And They’re Off:

Chris Phipps on way to podium

The road race season has officially commenced in Northern California with the 2013 edition of the San Bruno Hill Climb. In traditional fashion, Chris Phipps of ThirstyBear Cycling kicked off his season and passed along the following recap.


Race Report – 2013 San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb

Many will say that January 1 is to early to be racing on the road, and they’re probably right. But the San Bruno Mtn. Hill Climb (aka San Bruno

World Championships) is great motivation for those who choose to pass on many of the holiday cookies and other indulgences, and kick start the new year with a little lung burn.


It was a beautiful clear day and cold as always, but 45 degrees and sunny.  As everyone was warming up to ready for the shock of a 15-minute all-out hill climb, I noticed Nate English wasn’t here so the Pro/1/2 race was wide open. I knew 15-year old Adrien Costa (Slipstream Craddock) would be the guy to watch after seeing him get faster and faster every month in 2012–thanks Strava! Also in the hunt would be Jonathan Teeter, (Marc Pro Strava), Will Riffelmacher (Olympic Club) and the ageless Kevin Metcalfe (Team Specialized).


The race started pretty relaxed & friendly for a 15-minute hill climb, which was a pleasant surprise since it’s often the first five minutes that feel the worst. But around 1.2 miles where it steepens, Costa had seen enough and started throwing in 600 watt surges that no one could match; at 120 pounds 600 watts goes a long way!


I was able to claw my way back with Teeter the first three times & we built a big gap over 4th but about a mile from the summit Costa put in one final move that left us unable to respond.  He went on to win in 14:45 (still awaiting official times) with Teeter 2nd around 15:06 and I finished in 15:11.  Riffelmacher and Metcalfe rounded out the top 5.


I’m looking forward to trying this in the 45+ in 2014 since even if Costa and Teeter ride on a tandem their combined age will only be 43.

Members of Thirstybear Cycling

In the women’s 1/2 race, Beth Newell crushed the field with an impressive time

of 17:30 over Jennifer Zierke (Pinnacle Training Systems) in 2nd and Camille

DeLuca-Flaherty (Velo Bella) in 3rd.


Scott Bromstead (Barclay’s) won the 35+ 1/2/3 race with Jacob Berkman, Marcel

Appelman, and Oliver Ryan all from Mike’s Bikes 2nd, 3rd & 4th.

–Chris Phipps




In 2012 Phipps was seemingly the man to beat, winning NCNCA District Road and Time Trail Championships; GC victories at the Merco Cycling Classic and Cascade; Pescadero, Nevada City and a number of time trials.  I asked him about what’s on the docket for 2013.

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You were perhaps the most dominant 35+ 1/2/3 racer perhaps on the west coast in 2012. How do you plan to top that this year?

I don’t know about that, but thank you very much for the compliment! Obviously the one big win I am still looking for is a national championship. In 2012 everyone was telling me I was the favorite for the road race and I put a lot of pressure on myself.  My team worked perfectly to set it up for me and at around 3K from the finish I had a small gap on Matt Carinio and a few other chasers.  I really thought I had it, but I wasn’t strong enough to hold it to the line.  Matt rode a perfect race and deserved the win.


This year I will be even more motivated and hope I can be a little stronger and dig a bit deeper at the end.  I also plan to continue working on the time trail and hopefully find another 30 seconds that I need to catch Feldman.  I’m really looking forward to seeing you back in the mix too!


What races are you targeting?

Besides nationals, our team will be targeting Merco, Gila and Little City Stage

Races and perhaps Cascade again.  Personally, the local race that’s been a thorn in my side is Mt. Hamilton. I’ve been second or had a teammate finish 2nd 4 or 5

times, but we’ve never got the win.  But that’s why I keep coming back!  And I can’t forget Copperopolis, who doesn’t love that race?


How is Thirstybear Cycling, shaping up this season?

We’re pretty much the same in the 35+ as last season & we’re a close, small group.  We have a pretty good 1-2 punch with Ken Gallardo (40+ winner at

Gila in 2012) and I.  We have a bigger 45+ team and added Gardie Jackson to that

group.  Gardie & some of the other strong 45+ guys will be dropping down to the

35+ when we need some more horsepower for races like Merco.