Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
At the start, as much as I didn't want to, I took the hole shot-- those UCI starts just get under your skin and stick with you. I lead out the first half of lap, then traded pulls with Scott from the SRAM factory team a few times. After a lap or so, Scott asked me to pull for real, as if he sensed I was not totally on the gas and we were making a gap on the rest of the field, so I turned it on a little. Though the second lap, he was falling off my wheel through the corners. I had intended to try to work with him, but later I'd learn I was putting time into him on the barriers and through the sand and he was pushing too hard to close the gap after them.
So with two of ten laps down I settled into a solid pace, riding alone off the front. And it was super solid. I managed to make the gap bigger with each lap, topping out at about 30 seconds on second place. The cover band was playing welcome to the jungle by G'n'R and I was loving the course. With 4 to go, I was at the point where I normally was loosing speed and fitness, instead feeling incredible. I was passing lapped traffic and everything was going great.
Then with three to go disaster struck. I washed out in a corner and a lapped rider who was riding my wheel ran over my back end and slashed the sidewall of the tire in the process. I had a good lead on second place at this point so I rode the flat into the pit and grabbed the "B" bike.
Disaster number two. I had not pumped up the tires in the "B" bike before the race. So what would have been my ride to a win, was a ride on two practically flat tires. I will never make that mistake again. Julie was on the backside of the course and I told her what was wrong so she went to the pit to find a solution. A new friend lent her his rear wheel and my bike was ready for me the next time around. That saved my race and gave me a chance to catch Scott, who had slipped by me. I grabbed the bike change with one to go and a 20 second gap to close to take back the lead. I laid it all down. Half way though the final lap, I had 10 seconds to close and at the line he had beaten me by five seconds.
Either way, the course and race was fantastic. It was such a great day. I am super happy with how I rode. It felt great to ride that last lap and make up ground on Scott. To know I still had that effort in the tank. This weekend, racing with all the big boys at the first round of the USGP in Louisville Kentucky.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We have such an amazing team this year. Early in the day four of us started at the back of the 45+ B field but a super srong Scott Calley made his way to 4th place. In the single speed A group Evan Adams got a podium position with a strong ride for 4th as well. Josh Snead had a battle with Justin Robinson that looked early on to be going Justin's way but Josh kept focused, regained Justin's wheel and outlasted him for the win. Sarah and Stella owned the women's A race pretty much from the gun with a nearly scripted display of power and tactics. Brett Lambert rode his way through traffic to get to 5th place in a tough 45 + A field. There were many mechanicals and flat tires affecting the outcome of many of our team but with the depth we have there is no doubt it will be tough for any team to beat us for the team competition, especially in light of Frank Kalcic's new creation- a beer-barbeque bicycle trailer, the likes of which never seen before. Many thanks to Frank for providing much needed heat and bacon at the race, probably preventing a few cases of hypothermia.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Friday's Darkhorse Cyclostampede had a condensed and afternoon schedule putting us on the line at 5 PM. Regardless of the big races on the East Coast, the competition this weekend was stiff, Wicks, Powers, Parbo, Wells, Baker. The list goes on.
The course was super bumpy and dry, which made the tight corners pretty technical and a lap that had little room for recovery. I made a total rookie mistake on the line and started in the little ring, watching the pack ride away. I made a quick recovery and found myself riding in the mid teens.
With two to go I needed to make a move around a rider. He was slowing a little and two or three riders behind us were trying to catch us. As the first rider finished working to catch us, I stood on the pedals and worked to gap them. I pushed to hold off one final rider and a hard effort to the line. I finished the race strong, happy that I was able to put such a strong effort in late in the race. I finished 23rd of 44.
Saturday's 85 degree race did not go quite as well as Fridays' race did. There was a pile up right off the start line. When you are standing on the pedals, pushing as hard as possible, and the guy in front of you goes down, you are pretty guaranteed are run in. I spent the first two laps pushing hard to race back into the group I am used to being in. The problem was, my chase group contained guys slated for the top ten, and they were pushing their pace. Too fast for me, as with four laps to go I broke down. Riders passed me like I was standing still.
Mid way through two to go, Powers past me and that was it. I had two riders catching me and I pushed what little was left into my legs through the remainder of the lap to take 33rd one lap down.
Sunday topped out at 86 degrees near the start of race time. Two days of racing were starting to take its toll, but the final course of the weekend was amazing. And with a few more places being awarded points the pressure was on. I needed to race smart, strong and within my limits.
I had a great start, everything went right and I was positioned in a group that spanned 16th to 25th or so. This was exactly where I wanted to be. Riding those first few corners shoulder to shoulder is such a rush, and for just a short while you are actually racing right there with the best. I used my skills to make up some time in the sand and technical sections, and hung on for dear life through the open grass.
With four laps to go, as riders were imploding all over the course from the heat, I followed suit and my body shut down. I slipped back a handful of positions as riders flew around me, and I got pulled with one to go. Finished 32nd out of more than 60 racers.
I can't wait for some real cross weather and the rest of the season!
(Photos: Naz Hamid)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Last Thursday, Matt and I headed out on our third trip of the cross
season, this time to Gloucester for the second stop in the North
American Cyclocross Trophy Series. Our hosts, the de Leon family, had
dinner ready and a comfy guest room. Staying with the de Leons was
one of the highlights of this trip for us - there was always
something delicious in the kitchen and they took good care of us.
On Friday we headed out to meet Josie and Andy Jacques Maynes at the
venue. They rolled up with their 45 foot trailer RV - it's their home
for the next several months as they tour the east coast and midwest
cross races. It's a great set up, with room for 8 bikes and a
mechanic's sleeping area. They parked with a view of the Atlantic
ocean, right above the start line.
The Gloucester course is very fast, and rarely changes from year to
year. There is a short uphill run with barriers, and a sand pit. The
rest is fast and dry grass, with a paved hill to the finish. Starting
position is very important on this course, and you can't let up at
all. On Sunday they added a new feature to the course - a steep loose
dirt run up. Matt and I really liked the run, it just begged to be
Matt was called up in the very last row of 100 men in the Master's
event - not sure how that happened since he wasn't last to register,
though we do know being from NorCal doesn't earn you any fans when
racing in New England. On Saturday, Matt rode very well and moved up
to finish 50th, showing he is gaining those road legs after all. Matt
woke up Sunday with a sinus infection. He decided to give his race a
try, and ended up finishing further back but still put in a good
effort. He ran up the steep hill so fast, people started cheering "Go
Saturday my race started out well, by the second lap I was in the
lead since everyone else at the front of the race has crashed
themselves out. I rode steady since I knew a chase group was coming
up behind me, and with the wind coming off the Atlantic being in the
front alone was risky. Eventually Amy D caught back on, and we rode
together for a lap. 25 minutes into the race, I still had not seen
lap cards and I was starting to fade. I had misjudged how much gel I
needed to eat pre-race, and my blood sugar was dropping fast. In the
last 2 laps a number of riders came up and passed me, and I finished
For Sunday, I made sure I toook in some pre race calories and started
out conservatively. Amy D. went to the front right away, and in the
first series of turns she opened a little gap. I was riding in 4th or
5th in a chase group of 8, but the first lap pace was too slow. On
the second lap I attacked and came within 5 seconds of Amy, and
within another lap 2 more riders had caught back up to me. We never
got any closer to Amy, but the three of us rode together, with one
rider doing the bulk of the work for 1 1/2 laps. Finally, she got
tired of that and pulled her brakes to force someone else to lead.
The third rider in our group had not taken any pulls, but she pulled
her brakes too. I yelled at them to stop playing games, and jumped to
front to keep the chase going. At this point there was only a lap and
half to go. For the final lap I had just Mo Bruno-Roy glued to my
wheel. I kept the pressure on through all of the transitions and
before we got to the finishing hill I had a few seconds gap on her. I
rolled in for second place, still about 10 seconds behind Amy who had
a great solo ride off the front.
I was glad I made it into the top 3, since the podium ceremony was
great - complete with a giant glass of Erdinger Hefeweizen, a very
refreshing drink after a hard race. I'm in 4th now for the NACT
series, though the 2nd and 3rd place riders have only done 2 of the 4
races. I hope next year the point spread between the top 5 places at
each event makes the overall tally more fair.
We'll be home for a few weeks before our next trip. We are looking
forward to hanging with the team at our local races!
Sarah and Matt
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
While Sarah Kerlin was on the East Coast, Stella kept the West Coast front charge taking the win at the Laguna Seca course. Dang the ladies were killin it.
Meanwhile, the men had to duel with some bigguns. Snead and Chapin held their own to keep old Ned from beating them to the finish line.
Hernando chats it up on the Norcal bloggery
Props to J.Suzuki for snapping photos!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
When the namesake of the race is Johnathan Page you better expect a top notch course. Jonathan designed the course to suit his Euro riding style and it was challenging yet super fun. The course was riddled with tight corners that over the course of the weekend would become more and more washed out. The second half of the lap was hidden under a grove of large trees and on a hill. Here the course became technical and swooping. Combined it all made for a super fast, super fun lap.
A sunny and hot Saturday afternoon started with Matt up against a strong 30+ masters field. He had a great race battling it out with a group of riders and crossing the line with a top ten finish in 7th. Next up was Sarah's first of two stellar performances. She started the race and finished it near the front, scoring a second place finish after separating herself from the rest of the field. I was able to score a second row call up that helped with the super fast and aggressive start. Working my way through some riders before settling in and keeping the pace high against such a fast field, I battled it out. The tight corners on the course made the hour a hard fought race. I finished on the lead lap in 19th place.
The second day brought much of the same. They did not change the course much, but the changes they did make made it even faster. The barriers moved to an uphill, so now we had to run the bike a little more. Some of the tight turns were eliminated or changed making the course more fluid. Again, Matt started and raced strong taking home another 7th place finish against the same strong field. Sarah seemed to have things even more dialed in Sunday and pulled away from all but one rider straight from the start. She raced with the leader in her sights the entire time and finished the race strong in second place again. I was having a hip problem after the beating the course gave me on Saturday, but I decided to line up anyway. After a modest start, I was riding with a pretty strong group. Even our group effort was not enough to stave off Page and Wells, who passed me with about one lap to go, leaving me to finish 22nd.
Combining this weeks results with last weeks amazing rides in the Northwest, Sarah has earned a 4th place national ranking! Way to go Sarah! Photo from here.