Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: June 2010

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

We're Back!

We are currently in Hood River and getting close to completing our big trip home from Wisconsin. This past month has been the most racing days I have ever completed on a bike and although I am a bit battered, I still have lots in the tank and am looking forward to Delta in 10 days. This past week at the Tour of America’s Dairyland the team worked really well together. We were able to control most of the races and execute a good leadout train for sprint finishes despite using energy for intermediate preme sprints. Beyond the racing, we had a great time overall thanks to our homestays: the Owens family and the Young family. Thanks again for all your generous hospitality. The guys and I will probably race at PIR next Tuesday so perhaps we will see you there.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dazed & Confused

We left Kenosha, WI this morning bright and early and drove all day. With five drivers, we were able to adequately share driving and "writing on sleeping people's faces with black marker" time well. The highlight of the day was definitely Jason’s football purchase, fortunately he grabbed a junior size so I could spiral it. Thanks Jason.

We decided to go through South Dakota and over Montana before heading past Spokane and finally through the gorge. On the way east, we drove through Salt Lake City so with the trip complete, I can safely say that I’ve ticked off a bunch of boxes on my “states to see” list. Most of those are also on the list of “only need to see it once”. When we rolled by Rushmore, it was dark but I did get some beautiful sunset pictures from South Dakota. Enjoy!

Corn Head

Chipotle = Yum
South Dakota


Montana Sunrise


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Day 6 - Waukesha Criterium

Mike Northey 2nd, Jason Allen 4th; Mike Northey 3rd Overall

Tonight we pushed through some fatigue to finish up our month long racing trip with the hopes of placing Mike on the podium in the Tour of America’s Dairyland overall omnium. Starting two points shy of 3rd place, we were chopping at the bit on the start line. With six corners and very rough pavement, in addition to narrow roads and a considerable tailwind on the main straight, we knew a break would go. Over the line the first time, it did. Jason and Mike jumped in and the 8man group rolled off with Karl Menzies and Hilton Clarke of United Healthcare as Roman and Ben cruised the front of the pack to mitigate bridge attempts. Taylor was implicated in an early crash when a rider in front went down but he jumped back in after a neutral lap. At the 60 minute mark, the break lapped the field and the preme sprints started. Roman lead out Ben for the first sprint successfully, but to the discomfort of Jason and Mike who were just getting situated. Roman quickly moved back to help the guys move up while Ben covered the front, with Taylor sitting in the wings a few wheels back. A crash at the front of field along a narrow section of road implicated Ben and he was unable to continue. Now with four riders, the boys controlled the front and set it up for an excellent finale. Sparing with the UHC train, Jason railed the final downhill tailwind corner and launched Northey up between Clarke and Menzies. Menzies took it at the line after the bouncy surface made for difficult sprinting conditions, Northey slotting in 2nd. Clarke went 3rd with Jason held out for 4th. Roman pressed to the line after dedicating himself to the early leadout and finished 16th ish. Another solid day of racing today!

The guys were very happy to get Mike up the podium in the overall. He is riding very well, as are all of us and we are looking forward to some recovery time back in Portland before Delta, Boise and Cascade in July.

Thanks again to our amazing homestays this week. Patricia and Jamie Young, Patricia came out to the feed zone on Thursday and both of them came out throughout the week and took all the photos that you have seen of the event. Their hospitality exceeded our wildest expectations and we hope to stay here again next year if Dairyland is on the calendar.

See you all back in Portland, perhaps at PIR next Tuesday. Ride on!

Start/Finish Banner

Roman helped me snag 75 bucks at the line from UHC
Taylor and Roman go for a double preme
Lead out trains with 1 to go
UHC followed by the Kenda rider in yellow, Rubicon
Mike takes 2nd, Menzies 1st, Clarke 3rd

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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Day 5: Downer's Grove

Mike Northey 3rd, Ben Chaddock 4th

Last night’s event in Downer Grove featured as the premier event of the Tour of America’s Dairyland. Over 5,000 spectators lined the 3 corner, cement paved course through the upscale strip of Downer’s Avenue north of Milwaukee’s business centre, with multiple beer gardens, a live bands and a set of announcers that kept the crowd well informed of the action. One hundred metres past the first corner, there was a second finish line for the ULTIMATE preme sprint (which race organizers fundraise for for an entire year – this year it was worth $5,000!). This big money brought in United Healthcare sprinters Karl Menzies and Hilton Clarke so it was great to get the chance to race against these guys again (they had a great run recently at Nature Valley and Air Force Cycling Classic).

From the gun, small moves went off the front. Taylor did a great job of holding on as the last rider to make the major break of the day, making the rest of our lives a lot easier. With a BMC rider and two UHC riders including Menzies, Taylor rolled through with the break but saved his energy the best he could. Halfway through the 90 minute event, the breakaway returned to the peloton after a maximum advantage of thirty seconds. At this point the preme sprints started as race officials looked to keep the pace high and the race exciting. With the help of Roman and Jason (as Taylor recovered in the pack), Mike and I were able to snag a large number of large dollar premes while opening our sprinting legs up for the Ultimate and the finale.

At 14 laps to go (approximately 14 minutes), the Ultimate bell was rung and UHC immediately jumped on the front. Roman took me to with them and through the start finish we sat 4-5 behind UHC. However a crafty move by UHC distanced Menzies off the front as he went around corner 1 so I had no chance at an attempt, besides, he is a legend so it was just sweet to be throwing down the watts in his presence.

With 3 laps to go we set up for the finale and UHC let us line up 1-4 while they sat 5-8. Jason Allen, our team leader, threw down huge watts and as we went through the start finish the final time the announcers and the crowd were going insane. If I had yelled any words of encouragement to Roman and Jason, they wouldn’t have heard me it was so loud. Out of corner 2 along the backstraight, UHC came thundering up the inside as anticipated. Mike followed them and I slotted in for sixth wheel. Through the final corner, one UHC rider pulled off with another at 150 metres. The drag to the line was highlighted by a spotlight next to the stage and finish banner as the evening had arrived and it was dark enough to ride without glasses. Mike fanned out left as Menzies went right. I moved in behind Clarke as he charged up the inside. In the end, Clarke took it at the line with Menzies 2nd and Mike 3rd. I rolled across in 4th. A great ride!

We were all super stoked on our efforts and enjoyed the party atmosphere during the podium presentations as many spectators were stoked on the efforts of the boys in Yellow.

Mike moved up the 4th in the Omnium after last night’s result and now sits only 2 points out of third. One more day in Waukesha before the long drive home to Portland. Time to get some!

Roman delivers me @ 150m for one of race's many preme sprints

Roman & Jason ....hunting
Roman kicks in an effort to counter a Kenda Pro rider move
Taylor initiates the early break = everyone else can rest
Taylor busting it out in the day's move (Pink guy is a Tour finisher with Saunier)
Chocolate Milk for everyone after an excelling performance
Menzies (UHC) 2nd, Clarke (UHC) 1st & Northey (Rubicon) 3rd
Legendary Leon's for ice cream

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Friday, 25 June 2010

Day 4 - Fond du Lac Criterium

Mike Northey 7th

A bit of a longer drive than the over events, the team headed out to Fond du Lac for Friday’s criterium event. Another four corner circuit, very similar to Tuesday’s race in Sheboygan, Yellow looked to control the race or jump in early moves before setting up for the finale. Between all five of us, we were once again able to score a majority of the evening’s preme sprints and after a strong two man breakaway snuck away with 30 minutes remaining, Yellow lined up on the front with 15 laps (15 minutes) to go. Those fifteen minutes, although the most painful, were by far the most enjoyable. With Mike sitting in for the sprint, Taylor, Roman and I chased hard with the crowd reacting to our yellow train. At 12 laps to go Jason came up to the front to take over my position so that I could rest for the sprint. With 1.5 laps to go, the breakaway’s 22 second advantage had been reduced to 7 seconds but with Kenda breathing down our neck for the 3rd place sprint, I moved Mike up from 8th wheel to Roman and Jason on the back straight. Through corner three I took over the front but Jason was nearly ruined when a bonehead from behind essentially hugged Jason to avoid a lamppost (apparently the guy though there was space between the curb and Jason when J was already on the outside gutter as I came by). That produced a gap in the train and on the final lap Kenda came by our train. Fortunately Mike snuck in for 5th in the kick for 7th on the day.

The race was a bit strange as it never really settled down and we all felt a bit off. We are confident that tomorrow night’s event in Downer’s Grove will go better than tonight. We still walked away with a solid haul of preme dollars and the finale sprint thanks to Mike; although Mike stayed 8th in the Omnium standings, he now moves to within 9 points of 4th!

Roman leads the train with 1 to go (Photo Courtesy of cyclingnews.com)

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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Day 3 - Green Bush Road Race

Mike Northey 3rd , Roman Van Uden 4th

Today’s midday 130km road race event provided a nice change of pace after racing five criteriums in the last eight days. The undulating 16km circuit featured two steep but short climbs at 0.5-1km in length at 10-13% grade coupled with long sections of cross winds as we lapped back to the small town of Green Bush, WI. On lap 1 of 8, Mike slipped away with one other rider for the most significant break of the day. With a greatest advantage of 1 minute and 50 seconds, Taylor, Roman, Jason and I worked to cover bridge attempts off the front. Aerocat, Kenda and Bahati brought squads of 3-6 riders so we were well situated with our 5 man squad. On lap 2, Taylor suffered a shifter mechanical and had to switch to a neutral bike (supplied by Specialized and SRAM). Unfortunately it did not fit him well and he had to drop out on lap 5. Once Taylor moved back for the bike change, I came up to the front to help Roman cover moves. I wanted to do a lot of the work at this time so that Roman and Jason could help Taylor get situated and stay fresh for the counter move if Mike’s break came back. At the end of the third lap, with Roman relieving my work at the front, a massive hole in the road knocked my hands off my bars. With just my forearms on the handle bars, I didn’t have much reaction time at +60km/hr and lost control immediately. Fortunately, I landed in a field of grass and came out unscathed but had to buy a new helmet at local supporters Wheel and Sprocket Bike shop (A big shout out to Mike who helped us all get what we needed to ready us for tomorrow’s criterium – thanks MIKE!)

Down to three Rubicon Orbea riders, the field split on lap 5 in the cross winds with Jason, Roman and Mike all making the twenty rider group. Jason crushed it on the final lap in the hot conditions (without our generous homestay Patricia Young who handed out drinks and Cokes in the feed zone we would have been useless – THANKS PATRICIA! Your banana bread and cookies are very tasty too!) to keep the pace high and set up Mike and Roman for the finale. In the end, a Bahati rider proved too fast in the sprint, with Mike and Roman finishing 3rd and 4th respectively. Another solid day of racing!

Back to criterium racing tomorrow night in Fond du Lac before Satuday’s premiere event in Downer’s Grove.

Team @ Start

Taylor and Roman @ Start
Falcon (Bahati) wins - Mike 3rd
Falcon recently won the Manhattan GP in California June 27th = Fast sprinter

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Day 2 - Waterloo Criterium

Mike Northey 5th, Ben Chaddock 9th

Wednesday night we took off for the Trek bike factory in Waterloo, Wi. The longer 2.6km loop featured a shallow but narrow climb along the back of the circuit with three 90 degree turns leading into the final 220m drag to the line. By the time the field had staged, with Northey on the front row after a call up awarded for his 8th place overall, the mosquitoes were out for blood so everyone was anxious to get moving. The pace was slow to start until Taylor initiated the first move along the climb on the 2nd lap. Following his move, various breakaway attempts formed, the riskiest of which featured twenty riders at the 45minute mark. I quickly bridged up to cover it as it was the only move we had missed. However, the peloton brought it all back together a lap later and we returned to the status quo. Approaching the end, Yellow lined up in front of Mike with big J powering by the green and white Aerocat train at 4.5km from the finish (1.5 laps). With such a large distance to cover, Roman and I would have some serious work to get Mike to 200m. At the base of the climb on the last lap, Roman finished his long pull but we were slightly swarmed by a Bahati rider on the right and a Kenda rider on the left. I took over with Mike tight on my wheel and I drove it up the climb, emerging 1-2. Through the 90 degree corners I drove it hard and out of the final corner Mike slacked off a bit to prepare for the slingshot. At 180metres Mike came by but unfortunately he had some friends. Rahsaan Bahati took the sprint with Mike slipping to 5th as Aerocat posted two on the podium. I made it over the line in 9th. In all, even though the finale didn’t work out perfectly, the leadout train and our teamwork throughout the race (covering moves, winning every cash preme) was excellent. We all used out strengths to cover one another’s weaknesses and again brought home some cash as a reward. Road race tomorrow to change up the rhythm – hopefully it is not too hot.

Jason leads the Yellow train with 1 to go

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Day 1 - Sheboygan Criterium

Mike Northey 1st, Ben Chaddock 7th

Last night the guys and I jumped into the seventh of eleven stages at the Tour of America’s Dairyland. The criterium course was a straight forward, four corner circuit with some wind and tight final corners to spice up the tension within the pack. There was a good crowd too and we definitely made it a show. Right out of the box, after a long day of travel in the car yesterday and sub-par sensations in the legs during a spin this morning, my legs came to life and I covered the front in the opening laps. I was quickly joined by the rest of the guys after I returned to the peloton after a 2 lap dig off the front. We covered every move and pushed the pace throughout the 90 minutes event until Mike made his way into a four man breakaway. Nearly lapping the field on the 1.2km course, the guys put together a great lead out train with 1 lap to go and although a hectic 3rd corner disrupted our train, boxing me in during the final 180metres to the line from the final corner, a hole opened up at 20metres to go and I jumped out into 7th with a big throw at the line for 3rd in the bunch and 7th overall. Mike grabbed the win and with numerous prim sprints throughout the race, we pulled in quite a bit of coin. Good stuff. Afterwards out generous homestay Patricia Young took us out to Subway for dinner.

Criteriums continue throughout the week, with a premiere event in downtown Milwaukee on Saturday night. The only interruption is a road race on Thursday. Today we race in Waterloo around the Trek bike factory. It’ll be cool to travel back after spending a few hours there in May during the Collegiate National Team Time Trial race in which Whitman sealed our 4th national championship. Time to pedal hard!

Team dominates the podium
Team dominates the subway

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Tour of America's Dairyland

We bring the thunder! Everywhere we go, the storms follow! We made it to Kenosha, WI tonight with a house warming gift of lasanga and TONS of bananas!

Not to mention this! 110 inch projector screen and seats with subwoofers!


We are truly in heaven this week. Guitar hero, World Cup soccer and some pretty damn good cookies = Super bomb!

Golf course



We also witnessed a crazy lightning storm tonight. See the videos I have attached below.

video

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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Day 5 - Stillwater Criterium

June 20th - The stage of all stages. The 1.2 mile circuit featured the infamous Chilkoot Hill every lap and at 20 laps the 400metre grind at 22% shattered the race. Jason and Ben held on for 8 and 9 laps respectively, getting popped just at teammate Northey launched a vicious solo attack following the 2nd KOM sprint. Northey build up a lead of 25 seconds and held off the pack until 6 to go (totalling 8 laps / 30minutes off the front). In the finale, Taylor Gunman absolutely crushed himself and finished 11th on the day, ahead of the Stage 5 Yellow Jersey Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and just seconds behind the stage winner and tour winner Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare). With his impressive ride, Taylor turned a lot of heads and moved up to 2nd in the Amateur competition and 3rd in the Young Rider’s classification. Mike Northey also snagged the most Aggressive riders jersey for the final stage.

The team’s ride at the 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix turned out well and we greatly appreciate the assistance of all those who made our appearance at the 2010 event possible. Special thanks goes out to the Owens Family who housed us, cooked for us and went to great lengths just to get us into the event. Thank you John, Pat, Jess, Abra, Joe and Miles. We are all looking forward to seeing you again next year.

Pre-race Photo (L-R: Taylor, Jason, Mike, Myself and Roman)

Top of Chilkoot Hill - Mike
Top of Chilkoot Hill - Taylor
Top of Chilkoot Hill - Taylor 2
Post Race - Norrene & Taylor
Top of Chilkoot Hill - Post Race crowd
Podium Shot

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Day 4 - Menonomie Road Race

June 19th - Saturday’s Menonomie road race loomed ahead and as a new event in the 2010 tour, we knew it was going to be hard as the GC remained very tight after Friday. Featuring six steep climbs ranging from 1-1.6km topping out at 15%, the 100 mile course wound its way through smooth and scenic county roads which made for a great ride when coupled with the high number of twists, turns and small towns. Mike and Roman jumped in a bunch of early moves but unfortunately none stuck. At mile 50, riders were greeted with an unmarked gravel section that threw a curveball at the race. Some riders flatted which placed the Shimano neutral service off the back of the race when Ben’s brake came loose 5km later. Rubbing against the tire, Ben had to stop and although he chased for the remaining 40miles, his top 5 amateur position was gone. Once in the final circuits around town, Roman and Taylor helped Mike snag 7th in the bunch kick to the line. Going into the final day at Stillwater, Roman and Taylor remained 3rd and 6th in the Young Riders while Taylor moved up to 4th in the Amateur (Roman and Mike could not be classified as Amateur in 2010 because LandRover-Orbea was a licensed pro team in 2009. Amateurs must be unaffiliated with a pro team for three years before they can race in the amateur classification).

Joe and John joined Norrene in the caravan

Roman being serious as usual
Roman being serious for real in the
finishing circuits after 85 miles in the countryside
Roman and Taylor position Mike well, helping him go 7th in the stage finale
Tired Riders

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Friday, 18 June 2010

Day 3 - Uptown Criterium

June 18th - With the cancelled road race stage, we all knew that Friday’s criterium in Minneapolis’ Uptown was going to be fast. Known as the biggest spectator event of the tour, the riders were not disappointed. It was a party! The entire 1.2km course was lined with fans, on both sides, sometimes deeper than 1 layer! It was a huge event. The field was spread out in a long line for most of the evening as Kelly Benefit Strategies rode to protect their GC ambitions; but Roman, feeling great and knowing there were many good looking ladies in the crowd, took off in an early breakaway. Sporting the Yellow, he helped the break establish upwards of fifteen seconds. Around the halfway mark however, the break came back to the peloton. Near the end, despite Roman and Ben’s best efforts to move Mike up for the sprint, the high pace at the front and choppy moves by riders in the bunch forced breaks in the line to occur so in the end Yellow would have to be content with pack time today.

Team Ride with John & Joe Owens (in the AM), our homestays

John and Joe
Riding hard at Uptown
Jason (NZL track legend) ripping it up as usual
Roman off the front
Roman and his friends in the break
Mike and I near the end of the race
trying to work the corners to move up

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Day 2 - Cannon Falls Road Race

June 17th - Thursday road race in Cannon Falls was a bit of a drive and featured a late start (5pm) with strong winds in the forecast for the 60mile event. The wind acted up as anticipated and placed a few of the peloton’s riders in trouble through the various cross-wind sections; however Yellow was able to stay at the front and mark the few moves that attempted early escapes. But at 15miles, race officials stopped the race as black clouds rolled overhead and tornado warnings blanketed the area. We turned back towards town and with the tailwind, cruised back in Gran Fondo style at 30mph. By the time we got back to Cannon Falls the air was heavy and still, definitely the calm before the storm. We got out of there fast and avoided the multiple tornados that landed just 8km from the start/finish!

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Day 1 - St. Paul Criterium


June 16th: St. Paul Individual Time Trial

The yellow train rolled in to Minneapolis last week for the pinnacle event of our 2010 calendar. Fresh off solid rides in St. Louis, Missouri at the Tour de Grove, we were all anxious to get started. Wednesday morning’s short 10km individual time trial featured a steep final kilometre after a flat out and back in the most aerodynamic position we could muster as this year’s organizers decided to outlaw time trial bikes for convenience and travel cost purposes. Mike headed out first and posted an impressive time of 13.34, thirty nine seconds back for 15th place. Roman slotted in at 28th, 14seconds back of Mike while Ben and Taylor finished 59th and 61st respectively.

June 16th: St. Paul Criterium

After a short afternoon nap, high temperatures in St. Paul’s downtown core made for a difficult evening criterium when the gun went off at 7.45pm. Seventy five minutes later after an average speed of 48.2 km/hr made for a stressful race packed with incidents along the 7 corner course (featuring 300 metres of cobbles), Roman, Taylor and Ben finished in the lead group while a crash hindered Mike Northey’s chance at the stage sprint. Jason and Mike were both stuck in the second group but Northey drove the pace through to the line, limiting the damage to a 30 seconds. After the event, everyone was so gassed that some of the guys had trouble finding the right parking lot. At the end of the day Roman sat 3rd in the Young Rider’s competition (Taylor 6th), with Ben and Taylor sitting 5th and 6th in the Amateur competition respectively.

7.45pm Downtown St. Paul Criterium Start - +160 racers
Kelly Benefits Strategies through the cobble corners
Roman was active throughout the race
I held on with the front group of 60 riders, finishing 40th ish

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