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CCCX MTB Race #2 02/27/2011

posted Mar 1, 2011, 10:52 PM by Unknown user

Course length is listed 5 to 6 miles. Same location as race #1 but a different course. CCCX did a great job in setting up the course. There was very little mud. 1 mud hole on a steep climb and 1 straightaway that was swamped. Weather was forecast to be raining and cold with chance of snow. The weather turned out to be sunny and warm(ish). Cat 1 raced 5 + laps.

All experts started in 1 wave. By the end of lap 1 I was in a group of 4 riders with 4 or 5 riders up the trail. On lap 3 we dropped one of our group and the other two riders I was with slowed down a bit. I took this as my chance to put in a hard effort and get away. Right at the start of lap 4 I caught the rider in front of me. We were evenly matched over a lap but were each strong in different sections. I would pass him on all the climbs and get a small gap, he would power by me on the flats. We battled back and forth all of lap 4 and lap 5. On lap 5 we caught and passed one more rider. At the end of lap 5 I tried to sprint for the finish but just couldn't make it stick. I finished in 3rd place.

- Brad C

Cantua Creek RR / Pine Flat RR / Dinuba Crit 02/19_20_21/2011

posted Mar 1, 2011, 10:43 PM by Unknown user

Race on Saturday wasn't too painful/fast, or at least I wasn't hanging on tooth and nail like usual. Was there at the end in about 10th position with 100 meters to go, get out of saddle to start mashing it up and the freakin chain dropped down to small sprocket!!! Race over. 13th. 

Sunday was a totally different experience - much harder course. Sufferfest on almost every little climb. Pace was pretty intense over all the rollers. I don't think I had recovered from Saturday's ride as I almost got dropped a couple times the first half of the race. Finally, at about mile 50 I lost contact on one of those nasty pitches. Soloed in and rode out the 2 final climbs to the finish. Then collapsed. Man, there were some fit dudes in that race. I was amazed how tough the pace was on Sunday through that terrain. Rather chilly both days, but no rain which was a blessing. Once again, lots of crashes. Got bumped by guys trying to avoid the melee by some poor bike handlers. I was lucky not to go down in both races. What is up with that? That's 3 races in a row that I've narrowly avoided kissing the pavement. I guess I'm just lucky. That's all I have for now. Will see you out there.

- John

This course is a rolling, twisting, smooth pavement, mountain top finish dream (at least for me since I'm a climber). It would be nice if they held this race later in the year for a better turnout.  One of the highlights of the day was watching the Velo Promo van roll over tire spikes, hit a rock and then reverse over the tire spikes in the wrong direction...OOOPS! 25 of us lined up and started up a steep neutral climb (something like 15% for 100 yards) out of the parking lot then we took a right turn and road along Pine Flat Lake. Beautiful course with snow visible in the sierra as low as 3,000ft. Thanks again to Ben Earl for lending me his SLO Nexus jacket as it was about 45 degrees at the start.  The only team I could see in my race were 5 riders from Dolce Vita Cycling. A number of riders raced the day before at Cantua (not including myself) maybe this was why no one was interested in pushing the pace.  We cruised a nice rolling course along the lake turned around then headed back to get ready for the 1,000 ft descent into the valley. We all agreed to be careful as a good friend of mine was involved in a terrible crash on this decent (49MPH) last year with a rider going to the hospital. Once we made it to the valley the pace SLOWED even more.  It felt more like a Sunday 40 mile recovery ride than a road race.  Everyone was talking and joking I realized they were all saving themselves for "the Climb"  we even allowed an open Cat 5 chase group with 5 riders to pass us.  I decided then to pull between mile 35-40 all by myself what felt like an easy spin pace.  At about 45 miles the Dolce Vita guys formed a line and the pace picked up.  I stayed right behind them and as we turned right on Watts Valley Rd. you could feel the intensity build up for the long climb.  Because I had never seen or ridden this course I relied on what everyone else told me about the course.  This 1,000ft ascent was indeed very similar to going up Prefumo Canyon gradual uphill at the start then steeper as you get higher and higher.  I stayed glued on either the lead or 2nd rider determined not to get popped off.  Half way up the climb I looked behind and noticed that the  peloton had exploded and were all spread out only 4 of us were left together. As we reached top we saw a funny looking guy with a black cowboy hat, red t-shirt, arm warmers and sunglasses with a horn cheering us on.  I knew then this had to be the summit!!  We flew down Watts Valley rd and had a rolling twisting descent similar to going down Prefumo or the bottom part of See Canyon.  We formed a 4 man paceline that was determined not to let anyone else catch us from behind.  Finally, we reached the last hill and I saw the 1K to go sign. I just stayed glued on the lead rider's wheel and as we surged ahead we popped off the other two riders behind us.  The hill was similar to going up Hausna but a little steeper.  A friend of mine Van McCarty who did really well in this race a few years ago told me to wait be patient let the other riders tire out and don't make a move till you see the 200m to go sign.  That is when the incline increases to 15%.  I attacked with 200 meters got a 4 or 5 second gap and won the race.  My second road race victory ever.  I've included a couple 5 second videos of what the top of the 1,000ft climb was like as well as a picture of us reaching the summit.  Looks like I'll be upgrading to Cat 3 very soon.  

 - Steve Sharp

The course is a 26 mile out and back with a small climb at the finish. Cat 4's did 3 laps. 78 miles seems like a long race for February. Not much to tell about the first 2 laps. There were a few small 2mak breaks that just died in the wind. On the way back in on lap 3 there were 3 or 4 little crashes caused by slowing in the front of the group and the back bunching up. About 20 meters from the finish a rider 2 spots in front of me cramped or something and just stopped in the road. The rider in front of me and I swerved left to avoid hitting him. I came to almost a complete stop. Once I got going again and crossed the finish line I was in 11th or 12th place. Not sure on placing because Velopromo was having trouble getting results posted. I stayed for about 1 1/2 hours and the finally posted but only 1st-9th. 

After that race I drove to Fresno. I was planning on racing Pine Flat road race and Dinuba crit to finish out the presidents day weekend. While unloading my bike I discovered a crack in my fork. Racing weekend done. I think crack is from a crash in the mothballs crit.

- Brad C

CCCX 02/12/2011

posted Feb 13, 2011, 10:33 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 1, 2011, 10:43 PM ]

Hi All,
At just about 1.75 hours from Margarita, CCCX is one of the close venues that offers great, and extensive race series - Road, Mountain and CycleCross. I raced the 
Mountain Bike series with SingleTrax many years ago and they are a kick with lots of course variations throughout the season - There are 8 more road races in the series this season (7 more mountain races), though clearly you don't have to race it as a series, you can race those that fit into your schedule. It's a closed course, so it's nice and wide with no yellow line rule.  We only saw one other Nexian at the race - sorry, I can not recall his name. 
Gary Willey and I drove up together and he raced the open Cat 4s at 8:30 & I raced open Cat 5s starting at 8:35. As I said, it's been awhile since I raced at CCCX and wow have things changed, not the racing, but how to get to there. That through us for a loop, so instead of being about 45mins ahead of the start, after many calls to cell phone navigator Carla Willey, we got there with just enough time to get our pre-reg numbers and get to the line.
The 5s - can't wait to be done with them - I think I have 3 more to go to upgrade. At the whistle, young adrenaline kicked in and the pack was pretty quickly into a thin, long ribbon. Being in my 2nd week of Base training, I haven't seen my heart in the mid 180s for, well a long time. It took about a lap and a half before I popped and road with two other seared riders with funny dreams of catching back on. At about 38 mins of the 60 minute race, I started feeling a cramp creaping into my calf and pealed off at the registration. Anoxic, I sat, stretched, and worked on the calf, hoping I could tame it for the 
11:15 35+ 4/5s. Gary did well in his 4's race - stayed out of trouble and near the front in a mild paced pack - went a bit early for the line and got swallowed, but managed about 16th. About 1 minute back, the 5s charging the line - I guess they didn't settle down too much.
After Gary's race was over, we spun over to a Target in Sea Side and I got some Icy/Hot and massaged that into the calf. It helped, as did the 150 heart rate range I was in with the 4/5s. I can't remember if we were a 3/4 or 1 and 3/4s laps in when a rider in front of Gary and I hit the wheel in front of him. Down he went - Gary a couple of riders ahead of me had no time and no where to go and ran the poor guy over as did the guy in front of me. I had enough time to slow way down, but still bumped into him enough to put me over the bars and tangled with feet still clipped in. Someone got one of my feet out and 3 of the 4 remaining took off after the peleton. John from San Metao and I worked together well and were able to claw back to the group after about a 1/2 a lap, but unfortunately, it was just in one of the hilly sections and I heard the call - "ease up to the top and hit it." Red lined, I clawed on - Gary, though he is over 45 was riding this race with me and unbeknonced to him, I was on as he took digs on front - popped again. John had popped off almost as soon as we made contact, so I eased off and in familiar fashion, we finished the race trading pulls - he strong on the flats and me on the climbs, keeping things in the 170s. And hey, didn't have any more calf twinges.
Gary rocked the race, staying near the front, taking some good break attempts and finished 6th.
My lessons learned:
- Even if you think you know where your going, it doesn't hurt to check the directions to the venue. 
- Get 3 more 5s done as quickly as possible
- Early season (well, at least for me) C races can be fun and with some careful shuffling of your scheduled rides for the week, can almost fit into your schedule, though on the high side.
- Don't forget to turn off your GPS/Computer at the end of the race - Rookie!
My upcoming Goal: Ride smart and see if I can hang on for the duration of a race. 

Saturday's road race was great. Good weather, mellow vibes, and some fast laps. I got in some intensity work that was needed. I was there at the end, but got stuck in the middle. I decided not to try and add to the frenzy from behind to perhaps gain only a few places. The guys up front already had the first 6 places. So I just cruised in with the remaining group.
The MTB race has even more intense and skills demanding. The legs actually felt okay after the hard effort on Satuday. Not too fatigued. So I got off the start line and took my tempo up immediately to 90% of my max, sometimes dipping into 100% effort on those steep and short climbs that put ya in the red everytime. I felt pretty good through the whole men's Sport 45+ race. I rode the 4 lap race (20miles)in 1:34 min. for 8th. Winning pace was 1:28 min. I rode to the limit of my ability so I'm happy with my rides.

- John

Not sure what the length of the course was. The flyer said 5 to 6 miles. It felt more like 5 to me. Cat 1 did 5 laps. 
My plan for the day was to take it kind of easy. I did not want to work myself over before the Cantua, Pine Flat, Dinuba weekend. 
At the start I let myself drift towards the back and settled into a good pace. As the race went on I slowly picked up the pace without getting my 
heart rate up to high. By the last lap I had worked my way up to 5th place. In the last corner I managed to sprint for a 4th place finish.

- Brad C

Mothballs Criterum 01/30/2011

posted Feb 13, 2011, 10:27 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 1, 2011, 10:41 PM ]

Sunday I put the cap on a hard weekend by racing the mothballs cat 4 crit. Unfortunately for me some guy decided to move up with 5 laps to go. When he went past me he was riding in the gutter. Just as I had time to think thats a bad move he tangled with another rider. I was collected in the pileup with a few others. I'm ok with a little road rash but the bike is a little jacked up.

- Brad C

Poor College Kids Road Race 01/29/2011: The Collection -

posted Feb 13, 2011, 10:11 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 1, 2011, 10:42 PM ]

Took my medicine today (again!) from some very fit dudes, namely, Amgen and some Sho-Air. The tempo started pretty high (21 - 23mph) and didn't relax much at all from the start through the main first hill about 5 miles in. I remember thinking it (I) can't go on like this for 2 laps - 68 miles. It was tooth and nail at the peek of that first and only substantial climb about 1.5 kilometers long. There's a false flat at the top and the tempo stayed tuff. I was red-lining, seeing God, beckening the engine room, "MORE POWER!" But it just wasn't there. I lost contact and my race was over. I rode out the remaining 60 miles at/near my limit, determined to make my ride like the race I came to do. One of my personal rules is not to quit, especially if I get dropped, and if I have the ability to keep riding. At least the weather was good - not too cold and sunny out after the fog broke.

I'm posting this because I think it's important that Nexus people share in their disappointments as well as their glory rides. Ya, it's a catharsis, a purging, but it does have it's therepeutic values. Sharing experiences during race events is also team building. I hope others will do the same as it interesting to hear about club mates' experiences. I did see a couple other SLO Nexus riders there and waved to them. But not many. I think they were in the cat 4 or 5 races that went off just ahead of my group. I hope they had better fortune than I did. There were lots of crashes at the finish line. NOT FUN!! I see this at every race. One guy actually ran in to me as I was at the turn-around making the turn for lap 2. Only by luck we both didn't eat pavement and wreck the bikes. Please use discretion people even/especially while sprinting if you are there at the end!

- John Hawkins

Slow start with 60+ riders. About 3 or 4 miles into the race a 7 man breakaway left the peloton (3 guys from the Rock Solid team) they ended up getting at 3+ min gap and we never saw them again. I started near the back of the back which was a mistake. Lots of accelerations then breaking in the back and a couple other Rock Solid guys up front covering the attacks by other riders then lots of blocking going on. With the centerline rule and narrow road it made it nearly impossible to move up from the back unless you rode on the far right near or on the dirt. Just over 34 miles (1/2 way) into the race a two man chase broke away from the peloton. They got about a minute on us. Then at around 46 miles another guy from rock solid made a solo break. There were now about 40 of us in the peloton and I was getting impatient so I moved up front. About 7 miles from the hill (50 miles into the race) 3 guys attacked and I went with them I looked back and there were 5 more guys behind me that formed a 9 man chase group that broke the peloton. We worked hard and forming paceline similar to the hammer ride this really got us going. By the time we reached the hill we were all tired and decided to keep an even tempo up the hill then REALLY push the downhill so peloton (which didn't seem very organized) couldn't catch us. While our goal was not to get caught we also proceeded to catch the other chase groups ahead of us on the downhill. This created a 12 man group getting ready for a crazy sprint for 7th place. I put my elbows out and stayed out of trouble and finished 6th or so in the sprint (maybe around 12th place overall). I hope everyone else did well and were safe. One guy posted a video of the last 3 minutes of the Cat 3 r
ace that included a terrible crash at the end going 40+MPH check it out!!!

- Steve Sharp

So Seth, Jesse and I rode the 5b race. It was the first race ever for me and Seth as well I think. Didn't know what to expect so just chilled in the back on the way out there were no breaks so it was pretty mellow. I think everyone had in mind to attack the one hill on the way back and hold I guess. I went off the front halfway back just cuz i was impatient and wanted to push the pace and experiment, Got swallowed up by the group again and settled back in before the climb. Attacked the climb and had a 10 man break, very unorganized and another group of 8-10 caught on, guys weren't pulling through on the gradual downhill and the frustration turned into a two man crash (one broken collar bone) almost got caught up in it but did some offroading instead, Sprinted up to the 10 guys ahead and pushed the pace at the front no one again was pulling through content to just sit on my wheel the last two miles. I think the other group of guys had caught on, I motioned for guys go ahead and slowed down but to no avail, I knew they were just going to blow by me (I dont have sprinting legs) but did what I could. Several guys moved around me with 300 left. I was thinking I'd be happy with a top 10-15 finish until about 200 out someone clipped my wheel from behind, Next thing I knew it was slidding on the tarmac. My bike wasnt rideable so just walked in. Thank God I didnt break anything just road rash at 37mph. So I'm in the market for a new shimano 9spd rear wheel and front right sti shifter, If anyone has any they have lying around or want sell a guy on a budget let me know, cuz my bike out of commission for now. 

- Thanks, Michael Paine

Other accounts from the 5b race: unlike Mike, I was unable to make it to the front for the attack, although I caught the break right as they were cresting and attempted to catch up on the descent but to no avail. I was caught behind the break and ahead of the second group coming over, leaving myself alone practically redlining trying to catch the break. As the second group starts catching I am too spent to jump on and was once again alone trying to catch the newly formed break. After the first crash, legs on fire, I redline it to try to catch the group and still can't catch on. I was then on my own to fight of the chase group behind me. Close to the finish I catch the end of the second crash (Mike was riding a hell of a race) and narrowly beat out the second group.

Lessons learned for first race: 
You have a better chance of getting in a break when you are in the front of the peloton
Chasing down a break is too hard by yourself- work with others

Getting ready for the next one.
I hope you're feeling better mike.

- Sef

The course is a out and back. 34 miles per lap. masters do 2 laps.

For the second year I raced (well entered) the masters race. After getting dropped on the first climb last year I vowed to race cat 4 this year. Well I registered late and the 4's was full. I found myself lining up again for the 35+ masters. 

At the start the pace was ok with the normal speed up slow down that was magnified at the back. Near the end of lap 1 I was dropped on the climb. I formed a group with 2 other riders. Soon we were caught by 4 other riders but lost 3 of our 7. That left 4 of to chase. Just after the end of lap 1 we had chased back to the tail end of the pack. A few miles later going over the climb I was dropped again. I found myself formed into another group of 4 and chased back. We regained the tail end of the field just before starting the return trip. On the final climb I was dropped for the third and final time. I watched the race ride away. 

Overall I was pleased with the race. This year I made it farther than last year before being dropped. Plus I put out several hard efforts chasing back on. I'd say I raced some 60ish miles of the 68 mile race.

- Brad C

Bike Bakersfield Criterium - 05.01.10

posted May 4, 2010, 10:39 AM by Tyler Wertenbruch

Barrett, Ryan and I made the trip over to Bakersfield on Saturday morning for a day of racing at the Bike Bakersfield Critierum. It turns out that Josh Kessler, Ben Earl and Glen Baldwin all made the trip as well. Josh started us off with a solid 7th place finish in a good size cat 5 field. Barrett and Ben then had an interesting race in the cat 4. They had a guy go from lap 2 and stay away until 7 laps to go. Barrett and Ben put in the work when they needed and still managed to put together solid finishes with Barrett in 3rd and Ben in 8th. Glenn's race was hard to read as they had a few fields in at the same time so I am not sure how he finished up but he looked strong and seemed to be in the front group from what I could tell. I lined up for my race with about 12 other riders. It was a small field and a few had been talking about just riding tempo and sprinting for the finish. Well myself and the race promoter Zach did not really go for that. The start of the 3rd lap Zach put in a little acceleration, I matched it and we had about 10 seconds pretty quickly. I figured what the heck, its a small field and I am there for a good workout so why not go for it. We had one guy from Vegas bridge up to us after 4 or 5 more laps and then another two started to come across. By half way through the race we were a group of 4, having dispatched the original guy from Vegas who had bridged. Myself, Zach, Big Steve G. and another guy from Vegas put in the work and ended up lapping the field. We traded even pulls, all took a prime and proceeded to lap the field 3 more times. I think they gave up, but also our pace never let up as well. With about 9 laps to go the guy from Vegas put in a nice little attack and I thought I was done for. My left calf balled up and had anyone else gone again I would have been off the back and riding in for 4th. It turns out it settled in again and let me shake out the cramp and ready for the finish. I knew going into the last few laps that if I went to the line with Steve G. he would crush me like a little bug. Steve is a fantastic sprinter even though he is a fair bit older, he still has massive power which turns into big speed. With 4 to go we were overtaking the field again and I put in an attack trying to use the passing of the field to cause a little trouble. I was marked pretty quick and then they would not come around me at all. I rode the front until the second to last corner just before the bell lap and was able to get one of the others to take the front. Once I was at the back I decided I had two opportunities to use. I looked for the first at the straight between the 1st and 2nd corner as it was narrow and with two corners it could cause a little gap, but we were going just fast enough that I would not have gotten a great jump. I waited for the 2nd to last corner as it was a little dirty, there were a few pot holes and all day the others had taken it wide through the exit. I set up for the corner by dropping a few feet off the back of the group and took an angle on the corner that put me right on the inside gutter as they swung wide. I put in 6 hard pedal strokes before the next corner, but by that point I had a good gap already. From the exit of corner 4 it was all out as I knew if I let up Steve would be coming like a freight train. I crossed the line solo with a little room to spare and picked up my first win of the season. It was a fun weekend, we pulled some great results and supported a pretty cool event even if it was small.

Cats Hill Classic Criterium - 05.01.10

posted May 3, 2010, 12:06 PM by Tyler Wertenbruch

I had the pleasure of riding the Cat's Hill Crit in LosGatos for the second year in a row. For those not familiar with the race it is a crit unlike any other I am familiar with. The course is very technical with six 90 degree turns and, about mid way through the one mile lap, there is a 100 meter 23% climb. The backside of the hill is very fast down to the final 90 degree turn to the slightly downhill finish. The roads are not smooth and picking a good line is very important. The concrete has gaps all over the place which are not fun if you catch an edge. The race has a rich history. Back in 1978 Greg Lemond won it as a Junior beating National Senior Champion Wayne Stetina. I rode the 35+ 4/5 race with about 55 or so other riders. Because of earlier crashes and delays they reduced our race to 10 laps from 12. The race this year was faster than last in every lap. Right out of the gates a rider rode off the front and we never saw him again. The
tempo of the race stayed high the entire time and about 30% of the rides got dropped and whistled out. I tried to stay near the front as the steep hill punished those at the end of the accordion. 

With two laps to go I made the mistake of easing a little and going from the front of the pack to about 15 riders back. To win or place high at this race you need to be in the top 3 during the last lap or two. The speed and technical level makes it next to impossible to advance any spaces the last lap - the speed is just too high. So, my placing remained the same the last two laps and I rolled in 17th place only a couple seconds difference from second place (first place came in 30 or seconds earlier). The top 25 riders were dominated by just a few local clubs. This race is a must for riders interested in crits. There is just so much going on and so many tactics. 

I uploaded a couple of race videos of the "wall": com/watch? v=-yp4s14pI70 (Nexus colors near the front) com/watch? v=RXxJEP7pHuk


Wente Vineyards Criterium - 04.25.10

posted Apr 26, 2010, 10:25 AM by Tyler Wertenbruch

Paul and I showed the colors in the Wente P12 crit up in Livermore yesterday afternoon. It was a fantastic day with no major winds to speak of and lots of sun. The course is a 4 corner wide crit with lots of bots dots and a chicane between corners 3 and 4. The width of the course and the bots dots make for the group moving side to side snaking all over the place. Knowing this I made every attempt to spend all the energy I could moving forward and as close to the front as possible. We started with 120 guys and within 10 minutes my position choice worked out well as about half the field went down or was postponed due to a crash after the 3rd turn. From them on it was a again about position and see where you end up. Both Paul and I made a few moves, stayed in the upper part of the splits and for the most part were out of trouble. With 6 laps to go it became a real crap shoot as to where you were going to end up. I found my self on every other lap going from top 20 to 50th in a blink of an eye. With how wide the course was it allowed for new lines to come from behind and change the front of the race. With that happening it is very hard for any team to take complete control and so it turned into how much luck you had coming into the last two laps. Both Paul and I finished mid pack somewhere and stayed safe. It was actually a pretty fun race and was safe considering how many crashes had there were throughout the rest of the day. Looking forward to next weekend, whatever we head off to.

De Vlees His Ronde RR - 04.18.10

posted Apr 19, 2010, 2:09 PM by Tyler Wertenbruch

This was a road race on the outskirts of Bakersfield along highway 58.  The Y-shaped out-and-back course started in the valley and climbed into the mountains to the first turnaround.  From there it descended a short way before hanging a hard right turn and climbed some more to the second turnaround.  Then it was a descent back to the start/finish.  I went into the race thinking that each lap would be about 1/3 flats, a good amount of rolling hills, and then one main climb.  In reality the flats seemed to make up only about 1/4 of the course, there weren't really any rollers, and the rest was just climbing and descending.  The route was awesome and a lot of fun to ride, with fair to excellent pavement.

I started the Cat 4 race with Brett Sullivan with at least 65 other riders (that's how many were pre-registered) .  We got to the start line late and were stuck at the back of the pack, but by the time we hit the main climb we were both moved up into the top 1/4 of the field, and I was sitting in at around 15th.  The climb was not overly steep so the group stayed on the gas pretty much the whole time.  Both of the turnarounds were tight and placed at the bottom of some decently steep descents, and so that's where the selections in the group were made.  I managed to stay with the lead group as they charged back up the hill after the first turnaround, but lost contact with them on the second.  By the time I hit the main descent for the first time I had been picked up by the first chase group.  We had about 12 or 13 guys and we worked the paceline down the hill and along the flats to try and catch the leaders.

As my chase group came into the start/finish for the turnaround to start our second lap we saw the lead group and were only a minute or less behind.  I'm not really sure what happened at that point, but the pacelining stopped for the most part and we never made contact.  I think that the guys in the group knew the amount of climbing that was still to come and just gave up hope.  I stayed with this chase group up to the first turnaround, where I lost contact on the climb again.  I wound up riding most of the rest of the way with one other rider who also got dropped from the chase group.  As we came to the second turnaround and the feedzone, I saw Dustin Ransom there with a bottle for me, which I definitely needed at that point. 

As myself and this other Cat 4 rider neared the valley floor, the Masters 35+ 1-4 group passed us...along with their broom wagon, which was an extended-cab duelly truck.  Being clearly out of contention for any placement in my race, I took advantage of the huge draft this truck provided.  With about 3k left to go and being somewhat "recovered," I decided to see if I could beat the Masters group.  The truck had moved to the middle of the road and I came up alongside, around the back of the Masters group and slowly up past them, staying out of their draft the whole way.  I stayed out in front of them for about a minute or so, with my leg muscles cramping on each pedal stroke, before they came up and caught me.  At that point, rather than risk DQing for joining another racing category, I let them pass me for good. 

Coming into the finish, there was no sign of the other Cat 4 rider I had been with, and I saw Brett on the sidelines at the finish cheering me home along with Dustin (Brett made the decision to pull out when he reached the feedzone on the second lap).  So I cruised back to my car to pick up some much-needed FLUID, and no sooner than after I got off my bike and leaned it against my car then both of my hamstrings cramped up and knocked me on my butt.  Now THAT is a good race.  I definitely wasn't fast enough, but I know I gave it everything I had.

~ Ben

Central Coast Circuit Race #1 - 2.20.10

posted Mar 11, 2010, 11:57 AM by Tyler Wertenbruch

Jim Budd and I (Kevin Offhaus) did the Cat 4 and 35+ races today at Fort Ord. The races were on a closed (SWEET!!!) 4.3 mile loop with some rollers and an uphill finish.

The Cat 4 race was pretty subdued with very little organization. The third Pillar team definitely had the numbers, however didn’t seem interested in moving up and dictating the race. Not much happened until one lap to go. The only place anyone could really get away was the final climb before a fast decent, sharp turn and, finally, an uphill finish. Jim and I stayed towards the front of the last climb, however got separated a bit on the decent. I found his wheel again right before the turn to the finish. Unfortunately, we grabbed the wrong wheel in the sprint. Jim was essentially pushed off the road in the last 50 meters by a, let’s say, technically challenged rider. Luckily, his mad CX skills took over and he miraculously stayed upright for a 6th place finish. The guy that pushed him off the road then pinched me into another racer and I got blocked for an 11th place finish.  That reminded us that positioning is EVERYTHING. Hopefully we can improve on that as the season progresses!

The Master’s 35+ 4/5 race was a very different story. The San Jose Bike Club had big numbers in this race and was conveniently absent from the earlier Cat 4 race, so they were well rested!!! Needless to say, they dictated the race from the beginning. They sent a flier early and no one was willing to chase. Jim and I tried to get the other teams with numbers to organize (Third Pillar AGAIN); however no one felt it worthwhile to establish a chase, bridge the gap and take some control. BIG MISTAKE. We started pushing the pace a bit but, of course, once we reeled in the flier, another San Jose guy would attack and so on. Subsequently, we popped on the last climb and were unable to get back together. I think San Jose went 1-2-4 at the finish. The lack of organization of other teams was frustrating, to say the least. However, it was beautiful to watch a team organize and execute a plan so well.


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