Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

Posts by Chuck Hutcheson (26)
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:

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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."

Photo from Alex Chiu

Photo from Alex Chiu


Initially I planned on racing Chico, but Justin Rossi informed me that I was on the "B" Team, and Chico was a practice race for the "A" Team - which was heading for Redlands. After that phone call, I cried for a bit and yelled up to the sky asking "WHY!?"

After gathering myself, I found out that Willie and Nick were also "B" Team members, so we decided to do the OTF Omnium in the Fresno area. I was going to an Archaeology conference in Visalia anyway so it pretty much worked out. Nick and Willie planned on car pooling and splitting a hotel. Everything was in place for us to crush it. Nick is always strong. Willie will either win, or pass out on puking on himself crying in fetal position for someone to take care of his dog Travis when he is gone (Note: it will be his mom, and his dad, unfortunately, is allergic to dogs). I had planned on being the weakest link after not doing my normal winter of training, dental surgery on Thursday and antibiotics since Wednesday. Yeah, I got excuses - but I also had good team mates to back me up.

That is until we get this text from Willie:

"Man, I'm freaking out! I can't come. Nick, I met this lady on the corner, she said if I pay her she will ride down with you and split the hotel."

Nick

"I'm cool. What's wrong?"

Willie

"This"

Travis, Willie's dog

Travis, Willie's dog

"I'm not sure what to do, I am waiting for my coach to call me back."

Who names their dog Travis?

Great. Now just Nick and I. Thank God he is ridding well!

After a night of not drinking free draft beer at the Archaeology convention I met Nick sans the women of the night at a hotel surrounded by homeless peoples shopping carts, meth-heads, and a security guard with a gun, a huge flashlight and sunglasses at midnight. Some Russians men in sweatpants were escorting scantly dressed women into the room below us while the directors for a German high school class field trip argued about sleeping somewhere else before heading into the Sequoia National Forest. They were gone when we woke.

Ventana Wall Individual Time Trial

The "time trial" on Saturday morning was a 2 K (my kind of distance) with a tail wind (oh yeah!) beginning with a false flat (lame!) ending in a small ring climbing wall (hope Nick does well!)

The start list had two notables:

Jack Maddux (Hot Tubes). This kid is 16, and pretty much the best rider I have ever ridden with under 20.

Blake Anton. The beard, the man, and the beard. His cycling accomplishments are only overshadowed by his unbelievable manliness that pumps out such a glorious bears. I think I gained an extra inch of hair on every part of my body just being in his presence.

My plan was to cruise the tail wind 1 K and go hard up the 1 K wall, essentially making my TT a 1 K! It didn't work. Luckily Nick did better than my below mid pack finish (regulated by an antibiotic induced governor) and tied with 1/3 of the field for 4th place to include Blake and his teammate.

Jack Maddoux, my 30 second guy who was breathing on my butt up the hill, won convincingly.

Travis Lyons (Team Mike's Bikes, not to be confused with Travis) was second

Brian Zimmy (Folsom Bike) from Sacramento - my hometown! Which practically makes us team-mates - was 3rd. Go Sac!

Congrats to Jack Maddux!  Photo - Dave Maddux

Congrats to Jack Maddux! Photo - Dave Maddux

Regardless, Nick and I had them right where we wanted.

To be continued......



Nothing like knowing the exact moment that you lost a race!  For me, it was minute 1:42 of this video when I cracked and let Stephen Leece and Roman Kilun go.....



Crazy fast race, with tons of crashes during the last lap in the dark.  Very fun four corner race with huge crowds.  I got 6th in a field of ~120. and here are a few of the crashes in the final laps......

Menlo Park is a well run criterium on the Premeir Series calander.  The course is always windy, not too technical, has some bumpy pavement, and a tends to bring out some really good racers.  Going into the event, I only had a few point lead on Roman Kilun in the Premeir Series, so I felt I needed to pay some attention to him.  Also in attendance was Nate English, who has the power to drag back any break that he is not part of - and that is just what he did, so it came down to a field sprint in which Mike's Bikes controlled and won.  I ended up 5th.

Bummed with my result, I entered the Masters race and got away with 3 other riders about half way.  On the last lap I was lucky enough to jump away and soloed in for the win.

Boom!

Boom!


[caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="480"]
Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro - Strava) never loses, ever.
Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro - Strava) never loses, ever. Don't forget that internet.[/caption]

It was hot.  I was sweaty.  Drippy, jeans sticking to the inside of my crotch sweaty.  Marc pro, we had a full squad - myself, Teeter, Keith - I - need - to - give -Jen - a - ring - Hillier, Nate the shank, HD, and re-Nick-oulous.  Straight gangsta pimpin in the G.A.P. of Leesville yo.

We were there to crush souls, grind spirits, and make a mockery of the pros that were there.  The plan was simple.  Round house Nate English, let the gravel take care of Max - the pro bike racer Jenkins, and do some Jedi mind tricks on kirk carlsen.  There were other riders there to take into consideration, but they all had problems that would take them out Timothy Larkin who who was Tim, but is apparently going through some Peter Pan Syndrome thing, and Keven Metcalf who was fighting with his seatpost adjustment because his new Depend were slightly higher than the less absorbent ones. Grounds Keeper Willie rolled in at the last second, looking more irritated than ever.

With only a 25 rider field, the few pros that were there were much more noticeable.  I attacked from the gun, and Jenkins came with me.  We worked well together, until we got to the gravel.  Then Max went straight to my wheel and wouldn't pull through claiming, "I'm a sprinter and need to save it for the climb, plus these rocks are hurting my junk!"  So, I begrudgingly sat on the front and guided Mr. Tender Taint through the gravel.  Soon we were joined by Matthew Rodrigues from Davis, Teeter, kirk carlsen, Keith, Grounds Keeper Willie and Nate English.  Right when we got caught, Max pulled over got off his bike and walked it the rest of the way through the Gravel.

Grounds Keeper Willie pulled over and was last seen screaming his head off at a stick on the side of the road he felt had offended him.

When we hit the climb, English attacked.  He attacked us with the opening lines of Lollipop going "Lollipop, Lollipop, oh Lollilollipop!" to which everyone in the break made a "pop!" sound.  It was pretty cool. Then Keith busted out - "We should all go camping!"  He was right, it was like we were at the one moment, best of buds.   Then suddenly Teeter and Matthew Rodrigues launched off the front.

It was at this point, Kirk went all in to chase them.  I sat on his wheel since I had a team mate up the road, and English cracked on the climb.  Keith sat on his wheel just in case he recovered.  We never saw them again.

Kirk did a good job pulling, and with about 2 k to go had them at about 5 seconds - which he held until 200 meters.  Being completely fresh, I jumped across to Matthew Rodrigues and Teeter and went right by them for the win.  Teeter dropped his fanny pack, flipped around to get it while Matthew Rodrigues rolled in for 2nd, but still held off Kirk for 3rd.  It was a good win for the team, making it 2 years in a row!  Thanks for reading, and BTW, I wasn't even there!

Damn you race predictor! It said I was gonna get 3rd, behing James LaBerge and Dana Williams.  It was right, in that order, but because Grounds Keeper Willie didn't pre-reg, it didn't mention him!

I had one teammate, Keith Hillier.

New course!  Much safer, except for the suicidal shirtless drunks.  Nice pin turn, tons of cracks, and so much turning it keeps you alert and paying attention.

With all of the sprinters around, I felt my best hope was to get away, but Jame LaBerge stuck to my ass like a swollen pimple that I just couldn't pop. The race was damn fast and pretty technical.  According to the result, 17 guys quit.

I think the most aggressive rider was Pat Briggs, he kept soloing off the front - and then saying "just kidding" and comming right back.

Some anouncements:

Tobin Ortenblad now rides for Cal Giant! Cool!

Brandon Trafton rides for Mikes! What?  Is he taken Ground Keeper Willies spot?  What happens if Grounds Keeper Willie gets kicked off his new team?  Does he come back and take Brandons spot?

Trafton

Trafton's conversion to the Dark Side.

Whatever! (spoken in my valley boy dialect).

Any way, here is me sniffing Byron Anson's butt.  I don't think I have ever been behind him, so I had to investigate EVERYTHING.

Please buy this photo from Alex Chiu!

Please buy this photo from Alex Chiu!

and here is an example of the crazy pedestrians playing frogger....

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That is me following Brandon and almost tagging a human frogger!

Basically, the race ended with Mikes (Brandon Trafton) leading out James, Grounds Keeper dive bombing the last turn before the sweeper, me starting to follow, then deciding the light rain was not the ideal conditions to dive the turn in, James and Dana following him, me wishing I had, Grounds keeper taking Jame all the way from the left to the right.  Grounds Keeper won, James 2nd by a hair, Dana 3rd and me 4th.  Tobin got smoked by a junior (Owen Gillott) for 4th and 5th.

James protested and Grounds Keepers's dad tried to intervene, to which Grounds Keeper yelled "get out of here now, dad!"  It was awesome.  You gotta be fiery hot to be a good sprinter, and he is one of the best. Keith got 14th and a prime.

Jack
I've been following Jack for the last year or so riding and racing, even have done some cyclocross with him (where he stayed upright and I did not - MANY times) and recently read his post in the DBCRT Juniors Race Team Notes section.  Although Jack is a bit younger than I was when I began racing juniors, the highs and lows are so familiar - and are probably even familiar to racers beginning in their adulthood!  Jack has been gracious enough to allow me to re-post his experience.  Enjoy!
I’m Jack Hargrove, a member of the Davis Bike Club Race Team Juniors Squad. I started racing last year in May as a 10-12 year old, and now I am a 13-14 year old. I really enjoy racing. Even though it can be hard at times, it is always fun and is a great sport for all people.

At some of my races, I have had bad luck. At the first JPS race of the season, the Cherry Pie Crit, I was sick with bronchitis. But, I really wanted to do the race, so I still woke up in the morning even thought I didn’t feel good. I raced and had fun, although I wasn’t able to do as well as I wanted to. At the Land Park Criterium, another JPS race, I was doing okay until the last few laps. I had a flat tire with about 4 laps to go, and I finally had to pull out with about 1 lap to go. I was really bummed, but I learned to always bring pit wheels. Lastly, at Copperopolis Road Race, a race I had been looking forward to because my Dad loves the course so much, and training for over 5 weeks, I crashed. About 5 minutes into the race, I touched wheels with the rider in front of me at 25 mph. I went down pretty hard, and I had a cracked helmet and some scrapes and bruises, but nothing serious. I rested for a week, and then I got back on my bike. I am not afraid to ride close together even after that crash, because I learned to not overlap wheels and to be safer.

Along with the bad, I have also had many good races. I did fairly well at the Golden State races, which were 2 races, a crit the first day and a circuit race the next. On the first day, I couldn’t stay up with the pack, but I rode with two teammates for most of the race and got 5th. The next day, I couldn’t get to the pack, but I worked with a teammate the entire time until the end, when he beat me in a sprint and I got 6th. Also, I did the Folsom Classic Crit recently. I was able to stay with the front group of 6 riders the entire time. We yo-yo’ed from fast to slow, and I ended up getting 5th. Doing races is always fun, but the feeling you get when you do well is awesome!

My team Coach and fellow juniors have all helped me learn to ride. Riding with my teammates helps prepare me for races. We challenge each other through sprints during the rides and ride in pace lines to get used to riding close together with people. Also, hanging out with the rest of the juniors is very fun and adds to the joy of racing. Additionally, my coach, Kristen Hill, has helped us all during team rides and has sent many of us training rides to do at home. She also helps organize many of the races. Overall, being on a team and bike racing is a great experience for people of all ages.

Everyone watched Justin Rossi get out of his car with envy.  Had he had long hair, he would have shook it like Fabio in the breeze, and several young women would have fainted.

Jarred Kessler would have fainted too, for he was the one who most wanted to be like Rossi on this day.  A winner.  Rossi, the winner of the ciruit race the day before, the winner of the district time trial that day, and the current leader and eventual winner of the Auburn Omnium.  Kessler wanted what Rossi had, and like an episode of America's Most Wanted, would stop at nothing to get it.

Kessler plotted his victory more than 24 hours before he attained it, so beyond a reason of doubt, it was premeditated.  Kessler, with his beady eyes, watched the circuit race unfold from the sideline as the real bike racers fought out Saturdays race and the Omnium.  Kessler, probably in a desperate hunt for Cat 1 upgrade points chose to bide his time, while Rossi, Hutcheson, Freed, Josh Carling and David Grundman (both from Folsom Bike) played real bike racer in the 110+ F heat.

Other riders that chose to sit out the day before's oven race were Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant) and Eric Riggs (Mikes).  As a team, we were interested in how these three fresh, and strong riders would figure into the race.

The course was a lesser version of the day before, which was a lesser version of Nevada City.  A slight rise from the start, a couple turns, and a fast decent with two turns to break it up.  The weather was mild.

The race started out surprisingly easy.  Brandon Trafton (Full Circle) put in the first solid attack on the longer climb, but in about two laps, was pulled in.  Eric Riggs attacked latter on the bump after the start finish, but we were all back together half a mile latter.  Kessler did most of the work to pull in breaks.

At some point about a quarter the way into the race, I looked around and there was only a few of us left.  From Marc Pro was Rossi, Nick and myself, Brandon Trafton a Cliff Bar rider,  Carling and Kessler.  Trafton attacked, Rossi brought him back and Kessler countered and humped his bike up the hill like a spider monkey on Viagra. This was a decisive move because everyone in the front group was noticeably tired.

Kessler quickly gathered a sizable gap, and because Marc Pro had three guys in the front, it was sour job to bring him back (as expressed by the cliff bar rider).  Rossi did 96.322% of the work, and Nick and I spit the remainder, with Trafton and Carling making cameos.  My last pull I got Kessler withing striking distance and Rossi jumped across. The non Marc Pros in the group gave a show like they were rotating, but it was weak and Kessler and Rossi were gone.

The best attempt to get across was by Carling, but he crashed in the last turn desperately trying to keep his speed to get across.   When they put him back in, he was bleeding so profusely that my military training was trying to kick in and pin him so I could put a tourniquet on the bleeding limb.  After the race he told me that he did it purposely to get out of nighttime baby duties for the week, but I doubt Amanda will fall for it.

Before we knew it, the next group on the road caught us.  From Marc Pro there was Nate Freed, some other guys, but notably Riggs.  Interestingly, Cody Kaiser did not make the selection.  Riggs is crafty, and even when he is not fit, sometimes finds a way to win.  True to form, he attacked us with two to go when everyone was complacent about the finish.  I got across to him, but the group was quickly on us.  With one to go Carling punched it one last time up the long climb.  I went with him and we had some separation.  With the last two turns I intended on sitting on him, but thought better of it when I visualized him crashing out in the last turn, so I pulled around him.  I saw Nate get his wheel, so I figured if I couldn't hold him off, Nate could possibly come around him.

Up the road, Justin unleashed an attack with one to go, but Kessler clawed his way back - then countered Justin.

Kessler held on for the win, Justin got 2nd.  Carling smoked me for third, I got fourth, and Nate ended up fifth.

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Thanks Jim Elder for the camera and the edit! results: https://www.usacycling.org/results/?permit=2013-591

TMB Headquarters
The dude who does our web page: "Chuck, I know you think your cute and all giving the tittle of your blog post creative names, but your fans (my mom - ed.) only want to see the name and date of the race.  Its a 'Google' thing"

Consider it done dude.

Ah decisions.  Where to start...

In a galaxy, far far away..(slowly que star wars theme here)..there was a facebook post from Rob Evans:

Rob Evans

As much as I love all the guys on Mikes Bikes, it's really lame they show up to races w/ 11 or 12 guys.

to which, Eric Riggs responded:
  • Eric Riggs Official TMB pb Inc response:http://i.imgur.com/61PCuUi.jpg
  • Rob Evans It's on Riggs!!! But in fact, it was never really was "on" because Rob was no where to be seen during the race. Ever calm and collected Team Mikes Bike's director intervened with:
  • Steve Pelaez We love you too Rob. Seriously though, I think it's great that other teams like Squadra, Clif, and Marc Pro are loading up the fields. I think everyone will agree that it races the level of racing for all. And it's more team oriented and fun. i.e. Cherry Pie was awesome b/c we had so many different teams there and it was fast, safer, and dynamic. Also, the more racers we bring, the more we are supporting the race organizers like Bob. That said, we are not stacking the field simply to do it. We stack the field because everyone on TMB is committed to the team's success and everyone makes the effort to all show up and kick Chuck's ass.
A few of the riders Mike

A few of the riders Mike's registered

  • Chuck Hutcheson This thread is going a horrible direction.Steve Pelaez, don't include Marc Pro in the list of teams with tons of guys! We only got 4, and I stubbed my toe + so its more like 3.5. Oh and we got Keith Hillier, so its more like 2.6.
  • Chuck Hutcheson I think it is fine. It basically boils down to this: If Mike's wins, it is hollow and expected. If anyone else wins it is awesome because they defeated Goliath.
As you can see, this race is HUGE.  Maybe not Tour de France huge, or Tour of California, or Redlands, or Merco, or San Rafael, or..Ok, its really not that huge, BUT, it is the first road race of the Nor Cal calendar,  and it attracted over 130 1,2, pro riders.  I honestly used it as motivation to train through (the not so bad compared to the East Coast) winter.  Perfect race for me - kind of flat, little itsy-bitsy kicker hills, and tons of wind.  Plus, watching the sprint unfold in front of me last year while I rolled in for fourth gave me extra motivation.  Chris Statsny is probably hella motivated because he has seen it twice now!

The weather was awesome.  No knee warmers, no arm warmer.  Tons of wind, even tumble weed blowing across the course.  Everyone was really friendly, talking and laughing.  Even the officials were joking around - except the one who dropped his motorcycle in front of the field before we started.

Neutral Roll out - photo Dale Tapley

Neutral Roll out - photo Dale Tapley

As we rolled out "neutrally," I rode next to Roman Kilun.  We chatted for a bit, then I realized I was sitting out in the wind and he wasn't.  EWWW..the tactics had begun.  I immediately gave him the stank eye and dropped back into the shelter of the field.

Once the official gave us the green, we speed up - but only for about a minute.  Then, everyone realizing it was a crazy headwind kind of sat up.  Some Sierra Nevada guy from Chico rolled off the front for the first attack of the day.  He was caught, and then Brandon Trafton from Full Circle went.  He was caught.  It went on like this for most of the first lap, but when we got to the rollers, I think the combination of hills and wind started cracking guys and the field split momentarily.  It didn't seem like we were going that hard, but I bet with such a huge field a bunch of guys just got caught out in the cross wind and then beat up a little by the hills.  I bet when it came back together we went from over 130 to about 50 or 60 riders.  Concerned, I told Jesse Miller-Smith-Johnson-Williams-Jones-Brown that if he had a chance to tell the rest of the guys to get up front before we came around again because next time the group may not come back together.

When I saw him about a half lap latter, he said he was not able to tell anyone because the field was shredding behind us.  Luckily all six of us (Marc Pro) had mad it.  I was just doing my best to stay up front, out of the wind, and not answer that little voice that constantly tells me "Chuck, attack, you can do it, I command you, Chuck attack."

The next time we went through the hilly section and the following crosswind section the field shattered and there was about twelve of us left.  Included were Freddy Rodriguez,  Chris Stastny (Hagens Berman), Joshua Carling (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada), Roman, Eric Riggs, James LaBerge, Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava), Nate Freed (Marc Pro – Strava), myself (Marc Pro – Strava) and some other pretty strong riders.

Break developing - photo Hammer-Nutrition-Charity-of-Choice

Break developing - photo Hammer-Nutrition-Charity-of-Choice

Everybody was rotating but Riggs, LaBerge and myself.  I felt like if Mikes was only going to have one guy working (Roman) and we had two guys working (Rossi and Freed), it was in our best interest to have someone fresh.  Then Riggs flatted out of the group, but instantly Logan Loader and Eric Wohlberg dragged Hollaway across.

With sprinters Josh Carling (last weeks winner of Coppertown), James LaBerge (winner of tons of NCNCA crits last year), Holloway (winner of US pro crit), Logan Loader (2 weeks ago winner of Cherry Pie and huge national races last year), and Freddie Rodriguez (winner of pretty much everything),  I felt my chances of a group sprint were pretty slim.  I decided to get away with two laps to go.

On the cross wind section after the hills I jumped.  What seemed forever, I drilled it.  I was estimating I had 5, maybe 10 bike lengths on the group, but when I turned my head, Freddy was right there - and so was everyone else.  I went no where.

I said to Freddy "I guess my attack was pretty weak."   He said "I guess it was OK, at least you tried." Actually, I can't remember what he said, but that is what I heard.  Right after that, Chris Statsny sort of rolled off the front and got a pretty big gap.    I took a few breaths and then jumped across to him.  As I was closing in I was yelling "STAZ" over and over so he could get on, but he only heard at the last second.  Immediately after that, Freddy and Wholberg joined on.  Freddy actually came by and was pressing down on the pedals like he could not feel any resistance.  We all gritted our teeth and held on, but eventually pulled through.

The break of 4 - photo Dale Tapley

The break of 4 - photo Dale Tapley

We all were pulling pretty hard and it was about 20 minutes of drilling it-cross-eyed-pain before we finally settled in.   The rest of the group was nowhere to be seen.  We communicated well, and everyone pulled hard.  It was difficult to tell if Statsny or Wholberg were feeling good, but obvious that Freddy was feeling awesome.  I needed to get away from him.

On the last lap I attacked on the hill.  Freddy was immediately on me, but I succeeded in dislodging Wholberg and Staz.  Statsny slowly clawed his way back up as Freddy and I tried to pull away. Statsny was not having it and caught back on.

And then there were three - Photo Steve Ellsworth

And then there were three - Photo Steve Ellsworth

With a mile to go, Freddy was on the front, but somehow he smoothly stuck Staz on the front going into the last turn.   This forced Statsny to lead us out.  I tried to jump early and catch them off guard, but only got about a bike length on Freddy.  He quickly covered that and was edging up by my side.  The whole time I was saying to my self "don't look at him, just pedal, he's won (name some huge event), but don't be intimidated." I think he was thinking, "don't look at me Chuck, you'll just make it weird."

Anyway, when we crossed the line, I was kinda sure I got it, so I raised my arm.  If I didn't get it I was going to use raising my arm, or thinking of raising my arm early as my excuse.

Sprint finish and the destruction of the Death Star

Sprint finish

other race reports:

http://ncncaroad.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/2013-premier-series-underway-with-snelling/

http://cyclingillustrated.com/news/class-acts-at-snelling-road-race/

http://cyclingillustrated.com/news/snelling-road-race-by-chris-stastny-hagens-berman/

http://norcalcyclingnews.com/2013/02/24/snelling-happend-quick-update/

http://norcalcyclingnews.com/2013/02/25/wind-whips-2013-snelling-road-race/

http://www.teammikesbikes.com/snelling-road-race-report/

photos:

http://www.argentumimago.com/Sport/2013Q1/Snelling20130223/28154046_TnGxD6#!i=2379875338&k=SDMjFkL

http://acaurora.smugmug.com/2013-Races/2013-02-23-Snelling-Road-Race/P12/28150221_5SjLRs#!i=2379418375&k=CtXNvbQ

Cherry Pie Criterium, where attacks are constant.

Nate Freed attacking early. Cherry Pie Criterium

If you don't count San Bruno Hill Climb, CCCX 1 and 2, the BP Folsom Crit, the Cal Aggie crit,  five early bird crits, the early bird road race, or the knights ferry road race, Cherry Pie is the first race of the year in Northern California...

Whoa!  Wait!  WTF Chuck, I thought you were not on the team!

Chill out bro, its cool.  I am on the team.  Its all good.  I forgive them, and the makeup *hug was awesome.

Actually, the race report for Cherry Pie goes back, way back.  Before the  officials said go.  Before Alan Jackson demanded I show him prof of age to avoid junior roll out.  Shoot, several days before - at the Marc Pro-Strava training camp, 2013.

17 guys, one beautiful house in Sonoma California, and 17 bikes to roll through the hills and mountains and past the wineries.  Sexy.

17 guys, 2 toilets in close proximity to the sleeping quarters and a lot of Mexican and pasta eaten.  Not so sexy.

Like a good teammate, I got there first to secure one of the best sleeping locations.  Nate Freed and Justin Rossi arrived right after me.  A guy, who may or may not be the director of the team sent one of us a text stating "Get me a bed, I did not have room in my car for a sleeping bag."  He should have just put it where Mitt Romney puts his dog on family vacations.

Luckily I got a room with a bed - which was big enough to share.  I actually don't mind sharing because I am naturally 'big spoon.' When Teeter showed up next I thought he would be an awesome roommate because he is hella quite and I had a ton of homework.  After I told him about the room I immediately regretted my  decision as the smell of petula oil emitting from Teeter gagged me and left me temporarily incapacitated.  He said he was wearing "ode to a thousand unbathed hippies."    It was cool though, each night I countered him with my gas and we slept with the door to the outside open despite in being below 30 degrees out there.

My roommate, the dirty hippy Teeter!

My roommate, the dirty hippy Teeter!

Camp is awesome.  You get to meet the new guys, remissness about the guys who left, get made fun of for leaving then coming back.  I wanted to haze the new guys, but Nate informed me that technically I was the newest guy, so I let that one go.  Our new line up is pretty sick.  We got Dirty Joe Dickerson, Pretty Boy Chris Harland-Dunaway (H-D), Taylor Bertrand-Barret (B-B), Matt McKinze, and "Is this what my life has become"  Paul Mach.  Unfortunately Kris Lunning left, I loved his jokes - he'd have you rolling, then 10 minutes later you realize he was making fun of you.  Wit like that is a talent.

GQ

Hide your girlfriends, hide your wives. Mr. GQ H-D is in the house! Shoot, hide your husbands too!  photo - Paul McKenzie

Our training camp began with a 24 mile 3000 feet of climbing and ended with a ride of 110 mile 9000+ feet of climbing.  Climbing is not something heavy guys like me do well, so I was pretty much getting my teeth kicked in on every ride.  I am pretty sure we went through some nice scenic terrain,  but all I saw was the back wheels of various teammates.  I was glad when it was over, but at the same time missed the camaraderie of the frat house/cycling experience.

The last day was hell for me.  I think at mile 100 I cracked, ran out of energy and then bonked on a climb called Oakville Grade.  It was hell.  Once I hit the wall I started doubting how well I would do at Cherry Pie the next day.

Rolling up to Cherry Pie I am sure we had the same plans as every team.  Breaks work here and field sprints happen too, so have some one fresh and make sure guys cover the breaks.  According to USA Cycling, there was 99 riders.  Guys who could tear your legs off like Nate English and Kirk Carlson, and guys who will destroy you in a spring like Logan Loader, Fred Rodriguez and Dan Holloway.  Pretty intimidating if you combine the stacked field, Switters and Hollaway with their elite/pro crit national championship strips on their jerseys, that kicker hill that wears on you and the fact that my whole team did a crazy hard ride the day before!

Honestly, my legs were to dead to even really warm up.  The rest of the guys did 40 miles, I just sat in my car and studied.  I could feel my heart beat in my quads.

My best Meerkat Manor impersonation. photo Dale Tapley Photography

My best Meerkat Manor impersonation. photo Dale Tapley Photography

At the start line I talked with Dana Williams from Mikes bikes.  Really nice guy.  In fact, I just read his blog post about this same race.  Funny thing is, he called "Mike Sayers", "Chad Sayers."  Maybe getting him confused with Chad Gerlach?  I am sure Mike thinks it is as funny as I do and appreciates the compliment.  Dana was doubling up after getting 3rd in the masters race before.

As soon as the race started it was painfully fast and I could feel every pedal stroke in my legs, especially when I stood up.  Other guys on the team were riding strong and covering everything.  I was glad they were going well!  I remember watching threatening moves go away from the group, and then Rossi, Freed, H-D and Jesse were riding up to them with ease.  It is nice to have strong teammates.

Justin Rossi at the front. photo Steve Ellsworth

Justin Rossi at the front. photo Steve Ellsworth

About 20 minutes into the race I really started to fell the day before.  I ate a Cliff Bar and decided to go for a prime hoping that would open my legs up some.  Holloway smoked me for it and I dropped back a ton of spots trying to recover.  A few minutes later I went for another prime and Switters almost snagged that from me.  It was so close I didn't know I got it till after the race.  Right after that prime Teeter, Nate English, Fred Rodriguez, Eric Losak from Cliff Bar and  British rider Simon Holt (formerly from Rapha-Condor) went clear.  Holloway and Loagan Loader went across right after with a few others.  Then Switters and Eric Riggs went.  It looked like Teeter was going to have his hands full and I decided to try and get across.  I caught Switters and Riggs halfway and they towed me the rest of the way to the break.

Jack Maddux, a junior, was up there too.  Luckily for Team Specialized he was there making them look good.  Very solid, covering attacks and riding like being in a break with this much fire power was his normal routine.  I believe he won the junior race earlier too.  Pretty damn impressive.

Maddux driving the break. photo Steve Ellsworth

Maddux driving the break. photo Steve Ellsworth

This may have been the most unorganized break I have ever been in that succeeded.

The chase. photo - Paul McKenzie

The speed stayed crazy fast because of all of the attacks that were coming out of it.  I could barely pull through, but luckily having Teeter there was like having a full team, 2 pit bulls, and a lasso.  He was not letting anything get away!

Teeter crushing souls. photo - Paul McKenzie

With 3 laps to go, (maybe not in this order) Simon attacked - Teeter pulled him back, Nate English attacked - Teeter pulled him back, it was amazing!  With one lap to go, Switters and Freddy went clear and it looked like they would be gone, but Teeter dug deep and pulled them back!

Switters and Fast Freddie photo - Paul McKenzie

I had planned to start the spring going through the chicane, but when I stood, my legs said otherwise... the POW! Logan flew by all of us from the back like he got shot out of a cannon.  Holloway was the first to respond.  I tried as hard as I could to close in on Holloway, but when I realized it was futile I began trying to hold off Freddy for 3rd.  He ended 4th, and Simon got 5th.

Logan Loader takes the win. photo - Paul McKenzie

Switters rolled across for an impressive 6th AND got the most aggressive rider.  After all that Teeter did, I felt bad I could only manage 3rd, but it was the best I could do and it was an exciting fun race to start the year off with.

Podium

Copyright 2012 Alex Chiu Photography. All Rights Reserved.

 2012 Cherry Pie Podium

Congratulations to Team Mike's Bikes for winning the Team Premier Series overall in spectacular fasion at the Giro di San Francisco!  Good job Marc Pro - Strava for 2nd, and of course Cal Giant for 3rd.  Know though, next year it is on!!!!!!


So, I pull up to the criterium course in Pleasanton and I notice a couple of riders pointing at me...interesting.

I get out of my car and I start walking to reg, and again, riders pointing at me - but this time they are giggling!

I stop and make sure I don't have toilet paper stuck to my shoe, or worse, dragging ten feet behind me from my pants.....

Nope, all clean.  I'm good.

interesting.....

Then "POW" "CRASH" and all sorts of breaking carbon noises happen, the sounds that bike racers hate to hear happen in the race that is in progress.  Someone yells "medic" and all sorts of Vietnam area Huey helecopters start landing everywhere while one rider clutching the stub that is left of his arm screams "I think I am hit!" and I can hear guys yelling "medic!" everywhere.  There is moaning as guys dragthemselves across the ground missing limbs, bodies partially scourched..

I go back to my car and send an email to my team 'Sorry guys, I'm not racing, I am pulling the plug.'  -not because I was scared, but because I am riding a borrowed bike.

I immediatly get a text from Nate Freed "You can't pull the plug after that 'This is Sparta' email you sent to the team.  They will have to switch whatever picture is next to the word 'PANZIE' in the dictionary and put your photo there."

Great, I just got heavily influenced by 6th grade pure pressure.

Anyway, I go warm up, somehow figure out how to calibrate a power meter thing, get the numbers - and have no clue what they mean.

Everything is normal for the necxt hour.  I go to the line, get called up, and when I get up there the podium girls are just busting up - like I put my underwear outside my pants on accident again or something.  Interesting..

The race starts and my plan is to just drift back and enjoy the ride, but it does not seem like anyone wants to move forward, and before I know it, there is a group of six of us up the road.  Not tottaly what I wanted because I havn't trained all week and I felt terrible and really just wanted to sit in, but being off the front is way better than risking dying in a fiery crash in the field.

This is where I use tim Westmore's tweets @CrankingGlass
#nccn #fastnfurious Mens Pro-1-2 underway - six racer break with Hutcheson, Devan Dunn
and then,
#nccn#fastnfurious There is a small chase group

#nccn #fastnfurious Roman Kilun also in the break

#nccn #fastnfurious The pack has brought back the chase

#nccn #fastnfurious Add Tyler Dibble to the break

#nccn #fastnfurious Chris Stastny, Devon Dunn, Kilun, Hutcheson, and Tyler Dibble have a lead of 28 seconds

#nccn #fastnfurious This six-racer break has been away for a good number of laps

#fastnfurious #nccn The lead is now 30 seconds

#fastnfurious #nccn Add Mark Duroy to that six-racer break

#fastnfurious #nccn still the same six in the lead - Team Mike's Bikes controlling the field
#fastnfurious #nccn Ten laps remain at Fast and Furious

 #fastnfurious #nccn Start-finish straightaway is thumping with music as spectators ring their cow bells
This is when Cris Stastny said "Chuck, I gotta get something off my chest. Have you seen that new district champ jersey?  It is hideous!  Nobody in Northern California wants to win the championship because they risk having to wear that thing for a year!"

Right after he said that all of the riders from NorCal shook their heads in agreement. Then Tim tweeted:
#fastnfurious #nccn The pace is slowing in the break
We were all looking at eachother and then..
#fastnfurious #nccn Eight to go Dunn attacks from the break

#fastnfurious #nccn Dunn works up a 7 -second lead over the original break

#fastnfurious #nccn Lap counter shows 7-to-go
I thought to myself, "how bad could that jersey look?  So...
#fastnfurious #nccn Hutcheson leading a charge - Dunn out front by 5 seconds

#nccn #fastnfurious Dunn is caught five to go

#fastnfurious #nccn This is stellar stuff in Pleasanton...
Then I realized all the Nor Cal guys in the break sat up I think Tyler Dibble said "Chuck, have fun wearing that jersey a six year old girl who is is known for her expert rainbow and cloud crayon drawing designed!" as he drifted back to the field.

Stastny then yelled,"Chuck, let's go - but you have to win, I under no circumstances want to have to wear that thing!"

then..
#nccn #fastnfurious Two attack Stastny and Hutcheson-as the field catches the rest of the break
Not being from Nor Cal, the Cash Call guys bridged up.  They had no fear of having to wear the silliest jersey ever in the United States for a year
#nccn #fastnfurious Stastny, Hutcheson, Barbering,and Dunn are the break

#fastnfurious #nccn Two to go same four in break

#nccn #fastnfurious Last lap and...
suddenly Statsny sits up, not wanting to risk winning the jersey.  The smaller Cash Call rider attacks, I catch him with two turns to go.  The taller Cash Call rider holds my wheel and comes around me after the last turn and...
#nccn #fastnfurious Dunn wins ahead of Hutcheson
After the race, we do the real podium, spray the crowd with champaign and all that cool stuff.  The the district Championship podium, and they give me the California State Champ Jersey with the bear and all.  I'm thinking that this actually turned out well!

As I am walking away, one of the race staff chasses me down and says "you have to give that jersey back - here is the order form for the jersey you get."  It had a picture of the jersey on it, it was so silly and ugly I thought it was a joke - and I reluctantly gave her back the awsome bear jersey.

When I got home, I went to the web site for the jersey, and it was true.  The jersey I saw in the picture was the one I would be getting.
I found out latter  that a little girl designed it, with crayons.   She was well renowned in kindergarten circles for her ability to draw unicorns and rainbows.  Turns out she was using the jersey as an opportunity to refine her ability to draw shooting stars.

I think all of the winners of the Championships in NorCal should boycott this jersey and order this one from Voler:

http://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1010C38PRTXSM

First off, we need to start thanking our photographers.  I pay the $3 for some photos from sites of the guys who I have gotten to know, like Tim Westmore, David Cheung and Alex Chiu to show appreciation. I also wanted to thank the guys who have just sent them to me or tagged me on Facebook like Dale Tapley Jim Elder, Jeff Namba and Steve Ellsworth.  All of these guys spend countless hours on our courses capturing our wanna be rock star moments, but more importantly get our sponsors the exposure they expect from us. Thanks!

Basically I accidentally gave Rand Miller the win after he begged me.  "Chuck, I have never won two in a row! My season has been pretty unremarkable (if you don't count my wins) if it goes on like this I will get kicked off Cal Giant and end up back on that bay area team that wore green.... yadda yadda yadda."  I was feeling pretty flat from taking the last week off anyway, so I probably couldn't beat Frodo Baggins anyway.

Honestly, I was looking forward to dueling it out with Mike's Bikes Tyler Brandt for the Premier Series overall, but as luck would have it, his mail order bride was meeting him in Canada, so his whole team decided to go to the event under the guise of a big "bike race." It was going to be awesome, Tyler and I fighting for 3rd and 4th while James LeBerge made up huge chunks of points by winning field sprints in spectacular fashion - but no, I understand, the possibility of love is way more important than the Premier Series and there is some kind of mystic in mail order. I got Tyler a book for his upcoming wedding.

[caption id="attachment_5003" align="aligncenter" width="189" caption="My gift to Tyler"]
[/caption]

This was probably the smallest of the Premier Series fields.  No Mike's Bikes, no Kenda.  Rand was the only Cal Giant and from Marc Pro - Strava there was myself, Nate Freed and Keith "Pumped up Kicks" Hillier.  Weird thing is, the course is sick - tons of turns, narrow roads, old town atmosphere, there are actually spectators and a good amount of money.  I think there was just over 30 riders, which makes a race, but last year It was a pretty good field, to include a bunch of So Cal riders.

I didn't get a chance to warm up, so when Rand attacked from the gun I was pretty uncomfortable.  Nate and Keith went to the front and brought him and a few guys that had joined him back.  Then he went again.  He quickly got about 15 seconds and then they announced a $200 prime.  Rand held on to his lead, got the prime and then sat up.  When he got caught, a group that included Keith went away and Rand started announcing "hey, I got my money, my race is done - you guys better chase."  They chased.

When that group got caught, I went.  When I got some distance another prime, only for a hundred was announced.  I got this one and then right after I got caught by Adam Switters from XO, Rand, Keith and a few others.  We rotated and the gap got huge.  At one point, I got away from that group with the Cal Giant guy, and when we got caught, our group slowed way down and a few riders, to include Richard Steele joined us. Keith Hillier was in the field covering everything.

This group was too big, so I attacked it again. Rand, and two others came with me to include Joshua Carling  who has a pretty good sprint.

Still too many guys, so I attacked again and luckily got rid of Josh - but the rider left with us, from Folsom Bike,  Jared Kessler was the big surprise of the day.  He was a cat 5 at the beginning of the year  and was following Rand and I with ease.  I was a bit concerned, so I attacked again and he was gone, but he would hold the rest of the chase off and get 3rd in his first race as a 2.

With just Rand and I left, I felt my odds were around 50/50 - but apparently they were 0/100 as Rand jumped me on the back side of the course.  It took me a second to close the gap, and when I did we were lapping riders through the turns to the last turn.  I tried to come by him on the right side, but he wasn't having it and continued to pommel me to the line.  I sat up and had to be content with 2nd as I coasted to the line.  Errrr. Rand also won Watsonville the day before. Right after the race, I shot to my car and put on a clean kit for the podium, found my boys and did some modeling on wine barrels with the other top 5 riders and a couple of Lodi local females. After we did the 1st podium, we did one without 4th and 5th place or my boys - except for my oldest couldn't resist one more arms in the air photo bomb!

And the final podium...

Photos for this blog and the other races of the day can be found at: http://www.argentumimago.com/Sport/3Q2012/2012LodiCrit/24204298_qnrDwX/#!i=1968915692&k=P6K6w6B

I finally won a Premier Series Race!  It helped that Max Jenkins and  Kurt Carlsen  flatted.  I guess since Jesse More wasn't there either, that may have helped.

My goal at this race was to try and finish top 12 (in the Premier Points).  I had ordered new tires, but they did not arrive yet, so I had to roll with what I had.  I figured the best way to get through the jacked up roads and through the gravel would be on my own.  It would also be nice to do the climb at my own pace.  With all of this in mind, I announced at the beginning of the race that I planned on attacking and it would be cool if nobody chased.  The field agreed and off I went.

A ten second gap turned into a thirty second gap.  Soon it was well over a few minutes.  I still can't believe they let me roll.

After crossing the highway I hit the first bit of white-trash redneck cobbles. Since the motorcycle had dropped back, I began to get concerned I had went the wrong way, especially when I saw some homeless looking, possibly toothless hillbilly doing jumping jacks in front of me next to his "I was very drunk when I parked this" car. He was yelling "Give me a high five!" but all I could hear was "squeal like a pig!" so I gave him as much room as possible. I noticed when I got past there was a bloody, freshly killed, guts everywhere, deer right behind his car.

I gingerly picked my way through the ruts and across the gravel sections.  When I got to the climb I put it into my easiest gear and enjoyed the beautiful canyon scenery.  After cresting the climb, I took my time going down so as not to flat on that jacked up decent.  A group of three caught me on the flats about halfway through the race.

In the group were Adam Switters (XO Communications) Ariel Herman (Blue polka dot team that looks like a vintage table cloth) and a really strong junior, who flatted soon after.  Eric Riggs (Team Mikes Bikes) and Kris Lunning (Marc Pro) bridged up.  This is the group that basically made it to the line.  I was pretty fried from being off the front and hardly ever pulled through.  I did not feel bad because Kris was killing it enough for both of us and I was getting revenge on Switters for not pulling through at Cyclebration ( revenge x 20).

After the junior flatted, Riggs got dropped on a climb. Then there was four of us.

The highlight of the race was when Ariel, desperate not to lose his "Counter Attacking Reality" water bottle, unscrewed the lid on it and poured water from the feed into it and discarded the new bottle.  It was the most unacrobatic thing I have seen in a while and it reminded me of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings protecting his "precious" water bottle. With about ten miles to go Kris and I started to attack Ariel and Adam, but all we were doing was decreasing our gap to the chase, so we waited for another five miles to go.  At about five miles, Kris went, and then when they caught him I went.  Ariel got across to me, and then eventually Adam did, but without Kris.  I sat on those two hoping Kris would get back across.

I sat for almost too long and suddenly there was a group of about ten right behind us.  Those two were pretty fried from pulling all day so I ended up taking the biggest digs. When we got to one K to go, Adam sat up and let Ariel go expecting me to chase while he sat on me to try and come around.  I let Ariel get a bunch of bike lengths and then punched it, easily dropping Adam passing Ariel and taking the win.

Below is the Race Shape.Com gps profiles of myself, Kris Lunning and Kevin Metcalfe who was in the group chasing that got to within 12 seconds of us in the last few miles.  Very cool technology!:

http://raceshape.com/strava-segments/616208?rides=208080568-208108766-208241717&sd=2012-06-30

You can see my gap up and over the hill, when I got caught and when the chase almost caught us.

NorCal Cycling News link: http://norcalcyclingnews.com/2012/07/02/tour-de-force-at-leesville/

NCNCA Blog Link: http://ncncaroad.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/justice-for-all-at-leesville/

Ariel Herman's Race Report: http://metromintcycling.com/?rr_1341290330

Team Mike's Bikes Race Report: http://www.teammikesbikes.com/2012/07/leesville-gap-road-race-a-war-of-attrition/

I am not sure why this race is called a criterium.  The laps are long, there are no free laps, and traditionally crit riders suck here and climbing road racers do well.  It is also way harder than any race needs to be.

This year the weather was not as hot as it had been in all of the previous years I have done it, but it was still uncomfortable.  The race starts on a downhill, hits a chicane like hard left hand turn, and the heads up.  The beginning of the up is not to bad, big chain ring even although I dropped into my small ring here to save energy.  It continues up and then goes right (except if you are the dude who went straight on the first lap and crashed himself out this year).  Here it gets a little steeper and I am pretty sure this is where Rand Miller (auto correct says "Man Driller") pulled the plug (on the first lap also).  It goes left again and then right again, getting steeper.  At this point on the right there is a beer feed.  Then the course flattens for 3 seconds and then kicks up past the water feed - and the sprinkler.

Nate Freed emailed the team and told us about the secret location to park.  He said there would be plenty of spaces.  I plugged the address into my GPS and drove to that location.  He was right, it was empty.  It was also like 5 miles from the course, so I drove right past it and found parking a block from the start.

Before the race I warmed up on some hills with Justin Rossi, Nate Freed, Art Rand and Nick Schaffner.  They dropped me pretty easily and I was getting kind of concerned about how I would fare at the race.  To make matters worse, I hit a pothole and my front race wheel was wobbling from brake pad to pad.  I think someone offered me a sewup, but I have always been suspicious of glued on tired on hot days in a race with a fast hard turn after a decent.  I chose to ignore the wobble

When I rolled up to the start line, Rand was there, awkwardly not looking at me.  I turned to him and said "hey!" No response.  He asked where I was the day before and said "I really missed you man."  The way he said it made me feel weird and he was staring creepily forward.  Suddenly he broke his 'I love you Chuck' dreamy state, got all tough, puffed out his chest and said in his deepest man voice "If you would have showed up I would have stomped you." Luckily that was the last time I saw him.

I was hopping to get called up, but there were no callups - and the field was about half of its normal 100+, so positioning from the gun didn't matter for the first time I have ever done this race.  At the start , the race anouncer said I was an OK sprinter, that I was out of my element and that he expected me to suck.

The first 5 or so laps were extermely uncomfortable and fast and I think I went beyond my credit limit into oxygen debt.  I was pretty neutralized, hurting up the hill and recovering somewhat on the down.

Some breaks went, but came back pretty quick.  Probably the most dangerous was one with Jesse Moore of Cal Giant and Roman from Kenda.  I think Kirk Carlsen (who has been riding exceptionally well all year) brought it back with the help of Hagens Berman's Jonathan Hornbeck and McGuire's Rob Evans and Livestrongs James Oram.  When the dust settled, there was only about 15 of us left.

During some lap after the 5th, Roman and Paul Mach from Kenda decided to bitch slap the field with a show of strength on the downhill and then up the climb.  I tried to cover them hoping the field behind me would crack and we would just roll away.  I think everyone was cracked too. We were all in groups of 3s and 4s pedaling pretty slow slowly coming back together when Steven Leece (Cal Giant) attacked over the top of the climb.  The only rider who had anything left in the tank was Paul Mach and the two left the remnants of the field, hand in hand, like lovers across a prairie into the sunset never to be seen again - until they lapped us of course. The rest of the race I spent covering attacks (that never seemed to end)on the climb while getting heckled by fellow Sacramento River Riders, recovering and lapping riders.  There were only a small handful of us left that did not have a bunch of teammates, so I was desperately trying to go with everything that had a Kenda or a Cal Giant rider because I really didn't have the energy to pull anything back - and I suspected everyone else was pretty trashed too.

The last three laps were the worst.  Everyone who had anything left seemed to be throwing caution to the wind and attacking up the hill.  With two laps to go I lost contact with the group, but caught them by bombing the decent.  On the last time up the hill I never got a chance to get out of my big ring and crested the top cross eyed.  I ended up behind the Livestrong kid sprinting down the hill.  We were about 5 back going over the top and were just weaving by everyone.  At about 300 meters we were of the front side by side spinning seated and sprinting.  I think he sat up with about 50 meters and I ended up 3rd, went partway around the course and projectile vomited for a few minutes.  My body was not happy with what I put it through that last lap.


This is probably the most technical criterium course in California, possibly the nation.  It is .6 miles, has six left hand turns, thre right, a stream crossing, a squerril crossing and a lopp to loop.  Completing one lap is considered a victory.

Winners of this race sit for hours, suronded by adoring fans who hang on every word of their war stories, like, Pat Briggs (I walked in on the middle of this so its incomplete) "so I tell him 'I'm not going to chase, that's your problem', so you know he is f'd and then I ..."

Even with the crazy technical course, it always ends in a field sprint, so everyone thinks they are a sprinter, or more particularly, they all think they are Cippolini.

I guess the common theme here is that nobody seems to wear their helmet riding around the race site.  Maybe the officials don't care like they used too?

Anyway, after the beating I got yesterday at Mt Hamilton, I was hoping to have a better race and crush some souls and maybe eat someones face naked while they are still alive (like in Miami).  Pretty much all the teams were represented at the line (as Hernando pointed out).  The almighty chasser downers - Fremont Bank, Mikes Bikes "A" team, Cal Giants "A" Team, Cal Giants "B" Team (Rand Miller), Myself and fellow teammates Joe and Nick.  Hernando also pointed out that Mikes had won a substantial amount of races..and..blah blah blah

Normally a crit report starts something like "from the gun there were attacks...", but not this one.  From the gun there was a headwinsd and we all went hella slow. It was very easy to sit in.  In fact it was so easy that I was able to open several packs of gummi bears and not have them explode like a bag of chips.

At one point I did attack.  Rand Miller came with me and so did my Butt Pimple for the day (Tyler Brandt).  We all roatated pretty hard, but went nowhere.  It was definatly one of the hardest laps in a crit I have done, and I thought since all the stronger teams were represented it may work, but the almighty chassers down realed us back in.  I went again latter with my Butt Pimple, but we it wasn't going to happen.  Realizing a break was not going to stick, I contently began eating my gummi bears and waited for the sprint.

While I was coasting along in the group, I accidently dropped a green gummi bear.  For the next two laps I watched it lay there on the ground as racers tires wizzed by its poor little head.  I think Dave McCook must have seen it too.  Dave shoot to the front right of the field, the swung left across the front of the field (as if he was going to do a U turn) and braked!  It was amazing to see what he was willing to do to try and get back to that gummi bear before I did.  With all of his years of experience, I be he had the ability to pick that gummi bear up while riding!  His effort to try and retrieve the gummi bear pissed off pretty much everyone in the field.

With the Gummi Bear incident fresh in everyones minds, we set up for a kind of tense field spint with about two laps to go.  Mikes were leading out Mikes, Cal Giant Cal Giant, McGuire was leading out McGuire, and Chuck was leading out Chuck.  Things got a little mixed up for a while too, but in the end Mikes ended up getting organized again and led Jame LeBerrge out for the win and Tyler for 2nd.  Marteeeen from McGuire got 3rd and I got 4th.

I had all of these great photoshop plans, but summerschool started today, so no time.  Here is the finish

and the podium

compare that to yesterday's podium....

Notice that I need a podium girdle for my pot belly, a podium hat for my old wrinkled forhead.  Also notice the placement of John Piasta's soft, but firm hand.  Phot from Thomas Preisler.

"Huge results at Gila on the final day. Craddock and Boswell go 1-2 on Stage 5, Dombrowski Takes 3rd in the GC, and Bontrager takes the team GC. Congrats boys!!!" - from the Bontrager LIVESTRONG Website.

Hmmm....this year Gila was added to the UCI America Tour as a UCI classification 2.2 stage race, so any teams left out of the Tour of California that complained about LIVESTRONG getting in should have proven their worth there, but what happened was LIVESTRONG showed why they deserved the invite by kicking these cry babies in the junk then doing a Chuck Norris round house and kicked them in the teeth.

I have been lucky enough to be picked on by one of their riders on many occasions, Joe Dombrowski.   A few years ago, this category 3, 18-year-old messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to ride with him.  I was interested in training on some new roads in Northern Virginia, and he said he knew them all very well, and would love to show me.  The first time we rode, I tore out a huge chunk of my sidewall trying to keep up with him on a gravel decent in the first five miles after leaving Haymarket Bicycles of Hwy 66.

The next time we rode, the only thing that got blown out was my self esteem.  I had been hitting the mountains consistently for a few months over the winter and had somehow been able to convince myself that I had become a climber.  Joe said he knew a really good route with a pretty long climb in it.  Him and I meet up with Mike Githens (who now has moved to the best state in the world, California) and "Terrible Terry".  Joe failed to mention that this cool route was about 120 miles long and that the climb was an eight miler and that the turn around was the snow covered summit.

The roads were awesome, this kid knew his way around.  When we got to the base of the climb, I told him I would meet him at the top, put my headphones in and started to tap the climb out jamming to VeloBeats.   About three miles into the climb, I looked back to see how far I had dropped the guys and only counted two.  Joe was still there and I think I took him to the curb looking back not knowing he was sitting on me.  No problem for him, he just smiled, went around me, and began floating up the hill.  I suddenly felt very heavy.  I tried to keep him in my sites, but watching how smooth he could climb just made me feel like the fat awkward kid at the dance club and it was messing with my head and hurting my feelings.

A few weeks after this, Joe won, as a Cat 3, Jeff Cup in the Pro, 1,2,3 event.  In the pouring Mid Atlantic rain, in the last ten miles, he rode away from the field, across a two minute gap, caught the break and won solo - beating all of the best elite riders in the region.

I was thinking of posting a montage of photos, like "Joe dropping me here", and "Joe ridding me off his wheel here", put I will post just this one.  It pretty much sums up my riding experience with this kid.

To make up for all of the beatings Joe has given me, in both races and training, he said he would grant me an interview.  Thanks Joe

Chuck - How stoked are you that Bontrager-Livestrong got the invite to TOC?

Joe - We are all really excited. For us, this will be the first time racing ProTour guys. I think it will be an eye opening learning experience, but also a chance to show ourselves on a huge stage.

C - What do you think about the teams that didn’t make it in?  Have you heard any of the complaints?

J - In the end there are only so many teams that can get an invite. In our case, we aren't really bumping any other teams out besides other domestic teams. When you look at our performance in domestic races against other domestic teams, I think it shows that we deserved our invite. Obviously teams that are left out are always going to complain… for domestic pro teams, the Tour of California is their Tour de France.

C - How concerned was Axel Merckx, and yourself that Marc Pro – Strava may be competing against you at TOC?

J - We were shaking in our boots! C - Did the team feel a sense of relief when Marc Pro - Strava was not invited?

J - We were just glad we bumped you out of an invite. ;p

C - How sick was it to be riding in the leader’s jersey at Gila?  I bet you can’t wait for that feeling again.  Do you have more of a drive now to take a prize like that home?

J - It was really nice. I held the jersey last year for the first few stages, but lost it in the time trial. This year I've been working on my time trial a lot, and it paid off. It was a good feeling to be able to hold the jersey from start to finish and prove that I am a rider that can do more than just climb. C - What do you think about getting the Best Young Rider’s Jersey at Gila?  Is that something you will go for at TOC?

J - Gila is a good test. The field was deeper this year since the race went UCI. TOC is on a whole other level, but I do think that the best young rider jersey is attainable, and it's something we will definitely be going for. Winning a jersey next week really can be life changing. C - Do you feel your performance at Gila has silenced Bontrager-Livestrong’s critics?

J - Haters gonna hate! But seriously, I think it shows that we can operate on as a high a level as any other domestic team. In the end, someone is always going to be unhappy, and we are just grateful to get in.
C - Will you be Strava Segment hunting at TOC?

J - I have had a reputation in the past of starting climbs at the back, and then riding my way to the front. I'm working on that. It's great for smashing Strava segments, not so great for winning mountain top finishes. C - When you are dropping guys on the long climbs in the major races, do you ever remember that time you rode me off your wheel on that climb out of Sperryville?

J - That is still the highlight of my career. C - Isn’t California the best place on Earth?

J - Cali is nice, but nothing compares to cruising my home roads in VA! C – Whatever! I agree with everything Joe has said here, except the suggestion that Virginia is better than California.

Anyway, GOOD LUCK to Joe and LIVESTRONG at the Tour of California! On another note, Ted Burns from Nor Cal Cycling News has invited me to do some contributions there! Oh yeah! Uh haw! Alright!

Next person who emails me and says I need a prof reader gets kicked in the head!

Shesh, its called artistic expression.

This is a quick post because I have huge papers to write, and since I keep getting beat I think I will start training.

Last week was Cat's Hill, great race, hard course, we had a good time.  Its your basic "L" shaped course with a wall that has a pretty big crowd, all cheering you on, while at the same time hoping something bad happens to you.

Joe an I walked the course, pointed out cracks.  Noted possible great attack spots.  Discussed where on the course what was going to happen.  Of course, not one single thing we thought would happen happened.   Got dressed, drank a protein shake and warmed up with Joe, Keith and Donald from Marc Pro - Strava.

We found this long hill to warm up on that was a completely canopy of trees.  It was scenic.  I was leading on the fast decent when I thought I saw a car.  I yelled as loud as I could "CAR UP!", but it turned out to be a couple of Mike's guys on their way up.  I think I scarred the hell out of them when I yelled because they totally jumped, and Kieth nearly slid out in their piss.  We all got back in time to keep rolling around until we got called to the line.

Back East I got used to always being called up.  Here, in California, my home state - it never happens.  I was thinking this may be my chance.  I've won a few races, I am in the mix for the NCNCA BAR, and the NCNCA Premier Series.  I've also caused a bit of ruckus on the internet.  This is my chance!

Sure enough, the announcer says something like "this older rider...."

oh yeah its gonna be me!

"..blah...blah...Steve Pelaez!"

damn, not me

"This rider who has won...."

come on, name something I've won..

"blah...blah...blah..James LeBerge!"

OK, I should be soon..

"this rider who has pissed people off in his blog.."

I click in and start to go forward

"Rand Miller"

Ugh.  Why is he still getting call ups?

"From Marc Pro-Strava... (auto correct wants to change Pro-Strava to Prostrate)

Finally its me!

"Kieth Hillier!"

OK, now they are messing with me.

but then, to my amazement, they start calling up guys by just describing them

"Here is a rider wearing pink hello kitty socks"

YES, FINALLY ME!

"Benjamin Swedberg!"

Wait, how the hell is anyone else wearing pink hello kitty socks!?! What are the chances of that?  Apparently 100%

and then finally it was really my turn

"and now, for the rest of the field!"

Next to me at the start, Steve Pelaez wore a Darth Vader Costume over his Mike's bikes kit in reference to my last blog.  He is a real sport and a lot of fun!

Last time I did Cat's Hill, I remember thinking I was going to die the whole time.  You hit the hill, everyone sprints up it like its the last lap, guys attack the rollers, guys explode left and right and you try and come around them, guys dive the decent and white knuckle the turn and then put it into the gutter down the start finish.  Balls to the wall.  A beat down.  Just finishing is a win.

But not this year.

It was pretty tame.  I think the best attack of the day came from a Specialized Junior (his name and a photo would be cool here).  I honestly wanted him to pull off something amazing, but the field wasn't let anyone go anywhere.  I tried a few times, but didn't even come close to the kids distance.

Then it happened.  I think there was like eight laps to go.  We are climbing up the steep part and the guy next to me has a chain skip or something, but his butt slams my right brake lever, I bump the guy on my left, somehow my lever turns in, my bike suddenly stops, I somehow leap frog my bike (possibly tagging my junk in the process), I land on my butt (so hard I may not be able to sit normal for a while, and miraculously keep my bike upright.  I jump to my feet, still holding my bike with one hand debating which hurts more, my junk or my trunk, so I cant decide which part to grab.  I just op for the middle.  Some guy yells "want me to hold your bike?", then I realize, the whole crowd on the hill is watching me.

I re-straddled my bike, bent my lever back, and rode down the sidewalk on the hill and went to the pit.  I could never do that again if I tried.  I wasn't sure if I tore my shorts when I hit the ground, so without thinking it through I asked someone there "is there a hole in my butt?"

He said "I should certainly hope so!"

The rest of the race went without incident, until Tyler Brandt from Mike's took a flyer and caught some guys dangling off the front.  It looked pretty serous, and I thought he was going to do it, but he got reeled in with a few to go.  I was certain he was done and I thought 'cool, that's one good rider out of contention.'

The final lap was the most interesting.  Seemed like everyone was too scared to go to the front until the hill, then Roman from Kenda drilled it over the top.  The whole time this was happening I could here James Leberge barking orders to his guys and the two Cal Giant boys Benny and Jared moved up to the front.  The four of us kind of floated in a bubble behind Roman who tore us off the front of the field on the flat part of the top and then down the decent towards the final right turn.  In my inability to accept that James is just way faster than I am sprinting, I decided he is just braver, or has way bigger balls.  For that, he gets this weeks "Big Balled Chipmunk Award", and like the leaders yellow jersey, his team gets their logo on the front.   James, with no teammates, manhandled the hard right turn, squeezed by Roman and held it to the line.  Nice, but I am beginning to be sick of him winning.  I think he is ready to travel outside of NCNCA and do the big pro races.   Today. I think that the rider who bunny hopped the crashing world champion in one of the opening stages of the Giro would deserve three "Big Balled Chipmunk Awards"

.

After James slipped by, the two Cal Giant boys slipped by and then, after patiently waiting my turn, I went by and tried my best to make up ground.  I crossed the line close enough to the Cal Giant boys that the announcer said I was 2nd, but it was all so close and I ended up 4th.  James won in fantastic style, whipping his head back and doing his best Jesus Christ Super Star pose.

Tyler impressively recovered from his attack and got 5th.

Video from the Cat's hill web site.  Good stuff.  Pro 1/2 at the end.


Its been lonely racing here in Nor Cal as my team mates do the big cool races and the races that have to be traveled to.  I've tried to defend freedom against the dark-side that has shown up in the form of Team Mike's Bikes.  Sad to say, I have been losing.  Their youth and excellent teamwork has been ruling the day.

It appears that at the Wente Crit, Kieth and I were the last of the forces of good.

My Wookie, Joe Innereli had been injured in an essay writing accident at school and has last been seen slinking into his closet, to Marc Pro himself back into shape.  When he comes out of the closet he will be a welcome site.

I knew I was going to have to dig deep and use my new understanding of the force as members of the darkside began to apear around me at the start line.

The race was fast!  According to my Strava file it was over a 28mph average.  Guys were attacking left and right, even getting huge leads, but the consistent high speed of the peleton was incompatible with anyone staying away.  With nothing technical, not too much wind and no hills there was nothing that was going to beat people up enough to make them give up chasing.

I was dreading the sprint because when it is an easy to sit in race, with two laps to go suddenly everyone becomes a sprinter and starts doing dumb things which always ends up with a bunch of guys lying around on the pavement.  Pete Knudsen and I jumped away with about seven laps to go and took two Full Circle guys with us.  The four of us worked well together until one of the Full Circle guys flatted - then the field started making up ground and caught us with two to go. great.

Just as I expected, everyone became a sprinter, and of course a bunch of guys stacked it up.  I moved up a bunch, got onto Kieth's wheel and he towed me to the front and dropped me off on the evil empire's lead out train.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to follow Full Circle or Mike's Bikes, but when Full Circle dropped back I was stuck with Mike's.  Funny thing was, while trying to keep James LeBerg's wheel, his dad kept edging me off.  I was going to just let him have the wheel, being that it was his son's and all, but then I remembered that Dean had finished dead last at Santa Cruz when his son had won, so, hmm....

Luckily Dean disappeared and that solved me of my moral dilemma.  Now I was sitting on James wheel comfortably.  His teammates gave one of the best lead outs I have seen in Nor Cal (actually, it was the best).  When his last guy dropped off, we started sprinting.  It was hard to hold his wheel and not crash because his line was as straight as a meth-addicts EKG read out.  After some yelling and hand waving we crossed the line safely.  James won.  The officials who were too busy hand recording our finishing order did not notice the epileptic sprint, and recorded me 2nd (on both of their papers) and a Full Circle guy third.

 
Thanks for the photo David Cheung!!!

Unfortunately, the camera did not have the frame where myself and third place crossed the line, so the official, rather than going to their hand recordings did the obvious, they tied us!  Yeah, my first tie in bike racing!

Next week is Cat's hill, home of the Death Star.  My wookie says he is feeling better, so hopefully there will be at least two of us to battle the minions of evil.

Video below of Mike's kicking my teeth in....


Quick report because I am supposed to be working on a project for my Anthro class right now......

I love Santa Cruz!  What a great town to have a crit.  The only lame part of that race was finding parking, and that was also probably the hardest part of the event in its entirety.

The trippiest part of this race was that with the exception of a couple of teams, like McGuire, nobody had more than two guys.  This made it interesting.  I only had one team mate, Art Rand, and was expecting to have more - but came to the realization at the line that Art would have to do.  He can climb and this course had a hill.

I had watched a couple of the earlier races and noticed that early on in each riders were getting gapped out, so I made a mental note to try and get a good warm up.  That never happened though because I found myself talking to everyone and their mother and kept getting sidetracked.  At one point, AJ Kennedy said, "we got like an hour", I looked at my clock and we really only had about twenty five minutes - told him and we hustled to the start.  I would have to attack from the gun to get a warm up.

The most interesting thing to happen before the race was to hear the promoter, Bob Leibold, tell someone he has been putting this race on for something like sixty-five years and only didn't do it a couple times because HE WAS RACING!  No way!  I had to ask him about his racing experience.  He told me he was an exceptional climber at one point.  I looked him up and down and thought to myself, 'I can see that'.  Just kidding.

The course starts on top of a hill, descends slightly into a hair pin, descends even more, does a left-right-right and into an alley with speed bumps, rises slightly through a tight turn and launches you onto the wide open start finish hill.  Really fun, but probably it sucks if you’re not fit.

Out of the gate there was an attack and it was pretty fast.  It got a good gap. I get towed across by Martin Acosta from McGuire.  He immediately goes to the front of the break and starts drilling it.  Before I know it more a couple more guys bridge across on the hill to include Logan Loader from Exergy.  Cool, we got a good group and this should stay away!

The one problem with this group, it did not contain James Mattis, who was the lone rider from Cal Giant , but by himself he made them the strongest team of the day!  I am guessing with little effort, he brought us back.  Damn him!

As soon as we were caught, Martin from McGuire went again!  This time he took three other riders with him.  Their gap went from 10 seconds, to 15, to 20, to 20+! His break went early on, and would last pretty much the whole race despite efforts by Logan, James, Pat Briggs, Chris Phipps, Art and myself to bring it back.  James was pulling so hard that at times when he let up, the field, much to his frustration, bunched up and tried to recover.  Luckily Martin, who I think was probably driving the break, got stuck in his small chain ring.  That and the fact that another rider from the break started attacking it insured its demise.   We caught them with two laps to go.

The pace stayed pretty fast for those last two laps.  With one to go a rider was off the front and Rob from McGuire pulled it back in.  I ended up on Logan's wheel, and after coming around the last turn I think he dropped his chain while I was standing and accelerating forward.  Bad things almost happened and I was abruptly slowed.  Great, I was stuck in a huge gear on an uphill sprint while the field was single file passing me on my left.  Slowly I started gaining momentum and was picking guys off one by one until I crossed the line in second.

So, here is the text I got this morning:
(555) 867-5309 Justin - Chuck

(288) 555-1234 Chuck  - Yeah?

(555) 867-5309 Justin - What are you wearing?

(288) 555-1234 Chuck -The same thing as the last time you asked.

(555) 867-5309 Justin - Can you describe it to me?

(288) 555-1234 Chuck  -Look, I gotta go

(555) 867-5309 Justin - No, don't.  Why haven't you done the blog for last week?

(288) 555-1234 Chuck  - I thought you were going to do it since you won the whole thing?!

(555) 867-5309 Justin - That's not how it works.  We each do the stage we placed best in.

(288) 555-1234 Chuck Hutcheson -  Good luck getting Joe to do his!
.



So what does the song above have to do with this post?  Absolutely nothing, I just like to play it while I read and write my blog posts.

Joe and I left the City of Sacramento around five thirty in the morning.  My head hurt and he smelled still hungover, claimed he was wearing his trusty cologne, Black Panther.  I asked "does it work", he said it did and went on to tell me "sixty percent of the time, it works all the time".  With the ladies I assumed because his testosterone filled musk wasn't doing anything for me.

We arrived and it was dry, but a line in the clouds threatened to make our day miserable.   We were directed to park my 40mpg tiny Japanese car into a ditch that I was sure I would not be able to get back out of, especially if it rained.

I met some more teammates, Chris Lunning (who insists on misspelling his name as Kris), Keith Hiller and Justin Rossi.  Nate Freed was also there. We had six guys, four other teams had five and a bunch had four our less.  After several hours of coin flipping then paper, rock, scissors we had come up with a plan. Try and win the race.

Like all teams plans it was something like; communicate, have numbers in the break, don't pee yourself till it rains.  The normal stuff.

The official who could easily get a job as Santa in December gave us instruction and sent us off into an out and back headwind tailwind. Pretty damn close to the windiest race I have ever done.  Since I had not trained that much during the week and I did not warm up, I figured the best thing to do from the gun was attack into the headwind - thereby training for the week, warming up and setting the mood for the race all in one swing before they would catch me.

After they caught me, there were attacks, counterattacks, countercounterattacks, countercounterattacks and so on.  It was windy and it was nuts.

On the 2nd lap of three, what had been a head wind was now a cross wind and I found myself on the front with about three other guys drilling it.  The field was beginning to string out and shatter.  When I realized Justin and Kris, our two best time trialist were near the front I went to the front again and pulled so hard that the horizon was bouncing in rhythm with the bumps in the road.  I was destroying myself.  When I pulled off, Justin and Kris had made the split and we were well off the front  with eight other guys.  The group rotated and worked well together.

The only hiccup we had was when Kris was zigging when he should have been zagging and rode himself off the road in one of the turn around points.  Much to the dismay of the rest of the break we convinced them to wait for him to catch back on.

Once Kris caught back on, the group started rotating again and Justin was taking the longest fastest pulls of anyone.  In addition, there was a pretty fierce tail/cross wind so we were flying..  The group worked well together and when we were on the last lap all we had left was once out in the crazy head win and once back in the crazier tail wind.  With about one mile left of the head wind I decided to attack and try and hold it with the tail wind to my back to the line after the turn around.  Right after I went, the wind shifted, the temperature dropped and rain started pouring in buckets.  It was nuts.  With the change in wind direction that meant what I had planned on being a twelve mile cruise became a twelve mile slog.  Ugh, lame.

What was good though was the distance we had on the pack at the turn around had more than doubled - and the remnants of the break I had just left were disappearing behind me.  I thing the change in weather knocked the motivation from everyone, and all I could think about was going as hard as I could to keep my heat up and get back to the car.  In the last few miles I could see this little speck of neon green behind me.  I knew it was a team mate, and there was no one else behind him - so I waited.  It was Justin.  As soon as he caught we rotated to the finish.

As we came to the line he said "take this, your going to need the time bonus because Kris and I are going to make you look stupid in the time trial".  I responded "wow, this is the second time this has happened!  Way better than than when I was on Harley back East and they sexed you in".  Justin was like "what?" .  So we came in 1,2.  Then Kris came in ahead of  Alexander Yeh, who I have to say was ridding beast mode all day.  The field came in around five minutes later.

Probably the best part of the weekend was that Joe Iannarelli finally shaved his legs.  I'm not sure if you have ever seen his legs, but they were so hairy it took two sheep shears, six barber shavers and several packs of BIC disposable razors to get through the hair on his legs.  Hopefully he plans on trimming about six inches off his chest, but his back is beyond repair.


Ward's FErry

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to race when I saw this message on Facebook:
Who will be racing both Wards Ferry and Regalado road races this weekend and want to carpool and split hotel? I have room for 3.
I toyed with the thought of racing, looked at the Ward's Ferry profile (pretty damn hilly) and the weather conditions (80% chance apocalyptic rain conditions) and decided against it.  I don't climb very well, or really, I don't enjoy it too much, so this race was off the table.  Then I thought about it, the other rider in this district who seems to be in every break/race that I am in doesn't climb very well either - so, I should go to this race, get my nuts kicked in by the skinny climber dudes, try to hurt their feelings on the descents, and gain more strength for the next battle with my sworn enemy RAND MILLER.

You heard it here Rand, it's on, WWE Style! That's right, next time I see you , I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!

Chuck stepping on Rand's neck.

Sorry, got carried away there for a second.  Back to the race report.

So I respond to the Facebook post, from Bryontron Anson, let him know we can carpool. Yes, his name is Bryantron.  Apparently his mom liked the dog Brian from family guy,

and his dad liked the movie Tron,

and they came up with Bryontron.

Sorry, lost the race focus again.  Anyway, Bryantron rides for Fremont Bank and had one teammate, who, like him could also climb.  In fact, everyone at this race could climb better than me - to include two juniors who were attacking the beJesus out of me.  The highlight of my race was watching this energizer bunny looking dude motor up anything that was in the direction "up".  I hated it.  After the first of five or six laps I realized my only hope was to get away on the rollers or the descent because I could not take much more of suffering on these climbs.  I got a pretty good gap on the descent, but when I looked back, who was chasing me?  Yup, Bryonton Anson.  Unspeakable things were going to happen to his food things while he was sleeping back at the hotel.

I cracked with one lap to go and rode the last lap solo hoping that none of the guys who dotted the course behind me would catch and eventually rolled in for 7th.

Who won?

Chris Phipps

who?

Chris Phipps

who?

Chris Phipps

Oh, that dude who has all the KOM Strava points in the bay area.

Actually, I am not really sure if the KOM Strava points is true, that's just what I heard, but I assure you, my people are checking it out for confirmation.

After the race I recognized Chris Phipps as the guy I kept snagging the KOM points from at the Barani Road Race the weekend before. Lucky for me those "KOM" points were really a mislabeled "sprint" spot that happened to be at the top of a very short power climb.  I would like to think that this was Chris's revenge for me taking what should have been his (at least in name), but I am sure to him last week was just a blip.

RegalAdo Road Race

The Regalado Road Race was more my style, rolling hills, a two mile dirt section and unfortunately only eight starters due to a forecast of 80% rain with low temperatures.   Rain did not appear for either race, in fact, the temperatures were wonderful and the roads were beautiful. The race was pretty non-nondescript with all of the action happening in the mud.  Each lap we dropped two guys there until there was four of us.  Probably the most exciting part of the race was when I was off with two laps to go and I watched the moto ref accidentally do a doughnut in the mud and then lay it down.  When I slowed to find out if he was OK the other three guys caught me.  Second time I have seen a moto ref go down, the first was during a crazy rainy criterium stage of Nature Valley where the dude slid out and took two riders with him into the metal crowd control barriers.  That race was ended, this one the moto ref was fine, got up and was on his way.  The race ended with me jumping away from the others on the final rollers with about two miles to go for the "win".

Every race you learn something new.  This race I learned that the best part about my travel companion Bryontron, besides his excellent ability to chase me down while I am desperately trying to fin a way to better my race in unfavorable conditions, the best part about Bryanton is his girlfriend who is a contestant in the show "The Voice".



Bryanton is the tall dude with the hat that says something like "oh yeah, she looks good" when they briefly go away from the singing scene.  She is a really good singer.

Message from the guy who runs Marc Pro - Strava:
Chuck,

Your last blog was OK, but I feel your tittle was too vague.  How about putting the name of the race in it?  Or at least somewhere in the body - the people who read your blog (your mom, maybe your dad) want to know what event you are talking about.  Also, after some discussion by the team (which you can review the thread in our google group), we have decided that all of your posts need a picture of a hamburger.

Thanks
My original plans for this weekend was just the Cat 1,2 Land Park Crit on Saturday and the the Collegiate crit in Berkeley on Sunday.  One time I was asked "You can do collegiate races?"  I said "Yeah, why?  Cause I'm hella good?" and I got back "No, cause your hella old".  Little self esteem booster there.  Maybe the surprise should have been that I am in college because I can't spell, have terrible grammatical structure and use the word 'hella'.

So, my original plan was what is above, but that changed when I heard about the $150 omnium for the Masters 30+.  My new plan was to race the masters race, get my butt handed to me by Evan Huffman in the senior race (really, that was my plan) and then race the Bariani road race Sunday if my placing in the crit justified it.  I did not really train that much last week between midterms and not wanting to get my new bike dirty in the rain.

While standing around talking to people before the race I meet my new team mate Nate Freed.  Its always awkward meeting people for the first time when you are wearing the same kit.  I also got a chance to talk to Jason Peterson from the US Military Cycling Team, sporting his new red-white and blue kit with FRS energy labels all over it.

The Master's race was pretty uneventful.  Guys attacked, guys got caught, we did circles.  Nate pulled in a couple of threatening break attempts and was keeping me at the front on the last lap when we started to get swarmed on the left side.  I switched flows of traffic and tried to get in on the Morgan Stanly lead out train.  The second Morgan Stanley guy (Chris Baker) was not giving up the wheel, so I tried the third one (John Fairbanks).  He "let me know" he had no intention of giving up Chris's wheel so I slotted in behind him. Lucky fo me he was the perfect lead-out to the line and I won - narrowly beating AJ Kennedy.  Trippy thing, I raced against AJ in the 80's when he was on Plymouth-Reebok.  Somethings never change.

The 1,2 race was all the Evan Huffman show.  NorCal has been watching a lot of that channel lately.  I had one more teammate, Donald Hahn in this one as well as Nate.  The race unfolded something like this:

I attacked, got brought back in.

Rand Miller attacked, got brought back in.

Rand and I attack, got back in.

Before I can recover...

Evan attacks, lights out, game over

Evan lays waste to 3 poor souls at various points and time along the course.

We catch all but one of them before Evan crosses the line for the win.

I tried to get across and even came pretty close, but could not seal the deal.  Rand Miller had me pretty well covered.  I was initially going to post a picture here of a pimple on a butt to describe what Rand was like, but the google images that came up in the search for "pimple on butt" would have got me kicked off the team.  Eewww!

Nate and Donald tried valiantly to pull them back in.  a few others jumped away in the last few laps too - including Pete Knudson.  I ended up 7th, 2nd in the field sprint almost catching the Knudson group.

Day 2 was the Bariani Road Race.  No cat 1,2 race was offered but there was a huge 30+ field.  The race was very well run - all SGW events are.  The prizes are cash (cash is good) and Bariani Olive Oil (which is also good) to the top finishers.  The registration was out of the Bariani factory too near Zamora.  There were the same three of us Marc Pro-Strava guys again.

Although rain threatened the race the night before, it was sunny and cold.  Nate opting out of leg or knee warmers chose to use Donald's embrocation which proved to be too hot for him causing him to cramp up and complain that he was "on fire".I was yelling "please don't let the invisible fire burn my friend!"
Added to the finishing place and omnium prize list was a KOM prize, which really was more like a hot spot or sprint than a KOM because the climb was really short - more like a power climb.  I had not intended on going for it but ended up getting 1st three times and 2nd twice out of 6 laps because it was the best spot on the course to attack.The finish was a few miles after it.  On the last lap I wasn't sure if I had the KOM because a rider in yellow had also been doing well and so I was torn between hoping I had it and saving for the finish or going for it and trying to recover and then sprint.  I went for it.  Lucky for me after the KOM the field went REAL slow, I fully recovered and got 2nd in the field sprint, securing the omnium.

There was some issue over center-line violations and relegations and stuff after the road race, but the officials withdrew it all in fairness to the riders because they did not enforce the imaginary line at the start finish during the race and it was impossible to tell where it was in the sprint (white piece of electrical tape immediately after a rise in the road that you don't see until you have crested and are on it).   Word on the street was that most of the Masters 50+ were relegated, but it was reversed.

Hello new team!  Well, its good to be with a strong group of guys, its good to be on a new bike and its good to be racing.

Word is I will be getting a Garmin, but until then I have to figure how to upload this to Strava:

My first race with Marc Pro - Strava was the Central Coast Circuit Race with Art Rand and Jesse Miller Smith.  It was a pretty well run event.  At the start there was a little more than 40 racers - to include Rand Miller, Logan Loader, a couple of Mike's Bikes and even some kids from Ritte Elite U23 Development Team.  Also my old team mate Rob Evans who sent me this in an email:

"It was fun riding w/ you...but be warned, your so marked now!!!!

PS Chuck, I still love you - is there a chance?"

(just kidding about the PS part)

anyway..

We took a warm up lap and I got a little concerned about the hill, the wind, not being comfortable yet on my new bike, my huge gut and my old age.  Other than that I was feeling great!  While riding the course Art Rand said something about the dirt being crazy deep off the road and that some other Cal Giant kid was following Rand Miller, went of the road, his front wheel sunk in the dirt, then his whole bike, followed by his body - and they ended up having to send search and rescue to find him or something.  I made a mental note not to go off the side of the road.

The officials said "GO", so I went.  I attacked from the gun and tried to quietly slip away, but when I looked over my shoulder everyone was there - and they weren't even single file, just rolling along (probably talking) in a big bubble from one side of the road to the other. Great, not only did I not get a gap, but I did not even stretch the group.  Then we hit the hill and POW, dudes were attacking.  I began reassessing my situation from how we were going to do the led out to if I was going to finish. I could see Art Rand up front with Rand Miller driving it.  After a few miles I felt great and the sluggishness left my body.

When we hit the hill the next time I attacked over the crest and drilled it like I had just stolen a TV with the police chasing me.  A group of about 10 guys formed and we rotated well.  Guys kept pulling the ripcords to their chutes and floating back to the pack till there were only six of us to include  James Wingert (Mike's Bikes), Julian Martinez (Fremont Bank), Billy - Dean Williams - Crane (Webcor) Rob Evans (McGuire) and my side kick and team mate, Jesse Miller Smith.  The group behind had Art Rand and Rand Miller and will from this point on be called the Art Rand Miller group.

So, we worked well together, but we never seemed to be going that fast, and the few times we did stop rotating I attacked, they woke up and we started working good together - but the Art Rand Miller group was always visible on the windy long rolling back section.

At one point  I could see Rand Miller trying to bridge from the Art Rand Miller group and was getting pretty close. His old Webcor team mate started yelling "F*** that guy, lets roll!" and he started drilling it for about 5 miles until Rand was nowhere in site. Maybe that's not exactly  how it happened, but we did up the pace.

With 2 laps to go I attacked on the hill and took Billy Crane with me,  On the decent I saw Jesse bridging across by himself so I waited for him.  Here is what it looked like with one to go:

When we hit the hill, I let Jesse roll and looked at Billy.  He pulled us back with no problem, but started sounding like a kitten with asthma.  I went next, got a pretty good gap and Jesse came across by himself. The only problem was Billy came across a few seconds latter.  Jesse went again and got a huge Gap.  I jumped across over the top of the hill and we were gone.


Jesse was flying.  I tried to pull through and he yelled "I'm going to take it to the line and you take the win!:

I responded....

A. You'd do that for me?  Your my best friend!

B. Damn right you will

C. No, I'll drive it to the line, you take it

D. What?

The answer is D, it was hella windy, so I think that is what he said.  I said 'what?' like three times and never clearly got his response, but when I tried to pull through, he let me for a second (probably to make me feel better about myself) but would come around and continue the work at hand.  When we came to the last turn he sat up and signaled for me to go.  It looked like this:

What a welcome to the team! New team, a working new bike, GREAT teammates and a win in the 1st race.  Fun times.

Thanks for the photos Tim Westmore tim@argentumimago.com!