Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: March 2011

Saturday, 26 March 2011

San Dimas 2011

The San Dimas stage race has been around for a long time and now features as the final warmup race leading up to the National Racing Calendar (NRC) opener in Redlands in early April. The day before the race we went for an opener ride around the Rose Bowl. Definitely cool.

Day 1 featured a 13 minute uphill time trial. The road was really twisty which made it a pretty fun event for how painful it was. Matt Cooke, the team's star climber posted an awesome time of 13:02 to claim 2nd on the stage and the climber's jersey.

Day 2's 132 kilometre road race featured a short but difficult 11km circuit. Riding to defend Cooke's 2nd place overall, Barley and I took upon the role of delivering Matt to the base of the climb each lap, as an array of tollbooths, potholes, road furniture and a crosswind dam section made for an extremely stressful run in.

Day 3's final criterium was a stressful day as the team looked to secure Matt's position despite time bonuses available at 30 and 60minutes into the 90minute event while looking to set up Carlos for the finale. Kenda controlled most of the race as was their duty (being that Ben Day remained in the leader's jersey) but we were able to keep Matt safely at the front of the bunch. With four laps to go our finale plan came unravled as Andres, Kai and I were involved in a late race crash, leaving Carlos effectively teammateless for the leadout. Carlos was able to salvage 5th in the finale and Matt came through safely to complete the team's hard efforts.

Readying for the criterium
(L-R: Slack, Andres on the phone & Sam)
Cookie, the man of the hour, pins his numbers on our way to stage 3
Team strongman, Kai Applequist, memorizies the numbers of those surrounding Matt in the GC. He'll later place this paper on his top tube for quick reference with the hopes of neutralizing dangerous attacks and sprint bonus primes.
L-R: Annik (team super supporter and amazing cook), Terry and John Ferro (Ventura homestay), Matt "Cookie" Cooke awaiting the podium presentations after a solid ride in San Dimas.


San Dimas: Boom!

Batta Bing Batta BOOM!

Matt Cooke crushes the first stage at San Dimas, finishing second and promptly placing EXERGY ON THE MAP!

Andres went 10th and Kai 18th. Three in the top twenty! Not bad.

Today's 134km road race should be fast and animated.

The last month has been busy in Boise as the team has readied for these first few big races. So now that racing is under way, there's more blogging on the way!


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Thermostat Wars

After the team's opening success at Callville Bay, I returned to Team Exergy's headquarters in Boise, Idaho. The team set me up at the team house, providing a stress free opportunity to hone my form before the opening races of the season. I made sure to post up the flag early in the unpacking.

Sam likes this
Carlos bravely joined us on our Boise adventure, despite arriving from a Columbian summer only weeks before. However, the first day was pretty pleasant. A ride out to Lucky Peak, which is one of the common training routes, took us out to a system of dams east of Boise featuring multiple 10-15 minute climbs (albeit only 4-6%) before returning to downtown for a coffee stop.

Coffee Shop on 8th Street
Downtown Boise in early spring...or is it actually late winter?
However by our third or fourth day in Boise the weather turned sour and snow covered the yard. Having never seen snow before, Carlos dove for the thermostat, shoving the tab into the 80's. I have to admit that it was nice to have a warm apartment after returning from our cold training adventures but it made falling asleep essentially impossible. If Carlos was snoring away, I'd still be tossing and turning, covers long since tossed in frustration. When I'd adjust the temperature, Carlos would kit up in full longjohn garb in preparation for a chilly slumber. The battle seesawed each day. Needless to say, there were no winners.

The team presentation party was a blast! All the riders arrived in town and the final preparations for our next swing of California racing were completed just in time for the big show. Todd Gogulski, pro commentator (Universal Sports) also flew in to town to MC the evening's affairs. Based primarily as a community appreciation, the event's 300-400 guests were welcomed by all the riders in team kit casual wear amidst an array of displayed team equipment. Providing an opportunity to chat about the new racing gear, the atmosphere was very inclusive and definitely sparked the right attitude for the evening. After a couple of hours of live rock music, the Boise youth rock school opened the stage up for team and rider presentations. Todd introduced each rider after a brief recap of their top results and quirky traits. Unbeknownst to me, Todd put me on the spot after the team's full introduction, asking about my alpine skiing past and battle with asthma; fortunately he knows how to make his interviewees look good.

Images of Team Party

Two days later the team boxed up and shipped out for San Dimas. Next stop...the start of the season.