Tag Archives: Racing

Lewiston Auburn Criterium 8/6/2017

There was a great PVC showing at the Auburn Lewiston Crit today!

Three of our junior were there to represent with Aiden Simmons finishing 1st followed by George P Theall for 2nd and Everett Yannelli in 4th!  Aiden continued on in the challenging 4/5 field to continue to gain additional experience. The wind swept in after the first race which literally blew the remaining fields apart.  It reminded me of the Track race called a “miss’n’out” where each lap the last person was pulled from the race until the finish. The fields were not large but fast and challenging.

The 4/5 race Mark Carpenter and Peter Morrison were working hard in the field finishing 4th and 7th respectively.  

The 35+ race Peter was back out there and finished 3rd.

The 50+ race had 2 people off the front almost from the gun.  The field continued to loose people as the gap with the leaders grew.  George A Theall burst out of turn 3, up the hill, skipping his wheel in turn 4 for a clear field sprint win for 3rd place. Carl Hitchcock also stayed with the field winning a few primes along the way.

Others racing the PVC colors include Chris Darling, Graydon Stevens, George Benington, Brook More, John Baldwin, Brian Cole, Paul Niehoff, Christian Ratliff, Dan Leland.

Results: https://www.bikereg.com/Results/rr/9429/lewiston-auburn-criterium

Linda Braley

 

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2017 Cyclocross Nationals Recap

By Paul Weiss

We had a good crew from Maine at CX Nationals this year since it was so close to home, and folks are just really getting excited about cyclocross. The sport seems to keep growing by leaps and bounds, and it is funny to see both the Junior and Master fields overflowing with participants.

The Hartford Course was in a small park on the shores of the CT river. The area features some fields, a large earthen levee that was about 40 feet high and some small woods trails in the river bottom mud. Part of the course went through a gazebo and playground.

I went all out this year. I mean I love CX, but this year I went a little overboard with racing. I essentially raced more days than most pro racers. In retrospect, I over did it. Racing every weekend since the end of August has cost a lot in terms of free time, training and money. I set out to do the whole schedule for New England. Pretty much all weekends except Labor Day, even a midweek race. It was important to me to try to get on the Hartford course earlier in the year, which I did. The national course, while not following exactly, was in a lot of the same terrain.

With 2 weeks after the last Connecticut snowy races in Bethlehem and New Haven, I felt pretty good about having raced 2 full days in snow and then got some training days in on the road with snow. I knew Hartford could dish out some snow and ice. But the conditions early in the week at nationals looked like frozen mud to slippery mud. Changing fast each day. If you have not seen the video of the large slip and slide hill (that they eliminated later in the week) check it out here.

I got on course on Thursday, and things were in really descent condition in that all the mud was solid as a rock. There were a few good lines on the course, but really hard ruts that they had made some attempt to smooth with a ATV. Then it started to snow late in the evening, and I knew my race was going to be hard. The next morning it was those same frozen ruts but you could not see them because they were covered in a few inches of snow. This made the early races really difficult to say the least.

Brian Cole raced in the AM and ripped a derailleur off his bike. These frozen ruts could flat a tire in an instant. By the time I was set to race, the conditions had changed to surface mud. I got on the course for several lap,. and it was treacherous. Now the frozen ruts were not visible, and the snow was melting enough to make all sections of the course slippery beyond belief.

I lined up just after noon and was ready for a good technical race. However, this was a bit more. I love racing in snow, but ice and half melted frozen ruts are another thing. This course was a bit scary in that a fall on this stuff could break your wrist, arm or leg. No joke. We raced off the line and across the first turn, and it was going well. Into a straight away by the pits, I immediately hit a hidden lengthwise rut that took me out like I was not on a bike! Flat down, hard ouch. Got up and tried to see both the bike and me, both were ok, but a bent shifter had to be fixed.

Getting back on the bike, I was off the back of the pack, who were now going into a long diagonal off camber run-up that you could ride on the bottom for a way or along the top. It was really a hard run with mud, ice off camber. The big downhill caused everyone to pause a bit since it required leaning away from the hill, and an off camber turn then braking enough to not get caught in the exit ruts. Pretty scary for some folks since you could really injure yourself on the flat at high speeds. I negotiated that hill well, but it was the woods section after the pits that were probably the second most difficult.

The frozen ruts in the woods were unbelievable. It looked as if they raced hundreds in the mud and then left all ruts to freeze solid. Just the width sometimes of a 34 c tires. It was really hard to negotiate the small uphill’s and tight turns in the woods. Many spilled or ran their bikes here, but even running was dangerous. An ankle twist was very easy. I was glad to be wearing my Lake high ankle winter boots for both support and warmth.

A few laps in and I was still off the back. This course had no place to go really hard, and it was truly a course of attrition. The person who made the least spills and recovered fasted would win. There are so many places to have slip ups. Even the pro field experienced the same thing. I ended up having one other dump in the woods that caused another loss of time that really put me back. I ended up finishing way in the back ¾ of the pack. On the last lap, the leaders came through and started lapping the back of the field.

In retrospect, it was a fun experience but not what I had planned for. The conditions made the course more challenging than I had expected, plus the goal of not getting injured again. I had several injuries this season and did not want to repeat. Luckily I didn’t. I also saw the great advantage disk brakes could have offered me on parts of this course; my carbon rim brakes did not work well on the frozen downhills and mud.

The really good things was that I got the best hotel room, within a short 10 minute ride of the course. This made the post-race cleanup easier. It was so easy that Hank Pfeiffel and Troy Barry hung out there and kept warm before Troy’s race.

PVC had some good racing that day including: Nathaniel Smith, Brian Cole, Adam Lampton, and Chris Darling. It was great to see most racing! It was a fun season but I am glad to be on skis now! I look forward to the PVC racing team next season!

Here are some images:


chris-runningChris Darling goes faster running a turn

 

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Allen Starrett in a tight turn. He did a great race!

 

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Troy Barry (center, upright) on the line with Adam Myerson the eventual winner.

 

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Chris, Fergy, and Paul after racing.

 

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Adam with frozen bike

 

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Paul and Adam post race

 

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What a bike looks like with freeze-dried mud.

 

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Hartford skyline over course on CT River.

 

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My friends from West Virginia including master racer Gunnar Shogren

PVC Cyclocross 2016-2017 Update

The season started at Blunt Park in Springfield MA in August and is now at the heart of the season in November. Working towards the US National Championships this January in Harford CT. PVC has had some great races, some good races and a few really bad ones, but it has been really fun and great to get to see so many courses across New England.

PVC has been floating some racers over the season and most show up at our local races at Pinelands, Casco Bay, and Orchard Cross. It has been fun to run our weekly cyclocross camps and also race with those folks on the weekend. We had 2 Juniors train and race with us, women, as well as some old masters.  We even have some new folks trying cyclocross for the first time. PVC Racers include: Brian Cole, Chris Darling, George Bennington, Paul Neihoff, , Eric Larsson, Adam Lampton, David Beneman, Jeff Doughty, Greg Bartick, and Paul Weiss.

To see the results from all our team members click on this link for PVC Results.

It has been a long season, 22 races thus far. One fun weekend was at the Verge series races in Northampton MA. Two days of full on racing with the best racers from throughout the northeast. This race has grown so much over the 23 plus years of existence. It was the largest race in North America this past weekend.

The field Paul Weiss normally races in, the Masters 45+ was full with over 100 racers. Crazy start each day with a sprint from the gun and a giant field funneling into the serpentine course. First laps culminating in an arduous run-up with a bike over your shoulder and other riders stepping on your feet.

He had a really good race and moved up from somewhere in the last row to the top 1/3 of the field. Sunday He felt a bit slower but still a good race despite losing a lot of time to 2 crashes off the start line, one after another. Good to not go down in either. Also great to have a technically flawless race, this despite some really tricky technical sections of difficult descents and steep run-ups.

PVC is looking forward to the colder races and to race the season out to the end. The season is long and fun and we want to congratulate those that have given it their best. It has been impressive to see some of the best racers in New England right here from Maine.

What is left on the menu for this season?

PVC Double loop
Shed Park CX Lowell MA
New England CX Championships, Fitchberg, MA
NBX Verge, Cranston, RI
Ice Weasels CX, RI
March Farm CX, Bethleham, CT
Elm City CX, New Haven CT
US National CX Championships, Harford, CT

Brian Cole Ready to race at Northampton Cycle-Smart International, CX Verge Race 11/13/16.

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Chris Darling is in the same peloton as Brian, and ready to race!

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Paul Weiss Racing Hard

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Jeff Doughty at Quad Cross

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Paul Neihoff at White Park

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Brian Cole, Chris Darling, George Bennington and Paul Weiss at Craft Gran Prix of Gloucester

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Adam Lampton at Casco Bay Cyclocross

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Here are some photos from Casco Bay of Chris Darling, Paul Weiss, and George P Theall taken by Jennifer Battis

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Here are a few of Eric Larsson, Paul Neihoff, and Greg Bartick from Orchard Cross at Applefest Farm taken by Katie Busick

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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 :^)

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!

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.

Quabbin Reservoir Classic Road Race – Ware, MA – Masters 50+ – Apr 28, 2012

By Hank Pfeifle:

Yesterday 120 or so topnotch 50+ age group riders from throughout the Northeast gathered for the 2012 Quabbin 65 mile undulating road race around Quabbin reservoir in central Massachusetts. It was as big and talented a field as you would find for any national or world event.  The race is a “balloon” course with the start/finish road being the “tail” located in the reservoir park and a clockwise course around the reservoir. The left side and top of the clock is rolling uphill, and the right side of the clock is downhill. The hill at the top of the course is fairly big; it crests and goes downhill a bit, and then turns 90 degrees right onto a small road that descends for about 3-4 miles. This narrow descent is not that steep and is a fun part of the race. It dumps onto a bigger road that leads to a park and then into a town. From the town you exit onto a larger road and soon head uphill. This is a testing uphill followed by a good run-out descent, a short flat section and then a left hand turn back onto the “tail”. A half mile onto the tail you turn right into the Quabbin park. The park road is about 3 kilometers long and goes flat about .5k, gradual uphill .5k, flat 1k and uphill at 4-5% for the last 1k. Tricky.

Quabbin is a race where patience is required. The field easily stays together through to the town of Ware at about the 50 mile mark.  It was important to make sure nothing happened on the uphills, but the hills before town were all done at tempo pace. The road was packed side to side with people. No screaming single file hard charging lines. Ho-hum. So people pretty much sit in and try to save their legs. We lost maybe 30 guys. There is a very fun descent from mile 45 into town and there were a flurry of attacks as the descent leveled off before town, but nothing stuck. The only effort I made was at the top of the last hill before the descent where I got to the front in order to be one of the first guys onto the winding downhill. No problem there.

Coming out of town things got serious as it was time to break up the field. I flew up the two part, fairly long climb immediately after town hoping to draw the strong legs with me and establish a break of 5 guys or so. No takers. Ok, I’ll solo to the finish. No to that, too, as the dwindled pack of about 50 gobbled me up at the moderately inclined final peak. So my push up the hill did accomplish half of its goal in that it did reduce the field to a more manageable 50 riders. Just as the catch of me was made, Anthony Felitte of the always aggressive and astute Keltic team, sprung away on a solo flyer. And everyone watched him go.

Soon we were heading quickly and en mass downhill. Surely the power of the descending pack will catch the lone escapee. Nope. We’ll catch him in the park …. As everyone looks around? “We’re riding for 2nd ?” Jeff opines in my ear. Wait a second, I think. Guys fade all the time on the final climb on the Saturday morning ride. We catch them all the time. “Hop on, Jeff, we’re going”. We get a, ummm, good jump on the field and immediately hit full on bridging speed. I take Jeff across the 1k flat section and deposit him onto the base of the final 1k ascent. Off he goes with full vigor. I drift away and 3 hard charging guys zoom by in pursuit of Jeff. I latch onto them and wait as they drag me up to Jeff. Just as we catch him with about 500 meters to go, I spring away determined that this in my final launch to the finish line. Gotta go hard for 500 meters. For 200 meters things are cool. This may work. Then Skip Foley appears on my rear wheel. Skip’s a former pro football player – wider receiver, Wes Welker-ish … even looks like him. Soon he’s beside me. Then ahead of me. What’s with these former pro football and hockey players? Strong. Hey, I was a former pro runner. Anyway, I’m thinking “good. I’ll latch onto his wheel”. Then he starts inching away. Hummm .. maybe that’s why they get all the girls. 300 meters to go and now I’m thinking 3rd is a respectable finish. 20 meters later Kevin Mosher inches by. Then Doug O’Neil. The Haluk Sarci. Uh-oh. Got to stop the bleeding. I punch it into the big ring and with 150 meters to go and dig like crazy. No pussy-footing. No wheezing into the finish. 100 meters to go. 6th place goes by. 7th. 8th! Hey!!! Finally the finish and, I hate to say it, 9th place goes by, too. 10th. In the money but so disappointing when you’ve been ready to dine on bigger fare.

Jeff rode with a winning attitude all day long and made a good, good effort on that initial 500 meter grade to the finish, but the grade does eat up your legs and 1K at high intensity is a loooong way.  In retrospect we did not organize well as a team over the final 3k, but it was our first group test of the season like this and I think it will stand us in good stead in upcoming big races. Communication before and during the race needs to improve (me!) and I think our deep resource of talent will marshal itself to put one of us on the podium soon.