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
Please give a warm welcome to Simon Tuttle. Simon will be flying the team colors for 2014! Welcome buddy!
Read more about him here
Knight Rider Racing would like to officially announce that Andy Knickerbocker has joined the team for the 2014 season!
You can read more about him here
Knight Riders Racing would like to officially announce that Mike Logan has also joined the team for the 2014 season!
Read more about him here
Knight Riders Racing would like to officially announce that Justin Widlund has joined the team for the 2014 season!
Read more about him here