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Piers impresses Mama & Papa Bear to Win Berkeley Hills RR 2015 35+

Piers Pulling teeth to win. Photo Alex Chui.
Piers Pulling teeth to win. Photo Alex Chui.


ThirstyBears: Jan, Eric, Moritz, Jakob, Piers (plus Danielle and Hans G. handing out bottles and taking back vests).

Field: Stacked with strong dudes as always.  Make-a-Wish riders Birky and Hoadley dropped down to 35+ with a younger teammate.  Arts there with ever-present Carinio, Nunes, Albracht.  Specialized as always strong and smart. Peter Vaughn (fresh off Wente).  Chronos there with Dan Bryant, Theobald, Eropkin, Zimney. Squadra with Evans and Profumo.  

Conditions: Windy all day long.
72 miles.  6,300 feet of elevation.
Results: 1st, 19th, 20th, 27th, 31st.
I love this race and have always had fun on this course.  It’s definitely possible to win from a break and we had discussed as a team what our race plans would be and how we were going to make this play out in advance.  And this time we actually stuck to the plan and made it work.  Jan knows how to save energy and who should be where at what time.  Since I’m never sure I usually waste a lot of energy trying to be everywhere every time.  Looking at my ride–I basically did nothing until the last lap.  2 hours a 25 minutes of this race I was in Zone 1-3 thanks to being looked after by my teammates who went in all the right moves and kept me out of the win.  When it was finally time to wake up I was well rested.
We started off easy in this race but within a reasonable amount of time there was a break that was more of a field split than a break.  Around 15 guys were off the front with everyone represented except for Art’s.  Normally I would have spent a large amount of energy to get up there and be in the break but we had Moritz and Jakob in there who could finish this race off if they sat in (which they did).  For some reason Mike’s Bikes also did nothing although this could have won the race for them as they had 3 riders and Matt Adams in the break.  Arts sent Ben Albracht to the front then Craig Nunes single handedly spent 20 minutes bringing the entire group back to the break.  This was a great situation as they burned matches which limited their ability to work at the very end of the race.  Jan, Eric and I appreciated the arm chair ride to getting all back together.
Moritz leading the pack up Mama Bear. Photo: Katie Truong
Moritz leading the pack up Mama Bear. Photo: Katie Truong
Up Papa Bear the 2nd lap Jakob “I’ll just race with my freshly broken collar bone” Berkman set a perfect tempo to just keep everything smooth and easy where I was sitting out of the wind back in the back.
The strong wind limited breaks and for once I kept out of the wind and rode around in circles making sure no one serious got away.  There were a couple small incidents with a weird solo crash (watch those bumps!) and the same 3 not-to-be-named very strong but not wonderful bike handling riders who seem to bump around and cause crashes at every race.
The last lap got serious.  As Jan predicted the remaining racers were strung out in a line for most of it.  It got serious enough that someone decided they were going to go pee triathlon style.  This unnamed rider just went wee in his shorts in the middle of the pack on a downhill spraying half the pack behind.  Pee is actually a sterile fluid but: When you’ve gotta go–go to the back of the pack!!!
There was a final wheel tangle going up Baby Bear where a few riders went down on an uphill.  Matt Adams amazingly hopped over his bike while crashing and landed on his feet without going down.  I just missed the crash by swerving around the right side of it. By this point my teammates days were done after sheltering me all the way to this point.  I remembered how pointless it was to go on Mama Bear as the descent just brings it all back together and hung out in 4th or 5th position.  I stayed there taking a little more wind than the powerful finishers behind.  Bryan Hoadley worked hard to get Cameron Birky in place.  Hanns Detlefsen was sitting in a sweet spot and I squeezed in behind him.  He kept cranking up the pace and I could see the powermeter go from 320 to 360 up and up to 450.  I looked back to see Carinio, Birky and Cottell all lining up waiting for me to go too soon (again).
With 400 meters to go I let a small gap of 10 feet open up in front of me to Detlefsen and could appreciate the big headwind.  I jumped hard, tore past Hanns and opened up a nice gap behind me that I kept increasing (I think) all the way across the line.  I got some great encouragement from Hans G and Dani who were right there making sure I didn’t slow down too soon.  Just an awesome feeling to be able to finish this off with my biggest win ever.  My TB teammates rolled across having done the perfect job all day.  We could barely get the smiles off our faces after the win and watching the 45+ team decimate the field.  Pulling off the 35+ and 45+ wins was just the perfect way to spend the day.  I love racing with these guys.
Now I have completed my podium collection of a 1st, 2nd and a 3rd for the year.  It also looks like enough points to upgrade to Cat 2 so I’ll put in my paperwork for that.
Special thanks to our sponsors: ThirstyBear B, Akamai, Novato Community Hospital, Acme Bikes, Cogniance, Osmo, Castelli, Red Whale Coffee, Trek, Bontrager, Iwin.
Piers stepping up on the podium “yet again”. Photo Danielle Barry.
Piers stepping up on the podium “yet again”. Photo Danielle Barry.


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