Monthly Archives: June 2011

Yarmouth Clam Festival Race 2011

It’s time for the 31st Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Bike Race to be held on Sunday, July 17th. Register HERE! (Pre-registrations only – no day of registrations.)

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OA/Cyclemania Masters on the line at the start. Photo by Donald McEwan.

Starting in beautiful downtown Yarmouth, the route is a 3.6-mile course with the men taking 10 laps (total of 36-miles) and the women taking 6 (total of 21 miles).

The race begins at 9am on Sunday, July 17th on Main Street, Yarmouth. The 3.6 mile course takes a right on East Elm street, right on Leighton Road, right on North Road, right on East Main Street to the bottom of the hill then a sharp right on Marina Road (a great spot to watch the race), which turns back into Main Street to the start/finish line.

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The field coming around the turn from East Main Street. Photo by Don McEwan.

There are between 2 and 3 primes (sprints) per lap of each race, which make this very exciting to watch. This race typically attracts 150 of the finest cyclists in New England with 3000-4000 spectators lined up throughout the course to see one of the best bicycle races in the area.

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2010 Men’s podium: 1st place – Jurgen Nebelung, Embrocation Cycling Journal (center); 2nd place – Dylan McNicolas, CCB/Wheelworks (right); 3rd place – Harrison Harb, Sunapee U23 Team. Photo by Don McEwan.

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2010 Women’s podium: 1st place – Amy McGuire, Wheelworks Racing (center); 2nd place – Nicole Freedman, Wheelworks Racing (right); 3rd place – Elle Anderson, NEBC/Cycleloft/Devonshire Dent (left). Photo by Don McEwan.

As you can imagine, it also takes many volunteers to make this event happen. If you are able to volunteer, please email David Brink.

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Purgatory Race Results – Masters 45+ – June 12, 2011

BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP ….. 3:00am and we in bike racing awake to one of life’s hard decisions. Darkness, rain pelting on the windows, 52 degrees for a high, 5 hours in the car and slick descents with 50 other guys on the bike, or roll over to a warm wife, warm pancakes .. no wait .. hot wife, hot pancakes, hot coffee, Portland Press Herald and Pink Floyd in the background. Hummmm … let me think about that. Of course the decision is easy. We OA/CM-ers hop out of bed in full kit (you all sleep in your uniform, right?) and scurry to the Exit 46 Park & Ride – Eric Weinrich, Eric Larsson, Jeff Fisher, John Grenier and me – all ready to go. Down the turnpike we speed (sorry, Brian) toward Sutton, MA as we gaily munch on Pop Tarts, PB & Js and bananas, all of which is slurped down with UCAN lemon protein mix. Yes, we employ the mass positive energy vibe trick to dissipate the gloomy weather. Eric L. assures that the weather maps have things moving in our favor.

Sutton, gray skies, 52 degrees, windy, drizzle – clearly something isn’t working. Fisher and Grenier start to shake as flashbacks to Quabbin take over. Poor guys. Sign in, hit the powder room, pin the numbers on, work some icy-hot & Vaseline into the legs, arm warmers, vest under the short sleeve shirt, one last plaintive look towards the sky, line up – we are ready to go.  Normally the hot wife and hot pancakes would win out on a day like this, but the Purgatory road race course is truly the most fun course we ride all year. It’s a 5 x 11 mile circuit with a number of outstanding features – crit like high speed corners when you exit one road and enter another, an exhilarating one mile full road closure high speed twisting descent through the Purgatory State Forest, and a finishing stretch that has a 1K climb with two 10% pitches followed by a 500 meter big ring dash to the finish line. The course probably favors climbers, but if a sprinter makes it over the last pitch, watch out. One other thing to note, this year there was a strong right to left side wind across the finishing 500 meters – trouble for the unwary.

The first lap was contested in a persistent drizzle but that didn’t prevent the descent through the forest from being fast. As has been stated before, the 45+ riders can all handle their bikes, which partially can be attributed to the fact that they all have to work on Monday. Well, most all. Across the flats we go with a bunch of fun sections thrown in, up a big ring hill that precedes the real deal, and then a hard right turn onto the hill. The first time up the hill brings out excited legs and up, up we go. From a climbers perspective, hills are enjoyable as they offer an opportunity to turn the screws and have fun at others’ expense. In a short race and short climb like this every opportunity should be maximized to tire the opposition. That kind of assures that no sprinters will be left at the end to ruin a potentially good day. Of the 48 starters, only 23 were left after the first lap. High speed on the hill followed by a quick pace across the windy top flat split the field and keep the chase from latching back on.

Three more times up the hill and we managed to lose but 3 more guys. Nineteen of us were left to duke out the last lap – Eric W., Jeff and me included. A number of teams had multiple representation left with one of them being Arc-En-Ciel. These guys still had Randy Rusk (great time trialer), Todd Buckley (multiple time national age group TT champion) and David Kellogg (good climber with a quick finish). Their strategy was to send the time trailers out until one could stick a break and then have David sit in to rest for the hill. The multiple hills and the multiple attacks, as is many times the case, wore down the field and Randy Rusk was able to make a solo flier successfully stick with about 7 miles to go. In the field 18 of us sat – thinking. Should we marshal a team chase? No, that will weaken us and advantage everyone else. So we sat. Can we catch him on the hill since he’s not that great a climber? Maybe. Let me sit in the pack and think more about that. Do I have the legs to bridge over and go for the win? Not me. Not me. Not me, said 16 of us. I can said a 545 rider and he tried to speed across. Will it work? We all sat and watched as he stalled out. All of us that is except Eric. Yep. Our Eric. Off he went – right by the stalled out 545 guy and quickly up to the back of Randy’s wheel. That was a stud move and now Jeff and I could sit in with good conscience and wait for the hill.

Eric and Randy hit the hill with a 400 meter head start. That’s safe – Eric will stay away. We now charged up the hill trying one last time to reduce the field to as small a number as possible. Eric dropped Randy and was powering to the finish line. Randy was dangling. Faster we went especially up the last few meters of the 10% climb, and then full bore across the raging side wind. Six of us made it over together. Tips to tail we went fanned to the left as we sought relief from the wind. Even though the organizers said we had full road up the hill to the finish, they placed divider cones across half the road 200 meters from the line blocking the left lane. Say what?? Of course guys drilled it 2” from the cones so as to knock anyone off their wheel and disrupt drafting advantage. It worked as it was tough to skirt the cones, get back into the draft and come around the guy in front. So, you know how it finished – Eric won (love you, man!), Jeff 4th and me 7th. Oh, and the drizzle stopped after one lap and the roads were fully dry for laps four and five. Collective positive thinking does work.

Results will be posted soon on www.Bikereg.com but the top eight in the 45+ field was:

1st: Eric Weinrich

2nd: Randy Rusk (+11 seconds)

3rd: John Funk (+11)

4th: Jeff Fisher (+11)

5th: Dave Kellogg (+11)

6th: 545 guy (+11)

7th: Hank Pfeifle (+11)

8th: Thomas Francis (+11)

There was a 10 second gap to 9th. A good day in the saddle.

Lake Auburn Race Report – Women Cat 4 – June 4, 2011

Submitted by Cindy McNett

I competed in the women’s cat 4 race in Auburn on Saturday, which featured 3 eleven mile laps and 2 KOW (king of wall) primes on laps 2 and 3.

We reached a sharp descent just after the start and then the wall, a steep uphill. Dawn Peterson climbed uphill like a mountain goat and reached the line at the top first (she thought lap 1 counted). Around the turn and down the stretch she accumulated a lead, the group got organized, and we reeled her in. Wiith no one (other than me) willing to pull, we slowed to a crawl. I was being used, but wasn’t smart enough to care at that point. Pull to the left to let someone else go through, and nothing would happen. Pull to the right, they would still be on my wheel. Finally I slowed down to about 15 mph, Dawn took the lead, and we had the semblance of a paceline.

Dawn wanted to break away from the main group with me. We tried it, but I thought it was still too early in the race with a lot of headwind for just 2 riders to deal with.

As lap 1 came to a close we climbed a long grade through the apple orchard, with a quartering headwind. I found myself being a sucker again, pulling uphill and even pulling down hill (yikes). Sure enough, Dawn bolted uphill again to take the KOW, while I reached the line second about 5 inches ahead of Andrea Notopoulos.

Five of us pulled away from the main group finally and started to work, but not hard enough to overcome the slow pace of lap one and hold off the Cat 5 men behind us. A car pulled up to tell us something about slowing down to let them pass. Our pace car slowed way down, and there we were, stuck. They passed us, then we passed them! It was comical.

Ending lap 2 I knew I had to get my act together, starting with saving some energy. I sat behind until the KOW, then stomped up that hill and took it.

As lap 3 drew to a close, I found myself pulling Dawn and Andrea up the grade to the finish line. This may have been a strategic mistake with these two strong riders. I thought it would be better to make them work very hard to outsprint me from behind going uphill (my advantage), rather than trying to outsprint both of them on the small dip down to the finish line (my disadvantage).

I held them off until the top of the hill, where Dawn slipped by me, going wide so I couldn’t jump on her wheel. She won by several feet, with Andrea right behind us. Dawn and I also tied for KOW points. It was a fabulous workout on a gorgeous day, as well as a little chess game on wheels.

On Sunday I managed to get myself up to Belfast for the TT. Just focussed on working hard and steady. With no diversions or activity, it’s easy to just zone out and fall asleep on that long, straight section of Route 1. I thought I was doing well… until I saw my time. Chess, Erin, and Michelle did so well – Congrats!!

Lake Auburn Race Report – Masters 45+ – June 4, 2011

By Jeff Fisher

All I can say is it’s great to have teammates.  Neil, everyone one was commenting on how much work you did and how profesional you were.  So a high five to all the OA guys in the race and a double high five for Neil.

I can’t speak for Eric but a 47 mile break wasn’t in my plan for the day.  I was just covering Paul Richards’ move up the wall and before I knew it we had a gap.  Once we hooked up with Eric’s group I figured we might have an outside chance.  It took us a bit to really get organized, but we were pretty smooth and nobody stopped taking a turn.  At the end of the third lap we looked back and saw the field really close.  We upped the pace and kept the pressure on for the entire fourth lap.  Ouch, that one hurt, but it had the desired affect.  I sort of half attacked after the wall on the last lap, to see what damage I could do and we nearly dropped two of the CCB guys, but that left Eric and I doing the work and giving Paul a free ride.  We let the other to guys get back on and then proceeded to keep the pace high until the final turn towards home.
I don’t know about Eric, but I have to admit I was counting down the miles on the last lap.  I tried one attack on the hills coming into the finish, but I didn’t drop anyone.  Eric put in an acceleration as well but we were still together so he stayed on the front and started leading out the sprint.  I knew it was a headwind so I wanted to wait, however I think I waited too long.  I started just a little too late and didn’t quite have enough acceleration to come by.  Still, a second and a third is not bad.
Eric, thanks for that bottle, it saved me.

Lake Auburn Race Report, Pro 1/2 – June 4, 2011

By Hank Pfeifle

Hi All,

I signed up for the Pro/1-2 race at the Lake Auburn Road race for two reasons, 1) I didn’t want Fred Thomas to be lonely racing by himself, and 2) it is good to enter a “stretch” race every now and then for a reality check against the best. Not 50 year old best or 40 year old best. I mean best best. Last winter I was feeling good on the XC skies and thought I would jump into a regional qualifier race against some top XC young guns to see if my good was up to their good. Historically when I feel good at something I can do ok against the field. But, aaahhhh, the XC race in Hanover was an eye opener and I got my butt severely waxed. Severely. So now I wanted to see if that same outcome would apply to bike racing (which I prayed wouldn’t) because I have been feeling good on the bike. I wanted to confirm with myself that my good on the bike is still good against ANYBODY. With the 40+ field filled with OA/CM’ers and thinking that others might want to explore other options, I thought I’d put out a feeler to see if I could lure some other teammates into the Pro/1-2 field. A-ha! Stu Abramson and Jeff Yingling took the bait. That makes four of us toeing the line. That’s a good team. We could do some damage.

Riding the Pro/1-2’s quickly reinforces the belief that, at all levels of bike racing, it is so important to be physically and MENTALLY in the game. Those that are not focused in both arenas are soon dispatched out the back. The beauty of the bike is that mental acuity can make up for a lack of physical giftedness. That can be frustrating to the strong guys (right, Christian?), and I have nightmares of gobs of wheelsuckers passing me at the finish line. Nightmares? It happens plenty in real life, too!  Anyway, I paid special attention to always tucking in and conserving all my energy. Secondly, it is important to observe the players around you and assess their ability and their attentiveness – especially on the hills. Some guys get lazy or fall asleep or just aren’t strong enough, and let gaps open on the hills. You want to know who these guys are and make sure not to be behind them. Because little gaps turn into insurmountable chasms (right, Jeff?) as the pace picks up after the crest of the hill. Five yards is instantly thirty and the pack is screaming down the road single file. Catching back on to that train is no easy task. You may be able to do it once, but let it happen again and you are gone. I gotta tell you, I love the pro/1-2 racing because the throttle is always full gas and there is no sympathy for any mistakes.

The Lake Auburn race is 6 x 11.5 miles for a total of 70 miles and features a two mile or so stair step climb to the finish. The first two laps were an assessment period for me and I was happy that climbing the hills was not overly stressful. That jacked the confidence up and when a 4 man break with no OA/CM representation started getting serious on laps 3 and 4, I was able to get on the front to help reel them back in – with good power. Stu and Fred were playing it smart and sitting in conserving energy for the last assault up the hill that was sure to come. Soon another 4 man, non-OA/CM break got established and built a 30 second lead going into the last lap. The break had Dan Vallencourt and Tim Mitchell in it – two guys who can motor and win. The chase was now down to 20 guys and we kept the break at 30 seconds. As we headed toward the final hills the pace picked up and the pack could smell a catch.  As we rounded the corner that took us to the hills, I rode off the front with a Team Harvard guy. When we saw the gap, Team Harvard and I immediately hit full throttle.  I couldn’t believe they let us go, but this could only have 3 positive outcomes:

  • Team Harvard  and I would roll up to the tiring and splintering break, blow by them and win! (a very farfetched outcome but a positive delusion  to sustain the pain).
  • We would bridge to the break and duke it out from there (Hummm, maybe)
  • Our move would close the gap on the break and it would force the guys behind us. to chase to catch us. This would allow Stu and Fred to sit in as others chased us and then attack hard after Team Harvard and I were gobbled up.

It was scenario 3 that played out. I was hoping to make it to the top of the hill as then I felt I could accelerate and grab onto the back of the attacking pack after the catch. Unfortunately, we got caught 50 meters from the top and the attack from Fred, Stu and company was as hard as anticipated. No grabbing onto that, and now the full on roil to the finish was under way for them. The attacking mob gobbled up all of the break save Tim Mitchell who hung on for the win. Fred grabbed 7th, Stu hung on for 12th and I rolled in for 14th. Not bad. We were able to play our cards and, yeah, it would have been nice to have had a podium finish, but we were in the hunt till the ever unpredictable sprint finish end.

It is good to have a solid outcome. My mind is at ease for another year knowing that I am still not some old guy wanker pack fill in the Pro/1-2’s. It’s nice to feel I still belong there, and that paying my $30 every year to keep the 1 on my card is actually justifiable. I like that.

Thanks (and sorry for making this write-up so “me” focused),

Killington Stage Race – Race Report – May 28-30, 2011

OA/Cyclemania pulled down some fine hardware at the Killington Stage Race. Before we get into the details, let me express a hearty thanks to our sponsors for making the weekend most memorable by extending copious amounts of money ($1500 as budgeted) that enabled us to stay at a modernista resort palace type house that comfortably slept 15 where everyone felt they had their own privacy. To top it all off we had Kevin Hays set everything up where all the rest of us were left with nothing to do but nothing. Oh, let me correct that – we did have something to do and that was eat. And Kevin prepared all the gourmet dinners for that, too! Unbelievable. If you are ever stuck in a life boat, make sure to pull Kevin in with you along with some seaweed. You’ll be set for a month of good eating. In all seriousness, the superior accommodations, the communal dinners and the lively company is what catapults this race into the “most favored” racing memories category.

And, oh yeah, the racing itself is memorable. The Killington Stage Race is organized by the same folks that do the Green Mountain Stage Race, and they have brought all of their expertise to the execution of this race. The original Killington Stage Race was a staple of the national racing scene during the ‘80s and ‘90s with many current top US pro riders having ridden the KSR in their amateur and US pro based years. This is the 2nd year of the resurrected event and the attendance grew from 710 last year to 890 this year (+25%). Some of the fields were especially large – for example, 119 for the Pro/1-2 and 66 for the women Pro/1-2. There were many well organized Canadian teams, and a bunch of NYC based team race here. They love the get-out-of-the-city Vermont long weekend, bring the family type experience. The central Vermont tourism people love that, too. And one more thing that makes this stage race “vacation racing” friendly is this – a few guys told me that they prefer the KSR over the Green Mountain Stage Race because there is no last race crit hanging over everyone’s head causing anxiety and sleepless nights. Nope, the KSR is composed of three safe but challenging races that offers winning possibilities to all types of riders – sprinters, rolleurs and climbers. The races are:

SATURDAY: 3 x 17 mile mostly flat circuit race highlighted by a screaming fast finish (Ron Bourgoin hit 53 mph in his field sprint). The course is a triangle with side 1 slightly downhill, side 2 slightly uphill and side 3 flat until it drops to the finish.

SUNDAY: 10.6 mile time trial with the first half a mostly continuous 1% to 2% uphill grade and the second half flat.

MONDAY: a 62 mile one loop course featuring a large road hill at 4 miles, a back roads quick steep and then long hill at 25 miles, a fast but easy to handle one mile dirt section at mile 39, and then the concluding monster 5 mile two tiered climb to the finish.

Here’s a quick review of how the racing went.

SATURDAY:

40+ race: 1st lap has a field sprint for the finish line Sprint Jersey hot spot. Six guys roll away while the field pauses to catch breath. Fred bummed he missed move. Fred initiates bridge to break and brings 6 guys with him, none of whom will help with the bridge. Even still, bridge is successful, but now Fred is mad. Fred goes to front with rage coursing through his veins. Break is soon back down to six people as all of the non-helpers get popped. Fred is 5th in finish sprint but, more importantly, puts 39 seconds on dropped group and 60 seconds on the field. Very impressive.

50+ race: Not much drama here save for silly slow motion crash that forces Bruce and Kevin onto the grass (on their backs). No damage except they have to chase back on for 8 miles. It’s always satisfying to catch back on, but it is nerve wracking and painful – especially when everyone else is having an easy time in the group. There is a big field sprint and, if you look at the finish line photo on Bikereg.com, you can see Kevin wedging his way to a 12th place finish.

SUNDAY

TIME TRIAL: The time trial this year had a favorable tail wind as opposed to last year’s strong headwind. The result was that the times were 2 minutes faster this year. Fred (2nd) and Ron (7th) had top-ten 40+ efforts and I (6th) had one in the 50+ field. The highlight of the day comes when Fred earns the pink leaders jersey since the TT winner (Jonny Bold) had crashed the previous day and lost 8 minutes. Fred leads by about a minute. My 6th place puts me 35 seconds down to Haluk Sarci and 24 seconds down to Bill Thompson. These are the only dangerous climbers ahead of me.

MONDAY

40+ race: Three guys manage to slip off of the front on the first hill. Nobody seems concerned enough to chase so the 3 establish a good lead. Everybody is looking at the OA/CM boys with unsympathetic eyes silently saying, “it’s your pink jersey at stake, do something”. When the field hits the 25 mile mark hill, Fred has that rage thing going on again and, sure enough, by the top of the hill the party is down to about 10 guys. Now he has 10 guys looking at him (and only him) with unsympathetic eyes. To the front Fred goes (for 35 miles!) where he commences to drop EVERYBODY and catches all but one of the escapees. Unreal.

50+ race: We had three guys slip off after the 1st hill, too. About a mile from the middle hill it was announced that the 3 were 2.5 minutes ahead. Kevin had been doing yeoman’s work to keep it to that limit. Knowing that I could go uphill faster than most guys, and wanting to make sure to catch the escapees in an area where I could go faster than them, I, like Fred, attacked the hill with malicious intent to the field. The result, too, winnowed the field to but 12 people (Mike Claus happily included after a record 10 minute power output from him). A long descent followed the middle hill and this allowed 10 guys to catch on. Good – now I could take a breather and eat a banana. A mile later we turned onto a mile long dirt road, which I had forgotten about. Uh, goody, I like dirt roads. Towards the end of the dirt road there is a rise and the two Keltic riders (Bill Thompson and Bob Roldan) had sneakily gotten a 50 yard gap at the top of it. Dangerous and I immediately bolted over to them bringing Haluk Sarci, Rick Sorenson and Mike Allaire with me. On the downhill descent we fly – I mean out of control fly – down the hill. Fortunately, Mike Claus had just told me that the exit from the dirt onto the pavement was straight, so with trust in those words I barreled down the road. And that was it- we six got away and rotated equally to the bottom of the final climb. At the base of the hill I tried to bolt away and dash the others’ hope of winning. It has worked before but not this time. Haluk stayed easily and Rick and Bill dangled not far behind. With 1K to go to the KOM (2 miles and a consistent 10 to 12% grade from the start of the hill), Haluk slowly begins to pull away from me. Stay with Haluk? No can do. To make matters worse, Rick and Bill catch me right after the KOM when it levels off. We try to catch Haluk so we can attack him on the final 1k to the finish. No dice there, either, so I settle into figuring out how to secure 2nd place. At the base of the final ascent to the finish I make a big ring attack from behind Bill & Rick and jump way wide. A good jump and I see their heads drop – a sign that their spirits are flagging. So, now I put it into full uphill TT mode and see if I can grab back those 24 + 1 seconds from Bill. With 200 meters to go I click it down 2 gears, get out of the saddle and dig to the finish line like crazy. Gotta try if you’re gonna get – right? It turns out be a truism after all and I manage to put 28 seconds on Bill and secure 2nd on GC by 4 seconds. Very satisfying.

The final race day course is as fun and challenging as the App Gap stage at Green Mountain. Many rate the final climb at KSR as steeper and harder. I agree as it has steepness around too many corners. More than likely this race will continue to grow in size. The competition was deeper this year in all fields. If you have the chance, ride this race sometime in your career.