Devil’s Punchbowl Road Race – Men Masters 35+
Where – Juniper Hills, CA (East of Palmdale)
May 11, 2013
Who Raced – Stu Press, Mark Fluss, Nathan Lloyd
Devil’s Punchbowl Road Race – Men Masters 35+
Where – Juniper Hills, CA (East of Palmdale)
May 11, 2013
Who Raced – Stu Press, Mark Fluss, Nathan Lloyd
Dana Point Grand Prix – Mens CAT 2
Downtown Dana Point
May 5, 2013
Who Raced – Nathan Lloyd, Wilson Blas, Kyohei Mizuno, Brian Duff, Alexander Walters
Dana Point Grand Prix, Womens 1-3
Downtown Dana Point
Sunday, May 5
Who Raced – Julie Cutts, Keely Brooks, Bee Eschenwald, Alicia Silvera, Raegan Lunsford, Angela Wimberly
Great team effort at Dana Point Grand Prix for the Womens 1-3 Race with Julie, Keely, Bee, Alicia, Raegan, and me. My first time doing this course, a fun course but hard – lots of corners which is great but not much distance between corners to move up – your window of time to move up is really short. Only one straightaway but everybody sprints out of the corner into the straightaway and is full gas the whole way. It was almost the same group of ladies that I’d raced against the day before, but I didn’t seem to have any energy at Dana Point. It was hard for me to move up, let alone contribute to the team.
The other ladies represented like rock stars: Keely got away solo for over a lap and the other teams had to bust ass to bring her back. Julie got in a break for awhile and got a prime, and was on the front more often than not. Every time I saw Alicia, she was near the front and racing strong. Bee was racing injured and Raegan was racing with the flu, but they were still “game on” and working their tushies off. Just at the end of the day, nothing came together for a result. One of those races that you have to shake off and not let get to you.
Barrio Logan Grand Prix – Womens CAT 1-3
San Diego, CA
May 4, 2013, Saturday
Who Raced - Angela Wimberly
Barrio Logan Grand Prix Womens 1-3 Race:
Awesome course! Fun figure 8, bad pavement, couple of false flats (long straightaway before last right turn, and finishing sprint). Wide road and enough distance between corners to move up. My first time doing this race, it’s on my calendar next year. Three teams had a big presence: Helens, SC Velo, and Sky Flash. Also a bunch of onesies twosies, most notably Jenn Weinbrecht.
It was fast with attacks for the first four or five laps, and I missed the break of three ladies (one each from Helens, SCVelo and SkyFlash) that went up the road. Then a second move by the same three teams went. I jumped to the second move but they weren’t very motivated so I went by them to try and bridge up to the break. The pack chased me down but I kept pulling anyway and the break was coming back. A racer from one of the teams started saying “why was I working for other people, I was a good sprinter, save it for the finish.” It made me laugh internally – each of the three teams had more than enough ladies still in the pack for the leadout, and I sprint like a baby compared to the ladies still in the pack (Suze, PC, Jennifer Valente, Trina Jacobson, Jenn, etc). My thought was “I’m not in the break, let’s bring it back and start over, I like my chances better that way.” But I respect the other racers and felt pressured into not chasing. So then we rode around real slow for awhile. I got frustrated and went again. Again they brought me back after about three-quarters of a lap, again I kept pulling, again the other racer was telling me to stop – while I’m paying attention to her, Jenn attacked from the left on the uphill straightaway
and went up the road. I didn’t chase Jenn, I like her and I figured the three teams would chase her down the way they’d chased me and I’d get a free ride.
Nada. They didn’t chase her at all. She stayed away for 4th. So then we rode around real slow some more. I made one last attempt and stayed away for another three quarters of a lap, then a move with the three teams trying to go with 1/4 lap to go, which I jumped on but it went nowhere, and then I had a pack finish. Such is life.
UCI Masters World Championship Qualifier
Where – Cold Spring, New York (across the Hudson from West Point)
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Start Time: 10:30 AM
Details: 126.5 kilometers / 79.6 miles with 1991 meters / 6532 feet climbing
Who Raced – Rich Mull
250 riders with a number of celebrities including Erwin Vervecken (three time pro World Cyclocross champion and now doing some road racing) and Mike Neel (in my age group and formerly an Olympian and the first American to compete in the pro tour for an Italian team in the 70s). The race was 79 miles and over 6k vertical climbing. The pace was fast with about 50 riders in the lead group. The first climb separated the rest of the pack. No real long climbs, but a lot of all out half milers. Half of the lead pack dropped me and the rest of the 50 on one steep short climb about 30 miles in but 15 of us caught them after about 8 miles. Then they dropped us again after 55 miles or so. There were several pretty bad crashes. There were a couple of nasty downhill sharp turns with bad road. I tried to break from the second group of about 15 on the one longer climb before the downhill descent towards the finish but was caught by the bottom of the climb. It was a mad sprint to the finish in our group, with about 15 riders finishing within 3 seconds. I was 6th in that pack a second behind the lead.
I won my division (60-64) and Mike Neel was third about 25 minutes back (I think he was the one who crashed somewhere behind us) in a time of 3:36. The weather was gorgeous and we rode with a very good group. The winner was former pro Scottie Weiss in 3:26. Robert Nunes from Costa Rica (last year’s winner of the Masters division at the Cascade Classic) was 7th. Erwin Vervecken (41) finished 5 minutes behind me. Attached is a picture of me with the medal and the UCI World Cycling Jersey (rainbow sleeves) over my LaGrange kit. (The World Champion jersey has the rainbow across the front.) George Pataki’s (NY governor awhile back) wife was handing out the medals.
The World Masters Championship is in Trento, Italy in the Alps in late September. It’s 68 miles and 11k vertical with a 12 mile climb to the finish. Just my kind of race. I was third last year in the World Masters after taking a wrong turn while in the lead with a half mile left so am eager to give it another shot.
San Luis Rey Road Race April 27, 2013
Where – San Luis Rey
Race – Womens Cat 1-3
Who Raced – Julie Cutts, Keely Brooks, Raegan Lunsford
Distance – 74 miles
Race Start – 1:15 (hot!)
Results – Julie – 1st place, Keely – 10th, Raegan – 11th
Reports by – Julie Cutts and Keely Brooks (Amy Hutner)
Cut to … a 3 person break in the last lap of the 74 mile race. I make the break with Jessica Cerra (pro mountain biker) and Tracy Tilton from Spy. No attacks on the hill thank goodness and I just sat in as Tilton drilled it up the hill. The two were in front of me and I knew it would come down to a sprint. I figured I had the most experience with that type of finish and I had to be the first to jump. I jumped a little before the 200m mark and was thankful I didn’t get pimped at the line again.
Keely and Raegan report from behind the 3-person break …
Kirsten Darley from Spy and junior phenom Hannah Swan were just ahead and 4th and 5th on the road. It was me and Raegan from LaGrange and Becky Siegel, Jenny Rios and Pam Schuster from InCycle, a Ritte girl, and one other. I sat in initially because InCycle didn’t have anyone up the road. But they caught on fast and sent Becky up the road, and I wasn’t able to catch on when she went. Then early on the climb, Pam attacked and I covered (Raegan was bonking). Then Jenny attacked and I pulled her in, but tried to keep her a second or two in front, so Pam didn’t attack, but the other team closed it. Then we just settled into a good clip up the climb. Then the Ritte girl jumped early and Pam went with her and I had no snap. Then Jenny Rios went and I didn’t have anything left to go around her. I ended up 10th, Raegan just behind me.
Sea Otter Classic Gran Fondo 2013
April 10 -13, 2013
Participants - Tom Hill, Alex Amerri, Richard Mull, Jaycee Cary
Last weekend was the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca Raceway in Northern California. I have wanted to go for many years, but something else has always kept me in Southern California. The last time I was at Laguna Seca was for a huge rock concert featuring the Grateful Dead in 1987.
This year I did make the trip; if you have never been before it is worth putting on the calendar. It is the largest bicycle event in the United States drawing 50,000 spectators and 8,500 competitors over four days.
If you enjoy being around cycling vendors this is the place to be. The infield of the race track has about 400 vendor tents that sell everything you would ever want for your bike.
There are events for everyone from mountain bike races to the Gran Fondo which I went there to experience.
I am not an early morning person, so waking up at 4:30 a.m. to make a 6:30 a.m. start time was not my ideal way to start the day.
There were 1,200 riders registered for the two Fondos which started together. It was a pretty even split with about 600 riders doing each course.
The short version of 49 miles went down to Monterey and along the coast before returning to Laguna Seca.
The Gran Fondo was 96 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing. We headed out through the vineyards of Salinas Valley which was mostly flat for about forty miles before the climbing began.
These events always have some pros in the pack, this year the big name in the Gran Fondo was “Fast Freddie Rodriguez.” Freddy has competed in all three major tours, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Tour of Spain. He has also won the U.S. Professional National Championship 3 times.
I made a point of staying in the top ten riders to avoid any crashes in such a large pack. This worked, but unfortunately it required I take pulls at the front when I really wanted to sit in the pack to save my energy for the climbs.
After about 30 miles, 3 guys attacked hard from the middle of the pack. Before I knew it, I was swarmed and boxed in. About 20 riders got away.
Thankfully the pack still had a lot of firepower left and after chasing for about 5 miles at 28 to 30 mph we were able to bring them back.
This effort did a lot of damage to the main pack which went from about 300 to 60 or 70.
Once we hit the first major climb at around the 50 mile mark the pace got going and splintered the field. It was a 10 mile climb that was very gradual until it ramped up in the last 3 miles to the summit.
When we started, it was 51 degrees, now it was in the low 80’s and the sun was pounding down on our backs without shade.
I could not stay with the lead group of Fast Freddie and his pack of 15 riders, nor the second group of 9 riders, but was in the third group of 8 riders. We descended rapidly into Carmel Valley and everything seemed to be going well as we caught some riders that had cooked themselves in the lead group.
At mile 82 I was in fifth position in our small pack, the guy in second position hit a pothole and his bike went sideways, he took out the gal in 3rd position and I barely got around as she went over the bars and was sliding towards me. Last year she won the women’s division and was on her way to winning again.
The guy was in bad shape and required an ambulance ride to the hospital.
Amazingly the woman landed on her back and was able to continue, though the back of her helmet was shattered where she hit her head on the road.
Had it not been for her helmet she probably would not have been alive.
After the crash our group split up heading over Laureles Grade which is very tough averaging 10% for about 4 miles. I was riding alone from this point on but was able to pull back a few more riders. Once we entered Laguna Seca there was another tough climb of 2 miles that was very steep with a few sections at 15 to 16% grade.
Two guys caught me as I crested the final climb. I knew one of them was in my age division so I pushed hard to stay with them. I was in front as we entered the race track and I saw the finish line about 300 meters ahead.
I gave it all I had sprinting to the finish line and winning my age category by just over 1 second!
The event always ends with a great pasta meal with salad, drinks, dessert and beer offered this time by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
I gave my beer ticket away since I did not feel like drinking in such hot weather, though I did use my complimentary 15 minute massage ticket which was a great way to end the day!
San Luis Rey Road Race
April 27, 2013
Where – San Luis Rey
Who Raced – Angela Wimberly, Lisa Bowerman, Mimi Sheehan, Trudi Schindler, Jill Haynie
Race Report by Jill Haynie
Just capped off two good weeks of racing. Starting with the LA Circuit Race last Sunday and finishing with the San Luis Rey Road Race.
Six of us made the voyage to Bonsall for San Luis Rey. 3 laps, 44 miles. Another large field, this time almost 50! The main message pre-race was much the same as last week with one important bit mixed in – be in the front on the climbs, there will be downsizing and you want to be in it.
The race started and it was the most stressful riding I’ve done in a long time. The pack was jittery, spooky, erratic, with much unnecessary braking and swerving. I couldn’t get into a good position and feared for a facial union with the asphalt. The pack finally strung out on the climb up to the end of the first lap.
Sweet relief except that it was selection time. Work? Suffering? I know how to do that, let’s go!
On the downhill start to the 2nd lap there was a regrouping, I looked around and there were 14 of us that made the cut, including 2 other LaGrange riders – Angela Wimberly and Lisa Bowerman. The group formed up into a rotating paceline and hammered out the miles to the turnaround trying to maintain our break from the field. More work, with everyone doing their part. I wasn’t savvy enough to count seconds to the main field at the turn but it looked like we had a decent size gap. The second climb to the end of lap 2 I was yo-yo-ing off the back of the break and just barely managed to hang on. I recovered on the downhill and counted well over a minute to the first riders in the main field. Again we formed up into a paceline to hammer out the 3rd and final lap. By this time I was wishing I was back on Westchester Parkway hiding in the pack, being lazy. When I saw the main field again I spied my two sacrificing teammates Trudi and Mimi Sheehan on the front, doing their best to slow roll or at least slow roll enough to keep the field at bay. Thanks y’all!
The “nice and friendly” but at least equally hardworking breakaway shattered on the final climb on the final lap and with 3 miles left to the end I was off the back, never to return. I crawled to the finish, panting like a dog, to find that Angela had snagged 3rd of the Cat 3s with Lisa rolling in 8th in the 3s. I came in at…you got this one…14th but a nice 5th in the Cat 4s. Sweet, points. Now can we go get a beer? I’m tired from all that working.
LA Circuit Race
April 21, 2013
Where – Westchester Parkway/LAX
Race Report from the Womens 3/4 road racing trenches, family friendly edition
By Jill Haynie
The circuit race at Westchester felt kind of like home turf, especially since a few of us have been showing up for a weekly evening ride there.
We had a brief team meeting beforehand with a few bits of advice mixed in with an overall strategy. My nervous brain can only hold so much, so all I remember hearing from bosses Trudi Schindler and Amy Hutner was to stay in the front third and only work if you have a purpose, don’t pull the field for no reason.
I’m not even sure if that’s what I heard, I may have imagined it. Lining up, the field seemed massive, at least for a women’s race, with 45+ starters. It was comforting to look around and realize that I had 10 teammates there with me all sporting a LaGrange kit.
I come from a distance running background and for the most part, the fastest, toughest person wins. You don’t get much benefit from drafting. Bike racing, especially the shorter races, is taking some getting used to because it’s so sneaky. You mean the goal is to not work? My blue collar running roots are offended.
So besides staying out of the wind, the toughest part of the 20 mile race was maintaining position in the front part of the field. At the bottom u-turn at the end of the first lap I looked around and realized I was in the last handful of riders. But at least well rested. The thought running through my mind at that point was “I better not be here when we get back to the tent, Amy will yell at me.” I decided to do a little work and move up rather than risk a beat-down.
For the rest of the race I picked out some girls, including my own teammates, who seemed to be good at staying in the front and did my best to stay on them and out of the wind. There were no real strong efforts at a breakaway and the birds stayed as a flock until the last turn on the last lap. I made sure to be in the front few coming out of that very final turn. The front pack organized for the last pull and then the finish line was in sight and girls were scattered across the whole width of the road sprinting. Oh crap, time to work!
I found a wheel for a couple of seconds and then swung wide myself to try and get a better line on the line. I could see Betsy Kogan ahead of me freight training her way to 4th and I rolled across 9th.
Sweet. Done. No crashes, two top tens. Final thought was – Now can we go out for a nice relaxing ride?
Belgian Waffle Ride 2013
Where – San Diego, CA
April 7, 2013
Who Raced – Pablo Maida
I’ve come to one conclusion after this experience. There is no good reason to do
this ride. Ever.
130 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing, 8 dirt/sand/gravel/rock sections, water
crossings, waffles, beer.
The ride, limited to 350 riders, would start in two waves to control the group
size and group riders by speed. The faster cat 1/2 racers, some pros and current
state/national champions included would make up the first group off. 10 minutes
later the second half of us would roll out as well.
First 22 miles were neutral and with a pace car escort to keep the group safe on
the open-to-traffic streets. We seemed to coast along at a parade lap pace until
we were let loose at a river bike path. This is where the ride really started,
actually EXPLODED. Like ravenous dogs chomping at the bit the moment the car
swung wide and we all swung onto the bike path it went to 30+MPH single file
tongue dragging pace, going two or three wide closing gaps on a path barely wide
enough for 3 wide. We probably scared the crap out of the morning recreational
riders and joggers that we kept dodging to keep pace. Just as I thought to
myself “this is just like the NOW ride, only faster” the route veered right off
the edge of the bike path, down the embankment and into the dirt, our first dirt
section took me by surprise. BAM, down into 4″ of soft sand on the steep slope,
elbow to elbow trying to not fall over, trying to keep from running over the guy
that fell off. BAM, hit the hard packed flat dirt trail and kept going at what
felt like 30MPH but was probably 15. “This is just like the NOW ride, only
faster…and in dirt.” Continued at a tongue dragging pace to keep a wheel, legs
burning as we kept going from hard pack to sections of deep sand, then hard
pack, then a drainage ditch to jump, then more sand, then it was over and we
hiked it back up the embankment.
Back on the bike path for what seemed a second then turned off, hard right to a
cul-de-sac…bunny hopping a curb to get to dirt section a guy in front of me bins
it trying to hop curb and goes ass over tit right into the gravel. Sure, we all
scream “you ok?” as if any of us would actually stop to help. Too busy ripping
our legs off trying to stay on a wheel. This section was hard gravel with big
boulders on the sides if you managed to fall. Nice. We jumped from one side to
the other trying to find the fastest, smoothest line through what looked like a
dirt/gravel service road, gagging on the dust and humbled by the girls whose
wheels I could barely hold praying for the end of the section which came a short
Then we continued on a paved road for another nanosecond before hitting a third
dirt section. This one was like a fire road, only pointing up. Everyone
including myself was ripping our legs off trying to hold a wheel. Holy Christ
was it fast. Finally settling in and someone mentions its only 100 more miles to
go. WHAT? We’re only 30 in and I’m done.
The next 40 miles are a blur of multi name roads ending in Canyon, Knoll,
Heights, Diablo or Hell. Seriously. Short hills, long hills, up hills, where
were the descents? Jesus, it just kept going up. On one particularly long 9
mile slog I was feeling smug having just dropped the dude with one leg, until he
passes me near the top never to be seen again. It was turning out to be that
kind of day. Maybe I was able to drop him initially because Greg Leibert came up
and gave me a couple pushes…I’ll never know. I stopped at the godsend that was
the 2nd sag stop for what seemed like an eternity. I pondered having only ridden
just over half the course while I drowned myself in Coke and Bonk Breakers. The
ride was starting to take on a `race the sunlight’ feeling.
More miles, more hills, more dirt sections. The dirt sections never went
downhill either. Most were flat hard packed trails with sandy sections but one;
just after the deepest water crossing (Do I get off and walk across or try to
ride through?) was the rocky stair step to heaven. At least that’s the direction
it went, but the rocks belied its true purpose, to kill any living thing on two
rubber circles. This section would claim the most tubes and rear derailleurs of
the day. This was also the section where the guy with one arm went past me. He
had a metal attachment on his left wrist that was connected to his handlebars!
Damn if I wasn’t going to bury myself to stay on his wheel. I finally dropped
him 10 miles later. Smugness ensued.
I finally found myself in a small group of familiar faces from the South Bay,
some of whom had pre ridden the course so they kept me informed what was to
come. After a bit of flats where we had a nice rotating paceline we again headed
skyward. One of the guys was able to tell me “this steep section is short so
just power over it”, as if it were easy. It was for him, as he dropped me. I
spent another fair few miles alone. It felt like the sun was starting to set. We
were into it for about 110 miles by now. It felt like riding Pepperdine hill
over and over, for 4 hours but by mile 115 we hit the serious climbs…
At about mile 115 we hit the first longer steep climb of the day, Twin Oaks. It
was long, straight and surprisingly painful. The worst part was that after a
brief descent we turned right onto the hardest climb of the day, Double Peak.
This was about a mile long registering between 20-23% for most of it. There
really is no easy way to describe it.
More stats: 432, 47 and 5. The first is the number of holes in the perforated
bar tape on my handlebars. The second is the number of dust sized missing paint
spots where my handlebar tops are starting to fade. I got to study my cockpit a
great deal around this time. The third number is my approximate crank rpm while
My legs were shattered already and I struggled just to keep from falling over.
At one point I could see a rider standing around up ahead. I thought it was the
end. Instead it was a spectator and the road switchbacked the other way
continuing its ascent into the clouds. Up ahead I saw a small group and an ice
cooler. Thinking they might be the sag stop at the top of this earthen torture
device I soldiered on, doing my best impersonation of a paper boy only to
discover it was the photographer. Me, “how far?” Photo assistant, “one more
bend,” then a pause, “maybe two”. Right then. After what seemed like several
hours later I managed to claw my way up those last 500 meters or so around the
last few bends to the sag stop where I could no longer swing my leg over the
bike without my hamstrings cramping causing me to scream like a little girl.
“One day I’ll look back on this and think I was having fun,” is all I could
think, “But not now.”
I hung out there for high tea services, ie long enough to gather more of my
friends for the slog back to start/finish. Another 15 miles of Pepperdine type
hills awaited us. I cursed every turn upward. I cursed every rider with a
compact crank. I cursed every rider with a 27, or a 28, or anything other than
my 39/25 standard cranks. I cursed every red light. I cursed the sky, the
setting sun, the pavement. Then something happened. Within the last few miles
everything started to look familiar, flatter even. I could almost taste the beer
waiting for me at the end. I could smell the sausages. Well, that might have
been me I smelled. Not sure. All I know is that our group got a second wind and
started to keep a nice pace to the end. Around the last few bends and one last
short climb to the finish banner! I sprinted up to it dropping my friends. That
is tradition after all. One of my friends, Gus Bayle, did a nice wheelie across
the line behind me. Total elapsed time was something like 7 hours or 7-1/2
hours, can’t remember now. Maybe 1 hour of stop time total out of that.
I’ve never had a better beer and sausage.
There is no good reason to do this ride. Ever.
I’ll probably do it again next year. Until then I’ll wear my BWR jersey with
Note: Just so you don’t think I was making that bit up about the one-legged rider or the one-arm rider, I should tell you that the Spy Belgian Waffle Ride was a charity ride in support of CAF, the Challenged Athletes Foundation. And the guy with the prosthetic attached to his handlebars was “One Arm Willie”. Here is his story and the CAF story: