San Rafael Twilight Criterium

Copyright Danny Munson

San Rafael Twilight Criterium

By Kimberley Wells

July 2013

 

 

Rolling up to the start line with AC/DC “Thunderstruck” pumping set the tone for the Women’s Pro San Rafael Twilight (SRT) Criterium. A selection of riders had personalized theme songs during call-up thanks to race organisers. Success. It was a Saturday night in Northern California with hundreds of cyclists ready to tackle the testing course.

 

I would be the eventual winner of tonight’s rumble in the jungle but the dance of the twilight criterium was yet to unfold.  My past few weeks on the West Coast have given me the great opportunity to guest-ride for Exergy2016, temporarily taking leave from my role in the Fearless Femme team. And while my Fearless colleagues were battling for the US National Criterium Title in North Carolina, I had a battle of my own. At my side was the reigning SRT champion and Exergy2016 rider, Alison Tetrick. Together we would have to fend off the plethora of attacks from the Vanderkitten team, who had the numbers to keep the peloton on a razor’s edge.

 

The power hill proceeding corner one proved to be a common point of attack with many women launching for a breakaway. Despite multiple riders making distance up the road, including myself and Tetrick, all the hard work culminated in a bunch sprint. And so seventy minutes of racing boiled down to the last few laps. Tetrick used her time trialing prowess to control the front with a few laps remaining. My definitive move came on the back straight to position myself in third wheel for the penultimate corner. I carried my speed through the final turn and came through in a sprint for the win.

 

Our podium was just as much fun as the race. I celebrated with Ruth Winder (Vanderkitten) who came in second and Olivia Dillon (NOW-Novartis), third. Flowers, champagne-spraying, a great crowd and an epically cool title belt made for great podium action.

Copyright Danny Munson

The course, the crowd and the celebration get full marks. And certainly the trophy is one of a kind. The only question is; how do I get it back to Australia?!

 

 

 

 

Recap- Awbry Butte Circuit Race-Tvetcov and McGrath win Cascade Cycling Classic Overall Classification.

Stage 5 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 5 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 5 – Awbry Butte Circuit Race.

Tvetcov and McGrath win Cascade Cycling Classic Overall Classification.
The circuit race is another long standing course for Cascade. It’s a challenging circuit with the main features being the climb out of Tumalo Park and the climb of Archie Briggs. The first climb is a main road climb leading to the feed zone and a long false flat leading to Archie Briggs. This climb begins with a fast twisting descent into a 15% wall followed by more false flat and kicking up to the final stair step KOM summit.  The rest of the course is undulating with fast descents and exposed sections. A well balanced course which comes at the end of an aggressive week of racing.
The men’s race began at 1 PM and as has been the case with every race so far, once the flag dropped at the end of e neutral zone, the attacks began. Immediately, the 150 man field was strung out as it serpentined across the road.  Small groups would escape only to be brought back. This  pattern continued past the first climb of Tumalo Park. The field stayed together but was single file over the top. The attacks continued with 5 Hour particularly active today. Once the over Archie Briggs a group of 20 was able to get away but this too was pulled back. The peloton, which was being lead primarily by Jelly Belly riding for yellow jersey wearer Tvetcov, was not going to let anything go unless it had the right combination of riders.
Coming into the Tumalo Park climb on lap 2, a group of 12 had managed to get off the front.  This group had 25 seconds over the top of the climb and quickly increased to 55 seconds entering Archie Briggs. The group was working well together with no one sitting on.  Flavio Deluna of SmartStop- Mountain Khakis took the KOM and the break had increased their gap to 1:15 over the peloton. The break was well represented with single riders from Bissell, Optum, Giant, Bontrager, BMC, Jelly Belly, 5 Hour, SmartStop, Hincapie, Astellas Oncology, and 2 Hagens Berman riders.
Lap 3 saw this gap increase to its largest gap of 1:45 as they crested the Tumalo Park climb. Deluna again took KOM over the Archie Briggs climb with the breaks gap at 1:15. Jelly Belly were controlling the break and riding strongly on the front. It seemed that the race was shaping up for a fast finale.
As lap 4 began, the gap was down to 1:05 and would drop to 40 seconds only to increase again to 1:10. Clearly the two groups were figuring out their tactics for the final phase of the race. As lap 5 began the peloton had swallowed up the break but two riders attacked and established a small gap. Eric Marcotte of Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker and James Oram of Bontrager Cycling held onto a tenuous 15 second gap all the way to the Archie Briggs climb. It was a strong move but just too much to ask with this motivated field behind. The race was all together leading into the fast final 5 km. Four riders managed to get a small gap leading into the final 500 meters of the race with Rosskopf of Hincapie Sportswear taking the spring with teammate Clark taking second and Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda taking third.
It proved to be an important sprint win for Rosskopf. With the time bonuses available on the stage he jumped to 2nd overall.  Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b  Kenda took the overall honors with Chad Haga of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies hanging onto 3rd
The women faced 3 laps and 51 miles of the Deschutes Brewery – Awbry Butte Circuit Race. With a more established GC, the race was really going to have to some fireworks to shake up the final. The women’s race was run at an aggressive pace as was evidenced by the continual number of riders shed off the back.  A motivated Team Exergy Twenty 16 did a very good job of controlling the race for their yellow jersey wearer McGrath.
The stage came down to two riders with Amanda Miller of Team TIBCO taking the days honors with Jade Wilcoxson of Optum p/b Kelly Benefits taking second. Lauren Rauck Komanski of NOM and Novartis for MS came in a minute later and took the sprint for 3rd.  McGrath came is few seconds off of  Haeusler of Team TIBCO but remained safely in yellow to take the final GC. Haeusler remained in 2nd overall with Abbott of TIBCO rounding out the podium.
The 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic produced some aggressive and tactical racing.  The women’s race saw an aggressive Team TIBCO race hard from the start and establish the hierarchy that would see McGrath take a well deserved win.  The men’s field was tightly contested with all the teams riding hard right to the final sprint.  At times it appeared to be a battle between the old and new guard with the final result being some fantastic racing.
The race is obviously embraced by the Bend community. The race organization and number of volunteers was impressive to say the least. It’s an incredible event that should remain in high standing on the NRC calendar or years to come.
-Travis Dixon

Recap-Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 of the Cascade Cycling Classic was run on the Cascade Lakes course. This is a long standing course for this event. The course doesn’t have the amount of climbing that Stage 1 but many in the field feel that this is the toughest stage. The course is unrelenting, constantly up and down and then finishes on the 5 km climb of Sparks Lake. This climb isn’t particularly steep but considering its placement on this stage, it certainly makes the legs and lungs hurt.

 

The men were to ride 90 miles. The BMC Development team had the responsibility of defending the yellow jersey for Novak and with this stacked pro field they definitely had their work cut out for them today. The race began with a 3 mile neutral and as soon as the flag dropped the attacks began. Groups of 10-20 riders would escape only to be brought back and then another group would break … BMC were placing men in each group but it was becoming clear that yellow jersey wearer Novak was not having a good day and many times BMC would call back their riders to help pace the yellow back and bring the group together. The other teams had no mercy and kept firing away at BMC until mile 61 when a nine man group was able to break clear. As the final climb began, the escapees were swept up and 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda got to the front and set a hard pace in hope of launching Mancebo but the rest of the field was strong enough to resist the pace. Seghei Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda took the stage. This was his second stage win in as many days. Travis McCabe of Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker took second followed by Chad Haga of Team Optom p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy finished 5th with the same time as Tvetcov. Former yellow jersey Phillip Gaimon of Bissell Pro Cycling was 8th 2 seconds down. Novak finished 23rd for the day 17 seconds down followed by his teammate, Eisenthart.

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Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) and Powers(NOW)Blaze TT in Cascade

Cascade Cycling Classic -Alison Powers

Cascade Cycling Classic -Alison Powers

Cascade Cycling Classic, July 18 Stage 2 Prineville Individual Time Trial.

 

The men and women raced on a 20 mile out and back course. The rolling course would cater a strong rider who is able to push a big gear as opposed to the climbing that the racers saw in yesterdays stage. The men raced first and of the original 201 racers only 182 lined up for the start of the time trial. Sergei Tvetcov of Jelly Belly rode in with the best time of the day, 30:59:96. He was followed by Jonathan Teeter of team Marc Pro-Strava for second place with a time of 31:17:54. Newly crowned national TT Champion, Tom Zirbel rounded out the top three with a time of 31:17:69. Taylor Eisenhart of BMC Development Team put in a strong ride to end up 5th on GC only 30 seconds off of teammate Novak. Eisenhart is followed closely by defending champ, Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda who is 33 seconds off the lead. Yesterdays stage winner and yellow jersey wearer for the day, Pjillip Gaimon of Bissell Pro Cycling slipped to 7th overall at 36 seconds.

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Stage 1 of the Cascade Cycling Classic

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Stage 1 of the Cascade Cycling Classic was held today, July 17 on the challenging McKenzie Pass Course. The men and women raced 74 miles with a finishing climb to Three Creeks Sno-Park. This final climb features ramps up to 14% in sections and the stage climbs right to the finish line. It was going to be a tough day in the saddle for the riders.

The men’s race began with a 7 mile neutral zone and once the flag dropped the attacks started immediately. Small groups would go off the front but nothing stuck until about 35 miles into the stage when 5 riders were able to get a gap on the peloton. The break had the right mix of teams represented as they quickly built up a 10 minute gap as they arrived to the base of the McKenzie Pass climb. 3 riders remained a they crested the summit with a gap of roughly 1:30. The long fast decent saw Yanic Eckman of California Giant/Specialized, the only surviving member of the break, and Michael Weicht of CashCall, who bridged from the peloton, arrive into Sisters with a 40 second gap on the peloton. Team Bissell Pro Cycling rode a great team race on the final climb isolating Francesco Mancebo and yellow jersey wearer Robert Sweeting both of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda.
Phil Gaimon of Bissell Pro Cycling takes us through the final climb, “Basically, it’s always about that last climb. It was on 5 Hour Energy to control the race all day, and they did good job as they had yellow and the defending champion (Mancebo). So, we just sat back until the base of the finishing climb where we took over. We had a few guys that we were saving up to just kill it with 10 km to go. We put Pipp (Frank) on the front to string things out and that launched Baldwin (Chris). He kinda fried out there but this made Mancebo and Team Optum chase. Then once everyone was hurting I jumped across and Chris gave me a little gas and I was able to ride it to the finish but there was a Bontrager Cycling Team rider on my wheel, at 200 meters to go, I am not sure what happened as I was looking forward and he was looking back, and we just kind of got tangled and he went down which is a shame as he would’ve killed me in the sprint.”
Gaimon crossed the line to take the win and race leaders jersey. Mancebo crossed a handful of seconds later with Baldwin, Carter Jones, and Michael Torckler, all of Bissell Pro Cycling, right on his wheel. Robert Sweeting of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda lost his jersey on the stage and had this to say at the finish, “It was hard. I tried to stay as fresh as possible for the final climb. I knew that Mancebo would be our best guy for the day. I was hoping to lose less time than I did but once I got dropped with about 5 km to go I tried to conserve and hopefully have a better day tomorrow for the TT. We have Mancebo in 2nd overall so we are really happy about that. I think it’s going to be a good week.” TJ Eisenhart of BMC Development Team put in a strong ride to take the Best Young Riders jersey.
It was a strong performance by Bissell Pro Cycling but with the time gaps being so tight going into tomorrow’s TT, it’s still anybody’s race.
The women’s race began 10 minutes after the men. Yellow jersey wearer Allison Powers and her team, NOW and Novartis for MS, rode strongly and were able to control the peloton until the McKenzie Pass climb. Once the peloton began the climb proper, all that work seemed to take its toll and Powers had a more difficult time controlling the race. 3 riders broke away from the peloton roughly halfway up the climb. Kristen McGrath and Mara Abbott, both of team Exergy-Twenty 16, and Claudia Haeusler of team TIBCO worked well together building a gap of over 3 minutes and stayed away to the finish.
Kristen McGrath takes us through the stage, “We knew we have a lot of strong climbers on this team so we needed to use that to our advantage and try to get as much time for all of our climbers before the TT tomorrow. Allison’s (Powers) teammates set her up really well coming into McKenzie Pass but that meant that they had done a lot of work. Once they began to tire we made the pace really hard and we kept attacking. I ended up getting away with Claudia (Haeusler) and then Mara (Abbott) was able to bridge up. We worked really well together all the way to the finish. This also allowed Andrea Dvorak to sit on the yellow jersey, once we had her isolated. Then she was able to go on the final climb and get 4th place. So, it’s great that we got a lot of riders up the road. We are gonna take it one day at a time but we have a lot of cards to play.”
Haeusler took off with 200 meters to go and was able to take the win with McGrath and Abbott rounding out the top three. There was some confusion with the yellow jersey presentation with Haeusler initially being given the GC lead but before she could even donn the jersey the decision was reversed and McGrath was awarded the yellow jersey. As consolation, Haeusler was awarded the QOM jersey. The Best Young Rider jersey remained with Jasmin Glaessser of Exergy.
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Stage one provided some aggressive and tactical racing for both the men and women. With 4 stages remaining the 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic promises to be an exciting edition.
-Travis Dixon

Cascade Cycling Classic: Prologue

Cascade Cycling Classic: Prologue

Cascade Cycling Classic: Prologue

The 34th annual Cascade Cycling Classic kicks off July 16, with the Prologue, in Bend Oregon. Its the oldest running consecutive stage race in North America , starting back in 1979. Sponsored by the Bend Memorial Clinic (BMC), the 5 day stage race is organized by the Mt. BachelorSki Education Foundation.

The prologue starts on Tuesdsy, at 6pm and is stacked with a majority of the NRC’s top five riders for both Pro men and women. This course is a counterclockwise loop, totaling at 2.5 miles, with less than 200 feet elevation gain, perfect for fast riders. Mancebo (5 hour Energy p/b Kenda), Haga and teammate Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) will be in the mens field. Haeusler, Olds (Team TIBCO), Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS), and Abbott (Exergy TWENTY 16) in the women’s.

The Cascade Cycling Classic’s placement in the latter half of the NRC series, makes it a critical stage race for top riders to gain individual and team points towards the overall standings. This and the list of high caliber racers, registered for the race, will make for a tight and exciting 5 days through central Oregon’s eastern slope of the Cascade mountain range. Historically, the race has always been held in high standing and a desirable edition for any individual and team to add to their palmares.

 

Want more: Here is a link to the 2012 Cascade Classic.

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Who wants to do intervals when you can race?

Who wants to do intervals when you can race?

Who wants to do intervals when you can race?

Alison Tetrick (Exergy Twenty16)

Who wants to do intervals when you can race?   I don’t get to do a Grand Tour, so I might as well invent my own.  I recently completed the AMT Classic.  The AMT Classic consisted of 10 days of racing from the mountains of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic straight into the plains of the Tour of America’s Dairyland.  Why? Why not.  Welcome to my own personal stage race, where you are guaranteed to finish with some extra cash money, race fitness, endless smiles, and of course chocolate milk and beer.

I was honored to be a part of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in its last hurrah, as Breakaway Promotions is saying this is the last year, but we all know they will be back.  A race with that unique cocktail of a supportive community, breathtaking scenery, and challenging courses, won’t stay away forever.  And when they come back, I will be back too.  Although I really wanted to win the race, I had to leave the first four stages of the AMT Classic with a mere 2nd place overall at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.  Thank you for the memories, Mt. Hood.  I know I gained fitness and confidence through your grueling stages, and met many great people through the race and learned more about myself and my ability.  Now can I have to win the next time.

The good thing about bike racing is that there is always more bike racing.  More bike races to perfect your skills.  More bike races to make mistakes.  More bike races to learn.  More bike races to win.

Although I am partial to long stage races, I thought it was time to mix it up with some of my teammates and the sprinters of the Midwest.  We can’t let the sprinters have all the glory and chocolate milk, can we?  The Tour of America’s Dairyland is a tremendous opportunity to race each day with a fresh perspective and a new goal with its welcoming and laid back format of many races and different venues.  If something doesn’t work one day, you have many more days to test out your other weapons in your arsenal.  I could take a deep sigh of relief when entering the Cheese State as I was reunited with teammates and many options for the races.

Two road races and four criteriums later, I had stolen two stages of TOAD and drank my fair share of chocolate milk, and Exergy TWENTY16’s sprinter and super track rider, Cari Higgins, finished 3rd overall.  At the road race that circumnavigated Road America, the NASCAR track, I attacked with 1.5 laps to go, and although the men had previously passed us, I did get to fly by the men’s field as they were neutralized for my solo attack for the win.  Gentlemen, I know you are fast too, but you have to give me credit for wanting to feel important as I got to speed into victory with style.  Thank you for proving to me that chivalry is not dead, and giving me a boost of confidence into a great finish.

Racing is fun.  Add thousands of cheering fans and a Friday Night Fish Fry, and it gets even better.  The Downer Avenue Criterium, Stage 9 of the AMT Classic, was like no race I have ever done.  With over $2,500 in primes alone, including one $1,000 Ultra Prime by Ben’s Cycle, the race was pure chaos fueled by the energy of the crowds and a warm Milwaukee night.  With 8 laps to go, I countered a previous prime, and not only snagged a $1,000 prime 2 laps later as I continued to escape from the sprinters, but also stayed solo for a very dramatic win.  Wow.  More chocolate milk, a giant check, and a win.  It is fair to say, I love Milwaukee.

Proof that the AMT Classic was not a fixed stage race, I did not win every stage of my own personal Grand Tour.  However, I did take a little treasure from each race I competed in.  Constantly learning, constantly growing, and constantly finding where my limits are, if I even have any.  This makes you want to make your own Grand Tour too, doesn’t it?  I returned to California and all I wanted to do was to keep racing.  I had to join the Davis Bicycle Club at their 4th of July Criterium just three days later, and then get a taste of the rough roads of the Leesville Gap Road Race that make the cobbles of Europe look smooth as silk.  Standing on top of the podium at Leesville Gap, it was a watermelon trophy instead of the Full Sail Brewery beer of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, or the chocolate milk of the Tour of America’s Dairyland, but it was just as satisfying.  Bike racing sure beats training.  Next year, why don’t you sign up for the AMT Classic?

Highlights:

  • Hood River.  Need I say more?
  • 8,000 feet of climbing in 70 miles on Stage 4 of MHCC.
  • Raspberries in the back yard in Hood River.
  • Full Sail Brewery.
  • Wisconsin Friday Night Fish Fry.  True story.  Amazing.
  • Chocolate milk.
  • Humidity volume in my hair.
  • Casserole made by my Wisconsin hosts.  Yes, people still make casseroles.
  • $1,000 Ultra Prime by Ben’s Cycling (then staying away for the WIN!)
  • Faster, tanner legs.
  • Neutralizing men’s field so I could pass in true NASCAR style to WIN.
  • Racing instead of training.

 

Welcome Back Kmac (Exergytwenty16)

KMAC

KMAC

Gila Race report

by Kristin McGrath

260 miles, 21,133 feet of climbing, 80+ degree heat, 30mph winds, 65 women battling it out, two-wheel style, for bragging rights and a locally made, beautiful pottery bowl to display on the mantel.  This is Tour of the Gila.  Entering Gila, 2013, our team had one goal, one mission: Win.  Having won two of the last three additions, we wanted to ‘keep it in the family’.  Our mission was singular and we didn’t care which one of us was on the podium the last day, we just wanted the top step.  Gila was extra special for me as it marked my first race back with my beloved team, after a spring spent racing in freezing, Northern Europe.  After many races spent suffering in the wind and flat roads of Holland, I was more than excited to go uphill, and there is no one I like ascending mountains with more than my Twenty16 teammates.  Gila is arguably one of the hardest stage races in America, if not the world, due to the challenging terrain in relentless wind, dry air and altitude.  Add in a strong peloton and it equates to a doozie of a race.  My favorite.

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Racing My Mom at Sea Otter by Alison Tetrick

Racing My Mom at Sea Otter  by Alison Tetrick

Racing My Mom at Sea Otter
by Alison Tetrick

Racing My Mom at Sea Otter

by Alison Tetrick (Exergy Twenty16)

 

Families that race together, stay together.  Or something like that.  The first time I did the Sea Otter Classic, I raced with and against my mom.  Talk about tough and inspiring. How does that even work?  Does she apologize after she executes a vicious attack?  Does she make sure I am eating and drinking during the race?  If I have snot on my face, does she ride by and wipe my nose for me?  Does she frown if I have a brief “potty mouth”? Yes to all.

 

Although my mom is a phenomenal athlete, she is first and foremost my mom, and I don’t think she could shake that even if she tried.  My mom is known for her realistic approach to life that is peppered with just the right amount of pure, infectious dynamism.  I was not necessarily brought up in an environment fueled by competition, but I was taught to take pride in doing my best, staying active, and striving to achieve great things.  That being said, try lining up to a start line with your mom.  She oozed competitive spirit.  She wanted to race her bike and race her bike she did.   Mom always knows best.  Racing against your mom puts you in a slight conflict of interest.  Who wins?  I think the answer is always the both of us.  It is a family affair, after all.

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Video Interview – Mara Abbott (ExergyTwenty16)

San Dimas Stage Race Stage Three Criterium Mara Abbott

Mara Abbott Exclusive Interview:

This is an exclusive interview with Mara Abbott from (ExergyTwenty16).  We were lucky enough to catch up with her after her dominating performance in San Dimas Stage Race. This is Mara’s first year back since she officially retired and her 1st stage victory in her comeback tour. She makes it very clear that she is coming back to race at the highest level.

“If I am going to race bikes, I am going to do it as well as I possibly can. That is some sort of a metric I have yet to discover. “ Mara Abbott

 

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