Sunday, October 06, 2019

New Portland single speeder

This is Fred Mills, the most recent addition to the team. He has been terrorizing the pacific northwest's one-gear fields and now he will do it as a part of our team. His goals are lofty but he seems to be preparing with a lot of energy and dedication. Look for him at the Cross Crusade and at the nationals in Tacoma. He will be part of our sizable entry into the single speed class.

Monday, September 09, 2019

CCCX II Fort Ord

The second race of the CCCX series saw slightly smaller fields in some cases, larger fields in others. Our team is still not fully present at the races as many of the team are waiting until October to start. This didn't keep the team from having a dominant showing for the second week in a row.

The juniors and C groups started off early with the boy's 10-14 where we were well represented:

10-14  Mac Tomkins 2nd, Remy Schmidt 3rd.
15-18 Peter Vahlberg 5th

Open C race
Enzo Sapojnikoff 1st.
 In the B wave we had limited but good results:

Open B race
Enzo Sapojnikoff 1st
Joey Kochlacs  4th

Men's 45 B
Eric Werner  4th
 The masters A races saw a few of our team do well

35 A race
Ben Dodge 2nd.
45 A race
John Vahlberg 19th
55 + race
Detlef Adam 4th
Manny Affonso 7th
60+ race
Paul Sadoff 3rd
Mark Hubbell 4th

 In the single speed A race there were only two but Kyle Taylor managed a convincing win in his first try .

In the Women's A race we had only one entrant but it was Hannah Dillard and the pace she set was more than enough to beat the field. She is undefeated so far in the series.

After last week's near miss, Brendan Lehman got his first ever elite CX win-riding at the front and wearing everyone down until he was alone at the end. He got the win and now has the series lead.

Men's A race:
Brendan Lehman 1st
Ben Dodge         11th
Eric Brown         13th
Nate Vahlberg     16th
Ian Stowe            17th

With no races in the coming week there will be time for team folks to do other events such as the Old Growth classic. Several of the team will be there- it isn't a CX event but it is the dirt and it is local.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

CCCX opener


 Kathleen Bortolussi opting to race in the A race rather than in her age group. She finished on the lead lap in 5th.



Brendan Lehman led the men's A race from the first lap and came within one second of winning it.



Plenty of great results here-the team came to the first local race and put in a dominant performance. The juniors started the day early in the morning with some great riding.

Open men's C
Enzo Sapojnikoff   1st.
Junior boy's 10-14
Colin Manalang 1st, Jason Burgess 2nd, Remy Schmidt 4th, Mac Tomkins 5th, Cullen Keefe 6th, Matthew Werner 9th.
Junior boy's 15-18   
Dylan Gong 1st, Peter Bissell 6th, Jayden Cheung 7th, Zain Huq 9th, Nicolas Goumas 10th, Korben Tomkin 11th.
Junior girls 15-18 Shilpa Rao 1st.
Men's open B race
Enzo Sapojnikoff 1st
Dylan Gong 5th
Manny Affonso jr. 12th.
Master's B 45+
Eric Werner 4th
Single Speed B
Kyle Taylor 1st.
Men's 55+
Detlef Adam 6th
Men's 60+
Rick Ortenblad 2nd
Paul Sadoff 3rd.

Women's A race
Hannah Dillard 1st
Kathleen Bortolussi 5th

Men's A race 
Brendan Lehman 2nd
Ian Stowe 14th
Dean Poshard 16th
Ben Dodge 17th.

Some people had best ever showings and there are people yet to race who will shake things up even more at the bay area cyclocross scene. Newcomer Hannah Dillard had her first elite win- Brendan Lehman nearly had his first elite win as well. Ben Dodge had an excellent 2nd in the 35 A race. Kyle Taylor might look at upgrading to the single speed A race as he looked pretty far ahead of the B field.

This coming weekend will be at the same Ft. Ord location -hopefully we will have a similar showing.

Monday, August 19, 2019

West coast points prestige series



Cyclocross in mid August ? Five races in three days ? -Yes- that's what we had this weekend. The race series was set up to give west coast racers a chance to improve their USAC rankings by racing against some top elite riders. Among the invited riders were four of our team and they really put on a show. On both men's and women's elite podiums we had the top step in all but one race-sometimes the second or third step as well. It was a dominant showing for the team at what looks to be the only major USAC event in Calif. this season with the cancellation of the West Sacramento series. This made it doubly important for the team to have a showing. 

Day 1 results: 
Men's 4-5 race   Keegan Pelton 1st.  Women's 4-5 race Ciara Wing 3rd.
Men's 1,2,3 race Max Judelson 1st, Nate Barton 2nd, Brendan Lehman 6th, Dan English 22nd, Ben Dodge 27th, John Vahlberg 60th, Nate Vahlberg 66th.
Women's 1,2,3 race  Caroline Nolan 1st, Kathleen Bortolussi 16th.

Day 2 race # 1 results:
Men's 4-5 race Keegan Pelton 6th ,Peter Vahlberg 38th.  Women's 4-5 race Ciara Wing 8th.
Men's 1,2,3 race  Max Judelson 1st, Nate Barton 3rd, Brendan Lehman 11th, Ben Dodge 18th, Dan English 21st, Josh Vahlberg 44th, Nate Vahlberg 46th
Women's 1,2,3 race  Caroline Nolan 3rd, Kathleen Bortolussi 19th.

Day 2 race # 2 results:
Men's 4-5 race Keegan Pelton 6th
Men's 1,2,3 race  Max Judelson 1st, Nate Barton 3rd, Brendan Lehman 14th, Dan English 16th, Ben Dodge 38th, Eric 'Houte' Brown 55th, Nate Vahlberg 59th, John Vahlberg 60th, Paul Sadoff 70th.
Women's 1,2,3 race  Caroline Nolan 1st, Kathleen Bortolussi 19th.

Day 3 race # 1 results:
Men's 4-5 race Keegan Pelton 3rd
Men's 1,2,3 race Max Judelson 1st, Brendan Lehman 3rd, Nate Barton 5th, Dan English 30th, Ben Dodge 37th, Eric Brown 41st, Nate Vahlberg 43rd,Paul Sadoff 67th, John Vahlberg 68th.
Women's 1,2,3 race  Caroline Nolan 1st, Kathleen Bortolussi 19th.

Day 3 race # 2 results:
Mens's 4-5 race  Keegan Pelton 2nd
Men's 1,2,3 race  Max Judelson 1st, Nate Barton 3rd, Brendan Lehman 4th,Ben Dodge 26th, Eric Brown 39th, John Vahlberg 40th, Dan English 58th, Paul Sadoff 60th, Nate Vahlberg 62nd. 

The series saw some great riding from the veteran racers but two new additions made some noise with some high placings. In the 4-5 race Keegan Pelton was always in the top-6. Nate Barton was on the podium in nearly every 1-3 race. Caroline and Max put on a show of dominance winning all but one race. Brendan Lehman had three top-6 placings in the 1-3 race. 15 year old Dan English broke the top-20 in one of the 1-3 races and he and team mate Nate Vahlberg put on a barrier hopping clinic for the rest of the field. Bend Dodge broke into the top 20 in one of the 1-3 races as well. 
While it is still very early in the season-really pre season- the team is showing the kind of strength that made it arguably the top Nor-Cal team in CX. Who knows what the 2019 season has in store......

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nationals- part 3

 A trip to a different city would not be complete without sampling some of the local culinary specialties. Here is Eric Brown sitting with his namesake- the 'hot-brown', a Louisville specialty. This 3400 calorie monster is four pieces of toast , turkey, bacon , carmelized onions covered with a gruyere bechamel sauce. You'll have to ask Eric how it was- I opted out. This lunch was the post race meal after the Wednesday races. We didn't need dinner after this meal at the historic Brown Hotel.
 Another place we went to more than once was 'Eatz' , a Vietnamese restaurant that had only just opened a couple of months ago. The food was amazing- good enough for most of us to make return trips for more during the week.

Here is a genuine example of a Jackelope - not something you'll see west of the Mississippi. This was seen in an eclectic junk shop a few blocks away from our rental houses. Alex Work found this store and it was filled with some really odd stuff.
 Team meal # 2 for nine people- Linguini Carbonara in both normal and gluten-free. Everyone got fed well and the entire meal got eaten that night- a first ! Cooking meals for the team has been a tradition going back at least 10 years. We only cooked two dinners at the house as the city was full of great affordable eateries .
 Monday morning everyone had flown out with the exception of myself and Brendan. This is the breakfast I had at the Grael House, a place recommended by Eric Brown. World class grits, biscuits, bacon and eggs. I wouldn't need to eat for another 8 hours after this.
No trip would be complete without a visit to the local bowling alley. We almost missed out on the chance but luckily there was a bowling alley just down the road from the airport. Brendan and I managed to eek out two games before leaving to return the rental van and go to the gate for our flight home. All in all, I would say that this is one of my top three nationals weeks of all time. The city was really a great place- the team rode as hard as they could and everyone pitched in to help the greater good. Trips like this show the reason that teams like this exist- and as we know, reasons happen for a reason.

Nationals-part 2

After Wednesday the crowds got larger and the women's master fields  were on the course . Katheen got another chance at the course but now it was drier and faster as she was racing in the late afternoon. With the very last call-up she would have to pass a lot of riders to get into the top-15. This she did , riding a clean race and finishing 12th.
 The next day was all about the men's master fields and the collegiate races. Kailin Waterman had one of the last call-ups in the 75 man 40-44 age group field and rode to 30th place. Alex Work rode from about 79th to 23rd place out of 111 riders in the mens 45-49 race.
 Noah Hayes rode for UC Santa Barbara in the collegiate sport race- for some reason the USAC did not publish the results from this race but Noah rode well.
 Saturday was all about juniors and single speeds . We had only one junior making the long trip to Kentucky but he would prove to be a great representative for the team. Dan English had to start on the 8th row of the 13-14 age group race. There were 91 kids in the field- Dan was in 10th place in the first half lap. He wound up finishing 6th- this might be considered the ride of the week for the team. I asked Dan how he managed to pass about 50 riders in the first 5 minutes......he didn't really have an answer. It was amazing to watch.
 In the single speed mens race we had 4 riders: Kailin Waterman, Brendan Lehman , Alex Work and Max Judelson. The rain was falling and the course was deteriorating rapidly. Much of the lap was now unrideable.
Max got to start in front with Brendan on row 3, Alex in row 8 and Kailin in row 22. That's right...there were 170 odd riders in this race. From the gun Max was in the lead and he held it for the first 3 laps - first by himself and then with Justin Robinson. The two looked to have an unassailable lead but gear troubles for Justin and some crashes for Max saw their lead shrink. Brendan raced up to about 15th but the mud was thick and the rim brake bikes got so heavy with mud that they became nearly unrideable. On the start line Alex got taken out in a crash. Brendan seeing Alex on the side of the course yelled: "I need your bike !". Alex ran to the pit and we began washing bikes for Brendan. Kailin came into the pit and said that he wanted his bike to be available for Max- now Alex and I were pitting for two riders. This really helped both Brendan and Max to finish- I really wish that we had extra bikes from the start as this could have had really helped both Max and Brendan to get better results. That said, there's no doubt that they both left everything on the course riding as hard as possible. This is what everyone on the team did- nobody held back.
Alex and Kailin donating the use of their bikes to Max and Brendan was an illustration of what makes this such a great team. When things get critical people on this team really step up. Max finished 6th and Brendan 30th.
 Sunday was the last day in the event and the rain had stopped. This would make the mud thicker and make the bikes clog faster- the work in the pit would get very intense , having to give the riders a fresh bike every half lap. This would prove difficult as the line for the bike washers would get long - some times a rider would come into the pit only to find that his replacement bike was not cleaned yet.
First to go off was the U-23 field with Noah Hayes . He nearly finished on the lead lap winding up 32nd. He was changing bikes every half lap, using my bike as his second.
 In the women's elite field it was all about Caroline Nolan who has been having a career season this year. With a second row starting position she had a fair chance at seeing the front of the race but the mud and a couple of mechanicals made the going rough. She was unstoppable, though- clearly not having a good time she still fought on the finish 20th, on the lead lap with most of the 46 women not making the cut. It was a gutsy ride.
The men's elite race was the final event of the week. The course had been re-routed to give the riders less deep mud and more turf to ride on but the bikes were still getting clogged with the thick peanut-butter like mud. With two riders in the field we were very busy in the pit. Max Judelson had a third row start but Brendan Lehman was near the back of the 46 man field. The mud, the craziness in the pit and the caliber of the leaders made it so that only 20 riders finished on the lead lap with only 10 more finishing a lap down. Max finished 32nd while Brendan finished 42nd. It was epic conditions and some of the most difficult racing conditions I have ever seen .

Nationals- first days , Louisville, Ky.

 This first December CX nationals in a few years would see a rotating cast of characters- there would be 6 days of racing so people came and went depending on when they would be racing. Three of us arrived on Monday late afternoon- upon landing we found out that the number pick up was at an airport hotel so before we even got to our rental house we went to pick up our numbers. Across the street was a bowling alley that advertised :" $1.00 bowling on Monday." - We would return.
 Eric Brown, Kathleen Bortolussi, Brendan Lehman and I went to the course next day to pre-ride. It was very cold in the morning and much of the ground was covered in frost. There was very little mud and nearly all of the course was rideable. This would change dramatically by the afternoon. Kathleen decided to do the non-championship race to get to know the course in advance of her Thursday age-group race. She wound up crashing many times as the course had gotten very slippery after the frost melted. This, too would change over the rest of the week in a very big way.
 Usually we have big team dinners at the nationals but with only four people there was more than enough food to go around- a customary pasta a la Amatriciana for the night before the first championship day. Eric, Brendan and I would race in age group races on Wednesday.
 Eric and Brendan would go first in the 30-34 age group- both of them got good starts with Brendan coming by the pits in 4th and Eric in the top-10. Brendan would have bad luck with a fall and a mechanical . He would have a 1/4 lap run and fade to next-to-last. He was able to pit and ride back up to 13th with Eric finishing 12th. It might not have been quite the result that either of them wanted but it was enough to get a good feel for the course .
Next up was my race and starting in the back of 69 riders really took the pressure off of me. I knew that I had nowhere to go but forward - I managed 54th after a coupe of falls. Eric and Brendan did stellar work for me in the pit- I wish I had taken more help than I did taking only one bike change. Even on Wednesday the bikes were really loading up with mud and grass. This would get worse as the week went on after Thursday.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Mid-late season report

 Winning is not everything but this team sure seems to be doing a lot of winning this season. 55+ mens rider Greg Foy has been nearly unstoppable in all the local and regional races, even winning day 2 of the west Sacramento gran prix. Pictured above is Ben Dodge winning the 35A race at our own Surf City / Team Rock Lobster race. Caroline Nolan is having her best season ever with many wins and UCI placings. Max Judelson is also showing the Nor-Cal scene how to take command of the front of a race.
 Kathleen Bortolussi has come back to racing with some of her best results since joining the team. Dylan Gong continues to win with a district title and many other victories. 14 year old Dan English beat all the men's B field at Coyote point- something I had not seen anyone that age do.

Mary Maroon also repeated as district single speed champion and won in Sacramento as well.
Ivy Young rode to a single speed victory at Coyote point.
 Other riders have been on the podium such as Nate Vahlberg in the juniors, Max McFadden racing elite at 16 years old and Noah Hayes getting 4th at the districts, just ahead of Brendan Lehman.
 With such a busy season and so many people on the team it is hard to keep track of all the great performances such as 17 year old Brian Kalcics 3rd in the B field at Coyote point. If our juniors continue enjoying racing CX there are great times ahead for bay area CX. With other junior programs taking shape there's a good chance that Nor-Cal will resemble Seattle or Portland for the amount of quality junior racers in the peloton. This is the future of cyclocross and it is great that this team is a substantial part of the new wave of racers . Let's hope that it keeps up.
 At this point there's only the nationals in Louisville, Kentucky left on the schedule of big races. We have some great riders coming to the event: Caroline Nolan, Max Judelson, Aaron Bradford, Alex Work, Kathleen Bortolussi, Dan English, Eric Brown, Kailin Waterman, Noah Hayes. There are some absences due to injury and other circumstances but even with those factors this is a very strong team with a lot of possibilities.