Tag Archives: Portland Velo Club

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

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!

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!

NY Capital Region Road Race – Albany, NY – July 28, 2012

Written by Cindy McNett

The NY Capital Region Road Race is a hill-lover’s dream.   A circuit race over a twenty mile loop, with several steep wall-climbs, winding descents, and 2 sharp 45-degree turns.

As I surveyed the fit-looking women at the starting line of the Pro 1/2/3 who all appeared to be half my age, I wondered why I was there and what was going to happen to me.  This nonsense was quickly shelved as the race got underway and full concentration turned to the task of completing 2 laps and staying with the lead group.

The 3 mile neutral zone led us to the start/finish line, where the racing began.  Almost on cue, it began to rain – HARD.  All I could see and hear was water spray.  Flying down the steep rain-slick descents on egg-shell carbon and faith, everyone was cautious.  Up the wall-hills, holding position, trying not to roast my legs.  People were falling out of the group, and on one particularly steep wall, 2 riders got away.  What remained of the main group organized and tried to reel them in, mile after mile in the rain, passing remnants of the men’s fields.

At some point I looked up through the spray and realized the rider just ahead was right behind the pace car!  Loop 2 started as we passed the start/finish area, and got into the wall-climbs.  Then IT happened, cresting the top of a steep hill.  I shifted into the big front chain ring anticipating the down-hill, and dropped the chain.  I had to unclip, put the darn thing back on, while watching the coveted top-five finish glide away over the next hill.

Back on the bike now and in full chase-mode, I caught up to the trailing end of the group but didn’t fully latch on.  On the descents they rolled away, and incrementally the gap got larger.

By good fortune a strong rider named Meagan appeared out of nowhere and we helped each other.  I could climb, and she was fabulous on the flats.  We could see the leaders but never  closed the gap.  The last 2 km sported a series of short steep uphills, where I pulled away with whatever I could muster at that point.  Nothing on my mind now except dry clothes and HOT coffee!!

This race was great fun, well organized, and well-marked, with a marshall on every corner.  I would  definitely recommend it!

ARGYLE ARMADA, Mark Johnson, June 28, 2012

Argyle Armada Author to Speak at Portland Cycling Shop on Eve of Tour de France 2012

Mark Johnson provides a behind the scenes look at America’s top cycling team, Garmin-Cervelo, on Thursday, June 28 at CycleMania.

Portland, ME — June 26, 2012 — Mark Johnson, author of the new book Argyle Armada: Behind the Scenes of the Pro Cycling Life delivers will speak on the eve of the 2012 Tour de France at CycleMania at 59 Federal Street in Portland, Maine on Thursday, June 28 at 6:30 PM. Argyle Armada provides an unprecedented look inside the sport and lifestyle of professional cycling.

Embedded with Team Garmin-Cervélo, aka “Argyle Armada,” for its 2011 season, writer-photographer Mark Johnson brilliantly chronicles the team’s most intimate personal dramas and public celebrations. From winter training camp on the cobbled lanes of medieval Girona, Spain, to hard-earned stage victories in July’s Tour de France, to flesh-shredding crashes at the Vuelta a España in September, Argyle Armada brings the life and work of a pro cycling team into focus through incisive writing and spectacular color photographs. The book is now available in bookstores and bike shops and online.

“We are excited to have Mark present to the Portland Velo Club and other interested cyclists,” said David Brink, co-owner of CycleMania. “Mark is just back from the Giro d’Italia, the Italian version of the Tour de France, where he witnesses Garmin-Baracuda racer Ryder Hesjedal win. He is promising an updated inside look at the team with photography and stories not featured in the book. All are welcome to attend.”

More than a book about racing, Argyle Armada is a portrait of life as a member of a pro cycling team during a time of painful transition for the sport. Johnson unveils the dramatic forces that Garmin-Cervélo must navigate as team founder Jonathan Vaughters tries to push forward his vision of a reformed sport. Along the way, countless difficult decisions must be made to keep the team competitive in the chase for ProTour points, money, respect, and fame.

With all-access insight and spectacular color images, Argyle Armada is a backstage pass to the world of professional cycling. RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/475957412430077/.

Mark Johnson has covered cycling as a writer and photographer for national and international publications since the 1980s. His work has been published in cycling magazines including VeloNews in the United States, Cycling Weekly in the UK, Velo in France, and Ride Cycling Review in Australia as well as general-interest publications including the Wall Street Journal and the San Diego Union-Tribune. A Category II road cyclist, Mark has also bicycled across the United States twice and completed an Ironman® triathlon. He has a PhD in English literature from Boston University and has worked as a freelance writer and photographer for the Slipstream Sports cycling team since 2007. His other passion is surfing, which he does frequently from his home in Del Mar, California.

VeloPress publishes books for cyclists, triathletes, and runners on training, nutrition, and the histories and personalities of endurance sports. VeloPress is a division of Competitor Group, which publishes Velo, Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, and Competitor magazines and produces the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series, TriRock triathlon series, and the Muddy Buddy adventure race series.

Sterling Classic Road Race – Masters 45+ – Race Report – May 12, 2012

By Hank Pfeifle

On Saturday Ta Herrera, Ron Bourgoin, Kevin Hays, Bruce Schwab and I traveled to Sterling, MA to contest the 6 x8 mile course of this New England classic bike race. Christian Muentener (4’s) and Mark Caron (35+) also made the trek. Sterling, with its initial steep hill and then elongated gradual climb, offers a course that tempts aggression but often rewards patience. But with 100 starters, sunny skies and warm temperatures one could expect aggression to be prominent, and it was right from the get-go. Always competitive Todd Buckley (Arc-En-Ciel) and Eric Pearce (Cyclefitness) took off at the gun and built a good lead through lap one. During lap 2, three more guys bridged over to form a solid escape group. Before the start of lap 3 on the long run in to the town of Sterling, Ta Herrera (our Ta!) initiated a second bridging effort. “Ah, this is good,” I’m thinking as I’ll use the steep initial climb to bridge over to Ta and work with his group to complete the bridge.

Hills are good to me and I used it to full advantage as I quickly make my way to Ta. “Ta! Ta! Ta!” I yell in alert so that he can get up to speed as I came up to his group. Continue through I go as we hit the long gradual climb and threw the chase into warp speed. We had a bridging mission to accomplish. Unfortunately Ta was in a vulnerable state having been in a sustained chase and now a sustained and (sorry) fast ascent. He popped just before the crest and, not realizing it, I kept the gas on full throttle. That was indeed unfortunate because Ta always gives a full and eager effort during a bridge. Meanwhile, Ron’s attempts at bridging were continually thwarted by the suction of the pack. Kevin and Bruce quickly gathered to the front to help in keeping the chasing pack under control.

So now I was into lap 3 in full bridging mode. With me were 3 other riders who proved to be slightly …. Hummm, how do I put it ….unrulely.  Here I was pounding away and two of the guys were behind me bickering about something. Believe it or not but I had to ease up and give them a lecture on the benefits of cooperative behavior in a chase. Properly chastised they settled down and started to pull through. That spirit of cooperation lasted about a half lap and then I began to sense a real reluctance for anyone else to lead but me. So then I had to ease up again and give a second lecture on the importance of “dedicating oneself fully to the cause” in order for the bridge to succeed. That lecture didn’t seem to catch hold, and soon I had to resort to my last lecture of the “joys and benefits of the acceptance of pain” in the pursuit of one’s bicycling life fulfillment. Perhaps en total these impassioned discourses resonated with my three companions or maybe it was the miraculous appearance of Dmitri Buben onto the back of our group, but we were soon humming along and making good progress in closing the gap.

It took us two laps but we did gobble up the Buckley/Pearce gang. Not pausing to chit-chat we powered through and continued the fight to maintain the lead for the remaining two laps. The goal now was to whittle the group of 9 down to a group of  1 – you’ve got it, me! Attacks on the hills. Attacks on the flats. Attacks everywhere. I had the legs. I desperately tried to break things up and escape either alone or with Dmitri (always a worker). The efforts succeeded in shedding two guys, but everyone else smelled the barn and were plenty strong enough to cover all moves. In the end it came down to a power uphill 30 second sprint to the finish line. Everyone pretty much jumped at the same time when we turned the acute corner onto the finishing hill. I was thinking about giving them a lecture about the importance of respecting one’s elders, but 3 of the group were too far up the hill to hear me, and when I crossed the finish line 4th, I was too out of breath to express the thought.

There was good riding by everyone in the always competitive 45+ group. Although Ta could not revel in the fun of the break, his aggressive riding directly contributed to my being able to get into the break. It’s always frustrating riding and being patient and ready to strike in the peloton on the chance that the break is caught. But Ron, Kev, Bruce and Ta rode well in that role as, more often than not at Sterling, the break does get caught and then it becomes game on again.

2012 Cyclemania-PVC Time Trial Results

A great showing at the 2012 Cyclemania-PVC Time Trial today, the 2nd race in the 2012 Maine Time Trial Series. Top honors go to Fred Thomas for 1st overall for men (with a new course record of 29:43 or 27.28mph!) and Carrie McCusker for 1st overall for women.

Fred Thomas receiving his award from Ted Darling, PVC President and event organizer.

You can view all results here: Cyclemania-PVC Time Trial Results

Divisional results can be found here: Cyclemania-PVC Time Trial Results

Photos by Don McEwan can be viewed HERE.

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