Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deer Trail -- 34 Degrees, Hilly, and 80 Miles Away

Who drives 80 miles to a bike race at 6:00 in the morning -- when it is snowing outside? Most of the Vic’s Masters Team.

Yes. We were all crazy and braved the cold weather to beat up our bodies and competitors – all for a brown hat. Yes – the hat was THE prize if you placed in your category.

(Photo: Trish Heisdorffer 45+ 1st Place, Susan Karl 45+ 3rd Place, Christy Orris 35+ 2nd Place, Gabriela Ferrat 35+ 3rd Place, Little dog 1st Overall, Julia Wieck 45+ 2nd Place).

None of us went to Deer Trail to win the stylish hats; we went to test our training, support our teammates, and see how deep we could dig.

I was nervous for this race because the 35+ women were grouped with the 55+ men. There were 57 men and 8 women. This changes the whole dynamics of the race. It makes it faster, more tactical, yet provides a lot of drafting support to the ladies. If you can stay with the pack, you’re golden. If not, good luck.

I usually do not have teammates to ride with, but today I had six other strong Vic’s companions: Paul Mack, Steve Worley, Mike Newsome, Dean Sandoval, Bill Simmons, and Barry Messmer. Riding with these guys made me want to sign up for more races with them. They were encouraging, pushed me to a new level, and gave me needed shelter from the wind.

I had a lot of luck and support yesterday. The day started off well and I stayed in the front and out of the wind. This did not last long. The hills quickly broke up the rhythm and the jumps began. The pack stayed together until the first turnaround on Hwy 34. Then I don’t know what happened. I only know that the main pack was ahead of me and I played catch-up for most of the way back to Hwy 217. As I caught up, I passed two of my female competitors - Gabriela Ferrat & Lesley Butler - and thought they would jump on my wheel for sure. Luckily, they never stuck and I was able to eventually make it back to the main field with the help of a few lone guys working their way back into the pack. That was a huge blessing and changed the race for me (hence the benefit of having mixed sex fields).

Once I got back in the pack, there was only one woman, Rene Eastman, among the pack of roughly 30 guys. All the Vic’s men were there and seemed to be controlling the race. I recovered in the pack until the next turnaround and then tried to position myself perfectly in the front of the pack for the upcoming u-turn. This did not last long as a stream of guys barged past me right before the turn. I learned my lesson and will sprint to the corner next time. Amongst screeching brakes, we rounded the turn and a group quickly attacked. I grabbed Paul Mack’s tire for a while, but couldn’t match his mighty wattage and fell back. Again, I was lucky, and a second group went by with Rene in it. I grabbed their wheels and caught the group.

On our second passage up Hwy 34, I saw the most amazing feat of the day. Paul Mack was taken out in front of me by another rider. He tumbled into the grass and rush to get up. Barry Messmer dropped back to bring Paul back into the group. In what must have been only 20 seconds, Barry was passing me with Paul and bringing him (and me) back to the group. Paul went on to get 4th place thanks to his effective crashing technique, tenacity and helpful teammates.

I was weary and the attacks kept coming. At one of the many hills, the group surged and I fell off along with Rene. I tried to recover on Barry’s wheel to make a fight for 1st, but did not have anything left in me. I was beat by less than a minute, but I’m happy with 2nd. It was my 5th road race and I can officially say I am hooked on these crazy things!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Roubaix in Sand; Dean leads the 55+ Vic's

The M55+ started four (Dean, Steve, Mike, Bill S.) on the Mead Roubaix. We expected a hard race and there was no disappointment in that category. As predicted in the pre-race chat WCR 7 was the deciding factor. The hope was to keep the four Vic's men in the race lead group until the final (2nd lap) time up the gravel (sand pits) hills on road 7. The field wasn't playing nice and through down the gauntlet on lap one. At the end of lap one it sorted out like this; Kim and Steve M. were away, and Shannon, Dean, Steve, Jeff, and a Real D rider were in pursuit. Mike put on the best hill surge, but the check engine light came on and he had to go into survival mode. I put in some effort with Shannon and Jeff to try and pull the two leaders back - no luck. Dean decided to plow some furrows on WCR 3 and lost touch with the group. I feared the worse, but it wasn't true. The hard scrabble man from Canyon City clawed his way back onto the group. The dreaded (at least by me) final pass on the WCR 7 hills was looming. I popped early, still the pavement, and Dean was last to give chase. Somehow Dean regained all but one guy and finished in 4th. I thought I was merely going to ride in for 7th, but one of my fellow group riders (Jeff) fell off in the sand and was trotting the hill. Not willing to waste an opportunity I gave it everything, for about the 100th time that day. Jeff remounted caught me and dropped me again. However, I was a mere 50 meter back when pavement started. Yes, solid ground. Now we go for speed. It wasn't to hard to chase him in and dust him up a little in the sprint for 6th place. Bottomline: Dean is my hero of grit - so goes the story of the sand Roubaix.

MEAD ROUBAIX by Grant Holicky

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vic's/Peerless Women Denver Post April 11, 2011

Team members, Karen Fienberg (Angel) and Annette Kissinger (Vic's), are featured in the complementing photograph of today's Denver Post Fitness article by Ellen Norberg emphasizing the benefits of participating in Colorado's numerous charity events.

The photo: Karen and Annette road together in last year's Venus de Miles - a charity ride for Greenhouse Scholars. Members of the Women's Vic's/Peerless Cycling Team are registered to participate again this year - 2011. We've participated in the event since it's inaugural year - 2009!

Way to represent and support!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mead Clinics

A Day For Heroes; A Day For Fools

Congratulations to all the Vic's Espresso/Peerless riders who put on hard and smart riding clinics on their way to podium finishes, and especially to the new rock owners Julia Wieck (Women's 45+) and Lars Bosch (Men's 65+)! In contrast, I put on a hard and dumb riding clinic, finding a brand new mistake to make after all these years of racing! Heeding a last minute call of nature while waiting for the 45+ Open Men's last wave start, I emerged from my contemplation just in time for the race to go off in front of me right on time at 11:45. I quickly jumped on my bike, sprinted up the street, and headed out of town on the back of the group.

Just outside Mead, another 45+ racer said "Dude, we're in the wrong race!" Looking ahead, all I could see were 400 series #'s; only my companion and I had 200 series. He convinced me that we'd started ahead of the final 45+ wave, so we quickly turned around and sprinted back into town, only to find a deserted start area. We were quickly informed that "you boys are chasing", and my heart sank as we started a desperate two-man TT in the vain hope of catching back up. The brutal headwind suggested otherwise, and we tried to settle in for the long haul. However, I flatted my rear at the end of the second dirt section, and was quickly all alone in last place.

I rode the rest of the lap on my flat clincher (not fun on the third dirt section), grabbed my spare rear from my car, and headed back out for an extremely long and lonely final two laps. I did manage to catch and drop one 45+ racer during the last lap to avoid the dubious "Red Lantern" mark of shame. I never did find out what happened at the start line; perhaps they shifted the start order and I didn't get the memo. Hey, if you're going to lose, lose big!