Category Archives: Men’s Masters

Cyclocross Worlds Race Recap – Louisville, KY – February 1, 2013

Submitted by Paul Weiss:

Ok, well it was pretty epic conditions today.   Temperatures dropped 40 degrees in one night and winds kicked up to a nice teen temperature.   Half inch of fresh snow.   Rutted course was freezing in place with some water still on the course.   These are the conditions I like because no one south of New England ever gets them.   These are the type of conditions I relish because they require a lot of riding skills and you cannot go at your max most of the time.   Normally great for me since I am not the fittest in today’s race, but felt very confident in riding this nasty stuff.

Got a good 45 minute warm up in a tent on a trainer, after riding the fields “off” course for about 15 min.   Took a single lap around the course at noon and realized it was going to be really difficult.   Not only were the ruts and frozen sections really treacherous but there was enough mud to pick up on your bike and instantly freeze when hitting the frame or wheels or gears, or brakes etc.

This was going to be a day for a good pit bike and support crew.   Luckily I had both (Ridley pit bike) with Derek Briggs pitting with the help of John Mcgrath.   I started in way last rows (since I barely qualified with Wed. performance), seeded somewhere in the 70’s.   The start was fun going off the gravel into a giant puddle that was half frozen and rutted.  Riders were going down all over the place and I managed to gain at least 15 spots before getting to the pits.   This was going well!   Guys were falling all over and I knew how to ride this stuff.  After a pretty good 1st lap my bike was really filling with about 10 lbs of ice/mud.   No joke.   I went into the pits and had a good exchange.    Never stopping, dismount, run, remount.   The new bike felt so light, it was awesome!   Around the corner before the frozen barriers I heard something pop and all of a sudden I was in my hardest gear.   Got off the bike and realized my derailer and cable had frozen and then the cable snapped.    No gear worked except my hardest, and that was basically impossible at the slow speeds we were racing in.
Shouldering the bike for what seemed like an eternity got me to the run-up which was really hairy coming down.   It was dangerous to carry the bike do hard to run with it next to me.   Meanwhile it was filling with more ice and adding the 10lbs back.    I ran the rest of the course and was in no place, to do well.   Got to the pit and did another exchange in what seemed like a 10 mile run.   Got back on the (Stevens) bike and Derek had cleaned as best he could.   The bike worked, but was building up ice fast.   It got to the point of not shifting and then not really working.   At this time the leaders were to be upon me and as with many others, the UCI officials pulled all riders from the course.   Not what was planned for this event for me, but it was a life experience that is for sure.   What was really weird was; I was not last.
Not my best luck today but it was fun while it lasted.   Today you really battled the conditions and had to have luck on your side and a major pit crew.   Winning riders had 4 bikes and 3 people working in the pit cleaning.   I saw all kinds of antifreeze, non stick sprays, even windshield washer fluid used there.   All the pressure washers had froze solid and were not in service so we were forced in what it seemed back to the stone ages with scrapers, brushes and hands to break ice.
Sitting back after cleaning bikes at the hotel room and cleaning my body clothes and belongings for 3 hours, I am humbled again at this sport.   Epic conditions are part of it and we all are tested by them.   Lucia and Ziggy get top honors for trudging around a muddy frozen field and driving for hours to get to it and putting up with a tired bleary bike racer.
Tomorrow they will be doing 4 elite races in 1 day instead of 2 days because the venue is predicted to be flooded by the Ohio River on Sunday.   It should be interesting to watch the races and the break down of the whole venue before the river washes it away.
Wow Feb 1, this really late in the year, end of the Cyclocross season for me…….now it is really ski time.

We even made NPR today:

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/31/170754787/cyclo-cross-championship-takes-u-s-by-storm-mud-and-sand

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Cyclocross Worlds Race Recap – Louisville, KY – January 31, 2013

Submitted by Paul Weiss:

Team Maine today:

Epic conditions today with my race/heat supposed to start at 8:30AM this morning.  But due to some serious overnight weather (strong winds but warm 60 degree temps no predicted tornadoes) they had to delay and  fix up the course first.   Ended up racing 2 hours later.   Several inches of water on most of the course made for some extremely slow conditions.  Ended up in the back of the start line and finished on lap 2 with a wheel losing air.   Jumped into the pits and lost some time when my chain got a bit off the front ring.   Derek Griggs did a great bike change for me though!   The one elevation feature on the course was really brutal with a mud slog uphill, a deep almost boggy top plateau and a hair raising off camber downhill through a small creek (no joke).     It was amazing to think that the sand pits was second only to the short paved sections for ease.   Sand drains water well, and packed in fine, so it was really funny to look forward to those parts of the course.

It turned out that I ended in 25th on the group, while not my best day, Looks like I will get to race on Friday’s finals.   Yeah!

Tomorrow I will take some pictures and pit for Derek.   Friday is race day again and should be below freezing with some snow on the menu.

Lucia and Ziggy loved the mud.  They were great at cheering me on in while ankle deep in mud.   Well Ziggy was in body deep mud…….

will update this weekend.   I got press passes for the Elite Races this weekend, so that should be great.

Paul and Lucia and Ziggy from Louisville.

Baystate Cyclocross Race Recap – Nov 24 & 25, 2012

Wow another 2 days on the Verge Series CX race.   Great way to keep going after the holiday.   I drove the long drive in the AM from CT (Family Thanksgiving).  Made ti to Sterling (Chuckset Middle School) in time for the 2 hour prep to race Masters 45+.   Race was large field with 80 or so registered.  Did not get the greatest start on this blustery cold windy day.   But worked my way up the field in the first lap.  Ended up behind Bruce Shwab and near John Grenier (Eric Larson was also in the pack and I think had a good race).   It was fun to be on Bruce’s wheel for a while.   Bruce was doing a good race and we were taking advantage of a small group that formed.   Today was a day to be out of the wind and groups were key.   After a few laps this group really coalesced and stayed together.  There was a hard hill and screamer downhill that ended up in a vault type barrier.   It took a lot of concentration since you were gassed from the uphill.   I kept moving up and made it to the front of our group and was trying to break across to John Mcgrath and Eiric Marrow.   It was next to last lap and I was thinking things were going well and all I needed to do was not make any mistakes and keep up this pace.   Then hitting the pavement I must have had the rear tire rolled a bit and hit a curb hard, well all of a sudden I was flat in the rear tire.   This really was a bummer.   Lost at least 10-15 spots and made it to the pit to get a new bike.   Got on my pit bike and made it back in the race with less than a lap to go.   I worked hard but only made up a few spots.   A good effort but not perfect.  Oh well.

Day 2 I felt better, having rested and woke up later than the 4:30AM start on Sat.  It was a colder day (low 30’s degrees) with high winds once again.   Had a good start and once again saw Bruce Shwab and then John Grenier, who had an excellent start.   I drilled it through this group and got on the wheel of Peter Vollers, and bridged up to the next group.   This was going really well, in top 20 and going forward.  No major mistakes all the way through until 2 to go.  In a really nasty rooty section of the woods I hit a small tree stump that was not marked (they usually spray paint the roots that are wheel breakers).  I thought after hearing the rim noise, (that was bad I hope I do not flat).   Well into the next turn out of the woods and my front wheel was flat.   Barely made not crashing in a short radius turn.   Then eased my way on half the course running a flat to the pits and got the pit bike (again) argh.  Lost a whole mess of spots as riders passed my left and right.  Finished the course with my second bike having a second flat front tire (must have been a slow leak).   Unreal.   So I will be putting the “Stans no Tube liquid sealant” in all my tires for now on.  This is ridiculous.   Though I did not show any good results, I know Sunday would have been one of my better days in cross for the season.   It will have to wait for next weekend in Rhode Island at the Verge finally.

Ps: Nate Smith did awesome races with the cat 4 I think he made the top 5th sport.  Missed Teammate Jeff Fisher who decided to do running races over Thanksgiving and pull a hamstring.   JEFF YOU NEED TO ONLY RACE BIKES.  RUNNING IS WAY TO DANGEROUS!  3 Maine Women made the top 3 spots in the womens 3-4 race! PVC’s Niocle Pisani kicked some arse, making second place!  Jessica and her had an amazing sprint for 2nd and third.  It was right on the line photo finish, spill your beer sight to see.   I think it was all due to both graduating cyclocross camp this fall :^)

Boston Road Club Cyclocross Race at Shedd Park – Race Recap – Nov 18, 2012

It was an awesome Double loop that is for sure.   Lots of fun.   Sunday was also a great time at the Shedd Park Lowell MA cyclocross!   George Bennington and I ripped open the Masters Field (which was pretty large this year).   George had an excellent race with some great technical riding over some really nasty roots on the side of a hill.  We rode together for several laps, which was really fun to ride with a Teammate!   We ended up with a group of 5 including my other buddies John Plump. Chris Burke and Derek Griggs.   We handed out blows to one another lap after lap until Chris got a little gap on the downhill and stayed clear and I ended up sprinting it out the John.   George was chasing with Derek and was quick on our wheels.   It was a fun race, though I did really feel the efforts of the SMR 2X in the start of the first lap (which was killer).    It was excellent to pace with a few other riders and this was a really nice course with a little bit for everyone including a barrier/run-up and several other difficult rooty sections and a hard steep ride up.   The other fun part of this course is the cinder track, which always leaves your face looking like a coal miner!    George and I missed Bruce Shwab who was getting over being sick and Jeff Fisher who had some family obligations.     We need our Masters Team ready for Sterling, MA Double Verge race next weekend!

PVC/OA/Cyclemania cross team mid season report – November 2012

Submitted by Paul Weiss

Day 19 on the cross circuit.   Almost mid season.   Had a great day down in Northampton at CSI cross (a really big UCI level 2 national race).   Saturday was fun and finished with a lot of the guys I am racing with each week, but Sunday I had a really good start and felt well enough to jump 10 places by the end of the day.   Finally got some coveted start points.    This beets a few weeks ago at Pinelands, when I ended up running half the course with a rolled tire.

I have to congratulate a great bunch of PVC folks that have been racing on the cross circuit this year.   I have seen Jeff Fisher go from middle of the pack, to a really respectable fast racer that is really doing well.   Also kudos to Bruce Shwab for also upping his game.   Both these guys jumped into cross just a few years ago and had fun racing in Louisville last year, that is how crazed they got into it!    It is great to get to race with Teammates and I have had a few fun races with George Bennington, Bruce and Jeff in the same race!

Also out on the race circuit this year has been Karl Geib, Nathaniel Smith,  Chris Darling, Eric  Larsson, Ron Bourgoin, Dan Landry and Andrew Freye,  Stephen Corral.   On the Women’s circuit, we have had some excellent racers in the likes of Cindy Mcnett, Nicole Pisani, Hattie Freye, Carrie Carney.

Did I miss anyone?

Looking forward to Plymouth this weekend then the Dopio Ciclo

2012 OA/Cyclemania Road Race Summary

Hank Pfeifle thought that you may enjoy this PowerPoint summary of the just concluded 2012 road racing season. It shows that OA/Cyclemania team has a depth of talent that can perform consistently at a high level in a variety of formats and venues against the best of competition in the Northeast  …. And beyond!

Click HERE for the presentation.

Congrats to all who turned the pedals in anger this year. You should all be proud of your contributions and results.

 

Jamestown Classic Race Report – Oct 28, 2012 – Jamestown, RI

Submitted by Hank Pfeifle:

Jamestown was a nice way to conclude the 2012 road racing season. We had a good turnout with John Liston in the 55+, Ron Bourgoin, Ta Herrera, Carl Hitchcock and me in the 45+, Mark Caron, Joe Lynch and Christian Muentener in the 35+, and Kevin Hays in the 4’s. There were about 55 people in each class of the 2 lap 38 mile race. The course is pretty much a Saturday Morning Ride flat one but with a tricky big ring hill at a mile to go that concludes with a flat top and then a sweeping 3 corner descent to the finish. It’s quick!

35+: The importance of teamwork, team reputation and individual reputation proved their worth in this race. The race was an attack fest from the get-go (Bill Shattuck is an Energizer bunny), but Mark Caron corralled all initial break attempts keeping things under controlled until things stacked our way. However, with a side wind and narrow roads things started going really ballistic the first time approaching the lighthouse (about 14 miles into the race). Strongmen Ciaran Mangan, Max Lippolis and Monte Frank managed to escape and our Joey was quick to recognize this threat/opportunity and hustled to try and bridge over. His main man, Christian, catches the threat/opportunity drift a little late but that only increases his sense of urgency. Around the lighthouse bend he whirls and with centrifugal force slingshots toward Joey (our Joey!). With speed and strength born of SMR front riding, he is soon up to Joe and then in front of Joe and then, with the supreme sacrifice worthy of a Longfellow poem, Christian gives his last 20 seconds of energy to the chase and launches Joe who finishes the bridge and latches onto the back of Ciaran’s wheel. Oh what sacrificial nobility and my hands tremble with teammate-al reverence as I write these words. Meanwhile, the break-away guys were very happy with this outcome because they wanted Joe in the break for the dual purpose of a) employing his proven strength and b) having an OA guy in the break would negate having the OA team chase their butts down. It worked and when Skip Foley also joined the group, they were away for good. Nice heads up riding and exceptional teamwork.

45+: No breaks in this race although there were plenty of attempts. Anticipating a group finish coming out of the lighthouse, our pre-race plan was to set things up for Ron – Mr. Finisher (also defending champion). After the lighthouse, there was a two man attempted break going down the road. Ta and another guy had separated from the field and were working to bring the break back. Carl and Ron were near the front waiting to be towed up to the break. Meanwhile, I saw all this while wanking at the back of the pack. No worries, I tiptoed up along the yellow line and, carrying good speed, launched away from the pack, through Ta and up to the two guys (one being Jim Nash, winner of the 50+ Battenkill). Now we had a guy in the break and now the pack would get very serious about chasing us and now Ron & Carl could sit and rest while being towed by the reenergized pack. We in the break were very motivated to get up the hill, across the flat and headed down toward the finish before getting caught. Being caught in the middle of a hard charging pack towards the finish is no bueno. We hit the hill with about a 100 yard lead. We got to the top of the hill corner with about a 20 yard lead – gulp! I looked down at my now less than tan legs but which still glistened nicely with sweat in the low autumn sunlight, and willed them to spin ever faster. And they did but not fast enough as guys started to whiz by, principle among them being Ron. Golly, the guy can go when he smells the finish line where he was half a wheel from repeating as champ. Carl and Ta managed to bring it home safely and avoided the “big one” which occurred in one of the corners.

John and Kevin also concluded the season in one piece, again, no easy feat as there was another crash with flying bodies just yards from the 4’s finish line. Lesson from this? Keep your head up in the final sprint!