Wednesday, April 30, 2008
On Saturday I gave my race up for the team and on Sunday during the crit the team gave their race up for me by not attacking and waiting in the pack.
On Sunday in the 15-16 race we raced around 15 laps. On the sixth lap someone attacked on the finishing straight. We caught them half way around the course. Then Zac Wick, a 16 year old from Davis attacked on the left and I was on the right. I called "Left." No one covered the attack so I chased him down. I followed him for a lap then I looked back and saw that we had a large gap. I pulled through. We worked together for the rest of the race. He did about 80 percent of the work. The break stayed because we were the strongest team there and Davis was the second strongest. Both teams were following all the attacks from the peloton. Our gap continued to grow until they neutralized us with 4 laps to go. A rider crashed early in the race on one of the first laps and then later called the ambulance. This gave us a chance to get our energy back, which I much needed. When they stopped the race and we had a minute gap. When we started again we went hard from the gun and stayed away. I died on the last lap and he beat me in the sprint. I finished second.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
With two laps to go on the Flynn Road climb, Chris Phipps put in a hard effort from the bottom. Icouldn't follow him and rode a hard tempo at the front so that I could close him down when it flattened out. You've got to know what you can and can't do... Billy came by me and quickly closed on Chris. So, I gave it a bit more and was able to claw my way up to them by the finish line. That one hurt. A lot. Billy was looking as smooth as ever and kept the pressure on big time as we crossed over 580 through the false flat section. I knew I was in trouble because Billy looked like he was out for a Sunday stroll and Chris was talking away behind me. Finally I had to ask Billy to back off a bit so that I didn't pop. I didn't count how many times I had to ask him that, but it was more than one...
Coming up Flynn Road to get the bell we were getting close to Rob's foursome. The pace wasn't as bad for me this time, but Billy was still doing a ton of work. Finally on Patterson Pass we caught the break. Things were looking good, we had three guys out of seven. Rob and I monitored the group and made a series of attacks and counter attacks. None of them really got anywhere until Rob went again with about 4 miles to go. Brenon joined him and they got a promising gap. Dan Bryant drove on the front while the rest of us sat on. Rob and Brenon were doing well and kept their gap until we got to the hill. Again it was Chris Phipps who nailed it at the bottom. I jumped after him to cover for Billy as best I could. Luckily Billy was right there and came around me to get on Chris' wheel because I was done after about 10 pedal strokes. Chris and Billy rode away on the steep section. Chris knew that he had to get rid of Billy on the steep part or he was doomed. Billy had other ideas and stayed on the wheel and easily won the sprint. I tried to come around Dan Bryant for 3rd but ran out of gas and settled for 4th. Rob finished off his long adventure by placing 6th.
All in all, it was a good hard day of racing! And toasty warm too. FINALLY!
Friday, April 25, 2008
The road race at sea otter was very hot and hard. I had no teammates so I had to do whatever I could to conserve as much energy as possible. We did 5 laps and each time up the climb more and more people got dropped. Luckily, I was not one of them. In fact, the first few times I was the one setting the grueling pace up the climb. After that I sat in to conserve energy for the finish. It was hard to conserve energy because it was so windy. But I did as best as I could. I felt fine towards the last climb and I was still with the lead group. So I was happy. I was climbing fine on the finishing climb and of course, I get a cramp in my right hamstring. I thought to myself “why is this happening? I ate enough and drank almost 4 big bottles during the race” so what could have gone wrong? I don’t know. After the race, I was really upset because I made sure to hydrate and feed myself so I purposely wouldn’t cramp up. I ended up finishing 13th but the good news is that I was the 2nd 17 year old; meaning that everybody who beat me was 18 except one kid. That was something positive to look at.
Sea Otter: Day 2
I felt much better at the circuit race. The pace up the climb was very hard each lap. I was able to stay with the lead group the whole race. I barely did any work to save energy for the finish. On the last riser before the finish on the last lap, a kid attacked and I went with him. We had a tiny gap and when he was a little tired I countered his attack and next thing I knew the whole group was on me. I made the mistake of going too early. And it cost me a spot on the podium. I ended up 7th. And again I was the 2nd 17 year old. I was happy.
Although my results are not the best, I am still satisfied for one very important reason. First of all I had fun at Sea Otter because that event is always so lively and has so much energy and diversity among cyclist and also my improvements. Compared to two years ago when I was at the bottom of the age group, I finished 14th in the road race and 10th in the circuit race. Two years later, at the bottom of the age group again I finished 13th and 7th. As you can see I improved which is something good to look at aside from getting the best results although next year I would very much like to have a team at this event as it is very tough to compete against such strong riders without a team.
Monday, April 21, 2008
On the first lap, during the climb up to the top of the corkscrew, two riders broke away. So early in the race their efforts seemed futile, so we let them go. Marcus Smith, member of our junior team, was on the course cheering for us. Around lap 5 or 6 he called out, “there’s a break more than one minute up the road, what are you guys thinking?” His tone of uncertainty ignited our fire and we picked up the pace. The next time around, we sent Billy away with four other riders. They eventually caught the original break. Sensing sucess, Billy strategically rode away from the others and wound up winning in grand style. He crossed the line solo and more than a minute ahead of second place.
How he fueled the furry: one cup of ordinary hotel coffee, one medium cup brewed starbucks coffee, and one freshly drawn espresso shot (courtesy of Rob Spear) minutes before the start of the race.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is obvious what Billy is saying, "I finally got this monkey off my back, and I got me a jersey to replace it". For many of our early season races, Billy has been quintessential in supporting the victories of other teammates. For him, Sea Otter was a well deserved victory. Cheers!
M45 podium (4th Paul Gossi - Reno; 2nd Rob Anderson TeamSpecializedRacing; 1st fomer teammate Wayne Stetina- Amgen; 3rd Larry Nolan TeamSpecializedRacing; 5th broken derailuer Cynergy rider)
Our mission: to win the Sea Otter master 35+ 1/2/3 road and circuit races, and with one of those wins, get the monkey off Billy’s back.
Fort Ord Road Road Race: Thursday, April 17
Our talent: Kevin Metcalf, Billy Innes, Rob Anderson, Wyatt Weisel, and Craig Roemer.
Race course: rolled out and down Barloy Canyon Road (neutral); 8 laps on a 7.75 mile loop hilly, exposed, and windy circuit with about 500 feet of climbing per lap; and the finishing with a 1.5 mile, 800 feet of climbing out of Barloy Canyon (a total of 68 miles and 4800 feet of climbing).
From the gun, although neutral for the first 2 miles, you could tell the field was anxious to race. As soon as we hit the circuits and the first climb, Colin Cooper of Morgan Stanley attacked. He dangled off the front, slowly rolling out of sight, and then eventually gaining a 2 minute advantage. Knowing that Colin is notorious for going early and staying away, I rode excitedly at the front ready to bring him back. Billy and Kevin were not concerned. They were confident that the wind and the hills would take their toll on Colin. Going into our third lap, up the short 0.5 mile climb up Henikins Rd, Kevin and I were in a small chase group. Kevin’s incredible pace into the hill began splintering the field. As Kevin strung out the field, Billy powered through with Michael Hutchinson joining the chase. This new chase dangled perilously off the front, but no one from the main field was capable of chasing or bridging to the break. Within a lap, the new break had absorbed the early attack and was gaining time. Back in the main field, Rob and I sat-in and policed any threatening moves.
As reported from the breakaway:
Going into the finishing climb up Barloy Canyon, Billy and Michael saw Colin all by himself. Michael said something to the extent of “this does not look good...”. Actually, it was awesome for TeamSpecializedRacing. Somewhere between 2 -3 laps to go, Kevin rode away from Colin, and stayed away for a solo victory (nearly 2:30 ahead of 2nd place). Billy sprinted in for a 3rd place, and Rob and I followed in nearly 8 minutes later for 6th and 9th.
Earlier this year, Kevin kept tabs and posted updates on riders he thought would be threatening for the early 2008 races. Kevin, you over looked one viable competitor... Soloing and staying away for more than two laps on that course is an incredible feat. As stated by Michael after the race, “the best man won today”. Congratulations and Happy Birthday!
Thanks to all of our sponsors. Your support has helped us assemble a selfless, eager, and competent racing team. This has been a great season, and I’m proud to be part of this team.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Specialized train photo by Bryon Servies (Madera 35+ 1/2/3 Crit) http://ebyron.smugmug.com/Sports/314482 "Making up what seemed like half the peloton, the Specialized Masters team controlled all breakaways and used excellent teamwork to take 1st and 3rd"
First of all, there's an unwritten rule that the winner of a race just doesn't send out a race report because it will read rather selfishly. I'm going to buck that tradition because there's a story here that has not been told.
The team picked the low-key Madera stage race many months ago because the three races in two days format is time efficient and that meal on Saturday night is a great opportunity for the team to get together. Two of our juniors did the 3's stage race (Davis was 13th and Marcus DNF). For the masters team we packed the 35+ race with ten guys and set out our strategy: field sprint the crit to keep everyone on the same time for the 10 mile time trial just 3 hours later, stay on course (he he) and go all out in the time trial and then be flexible in the road race.
Unfortunately only 31 other competitors came out to play and not everyone wanted a field sprint in the crit, so instead of a negative race of chasing everything we went out and set a nice 27mph tempo and then let Dean do what he does best. Dean 1st, Alex Holtz (EMC) 2nd, yours truly 3rd. 20, 10 and 5 second time bonuses too.
On to the time trial but the test wasn't just against the clock as we had only 2-1/2 hours after our crit to go anaerobic for 20 something minutes. We were blessed with 80 degree weather and light winds but it was still painful.
We enjoyed a great meal together and made a plan to check results and then make a plan in the morning.
Team breakfast just 10 hours after that big dinner... yum!
Pre-road race leader board: Mick had whomped on everyone by at least 84 seconds in the time trial but he had flatted with no free laps in the crit so Mick was up on me by 54 seconds. Billy was in 3rd after a fine time trial, Craig in 8th, Rob in 10th, Wyatt in 12th, Jeff in 15th, Kevin in 17th and Mike probably with the fastest "I don't want to ride aero equipment" time.
Strategy: keep it all together and hold our 1-2-3 placings.
Dang that was sweet! Groups went up the road and if we didn't like the odds we'd bring it back. Or, I should say that the team brought it back. Everyone did their work and we averaged just over 25mph for 68 miles with 1500 feet of climbing. As the field sprint approached we knew that if there were time gaps we might have lost ground so I followed Ted Huang (Webcor) to the line and pipped him to take the 20 second time bonus.
Turns out Mick knew his time in the 10 miler and told the officials that they had him a minute faster than it should have been. It was the right thing to do but the correction moved Mick back to second place. If Mick hadn't flatted in the crit this would have been a one second time difference!
Final Madera leader board:
Ted Huang (Webcor) 4th
Alex Holt (EMC) 5th
Clark Hoy (San Jose) 6th
TeamSpecializedRacing 7, 9, 13, 16 and 24
Good night! Larry
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
April 6th 2008
Stephen and I met the rest of the gang over the hill in
Larry was psyched for this race, as always, and Craig, Kevin and Wyatt were all on very good form so we felt as if we had a bunch of cards to play. It was a breezy day, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for a bike race.
Larry sat us down and talked over the plan again- Kevin, Craig and I would keep our eyes peeled for breakaways, with Wyatt and Steve in reserve for keeping the bunch up to speed for the inevitable sprint for Larry. Because the final sprint to the line is uphill and into the wind, it was a power sprint and not a pure speed run. It suited Larry, but with only 20 laps of the course, unlike the 45 the pro 1-2s were running, time would be short and we had to keep our heads up the whole time.
The race got started quickly and the speed was painfully high right from the gun. We dove into the first turn, the off camber hairpin, and our SL2s railed as if we had front wings, a high down force setup and super sticky tires- incredible bikes! Stomped on the pedals and down the hill we shot, up through the chicane drifting up to the last turn, again off camber, and sprinted out, up the hill @ over 1000 watts! I thought to myself that this was going to be a hard 20 laps, for sure. But the boys kept in it, never drifting too far back, and never getting too far from the front of the field.
The promoter was giving away a ton of cash and strawberries, happily donated by Cal Giant, so guys were leaping off the front to grab whatever they could. It seemed like the bell was ringing the whole race and the cheers from the crowd were keeping us light on the pedals the whole way around the course. The laps ticked by, I grabbed a preme and then a couple of laps later Kevin pounded the pedals, grabbing a 10 second lead in no time. He held off the pack for what seemed like forever, other teams sending guys to the front to chase and they would drift back after their turns completely spent, never to be seen again. As soon as Kevin got nabbed by the field, Craig bounded off the front with a couple of other guys and that was the final move. More teams that missed the break were now sending riders off to chase or make it across, but with Wyatt and Steve always on their shoulders they knew there was nothing they could’ve done. It looked tenuous for a bit but the break stuck- with the horsepower in the move there wasn’t anyone that could bring it back.
With 4 laps to go Larry turned to me while we were flying down the hill @ 55kph, ‘You take the field sprint and I’m going across!’ I looked at him, ‘Why not announce it to everyone?’ I chuckled to myself. But Kevin sensed what was about to happen, went to the front again, took a good hard dig, setting Larry up and off he shot across the gap. There was nothing anyone who’d heard Larry could’ve done as there is no denying Larry Nolan when he’s on a mission! He flew across the gap, making us all look very, very slow and got there in time to hear the crowd screaming and the bell ringing for the final lap.
Up the hill the break flew and Craig saw just enough daylight down the left hand gutter, slightly sheltered from the gusting wind. It was all the centimeters he needed- he shot through to take the win for Team Specialized Racing, hands aloft! Larry finished 4th and the rest of us rolled in, avoiding kissing the pavement. The plan came together- all we needed now was to meet back at the A-Team van and Larry to be puffing a fat cigar. “I love it when a plan comes together” he’d say, smiling.
Murdoch finally got the monkey off his back too!