Tag Archives: Bike Racing

PVC Race Team 2017 Program Announced

On Wednesday, November 16,  PVC announced its new race program for 2017. Approximately 30 members of the club were in attendance, as race organizers Ted Darling, Linda Braley, Paul Weiss, Kevin Woodhouse, and David Brink outlined the program.

Interested members will need to (a) renew/become a member for 2017 and (b) complete the online form indicating the races in which you will compete by January 31, 2017. (Note that there is a 5 race per discipline minimum for each discipline in which you intend to race).

The program objectives are identified as follows:

  • Support PVC racing across 3 disciplines
  • Promote local racing and races
  • Build comradery among team members

To participate, the following requirement are indicated:

  • PVC Member in good standing
  • Commit to 5-race minimum in each discipline in which you wish to compete as a PVC team member and take advantage of team member benefits (below)
  • Race exclusively for PVC during for 2017, including wearing the PVC team kit while racing.

Team member benefits discussed included the following

  • Reimburse for committed races at 100% (limited to priority races identified by the team (see lists to follow)
  • All other races reimbursed at club rate ($20/race)
  • Group training
  • CycleMania Equipment sponsor benefits
    • Priority Service @ CycleMania
    • %30 Off 1 Bike*
    • %50 Off Team Helmet TBA
    • %50 Off Stages Power Meter
    • 2 Free Tires (up to $75ea)
    • 10 Free Tubes
    • All Bikes and Helmets will need to be submitted and Paid in full by January 31st (and cannot be ordered during the season) to assure delivery in time for the season. It would be great to get the Stages order in at that time as well but we can do Stages orders in-season.
    • *Bikes will be Trek and capped @ a 10 bike total for the Team

The Mountain Biking program was identified as follows:

Leader: Kevin Woodhouse, kevin_woodhouse1@yahoo.com

  • Fat Tire Classic, CT (April)
  • Weeping Willow, MA (May)
  • The Pinnacle, NH (June)
  • Bond Brook, ME (June)
  • Statham Hill Festival Race Series, NH
  • Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge, ME (July)
  • Boston Pro XT, MA (July)
  • Titcomb Mtn, ME (August)
  • NECS #6 – Treasure Valley Rally (August)
  • Bradbury 12 hour Challenge, ME (August)

 2017 PVC Mountain Bike team

 There are about 35 trail races in New England each year starting in April and ending in October.  These races range in both difficulty and length and are great for beginners as well as experts.  The PVC Mtn bike race is targeting these 10 races in New England that represent the full range and level of difficulty offered.   With the importance of supporting local races, this list emphasizes those races held in Maine.

 The Road Racing program was outlined as follows:

Leaders:

Linda Braley lsbraley@yahoo.com
Jane Monaghan wojanedesign@yahoo.com
Ted Darling tdarling@vontweb.com

The following races will be prioritized based upon rider interest:

  • *Scarborough Crit series, Scarborough, ME (April-May)
  • **Maine TT series, TBD (maybe a PVC TT ?)
  • Quabbin, Ware, MA (April)
  • Myles Standish, Plymouth, MA (May)
  • Tour of the Battenkill, Greenwich, NY (May 7)
  • Ken Herrod, Harvard, MA (June)
  • Purgatory, Sutton, MA (June)
  • Fitchburg Criterium, Fitchburg, MA (June)
  • Yarmouth Clam Festival, Yarmouth, ME (July)
  • Tour of the Hilltowns, Windsor, MA (July)
  • Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium, Lewiston, ME (August)
  • Concord Criterium, Concord, NH (August)
  • Witches Cup, Salem, MA (August)

*You may use two (2) Scarborough Crit Races against your minimum race commitment.
**You may use two (2) Maine Time Trial races against your minimum race commitment.

The CycloCross program was outlined as follows:

Leader: Paul Weiss, weissp@me.com

  • White Park, CX, NH (September)
  • Suckerbrook CX, NH (September)
  • Gloucester VERGE CX MA, 2 Day (October)
  • Downeast CX, ME (October)
  • Casco Bay CX, ME (October)
  • Orchard CX, NH (October)
  • KCX VERGE, CT  2 Day (October)
  • Northampton VERGE MA, 2 Day (November)
  • NBX RI, Day 2  (December)
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2016 Killington Stage Race Womens PVC p/b CSH

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After months of training; which included climbing intervals on fat bikes up to Stratton and Poplar Huts in 7 degree weather and snow storms; to boring 2 hour sweat sessions on the trainer; to gritting through the Men’s Tuesday Night Ride; to Dawn Patrol 5 am departure rides; to driving the Scarborough Crit Series; to doing the SMR with no finishing coffee but adding 3 extra hours of hard riding and climbing training, Kathy Ventura, Teresa Swinbourne, and Kate Lynch of the PVC p/b Chiropractic & Sports Health Ladies Race Team headed out to their first race this past weekend – The Killington Stage Race.

KSR is a 3 day stage race made up of a 37 mile circuit race (with 2000 feet of climbing) Day 1, a 60 mile/5000 foot vertical gain road race Day 2, and an 11 mile slight uphill Time Trial Day 3.  After thorough analysis of Training Peaks data, the plan from their Coach, Troy Barry, was to get Teresa (who had been taking some Scarborough Crit Sprints and has high power output and a big kick) to the line for the sprint Day 1. Day 2 – the plan was to keep Kathy Ventura, (who has shown recent climbing finesse holding onto her coach’s wheel getting paced on Opportunity Hill repeats), to stay with the lead group, attack at mile 38.5 if possible, and let her show her stuff on the last 5 mile 3000 foot climb straight back up a 12% grade to the ski area. Day 3 – Kate Lynch (who has shown strength out alone in the wind – winning the final Scarborough Crit on a 5 lap breakaway) was to go for the TT.

Day 1 was at hot one at 89 degrees – a shock to all Maine riders who had just shed their leg warmers. The ladies prepared by pre-dosing with Hammer products, Endurolytes, Endurance Aminos, and Anti-Fatigue caps to fend off the inevitable electrolyte deficiencies. The field was twitchy and the first quarter of the race, there was more braking than pedaling. In retrospect, Teresa commented, “…Absolutely mind-bending. I was never sure what was going to happen out there. It certainly lacked the familiarity of wheels of folks-  like John Futak – on Dawn Patrol…”The girls stayed patient. It would have been easy to attack and maybe stay away early on, but how would that leave them for the remaining 2 days of hard racing? (….Maybe next year….) Just prior to the first climb, there was an attack. Kate and Teresa were perfectly positioned riding in 4th and 5th position. They stood up and took their heart rates to 180 bpm and reeled it back in within about 4 minutes and pulled the whole field with them. The climb started and had a QOM at the top. The ladies worked to get Kathy to the front with 3 km to go before the QOM. She took the lead climbing and started to pedal away with Kate blocking the field, she got a 20 foot gap before the field realized what was happening and the leaders jumped to catch her. Kathy powered down and took it to the line with 4 super fast climbers. A few feet before the line, the rider in front of Kathy turned her head and her bike and took Kathy to the dirt. She nearly missed a crash and had to fight her way back into the field. Almost. They sat in  – with watchful waiting – knowing the technical downhill sprint finish was coming. With 5 km to go, the ladies after sticking tight together for the day, were a bit spread out in the field. Teresa made her way to the front and, inadvertently, took the lead of the race, which was not going to get her into the final sprint. Kathy and Kate saw what was happening and jumped, working their way quickly to the front of the pack to come to her aid. They took turns pulling on the front on a 40 mph descent with the finish line coming fast. A team of young guns from B2C2 came from the right and took the lead. The PVC ladies train was swallowed up a bit. Kate went to the left, hoping Teresa would follow – but there was no time to talk. Kathy found a hole on the right and blazed to it. Teresa came around her and charged to the line at 40 mph, sprinting in her hardest gear, with just 1 other B2C2 racer – totally hectic, all hell breaking loose. They locked bars. Teresa says all she could envision was her 3 children – in a millisecond, she kept her bike upright, unlocked bars, and took 6th at the line. Kathy was 7th. Kate took 13th. (On Day 1 –  all riders get the same time for the sprint finishing group but still get a GC standing).

Day 2 promised cloud cover and better temperatures. The race started with a 2 mile 5% grade climb – nothing to laugh at. The race then took a right hand turn at the top of the climb and had a 20 mile decent. There was a big crash in the middle of the descent – luckily the local ladies steered clear. There was ripped skin and mashed bikes, however, all involved riders were ok. All of the action occurred at mile 24.5 with a 12% half mile grind up. The group attacked at a blistering pace. Teresa sat at about 10th position and held it strong – never giving up the wheel in front of her – as the race continued uphill for the next 3 miles. Kathy had been in the front few riders and in the first mile of climbing dropped her chain. Kate climbed past her on a high speed chase group led by Green Line Velo. She realized what was happening and called to Kathy, while dangling half way between the chase group and her teammate. Kathy yelled that her chain was on and she was on her bike bridging. Kate bided her time and when she saw Kathy had her wheel, she climbed out of the saddle and bridged to the chase group again. She handed the Green Line Velo wheel to Kathy saying ‘this is the wheel’. Kathy grabbed it and didn’t look back. After 3 miles of uphill chasing, she and Natasja Brooijmans from Green Line Velo reeled in the main group – absolutely amazing. The main group stayed together, chasing down a 6 lady breakaway with Kathy and Teresa driving the chase. They caught 4 of the leaders and charged to the final looming 5 mile climb back to the resort. Kate had lost contact after getting Kathy on and chased in a group of 5 ladies for 30 miles. When all riders got to Bear Mountain Road, it was every woman for herself. The climb was absolutely grueling. The ladies called on all of their training and lots of positive self-talk and made it up. Kathy finished 13th, Teresa 24th, and Kate 32nd.

Day 3 – Almost over!! The Time Trial! It had poured torrential rain the night before and KSR1all riders were nervous about the weather. The rain ceased and it was 70 degrees with low lying fog – perfect conditions for your first Time Trial. Kate was the first team rider to go. She was not able to clip into her pedals in the start house, due to the angle of the bike holder and certainly some nerves….. She left the start house unclipped. She took a few seconds and clipped in and started her race. She reeled in her first 30 second girl, then her second, then her third. None of the PVC ladies have specialized TT equipment and most of the riders did – a distinct disadvantage but never to be spoken as an excuse for the team. Kate focused on keeping her head down, keeping her forearms resting on the bars, and keeping her wattage within her zone. (Troy had told them all their heartrate and power targets for the 11 mile effort.) With 3 km to go – all power and heart rate targets went out the window and she stood for the last two little rises and rode with defiance to the line. The final results had her clustered in a group of riders just 6 seconds out of 7th place – with an 11th place finish. Teresa stuck close to her power target and came through – not remembering much of the ride. She had a smile on her face though – saying ‘I loved that. And Troy is an amazing coach. My numbers were right on. That felt great!’. She finished 22nd. Kathy was the last team rider though the finish – see photo. She also stuck to her target numbers and left everything she had out there for a 21st place finish.

Final GC (46 total riders): Kathy Ventura 14th, Teresa Swinbourne 24, Kate Lynch 31. A huge effort and an amazing race.

“I could not ask for a better team, or a better coach. We are proud to be from Portland, ME, proud to be 40 plus year olds with kids – all just out of retirement, psyched to have had the opportunity to go to KSR, and psyched to come home – safe and sound – to our families”. (Teresa)

Thanks to Hammer Nutrition.
Additionally, Hank Pfeifle (Downeast Racing), Dan KSR2Ventura (Kathy’s husband), and Matt Robinson (Downeast Racing) for giving us a feed on Day 2 during the climb. It was great to see you guys! Thanks to our teammates, Cody Harris and Sarah Margolskee, who continued to check in. Thanks to our great friend Pete. Thanks to all the PVC and Dawn Patrol folks who showed their support. Thanks Jane Moneghan for all of the great texts and for the finishing beer! A special thanks to our coach, Troy Barry, who volunteers countless hours a week to help us out – we have made some amazing gains. We are looking forward to the Nutmeg Crit in 2 weekends – (a crit now seems short!)

Thanks to PVC and all of our sponsors for your support – we appreciate it.

Kate, Kath,. & Teresa

 

Maine Cyclocross Camp 2012

Maine Cyclocross Camp 2012

Since last year was so much fun! We are back for a multi-week cyclocross training camp.   This will be quite comprehensive and is open to all from beginner to expert level riders. Based on feedback from last year, we will have some regional “guest” racers doing part of this instruction, and will cover all aspect of Cyclocross including:

3 and 4 Lap Course Inspections/warm ups, Dismounts, Remounts, Barriers, Stairs, Off Camber terrain, Sand Pits, Run-ups, Small hills, Body positions on the bike, Bunny hops and jumping/riding barriers, Course Tactics, Team Racing Tactics, pack riding on courses, Wheel and Bike Pit support, Pit bike exchanges (Riders and Pit staff), CX Time Trials Training for Cyclocross, including heart rate and power measurements, Cyclocross equipment/clothing selection, Weather issues and adaptations (racing on snow and in rain/mud),  race preparation logistics for an individual racer (what do I bring to the race)? Race start sprints (strategies) and the “hole shot”, surface conditions and adaptations, and many other aspect of CX that I have learned in the 30+ years of racing cyclocross across the USA.
Paul Weiss will run these in Southern Maine at different locations that will be announce each week.   We will include both the 2 Maine Race Course Venues (Pinelands, New Gloucester and East End, Portland) in these camps.   Each week we will focus on selected topics from (above). Paul will also add on several hot topics of interest.   You are always welcome to ask questions on any aspect of cyclocross.  Also, some folks just want to train for a few hours, and you are welcome to do that, while other focus on skills.   We will be setting up some tape mazes and barriers on a few of the weeks and also doing some trail courses/training races.
Paul will send out emails each week with an agenda and location.   Locations and times will vary to fit into my schedule.    Once per week, mostly later afternoons but might do a morning or 2. Most sessions will last 1.5-2 hours.   This is an unofficial camp, please ride at your own discretion and risk.   Also be considerate of others using the parks we use, and stay off any ball fields or nice grass areas during muddy conditions.
If you want to be on the Maine CX email list, contact Paul Weiss.
Cost: Free or optional Food, Beverage or equipment donations!

Green Mountain Stage Race – Vermont – September 3-5, 2011

Submitted by Joe Lynch:

A few days of racing at the GMSR saw Jeff’s last year as a 40+er. He swears he can’t wait to race 50+!

On the first stage we missed Fast Fred as we both struggled to finish toward the middle in the TT. I ended up 15th like last year but beat last year’s time by a whoping 3 seconds. Jeff just opened up his legs for the next day.

On a hot and humid stage 2 we saw 3 guys go up the road over the first KOM and hold a sizeable gap through the long downhill on Baby Gap. In my defense I did sit and watch them for a while. They were still up the road by the time we got to the first intermediate sprint where Jeff popped out of the field to salvage any leftover points and where I of course got nervous and tried to sneak up the road. We got a small gap. With 3 or 4 other attacks and counter attacks I realized I was not going to bridge now without a TRAIN behind me so I sat up and sat in and let the powers that be close down the break at the first feed zone. We then rode as a group to the second KOM where, with serious efforts, Jeff and I both stayed with the main group but NOT with Yabroudy, Staffo and someone else. These boys really turned the screws over the top and pacelined down the hurricane ravaged Baby Gap, pedalling like mad the whole way. All 170 pounds of me waited like a tiger to chase down that hill but we were 1/3rd down the gap and they were out of sight by the time I weaved my way throught the group at 45MPH to start chasing. At the bottom of the gap the break was out of sight. I hit the proverbial reset button, reminded myself that NOTHING would work if I did not try, and set about diplomatically organizing a chase for the long haul over rolling hills to the finish. All in hopes that Jeff could sit in and get a good sprint. About 7 strong guys including the Yellow Jersey himself put together a reasonable paceline where we all pulled through for about 20 minutes. So sad, the finish was coming and the gap was actually growing, so I sat up when the jersey did, reminded myself that I am still a good dad at least, and drifted to the back, thinking about training harder. At this point Jeff’s only option was a field sprint with no help from his one team mate. Considering, he gave it a great run and managed 9th place, not bad for a guy who is waiting with baited breath for 50!

We were blessed with another hot humid day for the queen stage. A slightly different course this year because some of last year’s roads were not yet put back together. Jeff and I both hurt on the first hill right after the neutral zone but we soldiered through and next thing ya know, Jeff was off the front chasing down a break before the first intermediate sprint! Because of my teammate’s beautiful efforts, I was left to close down a gap formed by some tired guys ahead of me though dirt and yes indeed, a PILE of 2 inch bike eating crushed rock! I floated through the crushed rock on Ron’s fancy carbon wheels (thanks) tradgedy narrowly averted! After closing the gap, one of the guys rode up next to me, and said “thanks dude, here is a chocolat gu, you saved me and about 20 other guys by closing that gap”! Oooooopsie, ah what use is a bike race anyway without someone to race against right… With the approach of the intermediate sprint, I very badly timed a nature call where I was supposed to help Jeff get more sprint points. As I was busting it back up to and through the group in a panic, I watched Jeff go screaming up the road to take the sprint. No one up the road anymore, maximum points for him! After a humiliated push (by me) so he did not get dropped, we both drifted to the back just hoping to finish with as little output as possible, saving it for Mondays crit. Jeff went off the back on Baby Gap after his effort on that sprint. I told him to pace himself. I was very proud of him and embarassed at myself for that effort. We made it to the top of Baby Gap and guess what, I was still there! As the pack turned up the steeper switchbacks of App Gap though, I watched them ride away with resolve, thrilled I had made it uphill as far as I did, still feeling super and knowing if I paced myself I might be able to fire up the Joey Lynch diesel on Monday!

For Monday’s crit, there was a much needed lecture from Jeff. “Joey, you get your shit together and ride at or off the front, I need points!” So I put on my game face, thought about pain and suffering in other guys legs, and watched people’s numbers disolve in the  rain. Callups in the pouring rain…. Guys do ya still want to race? You are all experienced enough to know what you are doing…. From the Yellow Jersey, “Call the race, its not safe.” From Jeff very quietly, “Oh, why, cause that way you don’t have to defend your jersey?” Anyway, after about 10 minutes of hullabaloo in a torrential downpour, we were off for our one lap neutral start to get a feel for the course and the river now running through the corner at the bottom of Main St.! The course was full of water, I bet we all looked like Fast Fred in that epic picture. We rode through the river just fine, quite interesting, all it does is slow ya down. But, alas, there were legitimate concerns about middle aged men getting excited about $100 primes and forgetting they really don’t have good traction. So the Commisaire called the race and the rest of racing for the day. Jeff and I made it back to his car to find a river making its way almost to the bottom of his doors!

As usual, Kevin played a gracious host, finding a sweet place and cooking that would put Chef Brockett to shame. The housekeeper for the house we stayed at lost her home in a swollen river, many were still standing but I understand her’s is gone, like they have not FOUND it yet.

I am quite proud of my team’s efforts out on the road, however, the one thing that made me most proud of my team was to look in this ladies tip envelope to find that, together with help from some friends staying with us, we had given her over a $200 tip. Between that and our modest contributions in the relief jar at Race Headquarters, I believe I have the privilege of racing with a bunch of gentlemen.

Maybe the least glorious times are appropriate for thanking the folks who stand behind us. So I enthusiastically thank my team mates for pushing me and supporting me, OA for a knee that WORKS, my family, Cyclemania for EVERYTHING, and Jeff particularly for putting up with my buffoonery over the weekend.

*****************************************************

Submitted by Jeff Fisher:

Well that pretty much summed it up.  And, just in case you’re wondering, Joey wrote that whole report on his phone while driving back to Maine.  I’m not sure how he pulled that one off…

Joey was kind saying middle of the pack on the TT.  Let’s just set the record straight; I sucked.  First I was surprised you could use aero gear.  I didn’t even bring an aero helmet.  I just happened to see Kevin before the start and he loaned me his.  It didn’t help.  I lost tons of time even though I was trying hard.  For whatever reason I just couldn’t get it going.  Then the wrong way twins managed to keep their string of wrong turns going and Joey and I had to retrace our steps and ride even farther to get back to the car.

On day two, it was brutally hot.  If Kevin hadn’t given me a handup I think I wouldn’t have made it.  I had a great sprint for the first intermediate sprint and thought I was going to have a great result.  I rode up to Joey and told him to try and stay at the front and go with the break that was surely going to form at the KOM.  This year there was no descent after the KOM, it was a couple of miles of false flat.  That second KOM nearly broke us and for a short period of time there were the three guys off the front and then seven of us chasing.  Well really only one or two guys chasing because myself, Joey and a couple more guys were just hanging on the back trying not to get dropped.  I thought the race had completely disintegrated.  Somewhere on the descent of baby gap more guys managed to get on because we were just coasting.  On the final sprint it was total mayhem with the sprint starting at 500 meters to go.  I thought I had it, but with about 100 to go I got cramps in both quads and that was it.  I actually got pipped right at the line and lost a place.  Still a top 10 should give me some Nebra points if they’re counted.  Oh, and it was another long hot ride back to the start.

On the third stage I was suffering from the start and hoping not to get dropped on the first KOM which came at mile 11.  Luckily the pace wasn’t torrid and we all survived.  After that it was attack after attack but nothing was getting away.  We hit the dirt section and I lost my mind.  Three guys were off and I rode them down and went right through them.  Next thing I know I was driving the pace at 27+ and pulling away.  It seemed just like cyclocross practice.  Just after the dirt, Tyler Munroe(sp?) and Paul Richards managed to bridge up and it was game on.  I looked back and it was a single line of guys as far as I could see.  In retrospect, that was a match I probably shouldn’t have burnt.  Oh well.  I started cramping on baby gap badly and had to sit up.  By the time I got to app gap I was cramping every time I tried to put anything into the effort and when I got to the final 500 meters I could have walked faster than I was riding.

You know what happened today.  I was bummed because it was going to be a duel for the green jersey.  I actually had a couple guys come up and tell me they wanted me to win.

50+ next year baby!  I can’t wait!

****************************************************

Submitted by Bruce Schwab

As the lone OA 50+’er this year, I can say that next year with Jeff there (and Hank?) can’t come soon enough. My only real goal for the weekend was to get some sprint points (that jersey is nice!). My plan was to poke along in the TT and save the legs for the sprints, however Dave Z loaned me a very nice HED tri-spoke so I had to ride honorably. Smack dab in the middle (17th) is actually quite satisfying because I typically stink at TT’s!

In the circuit race I got a few points in the first sprint and was hopeful for the finish. However the 2nd time up the KOM I faltered…then had a great opportunity to get back on when the Yellow Jersey (Mosher) came by with 2 Keltic teammates. I couldn’t believe my luck and hopped on. Unfortunately on the last little riser before the downhill I was hit with the worst cramps I’ve ever had and completely locked up. OW. Had to ride in with a chase group, 4min down. CCB’s Tyler Munroe (who had passed right by me in the TT for 3rd on the Stage 1) won BOTH the first sprint and the finish. He moved into first with the finish time bonus.

On the “Big” stage 3, I had only ONE goal; to win the only hot spot sprint at 22.8mi. I had to chase down a few small splits (which I usually refuse to do), but I was determined. It was a long one, led out by Munroe at 500m, however somehow my legs didn’t feel a thing and I came around at 100M get it. James Nash (Munroe’s CCB teammate) was coming up on the right but I really wanted it and held him off. I sat up to cruise the rest of the race but then noticed we had a big gap so sat on the CCB duo until the group brought us back. I managed to tag along with the pack until Baby Gap and rode easy (not entirely by choice) up to the finish with a motley group of cramping stragglers. Mosher won the stage and was back in Yellow with 58sec on Munroe (who was 3rd for the day).

Turns out that Stage 3 HS sprint was the ONLY sprint that Munroe didn’t win for the weekend. For in the Monday Crit he rode right off the front; and when Mosher slid in a corner (came out of his pedals but didn’t go down) a bunch of us got held up and gapped. Like a fool I chased on my own when both the climber’s and yellow jersey’s were behind me…but hey, I still had fantasies of getting some more points. Ya…right. When the “Jersey Group” finally got rolling I struggled to hang on and one after another a series of 545 Team riders kept leaving gaps and dropping off.

After closing those gaps about 3 or 4 times I drifted off myself and finally got yanked as a storming Munroe was about to LAP me. He went on to lap the “Jersey” group (Sarci, Mosher, and a few others), and win the final sprint besides. Yow, I was impressed. Jeff and I will have to tag-team him next year…for this year at least I got him in one of the sprints.

Topsfield Circuit Race – Race Report – August 27, 2011

Submitted by Jeff Fisher

The good news; we missed the rain.  The bad news; we missed the break.

We had a pretty good showing for Topsfield.  Eric W. Ta, Jeff Y, Bruce, and I showed up to do the Pro 1/2/3 race.  This was my first time doing the race so I had no idea what the course was like, but with 107 guys pre-registered, it was going to be tight racing regardless.  My main concern and it looked like Eric’s as well, was to make sure we got to the front.  That meant standing at the start for quite a while.  So what warm I had done was certainly gone by the time we started.  The first mile of the race was rather sedate which I thought was pretty nice.  But that lasted all of about three minutes and then we were full gas with everyone trying to jam their way to the front.  I don’t know about the rest of the guys, but that put my legs into the hurt locker.  Being old, one needs a certain amount of time to get the blood going and the muscles working efficiently.

It has been 10 years since I’ve done a longish Pro 1/2/3 race and I forgot two things: the first was that the pace never slows down and the second is that the real racing starts in the second half of the race.  That would turn out to be a costly error.  For the first hour of racing, O/A was active at the front.  I don’t think there was ever a break that didn’t have an O/A person in it.  Between Eric, Jeff, Ta, and I, we covered just about every move.  I bridged up solo to two breaks that I thought for sure were going to go, only to have them get reeled back in.

I hadn’t looked at my computer once, mostly because it was too hectic, but when I did it happened to be at the hour mark and we had already gone more than 27 miles.  Yikes!  At this point I decided I needed to take a break which also seemed to be what the rest of the team was thinking.  So with about five laps left I started going backwards.  At the same time I noticed Bill Yarbroudy, who hadn’t been at the front at all, moving forwards.  If there ever was a guy who is always in the right move at the right time it was Bill.  Mentally I knew I should be watching him and all the warning bells were going off in my head, but my legs were complaining so I just hoped nothing would go.

With about three to go, I started moving back up through the field.  I could see Ta was still up near the front having a great race, but Eric was back in the middle of the pack and I had no idea where Jeff Y and Bruce were.  At this point I was maybe 20 guys from the front when I saw the break starting to form.  I could just feel that this was it but I was too far back.  I was trying to send Ta and John Grenier psychic messages to get in that move, but it didn’t work.  I guess I need to work on my mental powers more.  With two to go I was now back up near the front but it was probably a 15 second gap that needed to be closed.  At the speed we were going I wasn’t sure I could close that on my own so I hoped that there were some motivated and strong legs left in the group.  Unfortunately there weren’t. The gap stayed at about 20 seconds and that was it.

On the last half of the last lap, I figured I wouldn’t have much of a sprint since I was paying for early aggression.  I led it out hoping that Ta or John would have something left for the field sprint.  So definitely a mistake in tactics this time around.  One of us should have held back for the second half of the race.  I really think we could have been in the eventual break if we had been saving our legs.

So, how fast was Topsfield this year?  51.5 miles in 1:54; yes that was fast…

Jeff F: 34th

Ta: 42nd

Eric: 54th

Jeff Y: ?

Bruce: ?

Blunt Park Cyclocross Race, Springfield, MA – Race Report – August 21, 2011

Submitted by Paul Weiss.

This is a race report for Blunt Park cyclocross which was held last weekend in Springfield Massachusetts. I usually don’t race this early in the season but I have been training on the cyclocross bike 1 to 2 days a week this entire summer so I was anxious to get out and test the legs out.   Since it was such a long drive to Massachusetts I decided to race in 2 races. I signed up for the Masters 45+ race and also the Pro 1/2/3 race immediately after the Masters race. Call it insanity, but I wanted to get a workout. I figured it would be easier to really do a hard effort in the Masters race and then just use the 1/2/3 race for training.

My race was at 10 o’clock and I got to Blunt Park about 9 so I had to rush a little to get on the course. There was already a race in progress so I would only had 20 min. to pre-ride the course, which is the bare minimum. In general, you want to get 3 to 4 laps in before your race, and I got the bare minimum 3. I took note of some interesting course obstacles such as 4 separate log hurdles and a really long set of (6) barriers. Generally a flat course with a small pavement section and some pretty long single-track in the woods and some extensive tape mazes. It looked to be a pretty hard course.

You never know how you start out early in the season, so this was a test of how I felt.  My focused race was the 45 race. I got on the line and was prepared with an extra bike in the pit and water and food next to my bike for the short 10 min. I would have to recover between races. I got on the front line start position, but my start was not perfect I ended up about 3 riders back from the front, going into a very tight hole-shot. This course was a true “hole-shot.” We came off the pavement and went into 180° turn onto the dirt and there was very little room for the entire pack of about 35 riders to make it through that tight corner. I think I was back about 15 spots, this made the beginning difficult because we then funneled onto, and over a log that had a single narrow gap on it that you could ride.  Everyone was single filing it over that log. Then a long section of single-track in the woods with very few places to pass. It’s always very difficult being behind the rider going really fast on single-track, you get very little reaction time when riding up to and over objects, and there were many objects from roots to rocks to ruts, you name it.  I was very patient and emerged out of the woods having passed one or 2 riders. We came out to the “tape maze” which I was not in my best form on. You can lose a lot of time in a tape maze, they are great places to recover your breathing but if you’re not technically savvy you can lose a lot of spots. I held my own in the 1st lap but did not gain anything in that tape maze.  I then settled in for a long, long hot ride. After lap I seem to pick off one or 2 riders and moved up to the top 10 spots. In cyclocross you look for targets and attack them, chase and chase until you pass, I did this for several laps. I remember chasing down Eric Marrow and then chasing for several laps Mark Suprenant and then Doug Aspinwall. These are folks that I race with every weekend and it is fun to compete with them. Doug and I were together for 2 laps and were very closely matched. It was only the 2nd to last lap that I opened the gap on Doug after a log in the woods. I that gap to the finish but could not seem to reach the group of John Moser and Paul Nyberg. I felt strong in the finish but could not see how far I was from the leaders. As it turned out I was only 15 seconds from the leader and winner of the race Matthew Domnarski, who I raced with a lot, last year.

I felt very good about this finish, since 15 seconds is a very little time from the leaders and feel I’m going into the season in good form. I am looking forward to the early-season races including the upcoming Verge Series Race in Williston Vermont.

Just for giggles and to get some good training in I started the Pro 1/2/3 race. In between I barely had time to suck down a quart of water and a Gu.  This was critically important because you are really sweating. I started off the back of this field and just took my time keeping pace with the last few riders I wasn’t taking any risks or doing any strong efforts. The advantage of riding a 2nd race is that I knew the course down pat. I knew every corner in every log hop and where line your bike up, and this is really important in racing. I could relax in my racing because I could make up a few seconds in each corner because I knew the course so well. The Elite Races are 60 minutes, so I had to hold on and pace myself.   I was also really tired and it was really hot.   Cyclocross is a cool weather event, and you really throw out the heat, so this was killer.   After a few laps I had picked off a couple riders but had to ease off since I really began feeling the effort of the last race.   I reset my goal, to finishing this race, …….not in last place.   With 4 to go, I felt my body really hurting and the last 3 laps were like torture.   Due to my genetic advantage of lack of cranial nerves I made it to the final lap and was happy to finish.   I think I drank a half gallon of water after that race and was so tired I only took a few pictures of one race.   I normally start up my photography business after my race and go through to the end of the day.   This day, I called it early and relaxed for the 3.5 hour drive home.   Happy and excited to be ready for a new cyclocross season!