Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team



I'm too tall for the sign.  Josh Dapice and Jacob Albrecht put in great rides for 2nd and 3rd!!

I'm too tall for the sign. Josh Dapice and Jacob Albrecht put in great rides for 2nd and 3rd!!

The race for this year's Challenge Road Race began the night before, when I was having fun at the Fire Department Fantasy Draft and was debating skipping the race. Somehow hanging with the boys and having a few more, was edging out the decision to get up at 3:45 AM and subject myself to the hardest race on the NorCal calendar.

For those that have not had the chance to enjoy Challenge...it's a bitch of a course. It climbs over 10K feet in 95 miles, it's hot, there is a ridiculous amount of "california cobble" that has claimed a lot of wheels over the year and it seems to never not be going uphill. It is beautiful though, and if you have the climbing legs to compete, it's worth the drive.

This year it was the NCNCA District State Championship, which I felt was awesome, because the course would truly reward the hard men of the sport. Some complained about the distance away from their hometown, but in reality, that was an excuse to cover for the fear of the "Challenge". Marc Pro - Strava took to the start line with a stellar climbing group in Chris HD, Art Rand, Max Jenkins and myself. Our plan was to be the best survivors of the day and win.

After the neutral descent down the cobble we re-gathered and started the race. The first half of lap one was fairly mellow, as Chris HD and I took in some of the great views, while some others were already getting dropped. We went through the feed zone on the second half of the lap, and I was taking a relaxed position at the back, chatting with a KHS-Jakroo rider who made the trip north to marvel at NorCal's epic road race. Of course there was a near crash heading into the steepest climb, which I was stuck behind, and Matt Rodrigues (Davis Bike Club) decided to turn the screws. I had to put in a huge effort to make it back (500 watts for 3:30 for number geeks). Matt (this guy is some kind of special when it comes to going uphill) continued to drill it up the climb and decimated the field into a group of about 8. All four MPS riders made the split.

Down the second descent, I took advantage of my 28mm tubless tires on our Ritchey Zeta II's, and went full gas. At the bottom we lost a few more riders, including Max who suffered a flat. This was a serious blow, and we would have to be very careful continuing without our star climber. I sat on the group, constantly looking back for Max to reappear but it never happened. We hit the climb on the 2nd feed zone when Matt decided to show his stuff again. I was able to match him and suck wheel like a pro. Over the top Max was already changed into street clothes and handing out bottles...he gave me some encouragement "You better win now". The group came back together with HD and Art making it back, but both letting me know they were hurting. The third and final time down the descent, I went full gas again and at the bottom I had a modest gap, with only Art, HD, Jacob Albrecht (Whole Athelete) and Josh Dapice (Audi) coming back. Matt Rodrigues suffered some kind of mechanical (flat or chain). Either way, I was a bit relieved. Heading into the first set of climbs, Matt reappeared in the distance...Shit this guy doesn't quit. Josh and I took up pace making on the climb to make his day a little bit harder. Matt was almost reattached when I started to attack. After 3 or 4 surges, I decided to commit to going for it. I put in a big effort over the top of the course and got some daylight. Jacob and Josh were left with the chase, while HD and Art just had to sit on and discourage the chase. I managed to put about 1:30 into them leading into the final set of climbs. This is when shit started going really bad.

Yup, that's what it felt like!!

Yup, that's what it felt like!!

I suffered up the feed zone climb, nearly 1:30 slower than last time up on lap 2!! Luckily Max and MPS Girlfriend of the week, Amanda Siegle, were there with both water and mix. On the final set of climbs towards the finish I was hemorrhaging like a bitch in heat...I think I may have wept. I was starting to loose my balance and my head was spinning. Just to give more reference, I was winning a race and was having an internal dialogue with myself about not stopping. My worst fear was becoming a reality when Josh Dapice came back into view before the final steep pitch!! I gave it everything to get over that bitch and motored the down hill to the final stretch of road. I made it!! 1 hour by myself of pure suffering, and the reward was a great win for my second state title of the year!! Art just got nipped at the line and ended 4th with HD coming through in 5th. Matt Rodgrigues deserves mention as well who limped home with one leg cramped for 6th.

I actually circled back around after asking a few people to snap a shot!!

I actually circled back around after asking a few people to snap a shot!!


I showed up to Patterson Pass Road Race eager to repeat my win in 2013.  I was definitely “floating” that day last year so I didn’t expect to feel as good physically, but I was really hungry, and thats what matters.

Well that escalated quickly. (Photo by Alex Chiu - http://acaurora.smugmug.com)

Well that escalated quickly. (Photo by Alex Chiu - http://acaurora.smugmug.com)

I rolled up to the starting line with a big sack of bottles for Ariel and I.  We didn’t have a feeder as of yet, so I figured I would drop them off in the feedzone 2 miles up the climb.  Luckily an official thought was stupid and convinced a driver to take them up the hill for me.  Benny Swedberg (Cal Giant) and I sang a quick refrain of “Let it go”, and we were off.  Attacks went immediately but were brought back and I was thinking we would have a medium-paced climb up Patterson Pass.  Airgas had different ideas and they drilled it, lining out the peloton single file.  Just before the first steep section Matt Rodrigues (DBC) attacked and Griffin Easter (Airgas) attacked too.  I decided to follow Griffin and make it a 3 man break.  They were going insanely hard, super deep, right away at the beginning.  I tried following for a bit and ultimately decided that the move was suicide.  I let up and waited for the peloton until Flynn, hoping may a couple guys would leapfrog across to me and then we could ride up to the front two guys and actually have a reasonable chance.

I was reabsorbed and hung out in the group waiting for the next time up Patterson.  The second time was even harder than the first, but when we hit the headwind near the top of the climb, things slowed down just enough that I could recover - Justin Mauch (Airgas) was dangling in front of us, so I punched it over the top alone to join him.  We rode hard and couldn’t see the duo that was still off the front.  We hit the feedzone for the start of the 3rd lap and Griffin Easter was coming back to us, the gap to the front was 2 minutes... Woah, I guess we better try riding harder.

Chasing hard with Justin Mauch from Airgas. (Photo by Alex Chiu - http://acaurora.smugmug.com)

Chasing hard with Justin Mauch from Airgas. (Photo by Alex Chiu - http://acaurora.smugmug.com)

So on all of the flats and descents Justin and I rode pretty hard, Griffin didn’t hang.  Time was drifting by and still no sight of Rodrigues... “Where is he???” Justin asked incredulously.

We passed the feedzone going into the last lap.

“What’s the gap?!”

“5 minutes!”

“................”

“Holy shit.”
Matt Rodrigues was having a great day.  All that training in the Italian Dolomites has really paid off.

Matt Rodrigues was having a great day. All that training in the Italian Dolomites has really paid off.

So I accepted that I was racing for 2nd place at this point, because Matt Rodrigues was riding like friggin Fausto Coppi or something.  I decided I would wait until the climb up Flynn to try and go solo for the podium, and attacked Justin.  I think Justin was pretty tired from our long hard chase and couldn’t respond, I started time trialing and really poured it on during the descent to final roller.

A moto drove up:

“The gap is 7 minutes.”

I don’t even know what road the final roller is on, but it sucks.  There is a solid crosswind, its hard enough to be more than annoying, and I nearly cramped in the same spot the year before when Brandon Trafton was chasing me.

This year I looked back and saw a diminished group of 4 or 5 gaining some ground and punched it out of the saddle for the crest.  Cramp.  I tried pedaling with it and it really hurt, I was swearing my head off trying to turn the pedals.  I started pedaling with just my right leg and my left leg unclipped.  It was inevitable, I was going to be caught and passed.  I was even cramping trying to clip my left leg back in.  So at the crest, I just got off my bike.

A big congratulations to Matt Rodrigues for meting out a beating commensurate to both of Ben Jacques-Maynes victories this year.

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With cash pimes every lap and a pancake flat course I can say I absolutely love the idea of the ICC Dash for Cash. I drove out to Pleasanton with the plan of coming home and bathing in a sea of 10 dollars bills that I would win (think Scrooge McDuck) only to discover the slayer of primes aka Dave Grundman was going to be racing. Filled with disappointment I decided one prime would be ideal. After a few laps of the parking lot it become obvious that Team Mikes Bikes and Squadra SF had decided to bring literally everyone on their teams, which was unsettling seeing that I would be the only MPS rider to take the line. After a quick panic/brainstorming session I decided the race needed to end in a break to eliminate the numerical advantage I was up against; first lap I started attacking my brains out. At some point in the race I found myself off the front with a perfect combination of teams represented in the break including TMB, Bicycles Plus, Squadra, Pinnacle - Reactor, and Clif bar, boom winning break. Things went smoothly from here, I never did more then my share of the work and just waited for the lap cards to tick down. Coming into the bell lap Reece Levine of TMB started bringing up the pace with his sprinter Dana Williams behind. On the last lap I pushed my way onto Dana's wheel and took a long sprint ahead of Dave Grundman 2nd and Matt Mikul 3rd.

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Dave and Dana got all the primes...ALL BUT ONE!!!

Analyzing your segment effort is back, and it is better than ever. Thanks to some stellar work by The Doctor, as well as many other Strava engineers, it is now easy to compare your recent effort to a personal best or the KOM/QOM. To access the new segment comparison page, just go directly to a segment page or click on Compare from a segment on your activity page. From here you can click play and watch the segment effort unfold.

KOM hunting at team camp

KOM hunting at team camp

This tool makes it super easy to analyze where you are ahead or behind; critical to seeing where on a segment you can make up time. Premium members will be able to analyze up to five efforts at once. This can either be against other people or against your previous efforts. I really like being able to review my past results on segments I regularly ride and utilize to gauge fitness.

There is also the full range of segment filters to slice and dice the leader board even more.

There is also the full range of segment filters to slice and dice the leader board even more.

For a little more information on this new feature, check out this Strava Knowledge Base article.

This post is going to be brief since nothing really happened in the race. The University RR course is a classic circuit race held on the UC Santa Cruz campus that is either up or down the whole time. Its been cancelled a few times lately due to construction, so I was pretty excited it was back on the calendar this year. We showed up with a small but talented roster of myself, Art, Keith, and Ariel to complement a small but talented field of about 30 riders.

The first few laps were fairly mellow as everyone wanted to warm up on the foggy coastal morning. Then finally on lap 3 an Airgas rider attack and was quickly covered by Ariel, riders kept bridging to the group on the downhill until the group was back together. I pulled much of the climb on lap four at a decent pace to keep the tempo high and soften the field up a bit more. Then towards the top another Airgas rider, Kevin Gottlieb, attacked and everyone just watched him go. We went fairly fast down the hill and then near the bottom I attacked from about ten riders back. Matt Rodriguez was immediately on my wheel and as soon as we were clear of the field took a monster pull for most of the climb. We caught Kevin before the top and we never saw the field again as our gap was growing by 15 seconds per lap.

Getting the gap

Getting the gap

Around the half way mark Kevin started hurting and got dropped three laps in a row and finally couldn't close the gap back on the downhill and was gone for good. Matt and I worked well for the rest of the race, but Matt was consistently taking longer and harder pulls then I was comfortable with. I thought I'd have a chance in a sprint so I waited for that. Unfortunately I waited a bit too long and Matt jumped a bit before me, but frankly I just didn't have the legs and it probably wouldn't have mattered as he was riding so strongly. In the end I was pretty satisfied with 2nd after being very tired all week post Leadville.

Satisfied with 2nd

Satisfied with 2nd