Sunday, August 27, 2017

CCCX 1 a grand adventure

Locked and loaded the blue bus transported us to the dust bowl of the east garrison for the first race of the season. The warm windy day and long hilly lap made for a tough but fun race.
 In morning we had a mob in the masters with Greg Foy and Detlef Adam in the mens 55+. In the 60+ field we had even more with Mark Michel and Mark Brown making a return to racing. Rick Ortenblad had the best race coming in 5th and I was 6th about 30 seconds back. John Vahlberg was our sole representative in the men's 45+ A field.
The juniors were out in force with Manny Affonso ,  Lindsay Schmidt , Dan English and Nathan Vahlberg  ( hope I got the first name correct....)


 Kathleen Bortolussi returned to racing after a few years off. She got a nice 2nd place in her age group.
 Campbell steers really made it a race in the women's elites , leading the chase group in pursuit of a lone leader. This lasted until the last lap. She still hung in there for 4th place. Also in the race was Allison Peck and Sarah Kerlin. Former team mate and olympian Shelly Olds just beat out Campbell for 3rd. New team member Amanda Schaper was in the mix eventually finishing 7th.

 We had a real mob in the men's elite race with Eric Brown, Josh Vahlberg, John Vahlberg and Brendan Lehman. Brendan led the race for at least 6 laps showing some early season fitness. He eventually faded to 7th in the last two laps.

Ian Stowe elected to race single speed and showed that he's one of the best in Nor-Cal finishing 2nd.
The Chardonnay was flowing and the horns were honking-the van was smoking and the racing season  had officially started. So begins the long and crazy 2017 edition of Nor-Cal coastal cyclocross.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

CX is almost here !

Lots of exciting developments for the upcoming season and the Voler/Clif/HRS/Rock Lobster CX team. First thing, we will have Campbell Steers, Brendan Lehman and Ian Stowe joining Andrew Juiliano on a trip to China for the big UCI series in early September. Second, looks like Rock Lobster cup III will take shape in the form of a challenging loop in Wilder Ranch on Oct. 22nd. This race will feature the hardest climb in west coast cyclocross with 288 ft. climbing per lap ! The team will welcome returning sponsors of Voler , Clif bar, HRS, Dave Keefe real estate, Greg Foy construction, Jeff Traugott guitar company, Easton sports, Santa Cruz Aleworks, Buckler embrocation, Rock Lobster cycles. We will also welcome new sponsor.....Vans !  Yes-this is true.
The team will have a big focus on the Nationals that after many years will back on the west coast at Reno , Nv. Ben Dodge has a goal of bringing 25 juniors ! All in all, this season might be a real opportunity for the team to reach new heights.

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Nationals, Hartford

The team, a small group of six this time made the cross country trek to Hartford, Ct. for what promised to be a real winter cyclocross event. The week lived up to the promise in a big way. This is the house where we stayed during the race, the six of us all in the first floor crammed into three rooms ! We economize  when possible-it is bike racing, after all.
 First to arrive and race were Rick Ortenblad and myself. We did the pre-ride on Tuesday in the rain. Th course was very slippery and we both wondered if we would be able to survive the next day's 60-64 race . The next day was sunny and much warmer so the soupy mud of the previous day turned sticky and in spite of a great start from the last row both Rick and I had mechanical issues that slowed us and occasionally stopped us, me for several minutes trying to free a jammed chain. I'll have to fire the mechanic....wait, thats my job ! Rick finished 40th and I came in 53rd.
 Max had arrived so it was time for the first big team meal. Campbell and Brendan arrived and we ate well for the next days would be taxing for racers and support alike.
 Thursday we did not have any of the team racing but Friday we did and we woke up to a very steady snowfall. This was the day of the relay race and Brendan , Campbell, guest riders Ben Gomez-Villefane and Amanda Schaper would hit the course for a four lap contest between about a dozen teams.

 Brendan opened up the race with a strong ride putting the team into second place. Here's Campbell turning on the speed solidifying the second place.
 As you can see the day was snowy and the temperatures were below freezing by a good margin.
 Here's the team on the National podium getting the silver medal, two places better than last year.
 The team celebrating near the starting grid after a medal winning performance. Now we would go home with some hardware for the sixth year in a row..
 Nothing like a big team dinner to celebrate the medals and replenish the calories before the elite and single speed races.
 Both Campbell and Max Judelson had front row starting positions so we had high hopes for more medals or at least top-ten finishes in the men's and women's single speed events. The conditions were changing from hour to hour and as the races went on the course got slippery and the lapped traffic was an issue. Max got tangled up with a lapped rider and crashed hard while in the top-5. He eventually finished 7th which will give him a first row start in next years single speed race. Campbell Steers rode in the top-5 for along time but crashes slowed her in the final laps but she held on for 7th and another front row call up at the next nationals.Brendan Lehman had to start near the back of the 148 man field and did his best to move up. He had a crazy fast first two laps and was probably up to the top-35 when the traffic and icy conditions took their toll. He would eventually finish 44th after passing over 80 riders, a super human feat.
 Nor-Cal representing !
 Max, out suffering in the frozen conditions.  the next day would be even colder.
 Sunday morning we loaded up the rented mini-van for the last day-the elite races. We had Campbell in the women's race and Andrew Juiliano with Max Judelson in the men's race. Brendan and I would be working support in the pit.
 Andrew was hoping to improve on last year's 25th place and Max just wanted to survive after getting pretty banged up the day before in the single speed race.
 The start was murderously fast and both Max and Andrew had starting positions pretty far back. Both riders did well to move up as the race went on. There were many crashes and lots of mayhem during the race as nearly 50 riders worked frantically to try to not get too far back and get pulled before the last lap. Max was doing much better than last year but the fast pace of the leader meant that he and many other riders were pulled with a few laps to go. Max would get 29th.
Andrew was able to survive a bit longer and moved up into the top-15 for a time, eventually getting pulled with a lap to go. He would get 18th and have his best nationals finish to date. Both riders greatly improved over last year and although this time they did not make it to the finish before getting pulled, neither did 3/4 of the field. It was that fast. All in all, with a smaller crew and difficult conditions I would consider this trip a great success-medals coming home, two top-ten single speed finishes and nobody DNF'd.  The team was great.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Nor-Cal So-Cal showdown , Bakersfield

This two day event has been a tradition here in Bakersfield for seven years now- a race to see who has the best-or most CX riders. With the long drive making it tough for Nor-Cal riders to be at the event the So-Cal contingent had a definite edge in numbers. Nor Cal definitely had the edge in quality. The men's A podium was all Nor Cal ( Andrew Juiliano lives in Santa Barbara but we still claim him as Nor-Cal ) except for Jamie Driscoll who is from Utah.

Having raced the day before to third place, Max Judelson was aiming to do better than that - or die trying !  Max attacked often during the race and was the main animator. Andrew had a flat on the first lap and had a bit of a chase to get to the front group which was almost immediately getting clear from the bulk of the 20-odd riders.
 Andrew made the lead group and as the race wore on the group eventually got pared down to four riders: Jamie Driscoll, Cody Kaiser ( the previous day's winner ) Max and Andrew. The group stayed together until just before the last lap started when Jamie Driscoll lit it up and only Cody Kaiser could stay close. Max and Drew rode hard to keep the leaders as close as possible. In the last lap it was a drag race between Max and Drew that tested both to their limits. It was exciting to watch and until the last finishing straight it was hard to know who would come in first. Drew made a move on the last runup which proved enough to beat the resilient Max. They came in 3rd and 4th for podium spots and some cash. It was a very strong showing against a couple of major national names.
 Drew crossing the line completely spent.
 Max looking about 20 years older after the one hour race !
 The men's elite state championship podium.
In the last race of the day, a very tired Dylan Gong managed to stay at the front of the cat 4/5 race and come in second after a weekend of much racing. Next year maybe we can get the trophy back from So-Cal !

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Nor-Cal district championships

The team really killed it at the districts even though many of our racers were not able to make the trip. I was not there so I did not get any photos but several of the main protagonists are in this photo.

Men's A race:  Max Judelson   2nd.
Women's A race : Campbell Steers   1st.
Single speed A race :  Kailin Waterman  2nd.
Single speed B race :  Jamaica Lambie   7th.
Open C race :  Dylan Gong 2nd.
Men's 35 A race : Dean Poshard 12th.
Men's 55 open : Greg Foy 11th.
Men's 45 B race: John Vahlberg  9th.
Michael Schaller 22nd.
Junior men
17-18
David Kalcic 4th.
15-16:
Dylan Gong 2nd.
Brian Kalcic 5th.
Emmett Tuttle 6th.
11-12
McEwan Tomkins 1st.
Ronan Lambie  3rd.
Junior women
11-12
Shantelle Tupaz  2nd.

Many medals and two district champions !

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

BASP race, Coyote point

 The Coyote Point race has been a bay area staple since 2003 when an actual UCI event was held there. The iconic bay front course with views of San Fransisco bay and right below the glide path of jets landing at the airport has provided much good racing drama over the years. This time was no exception as the races were very fast and the competition really tough. To start the day the masters B men lined up in the cold morning. Our only representative was Michael Schaller, coming in at 18th in the 45 B race. Next up were the 35B and 55 + races. We had a full crew in the 55+ with Greg Foy nearly taking the win coming in 2nd. I finished 11th, Rick Ortenblad battled his single speed to 14th and Mark Hubbell flatted in the last lap to come in 16th.

 Ben Dodge had a very full day, racing twice and working support. He would finish 9th in the 35 A race and 26th in the elite race.
 We did not have the full women's team as injuries and travel have trimmed the roster but we still had Allison Peck make a strong showing in the elite race coming in 6th after an excellent start. Alexis De Zubria would finish 9th in the women's B race.
 Some great riding was done by two of our juniors in the elite race. Both had to start in the back of the large field but they worked their way forward with Emmett Tuttle finishing 14th and Noah Hayes finishing 20th. Veterans Ben Dodge and Dean Poshard went 26th and 29th.

One of the most if not the most exciting rides of the day was Kailin Waterman opting to race the single speed A race. He had no idea how he would ride but was always at the front and nearly pulled of the win-just beaten at the line by 4 seconds for an impressive 2nd place.
 Our junior team was as good as aways with Dan English coming in 2nd, Sean Uusitalo 4th and Ayden Uusitalo 10th in the junior 10-14 age group.
 In the 15-18 age group there was strong riding from Dylan Gong (3rd)who used the C race early in the morning for a warmup.Caleb Ohare overcame a mechanical to finish 4th.
 The elite podium.
The single speed A podium with Kailin Waterman .

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Surf City Halloween race Aptos High

 Hard rain overnight and in the morning made for a classic Nor-Cal mud-fest. The wet conditions made for some dramatic crashes but very few injuries and not too many mechanicals. It has been a long time since we had conditions like this in October.
In the women's A race Campbell Steers made the podium in 4th followed by Allison Peck in 8th and Kelly Chang in 12th.
 Eric Nelson rode in the single speed A race to 7th place.
 A race long battle men's A race between Max Judelson and Justin Robinson was exciting to watch with Justin getting the better of Max in the last lap. Max would finish 2nd, Brendan Lehman 8th, Ian Stowe 9th, Kailin Waterman 14th, Dean Poshard 30th and 17 year old David Kalcic in 36th.
 In the mens 55+ open race Mark Hubbell and I got on the podium in 4th and 5th.

 In the mens 45B race John Vahlberg had a great race coming in 6th with Michael Schaller in 18th and Frank Kalcic flatting out at 19th.
 In the men's open B race Javier Valencia got 27th and Scott Junker rode a single speed to 34th. In the junior 17-18 boys race Brian Kalcic got on the podium in 3rd with Nate Vahlberg also getting 3rd in the boys 13-14 group. In the junior girls Lindsay Schmidt got the teams only win of the day.