Hi all. Twelve of us, including one of our sponsors, Don Melucci, rode the Laguna Triangle ride today. Nice social pace, until the climb up Sunrise Highway where many of the group could not resist going hard. But we all took a break at the Laguna store before continuing on. There were some good crosswinds on the ridge leading down to Lake Cuyamaca that a few of us did not like (like me). The rest of the ride was pretty nice, with brand new pavement on Highway 79. Half of us then had lunch at the Descanso Store/Restaurant. It was nice to ride with others and chat about how things are going. Let's do it again! Thanks to Tony Darr for organizing this one. Who would like to lead another one?
Pierre’s Hole 100K Race Report
by Dan Mahlum
On August 4, 2018 I participated in the Pierre’s Hole NUE series race held at the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. Pierre’s Hole offers a 50K, 100K and 100 mile option. The course was a 50K loop so the 100K was two laps and the 100 mile was three laps. The course was entirely narrow single track except for a 1.5 mile climb up a fire road to start lap 1 so I opted for the 100K distance with about 6 hours of expected riding time.
I was racing 40+ masters which started in the second wave alongside the Men’s 50+ and Women’s 40+. We started 5 minutes after the Open Men, Open Women and Singlespeed categories. I didn’t know any of the other racers I was starting with so as soon as we took off I decided to go to the front up the fireroad climb to try and pass as many of the 1st wave as possible before the singletrack and to test the other riders I was starting with. After about 12 minutes and 600 feet of elevation gain up fireroad I had passed about 25 of the riders from the 1st wave and entered the singletrack with 3 other riders on my wheel from my wave. The climb continued for another 500 ft of gain over a dozen or so switchbacks and our group of 4 passed as many more riders from the first wave as possible. This was challenging as I had to ask each rider to pass and wait until they could comfortably move to the side of the trail. By this point I was talking to the rider following closely on my wheel and learned he was from Bozeman, Montana and had raced this several times before and had just moved up to the 40+ category. After finishing the initial climb of 1,100 ft over 3.5 miles we were treated to a long, flowy switchback descent where I was able to drop all of the riders in our group with the exception of the rider from Bozeman. This felt like a good place to be with a lot of race remaining and someone who knew the course the ride with.
We continued a strong tempo pace and about 15 miles in another rider from our category blew by us at a ridiculous pace. I thought he was a slow starter that was caught up in traffic and was now riding away but with another 45+ miles to go I decided to let him go and continue riding my pace. After a couple of miles, we started to see him again and by mile 20 we had caught him and the course came close to the resort at which point he asked me if that was the end of lap 1. After looking at him to respond I could see he was already blown and the rider from Bozeman (Eric) and I went around him and after another mile we never saw him again. Back in the lead with Eric we settled back in and rode through the end of the first lap together, both stopping at the aid station at the end of lap 1. After grabbing two fresh bottles I started lap 2 which bypassed the fire road section from lap 1 up a single track that ended up connecting to the same single track climb from lap 1. Eric and I were together for the entire climb but as we crested the top we started to run into traffic from the 50K that started after us. I decided to push the pace hard on the descent with most of the traffic getting over quickly and making it easy to get around. By the end of the descent I realized that Eric was no longer on my wheel so I then pushed it into the next climb and started to see him further and further behind as we went up a switchback climb. I then caught up to a group of 3 strong riders from the Open Men field and stayed with them for the next 10-15 miles until about mile 45. After talking to one of the riders I learned he was also from Park City and we knew each other from Strava. I rode with him for the next 5 miles until I looked down the hill and saw another rider that started in my category gaining on me up the climb. This sent me into panic mode and I immediately dropped the other rider from Park City and stood up to push as hard as I could up the rest of the climb. Cresting the top both of my legs stated to cramp but I was on a mission. The last 10 miles I completely emptied my tank pushing through a couple more bouts of cramps, trying to drink as much water as possible and eating a couple more gel packs. I ended up crossing the finish line solo where I found my wife and kids screaming for me. It felt so good to have my kids jumping on me at the finish line!
I later learned that the rider I saw gaining on me was actually in the Masters 50+ but I had still managed to gain 4 minutes on him over the last 10 miles. I finished 1st in the Masters 40+, about 8 minutes ahead of Eric and good enough for 5th overall in the 100K.
Thanks to my family for their support and being at the finish line and thank you to UC Cyclery and the UC Cyclery/JW Floors team for their continued awesome support!
BC Bike Race - report by Ken Winston
The BC Bike Race is a seven-day mountain bike stage race from the trail Mecca of North Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast to its conclusion in Squamish along the way taking in four Ferry trips. For some of its 600 racers this is the culmination of a year or more of training. As a mountain biking goal it is a lifetime achievement award, a top three on the bucket list with over 35 countries represented. It is the western hemisphere’s largest mountain bike stage race. Five UC Cyclery/JW Floors team members made the trek to Vancouver British Columbia to race the BC Bike Race:
Rhonda Geiszler in the women’s 50+ Solo (11 racers): 3rd place
Guy Sutton and Ken Winston in the 100+ men’s duo (14 duo teams): 1st place
Pascal Bonaventure in the men’s 40+ solo (154 racers): 8th place (27th out of 600 overall)
Dan Mahlum in the men’s 40+ solo (154 racers): 5th place (22nd out of 600 overall)
The logistics of the BCBR is akin to a race within a race. Just to get to the day zero rider meeting we had to lug 7 days of gear and our bike bags from San Diego to North Vancouver, BC. This involved 2 car rides, a plane trip, a train trip, a ferry, a bus, and a taxi. But there’s more. To get to the 1st stage in Duncan, there was in additional two buses a ferry and our first night in a race-issued tent. We had 6 different camps covering 7 stages of racing so there were many more busses, ferry’s, water taxi’s etc. Each day it was a race after the bike race to get showered and on the first bus in order to get a good tent pick.
Stage 1: Cowichan Valley. The start and finish were in Duncan on Vancouver Island. There were 14 teams in 100+ men Duo. Guy and I decided to stage in the top 50. Ahead of us in the corral we could see Dan and Pascal as well as well-known pros like Geoff Kabush and Katerina Nash. We did not see any duo teams from our category however.
The stage profile had two big climbs and descents separated by a 4 mile neutral section. Total distance was 25 miles with 4500 feet of climbing. The race started with an uphill paved road that transitioned into a smooth, narrow singletrack climb. The pace was slowed by two racers blocking the trail and refusing to let anyone in the long line behind get past. Eventually we got past however and headed into a smooth, fun descent. After the 4 mile neutral section we head into the second big climb. This climb had technical sections and switchbacks. The descent off the second big climb had very steep shoots and several blind drops and rolls. Not being familiar with the trail my self-preservation instinct had me climbing down a few of these on foot. Many of the locals rode down them however. Guy was braver on the blind drops and rolls so he had to wait a bit for me until he suffered a flat tire and told me to go ahead. I used this as an opportunity to back off the pace and recover a bit. After a quick blast of CO2, Guy quickly caught back up to me. It was clear that Guy was riding stronger than me. On the open climbing sections, he turned this into a plus for our duo team by giving me sustained pushes like I had seen Jaroslav Kulhavy give to Howard Grotts at the Cape Epic. Humbling but kinda cool at the same time. This took a little getting used to, but by the end of the weeks we had the technique honed to perfection.
At no time during the 1st stage did we see any duo team from our category. After we crossed the finish we found out that we had finished 1st in our category about 18 min ahead of the 2nd place team from Chile. We also earned a top 100 start spot for the rest of the race out of 650 total entrants. At the awards ceremony Guy and I were each awarded yellow race leader jerseys.
Stage 2: Cumberland. The course was 24 miles with 3300 feet of climbing. This stage was rather dramatic. All was going well as we were riding in first place on the stage. I was leading us down a winding, bermed descent when I heard Guy go down on a slippery bridge. For a few seconds I continued on, and listened for a distress call. And a call I got. Guy had broken his stem! With handlebars detached from his bike, it appeared our stage and our quest for the cumulative race win was done. After a short discussion, we decided that I would go ahead to find a course worker and report our need for mechanical assistance and Guy would hike backward in search of the same. About 5 minutes up the trail I found a worker and quickly reported the situation. Meanwhile Guy hiked his broken machine reverse on the course while dodging riders on the downhill. He eventually found a couple of guys in a truck that agreed to take him to the Aide station. Once there, he convinced the guys in the Shimano tent to take a stem off a demo bike and put it on his bike. I was up the trail pleading with the course worker to give me feedback on what they were doing to help, but she was unable to provide it. After 35 minutes of standing still next to the course worker I spotted Guy slashing through racers the congested trail, once again riding his bike. What followed was a hectic and hard effort as the two of us blazed through slower riders. Even after his extra miles and hard pace just to catch up, Guy was still able to provide me pushes on the fire road climbs. Amazing, but what should one expect from a mountain biking legend! At the second aide station I saw him guzzle an entire can of Red Bull. And he isn’t even a coffee drinker! Then, as if the broken stem was not enough drama, Guy broke his chain. Many of the racers we worked so hard to pass just pedaled by as we struggled to get the master link to engage. A few more minutes later we were once again slashing past slower racers on our way to the finish line. We finished 3rd on the stage, 25 minutes behind the first place Chilean team and X minutes behind a team from Canada. We were now about 8 minutes behind for the cumulative lead in our category. After losing so much time, we were both surprised to still be in the hunt.
Stage 3: Powell River. The course was 30 miles with 2600 feet of climbing. We had a slow start, which is not unusual for me. However we picked off many riders once I got warmed up. This stage was marked by many roots that pound the bike and my hands got numb at times. There was also sheer joy as we bombed the “Death Rattle” descent, slaloming through the trees in the loamy soil. There was no drama on this day. We won the stage by 6 minutes. Racing as a duo with a strong rider like Guy was apparently very motivating for me: my power data showed a personal record average weighted power of 260 W over the stage duration. After the stage we were 2 minutes off the cumulative lead in category.
Stage 4 Earls Cove to Sechelt. The course was the longest of the race at 37 miles with 5400 feet of climbing. After a bus and sea taxi ride, the race started on the coast of one of the many islands in the Vancouver area. There was a really long exposed switchback climb called Frogger. I used more of my granny gear than I like to admit. At the start of the climb I wanted to walk but didn’t. As we crested the top of the long climb, we were riding with a comfortable lead when more drama hit. I was leading Guy on a fast downhill singletrack and concentrating on not hitting a tree when I missed a hard right turn in a rather steep section. Heading down the wrong fork in the trail, we went quite far before recognizing our mistake. What was so easy to descend was a bitch to get up! It was steep and I was gassed. In my condition it was too steep to ride and the hike seemed to take FOREVER. The mistake set us back seven minutes according to Guy’s Strava. The remainder of the stage was uneventful and we rolled across the line 9 minutes ahead of the Chilean team of Patricio and Carlos in second. We were now in first place cumulative and were the proud wearers of the yellow Jersey once again. In each stage, my legs were holding up for the first few but fading late. It had been hard for me to keep up with Guy’s strong pace. I was concerned that I would fade even more in the three stages that remained.
Stage 5: Sechelt to Langdale. The course was 29 miles with 4800 feet of climbing. The profile had five significant climbs and then one long and glorious downhill of 2300 feet that ended at the finish line. This stage was tough and started with a long rollout through town on pavement. We had some significant climbs then windy single track in dry conditions. This stage was a low point for me energy-wise as the cumulative effect of 5 consecutive days of hard racing took its toll. We didn’t catch the Chileans until an hour into stage and it took a few attacks and strong pushes from Guy to finally drop them.
We had our aid station routine polished by now. I would give my bottle to Guy to fill, he would grab a Red Bull to guzzle and some food, all while I soft pedaled to recover. Once he powered back up to me I would get my bottle back and the racing would resume. Nice for me!
The last downhill into Langdale was fantastic and went for miles. At one point we thought we took a wrong turn and backtracked a bit only to discover that we were indeed on the course. We finished first on the stage, 7 minutes ahead of our Chilean competitors in second.
Pascal nearly collapsed at the end of this stage from the pain of a rib injury that he experienced in stage 2. After a trip to the hospital, he was given some meds and cleared to continue racing.
After the stage we got to enjoy a shady spot on the shore and ride the ferry again to Vancouver. There was surprisingly good ice cream on the boat and a whale sighting that I missed.
Stage 6: North Vancouver. The course was 11 miles with 2600 feet of climbing. It was by far the shortest stage but also the most technical. After breaking a rear wheel at the Moab Rock stage race earlier in the year, I used extra tire pressure. The profile was simply up-down-up-down. The first climb started about a mile from the start and it was a steep one. My engine was slow to get going but Guy was there to push me enough to keep us in the top 100 group that we started with. Near the end of the climb we moved past several riders including Patricio and Carlos. The first descent was not over-the-top technical. We held our position with the Chileans a few seconds back. Exiting the first section of single track descent, my front wheel washed out on a gravel fire road, but I managed to get going while still in front of the second place team. On the second big climb of the day we held our position up front. Then we dropped into the top of a trail called Dale’s, which was new to the BCBR this year. I had heard from several sources that this was a very difficult technical trail due to rocks, roots, and steep incline. The trail is built for long travel bikes, not short travel XC machines with no dropper post! To make matters worse, it was wet and slick in spots. Guy navigated this section of trail faster than me. I just couldn’t get a flow on my short travel Epic. I longed for a bigger travel bike! I kept thinking about being careful not to throw away the cumulative race lead with a big mistake. As a result I walked several sections where I could not immediately spot a good line. As a reminder of how quickly it can all go wrong, we saw a gal from Switzerland that we had met earlier get rear ended by the rider directly in front of us and her wheel was destroyed.
In spite of my conservative approach to the technical sections, we stayed in front of Carlos and Patricio and won the stage by a slim 2 minutes. At the end of the race I was met by my nephew Joel who is a local from North Vancouver. After a brief visit, I head off to the second race of the day (showers, bike wash, bus to Squamish stage 7, tent setup, etc.). My teammates opted to stay in a hotel in Squamish. They shared a single room between the 4 of them. I decided to get the most of my REI purchases and stay in my roomy tent.
Stage 7: Squamish. The course was 32 miles with 4900 feet of climbing. This was the last stage and our goal was to win the stage. However our top priority was to stay out of trouble since we had a good margin to win our category on cumulative time. On the first two climbs our Chilean competitors are staying with us even though I was receiving strong pushes from Guy. Patricio is a trainer for the Chilean Olympic team and he has been training his partner Carlos for this event. As the race progresses through some technical sections, we pull ahead and lose sight of them. With a few kilometers to go I got a big puncture on a high speed rocky section. Thinking I heard my wheel crack (paranoia), and thinking we had about 1 km to the finish, I decided to ride it in. This set up a rather traumatic few minutes because the finish line was more like 3 km away. As a testament to my Maxxis tires, the flat tire stayed on the rim without further damage, allowing us to finish about 4 minutes ahead of Patricio and Carlos. We did it! For the cumulative 7 stages we won by 20 minutes.
I want to thank my teammates Rhonda, Pascal, Dan and Guy for all their support and comradery. And a special thanks to Guy for not only his performance on the bike that propelled our duo to victory but for his daily logistical guidance that consistently put us all in the right spot at the right time.
Addendum from Guy Sutton:
My lasting impression from BCBR was not just the racing and endless single track but the positive experience from the other racers and volunteers we encountered through 7 days. Where else can you hang out with the likes of San Schultz and get daily race info from Jeremy Bishop?
We met many friendly people every day at BCBR. The exception was getting stuck behind slower climber on Stage 1 single track, but racers throughout the week were always courteous and let us around and vice versa. Many times People offering help and even took my questionable race advice.
Summary race report from Pascal Bonaventure:
I knew that this was going to be an amazing experience but it exceeded my expectations on and off the bike. Coming into this 7 day stage race we knew that no one was going to have a seamless race. Among the 5 of us we experienced a broken stem, broken chain, three flats and injuries.
I started the race really well with solid results in the first 3 stages despite a stacked field of 160 riders. The first three stages were eventful for me with top 10 finishes. Recovery was going well and my only minor concern was a weird incident on stage 2 where my saddle had hit my ribs pretty hard on a technical section but I did not feel any pain after the stage. Stage 4 was the hardest/longest stage with punishingly steep climbs. I rode most of the day with Dan in a really fast group getting a top 5 finish (Dan got 4th). After that stage I started to feel some sharp pain near my ribs and some swelling was apparent. The pain was so severe that I did not sleep that night. I still don’t know how I managed not only to finish but also to ride at a decent pace. I finished 11th for the day and salvaged my overall top 10. After crossing the finish line I immediately went to the race doctor who sent me to the ER for x-rays and more exams. I got the green light to continue the race and stronger medication to manage the pain. I lost more time on stage 6 but it was a relatively short stage. After stage 6 we were staying in a hotel and this saved me. The last stage in Squamish was much smoother and I had a solid ride coming in 8th for the day and securing an overall top 10.
Big thank you to my teammates for their support!
Summary race report from Dan Mahlum:
The BC Bike Race is touted as the “#bestweekonabike” and despite the lofty expectations it lives up to the hype. The logistics between stages as detailed in Ken’s report are so elaborate that BC Bike Race put together a production quality 30-minute video that shows great behind the scenes footage of all the logistics: https://vimeo.com/273803180
I had an amazing time riding some of the most technical trails (especially when wet) and sharing the experience with a great group of people.
Stage 1 was a really fun course with a really fun descent called Maple that had tons of rock rolls that make you question your sanity at the top of every rock formation but once you commit rolled you smoothly into the next obstacle. I was feeling good through Stave 1 having safely cleared all the obstacles up until 1 kilometer from the finish when I flatted my rear tire on a loose turn on a gravel road. I quickly hit the rear tire with CO2 trying to get the sealant to do its job but with the small hole being right on the tire bead this is when I realized it wouldn’t seal. This is about the time I see Katerina Nash (4X Olympian and eventual Pro Women’s winner) towing a group of 5-6 riders. One of the Bike Patrol riders then yells to me that I am about 1 km from the finish so I picked up my bike and sprinted the last kilometer. The result being about 3 minutes of lost time and 5-6 places in the men’s 40+ category.
Stage 2 was a rough start for me still feeling the effects of my kilometer sprint (I’m not a runner). After suffering through the long climb the first descent was really wet and snotty from some rain the night before and I struggled to find any flow slipping and sliding all over the place. The rest of the stage included more suffering but I was able to stay with Pascal most of the race until he cranked it up over the last 5 kilometers and I dropped back about a minute.
At the start of Stage 3 I was feeling a lot better and rode well. I had one pedal strike on a stump I didn’t see in the ferns that sent me airborne coming to a stop when my quad hit a fallen tree trunk. I bounced up from the adrenaline, straightened out my suddenly crooked handlebars and jumping in behind a group of 3 riders. I had to adjust my brake lever while chasing back onto the fast group of Canadians I was riding with. The rest of the stage was uneventful and I was able to finish 7th in the men’s 40+.
Stage 4 was the longest stage and oddly enough I was looking forward to it. I knew I had some time to take back and had been doing a lot of climbing leading up to BCBR. I had a solid day with the only mishap being another hard pedal strike on a rock this time that broke my pedal. The pedal was working fine right after the pedal strike but later in the stage I dropped my chain on a technical climb that I had to jump off the bike to reset. After getting the chain going again I couldn’t get my shoe to clip in while pedaling back to Pascal’s tire. I slammed my shoe on the pedal several times thinking I had picked up a rock in my cleat and after several attempts the pedal rotated to the other side and I was able to clip. After the race I found the pedal broken on one side and it all made sense. Clipped in again I pushed hard the rest of the stage and was able to finish 4th on the day in the men’s 40+, also gaining a couple spots in the general classification.
I was happy to be getting stronger as the week went on and raced well in Stages 5-7 without any mishaps. I was feeling really good on the long gravel road grinds and regularly found myself pulling 4-5 other riders but anytime I could get one of them to take a pull they would drop pace and I would go back around. This started to work out well as the group I was pulling tended to be the same group of guys the last 3 days and they were all Canadians from different parts of BC and they really knew the trails well. This helped a lot as we ended up working together with my pulling on the gravel roads and climbs and them leading through the technical descents. By Stage 7 I was even able to lead them through some of the Squamish descents which felt great knowing that one of my main goals coming into BCBR was to gain technical experience in new terrain. In the end I finished 5th out of 154 in a stacked Masters Men’s 40+ and 22nd overall.
The BC Bike race was the kind of amazing experience you can relive for many years. I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced this with such a fun group of team mates.
Race Report by Kal Szkalak
Masters Nationals were held in Augusta, Georgia, this past weekend in the sweltering heat and humidity. The heat index for both of my race days was in the hundreds. Never mind, might as well race since I'm there anyway. First up was the road race, 44 miles and 3600 feet according to my Garmin’s elevation. It was a saw-tooth profile with no flat road at all. Some steeps at 9% with a climb to the finish of 1/2 a kilometer then a false flat and slight downhill for the last 400 meters. First lap of three went at old man’s pace, except the climbs which were brisk. The field broke up each climb, then came together on the downhills, then it ramped up hard beginning the second lap with attacks virtually every kilometer. It came down to 6 riders chasing 4 in the end, I was with the six. We caught the four (no thanks to two of our chasers) with 8-9 kilometers to go. We hit the 1 k marker and I went to the front hard but the rest, or at least most of them, went by hard. I was cooked and came in seventh. Everyone in the top ten came in as single riders, no two together. I finished 21 seconds back of the winner, which was gained in the last kilometer. Very few races in any group finished with multiple riders even close to each other.
Crit on Sunday on a pretty nice course downtown, one block from James Brown’s statue. It was a long rectangle with one brief, technical, section early in the lap and a long sprint section. My meat, so I felt good about it assuming those old men could stay on their bikes. Lots of attacking throughout but it was coming down to a sprint. Last lap I'm staying near but not on the front, we crossed the line and it went hard, soon the technical left, right, left, left, and sure enough some old guy threw himself into the hay bales. I made it by but was immediately gapped. I chased for the rest of the lap (2/3'rd) , dove the last two corners to get back up to 6th position and sprinted all the way in (300) meters. I passed four riders and threw the bike for a photo finish. Missed the win by a cm? Bit of a bummer I'd say. Thanks to the team and sponsors for the help getting out. On a side note I have to get my shoulder repaired soon so I may be out for a while from racing.
A race report from Reed Moore.
Last Sunday, June 3, Jimbo Wimberly, Tony Darr, and I traveled up to the Rosena Ranch Circuit race near Cajon Pass. The course is an out-and-back two mile loop, mostly downhill going out and mostly going uphill coming back. Our race was a combined 55+ and 60+ group, Jimbo in the 55+ and Tony and I in the 60+ group. The weather was warm, but not terribly hot like the last time there.
As usual, Jimbo took off right at the start, stretching the pack out in single file for a long time. I was worried about keeping this kind of pace up for the 20 laps. Jimbo got pulled back, but there were several other attacks that kept the pace high. About halfway through, two riders got off the front, including Cat 1 rider Louie Amelburu. We chased the two for a couple of laps and then let up. That was good for me, not for Jimbo.
With 2 laps to go, I pulled up to Tony and told him the race would end in a pack finish, so just stay locked on the wheel of the 60+ rider who won the sprint last time. But just after that, Jimbo attacked one more time. I was able to cover the chasers and got a free ride down the hill. When there was a counter-attack at the turn-around, I was just in the right place at the right time to go after him. I had to go all out! But the fear of bonking just before the finish and ending up last kept me going. My heart rate was the highest it has been in several years! It was nice going up the hill the last time, knowing I would not get caught.
Tony got cut off in the sprint and the guy he was covering got away to finish second and Tony took third. Jimbo, who had tried repeatedly to break up the field, took 8thin the 55+. His last attack set me up for my winning move. Thanks Jimbo. And thanks to Tony for blocking for me on those last two hard laps. Winning is fun!
The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team participated in round 1 of the prestigious GoldState series. This is the premier race series in southern California with 7 races and 5 different venues. Round 1 was rescheduled due to rain, so this race, held at Vail Lake in Temecula on April 29, was actually the fourth race of the series. We competed on a fun and flowy 6.1 mile course with about 700 ft of elevation gain per lap. The team was again a dominant force, winning 6 first places, a 2nd, and two 3rd places. In total, 12 from our team competed. Team results summary is as follows:
Here is an individual race report from Steve Boyd (Cat 1, 50-54 Cross Country):
The race day was a little cooler and much windier than expected, with the wind right into your face for the start and the steady fire road climbs. The good part of this was that you had the wind at your back during the fast singletrack sections. This made for a fast race and some "yee-haw" moments for sure. During warm up I decided my strategy would be to start out and tuck in behind one or two of the leaders and follow to the 1st singletrack section, then jump around before hitting the singletrack. It turns out that everyone else in my class seemed to have that strategy because the start was very slow with no one wanting to take the lead. So after trying to let at least someone ahead of me, with no takers, I said fine and decided to turn up the pace and get to the single track as quickly as I could. After a couple hundred yards the course took a sharp left onto the 1st singletrack section and I came into it leading the pack. I knew the rider just behind me is not the fastest on technical sections so I turned it up a notch to try and get a gap going. This worked and I think everyone else behind him was held back a little as well.
All through the winding singletrack I kept it on full gas, and glancing behind me most of the time I could see no one. Coming out of the single track and heading up the 1st finger-valley into the wind I shifted into a high gear and stood up to try and increase the gap. I still felt I had plenty in the tank for the duration of the race and just hoped I wouldn't blow up in the last lap. At the end of the valley the trail direction U-turned to the downwind direction and the fast flowing single track fun was on! I could see what my lead was at this point so I used this opportunity to recover a little and increase the lead. This went on through the next lap and into the 3rd/final lap. The disadvantage of being out in front all alone the whole time was that I really had to work hard when heading into the wind, and it's also pretty difficult to judge your pace relative to your competitors. So coming into the final lap, 2nd place was not far behind and I was getting fatigued. Right past the finish line a wind gust really kicked up that was full of sand and dust - that didn't help.
I was starting to struggle now going into the wind, but knowing my position motivated me to push through it. I knew I just needed to get to the 2nd downwind singletrack section (a long one) with my lead and I could hold on from there. Then at the final and steepest climb right near the finish I hit the top with 2nd place just arriving at the base. I backed down a little at that point and rode on to the finish line still in 1st! This was my 1st Cat-1 MTB race win in the GoldState series, so I was quite happy with how things turned out
Ken Winston (50-59 Endurance):
I was coming off a disappointing result at the Moab Rocks Stage race where I broke a rear wheel on stage 2 and performed poorly on stage 3. Upon returning from Moab I caught a case of the flu, which affected my training as you might imagine. I was a bit concerned that I would not perform at my best. Come race morning I felt okay though.
The endurance racers of all categories start together and there was a dash off the line and up a gentle grade to the single track entrance. Racing into the wind, the field strung out quickly into a line. I locked on to 50-59 teammate Guy Sutton with Cesar Mora (Stonehaus Racing competing in 40-49 category) on my wheel. 30-39 teammate Chuy was second position a few riders ahead. The pace was fast but not extreme. Just before the singletrack entrance, I moved in front of Guy and Cesar jumped in front of both of us. We entered the singletrack in the top ten and the rest of the field gapped behind. We easily extended our gap as we moved quickly through the tight singletrack up and over the ridge, then back up again. Others in our age group were in the group that we gapped. Guy, Cesar, another rider (Stephane from the Open Men class) and I stayed together trading turns setting the pace for a blistering lap one (at least I thought so). I purposely slowed the pace at the beginning of lap two, wondering if the other 3 in our group would go around and resume the pace of lap one. I was pleased that this did not happen and our group stayed together. We continued on working well together for 3 laps. As we entered the “slingshot” singletrack, I was at the back of the group. The pace was too much for me and I watched Guy, Cesar, and Stephane slowly pull ahead, creating a gap of about 15 seconds.
At was at this point that I received some unexpected help. A gopher snake was moving across the singletrack and it caused Stephane at the head of the group to slam on his brakes in a panic and go over the bars blocking Cesar and Guy. By the time they got going again I was hitched back onto the back of the group and we started a tricky singletrack descent that I was riding quickly all day. The descent allowed me to recover enough to stay with the group for the remainder of lap 4. I ate an energy gel with caffeine and it did wonders. Stephane dropped off our group at the end of lap 4, eventually finishing several minutes back. I suppose the snake took its toll on him!
By lap 5 I was feeling good again, able to once again contribute to the pace. I was starting to believe I had a chance to at least stay with my teammate Guy to the finish. I was not concerned about Cesar because he was in the 40-49 category and not racing against me. As we started our 6th and last lap, Guy went to the front on a slow singletrack climb and I noticed I was not having trouble holding his wheel like I had on the previous two laps. Hope was rising! A few minutes later as we started to climb the tunnel of love fire road, Cesar went to the front and cranked up the pace. Both Guy and I held his wheel, but it hurt! Cesar had to complete 7 laps (since he is in a younger age group) but this was the last lap for me and Guy. I wondered how teammates should respond if neither could shake the other with the finish line approaching, which it was! We entered the final corner with Cesar, then me, then Guy all together. The last corner is very slow with patches of deep gravel making it imperative to corner very carefully. But after that corner was about 200 yards of open road to the line. My dilemma of how to approach the finish was solved in my mind by rationalizing that Guy just beat me soundly at the Moab Rocks stage race, so I should give 100% effort for the win. Lapped traffic just in front of us made it easier for me to get a jump on Guy for the 200 yard sprint. After 2 hours and 44 minutes of deadlocked racing, it came down to this! I sprinted to the line but did not feel anyone close to me. I think Guy conceded the win to be gracious, but he would not admit that. Third place in our category was 19 minutes back!
The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team traveled to Moab, Utah to make their presence known out west at the three day stage race of Moab Rocks. This race is comprised of extremely rugged courses that tax both bike and rider. Cumulative results from 3 stages of racing are as follows:
Open/Pro men (43 participants)
Pascal Bonaventure, 40+ Men:
Stage 1: After a mellow start from Moab High School, all hell broke loose on the long climb to Porcupine. After the first steep pitch, the field was decimated. Dan and I lost contact with the top ten pro/open men on the second steep section but by then we had opened a decent gap on all our competitors. We rode together to the top at a high tempo and crested with a good margin on our competitors. From there on, Dan’s mission was to go downhill on Porcupine trail as fast as possible. My mission was to avoid any mechanical or crash. Dan easily won the stage, I got second place 2 min behind. Third place Dax Massey from Colorado, was only 27 sec behind and 4th place Cesar Mora missed the podium by only 20 sec.
Stage 2: The start was crazy fast. I was able to stay with the lead group all the way to the first single track. I quickly settled down in an interesting group composed of Dax Massey, Cesar Mora, a young rider racing open men and my young teammate Chuy also racing open men. Dan was ahead of us. The young rider did most of the work dictating a furious pace. He was riding very clean lines. Near the end, Cesar and Dax tried to shake up things a few times but we ended sprinting for 2nd place 30 sec behind Dan. Cesar got second and I got 3rd place but not losing any time on Dax (I even won a few seconds by gapping him in the sprint). This stage was demanding. My legs felt great but my lower back was hurting from all the shocks. Dan had a minor crash and injured his shoulder but icing and ibuprofen did some magic.
Stage 3: Here is the drama for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. Dan, Chuy, Cesar and I had planned to drill the first climb to drop Dax. That was a nice strategy but Dax had some good climbing legs on the third day. The climb was brutal with many accelerations. After 15 min of race I was in a group composed of Dax, Chuy, Cesar and Dan behind the top pros. Dax kept accelerating. Dan went to the front in the first single track to control the pace but Dax decided to pass Dan and upped the pace. I felt good but I was concerned about the technical descent following the climb. I made a conscious decision to play it safe and not take any risk. As expected, Dax started the descent at a crazy pace. Cesar was on his wheel. They dropped us. I was unable to keep up with Dan and I settled down at my own pace. Chuy caught me and rode with me for a while. At that point I was just trying to keep up a good pace but I was convinced that I had lost my podium spot. I crossed the finish line and I immediately saw Dan who told me that Dax and Cesar had made a wrong turn and were behind me. Cesar was really riding strong and without the wrong turn the final GC might have been different.
Paul and Mike rode really well finishing 9th and 11th respectively. Without 4 flats in the first stage Paul would have been close to the top 5.
The best part of the weekend was to stay with my teammates and friends in this great place. Thanks to Ken for arranging the logistics, to Dan for driving us from the airport, and Chuy for being an incredible teammate during the race.
Guy Sutton, 50+ Men
Stage 1 - Porcupine Rim Trail:
Gradual fire road climb to loosen up the legs then an epic descent along one of the most famous trails in North America. What's not to like? Race pace changes everything. I think everyone suffered on the climb and felt every bump on the DH. Bikes would break down (Paul Todd quadflats) and the terrain would take its toll on those unlucky enough to hit the rocks (my knee). For 50+ group it was very tight up the climb. What seemed to separate myself, Ken and Greg was familiarity of the route and bike set-up for the DH. How you all got it done with 100mm bikes is beyond my meager ability.
Stage 2 - Klondike Bluffs:
Redline from the gun and never let up until legs or bike give out. Once again the 50+ contenders took off close together but strung out over the course. The singletrack was fun and challenging. Fellow rider’s skill and stamina seemed to have a significant impact on your pace. The singletrack was tight and it was harder to pass. My knee looked (and felt) like it belonged to a 70 year old with heart failure. I think we all started to accumulate wear and tear by this point. As you know, Ken broke his fancy Roval Carbon rim this stage and managed to get things operational to finish not too far back. Greg was once again right there.
Stage 3 - Mag 7:
I rode the Mag 7 trails about 5 years ago with friends. I remember a steady singletrack climb, then an awesome technical rolling descent. Funny how things change with two tough days on an under-prepared cardiovascular system. I tried to keep with a large group on the first headwind climb but was redlined and had to shut it down. The singletrack climb was at my threshold and I paid for it on the "downhill". The downhill was so rough and rolling that it felt as hard as the climbs in my opinion. I had added 20psi to my rear shock and extra tire pressure to ward off potential bike breakage, but it made for a very rough ride. I would like to do this again with proper set-up. My rear derailleur decided to stop working and wouldn't stay in gear. I made some blind barrel adjustments and limped in. Thank-you for the 20mph tailwind, I needed it. Greg once again was not too far off, and Paul had another strong day as did our rival from Switzerland who took second on this stage. The real drama occurred in the super fast 40+ men, but I will leave that tale for Dan, Pascal, Jesus and Cesar.
My favorite part of the weekend was having such a great place to stay among my new teammates and friends. We all suffered and had our ups and downs. A big thanks to Ken and Cesar's wives for putting up with all us crusty mountain bikers. I hope you had fun seeing Moab. Ken, thanks for once again taking on an enormous organizational effort and putting this together, not to mention transporting our bikes and gear. Dan, thanks for all the shuttling. If Justin ever gets some more race intensity time on the bike, we are all in trouble.
Moab Rocks was really hard on the bike and body. I don't quite remember feeling like this at BCBR.
The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team participated in the Quick n Dirty Sagebrush Safari. Team results summary is as follows:
16+ Expert women – 4th place Monica Taylor, 5th place Rhonda Geiszler out of 11 participants
40+ Expert men – 4th place Pascal Bonaventure, 7th place Greg Twitty, 8th place Steve Boyd, 14th place Paul Todd out of 22 participants
55+ Open – 2nd place Ken Winston, 4th place Jack Kairy, 6th place Randy Liechty, 9th place Bob Wilcox out of 22 participants
Greg Twitty race report:
Conditions on race day were perfect. It was about 60 degrees, breezy with hero dirt damped down from recent rain. There was great anticipation across the whole UCC MTB squad because Sagebrush was back from a 5 year hiatus. Thanks to Quick n Dirty crew for the vision and effort to make it happen.
All categories started together. This ended up less chaotic that expected, since the race started with a 7 mile, 1600 foot climb which strung out the field. Early in the climb, Pascal disappeared from view with the front elite group. I climbed at a moderate pace along with Jeff Jacobson and Steve Boyd. Near the top, Ken caught our group as he matched the pace of his main rival Pete Tholl. I lost contact with all three teammates at the top. So I used by knowledge of the Spur Meadow Trail decent to gain back my deficit. Jeff was nice to let me pass on the flowy Downhill. At the bottom, I had caught Ken, Pete and Steve. We all rode together up the paved climb to 4 Corners.
At the entrance of Wrangler Trail, I pushed past Ken to lead the group through the technical single track. I rode a high tempo pace and used my 5 year old knowledge of the Wrangler descent to create a separation. I needed that time buffer since I was not climbing as fast as my teammates. By the time we reached the top of the new single track climb, the buffer was gone. Again, Ken, Pete, Steve and I rode together on the final climb up Morena Stokes Valley Rd. And again, I could not match Ken and Pete as the pace quickened at the top of the climb and entrance to the Kernan Trail descent. Ken first, then Pete. Ken was held up on this legendary DH by a competitor in the Expert under 16-39 class, so Pete was able to close a gap Ken had created. I trailed by about 10 sec, and was able to make up that time on the downhill.
On the pavement prior to the finish, we gathered together as a group of 5 including Ken and Pete. With 200 meters to go, I was in the back. I sensed a slowing of the group, so I attacked (difficult on a full suspension). Unfortunately, my lead did not stick and I lost out in the group sprint. Two in that group were 40+, which pushed me to 7th. Ken miss-timed the sprint also and got second place to Pete in the 55+ class. Steve finished 1 minute behind our group and Jeff rolled in shortly after. Regardless of our placing at the end, we all really enjoyed riding the forgotten trails of the Sagebrush Safari.
With all of the rain in So Cal this past month, a group of us headed East to have some fun in the sun at the Tucson Classic Stage Race. Tim represented UCC/JW Flooring in the 45+ class, Mark and Kal were representing in the 65+, and Jimbo, Tony, Bill, Reed, and myself representing in the 55+ class.
Stage 1 – Time Trial:
This is a short (3.3 miles) uphill course and the years are taking toll on the asphalt, as it was rough with horizontal cracks. During our morning warm-up/pre-run we had a nice tail wind and things were looking good. Fast-forward to the start of the race and the wind had changed and we had a head wind the entire race. Had I anticipated the change, I would have swapped out my wheels. We all put in our best efforts and I was fortunate enough to be in 1st by the end of the day. The best part of the day was that Cindy had also won her class and had her 1st ever yellow jersey.
Stage 2 – Road Race:
The course was 2 laps that were hilly and a just over 20 miles each. We started early (pre-dawn) and the wind was already blowing. The conditions didn’t prevent aggressive racing as the attacks started with the whistle and continued throughout the entire race. We had such a strong presence (5 of us in our class) that we not only looked impressive, but we were able to answer every attack. Jimbo, Tony, Bill, and Reed took turns chasing down every attempt to make a break. On lap 2 a lone racer rolled off the front, but the local guys told me he would come back. As he continued out of sight I realized the local guys may not have been completely honest with me. I lead the chase with but our efforts were too late, he was able to stay ahead. I was able to win the field sprint for second, thanks to the support of the team. After all of these years of racing you would think I would have known better. The team certainly gave me all of the support I needed. I’ve learned my lesson.
Stage 3 – Circuit Race:
This stage was 6 laps around another hilly 5 ½ mile course. You would think everyone would be tired and take it easy since this was day 3 of racing, but that wasn’t the case. Our team answered every attack and chased down everything that moved. It was another hard race but we gave it our all. I was able to sprint for a 3rd place finish, unfortunately I didn’t have the legs to make it to first.
Overall the weekend was very successful, I ended up with 2nd in the GC. I also had several other racers, including the main sponsor, make a point of coming over to complement our team not only for the excellent racing, but also for our camaraderie, support, and professionalism on and off the course. We all had a great time racing, dining, and hanging out together this weekend. We made some life memories which are worth more than any race medal.
I’ll let Tim add to this report about the 45+, and Mark can report out about he and Kal’s 65+. Oh, guess what? Mark was at each race on time, dressed, and bike in working order, for the most part. (This is an inside joke, I’ll gladly tell you about it sometime).
Jimbo had several jobs this weekend. He was a racer, a mentor, and a mechanic. He started out helping one of our SDBC Sisters with her bike and before you know it, he had a line of racers requesting his assistance. Even though Jimbo had put in a hard day’s race (each day, he did this everyday) there he sat on the hard dirt bent over bike parts to help others. What a guy!
If I’ve left out any important details or didn’t give credit where I should, please forgive me, I could be getting forgetful as I age.
Thank you team!
The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team participated in round 2 of the prestigious GoldState series. This is the premier race series in southern California with 7 races and 5 different venues. Round 1 was rescheduled due to rain, so this was essentially the first race of the series. It was held at Bonelli Park in San Dimas. It was a 6.4 mile course with about 800 ft of elevation gain per lap. The team was dominate, winning 5 first places, a 2nd, and three 3rd place finishes. All nine team members that competed finished on the box! Team results summary is as follows:
After a couple months of preparation, the day of the race finally arrived. It was my debut in Cat 1 Men 45-49 of the Goldstate series in which I got 3rd place !!!
It was a very interesting race in which I got the opportunity to measure myself against some strong and experienced competitors who already dominate the category. My purpose of this season was to place in the top ten. Yesterday I realized that whenever someone sets a goal for themselves, it is so they can overachieve it and yesterday was no exception.
My start was fairly slow within the group but with the intention of being able to measure myself. It was before the first descent when I realized that I was already placed in 4th and when I got an idea of how the rest of my race would be.
Unfortunately, I experienced some technical difficulties when I fell on a concrete drain section that could have potentially put me out of the race, but thankfully I was able to get going again. Just before the final downhill section, I managed to connect myself to the rest of the competitors and move to 3rd place. I maintained my position and at the same time making sure I was attacking all the segments until crossing the finish line.
The race ended last Sunday and now I am back to training while keeping in mind GoldState #3 at Fontana.
After not having a good race at the Social Endurance competition, I had to admit I was very disappointed. Even though I got first place I didn't do good in the overall. In the past weeks I didn't have the time to train/ride like I usually do due to a personal project that I was working on and it took most of my time. After three weeks I was finally able to go back to my training/ride routine. My goal was to do good at the race in Bonelli, so I had to train harder to get back in shape faster. One of the things that help me get back in shape was training with Cesar and doing the "slow" RACE pace UCC/JW Floors Wednesday Night Ride.
Sunday morning I woke up, I eat my breakfast accompanied by a big cup of coffee, drove two hours up north and got to Bonelli Park. When I got there Cesar and I went for a warm up in to the first climb to take a look at the first part of the course.
When the race started, I passed other competitors in the climb and positioned myself in 5th place overall. Before completing half of the first lap I was on 3rd place overall having Tinker and Stephan in front of me. After 3 laps they had about a 1 to 2 minute gap on me, but I was in 1st place of my age group. During my 4th lap I had cramps due to pushing myself too much so I decided to slow my pace for the 4th and 5th laps. In my 5th lap I had Chad G closing in on me from behind. I thought he was competing under my category which made me push harder. Before finishing the 7th lap I saw that Chad was 30-40 seconds away with 32 minutes more to go (out of the 4 hours) so I decided to do the 8th lap. I was trying my best to get a good place overall in the race. My legs were going through episodes of cramps and started to get tired. I started climbing at the end of the climb I looked back I didn't see Chad, I kept going, when I was doing me second climb (after crossing the pavement about halfway through the last lap). I noticed that Chad was in the parking lot cooling down (he didn't go for the 8th lap). Because of this I could just quit and still win my category, but in my mind I was "YOU CAN DO IT CHUY, nothing to lose if you don't make the lap". From this point I was competing against the time, and I was passing a lot of competitors from Cat 1 cross country. My legs were suffering a lot but I never gave up. Finally I was passing through the grass almost to the finish line, I heard the guy in the microphone saying " 4 minutes remaining". I sprinted the last 200 meters and I ended up my 8th lap with 3:58:45 (hour:min:sec). My Results were 1st place 30-39 and 3rd place overall.