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Patterson Pass Puts the Pressure on the ThirstyBears. Max Finish 2nd in the 45+123

The ThirstyBear Cycling crew
The ThirstyBear Cycling crew

ThirstyBear Cycling was very well represented at this years Patterson Pass with Leila, Jenny, Tanya, Phipps, Brenon, Ron, Holger, Hans, Alan x2, Max, Piers, Scot & Eric all showing their climbing skills at the pass.

Distance: 69 miles
Elevation gain: 7200 feet
Conditions: High winds cranking those windmills over the passes and balmy temperatures

Below are race reports from the many fields that ThirstyBear Cycling took active part in.

Leila going solo to finish 3rd in the W Cat3
Leila going solo to finish 3rd in the W Cat3

W 1/2/3 By Leila Cavanaugh (Cat 3)

The Women’s Road Race had 21 starters. It was a very hilly race with over 7,000 feet of climbing. This was my first time doing this race and I was a little nervous thinking about doing three laps. As the race progressed Tanya wasn’t “feeling it”. We hit the first climb and I realized that I was feeling a little off myself. The race pace picked up and I found myself in the second group chasing with a group of 5. Tanya was there for awhile but realized it wasn’t her day. :(.  It was difficult fighting the wind but my group managed to get within 30 seconds of the main field until we fell apart. I decided to push on and finish the race. I basically road the last lap alone. The race results separated the Cat. 3 places. I ended up getting 3rd for the Cat. 3’s. I was 11th overall.

Phipps the “tow truck”
Phipps the “tow truck”

Pro 12 By Chris Phipps (Cat 1)

Decided to race with the young’ns today and I was the only 40+ in the field with the only other two 35+ being Jan Weissenberger & Josh Dapice. I thought the extra hour of racing would do me some good as I prepare for masters nationals in a month (Jan’s coach’s idea).

There were 35 guys in the field with Marc-Pro Strava & Mike’s Bikes being the strong teams with 4 guys each. I recognized most of the names of the guys in the race from results, but wasn’t sure how good these guys were on the climbs & long races.

I spun around for about 5 min before the race since a 4 hour race would be pushing my endurance limit & I didn’t want to waste too much on the warm-up. The first lap started hard & fast with no easy first lap like I had hoped. Tyler Brandt (Get Crackin’) was setting the pace the first time up the climb & by the top we had already lost 5 guys & were down to 30. The quick pace continued with Marc-Pro & Mike’s animating things with attacks. I got gapped and really had to struggle to get back on during the 50mph tailwind descent spinning my compact 50-11 at about 140rpm. Jan was in the chase group with me and tried to pull me to the group but I couldn’t even hold his wheel at that speed. Luckily it slowed a bit when they made the right turn into the headwind and I was able to reintegrate. We came through the 1st lap in around 1:02:15, which tied my Strava PR for my fastest lap on the course in 35+ races. Surely we would slow down a bit now.

Nope, the second lap was 1:00:57, even faster and now we were down to about 20 guys. The 3rd lap was faster yet (I was 59:37) & now were were down to 11 guys in the field with a 3 man break (Chris H-D Marc Pro, Brandon Trafton – Mike’s & Matt Rodrigues – Davis) about a minute ahead.

Justin Rossi & Art Rand from Marc Pro set the pace up the 4th climb & by the top our 11 man chase group was down to 5 with me just barely hanging on.

As we headed up to Altamont, Rossi attacked and only Adam Switters (Mike’s) was able to follow. So, now there were 3 leaders, 2 chasers, then me, Airel Herman (Metromint) & Art Rand chasing with Rand just sitting on. I did all I could to take even pulls with Herman & with 2K to go when I saw we were catching Rossi & Switters took a pull with all I had to perhaps give Herman a chance to catch them but he couldn’t quite bridge it. I was toast and coasted across in 8th (t-shirt for top 10!), but was happy that I was able to do a 4 hour race without bonking or cramping.
Really looking forward to Nats!

Piers showing his strength climbing
Piers showing his strength climbing

Elite 3 By Piers Barry (Cat 3)

The Riders: Eric Lagier, Scot Mclean, Piers Barry
Great field and race course for this year’s Patterson Pass race.  Both Scot and Eric had done this race before but I had never ridden the course.  With 3 laps–that’s not a problem.  It was refreshing to have temperatures that didn’t hit 3 digits, but the wind was a factor in the race conditions on the day.
I was a bit banged up from 2 crashes in the antecedent two weeks, Eric was fresh off some high altitude training in the Alps and Scot in great condition from his recent 5th place at Cascade.
The first lap show-cased classic E-3 racing strategy.  Huge accelerations and attacks at very high speed interrupted by periodic coasting for no apparent reason.  The steeper climbs were fairly reasonable but some of the tail wind aided gradual uphill and flatter gradients had us maintaining speeds above 46MPH.  With a compact 50×11 that’s as fast as i can turn the pedals before spinning out.
The second lap got a bit more interesting.  2/3’s of the way through the second lap I went to the front and tested the waters just a bit by drifting off the front.  Scot responded in excellent fashion by instigating a break eventually drawing 5 more riders along with him and really lifting the pace.  I stayed near the front getting ready to bridge the gap at the final climb.  I was leading the large following group of 15 about 250 yards back form the break on the final climb.  I attacked hard, bridged and jumped to the front of the break trying to get them to keep going.  The entire break magically stopped pedaling and the remaining peloton regrouped.  Tanya got a great series of pictures.
Scott stronger than ever!
Scott stronger than ever!

A solo rider drifted slowly and easily off the front.   After the feed zone the bear development rider started to attack off the front on the climb, prompting a series of attacks.  Scot and I were smart enough to see that this was the winning move, but not in choosing which wheels to follow.  With a strong head wind I tried to stay behind a strong looking couple riders and ride up to the leading group without expending too much energy.  Around a sharp (blind) corner the gaps widened and we were 200 feet then 200 yards behind the move.  Scot and I worked hard on the front, doing the majority of the work, helping each other stay close.  It wasn’t quite enough.  Scot almost popped near the top but with mental dig and small push he was able to lead the way over the top and maintain speed.  With a few wheel suckers behind not helping us we pushed hard on the descent.  A strong rider from Big Orange was with us drafting then went off the front (we were close enough that he caught the break and ended up 3rd).  I got some calf cramps and had to sit behind Scot for a mile or so to recover.  I would have been dropped completely without that help. That was some pretty fun teamwork.  Eric was a few minutes behind us powering away trying to close down the gap.

The leader of the ‘Post-Break’..
The leader of the ‘Post-Break’..

With 14 miles to go we started pulling harder to try to close the gap.  We did manage to get closer and kept thinking we were coming up on dropped E-3’s but they were always riders from other categories.  At 3 miles to go at the base of the final climb we could see 2 riders ahead of us.  I went to the front, Scot dropped back a tiny bit and we ended up passing them, and could see the group finishing around the corner as we approached the finish.  We crossed the line in 9th and 10th position with Eric 16th just a few minutes behind.

A lot learned (like I need to train more frequently to ride with this group and close gaps more quickly to not waste energy), and a lot of fun riding with Scot and Eric with great teamwork really improving the achievable results of the individuals.  Loved it and looking forward to going back again next year.

 45+123 By Max McKinley (Cat 2) WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY

55+123 By Alan Roberts (Cat 2)

Good tough field including Rob Anderson (rainbow stripes) Kevin Susco and Steve Archer =  the hill will be hard.
First time up the pass was hard enough to pretty quickly narrow it down to 7 of us. Right turn onto Flint Road and then on the rollers the attacks started. I responded to about 3-4 of them, dropping guys behind, but was caught in the red zone when #5 came and the three above named guys got about 30 seconds ahead, but not out of touch.
Unfortunately I went too hard into the tight left where Flynn S turns into Flynn N and was in full slide heading for the ditch and although I saved it and stayed upright, I lost another 20-30 seconds to the break.
I was in 4th place and in no-man’s land (lonely and windy) all the way around and up the hill the second time. Nobody in sight behind to drop back and work with and 60 seconds behind the front three at the top of the hill. Had to keep working hard and hoping to either see the leaders or at least one of them, but that didn’t happen.
On the double back right turn on Flynn road, I spotted two guys behind me working together to hunt me down. They were far enough back that I decided to try to stay ahead of them, but they caught me on Altamonte Pass Rd. Right turn onto Midway, several attacks on the hills and then it became a fight for the back of the line in order to come around for the sprint. I just didn’t want to play that game, so I went for it early and nearly held them off, but got clipped at the finishing 6th.
Good race, good workout, good job out there Bears.
The ‘Twins’
The ‘Twins’


For all race results click here



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