
Tom Lyons Leading the field at Madera Road Race. Photo Alex Chui
Jason won the field sprint which meant he won the 35+ race and took GC too. We’ve got the t-shirts….
I loved racing with Dan and Shawn. We took the GC over Hammer and their two national champions with fantastic teamwork. It’s easy to put in the extra effort when you know your teammates are all in and working toward a common goal…. We go yellow, protected it, and took it home….
45+ GC
1. Lyons, TB 4:19:33
2. Amos, Hammer +0:12
3. Martin, R4R +1:49
4. Ziesing, Hammer +2:11
5. Quirk, TB +3:05
6. Albrecht, Hammer +3:18
Thanks to great team effort by Dan and Shawn, Tom Lyons could step up highest on the podium at Madera Stage Race.
Thanks to great team effort by Dan and Shawn, Tom Lyons could step up highest on the podium at Madera Stage Race.

Jet Engine Jason WIN at Madera Stage Race 35+

#EverySecondCounts. Look at how close that finish is.
#EverySecondCounts. Look at how close that finish is.

Madera 35+ 123 Stage Race Report
Most of the 35+ regulars were short on family capital or gassed after strong Chico Stage Race performances the week prior. My TT was running well and I wanted to race more races this year that suited my strengths. Despite the fact that the Time Trial stage is a big decider in Madera, I haven’t had a killer performance there… until this year.

13 of us lined up for Madera 2015 and I was a little nostalgic that this stage race that I cut my stage race teeth on many years ago was now a B or non-race for a lot of people. This race hasn’t changed. Still the same crappy roads on all the stages, late results, and I still love every minute of it.

Criterium – 40 minutes, 25mph avg, crit was pretty slow, but with 2 guys per team (except me and Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus), there were several short and half-hearted attacks, but nothing with gas that would make them stick. Mikes Bikes, Oliver Ryan and Scott Cox worked really well together, taking each a 5 second prime and taking 1st and 2nd in the crit, respectively. It was an exercise in smart teamwork that many of us saw at the Chico Stage Race the weekend prior.

Time Trial – 10.4 miles, 22:08, 28.2mph, 1st and ~40 seconds on 2nd place. My pacing was good from Chico, where I also ran well. Uncharacteristically, I went out hard. I eased up a little in the second section after the first turn with the expectation to crush the final half of the course. I didn’t really look down at my Garmin because I was paranoid about hitting a hole in the road (like I did in 2013 and flatted). Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos was always on the horizon and he was my 1 minute man. I was about 3 seconds off him when I finished. This was a really good run for me and I would have been tied for 3rd place in the P12 field with this time. I was about 40 seconds faster than 2nd place and with time bonuses from the crit, Oli Ryan was ~12 seconds behind me.

Jason Sprinting for the the finish…
Jason Sprinting for the the finish…


Road Race – Early. Cold. Windy. But then the race started and the layers started coming off quickly. We were combined with the 45s field and I was really happy that 12 of us in the 35s didn’t have to mess around for 70 miles playing cat and mouse. It was also good to have Dan, Tom, and Shawn from the 45s group as well as a lot of the “45 guys” who I know already. More racers means more fun racing. John Olsen from ArtsCyclery was off the front early and everyone let him dangle on a short leash. That lasted until about lap 3 when he got reeled in. It wasn’t too crazy or fast on all sections, including the rough pavement and I think Dan Quirk was on the front for every single trip through the rough pavement. The 45 ThirstyBears were controlling and regulating the field really well. I was following Oli Ryan all day who was my only danger man, being 12 seconds down on me meant I couldn’t let him get 1st or 2nd because time bonuses would leap frog him over me on GC. I was going a little nuts as he is a very smart, patient, and tactical rider, and we were on the back a lot, talking, while I wanted to follow every move and attack at every opportunity. On the final lap, the 45 Bears were regulating the front with three 45 non-GC threats up the road. All 35s were in the field and I was staying close to Oli. When we got to 1km to go, approaching a long set of punchy rollers, Jonathan Eropkin from Chronos launches a hard attack off the front. I stay with it and it’s game on. Lines start forming and we are overtaking a 4s field. I use the 4s to my advantage and come around, close to them on the right as most of the field is advancing and moving on the left. 200 meters is marked and I have good position and an open door on the right side. I went as hard as I could and I have that extra couple important pedal strokes to take first place by a wheel, in front of Joe Staron from Bicycles Plus. After playing defense the entire day, I pulled out a strong offense and won the 35s road race and the 35/45 field sprint. The three 45s remained up the road, but by only a couple seconds and Tom kept his GC lead. What a fantastic Madera for ThirstyBear p/b Akamai!!

Impressive solo performance by Jason to win Madera Stage Race
Impressive solo performance by Jason to win Madera Stage Race

PowerGirl Christy Smith finish 3rd overall at Madera Stage Race

Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Christy Smith impressive podium finish at Madera Stage Race
Last week, after much indecision and encouragement from our ThristyGals, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to give it a go and registered Wed night…
So, I start searching for at least aero bars for my bike & at the lunch ride Thursday Ron offered to let me borrow his actual TT bike!!  Yay Ron!!  And one of the Kovaras riders said he would bring me his TT helmet & bars for my bike (just in case).
Friday I picked up the bike from Ron & left early to try to get out there early enough to pre-ride the TT & see if I could actually ride the TT bike for 10 miles (1st time ever on a TT bike or in aero bars).  So glad I had a chance to do at least do that…
Saturday morning was our crit – they combined us with the 35+ women, who ended up convincing the course director to give them a 30 second start ahead of us.  So, that ended up making for a very cat & mouse crit and basically a sprint at the end since no one wanted to work really (& we still had our TT coming 3 hours later).  I ended up 3rd, about a wheel behind 2nd.
After the crit I pretty much picked up lunch and headed over to the TT course.  There I finally saw Tom, DQ & Shawn.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, especially before the TT.  There is some energy in even knowing there are team mates around.
It seems the wind had shifted since the guys went in the morning & I had head winds on the last 2 stretches.  The women who went before me both managed to get out of site after the 1st corner, but on the 3rd leg I finally saw a carrot, and I managed the catch the 1:30 woman ahead of me basically at the finish line.  So, I ended up in 3rd with 1:27 lead over the 4th place woman.  I really enjoyed the TT, and learned a few things for next time & look forward to working on this a little more…
Sunday for the road race they did actually have us roll out together with the 35+ woman.  For my field the woman in 1st, Tiffany, basically told me she was going to sit on my wheel all day, and the woman in 2nd, Kelly, said she was going to sit on Tiffany’s wheel.  After we came around the corner past the finish line on lap 2 – there were 2 of the 35+ women who took off, part of me wanted to jump on that, but both the woman ahead of me in GC would have no problem holding that as well, and even Tiffany said later she had wanted to jump on that as well, but there was no reason too.  Being as I was really focused on defending my GC, I decided to not risk blowing myself up trying to hold on with a break, especially since the women I would need to gain time on would have gone with me (since they were, as promised, sticking close to my wheel).  It was definitely a different road race strategy knowing the overall goal was the GC.
Last lap we self neutralized to get away from the rest of the 35+ and have a lap & finish of our own.  My biggest concern all race was flatting on the broken, bouncy, crappy section of road…  So, knock on wood, no flats.  =)
The woman in 2nd, lead her teammate (who was in 4th behind me on GC) at the very end for the RR finish (she gave her teammate a lead out in the crit too –  maybe they were hoping the time bonuses would be enough to get both of them podium spots since the teammate who gave up the wins was a strong TT rider).  I ended up crossing in 3rd again, but had enough time that even with time bonus the 4th place rider still couldn’t pass me in GC.
So, for us, the TT was really our deciding race overall.  Even with the time bonus’s in the crit & road race, it was still the TT that really set our places.
I’m really happy that I went, I learned a lot & it was a good race to get a feel for stage racing.  Thanks to Ron & our ThirstyGals for the encouragement & equipment to get there!!

ThirstyBears Max & Alan go 1 and 2 at Chico Stage Race 2015

Alan & Max pulling the pack. Photo: Alex Chiu
Alan & Max pulling the pack. Photo: Alex Chiu

Chico Stage race Mens 55 1,2,3 Report:

Thirstybears: Alan Roberts and me

Stage1 Road race: 45mi (shortest RR ever)

Weather: partly cloudy, cool but perfect for racing, headwind at gravel, tailwind finish.

Field: Approx 35 guys

Saturday Feb 28th, 2:45pm

This was my first ever 55’s road race, wasn’t sure what to expect, Alan made me aware that there’s not much team work in these races(really, come on!). the 2 teams with 6 and 4 were 3′ it’s the law and Audi (I think), a few other teams with 3 guys but they didn’t do much. There was one guy riding for Bahati (LA Crit guys) and he was about 250lbs,   I’ll hand him credit later in the race. Alan and I decided to stay near the front, watch for early attacks, then punch it out of the gravel and try to get rid of some guys. We started off and from the gun 4 guys went up the road(Bahati, 3’, 2 other s), great let the other teams chase, only 3’ had a guy up there so others had to ramp it up, no problem they did. It was Fairly uneventful with the 4 up the road within site. Got to the gravel and I took a little dig at the front to test these guys, some others came up, Alan took a few digs. , we started to catch the guys in the break. With them in site, I did a hard effort and passed them, got near to the end of the gravel, hoped Alan was nearby, we lost a few in the gravel then made the right onto pavement and I went as hard as I could barely made it by the right side of a slow group of guys ahead(had about 2’ to get by), Alan came charging up the left, plan is working we’re hurting the field as hoped, get over the little hill in 3 mins(dang I needed another 15min of climbing!!) good thing is we have about 15 guys now. Pace is steady down the valley, some minor attacks, then we get neutralized 3+ times! A group was passing us then we’d pass them, trouble is the stragglers got back on as did just about everyone(so much for our mini mega efforts). Referee was holding us for at least 4mins (frustration) while going about 7mi an hour downhill. We make the right and now it’s only 8mi or so, no attacks, no one working, then it’s 4mi to go, a few half hearted attacks, Alan and I sitting near the front to make sure no one important goes up the road. There was last year’s winner(Dave Montgomery) in the field 2nd and 3rd place from last year also. We watched them mostly 3’ guys. This is where something really goofy happened, Bahati guy (Anthony) rolls off the front not hard, everyone watches, I ask the teams aren’t you going to go after him it’s only 2mi to go, everyone’s looking around! Im not going after him because he’s no threat to me and it puts the other teams under pressure. It was laughable on their part not to chase him down. Anthony is gone from site now (smart gamble!)as we come inside 3k to go, everyone’s jockeying, 1 k to go! Ramping it up, I’m 2nd wheel, 200’ hill coming, can’t see finish, decide to hit this hill sub sprint pace but shake some guys off, no one comes around. Then I see the finish, guys start passing me, Jonathan Laine (3’) passes me fast, he’s gone, 2 others pass then I go all out and pass them back for 3rd in the field sprint (wish I would’ve known there was another hill after the 1st! (Dohh). Bahati 1st, Jonathan Laine 2nd, I’m happy with 3rd about 12 sec down, perfect! Alan finishes 7th right behind me.

Stage 2 Downtown Crit 30min (so embarrassingly short!!)

Weather: 12-15mph wind, cool, sunny

28 starters, lost 7 yesterday

Sunday March 1st 9:25

The Crit is a 6 corner course, smooth, fun fast. Race got going late after a crash from previous category (guy landed on his face!), pace was steady, not very fast, Alan got up front ramped it up, I cruised around In the top 5 at the front, a few break attempts got brought back. Nothing much to speak of, pace was steady not that fast, guess they were saving it for the TT. Have to say it was a very safe race. Alan got a few primes, then with 2 to go, we both got at near the front, Bahati takes a jump, get’s swarmed with .5 laps to go, Alan is in front going into turn 5, then bumps up the speed, I move up to 3rd wheel, no one comes around, we hit the last turn fast, Alan is rocketing up to the line, guy in front of me fades, pass him Alan WINS! I cross the line about right next to him for 2nd. Thirsty Bear is warming up now!! I’m very happy for Alan and our team! Next up TT

Alan & Max – 1 & 2 at Chico Crit
Alan & Max – 1 & 2 at Chico Crit

Stage 3 Time trial 10mi

Weather: wind 12-15mph (Northwest) perfect clear day.

Sunday 1:00pm

Didn’t have enough warm up,   got to my start, all good, I felt sluggish for the first 4mi (tailwind). Decided to just get in the pain cave at mile 5 and see what my legs would do. Going into the cross headwind I started pushing it, each mile closer to 10 I’d get my power up a little more, 7mi to go, pain cave, dig, 8mi, harder, 9mi (can’t see finish).   Get over the line, thought I’d goofed the TT up. Find out I WON Alan got 3rd in the TT and SO we got 1st and 2nd GC!! Another great weekend of racing!!


Max winning the Chico TT with Alan finishing 3rd. 
Max winning the Chico TT with Alan finishing 3rd. 


Also well done race by Holger, Scot, Chris, DQ, Jason, Moritz, Jacob and Piers.

Holger – Solo breakaway at Chico Stage Race. Photo: <a href="">Alex Chiu</a>
Holger – Solo breakaway at Chico Stage Race. Photo: Alex Chiu

I want to also thank our many gracious sponsors (the big ones Akamai, Cogniance, Cloudmade, Sutter Health Novato and everyone else!), Hans, Kyle and Eric for all they do without them all the team wouldn’t be the same!

Thankful for all the support!!

Max Thompson