Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Masters Nationals, Day 3

Showtime: Time Trial!

After all the preparation, all the credit card debt for equipment, and way too much driving, it was finally time to race, beginning with the 38 K time trial. Mike and Joe had brought their bikes in to the race headquarters hotel upon arrival yesterday to verify the legality of the last-minute modifications, and all was good (thanks again, Pro Peloton!). Tales were told by racers who were cutting bars off in their hotel rooms last night, and Mike and Joe were glad to have missed that drama.

Before checking into the hotel yesterday, Mike and Joe pre-rode the course, and (Burt: stop reading here) loved it. Rolling power hills, gentle turns through shady woods, and mostly good to great pavement made the blue boys eager to throw it down on the undulating riverside course.

The day broke overcast and cool, and it looked like ideal race weather. Then, as we began our warm-ups on the trainers, a light rain started to fall. Fortunately, it lightened, then stopped during the racing, and wasn't really a factor. Joe was down the ramp first, at 9:13. 10 pedal strokes into his race, his legs were already aching, and he realized that, for the second year in a row, his fast legs had gone AWOL somewhere in the Midwest during the trip out. When his 30 second man came blowing by, Joe tried to ramp it up, and ended up in a duel over the rest of the course, passing and being re-passed several times. When the misery was finally over, Joe crossed the line at 54:51, in 17th place. Joe's secret dreams of a top 10 ride crushed, he tried to console himself with the improvement on last year's 26th spot. He wanted to blame the bike, but Mike quickly (hey, that's a pun!) disproved that notion.

Mike went off at 9:47 at the end of the rain shower, and felt comfortable the whole ride. Starting 3rd from last, he had fast boys behind him, and was caught by his 30 second man. He was able to stay with him, though, and settled in at a rapid pace. Riding mostly side by side to avoid drafting, they caught rider after rider, some of whom hopped on the back of the train, risking disqualification. Mike was able to take back a couple of seconds at the end, and stopped the clock at 53:55, good for 6th place, one notch higher than last year!

After re-fueling with sandwiches and frozen coffee drinks, the boys climbed on their road bikes (boy, did those feel strange at first) to check out the road race course, since it will be closed for racing the rest of the week. Littered with power climbs, and constantly twisting and turning, the course is anything but boring. It appears to be a good course for Bill and Joe, but time will tell.

In the meantime, Bill Simmons flies in tonight at 7:30, so Mike and Joe will be heading to the airport to pick him up. After a day of preparation, Bill races the road race at noon on Wednesday, with Mike following at 2 PM. Joe races Thursday, and in the meantime has search and rescue teams scouting I-70 across 3 states, hoping to spot any sign of his legs along the roadside.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

2008 Masters Nationals, Day 2

Back on the road again...

By avoiding the temptation to visit the scenic wonders of Kansas, including the world's largest prairie dog, a 5-legged steer, and a petting zoo with baby pigs, we made good time on the road yesterday. Mike the driving machine was ready to call it a night after about 700 miles behind the wheel, so as the clock approached 11 PM, we pulled off I-70 in Columbia, Missouri at a Motel 6 that time and care forgot. Walking into the room, we were hit by a strong and indescrible odor eminating from the air conditioner. Mike sprayed some deodorant to mask the stench, and we crashed for a few hours of much-needed z's.

The GPS informed us that we still had 384 miles to go to reach registration, so we were up before dawn, and at Starbucks when they opened the doors at 6 AM. As soon as we got back on the interstate, we passed a much nicer Motel 6, and a couple of exits later there was one that was so new it still had the "Now Open" banners up. Figures.

We've now passed into Illinois, and are looking at another state (Indiana) and 207 more miles before we reach our destination. Our plan is to hit race registration this afternoon to check in and verify that our TT bikes comply with all the arcane rules, check into the hotel, and have time to pre-ride the TT course so we know what we're facing tomorrow morning. We're ready to stop driving and start riding.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 Masters Nationals, Day 1

Mike, Bill, and Joe's Excellent Adventure Begins....

Well, we're on our way. After some frantic preperation and a few last-minute disasters, Mike and Joe headed out in a rented Dodge Caravan bound for Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the 2008 Masters National Road Championships. Mike and Joe will be racing the TT on Monday, and Bill is flying out that day in advance of his road race on Tuesday. Bill will also be racing the criterium, and Mike and Joe are signed up for all 3 events.

So far, so good. We've got the iPod cranking some jazz, the GPS leading the way, and the radar detector making random noises. We've also got 4 bikes, 12 wheels, and lot's of snacks to munch on, including 2 kinds of Safeway trail mix (highly recommended), and some wasabi-flavored peanuts (NOT recommended).

We had some excitement yesterday, when we reviewed the UCI bike rules that are being enforced this year. In addition to the seat set-back rule, the end of the bar extensions can be no longer than 75 cm forward of the center of the bottom bracket. You'd think that only really tall riders would struggle with that one, but it turned out Joe's setup was 3 cm out of compliance! Chris at Pro Peloton leapt into action, swapped out to a shorter stem, moved some spacers, and got out the hacksaw to trim Joe's Vuka TT bars, with the shifter cables in place! It was like watching a brain surgeon operating. When the carbon dust settled, Joe was good to go with a just-legal setup. Once again, the crew at Pro Peloton goes above and beyond to get it done.

Our plan to to drive until around 9 PM tonight, or until Mike the road warrior has had enough. We want to arrive in Louisville early enough on Sunday to check out the TT course before Monday's race. More later as it unfolds.......

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Junior State Road Race Championships, June 22 08

The state road course was held on the Horsetooth loop which began with 2 very tough short climbs. Along the res there was a lesser climb (and a 55mph descent), with one more climb before the last 5 miles which were mostly flat. The finish was a slight uphill with a crosswind which made it very easy to go too soon.

15-16: Alden Lowney, Ben Raderstorf

In the 15-16 group, the first climb was taken conservatively, then Alden drilled the second climb to shake out the top 3 which included Skyler Trujillo and a Real Aussie Kid. (The REK team is an elite junior team from Australia who race and train here in the summer. They weren't eligible for the championships). The 15-16 group started 60 seconds behind the 17-18 group, and they caught and dropped several of the 17-18 kids. The 3 stayed together until inside the last kilometer, the Aussie kid attacked, but there was no incintive to chase him.

Alden played the sprint perfectly. There was a right to left crosswind blowing and he let Skyler lead it out. He timed it perfectly sneaking around him on the left side and winning by 6"! A minute and a half later, Ben came in with the next group, finishing in the middle of the small group for 7th. This is Ben's first year racing and he is showing alot of promise. He didn't quite have the juice to make the break with Alden, but he wasn't far off.

17-18, Brandon Henry

The favorites here were last years winner, Amar Mannina, and Jamie Sullivan who has been almost unbeatable in the juniors dating back to late last year. This one went from the gun with riders dropping off even before the first climb as Amar and then Jamie drilled it. By the top of the second climb, Brandon, Jamie, a RAK, and Kit Recca were away. Amar was dropped, but would be picked up by Alden's lead 15-16 group later. Kit was dropped before the last climb and also picked up by Alden's group.

On the flats they were all pulling, but Jamie kept attacking to get away. The Aussie then attacked with a killer move after Brandon came off a pull (After the race, Jamie told Brandon that he made a road deal with the Aussie while the 3 of them were away, that if the Aussie would attack and they got away, he wouldn't contest the finish). They got away and Brandon couldn't follow.

Brandon then soft pedaled till the Alden group, which contained Kit and Amar, caught him. They tried to rally the group, but it make no sense for the 15-16's to help chase. Ahead Jamie eased up in the last mile and the Aussie rolled across followed by Jamie with the state championship. In the sprint, Amar led it out. Brandon was patiently sitting in the crossdraft while Kit was dropped off behind. Brandon timed the acceleration and bike throw to get Amar by 6" for the silver!

How bout that, 2 sprints done with the legs and the brain to perfection. Sweet!

13-14 Zack Gould

Man, this one hurt. The 3 5280 kids have been dominating everything in this field this year. Zacks mission was to stick to those kids like glue and he did....until at the top of the 3rd climb he got a flat. It took many many minutes to get a change and his race was over. I will say that Zack showed a great attitude by ripping a ferocious sprint to the line. He was obviously disappointed after the race. That has happened to all of us Zack, so we know how you feel. Let's just hope you have that bad luck out of your system and the cycling gods will shine on you next time.

Burt Henry

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rist Canyon Hill Climb, 22 June 08

Thought I'd report on the hill climb.

Fewer riders than yesterday's State RR Championship as expected. We started off much easier up the first two climbs, I kept it going at the same power level over the second climb, that reduced us down to just 6 riders. We maintained a steady tempo all the way to through the beginning of the Rist Canyon climbing. About 4 guys had chased back on by then. Steady tempo, much easier than Sat until the first set of the two short, steep hills. Bob Jones got on the front and set a fairly hard tempo, less that Sat, and half way up the first 0.4 miles section, I attacked and dropped him by about 20 yards. Steve Workman motor back up to me by the false flat, I kept the power steady and increased it at the second steep section. Dropped Steve, but Bob had gained a little ground. With both of them there together, I figured it was stupid to try and continue with the flat section next and the long climbs to come. Now we were only 3. Kept a steady pace going up to the road surface change. Bob tried getting one of us to go to the front, but neither of us would do so. Just as it got steep, I hit it fairly hard, dropped Steve, and Bob once again took the lead. I sat on his wheel for 0.6 miles of the 0.8 mile steep part, and attacked him really hard (average 462 watts for 35 seconds, 39/27 standing). I figured I'd see if I could get a decent gap. If I could, then I'd go for it from there, if not, sit-up and wait until the very top. He either couldn't or didn't react. By the time I crested the hill and started down that short downhill, I couldn't see him. I just kept it going until the section that's fairly straight where Bob started going hard Sat and we all got strung out. I had 100 yrds on him by the time I started the right had turn going to the first set of switchbacks. I figured all I had to do was hold LT and he wouldn't catch me. That's what I did and beat him by 43 (?) seconds. Steve came in about a 1:19 or so later. PowerTap File

Barry Messmer

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Team Romps at 2008 State Road Championships

The Subway/Peerless team had participants in the 35+, 35+ cat. 4, 45+, and 55+ Colorado State Road Championships (21 June) and turned in impressive performances across the board. The Rist Canyon course out of Fort Collins both a beautiful and ugly 60+ mile circuit. True Colorado beauty is everywhere; big vistas along the Horsetooth Reservoir, rock formation and cliffs, native grass-lands, green hayfields, aspen and pine forest lined alpine climbs, and streams rushing full with spring runoff. Ugly for all but Colorado's best climbers and rolleurs; a 12 mile 3000' assent up Rist Canyon is punctuated with hard grades, switch backs, and several 12% segments to test ones resolve, descending Stove Prairie Road is fast and technical with a few cattle guards to keep everyones attention, minimal flats and continuous hills keep coming until 4 leg breaker hills are encountered along the Reservoir. The race then mellows for a bit. Climbers are not to fear because the final challenge of Bingham Hill will once again put all but their closest competitors deep in the red zone. From there to the finish all who are left with a hope need something left in the tank for a late surprise attack or sprint finish among very few.

This course is top-notch and only the strongest rider can win.

35+ summary (Brian, JT, - including comment about Bill Brant in 35+ category 4)

45+ summary The Rist Canyon course offered plenty of challenges for the 2008 Colorado Masters Road Championship, but the Subway 45+ squad of Mike Newsome, Joe Paulson, Glenn Sanders, and Dean Sandoval was up to the task at hand. Out of the gate, the initial short, steep hills over the dam put many riders into early discomfort. Once on the main canyon climb, Mike went to the front to set a steady pace, keeping any attackers at bay. Glenn rode comfortably near the front, waiting for the real fireworks to start, as Joe and Dean tried to maintain contact with the leaders as long as possible. When the steep pitches at the top of Rist Canyon separated the contenders from the pretenders, Glenn made the elite selection. Returning to the dam hills, Glenn attacked, drawing out only Karl Kiester. The two worked together over the remaining miles to keep the chasers at bay, then Glenn's experience and tactical sense served him well at the finish, where he maneuvered Karl into jumping first, and came around him to get the state championship victory.

55+ summary (Paul, Barry, Bill) Good size field, but with a few of the notable RR guys missing, but still a tough field. Rio Grande was there in force, so our work was cut out for us.
Nothing much happened in the first 9-10 miles. Once we hit the Rist Canyon climbing, Bob Jones went to the front and kept a hard tempo. We slowly shed most fo the field and by the last few miles, were down to just 5 riders; Bob Jones, Steve Workman, Paul, Bill, and myself. We dropped Steve an the middle 0.8 mile steep section. Bob really went hard at the beginning of the last steep part and gradually dropped all three of us. Over the top and the beginning of the flat/downhill/rolling section towards Masonville, the three of us regrouped and rode tempo slightly behind Bob. He eventually slowed so that we had to catch him. We then began to attack him, with two of us going at a time. On the second or third attempt, Paul and I got away, with Bill sitting on Bob. We kept it rolling, looking for Bill to bridge. Steve Workman shows up instead. We talked with him and agreed to keep it rolling. The turn south at Masonville caught us all of guard, we eased up too much while we ate. Once back through Masonville, we saw that Bill was bridging up to us so we eased off to wait for him. He said he'd been chasing with Bob for over 10 miles so needed some rest. As well rounded one of the reservoir inlets, Mike Meyers shows up. Where'd he come from? I thought we could drop him on the dams since he'd been chasing for so long. wrong, he hung tough. Going over Bingham hill, Steve and Bill had a nice cap, then Paul, then Mike and me. We all are back together as we turn for the 4-5 mile run on Overland trail to the finish. Chris Orton shows up! What is going on, are we that slow/old that we keep getting caught from behind? Now it's 3 on 3. They have two really good diesels and an excellent sprinter. You could see every one's mind working overtime (with a fatigued brain). Chris gets on the front and pulls keeping the pace steady so that we don't attack. About a half mile from the finish, I attack hard on the last little rise on Overland as Chris looks around and slows. I see 500 watts and try to hold as much as I can. Then the watts start dropping by the hundreds. Steve is pulling everyone back! As we approach the turn to the finish, I see Paul, Bill, and Steve only. Great, we're back to 3 on 1. Bill begins leading it out to keep it fast, Steve decides it's time for him to go, which energizes both Paul and I. I go right at the last little turn, Paul goes left. I win, Paul second, and Bill comes in third. A nice sweep over a very good team. We learn later that Mike Meyers had picked up something in a tire about a mile from the finish and was slow leaking. really unfortunate for Mike and Rio Grande. It would have been a much different run in to the finish with him on board.