Thursday, April 29, 2010

Highs and Lows of Stage Racing

By Jake Hansen
Stage racing can be
a real blast and a lot of fun if you are prepared.

At the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic, Stephen Bedford and myself were ready for some tough bike racing and fun times in the hotel room.

Being at the front of the pack can be a blast. All the strong dudes stare at each others spandex clad butts and wait for someone else to make a move.

Stage 1 got to be a little boring, so I made some aggressive moves and attacked hard on the hills. I knew that 3 days of hard racing would be to my advantage and I wanted to put some hurt on early.

All my time at the front paid off as Bedford got up front and beat everyone in the field sprint and safely navigated himself to the W. He won a pink/red jersey, some wine and 5 bucks to Big Jim's Diner.

Stage 2 was going to be brutal. I was ready for the pain and suffering and wanted to stay at the front all day to make the winning break. I just missed it on the last climb up the gravel hill. Me and my buddy Patrick Means from
Bellingham pursuited hard in the last 4 miles to try and catch the duo of Hot Tubes and Lenovo up the road. He nipped me at the top of the hill and I ended up 4th at :55 seconds back. Beford barely missed the winning break too and hung tough to get 8th on the day. Sadly we lost the beautiful pink/red jersey that he won the day before.

The time trial had me fired up and I knew with a good time I could hop into 2nd on the GC. My fresh looking Cyclisme skinsuit and Rudy Project aero helmet got me some compliments on the start line. My shorter stem, aero bars and slightly adjusted saddle height all perfectly positioned after an hour of parking lot practice propelled me up the false flat fast in the TT. It was a real blast when Pat Malach was hanging off the back of a motorcycle and cheering for me while capturing some great pics. I got 3rd in the TT and moved into second on the GC behind the Lenovo Boss who won all three Cat 3 races at Sea Otter last week.

The criterium was the final event of the day and IT WAS FAST! I made a few all out efforts to just get up front and they totally waxed me. The pace was hot and the riders were all antsy. I was rather content with my weekend and let myself fall back into the place I shouldn't have, the back of the pack. You don't ever want to be just hanging out here. I wanted to move up but being waxed and scared while also not feeling very hungry to win had me hearing "MOVE UP!" on every homestretch. I wanted to cry. Afterwards I couldn't really enjoy how good a weekend I had because of my poor performance in the Crit.

It was a blessing to have the Directuer Sportife there to keep us thankful and motivated over the weekend. Even after my performance in the crit he understood my fear and I owe a great deal of gratitude to John for helping me get tires, food and a good head on my shoulders for the weekend.

In hindsight I had a lot of successes but know that I have some serious work to do. Cornering at fast speeds in big packs scares the life out of me.

This weekend motivates me to try harder than before and takes me back to the drawing board. How can I improve on certain things? What do I need to keep doing? What do I want to do next? What am I not thinking of that is going to up my game?

Most importantly we must take one day at a time. If it is storming outside do we wait for the storm to pass or do we muster the courage to go dancing in the rain?

I always try to think about how many people out there would love to go dancing in the rain but can't and it usually gets me
moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cherry City!

Now to Cat 2

Two guys in the top 10 made Word - RCB the most successful team in Cat 3 racing this last weekend in The Dalles.
Jake and Bedford are two guys to be so proud of.
Two guys almost angelic in character, and powerful in focus, they were the focus of the cat 3 peloton.
Now they are both cat 2s.

Racing aggressive and with endless strength Jake made the race on the hilly (but they called them "soft" hills) first stage, chasing everything.
Infiltrating, not instigating. Well... instigating a little.
Jake had them muttering the Word.

Regardless, Bedford came shooting out of the pack on the wheel of the Junior phenom Austin Boswell just in the last 50 yards. All the big sprinters were very near by. Bedford won.

People like the Cherry Blossom promotion team of Chad Sperry and family were impressed by the quality present in the 3s.

They gave him a red "leader's" jersey. We matched it up with red arm warmers. Bedford had white shoes. He was ready.

Stage two presented the toughest road race I have ever seen in Oregon. Personally, but I don't get out much.
Steep dirt climbs on two different loops included complex switchback descents overlooking thousand foot drops with open wide wind filled deserts of pain.
Jake lived there for almost an hour. Bedford blocked what was left of the field, but this was no regular field. When the dirt climb came the third time, a veritable "who's who" of cat 3 racing was present. Bozwell and Rossi had their own vision of Cherry Blossom. Amazing descending by the two of them put them off the front into the final descent before the turn up Olney road in the final 400k. Jake and Bedford did what they do best, they Pursued.

Jake finished fourth and Bedford finished seventh.

Now, back in the hotel room, people were suffering. Ice bathes and epson salt baths were part of the process, good food and periodic trips to specialty nutrition centers like Fred Meyer kept us in gourmet.
It was about rest.

Sunday meant a TT in the AM and a Crit in the PM.
Aero bikes were assembled the night before. Shorter stems made a big difference.
We practiced in the parking lot. We adjusted a saddle.
Jake got third and Bedford stayed top ten. Trevor Spahr of Ironclad won.
Now Jake was in second in the overall General Classification.

Downtown The Dalles has never before seen the hustle of a bicycle crit race, but a tight rectangle set them straight.
Bedford was like a hurricaine, he was off from the first lap. He would get caught, but attack again.
He won primes.
Both he and Jake finished "same time" with the day's winner, Trevor Spahr, finishing 2nd in the GC.

Catherine Hana Cooper and her son Mountain supported the team at the crit.
We all ate ice cream while talking to the elder pro Bozwell just back from Belgium.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cherry Blossom, Bear Springs, PIR Oh My!

Brief report here with pics to come soon I hope...

Jake and Bedford killed it at Cherry Blossom.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Final Cat 3 GC

Greg and Jeff killed it, sort of, a little bit, at Bear Springs MTB. I had a good race after a horrible start with 2 crashes in the mass Cat 2 start that plugged things up. Jeff was going well until his bike's shifting stopped working...
Bear Springs Trap Results

Dave scored 2nd at PIR tonight, with Eric and Isaac there as well:
PIR 4-27-10 results

By all accounts a fantastic week of racing and support. John & Hana especially deserve a hand for their support of the guys at Cherry Blossom. Well done! We should all be proud of the rocking start of this year of Word-RCB/Cyclisme bicycle racing!

Don't forget though, that above all, we all have a commitment to help the junior program. Time, Treasure, and Talent are all accepted.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Aero Gerwing Leads Cyclisme!

Trial of time in Estacada

Solo speed made it's case in Estacada on a beautiful sunny Sunday this year, 2010.

Cyclisme presented two car loads of veteran racers.

Only Cat 5 Issac and Junior Esteban were new to the game of time trialing.

Better known in European racing lore as “the race of truth” this discipline requires all the aerodynamic lightweight technology that is state of the art. At a minimum, a racer must be well fitted and practiced on her aero bars to win. Our Jeff Gerwing had the kind of competitive tool used to cut through the wind and the competition.

6 523 Gerwing Jeffrey Word-RCB 50:41.00

3 731 Hansen/Lee Jake/DeyShaun Word-RCB 55:22.00

9 1208 O'Brien Greg Word-RCB 56:01.00

6 1277 Potoczny-Jones Isaac Word-RCB 59:01.00

4 2926 Pelman Naiqwan Word-RCB 01:01:23.00

5 2824 Vasquez Esteban Word-RCB 01:03:24.00

A favorite event of the elder masters crowd, the 40-49 year old division Jeff was in, turned in some of the fastest times of the day. Professor Gerwing’s sexy Cervelo carbon fiber racing bike and TriTec handlebars with an aerodynamic helmet brought the max out of his veteran road miles.

"El Presidente" Greg O’Brien surprised himself, but not his Directeur Sportife as he finished 9th in the Cat 4 men following only sporadic training miles in his legs.

Ironically, arriving on the podium in third, were the dynamic duo of Jake Hansen and DeyShaun "Big Daddy" Lee riding the trusty dusty team Burley Mt Bike Tandem. On the this Bronze Medal ride, DeyShaun periodically sat up no hands and complained constantly of Jake’s leg speed being too fast. Both men came in to the parking lot complaining of back pain, and each other.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Horning's Hustle

A First for Hana!
Greg O'Brien

Jake, Jeff, Naiqwan and I headed out Sunday morning to Horning's Hideout for the 2010 edition of the Hustle MTB race. Jake's victory on Saturday at the Kings Valley road race had us all pumped up. We met Catherine "Hana" Cooper at the race for her Cyclisme debut mountain bike race.

There was much getting ready and squeezing of tires to get the pressure dialed in for the somewhat muddy descents.

The start was staged out by category and age. Jake, being the young, fast cat 1 dude started in one of the first groups. Jeff started in the group ahead of me, and Naiqwan and Catherine were both in groups after mine.

After a fast downhill gravel road section, the course turns uphill on a gravel road, with grades close to 20%. We then turned left onto a more primitive dirt path before topping out and a brief gravel descent before hitting the first somewhat slick downhill. Jake ran into some trouble here and went down hard at speed. He said that he straightened out the bars and kept going, but fell once more before calling it a day after the first of 4 laps. He ended up with a gnarly cut-up knee.

Jeff was having a great race, but when I saw him walking down as I was climbing on the 3rd lap I knew it was bad news. His rear derailleur got mangled and broke off the hanger, ending his race. I managed to stay upright and finished the 3 lap cat 2 45-54 field in 8th place (same placing as Echo!). I was regretting forgetting my Camelback as I was starting to cramp up about 20 minutes from the end. 1 water bottle wasn't enough for me...

Naiqwan rode a good, smart race. He crashed but didn't let it rattle his concentration. He finished in 3rd place, and looked great on the bike. The course had some steep slippery downhills with water bars, and a couple of really steep slippery climbs as well.

The story of the day was Hana, who took first in the cat 3 women 35-44 age group race! She also won a killer pair of Oakleys in the raffle. Jeff thought he won a Chris king headset, but only got some coffee and beer instead...


Photos by Hana and Oregon Velo (courtesy of Oregon Bike Shop in Portland).


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Capitalizing on speed!

Racing at the Capitol in the Willamette University Criterium

edford raced for PSU in the morning against some of the very big dogs from UW. Stephen held his position well and sprinted well, and finished fourth in the collegiate crit, third in the bunch sprint.
"I felt encouraged by how I sprinted against some Cat 1\2 guys," said Bedford.

Later in the day, Jake had his work cut out for him racing in a full cat 3 field. But he and ex-Cyclisme fixie Trevor Spahr took matters in hand immediately and stayed away while Ironclad blocked.

Jake won a new helmet, but Trevor got the top spot on the podium.

"I probably should have waited for him to do the jumping, but live and learn. I was glad to get away all day," said Jake.