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VuMedi Rider, Alex Gaidis, headed up to Bend, OR. for the Cascade Cycling Classic with a composite team made up of NorCal cycling giants, Herbalife p/b Marc Pro Strava and VuMedi Cycling. In the following, he writes about his experiences.
Words by: Alex Gaidis (VuMedi Cycling)
The 2015 Cascade Cycling Classic by the numbers: 5 stages, 588.38 km of racing, 13 hours 48 minutes and 36 seconds of saddle time, averaging 42.606 km/h, 161 starters, 123 finishers, 23 teams, and 7 professional teams. Add all those numbers up and what do you end up with? A challenging, tactical, and superb race.
The night before stage 1, a 201 km road race, the host family my two teammates and I were staying with was eager to make us dinner. I told them they may not know what they are getting themselves into, but they pushed for it. I obliged and informed them of the cyclist’s diet of carbs, carbs, and more carbs. It wasn’t until they cooked one package of pasta and my non-English-speaking teammate swooped in and put the entire pot of cooked pasta on his plate that they finally understood.
This year Cascade did not retain its NRC status, yet it held onto its prestige nonetheless, and so at the start of the first stage I nervously watched Jelly Belly, Hincapie, and Airgas p/b Safeway, all pull into the parking lot. But hey, they all have to wait in the same porta-potty line with everyone else. I was feeling very optimistic about our NorCal composite team’s chances. The majority of our roster consisted of Herbalife p/b Marc-Pro Strava riders with the exception being myself and two teammates from the VuMedi Developmental Cycling Team.
With no prologue this year, and the entire 201 km first stage to figure out who would wear the yellow jersey, things started off a bit hectic. For the first two-and-a-half hours the break tried to form. Our speeds rarely dipped below 30 mph – including climbs. Oncoming traffic was forced to pull off to the shoulder to provide “full road closure,” but, when you have a 16-wheeler pulled into a two-foot shoulder, well, things can get hairy. The first day came down to the summit finish. Airgas p/b Safeway and KHS Maxxis p/b JL Velo drove the pace to the bottom of the climb to catch the breakaway so the GC contenders could battle. When the dust had settled, Francisco Mancebo was in yellow. Justin Rossi, of our team, Herbalife p/b Marc-Pro Strava, hung on with the lead group and finished 35th. With his specialty, the individual time trial, following the next day, it was looking like our bad-news-bears composite squad might be defending the yellow jersey.
For me, the time trial was a “rest day.” I had broken a spoke the previous day at the base of Mt. McKenzie and lost significant time on GC, so saving energy was the name of the game. The time trial course was beautiful. Unfortunately, I hardly looked up from aero-position. Rossi finished second to Max Korus of Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees. He was 5 seconds off the yellow jersey which now resided in the hands of Nicolae Tanovitchi of Jelly Belly.
The third stage defined my Cascade Classic. Our team began the stage with the intention of defending Rossi’s second place, and so I spent the morning going back to the team car and filling up my jersey with bottles to distribute around. The first few breakaways were reeled back in by Jelly Belly until finally a sizeable one stuck that included some GC contenders. The situation was not ideal for Rossi and so three of us went to the front with a Hagan’s Berman U23 rider to chip away at the break’s time-gap. Somebody throttled their engine a bit too hard and when I looked back the four of us had five seconds on the peloton. Riders from Lupus Racing Team and Astella’s Professional Cycling Team bridged the small gap which then ballooned to over a minute. Eventually we made it to the breakaway. It was almost 30 riders including threats to Rossi’s GC. It was our ticket for a “free” ride in the break. Our gap went from a minute-thirty up to 7 minutes in the span of the next 50 miles due riders in the break attacking one another.
By the base of the final climb up Mt. Bachelor our gap to the peloton had been reduced to around 5 minutes. Unable to match the accelerations and hard pace set by Gavin Mannion of Jelly Belly and Robin Carpenter of Hincapie, I settled into my own rhythm. I soon passed rider after rider completely whacked from trying to go toe-to-toe with the big guns in the group. With 2 km to go, I was able to dig deeply and hold off the peloton that was storming up the mountain uncomfortably close behind me. I nabbed 19th on the day with Christopher Harland-Dunaway taking 13th. Rossi was bumped down to 10th on GC. Tactically not our finest moment, but it was good to see Chris H-D get a solid result.
The criterium the following night was fast, strung-out, and heavily controlled by the pro teams. I was in it to win it, and by that I mean I was in it to save as much energy as possible for the next day. Unfortunately, a crash between Nate English of Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees and Art Rand of our team reshuffled the GC and moved Rossi into 9th. There were hundreds of fans lining the streets of downtown Bend. The vibe was electric! When the race concluded, kids grappled for high-fives from the riders and asked for water-bottles to be thrown to them.
The fifth and final stage was the shortest road race – only 131 intense kilometers. With five laps of racing, including two short, steep climbs per lap, things got interesting fast. Every lap riders who expended too much energy on previous days fell off the back. Hincapie had Dion Smith in the yellow jersey and controlled the race the entire day. No breakaway was given more than a 10 seconds leash. Rossi tried to gain some time on GC and attacked on the last lap, but it proved futile. The race blew open on the last lap as Hincapie ratcheted up the pace. H&R Block Professional Cycling Team were the victors on the day with Dion Smith of Hincapie retaining his lead in the GC. Rossi held on for 9th in GC.
It was truly a scenic, challenging, and fun race. It was first time out in Bend doing the race, and here are some tips that I picked up along the way.
Alex Gaidis lives in Santa Clara, CA.
SALT LAKE CITY (July 30, 2015) – The preliminary rosters for the 16 men’s teams competing at the 2015 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Aug. 3-9, include 125 professional cyclists representing 24 countries. Fifteen of the athletes taking part in this year’s 712-mile, seven-day race have experience at Grand Tour races (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España). On the women’s side, 17 teams competing at the two-day Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic, Aug. 2-3, are expected to bring a total of 94 riders representing eight countries.
“This is one of the strongest fields in the 11-year history of the Tour of Utah,” said Executive Director Jenn Andrs. “We will have very worthy men’s and women’s champions emerge from such talented and competitive teams. From the sprint finishes to the mountain climbs, the race route will be challenging for the riders and provide dramatic viewing for spectators. We look forward to a tremendous week of racing as we showcase the state through sport.”
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Riders to Watch
Defending two-time Tour of Utah champion Tom Danielson (USA) of Team Can nondale-Garmin will pursue a record third consecutive overall victory. Danielson will be supported by three Americans with Grand Tour experience — Alex Howes, Ben King, and Ted King — as well as Joe Dombrowski, who was named the Best Young Rider and finished fourth overall at the 2012 Tour of Utah.
“The Tour of Utah is one of the toughest races in the world. I am super proud to be two-time defending champion of this race,” said Danielson, who captured the King of the Mountain jersey at this year’s Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain. “The state of Utah and the race are one of a kind and I look forward to coming back with my teammates to defend my title.”
The American climber will be challenged by a number of stellar riders, including two-time Tour of Utah runner-up Chris Horner (USA), riding this year for Airgas Safeway Cycling Team. Horner, the 2013 Vuelta a España champion, finished a solid fifth in May at the USA Cycling Professional Road Race championship.
“I love Utah. It has everything that I love about the sport — hard racing, hot weather, steep climbs, fantastic fans and beautiful courses. I can’t wait to be back there with Team Airgas Safeway to race for the win,” Horner added.
Four teams in this year’s men’s field competed at the Tour de France — BMC Racing Team, Team Can nondale-Garmin, MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, and Trek Factory Racing. The BMC Racing Team will feature American Joey Rosskopf, who was the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain winner in Utah last year; Campbell Blakemore, the 22-year-old Australian who is the reigning world Under 23 time trial champion; and veteran Michael Schär of Switzerland, who has competed at all three Grand Tours and won Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour of Utah.
Trek Factory Racing brings the 2015 USA Cycling Professional Road Race national champion Matthew Busche and the five-time national road race champion of Luxembourg Fränk Schleck. After a one-year hiatus from racing in 2013, Schleck returned in 2014 by winning his fifth national title.
MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, a Pro Continental team, made its Tour de France debut this year, winning one stage and finishing fifth overall in the team classification. It became the first African-registered trade team to ride the Tour, and makes its debut at the Tour of Utah. The team will feature riders from six countries, including accomplished sprint specialist Matthew Goss of Australia. A former world champion in track cycling, Goss was a silver medalist at the 2011 world road race championships and won two stages of the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
Other Pro Continental teams racing in Utah are Bardiani-CSF, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Drapac Professional Cycling and Team Colombia. The UnitedHealthcare Pro team will bring its newest member, Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia. He is a former Grand Tour rider who finished in the Top 10 of the Tour de France in 2012. His teammates in Utah will include American Kiel Reijnen, who won the mountains classification at the 2015 Tour of Langkawi, and Tanner Putt, a Park City native who won the Under 23 National Road Race championship last year.
Featured on the Drapac Pro Cycling squad is Dutch sprinter Wouter Wippert, who has won multiple stages this year at the Tour de Taiwan and Tour de Korea. He is joined by lead-out specialist Graeme Brown of Australia, a 15-year veteran with Grand Tour experience. On Team Colombia, 19-year-old Daniel Martinez is one Colombian rider to watch, who captured the King of the Mountain jersey on the first stage of the Route du Sud in France. His teammate, Miguel Ángel Rubiano, is the reigning Colombian Road Race national champion and finished sixth overall at Route du Sud. Bardiani-CSF had a stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Its Utah roster includes Italian Sonny Colbrelli, who had five wins in 2014 including a stage at the Tour of Slovenia.
Team rosters from Continental teams include strong talent who have excelled at the Tour of Utah in past years. Michael Torckler (New Zealand), who captured the 2013 Utah Office of Tourism KOM classification, will be racing this year for Australia’s Team Budget Forklifts. The 2012 KOM winner from Utah Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) will return, racing for Jamis Hagens-Berman presented by Sutter Home. Americans Eric Young and Jesse Anthony of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies have won stages at the Tour of Utah, Young in 2014 and Anthony in 2011. Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis returns this year with Australian Lachlan Morton, who won Stage 3 of the 2012 Tour of Utah and won the Best Young Rider jersey that year. Team SmartStop returns with last year’s Tour of Utah points classification winner Jure Kocjan of Slovenia. He will be joined by Mexican time trial national champion Flavio De Luna, and U.S. Pro Criterium national champion Eric Marcotte.
All riders ranked in the Top Three of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) will be in Utah this year – – NRC points leader Michael Woods (Canada) of Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, second-place rider Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) of Jamis-Hagens Berman presented Sutter Home, and John Murphy (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling in third position. Hincapie Racing Team leads the team point standings for the NRC.
There are six riders in the field who have ties to Utah. Brothers Tanner Putt of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Chris Putt of Axeon Cycling Team, grew up in Park City. Rob Squire of Hincapie Racing Team and Erik Slack of Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis both live in Salt Lake City. Daniel Eaton of Axeon Cycling Team and Australian Tommy Nankervis, used to live in Salt Lake City when they competed for other teams.
Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic Riders to Watch
Returning to defend her title at the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition is 22-year-old American Coryn Rivera of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team. Rivera has 68 national titles so far in her career covering three disciplines (road, track, cyclocross). She is currently ranked fifth in the individual standing of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC).
The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic is an omnium-style competition that will take place over two days — Aug. 3 in Logan and Aug. 4 in Ogden. It is sanctioned by USA Cycling as part of the NCC. All of the women’s professional teams currently ranked in the Top 11 of the NCC are confirmed to race in the 17-team field.
In addition, the Top 10 riders on the NCC individual rankings will compete. Rivera will be joined by NCC points leader Erica Allar, racing for LA Sweat; Samantha Schneider of ISCorp presented by Smart Choice MRI (second overall); Tina Pic of Pepper Palace Pro Cycling presented by The Happy Tooth (third); Skylar Schneider of ISCorp presented by Smart Choice MRI (fourth); and Kendall Ryan of Team TIBCO-SVB (sixth), who will wear the stars-and-stripes jersey as the U.S. national criterium champion.
Sprint specialist Allar has won the individual NCC title for four consecutive seasons. This year she has 11 podium finishes, including a third place at one stage of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Edition and the Omnium title at the 2015 Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. Pic, a Bountiful, Utah resident, is a six-time U.S. national criterium champion and four-time NRC champion.
The ISCorp, a Domestic Elite team from Wisconsin, leads the NCC team standings by 472 points over UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. This top team is led by the Schneider sisters. Twenty-four-year-old Samantha holds 11 U.S. national titles (U23 & Junior) and has two NCC event wins this year (Saint Francis Tulsa Tough and Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix). Skyler, 17, won the 2014 USA Cycling Junior Criterium national championships and has three podium finishes this season.
For the first time, all the men’s teams will be joined by the women’s teams at a special event for cycling fans on Saturday, Aug. 1. The Team Presentation, hosted at the Logan Golf and Country Club, will take place at 7 p.m. The event provides free general admission seating for all spectators, and cameras are welcome.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. Read details about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah by visiting www.touofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (@tourofutah #TOU15, #TOUWE15), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (Tour of Utah).
Words by: Ivy Audrain (LA Sweat)
Imagine yourself at your typical family Italian restaurant. There is a waiter walking around with a parmesan grater, and they instruct you to ‘say when’ once you’ve had enough extra cheese on your dinner. There always seems to be some kid there that just….never seems to say ‘when’, and the mound of cheese just grows higher and higher over his macaroni, and you’re like, “SOMEBODY tell that kid to say ‘when!'”
Well, I was that kid in the week before the San Rafael Sunset Criterium, and someone really, really should have told me that at some point that I should just cut my losses, know when to say ‘when’, and maybe not start the race. Not me, though. There is never enough cheese.
This week adversity began with a crash on the track at Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond, Washington. The crash made a pelvic dysfunction that has been troubling me flare up again, so I was in all sorts of lower-back pain for the week following. Not ideal for bike racing.
Back injury? NO PROBLEM for the next few days where you move all of your belongings into a storage unit. The bike racer life is so luxurious, guys. Bummer levels: still relatively low. Until… My time in San Francisco was plagued with troubles. My car was broken-into; nothing stolen, but presented me with a ton of logistical challenges and a super late night before the race. If this wasn’t bad enough, this was quickly followed by the news that my beloved Cinelli Strato Faster (named ‘Gucci Mane’) had been totally lost in transit. There was some hope that he would show up Friday before the race, but no dice. (#GucciManecomehome). Stress levels: Off the charts bananas. I had everything in this bike bag. Literally, everything. I found myself the day before the race, with only a pair of running shorts, a t-shirt, flip flops, and a down vest. Hence: my new signature look is born.
The day before the race is complete and utter chaos. My team is already all in San Francisco, so no chance of getting a team spare bike, without any quality sleep in days (what a GC rider thing to say!), having not been on a bike all week. I really wanted to cut my losses and not start. However, our ‘brother squad’, Team Clif Bar, was not going to allow such behavior.
My friends at Team Clif Bar got me set up on my pal, Michael Jasinski’s bike, only a few hours before the race, in his shoes that were at least 4 sizes too big, but still sponsor correct Giros I might add. The one caveat being that I would need to hustle to the SRAM neutral support pit immediately after finishing to turn them over to Michael (who was racing directly after me).
This is some seriously janky stuff, and I lined up feeling like the world was trying to send me some sort of message that I should not be racing.
After getting a call-up for being ranked 8th in the USA Crit series, I still was not mentally in it. The whistle went off and immediately the attacks ensued, beginning with Mary Maroon (Academy), who seemed super keen for a break to work. I found our guest rider, Libby Painter, who was towards the front, and decided to just mindlessly follow her around until I could get my head on straight.
Well, around five laps into the race, I woke up; naturally I should attack up this riser with 60 minutes of racing left, right? Obviously. The only person to come with me was Hanna Meugge (Team Mike’s Bikes pb Equator Coffees), thus: the break was born. Mary bridged to us only a few laps later, and we stayed away for the remainder of the 70 minute crit, and let me tell you, every minute was miserable.
WHAT was I thinking?!?. “*ERRORdeletedelete, I was kidding guys.”
We continued to race; winning was literally the last thing I had thought about, until my friend Daniel Holloway, who has ‘taken me under his wing’ so to speak, checked in with me with eight laps to go. My response was so indecisive, a derpy “eeeh I uuuuhh well… eh?”, so I spent the whole next lap critically thinking about how I actually felt, and what my chances were.
Hanna has this insane diesel engine that I couldn’t hold a flame to, and going toe-to-toe with Mary has shown to be unsuccessful for many. The next time up the riser, I gave Daniel the nod, meaning I would try. He told me to be second through the last corner, which I would not have known or done on my own, and he was totally right.
There was a headwind and the finish line wasn’t terrible close to the last corner. Fiddlesticks… now I knew how to win, and my team had worked so incredibly hard to control the field behind us, and I couldn’t let their efforts go to waste by not even putting myself in a position to try.
Boy oh boy did I try… that sprint came.
Thanks to this amazing community for making sure I had everything I needed to race, Ashley of USA Crits for being the biggest boss there is, and Mike’s Bikes for putting on such an incredible event. You better believe I’ll be back, sans jank.
Ivy Audrain lives in Seattle, WA.
Creating, Establishing and Committing to a Break Away
Adam Mills. Source Endurance, Senior Consultant
Welcome to the mid-season for road racing, 2015. All around the country, Source Endurance athletes have been taking chances and getting up the road only to have the breakaway attempt fail for a multitude of reasons. I thought I’d take a couple minutes and send out this easy user’s guide to establishing a breakaway.
Everyone hears it, “MOVE UP!” It’s the one piece of advice that spectators, parents, coaches and teammates give that is (mostly) always useful. Move up. However, very little is ever mentioned about exactly what should be done once you are actually moved up. Most riders do one of two things: they attack immediately or they succumb to the swarm and get buried again only to hear those two syllables and begin the process anew.
In order to be in the break in any race, it is imperative that you develop the fitness and skill necessary to stay in the front and be rested for one of the race defining moments. In looking at our elite athletes’ data from high level races, we find that a couple of conditions need to be met before your breakaway can work.
First, you should be in the front but not on the front. Data from breakaways in the high level races, especially an NCC criterium, show us that you must be positioned and rested when it’s time to make your move.
Be patient. You only have so many major efforts on any given day so be sure you save your effort for the “right time.” I could write an entire book on when the “time is right” and, someday, I may do just that.
Be prepared. The opening effort of a breakaway is a truly difficult thing. Once you commit to the move, get ready for one of the hardest five minute efforts of your life. You must establish the move with a sizeable gap so that it is not bridgeable by any one person from the peloton. This must be done quickly, before the peloton reshuffles and gathers their composure.
So what kind of “hardest five minute effort” are we talking about? When Joe Schmalz escaped the peloton on Friday at Tulsa Tough in 2010, he clocked 5 minutes at 401W normalized. Eric Marcotte posted 453W normalized for the first 5 minutes of his Saturday breakaway at Tulsa Tough in 2013 and David Santos ripped 425W for the first 5 minutes establishing his move at the 2015 Dana Point GP.
Equally important is that the next person contributes. Many a promising move has been smothered because the next person either will not or cannot commit to riding in the move. No success in bike racing is easy and this sort of effort only reinforces that notion. Just remember, five minutes. It will only be absolutely ridiculous for five minutes before it settles down. But, in that five minutes, everyone must be all in.
“Settle in.” I put this in quotes because “settle” implies relaxing but now that you’ve escaped, only one thing matters – speed. At worst you need to maintain your speed equal to the peloton. At best, you’re putting 1-2 seconds on the peloton per lap. When you get to this point, listen to the announcer. Any announcer worth his salt will be calling the time gaps consistently for both the peloton and escapees.
Looking back to the 2015 Manhattan Beach GP, during the “next 20 minutes”, David Santos and Co. set a blistering pace of 27.9mph while David was producing around 350W normalized. Meanwhile the peloton consistently forfeited valuable time, only mustering 27.2 mph and 270W norm if you were fortunate enough to not be contributing to the chase.
Once you and your fellow escapees can get to this point, it is crucial to keep cooperating. Being in a breakaway and making it to the finish line in that breakaway are completely different accomplishments. While the break is capable of riding faster than the peloton under the right circumstances, it is also capable of quickly squandering that lead. Remember that the peloton will continue at a more or less consistent speed and that must be considered in all of your tactical decisions.
Now that you know a little about establishing a breakaway, go out and try it this weekend. But remember – if it was easy, then everyone would be in the break… and that would make it the peloton
The Hincapie Racing Team Announces 2015 Tour of Utah RosterTeam Looks Ahead After Overall Win at Cascade Cycling Classic
Greenville, S.C. (July 27, 2015)— Fresh off finishing 1-2 in the overall, winning two stages, and Best Young Rider and Team classifications at Cascade Cycling Classic, the Hincapie Racing Team has announced its lineup for the 2015 Tour of Utah with some of the most promising young riders in the field.
A 2014 showing in the Beehive state saw team riders trade the KOM jersey for most of the race, setting high expectations for this year’s edition. The 2015 team includes Ty Magner, Oscar Clark, Jon Hornbeck, Dion Smith, Robin Carpenter, Joe Schmalz, Mac Brennan, and Salt Lake City resident Rob Squire, who is healthy and back to racing. Chief Sports Director Thomas Craven will lead the team.
“Last year’s Tour of Utah started us on a tear when Joey Rosskopf went toe-to toe with Cadel Evans on the Snowbird stage and ultimately took home the overall KOM,” said Chief Sports Director Thomas Craven. “It was the catalyst we needed; Robin Carpenter then won a stage of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, we won the 2015 Team Time Trial National Championship, and Toms took stage 3 of the Tour of California. Our guys haven’t slowed down since leaving Utah last year, and we’re more motivated than ever.”