Tour of the Gila: Masters Men A By Matthew Carinio


©Danny Munson

Tour of the Gila: Masters Men A

By Matthew Carinio

Outside of Nationals, this was the only race I put pressure on myself to get a result.  Recently, I have used DeVlees Huis and Sea Otter as training with an eye on being in decent form for the 5 monster days in New Mexico.  Last year’s champion, Ken Gallardo, would be there, along with 6 teammates, so we would have our work cut out for us.  In addition, there would be numerous other strong racers from the higher elevations, with whom I would be unfamiliar, which always makes this race more challenging.  I was happy that I would be joined this year by my teammates, Craig Nunes and Patrick Hampton, who would be experiencing the Tour of the Gila for the first time.

Stage 1 (118km): The opening stage is all about the final climb to Mogollon.  Known as one of the most difficult finishing climbs in the country, all the favorites tend to save their energy for this monster.  An early break of three went away at the first feed zone and rode to a lead of close to 4 minutes by the time the climb started.  I hit the front on the early slopes and the field was reduced to 15 riders when we reached the false flat midway up the climb.  Craig took a flyer to get 30 seconds when we hit the final (and hardest) 4k, where the race finally exploded.  The lead group was made up of Damian Calvert (NM), Matt Gates (CO), Ken Gallardo (CA) , and me.  With 2 km to go,, Damian upped the pace on the slopes that reach 15% and I was the only one who could follow.  I quickly hit my limit and decided to ride my own pace to the 7,500 ft summit.  With Gallardo and Gates back on my wheel, we caught Craig and the rest of the original break in the last km.  I came across the line 4th, with Damian finishing 40 seconds ahead and the top 10 coming in individually 10 seconds apart from one another.  I limited my losses and there was a lot of racing to come.  [Read more…]

Merco Cycling Classic: David Beats Goliath

Merco Hilltop Road Race

Merco Cycling Classic: David Beats Goliath

by Matthew Carinio

February has already been a dream month for me, winning 8 out of 11 races, but these events have been stepping-stones to the first real target of the season at Merco. Twelve months ago, I was at Merco dealing with severe knee pain that ended up being tendinitis and would keep me off my bike for the spring.  I was thankful to be racing this time around with my legs in proper working order.  I was also very happy to be heading to the race with my amazing teammates Craig Nunes, Nate Erickson, Blake Reed, and Patrick Hampton.

The Merco Cycling classic is the biggest stage race for Masters in California. The four stage format of RR, TT, Crit, and RR means that opportunities for all types of riders exist.  It also guarantees all the big road teams (like Monster Media, Folsom, and PrimeTime) will be there to impose their dominance. [Read more…]

Valley of the Sun Stage Race: Men’s35+


Valley of the Sun Stage Race: Men’s35+

by Patrick Hampton, Masters Team

“Nothing goes up the road, nothing. We need the race tomorrow to stay together,” says Matt Carinio, my teammate, 40+ national road race champion, and leader of the Valley of the Sun Stage Race 35+ field after the time trial.

“OK,” I say.  “We cover everything?”

Matt replies, “didn’t you hear what I said? Everything!”

Matt and I are relaxing back at our race HQ in Glendale, AZ, talking about the road race stage the following day. Matt is back to defend the jersey he won last year. This time, he has me, barely a one year vet of the 1/2/3 scene, instead of uber-strong teammate Craig Nunes. Craig had planned on racing, but a last-minute change precluded him from participating. I have some big shoes to fill.

We set out early for the road race the next morning.  It won’t be light for another 90 minutes, but we’re the first race off at 8:00 am and the course is over an hour away. We take the time to warm up and spin the legs out. We roll to the line at the appointed time and I glance nervously around to see who’s who. It’s a small field of about eighteen riders, and we’ve not raced against any of them before. Traditionally, the race can be windy at the bottom of the circuit (we do 4 laps) and I understand Matt’s concern.  A small field could easily blow apart early and it would be hard to bring things back. The top four in the GC are all within a minute of each other.  The rest of us at over two minutes back are there to work for a teammate or try to get ourselves back in contention.  I’m there for Matt.

The attacks start as soon as the neutral roll out is complete.  I count five or six in the first five miles. I cover them. The first decent dig comes a couple of miles into the tricky crosswind on the bottom of the course. Willie Payton (CLR) kicks hard and I jump on his wheel. He settles down and I look round.  We have a gap of about ten seconds. A minute or two later, we’re joined by Danny Bennet (Landis Trek).  I look around and the pack still seems uninterested.

Danny says, “I’d rather this be hard, but smooth.”

I know what he means and the three of us start to rotate. At the bottom of the feed hill we have about 30 seconds. Up and over we go. As we start rolling down toward the start/finish, I glance around and see two riders bridging up.  One of them is Matt. He tells me later he threw down at the bottom of the hill and four riders jumped on his wheel so he sat up, waited, then hit it hard again and kept going. The second time, only third-place GC rider Ryan Arnold with MRI can hold his wheel. They join just after the start/finish and the the pace goes up.

“Come on guys,” says Matt. “Nothing is established yet. You’ve got at least fifth place if we all work together.  Let’s go.”

The next two hours and 75 km become a five man TTT.  The wind increases but we all share the task equally. We hold the pack at thirty seconds until the last lap when their impetus to chase us down seems to fade. Second place GC rider Kurt Page (US Military) told us later that he’d been effectively towing everyone around with no help. Lucky for us, he’s a strong rider!

On the cross/headwind section for the last time, Willie sits up.  I sense he’s tired and feel sorry after his contribution to our success.  He gave it his all. We round the corner to the hill for the last time as four and I set tempo until the base to try to make up as much time on GC as possible.

Matt had told me earlier that morning he felt I could ride into the top five in addition to defending the team’s position.  I sure as heck was going to give it a shot.

At the base of the hill Matt, jumps out and Ryan gets on his wheel and the pair go at it. Danny ups his tempo and starts to gap me as I watch the finale unfold. Matt digs a couple of times and Ryan manages to hold his wheel.  They arrive at the last 75 meters with Ryan slightly in front. Ryan holds on for the win with Matt in second.  The jersey is safe with Matt.  I’m disappointed for Matt. I know he wanted the win, but I felt we’d executed as planned and achieved the bigger objective of securing the overall win for the team. It’s hard to feel bad about that!

The crit on Sunday plays out as predicted.  A three man break 25 seconds up the road.  Matt is 5th in the crit and first in the general classification.  Win number six for the team this year!  I could not be more proud to have contributed and I’m stoked for Matt and the team.


Poor College Kids Road Race Report by Matt Carinio


Poor College Kids Road Race Report: Masters 35+ 1/2/3

The 2013 So Cal Road Race Season Kick Off

by Matt Carinio (Arts Cyclery)

Having just wrapped up winter base training, I was eager to test my legs and blow the lungs out for the first time in four months.  It would also mark the first race wearing the Stars and Stripes jersey I earned last year in Bend.  But this is a new year and, as a famous cycling broadcaster once said, “the race has no respect for reputation.  You’re only as good as now.”

Close to 70 racers would line up at the start in Santa Maria to tackle the 14-mile, windy, but relatively flat course.   Before every race, my team selects the top five riders to key off of and this race was no exception.  Our rider list included Time’s Rudy Napolitano and Michael Easter (both current national champions) as well as MRI Endurance’s Phil Tinstman, Gary Douville, and Anthony Rustuccia.  [Read more…] Masters Cycling Team for 2013

282888_10151278504140819_1824605365_n Masters Cycling Team for 2013

January, 2013 – San Luis Obispo, Ca.

The Masters Cycling Team is excited to announce the

roster of one of the top Masters cycling teams on the West Coast. With

20 wins and 26 additional podium appearances in 2012, the team is

looking to expand upon our Regional and National success in 2013. The

main objectives for the team remain the California State Road Race and

Time Trial Championships and National Championship events.

Additionally, the team will participate a number of stage races and

high profile one-day events along the West Coast.


2013 Roster:

Matthew Carinio: 1st Place – SCNCA RR, SCNCA TT, NCNCA RR, National

Championship RR (40-44)

Nate Erickson: 1st Place – 2x’s CCCX Circuit Race

Patrick Hampton: 20th National Championship RR (50-54)

Derek Johnson: 1st Place – Santa Ynez MTB Classic, California State

MTB Championship (Clydesdale)

Billy Kesselring: 1st Place – Folsom Celebration Circuit Race

(Masters 3/4)

Craig Nunes: 1st Place – NCNCA RR (45-49), Warnerville TT, CCCX

Circuit Race

Scott Peterson

Blake Reed: 1st Place – SCNCA RR (50-54)

Chris Richardson: 2nd Place – San Ardo RR (Cat 5)


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