• Racing up, falling down

    by  • January 25, 2011 • norcal scene, race coverage • 3 Comments

    What’s coming up in the Norcal?

    This weekend continues the pre-season shenanigans of our region with a couple of very cool events.  The Cal Aggie Criterium is a fantastic way to get in your speedwork, practice team tactics, and regain that familiarity with pack riding.  And, you don’t have to worry about bot dots.

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    This course is one of the best in our region … with wide open throttle-fest drags where you can attack, but importantly, includes 3 mildly technical curvatures which keep all riders attention arrays set on high and safety’rific.  The technical aspects of the course aren’t unduly challenging, but they are integral to forcing riders to be attentive and risk-averse.

    A criterium like Cal Aggie is perfect for improving or dusting off your fitness and bike handling.  And, it throws a bit of cash at the good folks of the UCDavis cycling community.  Win-win, in my book.

    Pre-register for Cal Aggie here.
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    CCCX Circuit Race ~ check out the course for the 2011 Master’s District RR

    In a bit of a coup … this year’s age-30 and over District Road Race Championships have been awarded to the CCCX promoting group for their Aug 14th event.  The course is a challenging 4.3 mile circuit built for all-arounders, and guaranteed to wear down riders like a brutal Belgian kermesse.

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    Racing it for an hour or 90 minutes is one thing … but doing 12, 13, or maybe 15 laps out there is going to have people cracking like eggs.  It’s going to be a hard, hard race.  So, if you’re a geezer rider and looking to get a jump start on the type of training you’ll need to put in to be competitive come August, take a trip down to Monterey this Sunday and re-con the course with a good, short power workout with the CCCX crew.

    They don’t have it on the flier, but there is a $10 reg for 2nd races … so, be sure to check it out.  And there is pristine riding around the area for adding on miles.  The weather will be sublime and it’s definitely high time to get away from Fremont and those EB clustercrits.

    Race Flier here, and Registration available here.
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    Speaking of Falling Down …

    Saturday was the first road race of the 2011 season – the Velopromo Early Bird Road Race out in Patterson, CA.   The course is amazing … a 20 mile, ever so slightly uphill trek out and over lush rollers of cattle country, eventually twisting and turning through a picture perfect canyon of California scrub-brush and chaparral.

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    It’s an out-and-back course, with the turnaround despicably placed plop on top of a 2-mile gutpunching climb that leaves you red faced and gasping in surprise.  It’s a mini-gruel of a final couple miles as you approach the climb, too … with long, long drags where, inevitably, there’s someone willing to lay down a few hundred watts to make sure everybody hits the climb fatigued and bleary-eyed.

    boschs_trainingpartner.jpgThere were only 3 registered riders in the p1/2 category – so the prototypian Yahooligan, Brian Bosch, decided to race with the larger field of the 351/2/3s.  Bosch either got mono over the winter, or Richard Simmons moved in and made him eat carrots and do jazzercise all through christmas … cuz the guy is LEAN.

    On the way out, my teammates Jason Brown and Matt Ream were doing yeoman’s work following moves, making attacks, or pushing tempo.  The field was pretty small, but there were some good strong bulls waiting to bust out of the corral.  Lombardi’s Chris Ott seemed to be hell bent on getting away and attacked a few thousand times once we started racing in earnest.

    Each of the riders tossed out some decent moves, but eventually it looked like we’d hit the climb en masse and it’d be a sufferfest up the stupid thing.  Josh Dapice put in a ridiculously hard pull in the final mile as we approached the climb, with Safeway’s Jon Eropkin following up to keep everyone hurting into the hill.  I kind of hated them both at that point.

    yuppers.jpgOnce the climb started, we began to see the men’s 1/2 and 3 fields rocketing down the climb.  You can view the race results HERE to see how the boys faired … but, I’ll just say that there were quite a few risks being taken by these youngsters throwing themselves down the hill.

    Going fast downhill is a thing I’ve got some experience with, but when you see boys hurling themselves downhill, slightly out of control, and foaming at the mouth … well, it just puts you in a different frame of mind for when it’s your turn to descend.

    The climb was awful.  Ryan Bennett of San Francisco was stomping on the pedals and Brian Bosch was pulling all his bluff tricks to make it look like it was easy … while i was suffering like a diabetic pig.  I really need to do a little training at intensity at some point.

    Up the climb we went, and the cat 4 riders were slamming down the hill as well.  It was great to see a bunch of young riders hauling ass in the cat 4s.  Metromint’s Naveen Molloy won it over Bicycle Planet’s Will Brickler … with the uber-junior from San Jose, Adrien Costa a strong third.  There’s good things developing for our region.

    Us old guys made the turn at the top, with Bennett burning an immediate acceleration down the hill.  Bosch and I gave him a bit of gap, as there was all kinds of traffic both ways on the climb.  From follow cars, to over-lapping fields, to riders just taking risks … it was kind of mayhem.  I’m very glad that Velopromo called out for follow vehicles for the race – but, the cars really shouldn’t be going up the narrow climb.  There’s just no room for it.  And it just seems like we’re trying to pack in a lot of racers on courses nowadays …

    Unfortunately, Bennett misjudged the final turn on the descent and took an Ullrich flip into some bushes.  He was fine and barely dusted his pristine white kit … but, Bosch and I swam through the traffic and traded pulls back to the finish to sprint it out for the win.  Behind us, Bennett would join up with ThirstyBear’s Tom Roberts and Safeway’s Eropkin and Nick TheoBAD.

    bosch_n_me.jpgI’ll admit it – I love racing with Brian Bosch.  He’s incredibly experienced and has found a joy in racing over these past years that is inspiring to be around.

    I’ll admit that I love BEATING Bosch more than just racing … but Saturday wasn’t the day.  I forced him to the front at a kilo to go … we played a few cards to keep position … and then I tried to jump him a bit after the 200m sign.  It’s an uphill sprint – time enough to play out many a mini-drama as the sprint unfolds.

    I jump, he responded. I tried to close the door on him, he stuck it out.  I pull hard to the line thinking I had it with a meter to go … and he flung out the best bike throw I’ve seen in years … winning it beautifully.

    I love racing.

    Awesome Photos of the event by Ronald Mariano
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    But speaking of taking risks …

    Super photographer Ronald Mariano captured a few of the spills boyz took out at Patterson this weekend.  The turn where these pictures were taken is quite tame, but if you’re riding the bull-in-china shop express … this is what happens to you.

    Take your time, set up your lines, and look through the turns!

    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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    … just plain oops.

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    3 Responses to Racing up, falling down

    1. Bennett
      January 25, 2011 at

      haha, yeah, i guess 2 years off turns you into a fred on the downhills. the bush was certainly my friend on that day.

    2. Steve R
      January 26, 2011 at

      You are a true word-smith Michael. Good to have you back when you find the time and inspiration. The hard work is appreciated, entertaining, AND inspirational. A gourmet chef in a room full of short-order cooks… Ha! Oh, there go my manners again…

    3. TR
      January 29, 2011 at

      Nice 2nd place finish Michael. Congrats.

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