Posted on April 2nd, 2013 No comments
If last weekend saw SquadraSF team-members spread far and wide, north and south across the state of California, this weekend was about one race and one race only: Copperopolis.
Copperopolis- the name itself seems larger than life, as though stripped from the very copper mines of days past that gave birth to its name. A race unlike any other in Northern California, yet its most typical, from its Velo Promo promotion, to the narrow, choppy roads and endless leg-breaker climbs that seem to sprout and then multiply, literally from the road, as one approaches.
In my three years as a resident of the Bay Area, I’ve yet to test my mettle on this monster of all road races. Thankfully, my team-mates are much more resilient and descended upon the small town of Milton with victory on their minds: from Alex Lugosch once again visiting the venue of his first win, to Trevor White reneging on a pledge he made to himself years ago never to do this race, to Brian Schuster who would tackle be tackling the race with the fresh eyes of a Cat 4 to James Enright, who would discover that legends do indeed walk freely about in the NCNCA, it would be a memorable weekend.
Brian Schuster (4th place – Cat4): What I remember most about this race was how shitty the “pavement” was. “We have to do this three times?!” I was expecting the bad roads but not the constant pelting of chip seal; the problem is that it got kicked up, scattered across the road, and picked up by all the tires in front of you and sprayed in your face. And hair. And shoes. And mouth.
Not the preferred form of calories for racing.
Chris Elbo (7th – E3): On first lap ever on course I did a lot of “sight seeing” in the pack: ‘Glad it’s warm this morning,’ ‘They weren’t kidding about the bumps’, ‘What the?- Is that road spray?
Trevor White (8th- M123): When I started racing again four years ago, there were two things I swore I would never do: glue on sew-ups and race Copperopolis. Completely ignoring these sensible lines in the sand, I glued up a pair of tires last week and lined for Copperopolis on Saturday morning.
James Enright (10th – P1/2): Tim Larkin won this beast of a race in 2005 so we asked him for some advice and team strategy for our small but strong squad. The plan was pretty simple: Matt and Lee would cover early moves just to take off the pressure a bit for Kurt and I to save our energy for the later selections
Graham Abra (12th place – Cat 4): I got dropped three times. Once on the first descent; over-gripped the bars, I lost the wheel in front of me. Next thing I know there’s a massive gap. Had to put in a big pull through the finish to get back on.
This is definitely one of those races where just finishing is an accomplishment.
Trevor White (M123): I spent the entire race sitting in and getting pelted by asphalt. We went hard on the climbs and dropped plenty of riders each lap. But in spite of many attempts by others, there was never a decisive split on the climbs.
James Enright (P12): Between the two main climbs Lee Peters and Matt Abdalah kept me protected near the front and tried to keep the pace going just a bit. We were not pulling everyone around but at least we would come through when the pace slowed to keep the miles ticking away.
Brian Schuster: (Cat4) As we climbed the kicker before the descent, I passed Nick Kreeger and grabbed his last bottle. I drank half and poured the other half on my leg. Somehow, I made it over the top with the other 5 guys.
Chris Elbo (E3) : I’m staying up front figuring things were about to get interesting when ‘click, click, click…’ I’m pedaling but going nowhere, I look down and my chain has dropped again in all the bumps. I try all sorts of front downshifting with rear up/downshifting and nothing…I watch as the pack passes me by. After some more frantic ghost-shifting my chain finally catches (thank goodness I had an inner chain catcher or I would’ve had to stop and put it back on by hand). By this point I’m last wheel and know I’ve got a lot of work to do. Working my way through the pack I try not to overdo it but realize that the fireworks have started…@#$% x2!! I burn through much of my matchbook trying to make contact with the lead group but don’t quite get there. I settle in the first chase group and try to recover. Luckily the lead group wasn’t working well together and were caught…our combined pack then stopped working and puttered along the high rollers.
Alex Lugosch (11th – E3): As we crested the climb, Nick K. and I were with a chase group trying to get back on. We could see the lead group but the guys we were with were blown. Right before the hard left on plateau I decided that I didn’t come all the way out to Milton at the ass crack of dawn to get a face full of ass-phalt only to get dropped. Thankfully, the lead group slowed and after picking up some stragglers got back on three miles before the rough descent. When I rejoined I realized that they’d caught the guys who went away from the gun and that I might still have a shot at getting something out of the race.
Brian Schuster (Cat4): After the descent, the games began. Little surges and attacks but nobody made a serious effort until the final sprint. I jumped as soon as a Bicycles Plus/Sierra went for the line but BOTH my legs immediately seized up. Sprinting at full gas with two completely cramped legs is absolutely awful. I wish that pain on no one. Somehow I managed to pass 2 of the guys in our group and cross the line 4th.
Chris Elbo (E3): We all know it’s going to happen, we all know how bad we feel, we approach the main climb and Boom. Groups of 3 & 2 go over the top before what’s left of the pack crest together. We try fruitlessly to get organized but our group of 15 or so is pretty toasted. We cruise the high rollers till we hit the last climb. I move to the front trying to string it out a bit hoping to drop more sprinters…I only have one match left saved for the line. We hit the descent hard and get strung out then bunch up again right before the final rise. By this point the 5 riders in the lead had crossed the line already so we were fighting for 6th. With 200+m to go the Bear Development kid jumps through an impossibly small hole on the inside and starts the sprint, we chase. I have to charge around the outside and power my way up to the line. I didn’t catch the Bear rider but pass others to take a close second at the line.
Alex Lugosch (E3): We went up the climb at a steady pace and I even felt good enough to put some distance on the field as we went up.
Given how wrecked I felt though I figured everyone else must feel like crap too so I attacked a couple times on the plateau only to be pulled back immediately. I resigned myself to sprinting it out at the finish and after the descent grabbed a spot on (Bear Development’s) Tommy Lucas’ wheel. Unfortunately being the stick that I am I can’t sprint from 220 out like he can and when I tried to follow at that distance I flamed out with 40 meters to go. A few guys passed in those few meters including Chris Elbo. I end up finishing 11th for the third time in as many races.
Trevor White (M123): It was clear that either Jan Weissenberger (ZIPS Cycling) or Andres Gill (Michael David Winery) would win the sprint. Chris Phipps (Thirsty Bear) gave it a flyer and allllllllllmost pulled it off. But Gill ended up winning with Weissenberger, second.
I would have liked to have done better than 8 of 10 in the sprint, but all-in-all I was thrilled to hang on the climbs with this group and finish in the first group at Copperopolis.
James Enright (P1/2): At the bottom of the descent, Phil Mooney had caught our group – it was going to be a sprint of 6 for 8th on the day. I opened up the sprint first, Joe Dickerson (Marc Pro-Strava) and Josh Carling (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) came around me. I held on for 3rd in our group which was good enough for 10th Place and the coveted VeloPromo Copperopolis T shirt. 8th would have been nice, but I gave it all I had at 110miles and 5hrs of racing
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.