ThirstyBears Dominate Cascade Cycling Classic Stage Race 2015
Friday’s Road Race
Jacob, Eric, Joel, Duane, DQ, Brenon, Piers, and Hans were on the front for much of the first 50-60mi of the race as a GC favorite was solo off the front. They did a great job keeping it at 1:00 gap. And then as we approached the feed zone #2 (with Dani, Jules, Lex, and Otis ready to hand out bottles), we heard the cat-2’s were catching us. So the boys brought back the breakman to keep us together in case we were neutralized. Eric then led us up the hill for about 8mi to discourage any attacks. I sat on Brenon’s wheel the whole way as he led Jason and I up a few wheels back. Piers was close by and took over after Eric’s massive effort. We hit the last 3k into a strong head wind and attacks came but nothing stuck. Brenon and Piers continued to shut things down. I got up to second wheel with Jason on me. I jumped on a couple moves in the last 1k and followed a guy into the final 600m as we turned into the driveway toward the line. I took the lead with 400 to go and went hard up into the wind. Held it through 200 as we swung left with a tailwind.2013 National 45-49 crit champ, Eric Martin, came by like I was standing still. A huge guy, Joel Brazil, was next followed by 35 leader, Eric Sheagley (DQ’s former Oregon teammate). The line was fast approaching and then I felt a guy coming in the right. I lunged for the line, hoping to snag 3rd in the 45’s but got nipped…. by Jason! Smiles all around….. When you have 8 guys killing themselves to put you in position to succeed, it feels great when the result comes. Piers and Brenon came in the front group of about 25 as well. My memories of this day will be sitting in the pack looking up to see TB on the front….
Saturday – Time Trial
It was windy with some rollers (into the wind), and a couple tight turns over the 9mi course. I had a goal of breaking 19:00 (stretch) or at least getting 19:15 ( hopeful reality) which I thought could give me the 45 GC lead. I was pleasantly surprised to catch my 30 sec guy, Sargent, halfway through where I also was averaging over 30mph (tailwind…). Pasco was my 1:00 man and I had gained 20secs on him by then too. The headwind and rollers came next, reminding all of us that we would pay for a fast early pace. I gained a little more on Pasco toward the end but the last 1/2 is a blur. Just glad I made it safely through the turns (no risks). I figured my 18:53 was going to be enough to do it and was thrilled to hear that only Dan Bryant (18:19) was ahead of me in 35/45.Jason had a good day next fastest at 19:07, followed by Sheagley in 19:09, and then our secret weapon, Piers in 19:23 (in borrowed shoes, disc wheel, and helmet from Hans because he left that stuff at the condo)! We had 3 in the top-5 overall today!GC – 45+
Martin +57GC – 35+
Saturday afternoon Crit, and Sunday Circuit Race.
Saturday – The Crit
Sunday – The Circuit Race:
“The Circuit Race Breakaway” A note from Eric:
Hans had encouraged me to be on the outlook for a break and be ready to bridge up if the opportunity arose. With 20 miles to go, just after the feedzone, Shane Savage from Mighty and Rob Evans, Bear Development Team (3rd in the crit), attacked and got a small gap. Stephen Bedford, who had won the Crit and been on a solo break for 50miles in Friday’s road race went for it to get in the break. This guy should win the most active rider at Cascade trophy. I was fortunately up at the front, as Tom had told me that this was the spot where most breaks would form. So as soon I saw Stephen take off, I jumped and stayed in his wheel. We quickly got contact with Rob and Shane. Knowing I had 9 other hungry Bears in the field and 2 GC contenders, they all looked at me, and asked if I was going to pull or not. I looked back, saw we had a gap and I said “lets do it”. We got a good break going constantly rotating. Rob and Stephen were further down in the general classification, while Shane was 36sec. ahead of me and 1.45min behind Jason after 3rd stage so I should be careful how we played this. We gradually extended your lead from 55sec to 1.55min at 10 miles to go, but could then hear that the pace had picked up in the field and at 5 miles to go we only had 55 sec. At the bottom of Archie Briggs we knew that the field was closing in on us fast. No reason to play tactical or not pull, this was pure survival and we all gave it all we had. Stephen managed to get a gap, but I tried to chase with Rob in my wheel. Rob went by me at the flat section and bridged up and passed Stephen, while Shane was trailing behind after he had done some massive pulls in the break. I tried to push the pace, but there was no more juice in the tank. As we approached the steep finish I could hear the main field coming like a steam train. I squeezed out the last drops of power and managed to drag my bike over the finish line as 3rd, with Piers finishing 4th, same time as me. That was close. Super excited to get this prominent podium spot thanks to a strong team effort.
A note for our Editor in Chief Hans Gouwens:
Not sure who else was there that late spring evening when Tom showed up with his styrofoam helmet and his 22 lbs aluminum bike with down tube shifters, but we all spanked his fat ass and hairy legs. It took him about 3 months of determination to reverse that process and make us look like a bunch of overdressed Euro Pro fools.Tom started racing in 2008 with a few Hill Climbs to make sure he was safe and less likely to crash. In 2009 he won his first road race at Wente as a Cat 5 and quickly became a Cat 3 after that.
In 2010, he won his first 45+123 road race at Spring Hill and in 2011 he was kind enough to measure his sprint for the line to give me the win at the Mount Hamilton Classic – what a team mate!
After that, he went on to win the State Criterium Championship and three Stage Races. This past weekend, however, truly showed how strong and determined Tom has been lately. No more hairy legs, but an eye for detail and specifics to get the job done to grab the biggest win so far. It was truly fantastic to see Tom pull it off and wear that yellow jersey all the way back to Fairfax. Tom, you made us all look good!