Red Kite #3 E4 & E3/4 Race Report

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Fun times in Livermore today. My goal for the day was to try and scrape up 4 upgrade points to finally free myself from Cat 4 Purgatory. I signed up for both the E4 and 3/4 race to increase my chances.

Elite 4:
Lined up with 42 other racers for this one. There were some familiar faces in the field which was a good thing, mostly I recognized riders who knew no better than to sit on the front and try and ride fast… I used to be one of them. Tucked myself safely in the front 1/4 of the peloton for most of the race, ended up off the front a couple of times but dialed it back to conserve. (on a side note, I hate racing this way, total lack of aggression). Things got strung out on the last lap but on the second to last straight the field ballooned and hesitated slightly. I pounced, powering away into the final corner, I was certain that someone had followed me up but when I looked back, I was alone. Knowing full well I couldn’t relax I sprinted my ass off to the line and crossed with 1-2 bike lengths of a gap. Win number 2 in the books, stoked to seal my upgrade points in the first race.

Josh Keel takes the win at Red Kite #3
Josh Keel takes the E4 win at Red Kite #3

Hit Play below and then fast forward to 2:30 to catch the winning move and sprint.

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Chico Stage Race Report – Elite 3

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Paskenta Hills Road Race 2014 - The Gravel Lap 1 (Photo: Alex Chiu)
Paskenta Hills Road Race 2014 – The Gravel Lap 1 (Photo: Alex Chiu)

Chico Stage Race hosted by Chico Corsa Cycling Club and managed by Mike Painter is the event I’ve been most looking forward to in the early race season, I’ve been planning for this race weekend since November really.  A 90 mile road race with two laps through a four mile stretch of gravel and a few well placed climbs, a challenging time trial that is usually windy, and Downtown Criterium finale add up to one epic race weekend.  My team has similarly been planning to hit this stage race for months.  Curt Mills setup a rental house; complete with pool, four bedrooms, three couches, multiple flat screens, and a large kitchen with bar stools for planning race strategy over beer, wine, and great food.  We had a near full squad of cat three guys ready to race (Curt Mills, Andrew Shimizu, Eric Brickler, Tyler Janke, and Casey Fallon), while a few key players were temporarily sidelined and sincerely missed due to injury (Patrick Callan, Travis Retzger) or family travel (Nate Dunn).  Collectively we planned to take this weekend by storm, and luckily for me the guys were willing to put together a race strategy aimed at landing me on the top step.  Their confidence in me was apparent upon arrival when I was forced to take the master bedroom; while some of the others took up couches, shared beds, or slept in a twin.  Confidence is a rare feeling for me but I did my best to start translating their humble support into a focused approach to the stage race weekend.  Here is how the race unfolded… Read the rest of this entry »

Land Park Criterium

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In what’s become a NorCal tradition, the Sacramento Golden Wheelmen hosted a great weekend of racing – starting with the Land Park criterium Saturday and ending with the Bariani road race on Sunday. Here’s a quick recap of the 1st day at Land Park.

First off, the day’s weather was amazing. I (Curt) started the morning on the local Coffee Republic group ride with Eric, but turned back so I could catch some of the early races with our Castelli rep Andrew Nelson of Servizio-Corse. Andrew might be the most chill dude around and is always great to run into at races. To Mr. Nelson – thanks for letting us hang out under the shade of your tent and shoot the breeze, we really appreciate everything you do and feel lucky to have such a solid partner.

Shortly after spectating a couple races, Tyler and I lined it up in the M35+1/2/3 as a warm-up for the E3 race. That warm-up race was slightly warmer than anticipated and I suffered greatly in moments. In the end though Tyler and I both stayed safe and rolled in with the pack.

The next race was the Elite 3, and this time Tyler and I lined up with Nate, Casey, and Eric. Within 500 meters the race was fast and lo and behold, Casey was in the break. As soon as that break got caught, Eric ventured into a break of his own. This break was comprised of only two men, one of whom I’ve been reminded is still only riding with one good arm. Even so, the two men held off the field for what felt like 5-7 laps. Impressive stuff. Unfortunately for the break, a couple of the Golden Wheelmen riders were like, “what’s a bridge?”…and chased and chased.

Long story short, break gets caught and we weren’t very good from there on out. Luckily everyone finishes safely and we end the evening with beers and burgers at Pangea, and then a quick stop at Gunther’s. All in all, great day racing bikes.

Madera Stage Race

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Here’s a quick recap from our team’s trip to the Madera Stage Race – this weekends DDA roster included Casey, Eric, Nate, and me – Curt.

Time Trial:
Our team’s hopes in the “race of truth” hinged on Eric Brickler, who’s racing with one good arm (“to make it a fair fight”) – and Casey Fallon who’s ramping up for the Chico Stage Race in a couple of weekends. The two of them laid down solid efforts and landed just outside the top 10 (11th and 13th respectively) in a full 75 man field. Nate and I did less well, but remained in remarkably upbeat spirits all the same – really well done Nate and I.

Nate, back at it!
Nate, back at it! (photo credit: Alex Chiu)

Criterium:
Needing a fair amount of time to land in the top 3 in GC, we decided to do what we enjoy best and just race our bikes in the crit. This crit felt a little like a P/1/2 race where there’s this constant aggression until a break get’s established that’s agreeable to the field, only this field was pretty disagreeable and that wasn’t going to happen. The whole race attacks would go, get caught, then the counter would come – for 60 minutes this went on, making it easily the most difficult race we’d done all season.

Somewhere in the midst of the relentless attacks, Eric shows his incredible race savvy and unleashes his killer sprint to land a time bonus prime that moves him into the top 10 in GC. Again, all with only one good arm.

Finally with two to go Casey put in a perfect move, got a gap, and put the bit between his teeth (his words, no fake british accent used). The pack was caught trying to determine who was going to chase this down, I love this moment in races. Read the rest of this entry »