Herbalife24 presented by Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

With the year coming to an end the Vacaville Grand Prix is one of the last big races of the season and is also this years State Championship. After a very successful few weeks the Herbalife p/b Marc Pro - Strava boys were chomping at the bit for a chance at another result. An hour before the start the team huddled under the tent while Phil gave us the pre race talk, we would ride for the field sprint (which was good news for me) unless we could stack a favorable break. The Vacaville course is one of the best courses around, with a sizable hill and technical back side, the racing is fast and dynamic with an good chance of a break staying away. From the gun the racing was on with our guest rider Tim Rugg hurling himself off the front at every chance possible and the rest of the team covering moves and keeping me up front. As the laps ticked down the chance of a bunch gallop became more evident. With 5 laps remaining the H24 train took control with me sitting comfortably on the back, with our entire team on the front I got an armchair ride and didn't have to waste any extra energy fighting for position. Everything was going to plan until three laps to go when Matt Rodriguez (Airgas - Safeway) shot off the front with a furious attack up the hill. After soloing the final three kilometers of the Winters Road Race the day before we knew that if anyone could steal the show it would be him. The boys kept their cool and upped the pace, knowing that if we didn't bring him back, no one would. Coming through on the bell lap Rodriguez still had a 10 second lead and was turning himself inside out to not only win the race but possibly seal the CalCup overall title. with our train down to its final couple riders Matt Chatlaong took the front and went absolutely ballistic leading into the hill, the second Chatlaong started to slow my last man Josh Carling opened his sprint and made the catch with around 800 meters remaining. At this moment the Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffee train jumped hard taking the lead in hopes of delivering their all star sprinter Garrett Hankens to victory. I dove into their train slotting in third wheel. Coiming into the final 90 degree turn James Laberge (Champion System - Stan's Notubes) opened up his sprint and  dove into the inside and opened up a small gap over the final TMB rider and myself. Knowing James could easily win the race with this move I jumped and made contact with him, I kept my momentum up and came past with 200 meters to go and was able to hold it to the line for the win and the State Criterum title. Watching my teammates turn them selfs inside out, knowing I could finish the job makes the win much sweeter. Im now leading the Cal Cup series with one race remaining. 

Funny story actually, I was over at my girlfriends house having breakfast with Amy and her mom Sandra. Sandra asked if I was doing the cccx race later that day. I didn't think she knew what she was talking about because Im "so on top of it" so I just thought she was guessing, but sure enough she was right. After I told her that I was going to go race that, she asked if there was anything else I need some help with. "no Im ok, I think I got it from here. Thanks though". I checked the time and saw that my race starts at 3:40 so I had plenty of time. I went home and got all my stuff together for a 70min circuit race.

I got all signed up with the other 15 riders in the p/1/2/3 race. After rolling around to get warmed up, I hung out by the 180 turn to watch the masters race finish. Every one that came up to me thought that I was Matt Chatlaong. All these guys were asking about the team and how my season has been going and if I was the one that won that Budweiser Crit earlier this season. "Nope, that was Matt Chat". So after a few of the guys in my race talked to me about everything, we went to the start line. And I found out after that most of the riders thought that I was Matt Chat so they were all marking me, not letting me go and just waiting for a sprint finish while other strong riders were attacking and getting reasonable gaps. I just followed wheels, keeping an eye on Jason G. (VuMedi) because I know he is really strong. Some guys would only go to the front on the tail wind section because...well..its a TAILWIND and they would drill it for 20 seconds then swing off. I chased down a few attacks that looked good but wasn't very aggressive as everyone was still thinking my name was Matt and not Cerruti as it says on the side of our awesome customized Jakroo jerseys. With about 35min to go, we were dropping riders off the back really fast. We got the group down to about 8 riders within a few laps. Then with only about 4 to go is when Gavin M. started razoring on the front and slowly slipped away from me as I was on his wheel. I didn't think much of it and swung off to let someone else take over. Thats when an integrity racing rider went with him. Once they got into a rhythm, they established a gap and we kept it there with only a few of us rotating and another integrity racing rider blocking in the pace line. I knew we weren't going to catch them with the 2 laps we had left so I skipped a few pulls to make sure I had something for the uphill sprint finish. With 2 to go, 1 rider went off the front trying to catch the riders ahead of us. On the last lap, I followed wheels that were following those last minute attacks. Right before the 180 turn to go back up to the finish after a short downhill, Jason dropped back behind me. That made me think he was feeling good and thinks he can come around us for 4th. I kept an eye on his shadow ready to pop up at any moment. One rider went for it early, followed that 3rd wheel. The guy in front of me went for it with 200 to go, I stayed seated and waited for him to blow up. He swung off at 100m to go, and thats when I threw everything down that I had left and held off everyone else that was sitting on. I rolled through in 4th place. It was a good training race, really fun to go out there and have some fun and grab a podium spot at one of my local races in monterey.

Four H24, our race really began three weeks ago; for me, with a phone call fro Felipe el Mooney - AT 2AM!

I answered " Hello?!?"

Felipe "Hola! ¿Qué llevas puesto?"

Chuck, "What?"

Felipe "What are you wearing."

Chuck, "Jakroo custom bibs, extra small, and a Jakroo race jersey, with my name down the side that I have cut into a halter top to expose my belly button. Unfortunately one side says 'Hutch', and the other 'eson'. Why? and why are you speaking Spanish?"

Felipe replide, "Chuck, I want you to know something, and the reason I am speaking Spanish to you will become evident. The Suisunes (also called the Suisun and the "People of the West Wind") were a tribe of Native Americans that lived in Northern California's Suisun Marsh regions of Solano County, California between what is now Suisun City, Vacaville and Putah Creek around 200 years ago. In 1834, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo of Sonoma, as the comandante of the new pueblo projects in the region, became a very valuable patron and friend to Chief Solano, and formed an alliance with the Suisunes. The mission system was closing down. Chief Solano and the Suisunes led many expeditions with the object of quelling the other tribes of the region, particularly "the Wappo, the Satisyomis (aka Sotoyomes, a Wappo tribe) and the Cainameros (aka the Pomo Indians of Cainama in the region toward Santa Rosa)", who were attempting to throw off Mexican domination. Chief Solano eventually helped to secure peace between the region's Native Americans and the Mexicans. A peace treaty was signed in 1836. With the alliance with General Vallejo, the tribe was relatively powerful."

Chuck, "Did you just read that from Wikipedia?"

Felipe, "Si"

Chuck, "Ok, what does this have to do with me?"

Felipe, "I want you to help Willie win a wace. Help him find registration, help him pin his number, help him find his wallet, help him find team water bottles - hell, help him watch Travis if you have too."

Luckily I didn't have to help him watch Travis. Travis chews thing. Otherwise, Willie needed help with everything else. Fortunately, someone else helped him find reg. I started to help him look for his wallet, but when I saw the back of his van I remembered it has been awhile since I had a tetanus shot - and promptly abandoned this endeavor. I also gave up on pinning his number out of frustration as to where I felt it should go, and where he wanted it.

At our team meeting we had HD, Ariel, Josh, Matt Chat, Kieth, Willie and myself. Solid group. Even more solid was that Felipe had brought us a fresh supply of H24, which I promptly snagged a bunch of scoops of 'Prepare.' I also added to that bottle some 'Lift Off,' and I was ready to ride. Felipe said, " We have a good group of sprinters, like Willie, Matt, Josh, and Chuck, so I think we can win this." Just kidding, he didn't say Chuck, but the glimmer in his pupil as we made uncomfortable eye contact told me otherwise. I was love. Or, it may have been gas.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be selected to where Kali Protectives new, arrow as chuck helmet called a the "Tava." The pressure was on.

At the race line, I heard other team riders talking about how hard the previous day's Dunnigan Hills Road race was. Winy, hot, and smokey they said. Brutal! They also said that Roman had the where with all to flat, sit out a lap, and shatter the front group on the next lap. Brilliant! Kind of like a free lap in a crit - I can't believe I have never thought of this!! Just when I think I have heard everything that a smart rider does for his team, an ex-pro one-ups my knowledge. Roman's brilliance would continue to shine in this hot race too!

After the whistle blew, the heat kicked in, and our tongues dropped. Damn it was hot! I attacked from the first turn, drilled it around the second turn and sprinted down the back straightaway. When I looked back to see how badly I splintered the group, EVERYONE was there, leisurely riding along, talking, and passing Grey Poupon. At this moment I realized my weaknesses; particularly speed, power and endurance. Before the tears could set in, flurries of attacks were launched across this .8 of a kilo, narrow no-wind course. God it was fun!

Willie, who was supposed to sit in and rest, did not sit in and rest. His balls were big too, and he was out to prove it.

The speed were doable, for me, mostly because my equipment (like deep-dish Ritchey carbon wheels). Ariel and HD were badass too! With each attack, the other would go. It was spectacular! Riders like Davis's Jonathan Penaloza and Cal Giant's Jacob Albrecht were throwing down there cards too, and saying F' it, let's do this. It was game on. Not to be outdone Randy Bramblett's Coretech riders were pulling breaks back in like it wasn't no-thing for their after-mentioned sprinter.

Then the heat kicked in.


It got hot.

Damn hot.

Interestingly, Kali's Tava helmet, which looked hotter than balls, was not. Somehow a breezed flowed just enough over my dome to keep it cool. Just wish it could cover the rest of my body!

When I looked around, guys were hurting from the heat. My bottles were both almost empty, and my mouth was smacking dry like a dog who had just been feed peanut butter by a cruel pre-pubescent red-haired bully. At this point, I saw Roman reach out and grab a water bottle on the backside of the course. Brilliant! Why din't my team think of that? Pretty sure I am mad at Felipe for not thinking of this! Almost immediately after this, Ariel launched, and took big, bad, sexy beast David Grundman from Team Cliff Bar with him. Roman bridged, and they were GONE! I was glad. Now, other's had to pull this horse to the end.

At this point HD yelled to Willie, "what should we do?! I am so scared!"

I interjected with "follow people fool." Again, I'm just kidding, I volunteered this information. We were good, as long as they had some distance. Ariel, really, really wanted this, and the way he was riding, I think he was going to get it, or poop himself trying.

Up front, Ariel tried to get away, but it wasn't happening - and with four laps to go, they were within sprinting distance. It was at this point I hear Josh say, " Chuck, me and Willie are on your wheel." For the next two laps I slowly moved us up. With two to go, I passed the Mike's leadout on the left of the start finish line, and took it for half a lap - where we passed the break. Keith took over, then HD. On the last lap Matt Chat when 1970s Oakland raiders on the field and gave Willie, Josh and Travis Lyons a gap on the rest. Then BOOM Willie laid on the afterburner for the WIN, with Travis second and Josh third!!! Here is the sick video I couldn't figure out how to embed:


And here is Josh's tail cam:


Giant Bicycles Is one of the teams biggest sponsors as they provide us with only the top end equipment. Giant has put a lot of time and energy into this bike. They made 88 revisions to get it to where it is today, which is winning races in NorCal all the way up into the highest level of Professional cycling.

The first time that I rode the propel after I got it all built up, I immediately noticed how much faster it is than all the other road bikes that Ive ridden in the past. Its also not very heavy for an aero bike. My bike is built up with Sram Force 22 components with Zipp 202 tubulars. On the scale, my bike comes in at just over 16 lbs on race day. This bike has been great, and I love getting on it everyday that I go out to ride.

When you look at the bike up close, you see how sleek and simple it is. Its not really flashy or boxy or anything like that. Its just a really simple design, but its the fastest, most comfortable bike out there. They are very simple to work with when it comes to switching from your training wheels to your race wheels. As you know this bike is all about aerodynamics, so the frame has very flat tubing compared to the TCR that has more of a rounded tube shape. The flat tubing cuts through the wind a lot easier. This is something that I definitely noticed the first time that I rode it. I also noticed that its still plenty stiff to climb with the top riders. I can say 100% that the giant propel is the fastest bike that I have ever ridden. The other sick part of this bike is the half blue and half white color scheme.

About half of the guys on the team are riding the Propel and the other half are riding the TCR and we all love the bikes that we were given to ride for the season. Ive never gotten the chance to ride an aero frame at all. Ive always ridden the round tubed "climbers" bike with those tiny seat stays and the curving top tube. But after riding the Propel, I am blown away by the versatility between how it rides in the hills and the flats as well as bombing through tight turns on the descents. This bike is so simple, fast and sleek.

Feel free to ask any of us about our experience with the Propel or the TCR. We love talking about bikes!

Coming off of BC Superweek, I was looking forward to having the legs for a good result at San Rafael.  They stepped up this year and joined the USA Criterium Series, which includes some of the hardest crits in North America.  I knew the field would be stacked with the best criterium racers from our area as well as all over the country.  I got to the race early so that Cooper could do the kids race and people were already lined up all around the course.  I gave Cooper the option of racing the final straight with kids his age, or doing a lap and a half with the big kids.  Of course he wanted to ride with the big kids, and even though he couldn’t keep up with most of them, he was able to ride the whole thing and had a blast as all the fans and announcers rooted him on.  Riding with and watching him have so much fun is what this is all about and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the night.

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With The Cascade Cycling Classic running at the same time as San Rafael this year, we only had 4 guys line up for Herbalife p/b Marc Pro – Strava at the start.  Nick, Nate, Matt Chat and I went into the race with a plan to be aggressive and try to make a break if the opportunity was there.  Unfortunately, with a limited amount of ammo, we had to pick and choose our spots wisely.  Nick followed a move early on that looked good but with so much power still in the pack, they never got much of a gap.  Matt was very aggressive for the first part of the race, getting in several moves that looked good, but unfortunately, missed the one that stuck.  The move included Chris Reikert of Mikes Bikes, who had an endless supply of strong riders, and Aldo Illesic of Alto velo Seasucker.  I wasn’t in great position when the move went, but with so many other strong teams in the field that weren’t represented, I hoped the pack would chase them down.  Without having big numbers I knew we weren’t responsible to bring it back, but we contributed to the chase anyway hoping to encourage others to help.  Instead of working together, guys from the field kept attacking the pack to try and bridge across to the break.  Matt followed some of these moves, but with Mikes following every time and sitting on, they never made it that far.  Pretty quickly the move was out of sight and without a concerted chase; I knew we were in trouble.  At one point I started sliding back in the field and Nate came past and told me to get on his wheel.  He helped me move up for the next lap and from then on I made it a point to stay in the top 15-20 riders.

The two leaders eventually lapped the field and we were officially racing for leftovers.  Things can get pretty dicey at the end of this race, as parts of the course are totally dark and you have so many guys fighting for position.  With just under three laps to go I was sitting in the top 10 and going up the hill I felt someone hit my rear wheel.  I heard someone crash behind me and one of the Mikes guys said Chris went down.  With less than 5 laps to go and no free lap, he had to get back on his bike and chase.  With the field preparing for the final sprint in two laps, there was no easing up.  Unfortunately for Reikert, it took him a while to get going and the pack caught him before the finish and he had to settle for 8th after working so long in the break and lapping the field.  That gave Aldo the victory, but not before he led his teammate Daniel Holloway out to win the field sprint for 2nd.  I struggled to keep pace in the final few hundred meters and came home in 7th.  A good result overall, but I was in position to get on the podium and just didn’t have the acceleration left in the legs.  The end of the season is in sight, but some of the best races are still ahead, so I hopefully we can have a strong finish to an already successful season.