2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 5 Gila Monster

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The men face 100 miles and over 9,000 feet of climbing. It’s said to be the toughest stage in the US with the riders facing climbs taking them over 7,000 feet in elevation. The course features two cat 3, two cat 2, and one cat 1 climb. It’s a brutal final day of racing and after 5 days of tough racing, you either have it or you don’t. and with the The women face 68.9 miles and over 5000 feet of climbing. Their course will be the reverse of stage two climbing the steep and narrow cat 2 Sapillo climb and ending with the short but steep cat 3 climb to Pinos Altos. The stage finish is in the town of Pinos Altos ending in front of the historic Buckhorn saloon. It’s a classic southwestern scene, a throwback to days long ago. The contrast of modern cycling seems to fit, it’s the Gila, and theres no better finish.

The men’s race began with a long neutral, but once the flag dropped, as has been the case all week, the attacks began right away. With a GC being tight, the teams seemed quite eager to set their tactics up early on this stage. Three riders managed a small gap with the group quickly forming off the front of the peloton. The two groups reorganized to contain 15 riders. Tom Zirbel of Optum was on the front of this group driving it hard and the gap quickly grew to 30 seconds. With this large of a group working well together chances were that this was the move of the day.

The group contained Jeff Louder of United HealthCare, three riders from 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Racing – Jeff Hornbeck, Taylor Shelden, and Chad Beyer, three rider from Hincapie Sportswear – Joseph Schmalz, Tyler Magner, Joseph Lewis, Jamis -Hagens Berman rider Luis Amaran, two riders from Optum – Tom Zirbel, and will Routley, two riders from Jelly Belly – Luis DeVila, a Serghei Tvetcov, two riders from Team SmartStop – Cameron Cogburn, Michael Torckler, and one rider from Marc Pro Strava, Gonzalez Rolando.

Indeed, with all the teams represented, this was the move of the day. The riders descended down to the Mimbres valley at 50+mph and once in the valley there was a steady rotation but when Zirbel came to the front he strung the group out with long pulls, and with Routley sitting on, they were in a good position. The gap extended to and remained around 2-2:30 through the valley. United HelathCare seemed content with that time gap. As the break hit the Cat 2 climb up to Anderson Vista they had 2:30, by the top it was down to 55 seconds. The descent down to the turn around is fast and very technical which favored the break and their gap extended back out to 1:20.

As the break began the Cat one climb it was Louder, who was dropped fairly quickly, Hornbeck and Beyer of 5Hour, Schmalz of Hincapie, Amaran of Jamis, Tvetcov of Jelly Belly, Routley of Optum, and Torckler of SmartStop. From behind Brenes, Jarmillo, and Cooke from Jamis, Kirk Carlson of Jelly Belly, Rob Britton, Flavia DeLuna of SmartStop, and Carter Jones of Optum broke from the peloton and caught the break at the top of the climb.

Jamis was also playing out some good tactics today. They remained patient and waited for the climbs to begin to then get to work. Unfortunately for them, Jones had caught this train and was able to rely on a relatively rested Routley. Ben Day had succumbed to The Monster and was not going to be able to keep his jersey.

The lead group descended to start the Sapillo where Optum director, Jonas Carney, had this to say, “I think this is one of our best days. We rode really strong and our tactics played out perfectly. Zirbel was on the front for 100 k just killing it for this result. Routley was super strong and then Carter as able to finish it off … It was a great day for us.”

The race came down to a sprint with Jaramillo taking the win followed by Britton and Routley. GC went to Jones with Greg Brenes of Jamis, and Rob Briton of SmartStep rounding out the podium. It was an aggressive day of racing from Optum, and it paid off with the win. Next Optum is off to The Tour of California after perfect preparation from The Gila.

A with the men, the women began aggressively with attacks from the gun. The only chance the riders had to dismantle Abbott was to get up the road early and isolate her from the very strong and dedicated United team,

United had to work hard to control the race and it remained together until they dropped down to the Mimbres valley. Alison Tetrick of Twenty16 Pro Cycling made a attack which prompted Emmermanof Rally Sport, Fischer of DNA Cycling, Sanders of FCS/Zngine, Vargas of the Columbian National Team,Kiesanowski of TIBCO, Laws of United, and Johnson of SCCA/Starbucks to join and make e decisive attack of the day. The break worked well together and steadily built a gap of 1:25. Twenty16 controlled the pace of the peloton, working for their teammate, Tetrick who was in the break.

As the race hit the Sapillo, the break continued to ride hard but behind the fireworks were beginning. Abbott of United, Oliviera of FCS/Zngine, Mickey of Twenty16, and Wilborne of TIBCO joined the break and continued on with Laws. Abbot to attacked near the summit of the Cat 2 climb of the Sapillo and continued solo. Once free, Abbott rode strongly opening up a gap of 2:45 with Oliviera and Mickey working to chase but today they were not going to catch the inspired Abbott.

Abbott crossed the line to take her fourth consecutive win. She enjoyed her win as she crossed the line alone. Oliviera took second from best young rider Mickey. Abbott put on a fine riding display today and the race was animated by a field that didn’t want to sit back for the inevitable. The results may not reflect it, but women’s cycling is consistently growing in every aspect, and they put on a great show this week.

 

2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 1

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The 28th annual Tour of The Gila began today. The race started in downtown Silver City with the neutral roll out including a climb to get the legs ready for the day. The UCI men raced 92 miles on a challenging course, finishing on the Cat 1 Mogollon climb. It’s a narrow steep climb ending on a day of exposed roads and rolling/climbing terrain.

Once the flag dropped the attacks began right away. Yannick Eckmann of California Giant/Specialized was particularly active getting into several early attacks but the peloton was not willing to let anything go. The speeds were high, making it very difficult to get away. However, The UCI men ride two circuits through the town of Cliff and these roads can create opportunities for riders to get away. As the race turned onto the small secondary roads, they were greeted by the elementary school kids who come out every year, cheering with their cowbells. This seemed to charge the riders, as hard and frequent attacks began. Optum decided enough was enough and began to drive the pace. The peloton remained together, as it joined the main road again.

The second circuit through Cliff was again quite active and a group of 4 got away, containing Connor McCutcheon of Airgas Cycling, Steve Fischer of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Coulton Hartrich of Marc Pro-Strav, and Max Korus of Astellas Cycling Team. They took advantage of the hilly narrow roads and committed themselves to the break. The peloton seemed to hesitate and that was all the four needed, as their gap steadily increased to 4 minutes as they hit the main road again.

The break riders rotated through consistently and with a healthy tailwind, their gap grew to 10 minutes by mile 67. At this point 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Pro Cycling, and UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling assumed the front and set, what race radio called, ‘a hard tempo’. At 33 plus mph this was quite an understatement and the breaks gap consistently dropped from this point on. Unfortunately, the race took a turn for the worse, perhaps the effects of such a strong pace for many many miles and the resultant fatigue were the cause … The reasons aren’t clear but the crash that occurred was devastating.

The crash occurred roughly around mile 75 with the gap around 8 minutes. Approximately, 20 riders remained together with small groups chasing and ultimately building the ‘peloton’ back up to 40-plus riders. The race was in a state of chaos as medical personnel and team cars all focused on the downed riders.

As the break of 4 took the right hand turn for the Cat 1 Mogollon climb they had to know that their gap wasn’t enough, but they continued to ride fully committed to the break. As the peloton made the turn the gap was down to 2:35. Race radio was still in a state of chaos as the crash was justifiably spreading personnel across the course, but Jamis-Hagen Berman seemed to be the team that came though relatively unscathed with the most riders represented in the front group.

Max Korus of Astellas, was almost immediately dropped as the first part of the Mogollon began. The remaining 3 rode well to reach the plateau with a gap of 1:20. Jamis-Hagens Berman team got to the front as they reached the plateau and drove the pace to 28 mph. The break was caught for the final steep pitches of the Mogollon. Matt Cooke of Jamis-Hagen Berman took off and immediately got a gap. He had the numbers behind to help protect his attack so the move seemed like it could stick. The peloton went through a process of elimination as the pace remained high and riders were popped off the back. Cooke seemed to have the win but with 30 meters to go, teammate Daniel Jaramillo, overtook Cooke for the win. Gregory Obando Brenes of Jamis-Hagen Berman took third to make it a sweep for the team. The rest of riders crossed the line looking utterly cracked from the intense day.

Th finish area took on a distinctly different feel for what is typical. There weren’t hoots of congratulations but rather subdued racers who appeared to be thinking of their teammates and friends who were involved in the crash. Kirk Carlson of Jelly Belly had this to say, “I was right behind the crash but just barely made it through. It was one of the most devastating crashes I’ve ever seen”.

In a sport where a thin layer of Lycra protects you from the road, racers are said to be a tough breed, as seasoned photographer Casey Gibson stated, “Unless there’s a bone sticking out, racers are gonna get back on their bikes and ride.” With so few riders crossing the line along along with the quiet atmosphere of the finish area, it spoke to the significance of this crash.

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15th Annual Gran Prix of Gloucester

Gran Prix of Gloucester

Gran Prix of Gloucester

The 15th annual Gran Prix of Gloucester cyclocross event was held on September 28 and 29th in the historical fishing village of Gloucester, Massachusetts, which is known as “America’s Oldest Seaport.” This northeast region of the states is known for its cross racing. It’s  produced such well known racers such as Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers. The oceanside course has presented some wide ranging weather conditions for the weekend of racing, however, this year the racers were faced with warm, dry, dusty, and very fast conditions.

Day one saw the women start first. The racing was fast right from the start with Gabriella Durrin (Rapha-Focus)from Great Britain taking the early lead stringing the entire women’s race out.  Gaps quickly formed and those who did not make the front group would not have a chance to see the front of the race again.  A strong group of 4 pulled clear of the rest of the riders and steadily increased their gap. Durrin was very aggressive over the first few laps with fellow Great Britain and European champ, Helen Wyman of Kona Factory Racing, made some big efforts, putting Durrin and Crystal Anthony of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies on the defensive.  However, Elle Anderson of Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized looked controlled throughout the race and only Durrin could initially go with Anderson’s winning move. Anderson took the win, 9 seconds ahead of Durrin, with Crystal Anthony coming in 24 seconds later for third.  The aggressive Wyman, and last year’s winner, came in 4th at 42 seconds. Anderson’s smooth powerful ride was too much for the women,  but the following day was another chance.

dixona-8659The mens race also began lightning fast with Jamey Driscoll of Raleigh-Clement taking the lead from the gun and remaining there for the first 2 laps.  His teammate, Ben Bearden looked comfortable and remained in the top 5 until he took over in the middle part of the race. The group behind, fluctuated in numbers as the field struggled to maintain pace. Jeremy Powers of Rapha-Focus and Tim Johnson of Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, both had poor starts and had to work hard to make their way through the front group. Once Johnson was able to make it to the front with teammate Ryan Trebon, looking strong on the day,  they had the numbers to put Powers in further trouble as he struggled to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, Trebon suffered a front wheel puncture and this put to rest any plans the Cannondale riders had for the day. With Trebons horsepower gone, Powers was able to bridge. The group rode steadily for the next few laps, allowing Powers to find his rhythm and when he made what was the winning move only Johnson was able to go with him. At this point, Powers was relentless and finished 6 seconds ahead of Johnson.

Tim Johnson had this to say about his race, “I was down on horsepower compared to some of these guys. Ryan Trebon is such a strong rider and a course like today really suits him.  The race really started for us around 28 minutes into the race. Unfortunately Ryan had a flat and that put him out of contention. Otherwise, it would have been Ryan and I against Jeremy and we would’ve had a good chance at winning. But as it stood it was just Jeremy and I and its just kind of a tough way to finish the day”

The Raleigh-Clement duo rode an aggressive race with Driscoll edging out teammate Bearden for 3rd and 4th respectfully. Trebon was able to regroup and finished solo in 5th place, 50 seconds down.

The first days racing was incredibly fast leaving riders struggling to keep pace with each tiny mistake made. The following day’s forecast was for the same conditions, which meant each field had their hands full with the smooth fast riding of Anderson and Powers.

Day two saw a course that was not as technical as the race bible described. Apparently, talks with the town didn’t allow challenging run ups and the sandy beach section as in years past. The race organizers did their best to make the course more technical but the weather conditions did not play in their favor. The racing would again be fast on the dry circuit.

dixona-0481The women started with an aggressive Helen Wyman of Kona Factory Racing really forcing the pace from the outset. The front group fluctuated in numbers as the slightest mistake was magnified by the speed of the race. The added effort to chase chase back on expended precious energy which would be the difference on the day. Gabriella Durrin from Great Britain and racing for Rapha-Focus was aggressive and doing what she could to break the race apart but it seemed to be her own undoing as she faded as the race progressed. Meanwhile, her countryman Wyman, settled onto Elle Anderson’s, Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized, wheel and would not come around. Clearly Wyman had a different strategy for the day and she was not going to deviate from her plan. However, Anderson took the pace up and her smooth powerful riding was just too much for Wyman to handle. Anderson took her second win, Wyman came in 6 second later for second and she had this to say about today’s race, “I had a better day today. My plan was to sit second wheel the entire day but I really can’t always do that. But I tried to stay second wheel and with two to go I went to the front and Elle came with me so I thought again, sit second wheel. Then on the last lap she gapped me a bit, I took a silly line and I had to work so hard to get back up to her that when I did she just put one bit of effort in and that’s all it took. But fair play to Elle she’s very tactically astute so its good for America that there’s another good strong rider coming through.”

Meredith Miller of Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized had a much better day and finished 21 seconds down on her teammate to claim third. Durrin crossed the line to take fourth over a solid riding Crystal Anthony of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

The men’s race saw a more tactical affair. A front group formed almost immediately with  Jamey Driscoll and Ben Berden of Raleigh-Clement along with  Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson  of Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com. This  brought more team tactics to the isolated riders like Powers of Rapha-Focus and Jeremy Durrin of Optum Pro Cycling. Powers seemed more in control compared to day one and remained calm as it seemed everyone in the front group took turns in attacking and forcing the pace. Johnson also seemed very much in control and never was out of the top 5. The pace was unrelenting and it seemed that the front group could shatter at any moment. Trebon put in a few attacks with the final one taking Berden with him. Johnson was able to bridge to his teammate which forced Powers to react. With 3 laps to go Johnson attacked hard and opened up an 11 second gap. Again, Powers had to work hard to close the gap which Trebon was able to do as well leaving three riders together for the final lap. Powers put in a strong attack at the start of the final lap which stretched the duo of Johnson and Trebon. Johnson had to make a bike change on this final lap but Powers seemed to have that extra gear to take the win.  Trebon took 2nd with Johnson rounding out the podium. Berden rode aggressively consistently all weekend to take a well earned 4th place.

dixona-9297Powers had this to say about his race, “Today was a hard fought battle. Tim took his digs and then I waited for my turn. I tried to put it to him on the last two laps. He was riding really well and I only got a few seconds on him at the end. You could see that it was so fast and every single little bobble counted, one second here, one second there. That’s what made the difference today. It’s  making those guys make mistakes and capitalizing on it. Today was such a big group that you had to wait and think like a real biker racer on a day like today.”

Gloucester didn’t produce its usual mud and European style of racing as it has in the past but it didn’t disappoint either. The fast dry and dusty circuits made for some aggressive, tactical and incredibly fast racing. Both Anderson and Powers swept the weekend with smooth, consistent, and powerful riding and it was a pleasure to watch.

Vueltas de Mountainair

 

The Spokettes Racing Team

The Spokettes Racing Team

 

Vueltas de Mountainair was held on August 18, 2013. This is the last race for the New Mexico road season. The race is held on the wide open roads of the high plateau southeast of Albuquerque. The terrain is rolling but very exposed, making the wind the true obstacle to be tackled. The course is comprised of a short and long loop. The  Cat 1,2,3 women would race the long loop, making their race 57.5 miles, and the Cat 1,2,3 men would race both loops for a total distance of 94.2 miles.

The men were the first group to race, and with no neutral zone the race began with attacks as the starter flag dropped. After the initial activity, Silvio Menzes of Sports Systems Mountain Top Cycling took advantage of the field catching its breath and attacked. Sports Systems clearly had a plan, but Scalo Veloce were not going to miss out on any move and sent Thomas Jones up the road. Menzes and Jones worked well together and began building a good gap on the main field, but soon the counter attacks began. Caleb Fuchs of Think Finance p/b Trek Bike Stores made several attacks, but it wasn’t until Fortunado Ferrara of Sports Systems Mountain Top Cycling went with him did the move work. From the main group, Ryan Travelstead of Scalo Veloce, Steve Alschuhler of High Desert Bikes, and Gavin Kennard of High Desert Masters managed to bridge up to Fuchs and Fortunado. This group of 5 worked well and quickly closed the gap to the front 2, now making the group 7 riders strong. The main group behind continued with attacks from Scalo Veloce and Sports Systems but nothing was going to catch the front group and the front group steadily built a gap up to 5 minutes.

Lead Cat1,2 group

Lead Cat1,2 group

Ryan Travelstead of Scalo Veloce takes us through the final miles of the race, “The race was down to 5 of us as we made the right turn onto highway 60. As  we approached the short “climb”,  Fortunato accelerated up the climb with Caleb and I in tow.  Gavin and Steve had been distanced.  The race was now down to 3.  My legs were starting to cramp and I was glad to have only 8 miles remaining.  I won the “preme” sprint earlier in the race which resulted in the finishing run in duties left to me.  I wasn’t feeling very good but was hoping they were both feeling as bad as I was.  Fortunato attacked with around 600m to go.  I closed the gap and countered and quickly realized that my legs were toasted and that Caleb was the strongest of day as he caught and passed me.  Caleb got the win, I rolled in for 2nd, and Fortunato in 3rd.”

The women’s field was dominated by the race’s promoting team, New Mexico Spokettes. With strength in numbers, it was clearly the Spokettes race to lose. However,  it became clear that the rest of the women’s field were going to make the Spokettes earn it. Through attacks and accelerations Mindy Caruso of Scalo Veloce, Erin Reedy racing unattached, and Sarah Lough of The Spokettes separated themselves from the rest of the field.  The seasoned Caruso couldn’t rid herself of her two breakaway companions and it came down to Lough taking the win with Reedy in 2nd and Caruso crossing the line for third.

Women's breakaway

Women’s breakaway

The final road race of the season ended just as it began, with aggressive tactical racing. New Mexico racing is unique in that the fields are smaller than most states and it produces very aggressive and tactical racing. As one new racer from the east coast said after the race, “it’s totally different here. If you make one mistake you can be tailed off and riding alone for the rest of the day.”

 

Article by Travis Dixon/ Photos by Angelica Dixon

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

Magner,Hall Win Downtown Twilight Criterium

Twilight Crit Cascade

Twilight Crit Cascade

Stage 4, Bend Downtown Twilight Criterium took place Saturday July 20th. The men and women were able to enjoy a late start time to give their legs some needed recovery from the tough 4 days of racing they’ve experienced so far.  The rectangular course is a straight forward design. The only real ‘obstacle’ being turns 3 and 4 where the road narrows making positioning onto the long final straight important.  Essentially this translates into an extremely fast course.  The long finishing straight to the line puts an emphasis on teamwork and a solid lead out. Added to this was a headwind meaning that the winner would have to time their sprint perfectly.

The women were first to start. As has been e case throughout Cascade, the pace was high right from the gun. There were many attacks but apparently none had the right combination of teams represented or horsepower as the field remained together and strung out for the entire race.
As the riders began the final lap team NOW and Novartis for MS took charge at the front with three riders stringing out the remaining peloton.  The sprint was incredibly close and came down to a photo finish with Lauren Hall of team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits taking the win by the narrowest of margins. 2nd went to Shelley Olds of Team TIBCO with Allison Powersnof NOW and Novartis for MS rounding out the top three.  The GC remained unchanged with McGrath of Exergy Twenty 16 in yellow followed by Haeusler of Team TIBCO and Abbott of Exergy Twenty 16 in 3rd.
The men began at 7 PM but the temperatures remained high with many riders packing ice into their skinsuits in an attempt to keep their core temperature down before the fireworks began for the 75 minute race.  The men’s field had been reduced to 150 riders from the original 200 and the field would be much less than this by the finish.
The men’s race was full-on right from the gun. The 150 man field was single file for the first 20 minutes with many laps averaging over 32 mph. As the field began to show signs of strain under the unrelenting pace a group of 5 riders managed to get a gap.  This front group fluctuated in numbers from 5 to 3 to 8 and always hovering around 10 seconds. Team Jelly Belly and Team Cash Call kept the move in check. The break was finally reeled in at the 46 minute mark but the pace was beginning to take it’s toll on the rest of the field as riders were continually being dropped from the pack.  With roughly 10 minutes to go Team Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker took control of the front but it was team Optum with Tom Zirbel leading the way who took over with 3 laps to go. Zirbel put his TT legs to work and tapped out a lap and a half  at 32 mph when a crash on the backside of the course created a split. Optum controlled going into the final lap but it was the U23 national criterium champion,  Ty Magner of Hincapie Sportswear, who took the win. Jasper Stuyven of Bontrager Cycling Team 2nd with Ignazio Moser of BMC Development Team taking 3rd.  The GC remained with Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda leading, Haga of Optum p/b Kelly Benifit Strategies in 2nd, and Jakub Novak of BMC Development Team in 3rd.
Tomorrow concludes this edition of the Cascade Cycling Classic with the Aubry Butte Circuit Race. For the women, McGrath and her team seem to be in control but its a challenging course at the end of a week of aggressive racing. Haeusler and the rest of the field should make it interesting for team Exergy. On the men’s side, this race is still up for grabs.  There is only 9 seconds separating the top 3 and only a 1:15 separating the top 10.  Tomorrow should produce some incredible racing.
As a final note, the podium for tonight’s crit were all U23 men. Remember their names as I am sure we will be seeing more of them in the future.
Travis Dixon

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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Recap-Prologue at the Cascade Cycling Classic

Prologue at the Cascade Cycling Classic

Prologue at the Cascade Cycling Classic

The 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic stage race began tonight with the Prologue, which created a few surprises. The 109 rider women’s field began at 6 PM on the  counter clockwise 2.5 mile circuit. The course featured a fast downhill start with less than 200 feet of elevation gain to the finish.  Defending champ, Alison Powers, of NOW and Novartis for MS, was the last to start and delivered the fastest time of the day, being the only woman to go under 5 minutes. Her winning time of 4:53 was quite impressive and definitely let the rest of the women know that she is ready to defend her title. Shelley Olds, of Team TIBCO, put in a strong ride to place second. Laura Brown, of Team Colavita-Fine Cooking, rounded out the top three. The best young rider was another TIBCO  rider,  Jasmin Glaesser.Alison Powers
The men’s prologue began immediately after the conclusion of the woman’s race, and with 201 riders, there couldn’t be any delay. Robert Sweeting of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda began 58th and set a scorching time of 4:28. Sweeting had to wait over an hour before the final ten riders were on the course. With the likes of Zirbel, of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies,  defending champ Mancebo, of 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda,  and Philip Gimon of Bissel Pro Cycling,  it was a long wait. However, these top riders couldn’t come close to the time that Sweeting posted.  Timothy Rugg, of Kelly Benefit Strategies, started the prologue 8th and apparently didn’t fancy his chances for the podium because as he was running back down to the finish, putting his jersey back on saying, “I already went home!” Rugg took 2nd, while Sergei  Tvetcov , of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda,  put in a strong ride for 3rd place. Best young rider was Ty Magner, of Hincapie Sportswear. It was a strong performance for the 22 year old rider, as the men’s field is stacked with strong U23’s.Robert Sweeting
The Cascade Cycling Classic began with some impressive riding and a few surprises. Tomorrows stage promises to produce more great racing and more surprises.
- 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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Rough Riders 200

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Michael Martinez

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Michael Martinez

The Rough Riders 200 took place on June 29th and 30th, 2013, in Angel Fire New Mexico. On day 1, the riders experienced the  Southern Route, which included 104.2 miles of road and 5,860 feet of climbing, the highest evelvation rising up to 9,465 feet.  Day 2, the Northern Route, then added another 100 miles and 5,328 feet of climbing, the highest elevation topping out at 9,820 feet.  Both days covered some of northern New Mexico’s most beautiful landscapes, including Taos, Angel Fire, Red River, Eagles Nest, and more.

 

Race director, Michael Martinez, decscribed the epic ride as, “A premiere cycling multi-day event in New Mexico, where it was all about the rider and comparable to those offered by our neighbors to the North. In 2012 we rode & visited some of the bigger multi-day events in Colorado, Ride the Rockies, Bike Tour of Colorado & Double Triple Bypass, taking notes and ideas from each of these rides, incorporating them into RoughRiders200… We live in Angel Fire, NM and know the surrounding areas are incredibly beautiful, with all of the challenges seen in Colorado. We have sustained climbs, some intense grades, high altitude, super friendly volunteers and even hail storms this year. Riders could complete a very challenging century ride on either Saturday or Sunday.  Or, they could complete both and earn the moniker ‘Rough Rider’ “.

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Mieras Photography

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Mieras Photography

As stated on their website, RoughRiders200.com, the organization is committed to working with local non-profit groups, who volunteer to man the aid stations or work communications on the route.  In return, RoughRiders, donated a total of $10,000 dollars to participating organizaitons that support childrens ski programs, library resources, womens cancer recovery programs,  mountain bike trail maitnance, and communcation radio programs, all within the state.

Mirabal, rider # 26,  stated, “It was an awesome ride for it being the 1st year … the planning was excellent! … as comparable to rides in CO .. I think Triple Bypass sets the standards in CO riding, and this ride is on the same standard”. Carey, rider #96 added, “The weather was great, the course was amazing. The aid stations had better food than I often eat at home…Overall, I drove home with that feeling of elation from accomplishing something I wasn’t all too sure I was capable of. I will certainly be back! ” Jones, rider # 64, added, “Everyone associated with the ride was first class and helpful. The effort put into the ride organization and support was evident.”

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Mieras Photography

Rough Riders 200/ Photo by Mieras Photography

The event’s first year running, was a major success and Martinez conlcuded that, “Our next goal is to really get the word out there and increase participation. For 2014 we’re going to limit the field to 500 riders, while saving a spot for our 100+ first year riders. As a token of our appreciation we retired their numbers, only they can use those numbers!”

See you in 2014, Rough Riders.