Trading a Dream Season for a National Title By Charon Smith (Surf City Cyclery/Sterling BMW)

Recently I was asked if I would trade my 12 wins, back to back 35+ California state titles, and capturing the coveted SoCal Cup in exchange for the Masters National Criterium Championship stars and stripes jersey. When first asked, I was stuck and thought it was a great question. After pondering over it for a while, I answered, “No.”

 

Some may think I am foolish or a little crazy for saying no, but honestly, I take each race one race at a time and no matter where or what race I am doing, the goal is always to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s racing in Ontario or racing in Carson at a CBR race. These two races are put on several times throughout the year, so many people don’t value them as much, but I think that is the wrong approach when it comes to competing. As a sponsored rider, I feel like I owe it to my sponsors and team to always to give my all. They do a lot for me so I refuse to do a disservice to them  by not giving 100 percent each time I suit up to race.

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Reliving the Masters Nationals Road Race By Richard Meeker(Breakaway from Cancer)

Wow, an 8 AM start time.  Its 4:30 AM. Up and at ‘em. Today is the big day for the long awaited National Masters Road Race in Bend, Oregon.  It’s the most prestigious title to earn in the United States.  Today I am racing the 50-54 Men’s road race.  All the big dogs come out to Nationals to earn that coveted Stars and Stripes National Championship Jersey for another year.  Roger Worthington, my teammate, my fiancé and I make the drive out to Mt. Bachelor for the cold early 8 AM start.  It’s 38 degrees at the start but the sun is out.  Approximately 80 guys line up at the start.

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Another Masters National Criterium Championship By Richard Meeker (Breakaway from Cancer)

 
So here it is, Saturday, September 8, 2012 and we are warming up to race the last race of the 2012 race season. I’m really excited, pumped up and working on my mind to stay focused and work out the details on how I am going to put together this race so that it works in Team Breakaway from Cancer’s favor, for either Roger Worthington or me to take home the National Championship Jersey back to Southern California. Not for me so much, but more importantly for the hope of all the cancer survivors and fighters that we ride and race for day in and day out.

The warm up is done and we are about to line up for the 50-54 Masters National Criterium Championship. Approximately 80 of the fastest guys in the USA are here to take home the jersey. Bubba Melcher from Team Specialized is last year’s champion. He rode away from the field last year and won the championship. He is a big guy with a big heart and the big smile that everyone loves. We all love Bubba. [Read more...]

Masters 35-39 Crit Championship By Charon Smith(Surf City Cyclery)

 

This past Saturday up in Bend, Oregon, the Super Bowl of Masters category road and crit racing took place. Many of us SoCal racers signed up and made the trek up to the beautiful state of Oregon for the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Masters Road National Championships. I went specifically for a chance to win the stars and stripes jersey in the age 35-39 criterium. This race always brings out the top riders from across the country so it’s guaranteed to be a dog fight, and a very brutal and challenging day on the bike.

 

The race course consisted of a little over one kilometer, and had six turns. Two of these turns were rather unique with turn five being very nasty. We ended up having at least five to seven pile-ups in turn five during the race. Before getting out of turn five you had to go through an “S”shape, which had a slight uphill to it before dropping you downhill right into a sweeping right-hand turn that you could not take at a very high speed, or even pedal through it like a normal turn. Pedaling through this turn would cause you to wash out or clip a pedal like many riders did time after time during the 50-lap of the race.

 

The race started out moderate with the attacks slowly building as the race progressed. Once the attacks started they never let up. The Monster Media/MRI guys and Time Factory Team were often trying to keep the pace high and bust up the field.  As I saw the tactics of the day playing out I was sure to ride and stay near the front so I would not miss any moves. Since I was racing without any teammates, I formed an alliance with a couple other single riders. One of the riders, Jan, I recognized from the Dana Point GP. Jan is a solo sprinter, like me, so I suggested we look out for one another. The plan was cool with him because it was clear that Monster Media was racing for a break, with a goal to keep me out of it. Every move I got in, once they saw I made the split; they would sit up even though they had strong numbers in the move.

 

As the laps continued to count down I began to think the race would stay together, until we hit 12 laps to go. Right then: Boom! Mike Easter (Time Factory Team) hits it pretty hard with no one responding, quickly putting time on us. I was expecting Monster Media to respond as they lined up five guys but they waited. Once they realized Mike was rolling pretty well, they started to chase but never organized their chase properly. Instead of sending all of their guys to the front, they would send one to two guys at a time which never works when trying to bring back a one-man break especially with a guy like Mike Easter. He was going as good as he has been in the last month. I had very little options since I was racing alone and with the field watching me, I did not want to waste my few bullets I had left.

 

As we got down to five laps to go, I knew we had to bring him back or the race would be a wrap. We got him down to ten seconds with two laps to go but on the quick-moving technical course it wasn’t enough. We weren’t bringing Mike back. So, I changed my focus to making the podium and winning the field sprint and a silver medal. Heading into the last lap I was sitting fifth wheel which is not a great position because everyone who won another category race or won the field sprint came out of the final turn in first. In turn five I was still sitting fifth wheel waiting for an opening that seemed like would never happen.

 

Going through the “S” section of the course my opportunity came as the two riders in front of me went down. One was my new buddy, Jan, and the other guy was Rudy Napolitano (Time Factory Team), who had just won the road race two days prior. The crash left a gap for me to close on Kayle LeoGrande (Monster Media) heading down the long stretch before the final turn which was only about a 100 meter run in to the finish line. I give an effort to catch on to Kayle’s wheel thinking to myself, “stay calm because the final turn is one you can not take at top speed, otherwise you’ll hit the barriers.” So, I took the final turn very careful. So careful that I had to sprint on my hoods which is a big no-no, but even sprinting in my hoods I was lucky enough to catch and come around Kayle to take the field sprint and second place. I was proud of my sprint, but it was not as impressive as the effort put in by Mike Easter; attacking the field solo and holding off 30 charging men, as half the field either dropped out, crashed out, or either pulled out due to the difficulty of the course and speed.

 

Huge props to Mike Easter and his team on capturing not one, but two National titles in the same weekend. Congrats to all the people who laid it all on the line and gave there all without quitting in the biggest event of the year. Thanks to USA Cycling and the amazing city of Bend for putting on an awesome event.

On Second Thought, I Don’t Really Train with Rudy by Seth Davidson

http://pvcycling.wordpress.com

Of all the awesome awesomeness of Rudy Napolitano’s national championship ride in Bend, Oregon last week, the most awesome ego fapping part of all is that I’m now able to say, “Yeah, I train with that dude.National road champ, 35+. Uh-huh.”

I’m not the only wanker who got a woody thinking about the stars-and-stripes jerseys brought home by Rudy, Rich Meeker, Michael Easter, Jamie P., and the medals harvested by Jeff K., Glass Hip Worthington, Charon Smith, Karl Bordine, and the other SoCal riders who dominated at nationals. No sooner had news of Rudy’s win hit the Cycling Illustrated newsfeed than a whole host of other bone idlers began crowing and bragging about how they train and race with these champions.

Prez even admitted what we all do but are too ashamed to confess: Calling his buddies back East to say “THOSE are my training partners, yo!”

The difference between theory and practice

In theory, I suppose it’s legit to say, for example, that I train and race with Rudy and those dudes. Most Saturdays, after all, he shows up on the Donut Ride, and I show up on the Donut Ride. Several times a year I do the Really Early Morning Ride a/k/a REMR. Jeff does the REMR. And of course numerous times I suit up and saddle up for local crits and road races, events at which Jamie, Glass Hip, Meeker, Charon also toe the line.

Unfortunately, the extent of my “training rides” with Rudy usually ends about fifteen minutes into the ride, or whenever he makes an acceleration, whichever comes first. I mean, can I really call it “training with Rudy” when he’s not even breaking a sweat and I’ve pulled over and quit? Did we train together when he lazily pedaled away from a hundred idiots on the part of his training ride that was actually before his training ride, because if it had been his actual training ride we, like, would never have known he was there?

Same for the “racing with Rich” thing. Did I really race with him when I got shelled on the first climb? Were we really racing together when he was sprinting for first and I was sprunting for 86th? Were Charon and I in the same race when he was a tiny speck at the front and I was a flailing wanker barely hanging onto the tail end of the whip?

And if it’s that bad for me, what about the other bone idlers like Prez who are still attending esteem building classes in order to actually enter a Cat 2 or 35+ race? What about the wank fodder that gets diarrhea and breaks out in hives the night before the “big” showdown at CBR, then wets their bed so badly they catch cold and miss the race?

Cycling is a reality show, and you’re Snooki

The antics of the men and women who trundled off to Bend and whipped the snot out of the best amateurs in America, if truth be told, have nothing in common with the antics of the rest of us. It’s like having Rahsaan Bahati next to you on the New Pier Ride. He’s with you, but he’s not really with you.

The accomplishments of those who returned with jerseys and medals are incredible. They did what the rest of us wish we could do: Ride our bikes smarter and faster than anyone else in the country. Having them back in our midst is good for some ego fapping, but it’s kind of a bummer, too. If they put the wood to the best racers in America, what’s the math looking like that I’ll ever finish ahead of them?

Right.

Better dial up ol’ Russ back in Texas and let him know that my training partner just won nationals. Uh-huh. ‘Cause that’s just how I roll. Me and Prez, I mean. When we’re not crashing. Or getting dropped. Or ego fapping on the bricks.

Playing My Cards Right By Jamie Paolinetti (MMRI) your National Criterium Champ for 45-49

 

Winning any bike race is frickin’ hard. I don’t care if it’s El Dorado Park on Tuesday night, it’s frickin’ hard to win. I’ve always said that it’s impossible for one rider to target a specific race, pin their hopes on victory and then pull it off. So, I never do it. The problem is, with the National Championships I don’t really have a choice.

I raced the Cascade Classic many, many times as a pro so going in I knew the crit course was good for me. But, ultimately in any race it’s the rider’s I’m racing, not the course. As soon as I heard announcer Dave Towel count down to our start and the gun went off, the information gathering began.

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Winning a National Championship By Mike Easter (Time Factory Team)

 

After finishing third at the 2011 Master’s Criterium National Championships, I decided then to plan the 2012 season around a single goal; winning the 2012 Master’s Criterium National Championships.  Doug Knox at Time Sports USA completely supported the goal, telling me he didn’t care if I won a single race all season, just as long as I won Nationals.

 

The winning move in the criterium really started on Wednesday as my teammate Rudy Napolitano and I pre-rode the road race course.   The team learned very quickly that the road race was perfect for Rudy’s racing style, so we decided that Rudy would force an early break away, I would police the peloton and the chase.   The planned worked perfectly, and I had to do very little as Rudy was so strong he convincingly won the road race by not only riding away from the peloton, but his six breakaway companions as well.

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Ladera Ranch Grand Prix Results

WE HAVE A FAST, FOUR CORNER COURSE! The course is around Founders Park. Start/Finish line is on Sellas Road North at Delphinium St. The course is 0.7 mile, fast track.

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Brentwood Redux by Trina Jacobson

Brentwood Redux

Brentwood Redux by Trina Jacobson

 

Sunday Smackdown

 

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

Helens/Cannondale

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.

 

BWGP race report by Alan Flores (Spy Blue) 45+

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