2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 3 Dan Potts Memorial Tyrone TT

gilast03-dixon-28

The UCI men started at 9:15 to tackle the challenging individual time trial. It’s an out and back course that begins with a Cat 4 climb and on the return leg features a Cat 3 climb. It’s not your typical ITT course but fortunately the riders didn’t have to contend with the wind that has been the norm over the last few years.

Times were fast and tightly packed together from the first riders, but everyone was waiting for the time of national TT champ, Tom Zirbel of Optum, and he delivered. Best times up to that point were in the mid 36 min range but Zirbel came in with 34:21, blowing the race apart. That seemed to be the benchmark that wouldn’t be matched but Serghei Tvetchov of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, came in with a time of 34:02 and no one challenged his time. Joseph Rosskopf of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, finished 3rd with a time if 35:12.

The men’s GC underwent a shuffling as Carter Jones of Optum took the leaders jersey after a solid TT performance. “Yeah, the team is very happy and ready to defend the jersey. Tomorrow we need to stay out of trouble and get ready for Sunday. I feel good but there’s no hiding on the Gila Monster.” With the GC being so tight, Sundays stage should be very interesting.

The women started next and conditions remained calm for their TT. The women’s field had been controlled by United HealthCare over the the last two days but today the rest of the field would be free to try to shake things up. Laura Brown of Colavita came in with a blazing time of 39:25. Lauren Stephens of TIBCO, who had won the Redlands TT earlier in the season, came in with a fast time of 39:29. It was another strong performance from Stephens, who was very happy after the race, “Last August I was able to go full time racing. It’s made a big difference. I said after Redlands that it was the best ride I’d ever had, but today was even better.” Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Mara Abbott’s 3rd place ride, with a time of 39:30.

Tomorrow is the downtown crit ,which is always an exciting event, but truly the men and women will be working on recovery, to get ready for Sundays stage. The women will have a difficult time overtaking Abbott, due to her climbing prowess, but these are racers and they won’t go down without a fight. The men’s race is still wide open and it may come down to who has the freshest legs on the day.

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

Recap-Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 Cascade Cycling Classic

Stage 3 of the Cascade Cycling Classic was run on the Cascade Lakes course. This is a long standing course for this event. The course doesn’t have the amount of climbing that Stage 1 but many in the field feel that this is the toughest stage. The course is unrelenting, constantly up and down and then finishes on the 5 km climb of Sparks Lake. This climb isn’t particularly steep but considering its placement on this stage, it certainly makes the legs and lungs hurt.

 

The men were to ride 90 miles. The BMC Development team had the responsibility of defending the yellow jersey for Novak and with this stacked pro field they definitely had their work cut out for them today. The race began with a 3 mile neutral and as soon as the flag dropped the attacks began. Groups of 10-20 riders would escape only to be brought back and then another group would break … BMC were placing men in each group but it was becoming clear that yellow jersey wearer Novak was not having a good day and many times BMC would call back their riders to help pace the yellow back and bring the group together. The other teams had no mercy and kept firing away at BMC until mile 61 when a nine man group was able to break clear. As the final climb began, the escapees were swept up and 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda got to the front and set a hard pace in hope of launching Mancebo but the rest of the field was strong enough to resist the pace. Seghei Tvetcov of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda took the stage. This was his second stage win in as many days. Travis McCabe of Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker took second followed by Chad Haga of Team Optom p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Mancebo of 5 Hour Energy finished 5th with the same time as Tvetcov. Former yellow jersey Phillip Gaimon of Bissell Pro Cycling was 8th 2 seconds down. Novak finished 23rd for the day 17 seconds down followed by his teammate, Eisenthart.

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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

 

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.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Time Trial

TTArticle by Angelica Dixon, Photography by Marlene Squillaci

The  second annual ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun Time Trail’, took place on Sunday, June 30th, in Bernillio county, NM.  Hosted  by New Mexico’s Women Riding Well (WRW) cycling organization, the course was a 10 mile, out and back, which included rolling terrain near the base of the Sandia Mountains.  Maripat Glover, the race director from WRW, reports, ” The TT was an enormous success, with over 100 female racers attending this inclusive, supportive and insanely fun event.  If you think that TT isn’t for beginners, you best talk to any of the 46 first time TT participants that have discovered the pains, joys and empowerment that comes with putting out 100%. ” [Read more…]

New Mexico State Road Race

Article by Travis Dixon (High Desert Masters Cycling), Photography by Angelica Dixon

2013 New Mexico State Road Race

2013 New Mexico State Road Race

On June 22, 6 laps and 68 miles of the Sedillo Hill Circuit would decide the 2013 New Mexico State Road Race Champion. This course has been used as the site for the New Mexico State Road Race, for many years now. It’s a challenging course but unlike most NM courses, there’s not a lot of climbing.  It’s primarily rolling terrain with one short punchy climb, a main road climb and, oh yeah, wind. It’s the wind that can really take its toll and makes this more sedate appearing  circuit, very tough. Field sizes slimmed down slightly this year but the quality of riders was there. The common theme across the categories was that there’s no place to hide. The wind and terrain would make each race a painful day for the riders.

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Firefighters Go to Sweden

Firefighters Go to Sweden

Firefighters Go to Sweden

by Barry Miller (Firefighters Cycling Team)

The second week of May, I joined my Firefighters Cycling Team in Sweden for the team’s first excursion to Europe. While I have spent a fair amount of time racing across the pond on the track, this would be my first time racing there on the road.

Rather than ease into it, our first race up was the UCI 1.2 Scandinavian Race, a 195km road race in and around the university town of Uppsala and the longest-running race in Europe, celebrating its 105th edition. The circuit was extremely technical, featuring something like 21 turns over 12km on roads that varied from open highway to sidewalks along, with roundabouts and quite a bit of road furniture.

The first hour of racing was full gas, with roughly a third of the peloton dropped in the first couple of laps and a good number of crashes due to all of the road hazards. I was not feeling great after coming down sick the day after we arrived, so once the break finally went I settled in and focused on conserving energy for what would be a long day in the saddle.

The break’s gap was allowed to grow to a maximum of around 4:30 before a chase began to get organized. Several strong teams had missed the move, including the super strong Dolcini-Flanders continental team from Belgium. Around 100km in they moved to the front and dropped the hammer through some heavy crosswind sections, guttering the field and shelling quite a few riders. The gap began to come down but the chase was disorganized – sometimes we would be strung out at full speed, other times bunched up rolling along.

For my part, I was on my own after about 125km with no more teammates left in the race. My legs came around and I focused on staying patient and continuing to conserve as much energy as possible. With 55km to go the real racing began and the pace heated up. The gap to the break started to drop, and, surprisingly, my legs began to feel better and better.

In the last 30km, with the gap inside 2 minutes, the wheels began to come off the chase and attacks began to fly. With 20km to go I bridged across to a group of 4 and soon we were joined by 4 others. It looked good, but some seemed reluctant to work and we were reabsorbed with about 10km to go. I could sense a lot of hesitation and negative racing in the field and after recovering I tried another attack but was brought back after a kilometer or two. As we neared the final 5km the break was within sight and I tried once more but it was too early and I was pulled back with 3km to go as teams organized their sprint leadouts. In the sprint I rolled the dice and gambled that everyone would go left 500 meters out once the road opened up, freeing up the right side where I would be protected from the wind that was coming from the left. Unfortunately, I lost that gamble and I wound up next to the curb unable to really open up my sprint.

Ultimately we missed catching most of the break by just a handful of seconds, with the winner soloing in about a minute ahead of us. I finished 21st, one place out of the money!

The next day was the Skandis GP, which I was told was one of the hardest criteriums in all of northern Europe where 200 start and usually only 20 finish. The 2km circuit descended gently from the start/finish before taking a right turn into town where the descent steepened, the road narrowed, and the pavement turned to cobblestones. Three tight turns later and the road opened up again and pitched upward, getting gradually steeper. A left-hander saw the road ramp up to 13% and brought us to the courtyard of a castle which we rode through and then descended over some very rough cobblestones before a tight, 180-degree turn brought us back onto the finishing straight about 400 meters from the line.

There’s not much to write home about from a tactical perspective. The race exploded from the gun and the elastic snapped the second time up the climb. I had a poor position from the start but remained calm and made my move across over the climb on the second lap. I spent the next few kilometers leap-frogging from group to group until I connected with the front group of around 15. On such a brutal circuit, with such a hard 200km race in our legs the day before, everyone was exhausted and the racing was quite negative. The peloton was blown to bits and we knew our group would stay away. Attacks would go but they seemed almost punch-drunk – riders would get a 20 meter gap and then fizzle away and come back.

Eventually, the Dolcini-Flanders team, motivated after missing the move the day before, managed to get one of their riders up the road with a couple others. I was out of gas after spending my matches crossing the gap, so I could do little more than follow wheels and try to hang on over the climb. I took second in the sprint from my group for 8th overall in what I can very honestly say was the hardest – but also the coolest – criterium I have ever done.

 

Tour de Los Alamos

Article by Travis Dixon (HDB Masters Cycling), Photography by Angelica Dixon

 

2013 Tour de Los Alamos

2013 Tour de Los Alamos

The 41st Tour de Los Alamos was run on Sunday July 9th. It’s the oldest race in the southwest and known as a demanding race bringing out a high calibre of racers from the region.The race for the Cat 1,2,3 men is made up of three 27-mile circuits (82 miles) with over 6,000 feet of climbing through spectacular New Mexico countryside. The course runs alongside Bandelier National Monument and through a section of the Los Alamos National Laboratory property, requiring riders to use a dedicated lane as they pass through the security gates. The circuits take their toll due to the amount of climbing, exposed windy sections, and working descents. It’s a race for tactically savvy well balanced racers.

As the flag dropped at the end of the neutral section the attacks started immediately. Once the main descent began less than 10 miles in to the race, John Verhuel, of Scalo Veloce, made a gap. A flurry of counter attacks ensued with a solid group establishing itself. Every team was represented and the break began to extend its lead immediately.

Kip Taylor of Sports Systems Mountain Top Cycling, described lap one, “Our plan for the day was simple; get one or two of our riders in the break and ensure that the riders we had marked did not make the break. We had success with the first part of our plan, as two of our guys made the break, however, the second part did not go to plan. One of the guys we had marked made the break.” The leaders opened up a gap of 4.5 minutes as they began the 7-mile climb that marked the final part of the circuit. Kip Taylor took up the action again, “With a marked man in the break, it was decided that instead of letting the break stay away, we would chase them down and bring our marked man back. Fortunato, my teammate, and I set a tough pace on the climb. The group thinned quickly and at the top of the climb it was me, two of my teammates (Fortunato Ferrara and Damian Calvert,) and a young strong rider, Earl Gage from Scalo Veloce.”

 

Fortunato Ferrara and Kip Taylor of Sports Systems

Fortunato Ferrara and Kip Taylor of Sports Systems

Fortunato added, “Once we began the descent we picked up two riders from the original break, Gavin Kennard of HDB Masters and another teammate, Hans Whitefield. The five of us rotated well in order to catch the break. We kept picking up dropped riders but we knew that our teammate, Jonathan Petrillo, wasn’t doing any work in the break in order to slow them down.” Gavin Kennard reported, “That lap was fast as the Sports Systems guys wouldn’t let anyone sit on. They would leave gaps forcing us to chase. It was a good tactic on their part as it forced all of us to work and we caught the break as the last climb started.”

Kip described the last lap, “Once we caught the lead group it was apparent that their work in the break had burnt a lot of matches. So rather than keeping the group together, we set a hard pace up the climb. At the top of the climb going into the final lap it was me, Fortunato, and Damian.” The three Sports Systems riders worked well through the final lap and established a solid lead. Kip continued, “With his ‘home town’ in Los Alamos it seemed like a no brainer for Fortunato to get the win. We pacelined up the last climb and the race ended in truly special fashion with the three of us crossing the line together. Very Cool!” Fortunato, who is originally from Italy and now lives in Los Alamos, shared in Kip’s sentiments when asked about his win right after the race as, “very cool to win in my  hometown”.

The official men’s results were  1st – Fortunato Ferrara, 2nd –  Damian Calvert,  3rd – Kip Taylor. Sports Systems came with a stacked team and it was their race to lose. They displayed excellent teamwork all day. All of their riders had a role with their podium sweep. Kip summed the day up perfectly, “We have the mentality on this team where ‘everyone eats’ and Los Alamos showed just that!”

Irena Ossola (Team Kenda) and Mindy Caruso (Scalo Veloce)

Irena Ossola (Team Kenda) and Mindy Caruso (Scalo Veloce)

Official women’s results were 1st – Mindy Caruso (Scalo Veloce), 2nd – Irena Ossola (Team Kenda p/b RACC), 3rd – Maria Santiago (Naked Women Racing)