This is what bike racing means to me. It’s about self development and finding yourself. Self discovery of will power and tenacity. It’s a form of expression. This is what I love most about competition. Recently, I burned out. The wax is burned and the flame no longer flickers. Where is my motivation? It is set on a different path. It’s time for a change I told myself. Cycling was my escape and still is. Through rough times it is my go-to positive outlet. To free myself from my restless mind is the best way to describe. But, racing constantly year-round changed what I considered to be a joy to an arduous task needed done on my schedule. In fact I would constantly think about training and racing that it would cause stress rather than relieve. This year I have only raced once and here I am happily riding feeling free once again. Many lessons were learned through my bike racing journey and I am grateful for every moment.
I was coming into this race with low expectations as far as results goes, but a the same time expecting to have loads of fun. The wind was picking up, providing a refreshing cool breeze during the race. I was not unfamiliar to the course as it’s almost a reverse loop of BASP#1 with sand. The sandy sections were by far my favorite because they were long enough to be a pain in the ass, yet short enough to to power through.
Shortly after the whistle blew I found myself braking to a halt to prevent running over a competitor who hit the deck! This was also nowhere near the front of the race so the hole shot for these dudes riding crazily aggressive was unlikely. I kept calm. I raced my race mainly sticking with my teammate Branton. We clung onto each others wheels until I got caught in sand, about a 3rd of the last lap, before a barrier section. My legs were zapped of energy and it was there he dropped me.
“Hey SJBC! This isn’t a century ride!,” -Heckler
Photo credit: Mr. Steven Woo
I wish I had recorded the previous Cat 2 race earlier in the day as that race was more exciting. I won 2 primes and was awarded the most aggressive rider which I was pretty pumped about. Branton Curt and I led out Bobby Abuyen for the victory.
Recorded here is the Cat1/2/3 race. To sum it up, there was a successful breakaway of roughly 8 that formed in the first quarter. SJBC was present with Bobby Abuyen but as you can see in the video he dropped. The peleton did not manage to chase the break down and as a result we were lapped by the breakaway. From that point I took it easy to the finish line. Enjoy the video!
This was the fastest race I’ve attended. I would expect nothing less as Ptown’s F&F was NCNCA district criterium championship for 2012. The field was stacked! So stacked even the dominant team from Socal attended and won(CashCall). In this video, you won’t ever see front. Enjoy!
Cat 3/4 field size: 40 (Majority 3′s)
Laps: 6, 75 min
Teammates: Bobby Abuyen, Also had a friend from FFBC Chris Giotos
1st lap the peleton stayed together at a mellow pace, nobody wanted to work at the front. Might have been a good opportunity to do some damage but at the same time it was too early to reveal our cards.
Lap 2 was the same until Bobby attacked out of the turn into the stair step rollers. He managed a decent gap of ~20s with no reaction from the field. Great! It was as if others were blocking for me. Not until the start of the third lap was when two other riders attempted to bridge. The peleton woke up and kept the break on a tight leash, eventually reeling in Bobby at the top of the last roller of Lap 3 towards the descent.
Crossing the S/F with 3 to go, I see a Sierra Pacific Racing rider (fake) attack and followed but the he sat up soon after. Once I got to his wheel I decided to make my move and ATTACK! I created a sizable gap of ~20s maybe. I look behind me and see a squadra rider trying to bridge. He was dangling and could not get to my wheel. I decided not to let up on my acceleration otherwise increasing the chance of being seen by the field. I concentrated on economy during my time off the front. Staying in the drops, head down, choosing the shortest lines, drinking more often than not, steady breathing, and going hard but not too hard. On the fifth lap, I see two riders, fremont bank and squadra bridging up and getting my wheel on the stair step rollers. I knew squadra was going to pop soon as he was short on breathe and taking slow pulls. Fremont bank rider shook him off the break, leaving it to the two of us with one lap to go.
With one lap to go we had 50s on the field. We didn’t have this information until after the race so we continued to motor. Fatigue was setting in and at this point the fremont bank rider was palpably stronger. My pulls we shorter in duration and not as fast. We both knew it, and I prepared myself for his attacks to come. I manage to hold his wheel until the 2nd to last roller before the long descent. I kept my pace steadily hard for 2nd place. Every lap averaged 22 with our last lap being the fastest of 23mph. Bobby and Chris did a good job of controlling the field. Bobby took 7th.
After the first lap, Branton dropped his chain on the descent and stopped at the bottom. I stayed with him to try and pace him back to the peleton. He ended up chasing faster than I could pace him back so I was left behind.
Thanks for reading
Course: 1 mile loop. Fairly technical with 7 corners and one sweeper
Length: 28 Laps ~1hr Avg 25.9 mph
Teammates: Ethan Sopenski, Branton Curt
Field size: 43 riders
This was my first criterium race of the year and I was excited to get back into the surginess type of riding crits have to offer. Our plan as a team was to keep the race animated and that
we my teammates did.
From the go, it took me quite some time to get acquainted with crit racing again. Also, not having crit raced on my new frame and wheel setup yet had me cautious going through the corners. I started near the front and slowly drifted to the back. I was giving up wheels left and right as if I had forgotten how to pedal through corners. As soon as I noticed the pace slow down a bit I gained back a few spots.
While I was dilly dallying in the back wasting energy, Ethan was already near the front and Branton was making his way up. After some attacks got pulled in I decided to give it a go near the start/finish line. As I passed it, the bell rung for a prime and I was pulled in soon after.
Photo credit: Alex Chiu
After a few more unsuccessful attacks were pulled in, Ethan put in a huge move with ~12 laps to go while Branton was at the very front pedaling at a slightly slower pace. Perfect. One Tieni Duro rider attempted to bridge but couldn’t make it to Ethan’s wheel. After taking two primes, Ethan was finally caught after 4? laps otf.
Ethans signature pain face, the tongue.
Photo credit: Alex Chiu
With about 5 to go, Branton pulls of a solo counter attack. I knew if he was pulled back, it was up to me to be there for the sprint since I had done the least work. Eventually, Branton was reeled in after some bridge attempts were covered by the sprinters.
Photo credit: Tim Westmore
With 2 laps to go I made my way up the pack to about top 15 position. The field was starting to become more strung out and riders were taking every opportunity to move up. Coming into the last corner I was positioned mid pack and out of contention for the sprint.
Some things I need to work on: Closing my sphere/protecting my wheel. Get comfortable with my equipment prior race day.
Norcal kicks off it’s spring classics with Snelling Road Race. I didn’t quite understand the why this race had such an appeal as registration spots closed soon after opening. On paper the course seemed to suit for me. 63 miles of flat/rolling/rough terrain with a slight uphill finish, but there had to be more to it in order to attract so many racers.
Course: 5 laps, 63 mi
Teammates: Branton, Ethan, Todd, Tim
Elevation gain: ~1600ft
Field size: 100
Weather forecast: Sunny, Wind 10-25mph
Rolling out of the neutral zone I found myself in a break of 2 riders, myself and an Unattached. Positioned near the front of the pack, I saw unattached rider initiate his attack and followed. My intentions were questionable as there were many well represented teams not in this break. I decided to press on and contribute to hold a decent sized gap hoping another big team would send one up the road to join the festivities. Unfortunately, that was not the case and our gap yoyo’d until being caught nearly one lap after. Oh well, at least my teammates should be fresh.
Back in the flock, I did not get much recovery time. The fast pace kept the field strung out, especially with the brutal crosswinds. Honestly, I had no idea what was going on at the front as I was focused on keeping out of the relentless wind leaving limited opportunity to move up.
During Lap 3, I think my teammate, Branton, tried making a move with several others but were quickly reeled in. Still in survival mode, I made sure to stay well hydrated and nourished. Rode through the rough patched road and my full bottle of fluid rattles out. EH, I really hope there is a neutral water feed…nope. At the end of lap 3, a break escaped and made a gap of 1:30′s consisting of Garmin junior rider Zeke and one other.
During lap 4 the field was significantly smaller. Perhaps half the number that started. Metromint took the reigns and drilled hard. Yes, we were still single file. Yes we were riding next to the ditch trying to protect our front wheel while maintaining a draft. Stressful indeed. It was only a matter of time until I bonked, and it happened at mile 46. Felt discouraging to say the least. I saw the back wheel in front of me slowly drift further and further away and I absolutely could not muster up the watts to close the gap. Race was over for me.
Despite the DNF, this race was a blast. It’s always good to see where the fitness is early season. I’ll definitely be back to conquer this beast of a race next year.
Photo credit: Tim Westmore
“Making a new years resolution is setting yourself up for failure” – Banefox. If someone wants to change for the better, they do it on a daily basis. Don’t wait for a “fresh start.”
Anyways, I’m stoked to be racing for team SJBC this year as we have a strong squad of many different talents for 2012. If there is one thing we all have in common, it is our passion for the sport of cycling. It’s more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. Look out for us as we tear it up!
My short lived cross season is over for 2011 with BASP#3 GGP being my last. Perhaps when I become a Cat 2, I will broaden my skills and diversify riding disciplines but til then I work my ass off on the road.
Earlier that morning before the race, Branton, Cat 3 stud, Robin, my brother and I rode across the golden gate bridge to Sausalito. Too bad I did not have my camera handy, the scenery was breathtaking. Come lunch time we had Thai food, an unconventional pre-race fuel choice but it was delicious and hit the spot.
A visual of what went down during my race: