Cycling is by far the most rewarding sport in terms of the feeling you get when you finally attain victory. You go through so much mental and physical pain every time you start a bike race, and the odds of winning are hugely stacked against you; granted, some more than others. It’s the only sport I know of where you can fail 99% of the time and still have a job. With all this in mind, once you finally get that win, the feeling is like no other, and that’s exactly what I felt on Friday, June 26, when I achieved victory in the U23 National ITT.
The day started out like any other: wake up, drag myself to breakfast, eat and chat with the guys until I’m half shaking from the amount of coffee in my bloodstream. I was still feeling a little blocked up from the road race two days earlier and decided it would be a good idea to go out for 30 minutes, just to try and flush out my legs. Going by myself, it actually turned out to be a great head-clearing ride, and I came back feeling refreshed and confident, though at this point I was still four hours from my start.
Fast forward: After about a one-hour drive where I slept for 90% of it, we arrived at staging for the ITT. For those reading this who don’t know how anything about this course, let me explain. It was a 40-kilometer out and back at about a 5000-foot elevation. With a 10-15 mph cross wind and a 95-degree temp, it had all the fixings for a fast but unbelievably mentally and physically hard course. Imagine going as hard as you can on a pan-flat road and the finish line is clearly in sight. The only problem is it’s still10 kilometers away, and you’ve been doing this already for over 30 minutes. I think that, in itself, for the cyclists out there, explains enough.
My start time was 2:40 pm and was third from last, with Ben Wolfe of Cal Giant and TJ Eisenhart of BMC Devo taking the last two spots. Usually in ITTs I don’t worry about being caught from behind, but with such talent starting right behind me, I was a little nervous. 3, 2, 1, and I was off, with nothing but a pan-flat 40-kilometer death march ahead of me. Once I got settled into a good rhythm and power, I just tried to focus on that and not the fact that I had to do this for close to an hour. To keep my mind set on a goal, I tried to focus on each 10 kilometers. I would just tell myself, “OK, Danny. Make it to 10 kilometers. OK, make it to 20 kilometers,” and so on.
At about 10 kilometers in, I looked up the road a tad and noticed the follow car of the rider in front of me was very close and gaining fast. I thought, “Must just be the way the road is making it look like the rider in front of me is closer than he is.” Then about 5 kilometers later, I came up on him and passed him. To be honest, I was more nervous than happy about this. The rider I passsed was Tyler Williams of BMC Devo, and he is no slouch, to say the least. For me to pass him this early had me a little concerned. My power was good, my breathing was steady, and I wasn’t about to pass out so I figured, “Oh, well. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Time and kilometers ticked away, and the finish came closer and closer. The amount of ups and downs you go through in an ITT like this is unreal. Some points, you’re on fire with all the motivation in the world, and then maybe only a kilometer later, you want to pull the brakes, get off your bike, and jump in the team car.
48 minutes and 26 seconds after I started, I came ripping through the finish line. Pain, excitement, but mostly pain, rushed though me. I heard the announcer scream I had the new best time, but I knew some of the best were still on the course, so I wasn’t in the clear yet. I rolled over to the hot seat area and waited anxiously. Then I overheard the words I’d been waiting for: “Eaton wins it. Eaton wins it.” I’d imagined how it’d feel to get a victory like this, but once it happens, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever felt. It’s that moment that finally justifies all the training, sacrifice, early nights, and similar mornings, a feeling that will push me to train a little harder, sacrifice a little more, and go to bed and wake a little bit earlier.
Daniel Eaton lives in Mesa, AZ.
What can a harassed cyclist do?
By: Ed Rubinstein
Thanks to Pete van Nuys of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition I have just become aware of yet another option that cyclists have to deal with hostile or bad drivers. It is far from a solution to the harassment and horrible drivers we encounter on an all too frequent basis, but it is something that we can easily do and it costs nothing. The DMV has a program and a form through which the public can anonymously report habitually bad drivers to get them off the road. The program was originally designed to report elderly, blind or otherwise physically impaired drivers who should no longer be driving. The DMV form also has boxes that can be checked to report aggressive driving. There is also a section where you can add comments to describe some of the crazy driving we see. Reports submitted on the DMV Request for Driver Reexamination (Form DS 699) are supposed to cause the DMV to contact the identified driver to have them prove that they still qualify to be licensed.
I have been practicing law for over 38 years, and have been a road cyclist for even longer. I am not naïve enough to believe this DMV program will solve the bad/aggressive driver problem, but it could help. I ask each of you to click on the link I have provided to the DMV form and consider sending in reports as an additional course of action.
In the past I have written about other alternatives for dealing with bad drivers, and they are worth repeating.
If you are the victim of deliberate acts against you—threats, aggressive driving, items thrown at you, being “buzzed” or worse yet actually hit by a vehicle—first and foremost save yourself. Even if you are in the right, do not directly confront the driver or flip off or curse him. You would not do that to someone pointing a gun at you. In this case the vehicle is the deadly weapon. I can appreciate the sense of frustration that accompanies following my suggestion that cyclists not confront drivers, but I never heard of someone dying or being hospitalized after surgery to repair a case of compound frustration. In any event most of the time the issue is not deliberate road rage, but inattentive or negligent driving, something every driver on occasion does. Confronting the inattentive driver with a one-fingered salute followed by an intense four letter word discourse may morph that negligent driver into a prospective road rage assailant when s/he later encounters other cyclists. Even if you are certain that the driver deliberately attacked you, responding in kind reduces the chances that law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office will choose to effectively prosecute the driver.
While avoiding a direct confrontation, try to get pictures and/or videos of the driver and car and immediately report the incident to the police. If a driver places you in reasonable fear that you are going to be hit by his car (such as a buzzing incident) or a thrown object s/he can be both criminally and civilly liable. The act does not have to result in a battery, the actual unpermitted touching, for liability. A driver who threatens or actually attacks you with a car can be charged with several serious crimes including with assault with a deadly weapon (the vehicle itself). A driver convicted of a felony assault with a deadly weapon involving a motor vehicle as the weapon, in addition to whatever punishment is handed down, also permanently loses his driver’s license (California Vehicle Code § 13351.5).
If the incident happens in Los Angeles County, cyclists can take advantage of LA’s ordinance against the harassment of cyclists. That law prohibits: the physical assault or attempted physical assault of a bicyclist to intentionally injure, attempt or threaten physically injure a bicyclist because of their status as a rider; intentionally distracting or attempting to distract a bicyclist; intentionally force or attempt to force a bicyclist off the street for purposes other than public safety. Cyclists can enforce the ordinance by a civil lawsuit, which they could do already. The ordinance adds new “teeth” providing for triple damages or $1000 whichever is greater, the cyclists’ recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation, and the possible award of punitive damages. These “teeth” were intended to make civil enforcement of the ordinance a more attractive proposition to private attorneys. However the unintended result is frequently just the opposite. In motor vehicle accidents the source of payment for damages and for most plaintiff lawyers is usually the driver’s auto insurance policy. Insurance policies do not cover intentional acts. So proving a driver’s intentional harassment of a cyclist also eliminates his insurance coverage.
Finally, if you think you have been wronged as a cyclist, your best bet is to consult with a lawyer, preferably one who, like me, is a rider as well so that s/he is more likely to appreciate cyclist issues. I do not charge for an initial consultation, and I personally return all calls and emails (my contact information is below). Some other lawyers do as well. A consultation is worth it if for no other reason than your own peace of mind.
Ed is a lawyer with over 38 years of practice with an office in Orange County where he represents injured cyclists and individuals and businesses in employment and business disputes. He has been a roadie for even longer. If you have been injured in a bike accident or know someone else who has and can use legal representation contact him by email at BikeLaw@att.net or call 714-550-0700.
Last week, Elite riders from all over the U.S. descended upon the Lake Tahoe region for the 2015 Elite Nationals. It was a week of great racing; many were the pretenders to the Stars and Stripes and few who donned the Stars and Stripes of US National Champion.
Bay Area-based powerhouse, Mike’s Bikes pb Equator Coffees, was one of the many teams who had designs on the jersey; and went away with not one, but two Champion’s national titles. It was an impressive showing by the team, who rode well all week.
Colin Daw, winner of the Men’s Road Race, recently wrote about his victory on the Team Mike’s Bikes pb Equator Coffees website ( We reprint it here).
Words: Colin Daw
Images: Alex Chiu & Martina Patella
Gathering around the family room at our host house for a pre-race pep-talk, the team could all feel a special energy in anticipation of the impending Nationals RR. We had the strongest, most cohesive lineup in Team Mike’s Bikes history, a National Championships only a few hours from home, and a handful of guys who were coming into form at the right time.
The team decided to ride with two fully protected riders (Chris Riekert and Colin Daw) and two more who could win in a move from farther out (Max Korus and Nate English). The plan was to stay safe and hidden from the wind on the outbound leg, with Andy, Tyler, Craig, Adam, and Dana following any threatening moves, but knowing nothing significant would stick on the mostly-downhill first hour to Sierraville. From there, it would be all hands on deck at the front to enter the valley, where we were expecting head- and crosswinds of anywhere from 10 to 20+mph. The decisive moment would come sometime after the tailwind turnaround, when we expected full-on crosswinds on the way to Loyalton. We knew the field would shatter somewhere in the valley, but that the real fireworks would start on the 25 minute climb out of Sierraville and the multiple 1-5 minute rollers on the way into Truckee. We expected a very small group hitting the base of 267 to Northstar, and we were right, but it didn’t go down exactly as we’d planned.
As we turned onto the Sattley TT course (the outbound leg in the flat valley after Sierraville), most of us near the front, we felt a roaring tailwind and decided now was not the time to instigate a field-splitting echelon. However, about one minute later, the wind suddenly changed to a head-cross and strung the field out for hundreds of meters. Our guys were still mostly near the front, and a few of our strongest, savviest riders escaped almost immediately in a small group – Nate and Roman with 2 Elbowz and 1 KHS rider. Soon after that, Max Korus, The Cosmonaut, took a flier with one Elevate rider and quickly bridged to half-way between the groups.
The race got really interesting when our chase of ~30 (including Colin, Chris, Dana, & Adam), came upon a live railroad crossing as the gates were going down. The officials neutralized our field, allowing the gaps to grow to 1 and 2 minutes (to bridge and break, respectively) while our group ballooned to 50+ riders as the stragglers caught on. Luckily, it was just a maintenance truck on the rail lines, and the gates went up after less than a minute delay. The race was back on, and the crosswinds were stronger than ever. No teams were really picking up the chase, and the gaps continued to grow.
By the time the group reached Sierraville again and turned back to climb towards Truckee, it was down to about 20 riders from all the crosswindy echelon fun. Not thirty seconds into the climb, the pace was quickened by Taylor Shelden and a few others who had incentive to get back to the front of the race, and the group quickly shattered to only 10-12 riders. Of those, Chris Riekert and Colin remained for TMB, tucked safely behind the chasing riders, knowing they had 3 strong teammates up the road.
“We were climbing fast, and I was putting out a high-tempo effort just to hold wheels, but my legs were feeling great and I knew I had played my cards right in the crosswinds. It was a waiting game, and at this point I thought we were racing for ~8th, but I was happy with the knowledge that one of Roman, Max, or Nate would definitely win out of the stacked break,” said Colin of the 25 minute climb out of Sierraville.
However, not 10 minutes later, a group of team cars came into sight, and there was the break, only ~45 seconds up the road. The pace increased again and only 8 remained as we bridged to the break of 7 immediately following the feed-zone at the crest of the big climb. From there, we knew we had under an hour to race, and the attacks came fast and hard. Mike’s had 5 riders, Elbowz had 4 (then 3 just a few minutes later), and the rest of the break consisted of exceptionally strong riders with no teammates left. Roman rode like an animal and helped us neutralize a small escape on the longest remaining climb, and then the rest of us took turns following and countering threatening attacks by the other riders in the group.
At this point, it was anybody’s race, but we had the numbers and also 2 relatively fresh riders in Colin and Chris. As we came into the final 10km, Max had again escaped up the road with one other (Colin Strickland from Elbowz) and the group was starting to splinter as guys lost their legs or their will to chase. At this point, Chris and Colin followed Stefano Barberi (Cal Giant) and Chad Beyer (Super Issimo) as they worked to pull back Max and Strickland. Contact was made just as the road turned uphill with 5km to go, and Colin knew this was the time to make the decisive attack. Chris had just delivered him safely to the front and when the pace slowed momentarily, he shouted to Colin to ‘just GO.’ He went, and the only 2 that could come with him were Strickland and Barberi.
Colin recounts the final fireworks of the race: “After a long 1-2 minutes on the front, trying to ride the two others off my wheel, I slowed and let the Elbowz rider pull through for a 20-30 seconds. Once the Northstar traffic lights came into sight, I attacked again and only Barberi was able to follow. He attacked me on the steep (12%) 100m pitch up to the roundabout, and I knew I couldn’t let him get too far but also couldn’t blow myself up trying to respond to the much lighter rider’s attack. On the final downhill from <2km to 1km left, I super-tucked and slowly closed the ~20m gap until I was right on Barberi’s wheel. As we rolled through the 1km sign and the road turned up for the final 8%, 900m grind, we passed my old teammate James Laberge (2014 U23 Crit champion) who had started in the U23 field 20 minutes ahead of us – he shouted ‘you can do this, Colin!’ and I knew I had been training for a finish scenario just like this.. I attacked and didn’t look back for what felt like an eternity (maybe 100m). Damn! Barberi was not letting the gap open much more than 20m, and I was worried I’d gone too early. I put my head down and continued to turn the pedals over, and when I looked back 10 seconds later, I knew he had exploded and wouldn’t catch me. However, Elbowz was coming on strong (at this point it must have been Kevin Girkins after catching his teammate Colin, but I didn’t know that at the time) and I had to ignore the searing pain in my lungs and legs for 300 more meters. Once the line was in sight <100m away and I knew the title was mine, I pedaled a little more softly and let it all sink in. ‘I’m actually going to win the National Championship,’ I thought.. ‘Is this really happening?!’ I crossed the line in disbelief, remembering to throw my hands in the air to celebrate this sweet, sweet victory.
I knew as I came back to earth (my handlebars) that I couldn’t have done it, not just to have won the Nationals Road Race, but to have come this far in cycling at all, without the support, mentorship, and camaraderie of my teammates. This was OUR victory, and I couldn’t wait to see them when they started to cross the line a minute later, going 6, 7, 8, 9 and cementing Mike’s Bikes reputation as the USA’s dominant amateur team.
A HUGE THANKS goes to all of our sponsors: Equator Coffees, Toyota, Specialized, SRAM, Capo, Osmo, ProBar, Bikesmart, & Violich Farms. Our team Venges performed flawlessly, and it should be noted the 8 of the top 9 riders were on Specialized bikes! What a sweet ‘hometown’ finish for Specialized, especially with employees Colin and Chris going 1st and 8th.
Another huge thanks is in order for all of the support the team received from others this week: Scott Bromstead (TMB Masters) for graciously offering his Truckee house as home-base for the team, Caesar Belli for his mechanic/soigneur services, and Martina Patella for taking care of the team before, during, and after the races. Also a shout-out to up-and-coming new Cat 1 from our development team, Aria Kiani, who crashed out of the race but is okay and will definitely be leaving his mark in Nationals to come.
Colin Daw lives in Saratoga, CA
Ag2r La Mondiale
Jan Bakelants (B)
Romain Bardet (F)
Mikaël Chérel (F)
Ben Gastauer (Lux)
Patrick Gretsch (G)
Jean-Christophe Péraud (F)
Christophe Riblon (F)
Johan Vansummeren (B)
Alexis Vuillermoz (F)
Vincenzo Nibali (I)
Jakob Fuglsang (Dk)
Lars Boom (Nl)
Andriy Grivko (Kaz)
Michele Scarponi (I)
Lieuwe Westra (Nl)
Rein Taaramae (Est)
Tanel Kangert (Est)
BMC Racing Team
Tejay van Garderen (USA)
Damiano Caruso (I)
Rohan Dennis (Aus)
Daniel Oss (I)
Manuel Quinziato (I)
Samuel Sanchez (Sp)
Michael Schar (Swi)
Greg Van Avermaet (B)
Danilo Wyss (Swi)
Jan Barta (Cz)
Sam Bennett (Irl)
Emanuel Buchmann (G)
Zakkari Dempster (Aus)
Bartosz Huzarski (Pl)
Jose Mendes (P)
Dominik Nerz (G),
Andreas Schillinger (G)
Paul Voss (G)
Frédéric Brun (F)
Anthony Delaplace (F)
Pierrick Fédrigo (F)
Brice Feillu (F)
Armindo Fonseca (F)
Arnaud Gérard (F)
Pierre-Luc Périchon (F)
Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg)
Florian Vachon (F)
Andrew Talansky (USA)
Daniel Martin (Irl)
Ryder Hesjedal (Can)
Jack Bauer (NZ)
Dylan van Baarle (Nl)
Sebastian Langeveld (Nl)
Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit)
Kristijan Koren (Slo)
Nathan Haas (Aus)
Nacer Bouhanni (F)
Nicolas Edet (F)
Christophe Laporte (F)
Luis Angel Mate (Sp)
Dani Navarro (Sp)
Florian Sénéchal (F)
Geoffrey Soupe (F)
Julien Simon (F)
Kenneth Vanbilsen (B)
Mark Cavendish (GB)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Pl)
Tony Martin (G)
Rigoberto Uran (Col)
Zdenek Stybar (Cz)
Mark Renshaw (Aus)
Julien Vermonte (B)
Matteo Trentin (I)
Michal Golas (Pl)
Bryan Coquard (F)
Pierre Rolland (F)
Thomas Voeckler (F)
Romain Sicard (F)
Yohann Gene (F)
Angelo Tulik (F)
Bryan Nauleau (F)
Perrig Quemeneur (F)
Thibaut Pinot (F)
William Bonnet (F)
Sébastien Chavanel (F)
Arnaud Démare (F)
Alexandre Geniez (F)
Matthieu Ladagnous (F)
Steve Morabito (Swi)
Jérémy Roy (F)
Benoît Vaugrenard (F)
Tom Dumoulin (Nl)
Koen De Kort (Nl)
John Degenkolb (G)
Warren Barguil (F)
Roy Curvers (Nl)
Simon Geschke (G)
Georg Preildler (A)
Ramon Sinkeldam (Nl)
Albert Timmer (Nl)
Matthias Brandle (A)
Sylvain Chavanel (F)
Stef Clement (Nl)
Jerome Coppel (F)
Martin Elmiger (Swi)
Mathias Frank (Swi)
Reto Hollenstein (Swi)
Jarlinson Pantano (Col)
Marcel Wyss (Swi)
Joaquim Rodriguez (Sp)
Alexander Kristoff (N)
Tiago Machado (P)
Albert Losada (Sp)
Giampaolo Caruso (I)
Luca Paolini (I)
Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus)
Jacopo Guarnieri (I)
Marco Haller (A)
Rui Costa (P)
Nelson Oliveira (P)
Kristijan Durasek (Cro)
Ruben Plaza (Sp)
Filippo Pozzato (I)
Jose Rodolfo Serpa (Col)
Rafael Valls (Sp)
Matteo Bono (I)
Davide Cimolai (I)
Lars Bak (Dk)
Thomas De Gendt (B)
Jens Debusschere (B)
Tony Gallopin (F)
Andre Greipel (G)
Adam Hansen (Aus)
Greg Henderson (NZ)
Marcel Sieberg (G)
Tim Wellens (B)
Robert Gesink, (Nl)
Wilco Kelderman (Nl)
Laurens ten Dam (Nl)
Steven Kruijswijk (Nl)
Sep Vanmarcke (B)
Bram Tankink (Nl)
Tom Leezer (Nl)
Jos van Emden (Nl)
Paul Martens (G)
Nairo Quintana (Col)
Alejandro Valverde (SP)
Jose Herrada (SP)
Adriano Malori (I)
Gorka Izagirre (SP)
Winner Anacona (Col)
Jonathan Castroviejo (SP)
Imano Erviti (SP)
Alex Dowsett (GB)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (N)
Steve Cummings (GB)
Tyler Farrar (USA)
Jacques Janse van Rensburg (SA)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (SA)
Merhawi Kudus (Eri)
Louis Meintjes (SA)
Serge Pauwels (B)
Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri)
Michael Albasini (Swi)
Luke Durbrudge (Aus
Simon Gerrans (Aus)
Daryl Impey (SA
Michael Matthews (Aus)
Svein Tuft (Can)
Pieter Weening (Nl)
Adam Yates (GB)
Simon Yates (GB)
Chris Froome (GB)
Peter Kennaugh (GB)
Ian Stannard (GB)
Geraint Thomas (GB)
Luke Rowe (GB)
Mikel Nieve (Sp)
Richie Porte (Aus)
Nicolas Roche (Irl)
Wout Poels (Nl)
Leopold Konig (Cz)
Alberto Contador (Sp)
Peter Sagan (Slv)
Michael Rogers (Aus)
Rafal Majka (Pl)
Robert Kiserlovski (Cro)
Daniele Bennati (I)
Ivan Basso (I)
Roman Kreuziger (Cz)
Michael Velgren (Dk)
Matteo Tosatto (I)
Trek Factory Racing
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Stijn Devolder (B)
Bob Jungels (Lux)
Laurent Didier (Lux)
Haimar Zubeldia (Sp)
Markel Irizar (Sp)
Gregory Rast (Swi)
Bauke Mollema (Nl)
Julian Arredondo (Col)
Gagne and Pendrel win final round and overall of 2015 US Cup in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado – June 29, 2015: Canadians Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) won the final round of the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Cannondale in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The wins gave both the overall 2015 US Cup titles as well.
A 40-strong field of the top women in North America toed the line for the 2015 US Cup finale, including six National Champions from six different countries: Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) took hole-shot and set the early pace on the first lap. Later on that same lap, Catherine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) moved past Woodruff and only teammate Katerina Nash could follow. These two would stay off the front for the majority of the race.
Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) and Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) led the chase group, which ballooned and shrunk over and over again with Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), and Rose Grant (Team Stans NoTubes) all coming back to them before being dropped.
In the end, things were all decided on the final quarter lap when the lead group split in half and the chasing group was shattered. Pendrel attacked Nash within the final mile to win solo by just 15 seconds. The rest of the field staggered in one at a time, evidence of just how hard the racing had been.
Further evidence of the difficulty was that as the temps rose from the high 70’s to the low 90’s, the womens’ lap times slowed from 15 to over 17 minutes throughout the day. The wind also picked up and made for a tough headwind on the long climb.
Series leader Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) started and rode in the main chase group for the first ten minutes, but pulled out and was a DNF on the first lap, apparently with difficulty breathing.
The Elite men started in the high heat and Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) took the lead shortly after the first corner and didn’t let off the gas all day. After one lap, only Russell Finsterwald (SRAM / Troy Lee Designs) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) were left on his wheel.
Gagne sat 3rd wheel and rarely took a pull, while Finsterwald moved to the front on a few descents but never was able to create any separation. By lap two a four-man chase group had formed consisting of Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra (both Scott 3 Rox Racing) and Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger (both Team Sho-Air / Cannondale). It was Kabush who did the lion’s share of the work in this group for most of the six-lap race, while the Sho-Air / Cannondale duo looked under pressure in the group and were eventually dropped.
With one lap to go, the lead three slowed as Wells sat up and the gap came down to just fifteen seconds. Kabush took off in pursuit of the leaders but Gagne attacked hard with just one kilometer to go and took Wells and Finsterwald with him, eventually taking the win by just a few seconds.
Wells and Finsterwald had a tight sprint for second place that the officials gave to Finsterwald. Wells was clearly upset after the race and filed an official complaint with the UCI. They did not change their ruling and the result stood.
USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group final series standings
The final round of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Cannondale series certainly shook things up. Wells’ controversial near-miss in the sprint left a three-way tie for third in the men’s standings behind the Canadian 1-2 of Gagne and Zandstra, and Batty’s misfortunes saw her chances at the overall win slip away to Pendrel.
Men’s winner Gagne finished off an impressive showing in the 2015 US Cup, taking two wins, two second-places and a fifth at Sea Otter. This consistency led to his incredible 81-point victory in the overall raking.
Pendrell showed similar consistency as Gagne, with two wins (Sea Otter and Colorado Springs), and podium places in the remaining rounds.
Colorado Springs cross country brief results
1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team 1:34:48
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 1:35:02
3 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox 1:36:35
4 Chloe Woodruff (United States) Team Stans NoTubes 1:37:18
5 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team 1:37:41
1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 1:36:28
2 Russell Finsterwald (United States) SRAM / TLD Race Team; 1:36:29
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 1:36:29
4 Geoff Kabush (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 1:36:30
5 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing 1:36:44
USA Cycling US Cup Series Final Standings
1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 175 points
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team; 144 points
3 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 140 points
4 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team; 138 points
5 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 130 points
1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 175 points
2 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 94 points
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 91 points
4 Stephen Ettinger (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale; 91 points
5 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 91 points
By: Christina Barton
Arriving to the race on the last day of Tulsa Tough was a lot less crazy than I had
anticipated. After hearing about this race for years, I almost felt like we showed up on the wrong
day. The shuttle dropped us off about a half mile from the race and we followed a very normal
crowd of people to the start/finish. Everything seemed pretty calm. It was like any other race I
had been to. I actually felt a little out of place with my crop top and beer in hand, that is until I
turned the corner onto Cry Baby Hill.
Watching the riders race through the massive crowd is probably how Moses felt when he
parted the Red Sea, except this was actually real. As we continued to walk up the hill, the party
got louder and crazier with every step. It was what I imagine the Tour De France being like, only
with more beer and grown men wearing diapers. We reached the center of the madness and I
almost could not handle it. The sun was beating down on us and my luke warm beer was not
keeping me as hydrated as I had hoped. So, what is a girl who is sweating on her upper lip
suppose to do when she thinks she might die from a heat stroke? Dance, of course. When the
riders were not present, the middle of the street was more hoppin’ than the gay club my friend
and I accidentally ended up at the night previous. Although, I did get more free beer at the gay
club. As the riders rounded the corner, referees wearing wigs and kilts would shove everyone to
the side. This was my least favorite part because, being short, I almost alway ended up in a
guy’s sweaty armpit.
Off into the distance up the hill I could see my haven. The KHS tent looked so cool and
inviting. I was almost worried it was a mirage. We headed in the direction of the tent shoving red
blow horns and baby dolls on sticks out of our way. I immediately collapsed in a folding chair.
Paul Abrahams, director of KHS/Maxxis/JLVelo, asked me why I was sweating so much and
handed me a cold beer (Thanks Paul.) We decided to head back down to the party. This was
when the torrential downpour started. We were soaked head to toe and I was so happy.
My friend and I traveled back and forth between the tent and the party throughout the
whole race. After a few beers, I really didn’t know what was going on in the actual race, but you
better believe I was the loudest cheerleader on the course.
When the race was over, I was happy to hear Fabrizio Von Nacher of
KHS/Maxxis/JLVelo got 3rd place for the stage and 2nd overall. I waited around with the team
afterward and acted as a security guard when drunk blue haired men wearing shower curtains
as togas would come over and fondle the riders. And how else would we end such an amazing
race day other than to eat barbeque and dance until 2am at SoundPony. Tulsa Tough you have
outdone yourself and I will definitely be there next year, but with more beer, less clothes.
Words by Willie Myers (Herbalife pb Marc Pro-Strava)
Last weekend, my buddy Garret Hankins (Team Mikes Bikes pb Equator Coffees) and I loaded up the car headed south to Lompoc for the 805 Crit Series. With 3 days of racing and some solid purse money, both of us were looking forward to a full weekend of 90-minute crits. We decided that going down a day early to relax on the beach seemed like the logical decision. We drove down on Thursday, only to discover that the beaches were temporarily closed. Disappointed, but a perfect reason to sit in our hotel room and watch cartoons for hours and hours.
Which is exactly what we did.
Day One: Hancock Twilight Criterium. With strong winds and a subtly curving course, the racing was aggressive from the gun. I found myself off the front for most of the race with a combination of Logan Loader (Amore & Vita), Brandon Gritters (Rock n Road) and rotating door of other riders; some would bridge, then others would get dropped. And repeat. With 5 laps to go, the break had swelled to 9 riders including Garret (who sprints REALLY fast); it was clear we would be staying away.
With two laps to go Gritters put in a haymaker of an attack which got us chasing hard. In our frantic chase effort we managed to lap the field and catch Gritters. 300 meters from the finish Loader launched his sprint as I was coming around when Garret blew by me and posted up for sweet, sweet glory. If you’re going to get beat it might as well be your bro who does it.
Day Two: The Avenue of Flags Criterium. Bigger field, more wind, higher temperatures, and bounce houses.
Plan for the day: make break, win bike race, eat cheesecake. I was hoping we would get a few easy laps before things got lively. These hopes were dashed as people repeatedly threw themselves off the front.
At some point, I decided it would be a good idea to bridge to a dangerous looking move and -Wham! Bam! that was the break. We built a large gap and kept the pressure on; eventually lapping the field. With me, was my Herbalife pb Marc Pro-Stava team mate, Josh Carling.
Coming through bell lap Josh charged to the front and took control through the tight final few corners leading into the finish. Going kamikaze speed into the final corner, Cory Williams (Incycle – Cannondale) dove the inside of Josh, with his teammate Hunter Grove glued to his wheel.
After some bumper boats with Hunter I got a clear line through the corner and sprinted real real hard to victory. With my 2nd place on the first day and my win I was now leading the omnium leading into the final day. I got my cheesecake on the way home.
Day Three: Valley of flowers Criterium. As I walk to registration I wonder to myself, “How is it possible that there is more wind every day. When does it end? How much prerace did I just take?”
With my energy levels all but topped off I lined up for the final day of racing. I’ve never worn a leaders jersey so that was a nice change of pace. I will now sum up the first 45 minutes of racing…ATTACK, CHASE, ATTACK, PRIME LAP, ATTACK, get really tired, realize I shouldn’t have been attacking, hang on for dear life.
At some point Logan Loader and Brandon Gritters got off the front and built a sizable lead over the field- they were gone. I had a healthy lead in the omnium points but I can never say no to a good field sprint. With a couple laps remaining Team Clif Bar had 7 guys on the front keeping the pace high in an effort to deter anyone from slipping away.
Last lap I kept sheltered and out of trouble, knowing thatI could make up a few wheels in the long final straight. I jumped with 300 meters to go and had clear skies to the finish winning the sprint for 3rd.
With three podium trips in three days I sealed up the omnium with Garret in 2nd, Brandon Gritters 3rd, Logan Loader 4th, and Pete Morris (Team Clif Bar) 5th. Huge thanks to Mike Hecker and all of the people that put on an amazing weekend of racing.
Cant wait for next year.
Willie Myers lives in Sacramento, CA.
Words by Jeff Linder (SquadraSF pb Terun)
This was my first race back after a month of minor fatigue and that kind of flat feeling of being stuck in a rut. Incidentally, I’d been house sitting for a friend who lives on the penninsula, so I spent the week leading into the race really building foundation fitness and endurance, forcing myself to climb up in the hills everyday (~5miles @7%). I don’t use power, so I train by feel, and shifting my focus from anaerobic to aerobic endurance seems to help if I start to feel flat after a long racing block.
Anyway, onto the report:
My SquadraSF pb Terun team lined up with 5 motivated guys – more than any other team. Three raced in the previous field, and on a hot day that can really zap your legs. As part of the biggest team represented, I knew the responsibility was going to fall on us to control the pace and inevitable breakaway groups. I was extra motivated early on while my teammates were still recovering from the previous race. And found myself in the early move with a couple strong dudes, notably Pat Stanko (Team Stand). I was only 3 points down in the season-long Omnium, so I was “that guy” sprinting for prime laps out of the break.
Our group of 5 was never really solidified, and things really fell apart after I took a prime lap about 20 minutes in. Stanko and a CoreTechs rider (undoubtedly riding in support of team leader and sprinter Randy Bramblett) stayed away, while the three of us drifted back to the pack, where I had 4 rested teammates eager to pounce on any counter.
We spent the next ~30 minutes controlling the gap and marking attempts to bridge. Strongman Jules Goguely (CCB racing) was a standout threat; following teammate Chris Evan’s pre-race words of wisdom, I paid close attention to him. I marked a particularly hard attack he put in, but by the time we neared the group of 2 up the road, things started to fall apart, and we ended up conceding to the charging field.
Remarkably, Stanko was the final rider to be reeled back in – props to that effort, that dude has diesel V8.
I sat in and rested in the final stages of the race, while my teammates did a good job to control the front. My teammate Matt Mikul, in his first race back from a gnarly crash at the Memorial Day Criterium in which he suffered a few broke ribs, said he was good for a lead-out. And he sure was.
This guy is always on form.
I sat on his wheel starting with about 3-to-go, and by about a half a lap to go, he started winding up his effort. I battled shoulder-to-shoulder with Jules in the final corner, and he came into the final straight with a little more speed, which he carried to the line. I took 2nd, and Bramblett third. Matt managed to hold on for 4th. Lots to look forward to in the coming weeks leading up to San Rafael.
Links to photos and video below. Thanks for reading.
Jeff Linder lives in San Jose, CA.
Zirbel Wins 2015 North Star Grand Prix as Von Nacher Takes Stillwater Stage
By Cynthia Lou.
Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies) won the North Star Grand Prix by finishing in the field to maintain his general classification lead. Fabrizio Von Nacher (KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo) won the Stillwater Criterium as fellow breakaway companions Ben Hill (Donkey Label Racing) and Kevin Girkins (Elbowz Racing Team) took second and third respectively.
The break formed early in the 23-lap race. Five riders were off the front by the second lap, but within one lap only Von Nacher, Hill, and Girkins were left. They hovered between 50 seconds and one-minute fifteen seconds ahead of the field for the majority of the race.
Optum controlled the front of the race, chasing down a few bridge attempts but otherwise holding steady keeping Zirbel protected.
“This course is all about positioning,” said Zirbel. “The team kept it as low stress as possible for me, neutralizing the attacks that were dangerous for me by slowly ramping it up. I think the teams here know that my team was really strong so that discouraged any attacks by GC threats. It was about as low stress as I could have hoped for. No mechanicals, no crashes. I was pretty happy with that.”
Though Zirbel and Von Nacher came away from Stillwater and the infamous Chilkoot Hill with its 18% average grade as winners, neither consider themselves to be climbers.
“I’m a sprinter!” said Von Nacher. “But I have been losing some weight this past month so, I have been working it.”
Leveraging a better power-to-weight ratio worked for Von Nacher, entering today’s stage in second place in the Sport Beans King of the Hill competition. However, he had quite a points gap to bridge to win the King of the Hill competition.
“One of the main reasons I went into the break was because Fabrizio (Von Nacher) was there,” said Girkins. “If he won all three (King of the Hill competitions) and I won none he would have passed me by one point. So him going into that break was my motivation. Just being (in the break) alone was my way to seal it up. The first KOH I had to fight for. After that they pretty much let me set pace.”
“They didn’t mind me going up the hill first and taking a little bit of a dig,” laughed Girkins.
The K’ul Chocolate Sprint Competition, won by Bryan Gomez (Champion Systems-Stan’s NoTubes), was also fairly well sealed up entering Stillwater with a 17-point gap over second placed Ryan Anderson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Still, Gomez had to finish the stage to win the jersey.
Gomez and a small group of riders crashed several laps into the race, getting back in with the help of Shimano neutral. Teammate Fabio Calabria worked with him to chase back to the field after the crash, but the crash took its toll on Gomez and he and Calabria were eventually pulled and given calculated times.
Up the road the break worked together smoothly until five laps to go when end-of-race strategies kicked in.
“Fabrizio not getting the jersey made him really want the stage win so he started to sit on a little bit,” said Girkin. “I just really wanted on that podium so I just drove it the last lap to try to keep that gap open as long as possible.”
Hill attacked the break to extend their lead over the field. The trio finished just a few seconds ahead of the field, which contained Zirbel, Nicolai Tanovitchii (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), and Kaler Marshall (Canyon Bicycles – Shimano). Tanovitchii won the Greg LeMond Best Young Rider jersey and Marshall the Luther VW Best Amateur jersey.
Chris Winn (GS Ciao) was awarded the Penn Cycle Most Aggressive Rider jersey for his bridge attempts.
Carmen Small (Elbowz Racing Team) officially finished the North Star Grand Prix as the only woman to ever race in the Pro Men’s field.
“It was a shock, that first lap,” said Small. “I knew today I probably had to dig the deepest out of all the days to make it. The steeper it gets the bigger the difference in power with the men and women.
Kids racing and community involvement is a goal of the North Star Grand Prix, as has bringing awareness to women’s racing. Small’s performance was a positive influence across the board.
“So many parents brought their young kids to take pictures with me,” Small said. “Being a role model for these young girls is incredible. That’s something that you don’t think much as an elite athlete. You don’t think that you’re a hero of these young kids but you are and you don’t notice it until you are up there doing this kind of stuff so that was really an incredible experience.”
The North Star Grand Prix concluded another successful year of racing, showcasing teams with heart, passion and focus while highlighting causes important to the community.