Brentwood Redux by Trina Jacobson
I’ll spare you the detailed blow-by-blow race report because although we raced well, we didn’t win and it’s more appropriate to let Helens/Cannondale describe their domination of both women’s races on what I call Sunday Smackdown (owww, that freaking hurt!). What I will tell you is that I no longer feel like I have unfinished business at Brentwood. Yes, it’s true that I didn’t make it to the sprint because I crashed in the first corner of the last lap – it happens and it’s part of bike racing. I’m fine, but I cracked yet another helmet this year. Up to that point, I was thoroughly enjoying a hard, fast race with my friends, both teammates and competitors.
To get to the point of actually enjoying a hard, fast race has taken several seasons of enduring smackdowns and having the support of my team.
Thank you for the Smackdown
Each time I was dropped, left in the dust, dangled out front in a ill-timed attack, or struggled to hold a wheel I learned something about racing. I would not have been able to do all of this learning without some great teachers. The following teams have played a huge roll in elevating the level of women’s racing in SoCal and in my development as a cyclist. Thank you, ladies, for the smackdowns every weekend!
SC VELO/Empower Coaching
Velo Club LaGrange
Cynergy Cycles-Missing Link Coaching
No I in TEAM
My teammates on Revolution/ZOCA have taught me a lot about patience, trust, and timing. These lessons didn’t all happen on race day or on a bike, but regardless of the classroom, the lessons have brought us together to form a cohesive team. We’ve had great team success and have had a lot of fun doing it. Thank you Crystal, Simone, Dianna, Hilary, Karen, Tammy, Andrea, Kelly H., Kelly M., Patricia and Suzie for racing your hearts out, reminding me there is more to life that the bike, and for being strong women I can turn to. Thank you, Hector, waking me up to carpooling and for taking great care of us.
I consider my family and other cycling friends a part of my team, too. Without the support of family I wouldn’t be able to train and recover; play and laugh; or plan and dream. In addition, it’s their support and encouragement that pushes me to do well. My friends, whom I train with in San Diego, have pushed me to my physical limits on more than one occasion, and have shown me what is possible once you put your mind to it.
Backyard Jam-Sesh: Brentwood Grand Prix
By Jenna ‘Jammer’ Kowalski
Sunday, August 7th, 2011, watching my teammates from the sidelines of a race called the Brentwood Grand Prix also known as the California State Criterium Championships. In my own backyard, but, here I am on the wrong side of the barriers, with a soon to be diagnosed case of strep throat. Always a frustrating feeling, when so badly you want to be out there pedaling in circles with everybody else. A fun race to watch, but always a better race to race.
Fast forward to this year: Sunday, August 5th 2012. Finally, I would have my first chance to contest Brentwood GP, a course favored by many locals for its technicality. However, after a long month of training for climbing hills in the altitude, I realized that I had not done one single sprint since the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Thus, I was a little nervous that my legs would be lacking the spunk needed for 55 minutes of sprinting out of corners.
With the course conveniently located in my backyard, my teammate Lauren and I decided to have our daily espresso at the Coral Tree Cafe and watch the mid-morning men’s races to get in the proper spirit. The double Americano certainly did the trick and kept me buzzing for the next four hours. We then opted to ditch our trainers for a warm-up spin down the coast to Venice, to take in the madness of a Sunday at the beach. After a pit stop at home to change jerseys and swap on race wheels, we jammed over to the course just in the nick of time.
As we rolled up to the start line, I was flattered to receive a call-up to join some of the established local racers. After a couple high-fives and fist pounds, we got the countdown to go. The race was animated from the beginning, and a few moves lighted up the first couple laps of the race. The goals for the day were to either get Lauren in a break, or set me up for the field sprint. So, while it was important for me to remain attentive as a teammate to a team of two in a field dominated by team Helens and InCycle, I sat comfortably in the front, following wheels and making sure to cover anything that Lauren could not.
Between Helens, InCycle, LaGrange, Revolution and solo strong woman Kristin LaSasso, there were a number of fliers that had some serious potential, but the combination of riders in each move was not enough to keep the field from letting anything go. I was pretty certain the race was going to come down to a field sprint, so I just sat tight, at one point finding myself well placed for a prime, thus taking the opportunity to jump around the two riders who set me up perfectly.
After a few last ditch efforts from riders to get off the front, the peloton seemed content for a field sprint with two laps to go. I must admit I was a little lax in setting myself up for the finish; a solid 10 wheels back, I kept thinking ‘it’s a long finish, it’s a long finish.’ Well, l find myself still wishing it was a little bit longer. The last half lap of crits are always a bit foggy in my memory. From what I do remember, riders were single-file going up the backside chicane. I wanted to move up but was hesitant to jump around everyone so early. I hesitate. I see a flag. And I know I have to go, now. I jump around a few riders and the InCycle lead-out train, my head screaming ‘YOU CAN WIN THIS! YOU CAN WIN THIS!’ I see riders in black, I see the finish line, weirdly wishing it was just a few feet further.’ I’m not going to make it in time and I know it. It feels close, and I throw myself through the line, but it’s not quite enough to edge into the top three, as I hear the excited hollers of well deserved winner Suze Sonye, followed by teammate Shelby Reynolds and Tibco’s Junior National Champion, Alexis Ryan.
I did make it onto the podium for the California State Championship, as Team Helen’s Shelby Reynolds is registered in Texas, however, it wasn’t for the coveted Bear jersey I had hoped for. But, there is always next year (third time’s a charm!?), and as my first California State Criterium Championship race, I am pleased with a top five. Just as well, I am thrilled for the podium finishers – and the entire peloton for that matter, for making for a fun and safe race to cap off the end of my 2012 SoCal road racing season. Many thanks to all of the supporters, sponsors, media and everyone else that makes these events possible! Until next year!
The Off-Season Transfer Scrum
by Seth Davidson
My phone rang at 5:30 this morning. “Hello?”
“Hey, WM. Have you heard anything?”
“Who is this?”
“Thunky. Thunky Sneedles.”
“Oh, it’s you again. No, man, I haven’t heard anything since your last call two hours ago. It’s five-thirty, dude.”
“I just thought you’d maybe, you know, gotten some offers or something.”
“No, man. Crickets.” I’d agreed to act as Thunky’s agent in the off-season, and even though the trades had started in earnest, Thunky was still out in the cold, and he was nervous. “Look, let’s go over it again. I know you’re nervous, but you have to be patient. These things take time. When some of the bigger fish get their contracts, it’ll loosen up the purse strings for the domestiques like you.”
“But what if I don’t get an offer from anybody? What if I have to stay with Team D’oosh next year? My career’s too short for that, man. I’ve only got a couple of good years left, and I need to ride for a winner.”
“I know, I know. Nobody said being a professional masters racer was easy.”
“Ain’t that the truth.”
“Why are you so down on Team D’oosh? You fit right in.”
“They suck and their bro deal is so lame.”
“Really? Even with that bike and those five free kits and the travel reimbursements? And don’t they cut you in on the winnings even if you’re OTB?”
“Yeah, it sounds great. But it sucked this year. I mean, no one ever wins. They suck. And the frame? It was the Specialized SL4 instead of their top of the line Venge. Charon gets the Venge on his team. How’m I supposed to take that dude on riding an SL4? It’s like bringing a set of dentures to a wood chewing contest.”
“Are the bikes really that different?”
“Hell yeah. The Venge has this really cool paint option. It’s so rad.”
“Well, at least getting the whole $8,500 rig with Di2 on loan for a whole season and then swapping it out for a new one in ’13 saves you some money.”
“Dude! It’s not about the MONEY. It’s about the wins. You get the wins, the money flows. That’s how the pro scene works.”
“Even in the men’s 35+?”
“Well, what about the kits? That’s a grand right there, easy, free. You gotta be happy about that.”
“Those kits were so last year. The leg elastic band was at least 1/4 inch shorter than the pro stuff Paolinetti was wearing on Monster. Like I’m gonna take that guy on with short elastic bands? And the design was, like, puke.”
“I guess they screwed you pretty bad, huh?”
“I’ll say. The travel reimbursements only kicked in after you’d done five races. I told ‘em that I was gonna do a full schedule, but for me that’s four races, including our Team D’oosh club time trial in January. They have to understand that if you want results, you gotta be rested between races. Real rested. Recovery is just as important as training, prolly more so, even.”
“Look, Thunky. I’m gonna try to get you on Amgen this year. You’ll be a domo for Thurlow, Meeker, Brett, Strickie, Malcolm…the big boys. But you gotta bring something to the table. What do I tell them about you?”
“What do you tell them? Duuuuude! Aren’t you my agent? Tell ‘em about what we did this year! Tell ‘em how the race went down when Clunky Thunky brought the A-game and stuffed the clowns into the hurt locker! Tell ‘em that!”
“Ah, what race are you talking about, Thunks?”
“What race? San Dimas! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten San Dimas?”
“Was that the one where you launched off the road and hit that parked car? At, like three miles in or something?”
“You always gotta bring up the fuckin’ parked car. Fuck the parked car! Dude, I stretched the field out longer than a neck in a noose. Ask ‘em, man, any of those dudes’ll tell you about the Thunky Beatdown. Thurlow was there. Meeker was there. Worthingtons were there. Leibert was beggin’ for mercy I had everybody on the rivet.”
“Okay, maybe I’ll remind them of that later, you know, like when we’re talking signing bonuses and stuff. What else happened in 2012?”
“I did that one 35+ race and laid the wood to Tintsman and Paolinetti.”
“Phil Tintsman? You? Really? That’s pretty awesome, cause those two guys are the real deal. Which race was it?”
“Hellz. It was at Ontario, I think. Maybe CBR. I attacked from the gun like always.”
“Then you got in a break with Phil and Jamie? Sweet!”
“Nah, I didn’t get in no stupid break. I’m a sprinter kind of rouleur. You know, a puncheur climber type time trialist, all ’rounder with an emphasis on track and ‘cross.”
“So what happened?”
“It was like on the second or third lap. I was railin’ it, dude, 54-11, hittin’ the headwind section like a freight train. Field was comin’ apart at the seams, everybody strung out in the gutter, dudes frying off the back like fritters in a fryolator. Sick shit. Tintsman and Paolinetti were in the hurt locker. The pain cave. Beggin’ for mercy, they were my bitches, dude. That’s what I’m talking ’bout.”
“I finished my solid half lap and then Tintsman and Paolinetti and Charon and a bunch of other dudes, I think Brauch and Wimberley, and you know, five or six other Monster dudes, and a few other guys rolled off in a break. There was like sixty of ‘em. No way we were bringing them back. But you can ask Tintsman, that shit wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t softened ‘em up.”
“Sixty dudes? In one break?”
“Yeah, man. It was righteous. Me and Stimp –you know him? Rides for Soft Longies, he’s a badass. Me and Stimp motored with the field on our wheel the rest of the race.”
“How many guys were left in the field?”
“About seven or eight. Coddles McGee, Woodenhead, Dorcas Johnson, Tubbs, you know. The dudes you can count on.”
“Okay, I’ll make the pitch for you. What should I tell them your goals are for 2013?”
“My goals? Do you even have to ask? Tell ‘em this: I’m comin’ for Charon if they can find me a Venge just like his. Black shorts, with the cool elastic thingy like Paolinetti and Tintsman have. And $10k in travel reimbursements. Up front, Jan. 1, like in the pros. And a cut of everything everyone wins, even if I have to miss the race because of my Saturday yoga class, which actually is what gives me extra power but most dudes don’t know about that. And free massage sessions–and I pick the masseuse. Don’t give me some hairy dude named Jacques. I want a smoking babe who only works nekkid or in a thong. Happy ending for Thunky, you got that? And a 401k and a team car. That’s my minimum starting offer. See what you can do from there.”
“And what can your new team expect in return?”
“I’m gonna take Charon down next year. I’m gonna ride Tintsman off my frickin” wheel. I’m gonna give Meeker a sprint clinic every frickin” weekend. You tell ‘em that, Wanky, and you tell ‘em Thunky sent you.”
The phone went dead.
A few minutes later it rang again.
“Yo, it’s me again. Any offers?”
“Not yet, buddy. But they’re comin’ any minute. Any minute.”
The Brentwood Grand Prix came on August 5 over 2,000 spectators watched the race between 7 AM and 4 PM . The 2.3 –mile course will begin in front of the Kaufman Library and circle the median from Burlingame to Gorham in Brentwood. The Southern California Nevada Cycling Association has chosen The Brentwood Grand Prix as the 2012 SCNCA Elite Criterium Championship and racers will be competing for the honor of wearing the coveted “Bear Jersey”.
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I got to the race super late; I had to rush because I had 30 minutes to kit up and register Brentwood Grand Prix. It was great having my Dad and girlfriend there to pin numbers, pump tires, fill bottles, etc.
Rolling up to the start I knew I was going to have a hard first 5 to 10 laps as my legs needed to warm up, so I was stoked to get called to the front line and avoid the scramble to move up with the hard corners on course. Through the first 15-20 minutes I was just trying to get on even terms with the other riders as I got moving.
Then the break went. I saw Eric Marcotte and Alex Darville moving around the outside through the start finish stretch, and tagged onto that train of riders as it went full gas through turn one. There was a small gap, and I decided it was worth it to do a little work since I wasn’t fully opened up yet. Over the next 5 laps or so most of the break worked hard, and the gap seemed to solidify. The only thing missing was that there were no Monster Media riders so it worried me to the point that I didn’t want to be putting everything into my pulls.
Mid-race I knew that the break would stay and started thinking of who was pulling the hardest (Marcotte & Darville) and who was sitting on conserving, which was only 1 guy every now and then, but a couple of guys sitting-on were just about to get popped.
A bit later, Marcotte grabbed a prime and caused a separation that I knew I needed to jump across or else he could roll away on his own. Then there was the $800 prime that Sandoval went for and gave Sandoval, Marcotte, and me the final selection. At first Sandoval had some skipped pulls in the last laps but then contributed.
I was pretty happy being up against those 2 guys in a sprint. I didn’t think I would need to worry about Sandoval with how he sprinted for the previous prime, but I knew I would have some trouble with Marcotte, especially if he went on the attack in the last 1.5 to 2 laps.
It turned out that he didn’t attack, and I found myself in the 3rd position for the last lap as we caught feild. It worried me that I might lose the other guys through traffic, but it was pretty clean through the bottom corners.
In the finish, Sandoval went long, trying to lose Marcotte and me in the field. Then Marcotte went with at least 300m or more into the head wind and I was able to wait and sprint as we got into the last 150m or so. Marcotte had a second kick as I went, and it made me really dig to stay at full gas all the way to the line.
The 45+ race had a solid field with three teams that had numbers: Spy Blue, Breakaway For Cancer and BBI. A notable rider, Mark Noble, was flying solo. I stayed at the front with the help of my teammates, John Hatchitt and Seth Davison. I followed moves and mainly watched Rich Meeker suck up nearly every preem this side of the Pacos. There was a promising move with Big Orange’s Steve Klasna, BFC’s Rich Meeker and Spy’s Alan Flores when the three of us rolled off the front for a few laps. This mainly served as a body blow to the field. Later on, one of the preems was decidedly won by Mark Noble causing the field to chase for half of a lap until we caught him. That’s when Mr. Vee Rich Meeker decided to fly the coop. Rich got a solid gap on the field, then the BBI boys tried to close it down. I was monitoring their progress and I decided it was do or die, so I launched out of the field alone up to Rich. From there we were all in; two men committed to the winning move. It was a close call for the first few laps, but with the BFC and Spy Boy’s dashing the hopes of the chasers, we were able to build on our gap. With three laps to go, I was getting tired, and Rich was doing what a multi-national champion can do; ride! Props to Rich, as he was the strong man in our tandem effort. With half of a lap to go, I was in the front going through the last technical dog leg turn, a rounding right, then a tight right, and the final left-hand turn on to the start finish straight. As we were going through this critical section, I heard the horrible noise of bike parts grinding on the pavement. I knew Rich had crashed and in the nasty business of bike racing, I was now the default winner. So I put my head down and flew to the finish solo. Every dog has their day, and today was mine. Some twenty seconds later, Craig Miller from BBI and Mark Noble finished up 2nd and 3rd respectively. Thx…Alan Flores
When it comes to bicycles, I find the ones that people actually use a lot more interesting than ones that are ridden once per month and then meticulously cleaned. I use a bicycle at least 6 days per week, so I feel sort of a kinship to people who do the same. This Sunday morning, I decided to head out into downtown Seattle and find some of these bicycles and show that they have a certain kind of beauty. I was going to shoot photos of people riding, but I decided to steer clear of the “people in Seattle don’t wear helmets” controversy, since there’s no point in dragging everyone into that mess. If you’re into visualizing geography, my far points of travel were Seneca & 6th, Cedar & Denny, and the Public Market. Enjoy.