Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photo's with BMCT participation

Attached is a link to a photo sharing/download website I'm using to let others see and/or download some of the shots I took of BMCT functions. The three albums currently showing are 2010 NBP Criterium, 2010 Longmont Criterium, and 2010 Vic's Prospect Criterium.

Some photo's have received some routine processing, others are raw. I hope to process some them quite a bit more over time. Hopefully they at least conjure up some good memories.

The link to these photo's is - and for some reason it only works if you type the "www." part.

Bill Brant

Friday, July 23, 2010

My First Criterium

Do you recall your first criterium? Mine was last Saturday- The Vic’s Espresso/Peerless Tires State Championship-and the memory is fading compared to the actual event. It was rather intense not to mention my brain was packed with tips from some of the best (I.e. Len Pettyjohn, Randy Gaffney, Paul Mack and Joe Paulson).

On the day of the event what helped control my desire to scream to relieve a little stress was, “The Day has finally arrived. This anxiety will be gone shortly.”

Driving to the event at 6:15a.m., I was pulled over by a cop for speeding. Believing this pace was indicative of how I’d perform on the course, I smiled respectfully and pleaded my case. It worked and he either felt very sorry for me on the day of my first criterium or my squeaky clean driving record yielded the Warning so, I continued on to Prospect to find Coach Gaffney.

Gaffney was patiently waiting my (late) arrival with parking directions and pump in hand. He blew up my tires and sent me off on the course to warm up...

Before proceeding, I’ll take a moment to fill you in on why I decided to partake in such a thrilling event: I have a tendency toward personal athletics that are human-powered and can either take me somewhere scenic or increase my adrenalin in a short period of time. The latter is why I signed up for the 2010 Morgul Bismarck 250 Meter Road Sprint as my first competitive cycling event. I loved it and it loved me. This same adoration didn’t exist for the woman seated next to me who tipped over at the start. Bummer for her. One less competitor for me. I missed a medal by one, placing 4th out of 14 women. I felt confident that I could have easily placed 2nd had I remembered Len’s tip about starting in my 2nd cog. But, I didn’t. I was too focused on the latest tip which was “Don’t forget to pull up on your other leg at the start.” I should have shared this tip with the woman on my right.

The Morgul Road Sprint fed my curiosity about doing a criterium so, I set my rather non-committal-sights on the Vic’s Crit. and solicited the help of – Len Pettyjohn and Randy Gaffney. (Please note, I didn’t know at this point that the Vic’s Crit was also the State Championships.) The first five weeks were guided by Len. You’d have to ask him what we did for training because frankly, I just listened and performed 3 x week for 5 weeks. We did numerous efforts anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes at a variety of wattages, uphill and flats and “race winners”. I almost threw up. Apparently, that’s indicative of the actual event.

The week leading up to the event Gaffney took over. He and Len had hooked me up with some sparkling new wheels from Joe Paulson, as loaners. I didn’t realize the importance of “crit wheels” until Brian Todeschini asked me what I was racing on. What? Wheels?

So, back to race day…

I’m on my first warm-up lap trying to ignore the very large quads gliding by me at a rather rapid pace. I’m thinking” Why are they going so fast?” when I hear and feel a familiar thud at corner two. I have a flat. I jump off my bike and try my best not to panic and run down the sidewalk in my cleats yelling like there’s a fire. I don’t believe I succeeded.

Nonetheless, I locate Randy and in a matter of 120 seconds Paul Mack has ridden a cruiser back to his garage, grabbed a loaner and is putting it on my bike. My pit crew illustrated a calm composure to make up for my crazed expression while patting me on the back saying “It’s okay little girl.”

I get back on my bike and find myself riding next to someone and can’t help but judge my competition…How old is she? Is she wearing a Tough Girls kit? How big are her thighs? Does she look fast? Do I need to go to the bathroom again? Then, she introduces herself and she’s really nice. Whew. We chat for a bit and I do my best to avoid telling her this is my first crit because I don’t want to appear weak. (Right. Like I haven’t appeared needy for the past six weeks. Why stop now?) Darcy tells me what she knows about the other riders “We’re riding with the Pro 1’s and 2’s today. I can tell you who the top five finishers will be.” I respond blankly trying to wrap my head around this new piece of information realizing that the 35+/45+ category consisted of Pros. I’m also thinking ‘WHAT?! Why? How dare they? Don’t they know that’s unfair and this is my first race and I want a medal. My needs are way more important than a silly Championship jacket. And, what if I’m in the top five?’

I complete my warm up and stand at the start all by myself in the third row…if you can even call it a row. Is this where the beginners start? My friends are on the sideline smiling and cheering me on while graciously trying not to show their nervousness on my behalf. I feel small. Very small but tenacious.

The race begins. Thankfully, there’s a car leading this pack of jackrabbits. It feels composed. But, as we enter our second lap the pace intensifies significantly. I’ll just hang here. Wait a second! These riders are slipping in from everywhere. I should draft to preserve energy. I tuck in but I’m not feeling a reprieve. A draft, as I know it, doesn’t exist and I’m getting stuck in this xylophone which is a big no-no. So, I zip past what feels like 50 riders but it’s more like six. I slide in behind a Tough Girls kit. This is where I’m supposed to stay. I figure out how to strategically use the orange metal barricades on my left. I’m hyper-aware of everything around me: tires, brakes, jerseys, elbows, corners, cracks. What lap am I on? Four!? What the $#%^!

Every three seconds one of many pointers is recalled: “they’ll slip in at the corners”, “they’re going to jump after turn four”, “try not to break”, “stay at the front”, “if you’re hurting, they’re hurting”, “pass on the inside”, “use the straight-aways for speed”, “go wide and tight”, “ignore the comments”, “lift your inside leg on the corners”….

Where do these riders come from? They are slick. I’m in 4th and before I know it I’m in 15th. I push hard to stay in the peloton. Okay, this is not similar at all to my training. This is twenty-times more effort. Why do they jump every single lap? When are they going to get tired?

Then the peloton slows down. I quiet my breathing less they take advantage again. Wait. This tip doesn’t apply to me. It’s clear I’m not a threat. Do they even know I’m racing? This pace feels perfect. I can do this but I know it will end very soon. And it does. One lap later it’s over and everyone is hammering again. Should I use up all I have and jump to the front five? I decide not to because I want to preserve my energy for the finish….to finish.

I’d give anything for a big drink of water. My lips are parched. I try to take a swig but a couple of drops barely pass my lips because I can’t inhale and I’m about to hit another corner. Len mentioned this would be a problem: drinking. I spit hoping it doesn’t hit anyone. It winds up on my thigh. Nice.

I’m falling off the back. I hear my friends yelling out things like “Dig”, “Lower cadence”, “Jump at the corners”, “Get up there”. I dig and catch up. I do this about seven thousand times. The lower cadence helps but I no longer have the energy to jump at the corners. This monstrous effort ended for me around lap 12. I look for the clock and it reads 17. Oh my gawd. Seriously? 17 more minutes? Is this a typo? How in the hell can I quit without anyone noticing? I can’t quit. I never quit. I can do this. Where is the front? Am I last? Where is everyone? Why are my legs so tired? Come on! Who’s behind me? Anyone? Am I having fun? Yes. I think. Kind of. Maybe.

I read 7 (laps to go). Twenty seconds later I hear someone yell “Seven minutes to go”. Awesome. I can do seven more minutes. Then I hear Randy yell “four more laps”. I’m wiped out. I do my best to keep my eye on the tail. I can see it and it’s waving Bye Bye.

I held on to the front as advised for as long as I possibly could…but today it’s easy to wonder if I really gave it my all. Isn’t it funny the way the mind works? I thought I became friends with pain, but I think pain whipped my ass with a giggle.

I’m not sure what was happening with the women at the front of my race. I didn’t really see them. I was too busy tracking where I was and whether or not to respond to aggressive comments like “On your left!”, “Move over!”, or “What’s your name?!”

I wasn’t scared. I felt exhilarated and extremely challenged. I felt like I was becoming familiar with a part of myself I hadn’t seen in a while. It was fantastic and harder than hell.

I crossed the finish line and the crowd cheered beautifully…but it isn’t because I crossed first…or last from what I understand. It’s because I had the most supportive cheering section at the event. This was just as thrilling as the event itself…seeing all those beautiful faces.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my team. And I hope Vic’s will still give me free coffee on race day.

Thank you Teammates and Friends.

Monday, July 12, 2010

45+ North Boulder Park Classic

Four Real!

On July 10th, the annual North Boulder Park Criterium was held on the history-filled and tricky course in beautiful but toasty weather. Gary Mulder, Mike Newsome, Joe Paulson, Bill Simmons, and John Talley suited up in their blue kits to do battle on behalf of the Vic's Espresso/Peerless Tire team. The Blue Boys had owned this course for the past three years, and it was time to defend their turf. A quick pre-race meeting determined that their strategy would be to cover dangerous riders, look for promising break opportunities, and try to set up a leadout if the race stayed together for a field sprint. Gary declared that the signal that the race was heating up would be the sight of him being ejected from the pack, due to a lingering wrist injury and his recent return to racing.

The race got underway with the usual flurry of test attacks, but nothing really opened up until the prime bell rang, and there was a flash of blue as Gary blasted off the side of the pack in a clean escape. Contrary to his pre-race prediction, it was Gary putting the hurt on the field! With his teammates doing their best to slow pursuit, Gary nabbed the first of two primes he captured to demonstrate that he's back in a big way.

Meanwhile, Joe, Bill, and JT were covering attacks and jumping in moves, but nothing was staying away for long. With the countdown clock approaching ten minutes to go in the race, a rider who had escaped earlier in the race tried again, and dangled off the front. The move was looking dangerous so close to the end, so on the front straight Mike jumped hard after him. The move drew out three other riders, so Joe hitched a ride with them. Mike gave everything he had and closed the gap quickly, blowing past the fading rider before dropping off the front. The result was a promising break, but it seemed to catch the other riders from the other teams by surprise. Instead of keeping the pressure on, they seemed content to wait for the field, so Joe tried to re-energize the move with an acceleration.

There was no reaction from his companions, so Joe put his head down and kept going. Riding alone now up the rise to the start/finish line, Joe looked at the lap counter, pondered the big number 7 being displayed, and checked in with the engine room. The report wasn't good, so Joe decided to try riding with his brain instead. He eased up and reintegrated with the field in the alley, and tried to recover as quickly as he could while his teammates covered other attacks.

The lap counter ticked down to the final two laps, and the pack started to get increasingly twitchy, so Bill went to the front and asserted control, lifting the speed to discourage any more forays off the front. As the bell rang for the final lap, there was a surge up the hill, so Joe jumped around the outside and tucked into third wheel as riders fought for position to enter the alley for the last time. Once in the alley, the field surged again, and Joe jumped on the wheel of a Mix1 rider who took the front in an effort to lead out their sprinter.

Holding second position out of the alley, through the chicane, and approaching the final turn, Joe glanced back and saw Great Divide's sprinter Scott Soden on his wheel. Even though the front straight is long, Joe didn't want to wait for Scott or another sprinter to initiate the kick to the line, so he jumped as hard as he could out of the corner, opening a gap on Scott and the rest of the riders that he was able to hold to the line for the Blue Team's fourth North Boulder Park victory in as many years!

Photos courtesy of Jonathan Bartlett Photography;

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tuesday night at the track

Tuesday, Joe and I went to Colorado Springs to do our first track racing of the year. On the schedule were sprints, tempo races and a 5 mile scratch race, in that order. As a really, really old guy, I signed up as a “C” category racer and Joe was talked into signing up as a “B” racer. The evening was a reasonable temperature, hot, but still comfortable. There was a significant breeze blowing from the south east as always seems to be the case on that track.

Seeding for the sprints was done by a 3 lap scratch race. The C’s went first. I wasn’t sure how I would do and was not expecting much based on last year’s experience. The race turned out easier that I expected and I easily finished 4th. Joe managed to do better and finished 3rd in his B race. The sprints were done in sets of three. The bottom set started first, with the top set of 3 going last in each group. I started in the middle of our threesome. The bottom rider took off hard from the gun and I had to chase to get on her wheel. I sucked that for almost a lap when the third rider in our group came around us. I jumped on his wheel until corner 3 when I started my sprint and managed to come around him before the finish line. As the 3rd placed rider, Joe was paired with the best 2 riders in his category. They did a bit more realistic matched sprint, but when they took off Joe couldn’t come around and ended up a close third.

As the 3 lap race seemed reasonable, I decided to do the 8 lap tempo race. With points available for every lap, I knew it could be hard. I managed to get near the front early and was able to win the 2 points available on the first lap. I stayed near the front and got 1 or 2 more points on the second lap. I then decided to fall back. Not a good choice as I fell too far back and was not in contention for the rest of the race. I didn’t hear where my points placed me in the race, but it was a good experience regardless.

Joe had a 10 lap tempo race. He grabbed the first points and stayed on or near the front all of the race and gathered the most points for his first Tuesday night track win!

I decided I was done for the evening, but Joe did the combined B/C 15 lap scratch race. (I knew I couldn’t come close to keeping up with Joe!) After the neutral lap the start featured one rider getting a gap without anyone chasing. When Joe and others started to chase, they discovered the leader had a partner in the race who was blocking. Initial efforts to chase him done were doomed. After Joe realized that they weren’t going to catch the leader, he made an effort to separate the best from the rest. He took off and brought two others with him off the front. Unfortunately, one of those was the guy who had been doing the blocking, so he didn’t help the group at all. Joe say that he was going to have to settle for second, so he waited until he thought he could attack and hold the lead until the finish. With about 2 laps to go, he took off and had a good lead, but relaxed too much just before the finish and got caught at the very end. I think Joe learned, once again, to not quit until after you have crossed the finish line!

It was a fun evening!


Vic's Espresso/ Peerless 55ers Solidify BAT Lead!

June 26 and 27 brought 3 members of the Vic's Espresso/ Peerless 55 team to Laramie, Wyoming for the Dead Dog Classic Stage Race. Paul Mack, Dean Sandoval, and Bill Simmons all made the trip to take part in Saturday's 55 mile road race and Sunday's criterium and time trial.

The road race consisted of over 3500 feet of climbing up to a 10,000 foot elevation in the Snowy Range. The descent brought the racers back to the start in the mountain town of Albany with an uphill finish. The 55ers were paired with the 45ers, which made for a fast pace once the climbing began. Dean eventually lost contact with the leaders which included rivals Bill Kellagher and Kim Workman, but managed to be the 3rd 55er at the summit turnaround. Paul and Bill S. drifted back as well, but managed to be at the turnaround a couple of minutes after Dean. Aided by a group of 45ers, Bill K. and Kim W. made time on the rest of the 55ers, while Dean worked with fellow-competitor, Steve Matous and another 45er, to limit the damage. At the finish it was Kellagher and Workman, then 3 minutes down , Matous and Sandoval. A couple of minutes later Bill S. and Paul came in for 6th and 7th place.

Sunday morning's criterium saw Paul and Bill S. set a furious pace to set-up a pre-arranged attempt for Bill K. and Dean to get away on the classic, downtown, 6-corner course in Laramie. When this didn't go, our Bill S. pulled away with Bill K., later to joined by Mike Myers. They established a half minute gap with Myers taking the win and our Bill taking 2nd. Dean and Paul were part of the field sprint a few seconds later.

Early afternoon took us to the mountains east of Laramie for the 10 mile time trial at over 8,000 feet. The out and back course is slightly downhill out and windy both ways. Our legs proved worthy as all 3 Vic's guys maintained or improved on GC. Dean won the TT, Paul took 7th, and Bill S. came in 12th.

The final GC had 3 top 10 finishers for Vic's Espresso/ Peerless!: Dean 3rd, Paul 6th, and Bill 7th! Our 1st place BAT lead is a whopping 112 points!