Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

This posting is a big delayed since I've had a bit of a busy few weeks since doing this race between travel, work, more travel, and racing Cascades. But better late than never.

Podium Pic, thanks to Jim Wolf

Podium Pic, thanks to Jim Wolf. Look at those bling Mavic shoes.

Frankly the above photo pretty much summarizes the race. Top three guys are happy, me and Tim Rugg are kind of disappointed. The Marc Pro - Strava team did an amazing job to control the race for me and I kind of blew it at the finish. All five of us on the podium got to do pretty much nothing all day, cruise, and then do a 5 min hill climb followed by a minute break and another 2 min hill climb to decide the winner.

The race started much less aggressive than I anticipated. A small break rolled off on the first of 6 laps and we let them dangle at 2 minutes. There wasn't much of a concerted chase, but my prominent BarFly mounted computer was telling me this race was shorter than expected and our race would be only 128km, just over 3 hours. A steady stream of small attacks and the hill wore on them and they were brought back on lap 4. Justin, Ariel, and Chris HD then went crazy and started attacking and following moves while Art and I just made sure nothing went on the climb. I got to basically sit back and just make sure I didn't get caught out, my aero Giant Propel with super lightweight Ritchey SuperLogic wheels meant I was hardly pedaling on the rolling course. On the last lap two strong riders got a good gap and Ariel got into the rotation with a few other riders to keep the pace super high and bring them back by the bottom of the final climb.

My biggest mistake was not following Emerson, the winner, at the bottom of the final hill which was 5 min and 10% gradient. I saw him get a gap but didn't react right away. I eventually jumped across but the surge put me well over my redline and I couldn't hold the wheel once I got across. If I had just ridden my own pace bottom to top and not worried about anyone else like Emerson, I would have definitely stayed with him. He was riding super well and there is no guarantee that I could have beaten him, but it would have been a mano-a-mano duel in the final 1km climb.

When I opened the gap, Walton Brush of Mike's was on my wheel and didn't or couldn't pull through. This hesitation allowed Eric Slack of Canyon to get back on. Tim Rugg then attacked from behind me but Walton and Eric stayed glued to my wheel. Walton finally gave a half-hearted pull on the short downhill to start the final km. I attacked again coming out of the last turn in a bid to distance my two companions and catch Tim and Emerson. They followed and stayed on my wheel. Finally at about 400m to go Eric attacked. I immediately got on the back and countered in a last ditch attempt to go clear and maybe catch Emerson who had about 10 seconds. I went as hard as possible and passed Tim, but Eric and Walton hung on and then came around me in the flat final 150m. I was pretty deflated at this point and knew a podium was guaranteed but the jersey was out of reach. So, Tim came back around me on the finish line.

Standing between Nate English and Roman Kulin,  a couple of ex-pro's, is always a good sign!!

Standing between Nate English and Roman Kulin, a couple of ex-pro's, is always a good sign!!


Worse than bonking, far worse.  When you've been riding a lot, getting super fit, getting ready for that big century, an epic ride with some buddies, an upcoming race, or you're midway through a stage race, and it strikes.  The Crunch.  The feeling of "crystallized crotch shards" as one friend put it, a terrible chafe, irregardless of whether you're a dude or dudette - you almost have to stop pedaling.  You take stock of your surroundings, you're on a country lane, no one lives out here.  You consider calling a friend to pick you up, but you can't, the ignominy of explaining your predicament would be impossible to ever live down.  So you remount, pedaling squares, triangles even.  Your face contorts, you literally scream out into the rural expanse around you, "WHY!?".

Don't let this happen to you.

Watch this tale of rescue, of redemption, and forever be prepared with a liberal dollop of Betwixt prior to your rides.  #CuretheCrunch


The lead Mike's Bikes Crit Monkey readying the troops for Burlingame

The lead Mike's Bikes Crit Monkey readying the troops for Burlingame

Unfortunately, NorCal racers continue to focus on a single, stupid downtown Crit, while they all had the chance at an epic battle a few miles north. This year I really tried to pump up The Little City Stage Race because it deserves the hype. 4 stages 3 days in the high elevation desert, good prize money, an up and coming race promoter and all you can eat sushi. Luckily both Marc Pro - Strava and Cal Giant took notice and sent a squad. This would be the duel throughout the weekend.

The first stage of the Omnium was the Diamond Valley Road Race, set in Woodfords, CA. Just at the base of epic mountain passes such as Ebbets, Carson and Monitor...which could be used in future editions of this race if we continue to support it's growth. The race is only 68 miles, but always seems like more when you add the elevation, heat and wind. This year we had to contend with swarms of Locusts as well. MPS had a plan to make sure we had at least 2 contenders in each break but kept our tactics pretty loose. We headed out pretty mellow on the first lap until we hit the crosswind, locust section. Attacks started to fly. I may have contributed to a few myself, but we were caught off gaurd when a Cal Giant and 2 Davis Bike Club riders made it up the road. We chased the group back together and when the dust settled the race had whittled down to 15-20 riders. I countered immediately with a DBC rider starting the 2nd of 6 laps. We got a gap through the tailwind section, and I pushed it over the 2 climbs to find myself alone. It was not a smart move, but I channeled my inner Ben Jaques-Maynes and powered through the locusts and wind. The gap went from 20 seconds to a 1:10. I metered my effort, waivering on the idea of soloing a long road race in the wind, getting caught and not having anything for the finish. The 5th time up the climb I pulled the plug as my gap was hovering around a minute. The group was down to 8 riders, 3 from MPS (Chris HD, Jared Kessler and myself), 3 from Cal Giant (Torey Phillip, Colin Joyce and Yannick Eckmann), strong man Jacob Albright (Whole Athlete) and Matt Rodriguez (Davis). Attacks came immediately, and after a few, Torey Phillip got some daylight. He was pushing hard because it took some serious work to bring him back. He stayed away until the crosswind section of the final lap when it all came together. The group continued to attack and chase all the way to the finish. I swear we looked like a bunch of gladiators at the end of the day...swerving all over the road, salty, yelling at each other. No one had the strength to break away so the finish came down to whittled field sprint which HD started to leadout. Matt Rodriguez surged with 400 meters and Colin Joyce jumped a long way out with 300 meters. I had lead legs and tried to come around way too soon. Realizing I wasn't making progress I jumped back in his draft and tried again...it didn't happen and Colin won. We ended up 2,4,6 and in good position for the overall omnium.

Alex Chiu takes some great shots...This is the Fernley Circuit pushing the two man break

Alex Chiu takes some great shots...This is the Fernley Circuit pushing the two man break

The picture above explains it all. The Fernley Race Circuit was fun. Crazy winds, good pavement and lots of turns. Chuck Hutcheson attacked from go. I countered his move at the top of the headwind climb and the break was established. Yankick, myself and Josh Rennie from Velo Reno. Josh put in some good work for the first lap, but there was nowhere to hide and the pace was a little too much. Yannick and I worked well together for the next 3 laps. With 2 to go I noticed a Cal Giant rider and Jacob Albright were making a move across. This was not a good scenario for MPS so I continued to drive hard. On the last lap I attacked Yannick with everything I had twice. He brought me back both times, but I knew we were both hurting. Knowing the finish was a long headwind, and Yannick was sitting on, I tried a false attack at 500 meters. It worked and Yannick countered. It was a solid counter and took until about 200 meters to catch him, but I did and was able to power to the finish.

We absolutely crushed some all you can eat sushi to fuel us for the rest of the race!!

We absolutely crushed some all you can eat sushi to fuel us for the rest of the race!!

Eyes on the road

Eyes on the road

Diamond Valley Time Trial...downhill, tailwind, locusts, turnaround, uphill, headwind, locusts, bug juice splatter in eye...I won and consolidated my lead heading into the crit.

The downtown Minden Crit is so much fun. Excellent pavement, park setting, and a fun chicane to the finish. I did some quick math (too quick) before the race and figured Colin Joyce was the only one who could overtake me in in the Omnium. Our plan was to let a break get up the road without Colin or I in it...that happened with 13 guys. Jared and HD were in the move, and I just sat and watched Colin. We got lapped and when we did all kinds of things started happening. At first there was confusion as the groups merged, and second Colin started chatting with everyone on his team, they had done there calculations better than I. Turns out Yannick was only 78 points down on me, not 82 like I thought. If he won and I got 16th or higher, I would lose by 1 point. They got on front to control the race and any attack to help leadout Yannick. I needed an insurance policy so I told Jared to sit on Yannick and beat him in the sprint. After some attacking (HD off the front for a good 7 laps) Cal Giant was throttling themselves to control the race. I came up to Jared and asked what do you need...he said "a leadout" and I heard "I'm in the leadout." So my thought was to disrupt the leadout. With 2.5 laps to go, as HD was getting reabsorbed, I threw down my hardest attack...I looked back to find Michael Larson (Velo Reno) on my wheel and a huge gap. I knew Michael was in the original break and could win at this point and take the points Yannick needed for the overall...I also know Michael and he is a strong kid who is up and coming from the Reno area. I drilled it for the next two laps and held the gap on the chasing CalGiant. Michael got the win, I won the Omnium and Jared still managed to out sprint Yannick for 3rd. Victory!!

Pretty cool podium to be on top of

Pretty cool podium to be on top of

Here is the report from Ellen Sherrill and NorCal Cycling News.

You Won’t Believe What Happened at the Dunlap Memorial Time Trial! by Ellen Sherrill • June 12, 2014 • race coverage

Okay okay, I lied; you probably will believe it. Last weekend’s Steve Dunlap Memorial Time Trial played out much like any other day of time trialing, albeit with a set of particularly hot, dry, and windy conditions that made the perfect ride a tricky science. But in a world with endless brain Skittles floating a finger’s twitch away, who wants to read about a local flat ITT? So shoot me for making you look, but some interesting tidbits of news did emerge from the day, so please read on.

The fastest times of the day in the 30k distance for the P/1/2 lineup went to Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Stava), Chris Phipps (Thirsty Bear), and Roman Kilun (Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees) for the men, with Molly Van Houweling (Metromint), Jane Despas (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), and Joanna Dahl (Metromint) on top of the women’s results.

While the scorching, tempestuous winds surprised nobody, considering what is normal in the Davis area, weather conditions still merited some strategic thought by contenders. “I was pretty sure it was going to be a slow day due to crazy winds!” remarked Rossi, “(But) I ride the same wheel setup no matter the conditions. I did a TT in Cold Springs, Nevada, at the end of May, with 30-40 mph winds…that made Dunlap seem like a light breeze”. Neither did Van Houweling change her usual set of wheels and gear, and noted that she welcomed the practice under the challenging conditions. “(Dunlap) is almost always windy and extremely hot. This year was no exception. Everyone who survived knows a little more than they did before about their ability to handle a twitchy TT bike in cross winds, head winds, tail winds, and heat!” related Van Houweling. Despas, with a ride only two seconds shy of the leader’s time, seemed unfazed by the blustery day. Other than drinking liters of Pedialyte pre and post-race, the ICE Sportswear captain did nothing different than usual to prepare or race the Dunlap course. She elected not to use a power device to ride, remarking “…data is good, but the legs don’t lie. Just stomp, stomp, stomp to make every pedal stroke count. Chase down the next victim…”

Dahl, meanwhile, discovered that she faced a different sort of pre-race challenge as she prepared to warm up: forgotten shoes. After subsequent scrambling for replacements, she was able to locate a pair to borrow. “(It was the) first time I have ever done that”, said Dahl. “I usually check 2-3 times that I have my shoes and helmet before I head to a race, but failed to do that this time! I was so tired after Pescadero that I just went to bed instead of packing up my TT stuff the night before. Then I was rushing out the door because I really like sleeping, and cut my morning getting ready time close. I was really grateful to have generous and well-prepared teammates in attendance on Sunday!”

Nearly every starter who spoke with NCCN said they were using Dunlap to prepare for the district championship time trial in a few weeks, citing the 30k distance as good practice for Sattley’s 40k course. On his change in pacing strategy in the wind and over extended distance, Rossi detailed, “I pre-rode the course and had a plan to recover a bit on the tailwind sections -30 watts and crush the headwind sections +30 watts. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to courses…in reality it’s a matter of just cranking out the watts, but I play little games throughout my time trial. I’m always in my head coaching myself through the pain, cutting deals like a used car salesman.” Dahl’s tack was based less on watts and more on saving to go the distance. “My pacing strategy was to hold back in the first 15 minutes so that I didn’t blow up. The 10 mile TTs I am used to are usually less than 25 minutes, and at Dunlap, I had an extra 20 minutes to go.”

Praise for the new Dunlap course this year was fairly universal amongst participants, most agreeing with Van Houweling’s sentiment, “This is a great event and I really appreciate the Davis Bike Club for making it an annual tradition”. Utilizing a stretch of Putah Creek Road familiar to many from the the infamous Wednesday evening “Putah Creek Smackdown” time trials, this year’s location was every bit as windy as the last few years in the South Davis area, but with the added benefit of arguably better scenary, as well as smoother pavement surface. Longtime Davis Bike Club board member, but first-year Dunlap director John Steggall explained, “We essentially had to change the course because the highway patrol has gotten to the point where they insist on having a cop at every single corner where you might be going through a stop sign or anything like that. Each one of those is costing us like 80-100 bucks an hour, and basically it costs more to put on the race than we actually bring in. So we wanted to find a course that was very simple, and had very few stop signs and such. Plus, it’s nice to be in Winters again.” Steggall pointed out that the latest course iteration actually uses much of the ground covered in the original course. Incidentally, Kilun was the Dunlap race director in 2000 as a UC Davis undergrad, when the course was still based out of Winters.