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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Montserrat Circuit Race: Melt Your Face Hot!

 Justin Rossi (Marc Pro - Strava)

Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava)

by Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava)

This last weekend was awesome, and I wanted a tune up for the upcoming Nevada City/Mt Hood phase of the season.  Teammates Nate Freed, Nick Schaffner, and I carpooled down to the Montserrat Circuit in Rocklin, CA put on by Victory Velo Cycling.  We knew the forecast was supposed to be over 100, but we soon learned via car temp gauge it was heading into the 110+ region.  We pulled off, as planned, to gather some ice for our pantyhose jersey stuff.  We met up with fabled teammate Chuck Hutcheson for our pre-race strategy talk.  Our goal? Survive the heat and win!

I had not previewed the course because my pasty white ass was hiding in the comforts of Chuck’s EZ Up.  We took to the start line with plenty of joking and chatter about the heat and all agreed to survey the course for one neutral lap before the racing would engage.  This is when I realized the gravity of this course…holy hell…two legit power climbs per lap, a couple technical turns, and a whole slew of places to attack.  This course was built for me, but I didn’t want it to be.  I was hoping to open up the legs for Sunday’s state TT championship, but not destroy my body for 60 minutes.

Superman celebration

©Alex Chiu

There was one smart guy who attacked on the neutral lap, but once racing started on the second lap Nick attacked and got up the road.  He was soon joined by Brandon Trafton (Full Circle), Josh Carling (Sierra Nevada), and a rider from Red Peloton.  Chuck immediately got across and this was the first 15-20 minutes of the race.  They had a comfortable 20-second gap, but I could tell they weren’t drilling it to stay away.  After some hesitation, I realized I needed to get across or risk just sitting for the rest of the day.  Like I said, I needed to open the legs.  I attacked and bridged to the break with Dave Christenson (Sierra Nevada) in tow.  I caught the break on the second climb and immediately attacked over the top.  I looked back and saw no reaction and went into TT mode with 30 minutes remaining.  My gap opened to 30+ seconds within 2 laps, and it was all autopilot from there.  Each lap, I would take a bottle from the awesome volunteer feed zone and look for the ice cold water drops.  I absolutely love the solo breakaway and trying to figure out how to pace the course.  Knowing when to hit the throttle, making sure you never touch your brakes, hitting all the lines you prefer, and tucking to rest when your speed is up.

I soon saw that all three yellow mavic helmets (Marc Pro – Strava teammates) were in the break.  Soon after, I noticed Chuck was off the front and had a huge gap.  Then, with three to go, I saw Nick dangling off the front of the break.  Crap…we were going to go 1-2-3.  I kept my pace high through the finish and was able to celebrate with my best Superman jersey rip impression.  I rolled back to the finish to see Chuck take 2nd, Nick cross in 3rd, and Nate take the field sprint for 4th!  The sierra mountain men, came down from the hills, stuffed their jersey’s full of ice and threw down on a great day for Marc Pro Strava.  A huge thanks to Victory Velo for putting on such an awesome race, with some of the most technical and difficult courses I have played on and for the volunteers who braved the temps to cool the riders off with bottle drops and ice cold towels for after the race.

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©Alex Chiu

 

Mt. Hamilton Road Race by Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava)

by Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava)

Mixed emotions as we lineup for a rainy start Mixed emotions as we lineup for a rainy start

This year’s running of the Mt. Hamilton Road Race would play out a lot differently than last year’s field sprint.  We rolled out of the neutral start shivering and wet.  Marc Pro – Strava had a full contingent of riders, as did the other local NorCal team’s (Mike’s Bikes, Cal Giant etc).  MPS had a plan to get as many of our strong riders over the top with a smaller selection than last year.  Kirk Carlson (Predator Cycling) and Adrian Costa (Garmin Developmental) would be the animators of this 18-mile, 4500′ climb.  The climb was full gas from the go, strung out and gaps opening.  Towards the top of the first section of the climb, things mellowed a bit and the group came back together.  Costa attacked on the 2nd section of the climb and had a small gap, but he was being marshaled by Chris Harland-Dunaway (Marc Pro Strava) and Stefano Barberi (Cal Giant).  The final and most sustained section of the climb was the deciding factor for the rest of the race.  Once Costa was reeled in, Carlson attacked.  Sam Bassetti (Cal Giant) hung between Carlson and a group containing Costa, Jack Maddux (Specialized), Sean Rosenthal (Mike’s), Art Rand, Taylor Bertrand-Barrett, and me (all MPS) was within 30 seconds over the KOM.  This was ideal.  We had three guys in a small selection as planned.  Then came the descent!!

 

The descent off the backside of Hamilton is more feared than the climb itself, and I am not a fan.  I can handle the fast swooping turns, but this is a different beast.  Unfortunately, Rosenthal and Costa bridged the gap to Carlson and Bassetti, throwing caution out the window.  Taylor lost his rear end a few times and was unable to hang.  I kept a steady pace knowing I would have to chase when we hit the bottom.  When we hit the bottom it was Art, me, and Jack Maddux wedged in-between the lead group of 4 and a chasing group of about 10-15.  We were given 30-second time gaps in both directions, so I immediately took up the pace and started barking orders to work.  Unfortunately, I was with two climbers, who have the combined mass of my right quad, and a whole lot of headwind to contend with.  The next 30 miles was torture as we had the leaders in sight.  I just remember Carlson looking back from time to time and upping the pace.  We hit the second main climb of the race and Bassetti got dropped off the lead group. Art and I continued to dangle.  Art set a good pace up the climb and once over I recommitted myself to the three-hour time trial.

 

We finally caught the lead group of 3 with about 10 miles to race.  Ideal situation, 2 out of 5.  One problem…I was smoked!!  Our group immediately started attacking each other and pretty much did until the finish.  It was not an ideal situation to attack since it was a solid headwind, so I just tried to keep the group moving forward.  Every time I would make pace, Costa would attack.  It came to the last 1k when Art threw a solid attack, but was quickly covered.  Costa then took a turn and I was caught in front chasing. From there Carlson attacked with Rosenthal in tow and I just tried to match it.  I was blown and couldn’t contend the sprint, over which Rosenthal just edged out Carlson.  I took 3rd, Costa 4th, and Art 5th.  The main group of chasers finished close behind, containing Harland-Dunaway and Taylor.

 
Next time!! Next time!!

Protect the Jersey by Justin Rossi

Protect the Jersey by Justin Rossi

Protect the Jersey by Justin Rossi

Protect the Jersey
by Justin Rossi (Marco Pro Strava)

Big Bear Time Trial
After Stage 1 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic was in the books, Marc Pro – Strava put 2 in the top 20, and were holding the top two spots in the amateur competition. The setting was sweet, along the North Shore of Big Bear Lake at 6800 feet. I knew the elevation would help my cause since I live at elevation and the legs have felt solid leading into the race. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of taking the whole week to adjust to the area–traveling and pre-riding courses like other pros–so we were all a little concerned headed blindly into the TT. The weather was perfect with a pretty good headwind on the way out and tailwind on the way back. I headed off the start ramp reserved, as I know elevation can creep up on you and if you put your body into the red, there is no coming back. The start was winding into a headwind with a solid little power climb to get the legs burning. By about 2K from the turnaround the course becomes extremely technical, and I had caught my 30 second guy. It took a good 1 minute of screaming “on your left,” braking, and swerving to get around the guy. Once clear, I ramped it up into the turnaround. Back through the technical section and ripping the home stretch, I gave everything I had and despite some road traffic and unknown technical sections, I crossed the finish line with a solid time and enough to put me in the white “best amateur” jersey. Sorry for the poor, non-pro podium look, but what do you expect from the top “amateur?” [Read more...]

Class Acts at Snelling Road Race

chuck-hutcheson

Snelling Road Race

by Charles Hutcheson (Marc Pro – Strava)

 

Snelling is the first real big race in Northern California, kind of like the Mid-Atlantics Jeff Cup with similar terrain.  There were over 130 racers starting the pro/1/2 race, including over ten from Mike’s Bikes.  With the recent additions of Roman Kilun and Daniel Holloway, as well as some very respected and well established riders like James LaBerge and Eric Riggs, Mike’s was the team to beat. There were other, well-represented teams like Squadra SF, and other riders who don’t need teams to kick your butt, like Fast Freddy Rodriguez, Kirk Carlsen, Logan Loader, and Eric Wohlberg.  As usual, the wind at Snelling was a huge factor in the race at around 15 mph with gusts of 30. [Read more...]