2013 State Championship Road Race

Sprinting for the line with Aaron Olsen at Antelope Island Road Race

This years State Championship road race for the Masters category was the Antelope Island road race, which has been around for several years but I had yet had a chance to race it. This would be my opportunity, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the race course. In the previous years, I hadn’t raced it because of the weather and early start times, but this year my group started at 11:35 which was a much more manageable time, plus the weather was looking to be very enjoyable. I signed up with 4 other of my teammates and it was a great time.

The course started at the Antelope Island marina and headed out east along the causeway to the toll booth, then turned around and headed back to the island for a small loop past the marina, then south along the island to the ‘ranch house’, then it turned back to the marina. After the first large loop, the race repeated that same course again but with the finish at the top of a 1km hill. The race started out brisk with an attack right at the first mile, and my teammate Mike Austin going along with it. We sped along the causeway and as usual it took me a bit to get into my comfort zone. At the turnaround, Dave put in a huge pull to bring back the break which was confusing because we already had a teammate up the road, I am sure it was because he wasn’t aware that he was up there. Eventually Dave shut off the gas but we were so close that the break got swallowed up.

Right after we finished the causeway for the first time another attack went off the front and this time Nate followed up, along with an FFKR and Contender guy. The break went around the smaller loop and at that time Nate dropped back into the pack but the other two sped on. We rode pretty casually for a while, I figured it would be great to let those guys be off the front expending energy, and on the return from the first island lap our team started putting in bigger pulls to bring the break in. By the time we reached the causeway, we started really pushing hard and on the 2nd return of the causeway we had caught one of the break group, the FFKR guy, I guess I didn’t realize there was still another rider off the front.

The pace started picking up and I tucked into the pack for a while, I probably should have been further up but I wasn’t feeling that great. On the last outbound island leg, Dave put in a strong attack on the hill which really split the pack up, I had a hard time even following it. I was able to get onto the back of the split but just barely, and since there was a split I went to the front and drilled it as hard as I could to keep the pressure on. I pushed and pushed as we came down the descent but the pack came together at some point. Right after that I saw Aaron Olsen attack and so I followed along with Ben Rabner. The three of us were off the front for a while, alternating pulls, but again a good portion of the pack came back together with us.

Right before the final turnaround, there was probably about 10 miles to go, and Aaron and Ben went off the front again. I sat in the pack for a moment waiting for people to react, but no one really did, so finally I went off the front and one of Aaron’s teammates followed behind me. I didn’t really plan to go off by myself, figuring the rest of the pack would get in my slip stream, but with only one guy behind me I could see the pack falling behind and I just kept going with it. The FFKR guy (Erik Flynn), took some turns and in a few minutes we caught the two up front and began an alternating pace line, pushing as hard as we could go. I could feel Ben was weakening because he would skip some pulls, which I thought was funny because earlier in the race he was barking at people for this and that (including me). I cannot stand when people bark at each other, there is no reason for it and every person has the right to race it however they feel like it.

Coming up on the line, I was behind a bit but just enough energy for a sprint.

As the race came into the final kilometers, I had to fight the feeling that I was weakening, but also know in my heart that I was strong. As we came up onto the final hill, I kind of knew that I would do well if I had at least pushed the pace, so I got up front and just put in some strong pulls. I would look behind me to see if anyone was weakening but they appeared to be fine. I put in another dig and saw two of them falling behind, so I pushed even harder to create some more distance and at last it was just down to me and Aaron. As we came up on the 200m to go banner, I started to fall back a little, but found a last bit of energy to sprint to the line, almost overtaking Aaron but he was able to get me by a half of a bike length. I was happy though, being able to battle it out with a great rider made me feel good and confident.

Up until this point, I thought we were the front of the pack and that Aaron had won the state championship, but the guy from Contender (Jason Castor) had done an epic job of staying away the whole time, which meant I got 3rd place instead of 2nd, still I was happy with that and getting a podium place at the state championships. It was a great day of racing and one that I will remember.

The podium for the Antelope Island Masters Road Race

2013 Tour of the Depot Road Race

Tour of the Depot 2013 Podium for Masters A.

This years Tour of the Depot road race had an excellent course and changed from the previous “Stage Race” format to a one day road race. The course started in the same location as the previous years road race, but went over Johnson’s Pass towards the Dugway proving grounds, out in the middle of the Utah desert. The course was great though, with two big climbs, at least compared to what we usually see in Utah road races. The climbs were spaced far enough from each other and the finish line that would allow for some great tactics, with the harder climb being the final one and 20 miles from the finish.

Earlier in the week, Art O’connor and I drove out there to recon the course, which was a great idea. On paper, climbs usually seem easier than they are when you ride them, so it was a good idea for us to scope them out. The first climb was the easier but longer of the two, it wasn’t incredibly steep but probably like the steep part of Emigration canyon. The return climb was a beast, only 4 miles but pretty steep at around 8% grade, I knew it would be very decisive for the race. When we went it was very cold, I only had a jacket on but no tights and the temps got into the 30′s during our recon.

The race was very exciting leading up to it, with a lot of pre-registrations happening and over 30 people signing up, which is great for a masters race. There were also some really strong riders there including Louie Amelburu, Mark Schaefer and Mark Zimblemann, as well as a national track champion. I was excited for the race but knew it would be a hard effort. D

The pace started out strong with a few attacks going off the front, but when it hit the climb I was able to work my way up to the front and stay there, getting up to the top with relative ease. I didn’t realize it but we did cause a split in the pack, and good thing because coming down the steeper back side I blew out my front tire. Luckily I had a tubular on so the glue was able to hold the tire on and I kept upright and let riders go around me. I pulled over to the side of the road and the wheel car helped me get a new wheel, which we changed pretty quickly. Just then two of my teammates cruised by me and helped pace me back to the pack in about 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe that I was able to get back to the race!

The next 18 miles were in the desert part of the race, no trees and just flat, dirty roads. The pace was modest for a while until the road turned back towards Tooele, then the pace picked up and there were a few attacks. I had to push hard to get onto the front group, and right as the race got back onto the main return road, things started to heat up. I was up towards the front with Ira and the pace was hot. The attacks really started happening and I couldn’t keep with the main group and settled into my own pace, pulling a few people along. I could tell Ira was getting into the red zone and I slowed down a bit to wait up for him, he waved me to go on and catch the rest, so i started pushing a bit harder. We dropped most of the people in the group but I had 3 other guys going over the top with me, all great cyclists.

When we went over the top, it was Art, me, Zan Treasure and Doug Armstrong. We soon caught up to two other riders that were up the road and then became a group of six riders and started working in a pace line to chase down the 3 cyclists up the road which included Louie, Mark Schaefer and Mark Zimblemann. I believe they went over the top with about 2 minutes and we found ourselves on the flats at around 60 seconds. The pace was brisk and Art kept urging the riders to keep the pressure on. About 5 miles out I could sense that some of the riders were becoming weaker and skipping pulls, so Art and I just kept pushing.

We came into the final corner with 1k to go and a decent climb to the finish. I went around on the outside and ramped up the pace, everyone started to fall back except for Art. Just before we came into the final straight we could see the 3 leaders, but it was too late to catch them. As soon as Art and I crested the top of the short climb, we could almost see the finish line, I took the front position with Art behind me. We had a good distance from the next riders so we sprinted it out and Art got me on the line, but I had a late surge and got in at the wrong angle and actually went outside the cones. Luckily I didn’t get disqualified and ended up in 5th place, the last spot on the podium. I was happy to be there with some outstanding competition, ended up getting some upgrade points and had a great time. It was one of the funnest road races I have done and I am excited for future episodes of this race.

State Championships Series

 

This year I was able to compete in all three of the State Championship events, the Time Trial, the Criterium and the Road Race. This year the UCA started something new, the “Overall State Champion” which gathered points from each race and totaled in a series to define the state champion from all disciplines. I was lucky enough to capture a fourth place in the time trial, a 3rd place in the road race and a 4th place in the criterium, sealing the deal with the most points of the cat 3 racers. What a great experience!

State Time Trial

Memorial Day, 2012 was the State Time Trial championships. The evening before Ronnie and I went out to scope the course and ended up riding the entire 40km at an easy pace. The road was flat out and had some minor hills, but mostly flat and decent road. The next morning Angie and I drove out there and set up a place to warm up, everything went pretty well. I set out with 11 other riders and got into my rythmn pretty easily, ramping up to speed and catching my first guy within the first ten minutes. I felt like I was going pretty well, feeling strong and gaining on my rivals. I believe I passed two people by the time I turned around and about to catch my third. When I made the turnaround I saw two of the riders that started behind me, right on my tail, I was pretty shocked. Nevertheless I worked hard and kept them from gaining any more on me and actually had a pretty good kick in the end. Unfortunately I wound up 4th on the day, 1:30 down on the winner, and about a minute off Adam Catmull and Jared Prince. I guess I have some serious work to do on my Time Trialing.

State Road Race Championships at Little Mountain:

Friday I took the day off and got a hotel room up in Logan so that we could get a jump on the State Road Race on Saturday. It was awesome because I picked up Angie from work and we were able to get up to Logan before 7pm, then we went and ate an amazing dinner at the Indian Oven and had a few appitizers and a coconut Kurma, Chicken Tika Masala and some delicious Indian ice cream. The food had such great flavors and I had a great date with my love. After we ate we just wandered around Logan looking at some charming older homes around the neighborhood. It was perfect weather outside, nice and balmy. On our way back I found a cool used book store, it was pretty ghetto and Angies allergies were kicking up because of the dust but they had thousands and thousands of books for pennies on the dollar, i was able to get 4 books for $5. Then we went back to the hotel room and watched Sex in the City and then finally fell asleep.

On the road with Ira in the yellow jersey.

I woke up at 5:45 AM and showered and got ready for my race, woke Angie up around 6:20 and then we ate a hot breakfast at the hotel. We were able to get on the road by 7am and after taking the wrong route and Angie helping me find the correct way, we made it to the race with not a lot of time to spare. This year was even worse than the prior year as far as bathrooms, they only had 2! i had to actually pee in someones driveway because there was no where else to go and a line down the block for the portables. I made it to the start and I really didn’t feel that great, but finally we started to go. It took me a bit to warm up but the laps seemed to go by fast. Up the hills it always hurt and I felt a lot more sluggish than I normally do when climbing, just because its a short and steep climb without being able to get properly adjusted. The race was action packed the entire time, with lots of attacks and stuff.

On the 3rd lap I was trying to get my water bottle from Angie and I dropped it, so i was quickly running out of water. As I came around for the fourth lap I found myself off the front of the pack with maybe 20 seconds lead, I just went with it without going too hard, but it gave me a head start up the climb and the best part is I was able to slow down and get my water bottle this time and as the pack swallowed me up a break started and I was easily able to hitch on. We rotated and got a small lead but to my suprise as efficient as we seemed to be we didn’t stay away even the whole lap, getting caught just before the final climb. On the climb I barely hung onto the leaders, but we did create a decent gap and was able to go with it. There was a lot of playing around in the lead up miles to the finish, and when it slowed down at one point I attacked and got a way for a bit, not too long but enough to put a little pressure on the pack, but more importantly show initiative and that I wanted it.

There was about 9 of us left at this point and still we were going to slow, I told the guys that we needed to pick it up or we would get caught again, so finally another guy attacked and the race finally started moving as we approached the finish. Somehow I ended up in last place coming into the final 200 meters but came around everyone, I missed first and second place but then nipped third by less than a wheel lenght by ‘throwing’ my bike. It was a great experience and gave me more points in the UCA as well as gave me the lead in the Overall State Champion points series. Only the Criterium remained.

State Criterium Championships

The Criterium was the big day for me, a chance to win the Overall State Champion title. I had made 26 points with a 4th place and a 3rd place in the State TT and Road Race. The only thing left was the crit, and I had to finish either in 10th or better place or stay within 9 places of Ira. It sounded like i was going to do pretty well, just knowing that I only had to beat 5 of the pre-signed up people. I tried not to self-talk bad about myself, saying that I am bad at crits or whatever.

This day was going to be a hot one, over 100 degrees, so I tried to drink a lot of water leading up to the race, and not eat too much. I felt like I got a good jump on things but as usual I was running behind and scrambling to get caught up. When I got down town and got my race number, I was already behind and my car was parked in an underground parking lot. As I went back to get ready, I realized that I had lost my number. I put it in my backpack but it must have fallen out on my way to my car. I frantically went back to search for it, and luckily I found it on the lawn of the Salt Palace, but now i was running even further behind. I was flustered trying to get my bike onto my trainer, my number pinned, and all my gear ready. In the end I only had about 10 minutes to warm up, but perhaps that was a good thing.

When we lined up to race, instead of the 17 riders that had signed up before hand, there were close to 30, which really freaked me out and made me wonder if I would even have a chance at getting enough points. Right before the race started, I doused myself with water to cool me off, I could hardly swallow it was so hot. The race started with a fast pace, just as expected. Immediately I fell off the back and just tried to hang in there, and on the third lap there was a wreck that somehow I managed to slip through. The laps started counting down and i could hear Angela, Alexa, Damian and a few others cheering for me.

As I bit the time and counted the two primes, I eventually started moving up in the pack and felt like I was getting my groove on. Everytime I went around and heard someone cheering for me, I would push myself to move up a little more. About 40 minutes into the race, i saw a gap of a few bike lengths and I attacked to bridge up to these two guys. Suddenly there was a split in the pack and I took the reigns and went for it. The next lap I could here Angie yell “Look, he’s winning!”, which gave me quite a bit of inspiration and made me push it even further. Ira was in the group along with Chad Vansolkema, Jason Goodfellow and a few others.

The final corner.

There were only a few laps left and then finally I could hear the last lap bell ring. I was pushing the pace but no one would help, I didn’t care though, I just wanted the points and I knew if we got away then I would secure the overall. As I came around the final corner, I pulled off and the sprint started, I just rode in on my own to take 7th place, which in the end was good for 4th since 3 people were disqualified. Apparently the 3 that I bridged up to were lapped and then thrown out at the end. I wish I would have known that, I would have pushed for a higher placing, and I should have just gone for it anyway since I had nothing to lose and was clear of the rest of the pack. Lesson learned, but it still worked in my favor to finish out the series with enough points for the overall. It was a great day!