Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The twenty-first running of the Iceman Cometh Challenge was a departure from the "Niceman" we here in the Great Lakes Region have enjoyed the last few years. Northern Michigan treated us to 19o temperatures at the start of the race. On top of the frigid temps, we had a fresh two inches of white fluffy snow to deal with. For those who are not familiar with the race; it is a 29 mile point-to-point race held every year on the first Saturday in November. It rips through the Pere Marquette State Forest between Kalkaska and Traverse City in northern Lower Michigan. The Iceman has come to be one of the largest mountain bike races in the country; it draws close to four thousand cyclists including a large group of top level professionals.
The start found me cold and nervous (but mostly COLD). My previous years’ time put me in wave eleven, thirty-seven min. till the start of the race. This was a new format for 2010 in an effort to make the race smoother and less congested--- it almost worked. With my hands frozen hard as stone and my choice of gloves weighing heavily on my mind, we were off. Three miles into the race, it was one other rider and me leaving the rest of the group well-behind. I can only refer to this other rider as Bradley from Chicago. We worked together for about the first fifteen miles to leapfrog rider after rider after rider…. well, you get the point. The course, although flat, fast and wide was reduced to a single ribbon of dirt cut through the snow. This created conditions that were sketchy at best. The passing was fast and furious and the crashes were many. Extremely slick sections of single track with ice on anything in the shade made for one of the more demanding races I’ve had.
Bradley and I began to reach the rolling hills that carry you in to the Grand Traverse Bay area. His pace up the hills on his cross bike began to put me into difficulty. I wisely let him go. I managed to keep upright and struggled my way through the next seven to eight miles. All the while I passed group after group of riders. I had recovered nicely after letting Bradley go and was feeling strong. Chasing a goal of a sub-two-hour ride, I upped my pace.
With about five miles to go I started to pass a string of ten to twelve racers. I was flying by on the left up a mild hill, picking them off one after another. As I neared the front of the group, there, setting the pace was none other than Bradley from Chicago. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I gave him a big "COME ON BRADLEY!!!" Needless to say he was unable to
muster any response and I left him and the rest of the group behind. From here on out the traffic seemed to dissipate. I suffered up the last few climbs and snaked my way through the single track into the finish at Timber Ridge campground.
This marked the fifth time I’ve finished the Iceman and a new P.R. beating last year’s time by over thirteen minutes. I ended up eleventh in my class with a time of 2:03.34. I was hoping for a time of less than two hours, but considering the conditions I’m pretty happy, any other year I would have come in way below two hours. I owe a large part of my results to the great teammates of the Great Lakes Chapter of Team TOM’S Shoes, and especially Wade and Doug. Thanks guys. For those of you that haven’t run this race it’s definitely worth checking out. Maybe next year I’ll see a few more of you there. Oh yeah, if you want in you’d better be ready to register the day it opens (usually March) it fills up in a few hours.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
This year, we started on gravel and after a 30m sprint, we made a hard right. A square around a couple of soccer fields put is into a set of barriers and a hard right back on to the gravel start finish area, at the end of which we would make a hard left and on to the rest of the course. This prologue caused for a lot of dumb riding and high stress. After almost getting taped on multiple occasions, I was sitting somewhere between 15 and 20, but the lead group hadn't broken off yet. Pass, slow, turn, pass, slow, turn, rinse, repeat. Going into lap two I can see the lead five riders as I sit in seventh. Sixth is sitting in no mans land about 30m off the group, and I'm about 20m off his wheel.
After what felt like an eternity of chasing sixth, I had almost bridged and a guy comes FLYING past me and bridges the gap to the front with ease. OHHH thats what it looks like when you ride a bike? This inspired me to burn a match and I got on his wheel. The six of us worked together very well to complete drop the field. It was strange, you don't see six guys working together on the front of a cross race very often. Nothing interesting happened other than making bigger and bigger gaps on seventh until the last lap. I made a move through the bell and got caught in the sand. Another guy made a move, then another. We are half way through the lap and just trying to measure how the others are feeling. Coming through the sand the second time, there were a couple of bobbles, but everybody got back on within 10 seconds.
After the second time through the sand, you make a couple of uninteresting turns and head back into that prologue loop I talked so lovingly about. The first leg is into a headwind, and this is where the attack came. We popped one guy off of the back. Up the second leg, which was a hard packed crushed gravel path and the five of us are trying to attack each other. I was moving between second and fifth. Coming up on the barriers, I was in fifth. There were lapped riders at the barriers and they definitely caused some stress in the group. Two guys got around clean, the rest of us got caught behind. I got caught the worst, because I wasn't around them as they were remounting. Around the last turn and into the loose gravel start/finish and I had to take fifth. I couldn't bridge the gap in the short sprint that was caused by the traffic, but I was happy. Thats a part of racing, I can't complain about it. They didn't try to get in our way, it just happens.
If you have talked to me off the course, I've probably joked with you about me starting a blog called 'How Not to Podium'. I always finish in sight of the podium, but not on a step. I finished fourth at Parma after a mechanical - the podium was three deep. Basically, I am the king of making a really dumb mistake and costing myself a podium. I guess I was just relieved to finally step on and get that podium I've been trying to get, but we forgot the camera at home. Maybe thats the key?
I felt really good today. The Movember stache is wicked gross, and I'm loving it. I'm pretty sure that the crust on my lip and the silly band my nephew gave me are making me faster. Jen seemed really excited about the concept that having the facial hair of a pre-teen is making me faster. But I mean, seriously, check this thing out!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Hi, there. I'm Patrick and this is how my weekend went.
I raced the C race at All Hollows Cross on Saturday morning and the B race at Kinder Kross on Sunday.
After struggling with deciding on a costume for All Hallows Cross, I finally settled on going at "Patrick Bartlett, the third Bartlett brother after Matt and Chad gave their approval.
I arrived in Hughesville, MD for All Hollows Cross with an hour to spare before my race. It was in the upper 30s and my hands were already numb by the time I exited my car. I surveyed the course before registration opened. The single track made me grin. The horse rings made me frown. I opted to only ride the course once and focus on how I'd approach the horse rings.
I started the race in the second row back. At the whistle, I gunned it, gaining a few spots as we approached the first turn. As we entered the sand pit, most riders tried riding the whole ring, while I dismounted and ran the second half. This gained me two or three spots. As I passed the finish line for the first time, Matt yelled that I was within reach of the top 5. I couldn't help but think that a podium spot was within reach. As I hit the barriers for the first time, I fudged an immediate left turn, costing me a position. I rebounded and took my spot back. Once I hit the single track portion, I was at home, cruising over roots, not even touching the brakes as I swung around corners.
For the second, third, and fourth laps, I maintained my position. After a few laps in the horse rings, I managed to find a path in the sand that allowed me to stay on the inside of turns, allowing me a spot or two or to close gaps. By the fifth lap, I had secured a top ten position, as I couldn't see a single person behind me. I caught up to a Coppi rider and racer sporting a Bike Rack jersey. We dropped the Coppi guy and stayed neck and neck for the remainder of the lap. We struck up a conversation on the last lap, discussing our strengths, who was up front, taking guesses at who would win the sprint. We lapped some riders as we made our final approach to the horse rings. I pulled ahead, coming out of the first horse rink. Mid-way through the second one, I fell as I foolishly attempted to ride all the way through. As I unclipped out of my pedal and lifted myself, the Bike Rack rider passed me. I hurried to exit the ring and remounted just in time to catch back up to him. By the last turn, I was gassed and I indicated I didn't have the energy to sprint. He pulled ahead by about ten yards before I decided I couldn't go down without a fight. So I dug deep and pulled out the last bit of energy I could find to pass him and move a place ahead.
I collapsed, feeling good about how I raced. Several people told me top ten. I ended up 8th out of 51. Not bad, considering just a month ago, I couldn't even muster a top 50.
Kinder Kross was not so kind to me. I decided to race it at the last minute, as I knew Nate would be there and there were still plenty of spots open in the B race. This was my first foray in the 3/4s, and despite still feeling destroyed from the day before, I decided to just have fun and don't worry about placing. An initial run of the course confirmed my anticipations of a poor performance. It was the complete opposite of the previous day's course. Lots of turns, off cambers, and very windy.
As the race started, I found myself in the back of the pack, unable to keep up with my more experienced peers. As I made my way through the first few turns, the gap between me and the main pack only grew. I conceded this race early, but I still held my own against a small pack in the rear, getting some distance on a group of five or so. By the second lap, I was zapped. Not aiding the situation was the fact that I was now running a 1x10 gearing that was not enough as I struggled to make it up even the smallest hills. As I came around on the section of fire road towards the rear of the course, I hit a bump, knocking my chain off. The one C3 rider directly behind me took advantage and whizzed past me while I tried to reset my chain. I tried to reset it a few times to no avail. It wouldn't stay on. As the rest of the 3/4s passed me, I accepted defeat and walked back to the finish line.
My first DNF was kind of hard to swallow. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, particularly in this race. At least it happened in a race in which I wasn't attempting to be competitive. I'll be looking for redemption come this weekend at Tacchino.
...on behalf of the rest of the team, our sponsor and supporters; I would like to wish a giant congratultions to both Jen and her hubby. Y'all make cute babies.
Furthermore, after a year long hiatus Mr. Rob Jaimes himself (one of the fore-founding members of the team dating back to our roots in NorCal) returned to the single-speed cyclocross scene and managed to sneak some front rubber into a solid third place finish! I haven't raced cross in a year either...and I'm way out of shape. Does that mean I have a shot of stepping a TOMS Shoe'd foot atop a podium anytime soon? No. Not a chance in hell. Because I am not a badass like Rob.
I had the chance to see Rob for the first time since he likely last threw his leg over a bike before this race, at Interbike in Las Vegas. We gave hugs, cried a little and when the passersby became all too creeped out by the whole affair, we played it off the like tough guys that we are. It was really great to see Rob and his wife Nikki who also races for the team and you might remember from a certain SRAM commercial that was aired during a certain race for a yellow t-shirt:
I felt awesome on Saturday at All Hallows Cross. Got to try out the new Kona for the first time, and it friggin delivered. That bike is SO much more responsive than my Gunnar. I did not expect that kind of difference in feel. Anyway... the race started with a pretty weird prologue. It was a 100-ish meter downhill grass sprint off the line to a 75-degree turn. I expected mayhem, but most of us got through OK. I started on the front line, so that helped a lot. Shortly after the prologue turn, we head into the 1st of 2 sand pits (horse rings). I head into the ring in 5th or 6th, with Sean right next to me. I knew that was a bad place to be, because if one of us went down, we were likely to take the other with us. It was too late to do anything about it though. 2 turns into the sand, we run right into each other and bottleneck the field. We got back into the groove quick enough, and I caught back up to 5th just as a lead group was starting to form. This course is pretty wide open, so there's plenty of room to pass if you have the power. I pushed through the group up to 2nd, and saw Andrey Doroshenko (the guy who beat me out for the win at DCCX) starting to pull away from the group. I knew if I could get his wheel, we could probably walk away from the field together. This was another spot where I appreciated the Kona. I put the power down to make the bridge (not a huge gap -- maybe 5 seconds), and the bike responded instantly. I was on his wheel within seconds and hardly felt like I burned a match.
Once I was on his wheel, it was on. We traded half laps pulling, and put a 20+ second gap to 3rd by the 5th lap. I was really looking forward to a rematch drag-race from the prior weekend, and I think he was too. I even ended up waiting for him when he got caught behind some lap traffic with a little less than 2 laps to go. Attacking in lap traffic was not how I wanted to win the race.
With 1.5 laps to go, we came up to Ryan's famed barrier. They moved it down the course a bit this year, so the approach was much faster. Andrey and I were riding side by side, because that was about where we were trading pulls, and I heard a huge bang as I stepped over the barrier. I look to the right, and see Andrey running with no bike. His bike is flipping behind him, because he apparently didn't pick his bike up high enough and clipped the front wheel. I hesitated for a sec to see if he was going to get back on, but from the look of how it landed, I knew he threw his chain at a minimum. I couldn't wait for him to fix that, so I rode on to the finish alone. With a 20+ second gap, I knew I just had to ride smooth through the technical sections and continue to push the pace on the power sections. The finish was pretty anti-climactic, since I knew it was in the bag once Andrey had the mechanical, but I was really happy that I had put myself in such a good position to take the win. I was bummed that we didn't get to race it out at the end, but Andrey's mechanical was self-inflicted, so it's all part of racing.
Definitely the best race of my CX career (both in results and how strong I felt).
Most importantly... I'm hitting ALL of my goals for the season:
earn upgrade points (check)
podium in a 3/4 race (check)
top 10 in the MABRA 3/4 series (it isn't over, but I'm currently top 5 with only 4 races left)
...If you notice the guy showing some belly button, doing his best Mark Cavendish impression in those Oakley's, that's Greg. He USED to ride for us last year. We still love him. But his man-belly hair Fauxkley's look way better in a KindHuman BLUE! Great job to Matt and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic crew. Keep it up...now to the rest of y'all: RIDE SOME BIKES!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
At the start, I got in the third row because of my excellent scrum abilities. A few jokes later the whistle blows and we're off. Around the first corner and I make a good amount of passes, elbows out, looking wide. A guy in front of me goes down on the right and causes a bottle neck, but I squeak through clean. Going past the pit, another crash that I squeeze around clean and there is a 5 man lead group that I am chasing. I catch them through the technical turns and I am in 6th going into the single track. Out of the woods and along a slight incline power stretch of gravel and one guy pops off. This year, instead of riding up to the reservoir, the promoters force a run up by placing a barrier at the bottom of a water run off that is completely eroded beyond belief. The barriers up north are not the same size as in MABRA land, and coming in hot I bonk the barrier with my wheel. Front brake is locked up, run up the hill, put chain on, can't figure out brake.... ah crap I'll unhook it. Climb up the hill and descend without a front brake, through the finish in about twelfth. Pass two on the barriers, get to the pit and grab Mitch's bike. It has SPDs, I ride Crank Brothers, but I'll make it work while Jen figures out the brake. Get about 20m out of the pit and realize the front has about 25psi and the rear has about 12-15. GREAT. Fall back a LOT on the half lap on that bike, sitting in about 30 of 41, steam coming out of the ears. An excellent pit hand off from Jen and I'm back on the Rock Lobster and chasing... hard. Coming through the finish in 21st and see 5 to go. Can't stop, won't stop.
I put out maximum effort for all five laps. Two laps of chasing and I can see the leader ahead of me coming off the hill before I was going into it I'm sitting in about 15th, and now we're starting to lap a lot of riders. Going through the finish with 1 to go, Jen says I'm in 11th, and I can see a group of five riders about 60 meters ahead. Bridge, gap. Going into the hill there are three more riders about 30m ahead. Descend without fear, because hey, I have TWO brakes now (and this is why my futurewife is better than yours). I am blacking out all lap, I can't see straight, everything hurts, and I pass all 3 riders in the last turn and out sprint them into the finish, thinking I just finished 5th-7th. I check the results and they have me in 11th.
Regardless of what my official result was, I had an amazing time. My niece and nephew were ringing cowbells for me, and my nephew and I shared a chocolate milk post race. I left everything on the course, I didn't give up when I got frustrated, and I am happy with my result, whether it is 11/41 or 5/41.
I would also like to say how much I LOVE our new kits. You go to a race where nobody knows you and nobody knows your team, and they are able to see from afar that you ride for TOMS, they yell 'COME ON TOMS!' at you. Good, clean design. I really like that people don't have to try to figure out who we are when we show up some place. Good job Adam and Jen.
I am going up to Rochester for Halloween to race at Parma Cross and hang out with my family, since there is nothing happening in PA that weekend. Anybody care to join me?
-Report by Ryan D
Editor's note: Len & Karen Sorbello at www.FotoReg.com were kind enough to share these photos with us. Check out their stuff, its beautiful.
I raced in the B's both days. The fields were about 27 racers each day. The course(s) was long. I know on Sunday we only did 5 laps (9min laps!), though Saturday may have been 6 laps... Fortunately for me and my riding style, there were few twisty/windy sections (though i'm getting more proficient at those), instead there were a number of straightaways, false flats, some muddy/soggy sections, and multiple dismounts (x2 sets of barriers, x1 set of stairs, and x1 messy runnup [or on Sunday only it was a rideup but only for some of the riders]).
I'm still trying to get a feel for my power/pain threshold, bike handling abilities, and race strategy. I've noticed that i need to work harder in the opening sprint, even if it requires burning a match or two that i may need later on; the positions i lose in the start are just too valuable. Nonetheless, on both days, i basically hold my starting position (mid-pack) going into the hole shot (compared to dangling off/near the back) and work to just pick people off in the early laps. And i think because of my very loud freewheel, a lot of people will make mistakes once i bridge up to them while i am coasting the sections they are pedaling.
Anyway, because of the relatively small field, by mid-race the gaps between racers is too large to continuously bridge up and/or work together. On Saturday, by mid-race, i found myself in no man's land and it was rather difficult to keep up a high output without a "target" in sight. So on Sunday, towards mid-race, i recognized i was in a similar situation, with the guy who finished a decent distance ahead of me the day before in front of me by a slightly smaller margin. Instead of just maintaining my position, i decided to burn a few matches and try to bridge. It took a lap or so, with me yo-yo-ing off his wheel a bit, but by my 3rd or so bridge, he basically sat up. I'm guessing each of my bridging attempts forced him to put in an acceleration that eventually tired him out. Or he may have been wanting me to pass right before the road section, so when i passed i made sure to put in a sustained acceleration to create a gap, it also helped that i passed a little before the stairs (also before the road), where i had been gaining distance (to only lose in the winde-y sections) all weekend. Anyway, bell lap comes around (remember only 5 laps) and proceed to bury myself in the power sections and run-ups (my strengths) while being rather cautious in the turns and off-camber stuff (my weaknesses), and am able to hold my position through the finish even though he definitely made up some ground towards the end.
Finished 9th on Saturday, 6th on Sunday.
–Report by Ellis Kim
Editors note: not pictured due to cropping and Ellis' head being in the way are his brand new TRP EuroX brakes. So fly.
Once there, I went through the usual routine of gearing up, checking in, and riding the course. I didn't come up with much of a strategy during my test ride with the exception of take it easy on the 180s and sweep the outside if opportunity allowed. I tried riding over the second set of barriers to no avail. Noted the uphill u-turn, spiral of death, sandpit, etc, and decided one ride-through was enough. I was disappointed at the lack of hills.
9 o'clock rolls around and I find myself fortunate enough to be on the front line. By now, I was so used starting towards the back of the field that I didn't know what to expect as soon as the whistle sounded. Within seconds of the races start I thought I had moved from the first line to the third. I stuck with my strategy of not expending all my gas in the first lap, striving to move up one spot just to lose two spots on the fourth or fifth lap. I marked a District Velocity racer and hung onto his wheel for as long as I could. As I approached the second set of barriers, which were not but around 6 or 7 inches high, but started and ended a turn, an older gentleman attempted to roll over the logs, but fell. I couldn't help but think how he probably didn't ride the course.
By the end of the first lap, the pack was completely broke up. Matt yelled that I was within the top 25 as I passed all the TOMS B crew. Due to the absence of my Garmin, I spent the entire second lap wondering how many laps we would end up doing. This might have been the reason I took a tumble as I entered the sandpit, taking out two riders behind me. I rebounded quickly. As I approached the finish line for the second time, the lap counter read "3." I was relieved, as my mouth was already parched.
By the third lap, I was feeling like a champ on the barriers. I might have a little to do with the fact that I finally dialed my SPDs, unlike the past three races. I spent the entirety of the third and fourth laps maintaing position. Gaining a spot and losing a spot. I played yo-yo with an NCVC rider for a while. As I exited the spiral of death for the fourth time, I looked back and noticed a Route 1 Velo rider on a 29er about four or five spots back. By the end of the fourth lap, this was reduced to three.
I started burning the last of my fuel as I entered the fifth and final lap. Passing a few riders who clearly had nothing left to give. I made it past the second barrier set, and looked back to see the rider on the 29er rolling over the barriers with ease. I jokingly yelled, "that's cheating," to which he mischievously grinned at. By the spiral, he was one spot behind me. Thinking about how devastating it would be to my self esteem to let some guy on a mountain bike beat me, I tried putting as much distance between us as I could muster, but he was too strong to make up any more time on. I split my attention between the 29er behind me and two riders about 10 yards ahead of me that I hoped to catch up to. I screwed up a turn after the sandpit, costing me a few seconds and crushing my hopes of catching the two riders ahead of me. I managed to pass one rider on a Fuji, who seemed to have completely given up, during my last trip through the baseball field. With the 29er only a few yards behind me, I went all out as soon as I hit the pavement, sprinting as hard as I could as I passed the line by myself. You would have thought I was sprinting against myself.
This was the first race that I didn't immediately collapse after. The posted results said I finished 27th out of 72 finishers. My best result yet. I ended the race with a little more confidence, despite my end goal being to not get beat by a guy on a mountain bike.
–Report by Patrick Peoples
Monday, October 11, 2010
All around, this is a SOLID group of riders that I am very excited to see grow. Keep an eye on the blog for big things happening in our cross seasons.
I arrived at the venue around 10.30am. But i still had to find my bike and clothing which traveled from Philadelphia whereas I traveled from New York City. After a few minutes, we were reunited, and after a few minutes in the visiting team's locker room, I stepped outside to find out that I missed that small window between races to pre-ride. Oh well, looks like i'll get in one lap before my race. After some road riding with old and new friends, I got my lap in, but unfortunately it wasn't at race pace. This may have proved signficant, but not in a good way. Despite my relatively good starting position, 3rd or 4th row (I can't recall) due to my early pre-reg, I lost at least a dozen spots from the start. Maybe I'm not aggressive enough, maybe it was the wedding the night before. Also, i gave a few taps of my presta valves before the gun to drop a little air from my ~40psi tires. This would prove especially significant. At the apex of the first tight, semi-off camber, my rear wheel slides. To say the least, I was having trouble holding lines all race, even more than usual!! This led to me racing very conservative through turns and the loose stuff, so for about 85% of the race, I feathered more speed going into turns more than most while also taking VERY wide lines. Fortunately, i only went down twice!! Ryan passed me relatively early on, but he went down a few times too. Next time we should make sure to work together better since I think our strengths may compliment each other well (his sarcasm with my deadpan humor, unbeatable!). Also, beyond the two sets of barriers, there was no need for running, so no chance for me to work my bread-and-butter :( Anyway, my race ended up being sloppy/slow through the turns, with strong accelerations on the straights. Unfortunately, there were a lot more turns than straights on this course.
After finishing, and moping, I went for a cooldown ride on the road. As I began inflating my tires, it turned out that my rear was at, if not below 30PSI!! I prefer to race on 40psi! A young rider from my alma mater claimed that 30 PSI is what he uses, but then again, he's 135 lbs whereas I'm 190...
Next up, Hill Billy Hustle!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Anyway... I hitched a ride up there with Greg, so we had some time to come up with a good race plan. Even though he's riding for AFC now, we figured we'd try to do something together today. We pre-rode the course, and picked a poorly paved, stair-stepper of a hill as our attack spot for the last lap. I thought it might be a bit far from the finish (4 miles?) to make it stick, but it was definitely the best option to put the hurt on the field.
Greg and I were lined up towards the back at the start, but figured things would take a while to develop, so didn't think it would be a big deal. The race started, and within the 2nd mile, there was a crash 2 wheels in front of me. Greg had already moved up, so wasn't involved. I didn't go down, but had to slow to get around. There was apparently an attack at the front of the field right at the same time as the crash, so no one was waiting around to regroup and I had to hammer to close the gap. Caught back up, cruised with the group for another mile or so, and we hit the stair-stepper hill for the first time. Someone up front attacked, and I saw Greg grab his wheel. The people who were getting away looked like they could make something stick, so I figured we had to change our plan to make the move on the 1st lap. I was a little out of position, but leap-frogged my way up to Greg's group. I think I pulled 1 or 2 guys with me, and we had a breakaway of 10-12 riders. We had a 30+ second gap by the end of the 1st lap, so I figured this one was going to stick. It did, but we lost a couple of the weaker guys as the race progressed.
By the start of the last lap, we were down to 7 or 8. Since there were only a handful of riders to break, Greg and I employed our original plan when we hit our chosen climb for the last time. We both gunned it from the bottom, and I think we caught everyone by surprise. No one could follow. Unfortunately, Greg's calves started spasming towards the top. I eased up for a second, hoping Greg could grab my wheel and recover for a couple of minutes, but could see the group rallying behind. I decided to just go solo. With about 4 miles to the finish, I knew the next 10 minutes were going to hurt.
It was a long steady downhill section for the next mile or so, but I couldn't afford to do any recovery. Just kept hammering. As I rolled through the 2nd to last turn (still 3 miles out), I could see Greg and one other dude probably 10 seconds back. Just kept hammering. Greg and that other dude bridged the gap by the time we hit the turn onto the last leg (2 miles out). I was kind of happy that I might be able to get a draft for a little bit, but they burned too much energy bridging to be of any real assistance and the other 4 guys were no more than 10 seconds behind us at this point. Just kept hammering. The last leg of the circuit had 2 short and steep climbs. Greg and I put as much power as we could into the first one, leaving just the 2 of us out front with a little over a mile to go. I finally got a little help from Greg. Just a few seconds on his wheel helped me find some more energy. We clambered up the last climb, but I wasn't seeing straight enough at this point to be able to judge how big of a gap we had. Just kept hammering. Neither of us really remember what happened in the last mile. We were completely cooked, but could finally see the finish. By the time we got there, I had nothing left for a sprint. Greg came around me with 100m to go, but I was borderline blacking out, had vomit in my mouth, and could do nothing to respond. We finished 1st and 2nd with a 17 second gap.
Even though I didn't quite win, I was perfectly happy with my race. The pre-race plan was executed just about perfectly, and I was really happy to be able to make a mostly solo move like that and hold off a hungry chase group.
Really, I just let Greg win because he was my ride home. I'm just that kind of guy." haha Gotta love it.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
So, on behalf of the team, our sponsors and friends...CONGRATULATIONS MATT AND NICHOLE!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I know we have guys and gals across the great American states hopping in crit races and endurance mountain bike events each and every weekend. So, kudos to everyone. A big kudos to anyone that lives in the southern states. Being relatively new to "the real south" I had no idea just how flipping hot it gets. I was brought up in humid regions and have lived in basically the desert before, but my Gob! It is HOT! One nice thing about training in said heat is that I lose approximately 8-12 pounds after every 2-3 hour ride. Oooonly to have it all come right back after I get out of the chamois which I'm pretty sure if I rode for another hour or so would adhere to my hide much like that of a screenprinted t-shirt...it's THAT hot.
Anywho, be excited. Gear is coming and so are some beebies! That's right, word has it that a TOMS Mom-to-be almost is! I don't want to relay too many details, I'd rather let the proud father gush with photographs of the healthy mother and child (their first) when the time comes. Good luck, godspeed and congratulations!
I would also like to give a warm hello to our good friends at Team Hoffenchard. These guys have just the right kind of fun-having, balls-to-the-wall, get-after-it, hup-hup-hup attitude that we at Team TOMS can and do appreciate. If you happen to come across one of these fellers or dames at a race or event or trail or road or bar or on a late night Wal-Mart run near you...be sure to say a kind a-hoy! Oh, and you can't miss them in their lovely dampened dandy pink and bastardized baby blue team kits that are generally worn in all applications. I'm pretty sure I've seen one of these guys walking out of church in their Hoffenchard kits. Seriously.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
We woke up at 7 a.m. on Saturday and the butterflies were definitely fluttering. I had done quite a bit of talking to my local friends who have done Battenkill in years past.
The one thing everyone talked was the final climb before the finish, Stage Road. It's all dirt and over 2 miles long. This was what I was most worried about. We had six riders representing Team TOMS in the Cat 5 field together. We were the largest team in our field and we knew that would be one of our biggest advantages. The biggest wild card was just how steep the climbs were going to be and how would our legs hold up? For many of us it would be the longest race we had ever done.
We donned our TOMS kits, loaded our pockets with gels and water bottles and tried to prepare ourselves for the wind and cold. We proceeded to registration at the school in Cambridge, tried to continue eating but it was hard. We used the bathroom many many times and pinned our numbers on each other in the locker room of the school. We then went on a quick warm up ride together and headed to the start line.
It was cold, cloudy and steady winds of 15-20 mph. Our primary goal was to stay organized at the front of our pack because we knew riders would start falling off the back early on and the pack would likely split. The dirt roads were numerous and the pot holes just as plentiful. Luckily everything was dry. It was a cold and windy start, the sun eventually broke through and remained but the wind was persistent and all over the place. In my group we rotated in a tight pace line and echelon when crosswinds arose.
The first two climbs were absolutely brutal. I was totally caught off guard. I knew the mileage for the climbs but I was not prepared for the grade of each. Our speed was in the single digits. As we predicted the pack split early on with about 20 riders out in front and the rest scattered behind with no organization. Matt and Greg were able to work together and maintain good position in the lead pack. I found myself alone in the middle, exactly where I didn't want to be. Tim was off behind me and Ellis alone in front. Ryan was also somewhere on his own. Unfortunately Ryan and Tim had to bow out. Ellis fought through the stomach sickness he had been battling and impressively finished the race on his own.
During a relatively flat and rolling section of the course I spent about an hour bridging a gap on my own to reach a group of four riders. I recovered and for the remainder of the race we worked together very well and made up a lot of the time we had lost. At around mile 55 we hit Stage Road, our last major challenge before the finish at 62. It was a long stair stepper climb with unfortunate casualties forced to walk their bikes all a long the way. When I finally reached the peak I was filled with relief and pride because I knew I had done it. The finish was just a few rolling hills away, on pavement.
At the finish Team TOMS gathered to reflect on the brutal race. I think each of us faced our own unique challenges but in the end we represented the team with pride and definitely had a blast."
My goals for the race were to do the work for Greg and Ray, so they would have "fresh" legs for the last climb and finish. I had studied the course map and profile pretty intensely on the ride up to NY, and decided to tape the profile with some notes on my bars so I could relay info to everyone during the race. I figured we might be able to use our energy more wisely this way. A high finish was a bonus goal for me, but my main goal was to make sure at least one Kindhuman rider finished in the top 10.
The flag dropped, and we headed out, but not before 2 teammates from NY Velocity almost took each other out before crossing the start line (yay cat 5). As soon as the pace car pulled away from the neutral start, the attacks started. The most notable one came from one of the NJMTB guys. A couple of other guys tried to bridge up to him, but ended up hanging out in no-man's-land. My thoughts: with 60+ hilly, windy miles left to race, let them go.
After 5 easy miles, the course took a left towards a covered bridge and immediately into the 1st unpaved section. My goal from the beginning was to control the pace of the race from that left turn to the end of the unpaved section. I made sure all of the TOMS riders were close to the front, and I picked up the pace. Before we even got to the covered bridge, we caught all but one of the early attackers (the NJMTB guy). I drove the pack for the next mile or so, and we started the 1st climb. It was a steep one, and I could tell right away, that it wasn't going to be my best climbing day. Since I was at the front of the field at the base, I decided to let myself slip back as we ascended the steepest sections so I could save some energy for the 5 climbs to follow. After the descent, we made a sharp left onto the 2nd dirt section. It started off OK, but there was a really tough climb in that section. I ended up dropping off the back of the pack at the top, and had to figure out how to bridge back up on the descent and flat to follow. I looked back, and saw a TOMS kit that I thought was Ray's, and I slowed down so we could both bridge. When he caught up, I realized it was Ellis, and we started the chase. I accidentally gapped Ellis once I picked up the pace, but the 2nd pull was more successful. It was a couple of miles of hard riding to bridge, but we ended up back in the pack by the time the 3rd climb started. Luckily, that one looked a lot worse on the profile than it actually was. It gave me a little time to recover from bridging, but not much. Now we were in a 7 or 8 mile flat section with brutal cross winds.
When Ellis and I got situated in the group, we realized that they, including Greg, were pushing hard to try to catch the guy who had been out front since mile 1. I rode up to the front of the group and told Greg to keep his face out of the wind. At this point, I was thinking that if the guy on the solo break wants to do a 61 mile TT, he's more than welcome to do it. The roads were wide open through this section, and that guy was no where to be seen. I was pretty sure he was a really fast TT or MTB guy who didn't have enough group starts to be in a higher category. We probably weren't going to catch him, so our team isn't going to try. Greg and I sat back and let the rest of the group do the work so we could conserve. At some point during this section, Ellis and a few other riders dropped off the group. The chase group was down to about 15 riders when we hit the 60k mark.
At 70k, we hit the 2nd feed zone. At that point, we were told that the guy out front had 6 minutes on the field. There were still some delusional people in our group who thought we could reel him in over the next 30k, but most of us knew the race was for 2nd. After the feed zone, we started what turned out to be the hardest climb of the day. It was a long, dirt climb, with a lot of false summits. My calves had been on the verge of cramping since bridging back to the chase group an hour earlier, and the relentless nature of climb put the nail in my coffin. Not only were my calves cramping while climbing in the saddle, now my quads were now cramping while climbing out of the saddle. As Greg and the rest of the chase group faded into the distance, I prepared for a 20k limp to the finish. Luckily, I caught up with another rider in a similar state, and we worked pretty well to get ourselves over the last climb and through the final 10k of flat roads to the finish. I found a little more energy, and started fearing that the "group" behind would catch us on the line, so the pace was going faster than expected at that point. We even ended up catching one guy in the last 100 meters.
I took 12th overall, and was really happy that Greg took 9th. I wish I could have stayed with him through the last climb, but I felt like I did what I set out to do for the team. The guy with who was on a solo break away for 61 miles had a 10 minute gap at the end, and his overall time ended up being just 2 minutes slower than that of the cat 3 field. I was satisfied with my instincts to let him go. Even if we covered the break early, it seems very unlikely that our field could have controlled him in the end.
I had a great weekend, and I think everyone on the team should be proud. We represented Kindhuman well, both on and off our bikes. I learned a lot, and can't wait to apply it in future races. I'm not sure how excited everyone else is for this race next year, but I'm definitely considering it."
All Photos Courtesy Of: Raymond Jones
Saturday, April 3, 2010
"Michigan’s 2010 cycling race season is fully underway now that the Killer Gravel Road Race – The Second Annual Barry-Roubaix is in the books. Racers were treated to sunny skies but the morning lows were in the 20’s and by race start the temps only crept to 34 degrees with a 15 mph biting wind out of the southeast. We didn’t see 50 degrees until 3:00 pm, but it was plenty warm once the gun went off. The race had an increase in attendance by over 250%. Nearly 700 racers toed the start line! The route started on a paved park road with all categories starting together... SCARY!!! The local Sheriff provided a neutral roll-out for the first 2.5 miles and provided a controlled start to the day’s fireworks. Within seconds after the neutral start the pace picked up into the start of what BRX is famous for – gravel, dirt roads and steep hills. One of the more challenging early features was the “Mur de Two Track”, which forced many racers off of their bikes in order to traverse the fluffy, sandy sections. This section is more reminiscent of a Superprestige course than any traditional race – paved or unpaved. It may have been the most decisive part of the day...
(Wade, killin' it)
...Myself and Doug Derdowski raced the Expert 30-39 class and both had real positive results and more importantly, a great time. We worked together through the early miles of the race to split up the class and get it to more manageable numbers. We were at the sharp end of the Expert class when we hit the "Two Track", but unfortunately we hit the rear end of the Elites and it split us apart. I had a real lucky clean run through the 1.5 mile sand pit from hell, unfortunately Doug got stuck behind some walkers. This was a bit of a game-changer, but the race goes on. We both worked with small groups from time to time, but when it was time to move on, we moved on. I came in with a group of 5 or 6 and Doug powered it in with one parasite in tow. I ended up 5th on the day and Doug finished off the top ten. The race is an early season killer, but quickly becoming my favorite race of the year. the event is run super smoothly, the vibe is pretty relaxed, and its a true test of what you carried over from the fall. This is the kind of stuff that makes you check yourself all winter long. Good times."
(Doug, makin' it happen)
Sounds like Wade and Doug had thier hands full with this one. This would have been a great pre-cursor ride for our crew that's heading to the Tour of Battenkill, next weekend. I was talking with Mark Hekman of Team Mountain Khakis at a race on Saturday, he said Battenkill is a crazy fun, but crazy painful time...and that, my friends...is what this sport is all about.
'til next time...
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
More fun stuff...some of the fellas from the Great Lakes and Mid-atlantic squads manned up and hit the trails for some seriously snowy racing. Here's what Greg Capelle had to say about the Snotcycle event:
"First of all I want to thank Plumgrove Cyclery and Gotime Racing who put on a wonderful event. Despite the arguably horrendous conditions it was run very smoothly and I think everyone had a great time. This is a great venue, a great race and I hope we can get more of my KindHuman teammates out there next year!
Driving out to this event, in Leesburg, VA, you already knew it was going to be an interesting day. When the C race went off, the ground was pretty much clear. The snow was pouring by eleven o'clock and the accumulation was at least four inches by ten o'clock when the SS category left the line... the ground was frozen solid. I doubt if the temperatiure ever broke 25 degrees.
There was no order to the line up, first come first served, which landed me starting in nearly the very back of the field. Luckily the lead-in to the single track was long and wide and, having raced this event last year I had plenty of confidence to make up 20 or so spots before we even got in to the woods.
I continued to make up ground, bridging to groups, picking them off and bridging up to the next. There was plenty of lap traffic to deal with on the second lap and between that, two crashes and a rear rotor that will never again see race day. I'm very happy with 10th place and I'm looking forward to a season of even better performances for TOMS and KindHuman.
Was a great day, can't wait to get the kit back on with some of my fellow riders and really pick the competition apart!"
Greg...you are rad. And kind of fast. You should have seen the gear ratio he was pushing at Urban Cross at IX in November. Dude is nuts and I love the guy for it!
A new addition to the team, hailing from the lower peninsula of Michigan, Bradly Potter recently put on a snow covered event that drew in some pretty big names! Some might be familiar with a certain six time consecutive winner of the Leadville 100 (until a certain yellow jersey wearing Texan had to steal the spotlight last year)...Dave Wiens showed up! WTF!? Really!? Dave mother-lovin' Wiens! I don't know how Brad was able to pull that off...but ku- ... -dos. Here's what Bradly had to say about the event:
"Myself and another member of our local MMBA chapter put together a simple grassroots short-track race on an old golf course (currently working with the city to turn it into a bike park and establish a weeknight short-track series). Being the middle of winter and early in the morning we only had 15 racers, but I think most had fun while suffering over the 1.2 mile course with 115 feet of climbing per lap. We do not have many elevation changes in the Lansing area, so I felt pretty good about the distance to elevation ratio. Here is a quote from Wade (Great Lakes Regional Manager) the day after the race, 'Did Wiens say anything to you about me? Did he mention the bitchen leadout from the start I gave him? It was like 3/4 of a lap. He owes me and I think he knows it." In the end, Jesse Gould took the top honors in the A-Class with Dave Wiens right behind in 2nd, and Ron Stack further back in
Great work fellas. Hearing that y'all are putting events like this together and getting out there in the bitter, bitter cold weather makes me truly proud. That is what this team is all about. We are blessed to have such positive influences for our sport and for the "One for One" mission out there riding, racing, suffering and freezing thier butts off on the bikes week in and week out! It's going to be a great 2010!