Posted on March 27th, 2013 No comments
This past weekend saw the SquadraSF team back in action on many fronts: Locally, the team was well-represented at Ward’s Ferry and Realado Road Races, while a small group headed south for the San Dimas Stage Race. It would be a successful weekend on all fronts.
Here are a few results:
Ward’s Ferry: James Enright and Trevor White finished 2nd and 8th respectfully, in the P1/2. Scott Cole was the top finisher for NCNCA Points leader SquadraSF 3s (3rd), Jared Hudson (4th) Chris Elbo( 10th) in the E3s and Nich Baressi (2nd) and James Yuan (10th) for the NCNCA points-leading Cat 4 team in the Cat4 race.
Regalado Road Race: James Enright (4th) – P123
San Dimas Stage Race – Matt Abdalah (6th) on Stage in the E2 race, while Lee Peters would battle it out in the green jersey competition. In the 4’s, Juan Lopez would take 9th in the last stage and thus earn his Cat 3 upgrade.
Also noteworthy- Mike Hardy returns from the tri-world to take 2nd in the P123 and 1st in the M123 (with Jason Smith right behind with 2nd) at the Woodbridge TT.
In the following, Cat 2 rider, Mat Abdalah takes us through his 6th place finish on Stage 2 of the San Dimas Stage Race.i
(But first a little something to get you into that San Dimas state of mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1AEDwsoCx8)
Result:iMatt Abdalah (6th), Lee Peters (54th)
Course: One of the most technical road race courses in the US, this race is full of surprises; technical descents off of short climbs, quickly transitioning to one lane semi-cobbled climbs (Yeah the last thing you want when you’re throwing down full gas).
Lap 1: Nothing interesting happened on the first lap, as you can imagine. GC had already been heavily decided the day before with a Get Crackin man-bear-beast-child taking the win handily, they also had numbers in this race and were able to ride a nice tempo to keep things mellow for the first lap.
Lap 2: My teammate Lee Peters’ plan was to channel his inner Chuck Hutcheson and get himself in an epic break. I wanted to play a part in that and join him if I could. As we made the right hand turn off of the start/finishing stretch, the field swelled in the cross winds with no one wanting to take to the front. I saw this as a perfect time to put in a dig and see who might come with me. I shot up the left side of the field, holding a steady 300 watts for about 10 minutes. No one joined me. I looked back once or twice and got out of sight a bit but the field wasn’t about to let me go and realistically I wasn’t going to ride much harder than this without a breakaway companion (If you’re curious I weight 61Kg, and 300wts is basically 5 watts per kilo, which is funny because today I felt great and in the TT the day before I couldn’t mange more than 265 watts in the short 18 minutes uphill TT… Sad, sad day for me).
Once the field caught me Lee was able to launch his leg-shattering move and was joined by two other riders. He stayed off the front the entire race, with several different riders joining/contributing to the break. Meanwhile I sat in the pack and figured out how I was going to win the race, where to move up, where to conserve energy, and biding my time to the finish.
Lap 3-7: While Lee was busting his ass off the front I was sitting in the field, conserving as much energy as possible. What makes this race so tricky is a short steep climb several miles from the finish. You come off a section of two connected dams that slither around like a snake and then take a slight left to a descent with gigantic traffic furniture in the middle of the road, before a 90 degree right, followed by a 90 degree left turn onto the most decisive part of the course, the climb. My lame description does not do the sheer craziness of this course any justice- you really have to keep your wits about you all day because one lapse in concentration and you’re on the ground. It took me about all 7 laps to get my technique dialed.
Final Lap: From the word “go” we had the gas on. The Get Crackin kids were goin’ ham on the front (For the 35+ crowd this means they were riding really hard), stringing out the field. I like this kind of race because I know when I’ve got a wheel I can’t get dropped. I was near the front and in good position. We went through the first half of the course without incident. (It was at this point that a Bear Development -man-bear-U19-world-cyclocross-champs-attendee went off the front solo and bridged up to Lee who was still in a solo break at this point, Chuck Hutchesoning the shit outta this race).
We hit the climb and guys were going hyphy; there were lots of tired legs. For some reason, people like to beat themselves up this climb every lap softening themselves up for later in the race. I like to take a fade approach and conserve for last lap, where I can bust out some leg shattering power PR’s 60 miles into the race. By the top of the climb I was about 15th wheel with quite a bit of anaerobic gas left in the tank and hitched myself onto the lead guys. The one bad this about this course is the descent down to the finish allows the big strong guys to get back in contact with the leaders after they have been dropped, at the end of the day this race wasn’t quite hard enough for my liking and wasn’t’ selective enough for my taste.
WE FINALLY CAUGHT LEE, who had spent all day off the front in a solo/two man break and was caught halfway up the final climb. On the slow, dragging descent down to the finish I was well positioned in about 10th wheel. I was getting a bit excited and forgot that there was a massive cross/head-wind coming from the right of the start finish stretch and this ultimately was my demise… With about 600 meters to go the sprint opened up and I did everything I could to gain positions but I was 100% on the right, taking all of the wind, ending my chance for the win. I was thrilled and disappointed all at the same time. It wasn’t until later that night I realized WHAT a huge, amateur mistake I had made sprinting in the wind and that if I had taken the wind into account on my run in to the finish my result could have been drastically different. I hope everyone can learn from my mistake because I’d hate for you to have to learn it the hard way like myself: Don’t sprint into the wind! It’s details like this that separate the pro’s from the amateurs and all the other awesome losing by a small margin metaphors I can muster.
Avg Watts: 253Np
Avg Speed: 24.6
New 1:30 PR 448 Watts
Posted on March 6th, 2013 No comments
Nick Kreeger Takes Win!
words: Nick Kreeger
Cat 4 Team: Paul Correa, Nich Barresi, Vitaly Gashpar, Tyler Corelitz
Since this race is part of the big Merco weekend, the start line was a bit packed. The plan was to sit in on the first lap and make our move during the second lap. The first 10-15 minutes were fast, but pretty chill; a few riders at the front put in some strong surges, stringing out the field. After the initial surge, things settled down as nobody really wanted to put in the work half-way through the first lap, and the team regroups at the front of peloton.
Things move along briskly, even as we hit the “rough” pavement stretch that contains a couple of rollers. After the first lap or so we’ve popped a few riders, but for the most part the group is still intact. After the shitty road section, we turn onto the road that is used in Snelling: a steep roller and some quick turns and rolling hills leading into a downhill finish. I take note at the finish and discuss with Tyler and Nich that if we’re not in a break in the last lap we should try and find some of the front wheels on the crappy road ahead.
As we start the second lap a couple of riders try some breaks. My move to bring it back basically initiated the field to chase and the break was reeled in. A couple of minutes later someone tries it again and I notice that there is a small group a few seconds ahead. Nich and I attack and eventually bridge up to the break of 4-5 riders.
We’re about 15 miles or so out from the finish – still a ways off. I try encouraging them yelling, “Let’s go we got a break going!!!” The group speeds up a bit, but I can tell that they’re frustrated at one another. I move to the rider at the front and he moans something about “I’ve been up here the whole fucking time”. At that point I attack just a bit and get a decent time gap before the peloton notices that I’m up the road past the break. As I pull away I tuck into the TT position on the bike and try to keep the power at a level I know I can carry for a while (lower 300 watts).
I get up the road and hear someone pull up behind and turn to see a young looking kid bridging up to me. I urge him to pull through and he tells me “I’m only 14!! I’m dying!!!”. I let him sit on my wheel and he gives 1 or 2 pulls leading up to the crappy road. I figure I’ll drop him in the rollers if needed (I can tell he was struggling). I see the moto and tap on my wrist. He shouts “30 Seconds” just as we make the turn.
There is a pretty strong headwind; I ask the junior to pull through and he does once – but barely hangs with me on the climbs. I downed a gel and a bottle and paced up the rollers. Just after the right hand turn that dumps me on to the Snelling course (just before the steep roller atop the Snelling feed zone) the moto says “25 seconds” – the gap was coming down so I step on it up the roller and into the fast turn. The junior on my wheel swears to me he won’t sprint for the line which doesn’t matter, since I attack and drop him in the last little roller before the descent to the finish line.
I get over the line, look back. Put the hands in the air. I have this one in the bag! – Victory!
The team did a great job protecting my gap once I got off the front. Awesome teamwork. Judging by the splits on the race results, I was just under 10 seconds ahead of 2nd place. The junior ended up 3rd.
Thankfully, this result gives me enough points to upgrade to the 3’s!
Since most of the work was down on the break, here are my longer interval numbers (~155 lbs) (not normalized power):
5min: 334 watts
10min: 313 watts
20min: 311 watts
30min: 310 watts
Avg Weighted Power: 244 watts
ed. Note: On a less celebratory note, SquadraSF’s version of the boy next door, Kurt Wolfgang, took a tumble in the 1/2 race and is currently recovering comfortably back in San Francisco. Please send beer.
Posted on February 21st, 2013 No comments
This past weekend saw the team in action at Cantua Creek, Pine Flat, Coppertown Circuit Race and even in Arizona at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race. While not quite finishing atop the podium, the team nonetheless saw no less than 3 2nd place finishes and a handful of top 10’s in each event, across several categories.
In the following, Isaac Sparling and Brian Schuster recount their 3rd and 2nd places at Cantua Creek and Pine Flat, respectively.
Cantua Road Race (E3)
Words: Isaac Sparling
The 3’s fielded 6 guys: myself, Scott Cole, Eric H, Alex L, Chris Elbo and Ellis. I won this last year in the 4’s, and was the designated dude on the day. I’m a decent sprinter, but only when all the real sprinters are gone, so the plan was to get me in a break and let my boys wreck havoc on the chasing field. Failing that, Eric, Alex and Chris were going to get me into position in the finishing climb, while Eric and Scott played sweeper to the sprint train.
No one has much interest in doing extra work, knowing that we were all going to be doing solid work both today and tomorrow. The first break went pretty much from the gun, getting some time, but not too much. We don’t do anything about it; no way it’ll last the whole race. It gets caught on the climb to the finish at the end of the first lap. Eric, Alex, a Davis Bike Club guy and myself decide it’s time to take a pee break near the top of the descent back into the valley. If nothing else, the chase back on is a great chance to warm the legs back up; the race has been spectacularly chill to that point.
I work back up through the field and have a chat with the guys- I don’t want to do anything until the return stretch – road is narrower. I get to the front, and notice that there’s some antsy-ness. In the bunch a couple guys who want to be up the road with the lead group of 3. Ellis is right there, and I tell him to get me there – 4th wheel or so – which he does with aplomb.
And then I go. One guy follows me right away, and then two more not far behind us. We are now a group of four, and the field lets us go One guy, Dave, (with whom I’d been friendly in past races and who I know is strong,) takes a monster pull, and then I come through and take a bigger one, barreling by the other field on the center line bellowing at them that a break is coming through.
Dave and I look at each other and go, dumping the last two. I need 2nd to get my upgrade, and he’s a bit stronger than me, so I offer him the win if he doesn’t dump me as well. We’re friendly.
With 1km to go he looks at me and says “I’m going for the glory.” I totally get it, and give him the go ahead. As he pulls away, in my paranoia, I look behind and see a guy (Platinum) who’s come from nowhere. I dig and dig but he catches me at 100m, and then pips Dave at the line by inches for first. I finish 3rd.
Pine Flat Road Race (Cat4)
Words: Brian Schuster
Last year I won this race in the E5s – my first and only win – so it holds a special place in my heart and I wasn’t gonna miss it this year. Of course, this also means that I naturally put a huge amount of pressure on myself to do well again… and to be honest, I really wanted to win. Big surprise.
The pace was pretty fast around the reservoir and into the descent, with a few attacks and solo breaks here and there, none of which lasted longer than a few miles. Vitaly did a great job on the front, going off by himself occasionally, getting reabsorbed into the pack, recovering, and then going off again. After sitting at the back for the first 15 minutes and getting yo-yo’d a bit more than I wanted, I decided to move up; being in the front 10 or 12 wheels really helped.
As the first real rollers started just past the turnoff, the pace really picked up. A few riders put in small attacks and soon a group of 15 or so had a gap on the rest of the field. I had to work hard to stay in contact with this group, but I wasn’t at my limit just yet. We caught the last guy out front and it was game on. Graham attacked and put a 15-20 second gap on our group. I was content to sit 5th wheel or so in the chase group, getting as much draft as possible. Nick and Nich were close behind me. I was worried that Graham was using too much energy up there (I really thought he had a fantastic chance to win this), but he forced other teams to chase and allowed us to “rest” as much as possible. Eventually we caught Graham and he latched back on to our group. He grabbed my wheel and reassured me with, “Perfect tempo Brian. Just keep going. Keep going. We got this.”
As a few stragglers latched on, Graham did his best to motivate the group to work and hold off any additional riders. Nick was cramping pretty badly and was in search of extra water bottles; I can only imagine what place he would’ve gotten if it weren’t for the cramps. As the final climb neared, a few guys got nervous and started making dumb mistakes. I almost got taken out by a Tieni Duro junior as he swerved to follow a premature attack right in front of me; another rider cut off Nick and we touched bars and shoulders for a moment (I was much reassured when I looked over to see who was making contact with me, to see Nick and not some random goofball).Finally we hit the bottom of the final climb. The guys in front kept the tempo really high, and soon our group of 12+ was 5. Unfortunately I was the only Squadra left in that group, but we weren’t too far ahead of everyone else. I was deep in the red zone, 190+ bpm, but I told myself that I only had to endure 5 more minutes of pain. After all the work the team did so far, that was enough motivation to dig deep and stick with the lead group. The 5 of us were together until about 100 meters out. I could tell that the other guys were seriously hurting. As I contemplated the right moment to burn my last match to launch for the line, a Dayka-Hackett rider (note: I didn’t see him the entire race) jumped from behind me and went for the line. I immediately jumped after him and sprinted for all I was worth but I couldn’t get around. I finished a bike-length or so behind him and a few bike-lengths in front of the next guy.It’s amazing how 3 hours of racing with so much climbing still came down to the final few minutes, but it goes to show that this type of fitness can really pay off. I am ecstatic with 2nd place, and stoked that Kreeger got 6th and Nich 10th, with Graham right behind for 11th. A truly solid day of racing for Squadra!Last year’s race: http://app.strava.com/activities/4323376With only two races so far this season, I find myself with 16 points (two weeks ago I had 6 points). I am very excited to progress, but I am also somewhat terrified of the 3s and not quite ready to make that jump. I also really want to pay my dues and help fellow E4 teammates onto the podium after being supported to two of my own. The season is young and I’m looking forward to the next few months.