Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two Weekends of Crit Racing by Matthew Sloan

Saturday, June 20th RedKite Pleasanton 35+ 1/2/3s

This was to be a leg opener for Sunday's Nevada City's Classic Criterium. I was thinking of just sitting in and practicing my sprint but just sitting in is boring. I did a couple of moves that ended in breaks that didn't stick. My third effort got me into the six man break (including me) that stuck.

I worked hard doing more than my fair share on the front because top 5 would be a great result at this level of racing. I got a little boxed in at the finish but came in a strong 4th! It felt good to top 5, really good.

Sunday, June 21st Nevada City Classic 45+ 1/2/3s

Regardless of what position you come in, this is a great race. One of the best supported and organized on the calendar. Just riding it for the atmosphere alone is enough. I highly recommend it!

The course stair steps up for a half mile, has a flat section of about 200 yards, then a swooping decent to the finish. There is a big left hand off camber turn at the bottom of the hill, into a sweeping slightly uphill turn to take you into the climb again.

I started off well but basically lost my nerve on the descents in the group pushing me farther and farther toward the back of the main group. I had to work to hard on the climb to stay in contention and finally got dropped about a third in. I maintained a good rhythm and stole some places back but never got back to the group.

I ended up top ten, 9th, which isn't too shabby for 45+ 1/2/3s. I'm gutted to have to wait a whole year before I can contest it again. My legs felt so good on Monday, I wanted to do it all again.

Better luck next year. That descent won't get the better of me and I won't get dropped from the main group.

Sunday, June 28th Burlingame Crit

35+ 3/4s

I am sure most of you have watched the A Team. Well, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Yesterday, on a mountain bike ride my friend, David Allen, said Burlingame is the sort of course that you can win off the front. It has a 180 hairpin turn, two turns after the start, this coupled with the many turns make it easy to get out of sight. The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind!" is perfect for this course.

We were thinking of about 8 laps to go. Most racers start thinking of the finish at this point and not making an attack. As I pondered the race. I thought it would be a good idea to use the last prime lap as my excuse to attack. During the race, a guy was off the front on the second to last prime lap. The group kind of just sat up and were going to let him have it. I thought, this is the perfect time to go. I will make it look like I'm going for the prime and just carry on.

Well, I bridged up to him, got the prime, and then really put the hammer down! I got a really good jump on everyone, using the hairpin to my advantage. Then it was head down. With ten laps to go, they called another prime. No way anyone was going to get that one! I went harder still knowing that after the final prime lap racers wouldn't have as much incentive to push hard as a group.

The teams couldn't sort themselves out into a chase. It was me against the peloton with me winning out this time!

I had one interesting thing happen with five laps to go. I caught my pedal on the u-turn and with my mtb skills managed to bunny hop and keep my self upright. My back wheel kept making this sound that felt like a flat was coming on. I had to take it easy into the corners because I was worried I might have to change wheels. What had happened was the tire had partially come off the rim. I was so lucky it held for the final five laps. Phew!!! I waited around for the podium but ended up missing it when I went to warm-up for the 45+ 1/2/3s race.

Big thank you to Mike Andalora and his friend for their support during the race!

45+ 1/2/3s

I was a little bit blown for this but still felt good. I made a couple of efforts and nearly beat the crit national champion for a prime lap. I was pleased with the fact I was able to hold on and move up when I needed to. I missed the break that stuck in the last five laps; however, I came through strong in the final couple of laps and came 6th in the 45+1/2/3s.

Two weekends of fun crit racing! I will likely race Davis next weekend, we'll see. Time for a Brit to get their own back on July 4th! (This is tongue in cheek, I'm actually a citizen now. I even spelt citizien, correctly!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ADA Tour de Cure, 6/7/2015

By Dennis Pedersen

My 9th year in this fund-raising ride; wow, that is amazing to me! And I'm always amazed that, somehow, I manage to accomplish so much in the fight against diabetes thanks to all of the generous donors, many of whom have donated to the American Diabetes Association every year I've ridden! My 2015 Tour de Cure ride was awesome, and as successful and gratifying as my previous 8 rides!

While my own results in the 2014 Tour were very good ($1,140.00!), the overall HP team results last year were not. The HP team raised $9,795.72 in 2014, which is great, but still far short of our record of $32,626.74 (in 2012)!

So, for 2015 I was determined to make big changes, following last year's disappointing team results. I was able to recruit Frerk "Malte" Feller, our VP for the HP online store, to head up the team as Captain, along with Bill Kacmarsky who continued in his second year as co-Captain. This strategy worked well, as it not only brought in people who had never joined the team, but also gave us better access to other high-level HP executives and their influence. The 2015 HP team signed up 52 riders who raised $23,546.50! While not a record, it is closer, and a huge improvement from 2014!

Champions training ride, San Felipe Rd in San Jose's hills,
with a cool hawk feather I found.
For 2015, once again, Bill and I achieved official "Champion" status, since we raised over $1,000 (I raised $1,127.00, Bill raised $2,756.00!), so we were invited to attend a special Champions Celebration, on May 29th, at beautiful Silver Creek Valley Country Club. For the dedicated cyclists they again organized an optional pre-dinner training ride, up San Felipe Road, into the hills east of San Jose. Last year 4-time US Pro National Champion "Fast" Freddie Rodriguez led the ride, but this year he was scheduled to race at the huge "Philly Week," so he couldn't attend, and even though a busy workday forced me to ride solo since I had to start late, I still had a nice ride. I also got to meet new HP team member Tim Lin, who also raised over $1,000. Not present were Gayle Boesch, David Willis, and Gary Borchardt, also Champions. Congratulations!

Click here to donate!

Pescadero rest station.
On the morning of the big Tour de Cure ride I woke up at 4:00 am, finished the last-minute prep and car-loading, and drove off into the dark, gray morning. I knew that if our weather in Santa Cruz was gray and chilly, the same would likely hold true in Pescadero during the coastal leg of our 120k route (about 74 miles). I keep telling myself I will try a shorter route some year, but so far I've always done the longer route; it is more rewarding, and perhaps inspires greater support from donors... and it's the prettiest route.

The weather was nice at the 6:30 am start, again at HP's world headquarters in Palo Alto, and the light clouds there were starting to clear a bit. It turned out Fast Freddie had cancelled his Philly Week plans and was thus able to join us for the ride again, for his 3rd year. I rode with him for a while, along Alameda de las Pulgas, Alpine Rd and Portola Rd, until I got a flat tire on the Kings Mtn Rd climb. The "SAG" car arrived shortly after that, just as I was finishing up the repair... very welcome, as they also had a floor pump which is much nicer than the small pocket pumps!

After refueling at the Skyline rest station, I rode alone along Skyline Blvd, with the sun now shining over the valley, and dropped down HWY 84 at speed, glad I had my warm vest as it was chilly at times, and still gray and slightly misty when I arrived in Pescadero. There, at the rest station, I was able to catch a glimpse of Malte, riding with Neville Davey (a nice HP guy), as they set off for the next leg, up Stage Rd and HWY 1.

Chewing, Tunitas Creek Rd.
After a short break I set off after them on Stage Rd behind Fast Freddie. I finally caught Malte and Neville for good at the "Bike Hut" rest stop at the base of Tunitas Creek Rd. Neville took a few photos and we set off for the big climb up Tunitas back to Skyline.

The Tunitas climb is always difficult, but the weather was pleasant; not nearly as hot as last year. I set a nice tempo and got to Skyline ahead of the others.

Descending Kings Mtn for our return to HP, I again flatted... seems Kings Mtn has it in for me! Miraculously, I managed to not crash, and the SAG wagon again arrived just as I was almost finishing the repair, again helping with their nice floor pump! The remainder of the ride was nice, and I finished at about 12:30 pm, after riding 78.3 miles, with 7,921 feet of climbing (per Strava). Burned 2,823 calories too! (Strava overstates calories.)

The highly-valued post-ride lunch and party was fun, and the nice weather helped. I got some good food, we took a nice, though not complete, team photo (finally; we've missed that the last few years!), and I took off, knowing I had once again managed to do a little to give back.

15 of our 52 riders.

Interested in seeing what the ADA really does with the money we raise? Go to the ADA site and click on "Research & Practice" in the top menu, there's a ton of links you can go through. Some highlights:
And, of course, running the above website, running fund-raisers (like Tour de Cure, plus others), plus printing books, flyers and such that newly diagnosed diabetics get from doctors and clinics, hosting screenings in local communities, Stop Diabetes @ Work programs, and more.

Thanks, see you next year!

Neville, Malte, Fast Freddie, me, and "John" at the Skyline rest station.