• Madera, racing, Leopard

    by  • March 14, 2011 • norcal scene, race coverage • 11 Comments

    CalGiant makes it happen

    movin_on_up.jpgFirst off – we must all remember that the Madera Stage Race is grassroots.  As in … the itchy, weedy shit that stains your shorts and makes you scratch in all the wrong places.

    Madera was one of the few regular stage races (stretching the definition, of course) we had in this area for a number of years … and the TT is decent … and the road race hurts in almost good ways.  So, we go.

    But after coming from the high-octane festivus and feats of strength that was the MERCO Stage Race … racing Madera was a serious let-down.  It was like our unions got busted and we were all back to making minimum wage.

    Evan Huffman was pretty dominating this weekend, as was the youth movement of CalGiant.  There was an eerie parallel between Bissell’s domination at MERCO and the teamwork and racing tactics put in by the Giant Berries at Madera.

    bikeiq.jpgHuffman put in two stellar time trials, then the team rallied around him in the road race – performing a picture perfect display of tactics and delivery.  After the requisite furiousity in a road race that establishes the break, 3-men stormed away and the large contingent of Berries settled themselves at the front of the 70-rider field and went about their business.

    Veterans Ozzie Olmos and Keith Miller guided the young team to a masterful pace-setting – keeping the break in sight, reeling them in late, then launching Huffman away in the deal-sealing final move that secured the GC victory.

    The break was being driven by superpowerhouse Logan Loader.  Loader was close enough on GC that the CalGiant chase behind was legit and focused.  The Berries could not lay off the throttle.  Loader was very, very impressive.  Again.

    Late in the race – Vinny Owens of Sierra Pacific threw a haymaker attack and Huffman followed.  Ken Peterson joined them and they ended up with a significant lead on the shattered pack that would finish behind.  Owens would take the stage win and move up to 2nd in GC behind Huffman.  Awesome.

    Madera pictures and results are posted – but I heard there might be a couple of errors – so can’t say if that’ll all change.

    – – –

    There’s always more stories that deserve highlighting – but there are a few notables I’d like to snip out from the p1/2s at Madera:

    • Specialized Red-Youth, Kyle Torres, scorching up the Ben Hur opening TT in a 32:45 for 2nd place.  kapow, that’s huge.  Russ White had told me this kid was one to watch.  Torres backed that hillclimb result up with a strong 22:31 in the flat TT the next morning.  That’s showing some ability to stay in the hurtwagon.
    • Marc Pro-Stava’s Justin Rossi crushed the flat TT Saturday morning … bruising the clock at a 21:22.  Loader was the silver medal for the TT by a few seconds … giving a bit of scare to all those people who thought this was a kid only made for the field sprints. That’s fast ragin’ against the clock, yo.
    • Eric Wohlberg winning the crit.  Hello?… that man can bite through f*cking steel.
    • Heal up thoughts to Brian Bosch.  He was caught in a pretty big pileup in the p1/2 criterium Saturday afternoon.  There was no where for him to go but right into, over, and through guys who had stacked it in front of him.  Get well, BigB.
      And also worth noting were the team colors Bosch was in this weekend … back to riding with the Sierra Pacific squad.  For some reason, the Yahoo! cycling team decided to let go one of the best cyclists this region has ever seen. So that just leaves Pat Briggs as the sole cyclist on that squad from a year ago.  Oh, indications…



    • Webcor’s one result of the weekend, Tore Nauta‘s 21:47 in the TT for 5th.  That’s a solid result … but Rand Miller needs to get his chubby butt out to more races.

    Women p1/2 … surprises

    cara-gillis-rbc-prologue.jpgThe big story of the weekend was how the women of Norcal forgot about, or underestimated the power of Cara Gillis.  Gillis rides out of SoCal for the Missing Link Training Systems/Specialized-something-or-others, and has come up north in the past to race the Kern County Women’s Stage Race.  She was also a former Touchstone Climbing rider.

    On lap 2 of the road race, Gillis leapt out of the field and threw all of her cards on the table.  Soon after, her teammate Leah Guloien and Metromint’s Annie Fulton bridged across and the winning break was established – never to be seen again.

    Metromint had a tough tactical decision to make – allow Fulton a chance to get a result of her own, or chase the move down and try and launch Molly Van Houweling into a GC winning effort of her own.

    Now, the situation at that point was quite intriguing – MVH was second in GC by 29 seconds to a Seattle area rider, Rae Shaw -who had pulled out a blistering TT win, clocking a 23:14.  Gillis was over a minute down on MVH, but ahead of Fulton by 1:16.

    If Metromint allows Gillis up the road, they are giving her the GC unless Fulton can attack her and gain a huge amount of time.  Owch.  Or, the team is content to give Fulton a chance at 2nd in the GC if the break gets over 2 minutes on the field, overtaking both Shaw, MVH, and Olivia Dillon.

    Oh, mental machinations!


    Well, in the women’s road race pack – the field was animated by constant attacks from PB&Co’s Irish Road and TT Champion, Olivia Dillon and Fremont Bank’s Beth Newell.  But attack as those two might, Metromint seemed to have made their decision to back Fulton’s bid for a result, and tried to smothered anything that went off the front.

    Late heroics by Vanderkitten’s Vanessa Drigo, Metromint’s Jane Robertson, and a few accelerations by Yahoo’s Jane Despas were all brought back by the field.  But on the final lap, RedRacing’s Michelle Melka would put in a big dig and stave off the field for 4th on the day, bumping her up to 8th in GC.  Nice effort.

    Gillis would end up crushing the road race, securing the stage win and stealing away the GC.  It was well-earned.  Metromint’s Fulton would get a 2nd on the stage and in GC … very likely her best result in the p1/2s to date.

    Of course there are arguments to be made that Metromint should have chased down the Gillis-led breakaway.   But, I’m of the opinion that it’s very cool to share the wealth on a team, and Fulton getting a big result is something worth fighting for.

    Other women’s notables from the weekend:

    • Beth Newell won the criterium on day 1 with a monster 350meter sprint, launched from midway back in the pack out of the final turn.  She won it just ahead of Webcor’s Aussie recruit, Rebecca Werner … a rider very much worth watching ~ as she has the guts and passion to match a powerfully compact riding style.
      With CalAggie and the Folsom crits earlier this year, that’s the 3rd field sprint win for Newell … moving her into fairly elite ranks of fast women in our region.
    • Olivia Dillon was THE marked rider for the weekend.  It’s a tough position to be in … one that pro’s like Ben Jacques-Maynes and Roman Kilun have learned to deal with while racing on the local circuit.
      Racing with that big of a target on your back does improve one as a cyclist, however.  It forces more creativity in racing tactics and demands a serious attention to tendencies and decisions made by other teams and riders.  But it can be frustrating when you’re used to riding at the professional/international level.
      Still … it’s a damn good workout.
    • Field neutralization …
      Unfortunately, the 35+cat4 men’s field caught the women’s field on their finishing lap, which was lap 3 of the women’s race.  The Gillis break was under 2-minutes at this point, with the racing getting very hot and heavy as Newell and Dillon had been going on the serious offensive.  It was crunch time.  But the neutralization had a direct effect on the race, even though the break was neutralized for a short time, as well.
      Ah well, and ah hell.
      There are strong arguments to make that the 35+4 field could have been safely neutralized for a brief few minutes to allow gap to re-open to the women’s field, so both fields would have had a safe, non-intrusive shot at their races.  There were no fields within 5 minutes behind the 35+4 field, and the pack was together.
      It is what I would have done.
      But, the larger point is … the 35+4 field started 10 minutes behind the women’s p1/2 field.  Ladies … you should have been racing faster.  That’s just the bottom line.  Your race was too slow.  I don’t want to say that the racing was ‘negative’ … but, you’re in the p1/2 field now.  Get aggressive, take risks, ride your asses off.  That first and second lap were just too slow.  Old cat 4 men should not be putting 10 minutes into you in under 40 miles.
      No way.

    Other notes from Madera:

    hahaahahaa.jpgBrian Choi, Stuzio.com, won the 35+ field in an awesome breakaway with a small group.  He won it over Yahoo’s Kevin Klein by a second, with Specialized’s Dean Laberge 3rd at 2 seconds.  That is close.

    Laberge won both the criterium and road race with his characteristically daunting sprint.

    The 45+ was won by Cale Reeder, due to the unbelievable 21:50 thrown down in the time trial.

    The 55+ was won by Reno hardman and never say die strongheart, Paul Gossi.  It was pretty sweet to see this guy get the win against some pretty strong teams.

    crowley_rocks.pngMetromint scored another Cat 3 stage race win with Paralympian Kelly Crowley.  Her teammmate Lina Martensson grabbed a solid second in GC, with Ruste Jenkins getting her best results with a road race win and 3rd on GC.

    Again, there’s more stories that deserve telling out of any stage race … even one as backwoods and cow-country ghetto as Madera.  But, that’s all I’ve got for now.

    One last thing … Leopard bikes

    me_mercocrit.jpgI’m writing up a review of Leopard Bikes DC-1.  They contacted me a couple weeks ago and wanted me to test drive their frame.

    Well, after shoving it around that damn MERCO hairpin about 90 times for both the 35+ and p1/2 criteriums, climbing after a bunch of Bissell monsters, and ramming it over the roubaix’d roads of Madera … I think i’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes these Leopard bikes so sought after.


    Check tomorrow for my full review of the bike … now I’m just pissed i have to give it back.

    – – –



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    11 Responses to Madera, racing, Leopard

    1. Cara Gillis
      March 14, 2011 at

      Tsk tsk. The moto came up and neutralized us too. We had to slow down to a crawl, on a very fast section, for the sake of fairness.

    2. March 14, 2011 at

      You know, there is an option regarding neutralized packs. You can make sure your pack’s pace is faster, or even better, you can try breaking away. The latter works great because while the officials will neutralize your pack, they won’t mess with you at all if you’re out there alone off the front fighting the wind. They let the 1/2s or whatever fast pack is passing just roll on by, and it sucks you along like an extra-long 18-wheeler and motivates you to try to keep them in sight as long as possible. Both those tactics can work great, and if you break away you will never get neutralized FYI (at least I never have.

    3. Olivia Dillon
      March 14, 2011 at

      It did not have to be an either/or decision for Metromint. A GC race was still possible if Metromint had cooperated in the effort to bring the time gap down. The breakaway was secure with a large time gap although odds were not good for a Metromint win versus 2 experienced Missing Link riders.

    4. Anna Barensfeld
      March 14, 2011 at

      Sorry Hernando, who do you race for? Will we see you on the NRC circuit? Thanks for the team diss. My teammates Cara and Leah raced brilliantly on Sunday. Metromint was a shambles and they weren’t smothering anybody trying to bring the gap down, but other people were doing that work. Mr. Reporter, where do you get your facts?

    5. amanda seigle
      March 14, 2011 at

      First off, Specialized raced very well all weekend and were great competition in the w/1/2. They attacked the crit and attacked the RR and we had some good bike racing because of it. Metromint was quite happy with annie up the road as it kept us in 2nd on GC and put pressure on the other GC contenders. what was disappointing was the lack of show from webcor and red until last lap of the race. also, earlier in the race the other teams would end up doing the work of the GC leader (Rae) and she would never be working on the front, just pack floating. learning from our mistake with despas last year, we were determined to pull out the other GC contenders and MAKE THEM WORK. Olivia did, Beth did and one webcor rider started working it at the front, and towards the end Rae came up too. We were content to not get in their way if they were rotating to bring it back, but we would jump on stuff if they attacked and we could follow. No we didn’t win, but unless we could get molly off and have her take 30 sec. on Rae, we weren’t going to anyway. We did try and got molly in a break, but that was brought back by olivia. This way, annie got an awesome finish, took over second and we got 3 top 10’s on GC instead of 2. Even more importantly we weren’t out there doing the work for other teams – lesson learned 😉

    6. HERNANDO!!!
      March 15, 2011 at

      Ms Barensfeld,
      how does “Gillis would end up crushing the road race, securing the stage win and stealing away the GC. It was well-earned” constitute ‘diss’ing your team?

      as for what team i ride for, and what NRC events i’ll do …

      as i said, Gillis put in a strong ride. but, she was also very much aided by the Metromint decision to support Fulton in her result. which i approve of in a race like Madera. it’s a small event and that team has worked for MVH in a lot of races over the years.

    7. roman
      March 15, 2011 at

      Those are some fighting words. I didn’t see a diss here at all. However, you really have to wonder what any of the riders in the field were thinking letting those three go up the road. If Metro was happy to get second or third then they did the right thing. Everyone else?

      That Leopard is sweet. I even liked riding the one Martina had and that was a 48cm.

    8. March 15, 2011 at

      I can’t find the dis anywhere. This is just another example that all people from LA are crazy. Not little crazy. We are talking big-time-movie-star-kill-your-gardner-crazy.

      However… i do like the idea of calling Hernando “Mr. Reporter.”

      How’s your commie-lovin-pay-for-every-poor-kid-at-the-races-writing-ass feeling now Mr. Reporter?

      Crap…i’m tired. Time for another cookie.

    9. HERNANDO!!!
      March 15, 2011 at

      whatever – i get smack for both of us. we’ve got to figure out a way of better delineating your shit talk from mine.

      and i actually do like that ‘mr reporter’ thing. it makes me feel important. maybe not so-cal important … but important.

    10. Tim
      March 15, 2011 at

      ‘Nando and ‘Ellyer,

      If you want folks to keep straight who’s who, why not put a label up at the top of each blog post. You know, just above where it says “Cal Giant makes it happen” in bold, put HERNANDO Spouts these golden words of wisdom:” or “Mickey Mumbles:” or something like that. Or post in different text colors. Or put your smiling faces at the top – like an old newspaper byline.

      But no blogging while racing boys…

    11. hellyer
      March 15, 2011 at

      Yeah – we got to get that nailed. Hopefully we’ll get a new template that will put byline at the top instead of bottom of the article. Until then perhaps we go with bylines in the header as you suggest Tim. Somebody just told me i look like an old grandma with my scraggly facial hair so i might avoid the byline picture… though my ego could use a boost.

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