Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

Pulling up to the Oakland Grand Prix I saw my team mates, Ariel, Max, Willie and Matt Chat.  They looked straight gangsta. We were clearly the toughest spandex element this town has ever seen.  I pulled my bike out, put my sunglasses on, then pumped this song:


Phil Roberts

Start of race. Photo from Phil Roberts of the Cycles Fanatic Factory Racing Team

(this race report is written to Too $horts "Life is too Short, so read it while you play the song) I remember how it all began
I used to do this crit in East Oakland
Back then I knew ya couldn't stop that sprint
Pulled my bars so hard that they bent
Then the new style came, the race got faster
Got in today's break with a crit master
Do ya wanna pull or get caught?
Pulled damn hard it hurt alot
People wanna say it's just my time
Racers like me had to work for mine
Eight riders on Team Mike's and I'm not jokin'
Including Kilun comin' straight from Oakland
California, home of the rock
Eight Mike's in the crit, beatin' down the block
Chuck dog, I'm that racin' man
I said it before and I 'll say it again

Life is too short
Too short
Life is too short

The field chased us till it was unbearable
But the pulls we took were just terrible
Rob Evans didn't pull too much, nothing' big
Thought he was saving it up to give it a dig
Giant Bike's my main asset
I be doin' all right and keep it just like that
Chill out in the break and pump that bass
Not getting rich but I am trying to place
Every racerss got that same old dream
To win crit money and fancy things
Ride a brand new Bike, keep the field right here
Never hear me stutter once because I talk real clear
It's on you, homeboy, watcha gonna do?
You can take my advice and start attackin', fool
Or you can close your ears and run your mouth
And one day, homeboy, ya soon find out

Life is too short
Too short
Life is too short

The final laps the break couldn't agree
Two Mike's Bikes started attacking me
Chased a bunch of times so they didn't get away
Got no Help from Rob Evans or Stephen Cabebe
Cause I don't stop racin', that's my theme
Gonna chase till I crack, do you know what I mean?
One lap to go ya must stay up
Hold that wheel, don't say "What?"
Its only one lap and ya callin' it hell
Please don't take me into a hay bail
We gave Dana a gap man cause we didn't know
In a matter of time he was winning the show
I tried to catch to be on top
3rd to 2nd I made the hop
Screwed it up on the last last lap
Turn around, homeboy, ya better watch your back
that's it

This may be the toughest photo ever taken in Oakland

This may be the toughest photo ever taken in Oakland.  Photo from Mike's Bikes

After the Race Team Mikes hosted a Barbecue. Good times, its great to be back racing.  Next post may be written to Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story."

The Ghetto CX crew put on a new cross race just 20 minutes from my house with an awesome prize purse. They want to grow the event and make it a UCI race. Plus there was not much road racing going on this past weekend, so there was no way I wasn't going to go. The course map made it seem fairly tight, but I didn't really expect it to be that technical because it was mostly on grass which usually means lots of traction. However, in actuality it was entirely on the side of a hill so every other corner was steeply off camber and there were a ton of short but really steep hills. I also hadn't ridden my CX bike in a long time and I spent a bit of the warm up remembering how to dismount and remount my bike quickly. The course only had a single barrier which I knew the real crossers would jump, but I just don't trust my skills enough to attempt it and risk endoing. I also had a bit of a spill in a slow hairpin warming up and that prompted me to switch tires to something a bit more knobby on the front, with input from Keith Hillier who was also racing.

Showing off all of the sponsors

Showing off all of the sponsors' names. Thanks, Barfly, Giant, Jakroo, Marc Pro, Mavic, Strava, and Wild Cherries.

I managed to line up on the front row but the start was even more explosive than I anticipated and soon found myself in about 10th place. Still a decent start by my standards. A gap opened up in front of me really quickly as a rider got a great start but couldn't hold the pace less than a minute in. Never mind, I was picking my way through the pack and was up to 5th or 6th when I punctured 20 minutes into the race. It was fairly close to the pits and I had stashed a spare wheel set, but its really hard to change a wheel when your heart rate is pinned at 180. I dropped my chain twice and then my new wheel was too wide for my brakes to close. I said screw it and rode off without a rear brake, but after a half lap I realized it was a big handicap with all of the off camber turns so I stopped in the pit again and borrowed a 5mm from SRAM neutral support.

By now I was well down in the field as I had lost about a minute and a half. Luckily we were only half way into the race and I knew a lot of the riders in front of me would start fading badly in the Sacramento heat. I proceeded to charge through the field. I caught the other Marc Pro - Strava representative Nick Schaffner in about 10 minutes and set my sights for Keith who rides cross for Rambuski Law. I was gaining on Keith but ran out of road and finished 5 seconds behind him in 8th place. I ended up only 30 seconds behind 5th but oh well, that is bike racing. I had a super fun time and I will definitely come back to this race again.

What a hard day of travel to the "not so" Historic Folsom Crit. Interesting course layout that did not do much raise much interest for me to attend, but having it be a 5 minute bike ride from my front door and promoted by a close local organization I needed to represent. A Hot Dog shaped course was something new to me with a round-a-bout on one end and a hard 180 on the other, only coming out of it was a sharp quick pitch uphill, interesting. Well this hot dog of a course turned out to be more of a Hot Link sausage. Felt pretty good and a put a smile on my face for awhile but it really hurt later!

With this race taking place in tandem with the historic Nevada City Crit and part of an omnium with that race the dynamics proved interesting with this looking like a sprinters race and the latter being more of a "hulk hogan" sort of a race. BrotheRRR!!! Lining up Marc Pro - Strava was a little out numbered. Deciding to maybe not be the aggressors of the race we would follow moves, well...most of us. The Plucky little Mickey that is Mr. Hermann decided to take it upon himself to just attack the whole race including himself for the first 20 minutes or so keeping it hard for everyone. Eventually and as it usually does a break of about 5 formed and got up the road, well represented most of the players. They stayed out for a few laps holding a nice gap over the chasing field when I found myself covering a move and riding the bridging train up to the break.

Good and bad...Now i'm up the road. Now i'm out numbered. 4 Mike's, 3 Cal Giant, 3 Bear Development with myself and Nano Christensen being the lone soldiers on other teams. Nano having been in the break since the beginning was feeling human and getting tired so no alliances were going to be profitable with him asI found I was on my own in this battle getting attacked 2-3 riders at a time and covering moves for 10 minutes or so until a group of two eventually slipped away...then another group of two. Feeling officially blown out of my mind I stubbornly sat on the front of the remainder of the break and towed all the knuckleheads around the course for 4 laps and watched them ride away from me in the last 100 meters. What a massive disappointment! But hey...that's bike racing. Just call me Dr. John, I was in the right place, it was just the wrong time.

Nevada City Classic! Boy what a Classic it is. The race I have been looking forward to all year and targeted as my A-list race. Without question my most anticipated race. Preparing properly for it and although the results from the previous day did not represent well, my form was not lacking. The race got started in typical fashion with what I am led to believe is a typical parade lap? Not sure if that actually happens anymore, the gloves were on and fighting began from the moment we rolled. Fortunately having more troops from MPS representing at this race offered a bit more of a cushion allowing me to ride as conservative as possible. Holding my position wisely, after about 20-30 minutes I started to question myself and my form feeling like I just may get dropped! Just about at that point i looked around to take inventory and saw that the splits had happened and I was cruising now in the lead group, whittled down to less than 20! Ok!...I made it, sit tight...Not using too much energy I settled into a groove and felt better and better as I found some rhythm and calmed the early race nerves. Justin "lung bags" Rossi decided he didn't care for much company and just rode at the front basically all day. With the exception of one moment where ironically he found himself in the hay bails behind a crash. He was probably just hungry and grabbed a quick flake of hay for the road as the thoroughbred that is Rossi chased back into the lead group because we weren't going hard enough for him at the time. Around about that time Chris HD was putting on an impressive display of explosiveness off the front of the race attacking and covering with ease and making it look easy. Possibly a month early, that fireworks show would have been great for a 4th of July celebration. Turns out it wasn't quite a fireworks show but more a long range missile assault. HD got up the road with a Cal Giant and a Mike's and the trio road away as i watched my hopes of this race roll away with it. With the pace still hot we got some feedback course side with 2 laps or so to go that MPS was struggling in the group? Uh-Oh...sitting about 3rd wheel at the time I made eyes with Captain Rossi and gestured for him to get on the front, be a big dumb animal and bring these guys back. Well...I then watched him roll away with one other Mike's with a hard attack! Not exactly what I had in mind but hey! I guess i'll just make it happen for myself for 6th. I locked myself onto Mini Laberge's wheel who was miraculously still in the race and proving that he is much more than a lead out sprinter. Fighting for position into the final stretch I jumped him and the train and took it to the line to round out MPS's 3,4,6th for the day. Bittersweet end to a hard weekend of banging my head into a wall. Maybe i'll have a shot at it as a Master in 10 years!

We entered the race with only a 6 point deficit in the Premier Series to Mikes, but they brought their "A" sprint squad, and we brought the 6 guys who weren't quite burned out on the season yet. Was it a coincidence that three of those guys were mountain men of the Reno/Tahoe region? Where was the rest of the team? I was able to track some of them down afterwards - Keith H was tasting wedding cake for the fifth consecutive weekend, Teeter was running a 5k, Chuck was either digging up dinosaur bones or doing a 300k training ride for the 2015 season, Matt McKinzie was trying to track down our final Zico Coconut water shipment, Ariel was doing whatever evil geniuses do, Jared was moving for the sixth time this summer, HD was helping Keith try wedding cake, Art was at the tanning booth, and Josh was peeling himself off the hood of a 90 year old woman's car (that one's not funny). That left the Marc Pro - Strava roster for Vacaville with Rossi, Jenkins, Schaffner, Freed, Myers, and Chatlaong. Not too shabby, but Mikes brought 9.   The race typically has a 50/50 chance of blowing apart and a small group fights it out off the front, or it ends in a field sprint. We figured the former would play out in our favor, and we knew that Mikes would sit and wait for the sprint.

We attacked, then countered our attacks, then countered the counters. Matt Chat and Willie got up the road in small groups for a little while, but they were brought back. Then the rest of us were each in moves that Mikes had to chase down, but nothing decisive. We knew that if we kept chipping away at Mikes, they would begin to tire, and our strong guys Max and Justin would be able to slip away. That's what happened a little more than halfway through the race. Justin attacked solo and immediately built up a sizable gap. Mikes put everyone on the front but it was obvious that some of their guys were already pretty tired. It took some serious work and a lot of laps for them to drag Justin back, but they eventually did. As soon as they did, a few of us were waiting to jump again. Nick, myself, and Max put in a couple more short digs before Justin threw down again. He wasn't aware of it at the time, but Dave Grundman was already off the front. This forced Mikes to use every guy that they had left to chase the two biggest engines in the race down.

James Laberge was left mostly to fend for himself in the sprint, but the kid is legit. He won, while our Matt Chat grabbed 5th. We lost our grasp on the Premier Series, but I think things would have been different if we had brought another strong guy or two. (::cough::cough::)
Nick "get

Nick "gets the party started". (photo credit Alex Chiu)

Matt Chat get

Matt Chat knows how to corner. (photo credit Alex Chiu)

What a surprise! Justin off the front with Mikes chasing... (photo credit Alex Chiu)

What a surprise! Justin off the front with Mikes chasing... (photo credit Alex Chiu)


The Tahoe Bike Classic invites you to be a part of the ONLY timed race around Lake Tahoe!

Formerly called The Great Lake Tahoe Bike Race, The Tahoe Bike Classic is now evolving into much, much more! We are now offering the race in a Gran Fondo format so racers can hammer and riders can ride. We've also added a hill-climb time trial...just to get you warmed-up. Check out the race descriptions for all the gory details! Registration and Race Packet pick up

At Sports LTD (4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd inside the Village Shopping Center next to Raley's) on Friday, September 26th from 4-8pm and Saturday, September 27th from 12-8 pm. Sports LTD is a full service sporting goods store and bike shop so you don't need to worry about all that stuff you forgot or that last minute tune on your bike! For more information check them out

Late Registration - Sunday September 28th from 5:30 - 6:30 am at Zephyr Cove Resort 760 Highway 50 Zephyr Cove, NV 89448.

Shuttles for Petit Fondo leave Zephyr Cove Result at 6:50am on race day. Cost is $10. Reservations can be made at packet pick-up,

Hill Climb Time Trial - Saturday September 27th at 9:00AM.

What better way to start your weekend than with a smooth 5% grind for 8.5 miles. The Spooner Hill Climb starts in Carson City and chews up 2600 ft of elevation on the way to Spooner Summit (7146 ft). A Queen and King of the Mountain will be awarded for top times.

Need we say more? Lake Tahoe Gran Fondo - Sunday, September 28th, 2014 - 7:00AM.

Formerly, the Great Lake Tahoe Bike Race, this is the only bike race around Lake Tahoe! Better yet, in true Fondo fashion, you need not be a hammerhead to enjoy spectacular views and this amazing course. Everyone can partake in the peloton speeding through town and then settle into your pace pack that will surely lead you on one of the fastest laps around Lake Tahoe that you'll ever have!

A little tid-bit about the Lake and the Race.

The start, finish and awards for the Gran Fondo will be at Zephyr Cove Resort in Tahoe South. When the gun goes off at 7am the peloton will begin heading clockwise around the lake. You'll zip through the City of South Lake Tahoe with a police escort and then head over Emerald Bay through Homewood to Tahoe City. You'll then pass through Kings Beach, Incline Village and Sand Harbor before climbing up to Spooner Junction (just a 100ft below the 7,146 ft summit!). From there you get to enjoy the most scenic downhill of the day as you head straight toward Glenbrook. After that it's rolling hills til you you blast into the finish back at the beautiful Zephyr Cove Resort!

The fastest official time around the lake is 2:50:21 in 2010 by Jesse Miller-Smith. We have a $500 bounty out for somebody to beat it. Are you up to it?