Field: P/1/2/3 - 40+ starters
Here is Ben's Report:
So I saw that only 6 pre-reg'ed (3 of them E3's like me) and thought "What the heck, could be a chance at an easy top ten if I finish." But I got to the line and Mike's Bikes and Marc Pro have what seems like their full pro team there in what ended up as a 40+ rider field. I swear we did +800W up that turn 3 climb and averaged 30mph. Dang those guys smash! Just f'ing smash non stop!!!
Super impressive to see those guys in action, super bummed to confirm I am not anywhere in their league.
Popped my 2014 race season cherry! Yay :)
Field: E4 -58 starters
Here is Andrews Report:
I came to Bariani needing some points to keep my motivation alive. I had already said if it was no wind I was going to try and get away cuz a group sprint would be crazy. I have never done the new course and loved the old course a lot. (Bummer)
We set off and we hit all the rough road section and I went crazy on them and prob dropped 8 or 9 with in the first 6 miles. I would attack and then attack and then attack in the rough road areas. It was really strung out with gaps growing in the group. I was really feeling this approach. then I attacked again on a right hander. I then got stung hard core in my left quad. I stopped attacking at that point and everyone saw me fight the bee off my leg. A lot of people helped push me and slowed the group until i got the stinger out. Sick sportsmanship. then I chilled out for about 3 miles.
I attacked on a right corner that lead up a hill and opened a huge gap and at one point was over a min as the moto told me. I really thought I pulled it off, cuz I can ride solo no problem and keep good speed and the group would forget about me. well right when I though i was free, I looked back and had a hole team of 7 or 8 was on the front pulling me back! So I started to soft peddle because there was no point. After i was caught lap 2 and 3 was boring. I was going to play around and knew it was going to come down to a group sprint. so i started to prepare for it. plus i was feeling really good in the heat and a lot of people didn't look that great.
Going in to 2km to go it was mass crazyness. Trains forming all over this wide 2 lane road. I new after to talking to Deniz the day before that everyone goes too early. Right as I was thinking that, a massive pileup on the right. This scared a ton of racers and they started to sprint 1km out. I was cursing at this point and saw the sprint start to open up. I had to go form left to right to get around slowpokes and then opened up my sprint 500m to go about in nearly 25th place (cuz crash) and was picking off people like crazy. I smashed the sprint and was photo for 6th,7th and 8th. Wow!
I felt pain in my back right away and another bee was in my jersey stinging up and down my back. LOL WTF right!? Anyway minuses all my stingers i was feeling pretty good with another top ten and points towards a upgrade.
Field: E4 - 54 starters
Teammates: Andrew, Deniz Simon
Finish: Andrew - 16th, Simon - 34th, Deniz 47th
Here is Andrews Report:
So Deniz doing this race really made me sign up. Since i have not done this course before, the coaching Deniz gave me on the drive up was valuable. If you are not familiar with the course its kinda of crazy. Super hard core left then hard right the slight left and hard right left then slight left to the finish. After hearing about it my only goal (Bariani looming) was stay near the front at all costs.
we set off 54 strong and race is on and i stay 3rd wheel for the first lap to see the hard turns at race speed with out 50 people in front of me. Well after the first lap there was no way in hell i was going to be further then 10 back the whole race. Crazy! so in the second lap I kinda got a gap and took it for a lap to see if they would let me go. NO anyway, but scored a prime in the mean time and just settled in for the race in the top 5 to 10. Deniz made a effort of the front (nice to see him racing) and caused the chase.
Fast forward to 3 laps to go. Deniz and Simon come around me and Simon says get on my wheel. I did, then Deniz goes crazy on the front and Simon keeps me well positioned until bell lap. All of the sudden we get hella swarmed and I'm loosing sight off the front quickly. Really had no chance after that and rolled in with out even sprinting 16th. Good day to have all my skin and learned spending some energy to stay at the front during the race is not a bad thing.
Here is Justin's Race Report from last weekend's Madera Stage race.
Writing this report is bittersweet, as it is most likely my last for the season.
I left Redwood City at 430 am to get to Madera and warm up for the TT at 9am. Drinking coffee, eating oatmeal and downing water the drive flew by. They hadn't posted the times for the TT's, but as my last name was Widlund, I figured I would be near the end of the group. I ended up being one of the first people there and met up with my friend Sunil from Team Audi. His teammate Chris rolled up and we hit the trainers and chatted.
With the TT being first, I knew the stage race would be decided largely that morning. I was coming off a cold and was frustrated by the lack of high intensity work I missed out on. I had spent a lot of time on my TT bike in the garage and was ready to stay in my aero position for the full time, but was suspect of my lungs. As expected I rolled out 3rd to the last of the 71 one riders.
Getting off the trainer and riding to the start, I noticed a rubbing. I checked my rear tie and the tire pressure was causing the 25mm tire to rub on the frame. Hadn't noticed this on any of the training rides. Frantically I got on and off the bike adjusting the skewer placement to the Disc wheel hoping to alleviate the issue. After 5 or 6 times, I let nearly 50 PSI out of the rear tire. I was going to do this damn TT on 70 PSI... that is going to kill precious time. I had no time left and had to get to the line in 5 minutes and had no time to spare. I rolled up and pinched the rear tire and it was soft. I stayed calm, breathed, came to the line got into position, put all the negative thoughts out of my mind and watched the guy in front of me take off. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 .... 400w for the first 2 minutes. Stay steady -find your place, ride your own race. Within 5 minutes I had picked up two riders, neither were the one directly in front of me. On to the back side I was avg 315-320w, perfect, stay here. I slowly pulled another back on the next turn and hammered catching the guy who started before me. I could here his frustration. I put more time into him. Last corner and pushed as hard as I could hitting the line at 23:49 and taking 8th. Not my fastest, but out of 71 a good showing.
Loaded up and went to the crit and again met up with Chris and Sunil. We chatted. talked tactics and time. I was 40 seconds off GC, but only 4 seconds off 5th. The key in the crit would be to avoid issues and finish with pack. No teammates meant i would need to race towards the front and do my best to control the race. We started at 140pm in what was the nicest day I had seen in some time. The pace was fast right off the bat. The four corner crit was rough going. Power stayed at 270w for the entire hour. I tried helping Sunil a few times, but nothing really stuck. on the final lap, I finally took a small breath of relief. I followed Sunil figuring he would contend for the sprint and i could safely hold my position. On the final turn his rear tubular rolled off causing him to go down. I had to slow down, but didn't worry much as we were told that any slowing in the final lap wouldn't be held against us if it was from a crash. Later i learned that because I didn't go down, that I wasn't going to get the same time as the pack. I complained, but ultimately was unsuccessful. Frustrating to see my friend go down and my GC hopes get hit with a 9 sec addition because of the crash. Oh well. Tomorrow just means I will have to race hard.
Had a great dinner with Simon from TKRR, Shiva from SJBC, and the Audi team. It was carefree night of eating pasta. Just what i needed after a day like this. The goal tomorrowwas to pull back any time I lost and at least keep the top ten.
Sunday morning I ate a ton, stretched and felt great. I rolled out to the race and chatted with Chris and Sunil about tactics. Sunil was one spot out of the top 15 and we decided we would help if we could. Chris from Audi would work for both of us. He did an amazing job and killed himself every lap.
If you haven't done Madera, the RR is a simple loop. The first 1/2 is fast and smooth. You turn right and start a treacherous journey into the worst pavement i have ever ridden. Its worse than Snelling or Copperopolis. After you finish the 4 or so miles of "pave" then you go into a series of rollers until the finish. We had 4 laps.
Simply put, I road hard and stayed at the front. I ate a ton of food and focused totally on making sure I was the one picking my lines. On the last lap on the final set of rollers with the group exhausted, the field got sketchy. People were crossing lines and and it was getting difficult to stay safe. On the final roller before the up hill finish, the pace surged. I felt fine going up, but noticed to my right one individual (who I will not name) coming up. I had seen him and his teammate at Snelling and they were both dangerous with little care of other riders lines. I tried to start moving left to avoid him. As we came to the top of the hill, he sat down and swerved left by two or three bikes lanes.
He cause the guy to his left to turn into my front wheel and i flipped over and hit my hip. We were maybe 500 meters from the finish. I couldn't move my right left. It was stuck straight and I laid on the ground for 15 minutes as various officials and riders came to my side. I was picked up by EMTs and we discussed potentially if i could drive home.
Sunil and Chris stuck around to see how I was. I couldn't drive, so Sunil's wife took my car home and I went to the hospital in Madera with Sunil. After X-rays it was determined that i had a fractured femur. I would be transported back to Standford, as Madera didn't have the team in place to operate. Sunil stayed with me until the ambulance picked me up to take me to Standford.
So post-mortem, the surgery is done and I am home on crutches. I have contacted the NCNCA judges and they are going to give me the same time as the group for the road race and I should be provided a top ten result for the GC. This hasn't been completed yet, but I will update with final results.
Huge thanks to Sunil (and his wife) and Chris on Audi.
Field: E3 - 85 starters
Here is Justin's Report:
I got up really early. Picked up Simon. Road my bike for like 3 hrs really fast. I drank a ton of Osmo and felt great through out the race. Someone crashed in the last two miles on a tiny hill causing a pile up and making me come to a complete stop. I road fast again. Caught the group at the finish line. Got 51st.
Field: E4 - 92 starters
Teammates: Justin, Andrew, Mike
Finish Simon 14th, Andrew 18th, Mike 51st
Here is Simon's Report:
Drove out with Justin this morning (Thanks, Justin!) dark and early in order to grab a spot on the waitlist for the filled, 100-rider field. Fortunately, I got in, along with all the day of wait-listers. It was a little chilly at the race start but the weather got much better, perfect race weather actually. The seven-mile neutral start through Snelling was cool, good way to get the legs going and zero in on how this race was going to work. We hit the course marker and it was go time. The speed picked up and seeing the massive field from behind was a good way to wrap my head around how I was going to stay safe in this.
Previously, I had heard some horror stories and glory tales about Snelling. First was the poor-quality of the roads, which,“tbh,” weren’t really that bad after all. However, I could see why that segment of road on STRAVA is named “Equipment Nightmare.” The wind wasn’t bad either. Also, as per usual, crashes, crashes, and crashes. There were crashes. Glad I stayed clear of those. Well, sort of.
I had doubts that I would be able to do well in this race due to its distance, pace, and poor pavement quality. Food and drink were my saviors. Every lap, where the course was smooth and straight, I would eat and drink.
No surprises in this race. Just waited around in the back, with the occasional move up and drop back. It helped me to think of this race as a criterium/circuit race, just longer laps.
On the final lap, I began to move up. This was difficult due to the amount of riders acting as roadblocks. Pothole after pothole, my wheels managed to stay alive. With about 2 minutes to go, there was a huge crash near the head of the pack, taking out a large sum of riders. I had to go off into the grass and sprint to catch a train chasing the lead group. Got back in with the group but by this time we were already in the final turn and less than 1k to go. There was no getting around the spread-out mass of riders with nothing left in their legs. Watching the lead group get away was devastating after coming so far… I had so much in me to help a teammate or do well myself… Just horrible positioning... Nonetheless I gave it my all and managed 14th.
Wrapping it up, I learned more in this race than any other. I am happy that I got into the race last minute, didn’t get any flats, stayed out of crashes, and managed to finish in the top-15.
Field: E4 - 65
Teammates: Deniz, Simon
Result: Simon 3rd, Deniz DNF
Here is Simon's Report:
Drove out with Deniz this morning. The scenery was very nice coming into Calaveras County. Rolled out of Copperopolis Town Square a little later than indicated. Questioning my fitness, after two weeks of only using a trainer, I knew I had to fight hard in this E4 field of 65 racers. I had never ridden this course before, nor had I warmed up, so on the first lap I just scouted everyone out along with the course and took it easy.
All four times we hit the small climb, the front of the pack would slow and the peloton would get crunched. With so many riders fighting for position and then slowing, there were bound to be a lot of crashes. And there were: Three crashes, or tip-overs, in the U-turn, one ended with an exploding rear tire. Fortunately, I maneuvered around all of these mishaps and made sure I was doing as little work as possible.
Going down the hill at the beginning of each lap was pretty fun and gave me a chance to lay off the pedaling. Rolling through town was cool too. The slinky effect worked it’s black magic on the pack each time we would roll through town, leaving us all to workhorse up to the next rider. The hill always slowed the breaks, allowing stragglers to catch up to them.
Coming out of town on the on the final lap, I set myself up somewhere in the top ten. I could tell we had dropped a fair amount of the riders but there were still a bunch fighting for position, so the pace was quickening. Forth out of the U-turn, I began to look for the best possible wheel. About 1k to go, there was a crash behind me, to the right, about two bikes back. Thankful to still be in the race, I wedged my way between the left curb and a rider to get in line for the final 200m. I was now cranking in my big ring and sitting on second place’s wheel. Other riders on my right were now sprinting. At 100m, I got out of the saddle, fired on all cylinders, and threw my bike across the finish line. It was a pack-sprint, photo finish to say the least. I had no idea where I placed until they posted results (that’s how close it was) when I found out it was 3rd. Glad to be safe.
E4 race - 59 miles
Teammates - Andrew 9th, Deniz 13th, Mike - 1st
Mike Logans Race Report:
The course is an out and back format, mostly flat with a few rollers and 1 climb that you go over in each direction with the finish line at the top of the main climb. It wasn't too cold for the race, high 50's and the wind was a slight crosswind of about 5 mph. Field size was 41 and the pavement is typical of central valley road races.
I had raced this last year and it had stayed together until the final 800 meter drag up to the finish line. On the drive out we had felt that almost any of us could do well in this race and that we should stay in contact with each towards the end to see how everyone was feeling. The race started and within 3 miles someone ran over a rock while trying to grab a bottle and fell over and nearly took me out. The group settled in and other than a few attacks and Andrew trying to bridge (but being covered like a wet blanket) the race moved along nicely without too much stress. Fast forward to the last lap and we are heading towards the bottom of the course and about to hit the turnaround. A rider from Squadra SF attacks before the turnaround and gets a decent sized gap. We safely get through the last U turn and I am about 20th wheel with Andrew about 10th and Deniz right near me.
A Mikes Bikes rider tries to bridge up and shortly after that attack there is a crash in the middle of the field. The crash happened right next to Deniz and right in front of me. I swerved to avoid the tumbling riders and ran off the road into what must have been the only sand next to the course. I struggled to keep the bike upright and to turn the pedals over as I was in far too big a gear for the sand. Once back on the road, I joined up with 2 other riders and we chased hard for 2 minutes to catch the back of the main field. Once I had caught back on, I could see both Andrew and Deniz had avoided the crash and were in the main group. The 2 attackers are up the road but they were staggered as the Mikes Bikes rider hadn't managed to bridge up to the Squadra SF rider. Andrew feels a slight crosswind, clicks it into a big gear and starts dishing out the pain. The group strings out into a single file line as everyone scrambles for a wheel. After a few more monster pulls from Andrew, the break is caught and we have 5 miles to go to the finish line.
I finally moved up next to Deniz who was relieved to see I hadn't been caught up in the crash but said that his knee was hurting him and that it probably wasn't his day. I surfed the pack and caught up to Andrew and slotted right on his wheel about 10th back in the line and more importantly protected from the wind on the right hand side of the road. There are probably 30 riders left in the group at this point and with the finish line closing in, attacks were frequent but were only given a short leash before they were reeled in. With 2km to go, I was still on Andrews wheel and was encouraging him to stay where we were on the protected side of the road. Deniz moves up the left side of the road and pulls a few others with him as the swarming began but we stayed on the right side and waited it out. With 1 km to go and the last hill looming, only 1 rider had a 20 meter gap on the field and we were really charging. I was about 15th in the pack and as we hit the the steepest ramp before the false flat drag up to the finish line. I waited for the first surge and then found an opening on the left hand side of the road and punched it to get clear of the main field. I was quickly closing in on the second placed rider and once I caught him I spent a brief second in his slipstream before leapfrogging up to the first rider on the road. I caught the lead rider with about 200 meters to go and I could see he was struggling so I instantly sprinted and moved to the ride hand side of the road to open up a gap and not give him any slipstream. The sprint didn't last long as I couldn't stay out of the saddle but sat down and looked back at 100 meters to go to see I had a gap on the field. With 50 meters to go that gap was shrinking and at 25 meters I peaked back once more and put 5 more hard pedal strokes to hold off the chasers by just over a bike length.
Andrew, Deniz, and I were thrilled with our results and I can't thank Andrew enough for keeping me in the right spot as we neared the finish line. Putting all of our riders inside the top 15 speaks volumes about the depth of our team and is a sign of things to come.
Field: E4 58 starters
Teammates: Simon and Deniz
Finished: Simon 5th, Deniz 14th
Here is Simon's Report:
Drove up with Deniz this morning. Felt ready go after doing pretty good in the early birds. I did this race last year (Land Park Crit. 2013) so I knew it was going to be very technical with what seems like two u-turns in a row and then an s-turn. However, this year I avoided getting caught behind any crashes (woot!)...
During the first half of the race, I sat in the back of the pack letting everyone else do work. This worked pretty well until people started getting dropped and I had to pedal a little harder to catch up to the pack. I knew I wouldn't get dropped sitting in back, but I did more work back there than I would have liked to..
With 5 laps to go, I began to move towards the head of the pack to get in position for the final lap.
Final lap: Rio Strada train forms before the final double u-turn, I knew I couldn't all them to stick together so I took a chance and gunned it. After the second u-turn, I heard Dean (Tam bikes) saying to wait up. Knowing I couldn't hold that hard effort for too long I let up slightly. Dean got on my wheel and I went all out into the final turn. two others were approaching fast as my matches were just about burned. Dean took off with 200 meters to go and took the win. I continued to push hard but got passed by three others. Unfortunately, there was a gap in the field (due to a crash) that allowed me to sit up and roll through the finish Top 5.
Simon Tuttle scores the teams first top 10 of the 2014 season with a 6th place at the San Bruno Hill climb race.
Below is the video from Simon's GoPro:
11 now becomes 12! Please welcome Meljun to the team for 2014! Welcome buddy!
Read more about Meljun here