One could safely call the Madera Stage Race the first big “Team” race of the year for Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing as we had 7 of our guys show up for this one. For Pro 1,2 riders, the race consists of the Ben Hur Hill Climb on Friday, then the Crit and Time Trial on Saturday, followed by the Road Race on Sunday. All other categories do everything except Friday’s Ben Hur Hill Climb. It was a good outing, fun to hang with the boyz, and results were good for early season. Unfortunately, Nate Freed was sick, and despite toughing it out in the Hill Climb, TT and Crit, his body said “enough” in the Road Race so he packed it in to fight another day. Note: Racing photos courtesy of Veronika Lenzi, please visit
www.veronikalenzi.com and check out more of Ronnie’s photos from Madera and other cycling events.
Here’s how it went:
P/1/2 Schaffner: Hill Climb 55th, Crit 28th, TT 47th, RR 41st, GC 33rd
P/1/2 Snover: Hill Climb 51st, Crit 39th, TT 58th, RR 31st, GC 37th
P/1/2 Freed: Hill Climb 42nd, Crit 23rd, TT 45th, RR/GC DNP
Cat 4 Scott: Crit 3rd, RR 4th, GC 24th
Cat 4 Chappell: Crit 12th, TT 52nd, RR 28th, GC 38th
Cat 4 Etchison: Crit 29th, TT 54th, RR 23rd, GC 41st
M 55+ 1,2,3,4 McKenzie: Crit 9th, TT 13th, RR 8th, G.C. 12th
A few words from the riders:
Conrad Snover P/1/2
Since this was my first P/1/2 race, and I knew the jump from 3 to 2 was a biggie. I set reasonable expectations. Of course goal #1 was to have fun, which I accomplished, and also focused on what not to do:
- Don’t get dropped in the crit or road race
- Don’t get last in the GC
The uphill TT on Friday was on an absolutely beautiful narrow winding road through grassy hills dotted with granite boulders and rugged trees. There was the entire range of equipment present: everything from full TT bikes with discs to non-aero road bikes with normal wheels. I rang what I brang: my Scott Addict road bike with clip on TT bars and lightweight aero carbon wheels (reynolds 46mm front, Zipp 808 rear). I was SLOW, almost 7 minutes or so behind the leader. The flat TT on Saturday found me about 5 minutes behind the leader for a GC total of +12 minutes. WOW, do I have some work to do, but that’s ok, I wasn’t last!
The crit and road race were both super fun. I love bike racing. I hung in the middle of the pack, stayed out of the way and only got into trouble once. The road race includes a 4 mile section of VERY rough pavement, that our group visited 5 times (Ben Jacques-Maynes got 3 flats in this section). It was during one pass of this section on lap 4 with a mild side wind, when Bissel went to the front to bring back the breakaway. The pack quickly strung out into single file and moved the leeward side of the road, as everyone tried to get out of the wind. At one point, we were almost all the way off the pavement onto the dirt shoulder, my max effort wasn’t enough, and I let a gap open in front of me. Before I was too tapped to recover, I quickly moved over and allowed a small group to pass me and close the gap, I had left just enough juice in the tank to jump in behind them- averting disaster as we regrouped with the main field. This effort, along with a stiff pace up the next climb, whittled our group from 70 to 40, then I sat in for the uneventful finish. I ended up 37th out of 71 in the GC.
I’m pumped to finally be in P12, where the riding is safer and there’s almost no yelling. I have a tremendous amount of work to do on my fitness, but am optimistic about the season. Here are some interesting stats about the 2 group races (note: my max HR is 197):
Speed (av/max): 27/34
Heart-rate (av/max): 177/197
Road Race, Flat/Rolling
Distance: 85 miles
Speed (av/max): 25/40
Heart-rate (av/max): 154/194
First stage race of the season… I set expectations low for myself once I read the pro names on the start list. A big handful of Tour of California riders showed up in good form and I showed up fresh off two weeks of sickness. I was just strong enough to finish middle of the pack in both TTs and the crit. In the road race it all started to catch up to me…. I knew that it was going to be a bad day on the first of five laps. Luckily, the pace wasn’t too blistering until lap four, but as soon as the huge attacks started to come late in the race, I was toast. Nick and Conrad both had nice finishes, and it was cool to see everyone from CWC do well in their respective events. Good job guys!
First race of the year. First year doing Madera. First stage race. First time trial. First time racing twice in one day blah blah lotta kook going on. Great weekend racing and hanging w/ the crew. I did Elite 4’s with Matt and Ramsey.First stage Crit (8am Sat) Pretty standard plan to ride near the front, stay out of trouble, conserve energy and gun for a result in a pack sprint near the end. After a few nerve-racking laps towards the rear of the field I pulled my head out and joined Matt and Ramsey towards the front where we proceeded to not really ride together/help each other/etc. dumb. 2 guys got off the front w/ a couple laps to go and the field never quite finished the catch playing cat and mouse for who would do the final 30 meter gap and waiting too long . . . anyway I was able to hold a top 10 spot through the final laps and the crucial final corner and ended up 3rd (2nd in pack as one guy from the break stayed away – he would go on to win GC after blowing doors in the ITT and using what seemed like 10 but prolly more like 6 mates).
Second stage ITT (1pm Sat): Need to learn myself these skills. Great experience, no result. I’d like to blame it on my road bike and goon helmet but I know the real path is about practice and training, shocker.
Third stage Road Race (8am Sun): Mother’s Milk the open road! Beautiful course and weather. We rode well as a team helping and watching out for each other and staying up front (well, except for Ramsey’s dropped chain escapade). Fought some cramping 2/3 of the way through and knew I wouldn’t be great at the hard finish (few miles of rough road followed by a series of rollers to the “roller-top” finish) . . . but was able to stay up front w/ the surges at the end and coax a 4th out of my trashed legs before a hammy seizure took hold just after.
Mario’s Taco Shop in Merced = Solid.
New for me was racing with the 55+ 1,2,3,4 boyz. Basically, a bunch of Pro 1,2 guys that have just gotten old and kept racing. The group is small, and the riders are highly skilled, which makes for some fun racing. It’s harder to ‘hide’ in the pack when there’s 25 guys instead of 75 guys, but my results appear to be better with the smaller field!
Crit: Normally I hate Crits. I can’t sprint or lay down big Watts, and they’re dangerous. But riding with our group was super fun. We were slow, our average speed was 23 mph vs. Conrad’s noted 27 mph in P1,2. Most guys were just saving it for the TT. Four guys got away, we didn’t catch them, and I got 5th in the field sprint for 9th overall.
RR: First of 3 laps pretty easy, some attacks that were easily brought back. When we got on the rollers I wicked it up to try to wear down the bigger guys. Worked OK. Second lap faster, more attacks, and I went off the front on the rollers again. But this time the field responded. I got passed, and the pace was brutal. Half the field was dropped, and I was dangling. I knew this was it. Either get back on, or finish 15th or worse. I fought hard, got back on in the feed zone (last of the rollers), and was able to sit in on lap 3. One guy stayed off the front, then a field sprint with the remaining group of 14. I got 7th in the field sprint.
Great weekend of training/racing. And the Burritos Locos at Mario’s in Merced were killer. Mario’s was recommended by fellow racer and friend Gregg Betonte. Now bring on some races with some longer climbs please!