Monday, November 27, 2006

busy day for Ryan

Back to the local action for the squad. With nearly the entire team in attendance, most fields of the race had at least one HR solutions/Rock Lobster rider mixing it up. In the early Masters 'B' catagory, Larry toughed it out to finish the bumpy-twisty track after missing last weekend's race. In the Master's 'A' 35 + Tim Watson finished up in the top-ten area,even with a bike change early in the race. In the 45+ 'A' race, your swiggboss managed 14th while hacking loudly with a nice cold aquired in the rainy northwest. In the women's 'A' race it was total dominance as Shelly and Stella rode away from the field from the first lap and were in the next zip code by the end of the race.In the women's masters division Julie Brothers finished well enough to keep her overall series placing high. In the men's 'A' division we had serious numbers,even with three absences. Dave Wyandt in his first west-coast race of the season did his best to slow the progress of the nearly unstoppable Barry Wicks. Josh Snead was right there but fell victim to one of the courses many tight spots with a hard and painful crash. Josh got up quickly and even with two bike changes held on to third place behind Wyandt. Rob Evans was hurting badly from a recent trip over the bars but got into the top 10 with Joe Walsh-Joe having his best race of the season so far. Evan Adams had a first lap mechanical that cost him about 10 minutes but he rejoined the race and rode until getting caught by Wicks. Sean Coffey toughed it out after not racing for over a month and finished ahead of many of the large field.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

our man snead in good times and bad and a wierd mascot

they hung him from a 'cross......

The pacific northwest always provides drama and contrast to the hot,dry and dusty races here in the bay area. The first race was at Steiliacoom, Wa.( What the heck is a Steiliacoom , anyway? guess is that it is Eskimo for world's longest and lossest runup.) Saturday's race had no rain.....not even any mud pits so it was insanely fast and suited those with some serious road legs.The paved start was unnerving and actually a bit scary as the transfer ont the dirt was an abrupt righthand turn. I got a front row callup, a real waste as I knew I would go right to the back in the first two minutes of the race. Our teamate who you'll get your first look at this year, Alan T. Ott was in the row in back of me. I tried to give him a leadout but I was pathetic. Anyway, the race progressed and Alan moved along well and finished 18th out of 37 starters. I was lucky to hold on to 28th. Our man Snead got a really miserable 5th row starting position but moved up steadily and finished 31st out of at least 90 starters. The next day saw rain starting at 7:00 a.m. and continuing off aond on all day. The Sunday event was at Hillsborough stadium, a venue I had never been to. Since it was a Portland race and the 'Cross Crusade and Crank Bro's USGP finale, they pulled out all the stops. The drum corps were there for the elite races and Sacha White ( Vanilla bikes) had set up a hot tub on the muddy hill in the middle of the course. This was a slog in some of the nastiest mud I had seen in two years. My race was at 8:00 a.m. so it was barely daylight when I started. I didn't wear my glasses so some of the turns on pavement were a little hard to read at first. Oddy enough, I found I had a lot more power this day and had a pretty strong start, maybe 15th wheel going into the first mud bog. At this point it was obvious that a lot of the guys around me were not having much luck keeping upright in the slippery conditions so I found it pretty easy to pick off a few flailing riders in front of me. When we got to the smoother sections the race really strung out and I felt that I was stuck too far behind the field to catch and far enough ahead of anyone else that I could probably hold them off. With two laps to go I saw that I was slowly getting closer to another rider so I made a supreme effort to catch him. When I caught him I blazed by and got a little gap. This was short lived as I got tangled between my bike and the course barrier and my bike on a runup and was fullt stopped for about 15-20 seconds. My rival ran right around me and got about 20 quick seconds on me. I figured if I caught him once I could do it again. In a minute I was back with him and attacked him on a section of stadium stairs. I went as hard as I could for the last lap and held him off, inspite of dumping it once in the deep mud. Alan's race was next and he got a last row callup, approx. 117th out of 123 starter. Alan is a very experienced rider and steadily moved up as people were falling left and right all around him. He was able to move up to 67th place and was not lapped by the leader, Dale Knapp. Our man Snead got a third row start, better than the day before. On the first lap he came by in 15th place, an incredible position. It was a supremely hard race as the course steadily deteriorated and rideable sections became unrideable . Small puddles became giant wheel-eating pits that sent many a rider over the bars into the muck. Midway through the race it was hard to tell who was who . Even the race numbers were becoming unreadable with a thick covering of mud. As the race progressed some of the top riders began moving forward and Josh had a tough time holding his spot. I am not sure where he wound up but I figure it was in the top 30, an amazing result considering the conditions and the quality of the field, not to mention the importance of the race. All in all, it was an epic 'cross race that will be talked about for many years to come.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It was a good day.

Golden Gate Park, the venue for Pilarcitos #4, was incredible yesterday. The conditions were perfect for a super-fast, super-fun race. With Rachel up north at the USGP races, I was looking forward to a possible win. Stella and I sized up the competition and decided HRS-Rock Lobster could potentially dominate and claim the top 2 spots on the podium. That's exactly what we did.

I had a great start today. It was a long pavement straight, slightly uphill, leading up to a sharp right hand turn into the forest. I felt like a sling shot off the line, got into my pedals immediately and stood up to sprint. Immediately, I had a gap on everyone. I was so pumped! Almost immediately after the start, there was that uphill section covered in tree roots (where the guys in jumper-suits usually stand). I knew it was crucial to get to this point first to have my own line up the climb and avoid any bobblers. After the crest of that climb, I never really saw anyone again. I was able to ride the entire race off the front, picking my own lines and settling into a manageable pace. Stella was always close behind me though, never more than 30 seconds back.

The course was sticky-smooth and mostly a power course. There were lots of technical sections, but I had arrived so early that I was able to ride the course about 10 times before the race. I had it all mapped out in my head, which made my race seem so much easier. I had picked all the good lines, with the help of my teammates Rob and Stella, and I knew exactly when and where to be shifting. There were barriers evenly dispersed throughout the course, which always kept you on your toes.

The Pilarcitos crew did a great job setting up the course and the conditions were just perfect. Ryan Bontrager, as always, provided the best mechanical support and awesome cheering. He actually trued my wheel minutes before the start of the race, resolving all my worries and making my bike work perfectly the entire race. Thanks Ryan. And to Aaron for helping me in my desperate search for my nosering. I never did find it, but thanks for your help. -

Thursday, November 16, 2006

HRS Rocklobster Team shirts online

The 2006 Team HRS-Rocklobster T shirts are available for purchase with no mark up for anyone who is interested.

The Non-Dark colored shirts will have a print of our other sponsors on the back as well.

You can purchase these at Cafe Press.

NOTE!!: For shipping choose a minimum of Standard Ground.. don't do $5 flat rate!! Pay the extra 45 cents and it will get to you much faster.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The moment captured by Swigboss's dubious camera skills. Photo #1:In the distance the final sprint .Photo#2, Jeff Patton yells encouragement to A.K. seconds before the sprint. # 3, A.K. congratulated by John Funke who led the first half of the race.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pilarcitos #3: Maybe I should have stayed home...

Photo by Larry Larosa:
Racing this weekend was a very humbling experience for me. I am beginning to understand why most racers do not race a full season on the road and then jump right into the cross season. I feel like a sixty-year old woman today. My back hurts, my neck hurts and I think I have a bruise on every limb. I was pretty bummed about my performance yesterday. Same old story in the end. I came in second to Rachel Lloyd, only this time she beat me pretty good. I got a decent start today, so that's something I can be happy about. Stella, Rachel, and I separated ourselves from the group pretty quick, but even before we finished the first lap, Rachel had jumped ahead of Stella and quickly established a 30 second gap on us. Stella and I chased together for a while, until Stella had a little mishap cornering through the tight trees and I passed her to try and chase down Rachel. Never happened.

I think it's worth noting that Aaron's win was no easy feat. I arrived just in time to see him win too. It was a great finish. Congratulations Aaron, that's awesome. The course was ridiculously hard. It started out on pavement then into a grass section leading up to two barriers right before a long sandy run-up. Then you gradually climb up to the bottom of a nasty, bumpy single track climb into a nasty, bumpy, single-track descent, into a climb that starts with a dismount over a huge log into a bumpy descent, sharp right hand u-turn back uphill, fast pavement downhill into a really sharp u-turn and then up the longest, hardest climb. Did you all get that? Basically, it was a very mean, unforgiving course. No chance for recovery. I wanted to quit so bad. I've never wanted to quit so bad in my life. I was hoping for a mechanical, a flat, anything. Even a crash would have felt better than the way I felt racing. The best part was when I t-boned the first of 3 tall barriers and was millimeters away from eating shit and possibly breaking my nose on the next huge barrier. To top it off, all the spectators just happened to be standing there when it happened. All I heard was, "Damn, that's gotta hurt." Sweet. Seriously, is it over yet. Somehow, I managed to finish in 2nd still, but Stella was close on my tail, gaining on me every lap. The only reason she didn't beat me was because she was collecting money from the beer cans that I was too pissed off to try for. Well, it's not like I have the skills to do it anyways, but still.

I think it might take me a few days to recover but hopefully I'll bounce back from this horrible experience and be a better rider for sticking it out.

- Shelley

Sunday, November 05, 2006

from the lows to the highs

It's not all bad. Some history went down today. Our own Aaron Kereluk has raced 'cross for many many? I'm not quite sure but I believe it is more than ten. In all these years he has not won a race, at least until today. Even though three of our top elite men were elsewhere, Aaron was able to pull off a huge win. Dodgeball did a great start and was a good wheel for Aaron at first. After two laps John Funke rolled away from the group he was in and looked to be the strongest of the race. Further back a group containing Aaron was giving chase. Aaron appearantly thought that this group wasn't going fast enough so he bridged up to the first chase group. Even this group didn't look to be gaining on the flying Funke so Aaron chased on his own for a few laps. He was eventually joined by a Cal Giant rider and the two of them powered up to Funke who was having a bit of gear troubles. In the last lap the cal giant rider attacked and Aaron chased hard and only got his wheel in the final turn. At that point it was a straight up sprint which Aaron won convincingly.

In the womens elite race Shelley and Stella rode to 2nd and 3rd, far ahead of any challengers. ( I'll let Shelley fill in the details) Julie Brothers had an excellent race on the challenging course, claiming both 3rd place and a bronze medal.

Dan Harting missed the podium by only one place finishing a strong 6th place. In all, the team fought hard and had a good enough showing to bolster our lead in the team competition.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rocky Mountain Low

Ouch, I got taken out by the same whoop section that Josh did yesterday, only I ended up much worse for wear than him. At least that's what I think but you'll have to read Josh's blog to get his take on it. I have been pretty content to go to these USGP races and use them as hard rides, gaining fitness for nationals. My earlier ambitions went out the window when I was unable to get any UCI points at the beginning of the season. My tactic has been to show up as early as possible and try to be as far up as possible in the scrum. I know that every guy I encounter will battle for his spot and it can only make me better for doing it.

For the first time I can remember, I was actually lined up according to my number which was calculated by my UCI points (0) and when I registered. SO I was EightyFuckin'Seventh to start. When they counted down the final 30 seconds we didn't even move for another 10 once the gun was fired. There were like one and a half rows behind me and truly all I could do was laugh. But I would get it going alright and pass a handful of guys on the opening straight and coming in to the first obstacle I would take a sneaky line and avoid a massive pile up. This course had a number of man made ramps and I think somebody forgot that the ramp up the curb only covered it part way. I probably made up another 20 or so spots as riders hit the dirt and bikes went flying.
So now I am maybe in the top 50 and I just try to sprint out of every corner and fight for every spot. I was feeling ok actually, even though I have felt like there was a hippo sitting on my chest since I arrived. Maybe it was the elevation or just the general bad luck we have been having on this trip, but halfway through the race I was trying to rip the course up and was catching a dude on the whoopy backside of the course. I hit the whoop at high speed and I swear I was trying to keep the wheels on the ground. Instead I must have caught the lip just right and got boosted into the thin air. I had time to think "oh man another nose wheelie to try and ride out" but the wheel never hit. My finger, then head and finally sacrum collided with the earth. I don't even think I hurt my bike but I'll have to check that later.

Yeah, I saw a brilliant flash, and rolled over to see who was going to run into me. I dragged myself off course, totally rung and looked at my left finger which was totally mangled. That's what kept me from remounting innitially, then the pain in my head and back started to speak up. I was quickly met by an EMT which leads me to believe I wasn't the only victim of the day. He asked how I was, looked at my finger and asked if I wanted him to set it. The sooner the better I figured and he pulled it, but to no avail. So, another EMT gave it a tug and his superior technique would relocate the digit. It truly is a relief when your joints go back into place.

Now it looks like I am all jacked up, my head hurts and I am not allowed to drink beer. I think I am gonna grow a shiner and I can't wait to see how good my finger looks tommorow. The worst part is gonna be my back which hurts whenever I move. I only hope I will be able to pack my bike up and push it around the airport on monday.

Oh yeah, Trebon is a monster and crushed everyone. I called Todd Wells for 3rd and I think I was right. Ihope I am well enough to race soon and I 'll keep you posted.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Photos keep coming

Hi all,

The photos keep coming and while I work out a location on the site to store the masses I have put them on my PBASE site temporarily.

Be sure if you take them for any use outside for personal use to give photo credit to the photographer who has supplied them to us for free.