Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mothballs and Footballs

As fun as it would have been to go yet again to San Diego for the Boulevard RR, I couldn't justify passing up a race two miles from home. Mothballs Crit 2008 was another excellent production by Mondo and the Echelon crew. Everything ran precisely on time and there were no bad crashes or controversies. For a SoCal crit, I'd call that pretty darn successful. Even the announcing from Frazer and Aaron was awesome!

Here's a few pics and stories... as always, click on the pictures to see full size, and please leave a comment or email me to correct any mistakes in the story telling. (BTW, no disrespect intended for those races I don't mention, rather it's just that I got no material.)

Cat 4: My team had the defending champ and he gave it a go for another win but, as is often the case, cat 4 field sprints are a crap shoot and the dice didn't roll his way this time. It's interesting to me that breaks so rarely succeed in these fields because the disparity in strength is so big (I think). One guy not willing to sit and wait was John Orach, who's returning to racing after a 10-year break. Here he is trying to make something happen...

...but nobody would bridge across to him so he spent four laps out front solo. If one strong guy had gone across, they would've had a fighting chance. Oh well. Check Steve Weixel's blog for more pics from this race.

[add/edit] Oh wow... I just saw the results, and it says Johnny O won!! What a humble guy, he didn't even mention it!

45+: Four of us from Platinum (C-Brown, Mark Be-Lukie, TnA, and moi) toed the line along with 30-40 other Masters including a strong squad of VOS riders who just finished up a week-long training camp in the SY Valley. I didn't know any of them but had a strong sense they would be good riders. They just had the look. Also racing were wiley vets Keith Ketterer and Steve Strickler from Amgen/Giant, bruisers C-Black-Ride and Steve Gregorios from Morgan Spinely, and lots of other elderly speedsters. Our goal was simple... make a break stick. So we were active and about half way through the 40-minute race, I countered a move by TnA and quickly we had a gap and some motivated guys (me, Strickie, Gregorios, Mike Gourley, Fred Hobblit, Paul Thorsen, two VOS riders, and I think I'm forgetting somebody). The gap grew and then we sprinted. I felt good but started too late from the back and couldn't get past the three Steves (L-to-R: Steve Gregorios--Morgan Spinely, Steve Gile--VOS, Steve Strickler--Amgen/Giant). The sprint...

Cat 3's: A strong presence from the Chicken Ranchers in this race with some really fast sprinters (Blinger, Matt, Luis, and Olympian Dave Lettieri) and general strongmen in former Jr national champ Ben Edwards, Aaron Long, Barney, and Pops Larsen. Aaron was off the front but got caught very near the end. Not sure how the last lap unfolded but our heroes were all over the front and would have won except for one quick Helen's rider (Chris Thompson) who beat them to the line...

Women 1/2/3: A small but tough field including 2007 winner Betsy Galenti and teammate Lea Adams (Helen's), Jill Gass (Karyla Wines), Anna Drakulich (Bicyle John's), Kim Turner (C-Ranch), and Lil' Ninja Ryan Hostetter from Velo Bella.

About half way through a break of three went clear, gained time, and then Betsy won the sprint for a repeat victory.

Anna easily won the bunch sprint for 4th. Sadly for her, any joy from this result was crushed the next day when her beloved New England Patriots lost the Superbowl and a chance to make history as the NFL's first 19-0 undefeated team. C'est la vie...

35+: This was an incredibly cool race and the VOS team put on a nearly flawless clinic.

From the gun, Dan Martin took off solo and steadily ground out the laps and kept the field at bay. That is really hard to do and the crowd, such as it was, showed their appreciation by cheering him on.

Good ol' Johnny O, break-away rider extraordinair in the 90's, bridged on up and went pull for pull for a couple laps but his legs weren't up to the task and soon he dropped off.

Next year, he crushes the 35+!

The field was trying. Here is Coach Doyle ripping through the S/F straight with the full field in chase.

Blinger taking a turn trying to bring back Martin. Don't feel bad that it was so hard to bring him back... he's a bonafide motor who won the prestigious Cat's Hill Classic last year the Pro/1/2!!

Nick taking a turn being closely marked by Hernando.

Kim Anderson rode with the 35+ men after already doing the Cat 3 race. Note the bandaged elbow... a result of being taken down in the earlier Cat 3 race. If I were her manager or coach, I'd say "No Way" to doing the Cat 3 race. But who asked me...

Eventually Dan was brought back, and immediately another group of 12 went this time with both Martin and Hernando and some other very strong riders. Perhaps the break was too big however, because they never got a big gap and with just a couple laps remaining, the field closed in. Hernando launched and quickly gained 20 seconds. A race winning move? It looked good at 1-to-go 'cause Mike had a 15-second cushion and only 1,000 meters of smooth pavement between him and the second VOS victory of the day. But if there's one thing you can count on, it's that SoCal crit riders go fast on bell lap. I mean F'n fast, and as strong as Mike is, he couldn't hold them off, and got swarmed just before the line. His expression is priceless... how many of you kids can dig that deep?!

P/1/2: Yeah OK, the real world beaters like Toyota-United, Rock Racing, Kelly Benefits, et. al., were down at Boulevard ripping each others legs off. But we had some horsepower too in our 60-man field. Amongst the Pros and other Ubers taking the line at the 2008 Mothballs Classic were Kodak/SierraNevada alumni Pete Lopinto, Jesse Anthony, and Cody O'Reilly. Also a coupla USA U-23 studs (e.g., Chris Barton), and rising stars like Uthman Ray and big bad Adrian Gerrits, and assorted studs from Time Factory, SoCalCycling, Rock Solid Cycling, and Bearpaw. Charles Dionne was rumored to be about, but I don't know what he looks like so who knows. We Platinum warriors were only at half strength with Cookie and Ben on injured reserve, and C-Brown still coming back from serious sickness. Nonetheless, Gary and I decided to ride agressively and see what might fall out of the tree.

I'll save you having to read much more, and just say that there were lots of attacks and most everything was covered or closed down very quickly. Let's now enjoy some more nice pictures from Goodman Graphic.

Going through the first corner with Cody. At this point, it would have been wise to attach a bungy cord to his bike. A really strong bungy cord.

Gary followed by MarkZen, who's always onboard with the ride-agressive plan.

Gary and C-Walk had words last week about the strategy of trying to mark Chris. CW has been a marked man for 15 years and it still pisses him off. So what does Gary do? Ha-ha-ha. I think deep down inside, C-Walk realizes it's a strong show of respect. But he still hates it.

So I figured I'd try it too.

With about 20 minutes remaining, I rolled off solo for a lap, and next thing I knew Uthman, Mike Easter, and Pete Lopinto came charging up with space and quickly we were joined by Adrian, Nick, Eric Bennet, and a SCVelo and a Bearclaw. We got down to bidness and soon we had a good gap. I pulled a bit too hard once or twice and had to take a brief timeout, but otherwise felt good.

Nick was a horse and took some strong pulls. We got the 5-to-go card and had, oh, maybe 30 seconds.

I thought we had a chance.

But the motivation back in the field was still strong, and Cody is very fit. Had I looked over my shoulder right here, I would have cried.

So we got caught with just under 2-to-go. Daddy-O'Reilly spun it up for Cody and he womped on everybody and won easily. I mean it was like a man against little boys.

But the sprint for 2nd was tight, as shown by this shot from the finish-line camera...

Gary managed to stay in the scrum and got 16th and I was back between 20th and 30th. Although we didn't score any goodies, we rode hard and took chances. Like Jens says, "if ya don't try anyTing, ya beaten ... right at da staut, beaten ... why even sho up?" Right on Jens!


So that was Mothballs ... what about Footballs??

Today was Superbowl Sunday and we (Gina, McFlurry, and I) did the Superbowl Sunday 4-mile running race that conveniently started just down the block from home. Not exactly the prescribed recovery activity after a two-crit day, but what the hell...

A few pics from DJ.

Starting in the rain and cold. Those three guys in the red jerseys are really fast, and they were gone in the first quarter mile. Running ain't like bike racing... no drafting to help you fool yourself into thinking you have a chance!

Three hotties!

A dork.

McFlurry running with the ladies ...sly little dog!

He snooped in on their conversations. The girl in front is making Hawaiian Bubble bread for a superbowl party.

In the end, I was happy to finish on the same day as the winners, losing only slightly more than a minute per mile, and ending the pain in 25:04. Gina wasn't too happy with her time but still got 2nd in her age group anyway and took home a timely prize (below), and Brian set a new PR for the 4-mile distance. A fun day.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Mark on a great result in the 45+ race. The team performed beautifully and you finishd the deal nicely. Good on ya mate.

gene r

dr-nitro said...


jen said...

The Bella in the 1/2/3's race is Ryan Hostetter from SLO. We call her Lil' Ninja, she likes to make trouble :-)

Marco Fanelli said...

Thanks Gene, but 4th is not finishing the deal. I think I've placed in every conceivable spot out there over the years, except the one that everyone's really trying for, i.e., 1st. But you're right about the team.

Nick- You need to change your little picture from a dog to a to a race horse!

Thanks Jen, I edited the post. She's a strong rider and doubled up in the 35+ race.