Well, we’ve got a few accounts of the other
categories from the Club Challenge #2 at Boca (just below)…so, I’ll
pitch in with my report of the A’s.
Firstly, we send out a huge thanks to Corey Avery,
Paige Galeoto, and Jeff Angermann for running the scoring. What a
great group of people we’ve got around here! You guys are the best.
As we headed out of the staging area a group of 4
shot off the front. It was a good little group, motivated and
working well together, but that first section is so damn tough to
stay away from a fresh pack. So, the inevitable chase brought them
back and it was gruppo compacto for the first climbs. There was a
definite ‘nervous’ feeling in the A group for this edition of Boca.
I’m excited to say that there is a very strong battle for the top of
the twilight series standings going on in the divisions…good thing,
cause there’s gonna be some serious cash rewards offered up for the
top spots (in ALL categories). Everybody wanted to be near the front
and yet everybody was trying to conserve as much energy as possible
for the much anticipated fireworks to occur on the ‘Wall.’
Kyle Dixon and I (Michael Hernandez) planned on
making the race hard - going for the win on the KOM and then trying
to get a group we could control to the finish. As we approached the
Wall, the pace was again nervous and I decided it would be better
to keep it fast to negate any thoughts of a small group or
individual jumping away from the pack to try for the prestigious KOM
points. With Kyle on my wheel, we did a little imitation of this
year's Giro d'Italia KOM lead-out ala Freddy Gonzalez and the Selle-Italia
team. A hard pace through the bottom of the Wall and all was looking
fine. The pack was already shattering and Kyle was comfortably
settled in to 2nd position with me leading out (up!) the climb. And
then...a strong attack by the Warehouse’s Gary Thompson.
Gary was definitely going for it, out of the saddle
and using his usual monstrous gearing to pound away at the Wall. 10
meters would be all we’d allow him so that we would have enough time
to reel him in...so, it was pace making to bring Kyle up. I would hear
from behind me, “I’ll get him,” and off would jump my mountain-goat
teammate. Oh, damn it’s great having such a strong, smart teammate
who can finish off the work you do for him! Truly, my most loved
memories of bike racing are when I can play the role of ‘super-domestique,’
burying every ounce of pain and effort and soul in to a teammate's
chances for success. It is only that much better when it’s a
teammate you can respect as a rider and person…like Kyle!
Kyle would fly up the steepest section of the Wall
and win the KOM by a comfortable margin. Riding extremely well for
the other points were Mike Cupitt, Stosh Bankston, Jim Barkley, and
Brian Rouse. Gary would pay for his aggressive jump and fall off the
pace a bit. Soon after the climb a small group would form with 4
Warehouse riders, 2 of the ProCyclery riders, a couple of unattached
riders, and Kyle and me. I decided this was a good group for us to
work over, so drove the pace as best I could to keep our gap. A bit
gassed from the Wall effort, no one in the group but Kyle, myself
and Michael Cupitt were willing to really put the hammer down. No
problem - I told Kyle to not work too hard and I would do the
pulling. I’ve got to admit, it felt pretty dang good driving the
group at 50kph+ across those rollers. On the way back from the dam,
Kyle and I had a quick conversation on how to finish the race. Kyle
was happy to let me have a go at the win (since he nabbed the KOM
points), but I got the win last week at Sparks and knew that Kyle
would be our man.
We got the other riders to take a few pulls and then
I went to work with the body blows. A set-up attack over that steep
little hill after the dam, then another little acceleration before
the turn back on to Hirschdale…they were all reeling a bit by then.
We descend down from the Wall and then it was time for the real
solar-plexus punch, a hard attack on the first roller. I just put my
head down and powered. I knew that they would chase hard, but I also
knew that Kyle was ready to counter. Two…three…four minutes of
balls-to-the-walls chasing by the group to try and bridge up to me,
and then Kyle threw the big haymaker.
“Zoom,” he’s past me like a rocket and I know that’s
the winner. On their heels from the set-up work, now the group is on
the canvas from Kyle's knock-out blow. But wait, up from the 8-count
is the fighting Aussie, Michael Cupitt. He is chasing hard up the
last significant hill of the race and he joins up with Kyle…what a
superior effort. I really like this guy’s willingness to suffer. I
do a little blocking with the group of 5 chasers and the break is
gone. Kyle will put in a vicious acceleration in the last 300 meters
and finish off a ridiculously fun day of racing with yet another
victory for the Wheelmen!
Behind these two, our group would get caught by
another small group so that we have about 11 riders contesting the
final 3 podium spots. With 500 meters to go, the Warehouse’s
Jim Barkley throws in a marvelously timed attack. It reminded me of
Tchmil attacking a few years ago in Milan-San Remo for the surprise
win at that legendary classic. Jim's effort was great to see. I
thought for an instant to bridge across to him, but the ProCyclery
rider, Jason Lilje had been sitting on wheels for the entire race
and I wasn’t about to pull this guy up to Jim to have him beat us
both in the sprint…so, the gap opened up and Barkley would take a
very brave 3rd place. Paul Gossi and Rich Lorson would pull like mad
from 400-200 meters, keeping the speed just right for the
springboard to the finish. Lilje would come around me fairly easily
in the sprint with Jason Walker taking 6th ahead of Bill Daley.
What a race!
B - Reports:
Another B "-" report since once again, I was nowhere
near the lead group.
Luckily, I was recovering from a cold, so I had a
built in excuse before even starting. I wonder if that made me
mentally wimp out before I should have?
I sprinted off the front from the word go, and was joined by another
Wheelmen, Dave Somebody or other (sorry I can't remember your last
name). We got a pretty decent gap (out of site of the main group for
a while thanks to Tony P strategically dropping his chain somewhere
in the group, but when we hit the second hill, Dave marched ahead
and I basically cracked. (Thank you Phil Liggett)
Ever write a check with insufficient
funds....yeah....that was me! Hey...it was fun anyway. Nearly
everyone passed me on the KOM hill, mustered up a little drive to
hang with a few folks after that, held off the approaching C group
(barely), did a little better on the side loop, cramped in both
calves after the dam and pretty much limped home. (Are there any
openings in the C's?) Oh well, good fun and no flats...what more
could you ask for?
I would love to hear a report from the real B race.
BTW, I think Ross passed me too.
And from Ross and Brandy:
Here is my Boca race report for Tuesday June 10th.
Made it with the pack to the main climb. Got Dropped...hooked on
with a chase group....got dropped....hooked on with another chase
group...got dropped again....bridged up to Thomas Hill (after
chasing him for two miles)...got out-sprinted at the line by the
little bastard......Hopefully I will have a better report next time
and somebody has a better perspective of what the real racing was
like up front......Ross
Here's my Boca race report from the C's -- Rode with the main pack
till the first hill... Got dropped... Stayed dropped until Ross came
by...followed him for a short while...got dropped. ....
And from Rich Paul:
You both are welcome to join me in the "old, fat,
and slow" club.
Here's my race report:
Started at the back of the group and managed to get stuck back with
he stalled at the start. Didn't have enough motivation to try and
through the crowd to get to the front. The group kept accelerating
decelerating constantly, which made it hard to get a comfortable
rhythm or a
decent warm-up before the first hill. And of course the lack of
show when we hit the first hill. The group accelerated away from me.
managed to slowly ramp up my speed but neglected to push myself all
over the top so I lost contact with the main group. As we hit the
wall my legs
were feeling a little better so I kept a steady pace going up and
pick off a few stragglers. Going down the backside I picked off one
more people and pushed myself on the flats to try and make up more
Unfortunately I left it too little and too late. The lead groups had
more of a
gap than I could hope to cover so at the turn around I eased up a
waited for the group that had formed behind me to catch up. As they
got on my
wheel I picked up the pace again and managed to drag them back up
of the wall and nearly up to the group just ahead. At that point I
sat up and
decided to forgo the stampede loop and have a fairly easy jaunt back
in to the
finish, no cramps, no blowing up, no getting pimped at the line by
that I managed to catch on the way in, and as a matter of fact I was
pretty good when I rolled across the finish line. Oh well, there's
flatlander stuff that my big ass seems to be provide an actual
instead of a liability.
And from the C's:
Well if anybody thinks the C's are a picnic ride,
they should have lined up
with their napkins ready last night. They would have needed them to
sweat off their brows as this was one aggressive pack that wasn't
take it easy. At the gun, Kyle Smith did his now predictable solo,
the AARP crowd firmly in control of the front, we kept him at about
seconds, rather than just bringing him back. There was the usual bit
jousting at the first bump hill to the flats, and when we hit the
hill, I held tempo at the front as long as I could, only to have
juniors (Kyle Smith, Joey Little & Nate Sowle), Dana Ginsberg and a
of others out-climb me. It took a painful digging effort to stay in
over the top and the huge field was shattered behind. I can't recall
the first big hill faster.
Over the top and the 'tween hill saw another huge
effort allowing no time to recover for the KOM. Again, my "at the
tempo" maneuver only lasted for a third of the hill as the Young'uns went
after those precious KOM points. As they passed, I counted down my
When I saw there was not going to be anything left for me, I rode my
and looked around for help. Bill Nagel was nearby, looking strong.
second group coalesced at the top and I had to fight to get to the
back so I
could recover. A lot of others apparently had the same idea. But
group we were chasing was making no real effort to stay away and we
together at the turnaround. The pace picked up considerably as we
approached the backside of KOM. A very hard effort down the hill in
gears, and we had a nice little group. The juniors, me and Bill
Alta Alpina boys and a very suspicious "old fart" character I had
from the beginning. You just can't hide the suplesse pedaling style
comes with a few decades of cycling. This guy could climb & knew how
in the pack. Verrrrrry Dangerous!
Reaching the return big hill, again I went to the
front, setting the
absolutely fastest tempo I could go without blowing up. I surprised
myself, still leading at the top. Looking back at all the contorted
strung out behind, I sat up when I realized no one had the legs to
try to go
for it. So the group reassembled and settled into a single file
flat and through the canyon. Back out on the flats, Bill launched
admirable solo attacks, but into the quarter headwind, he would
the group to jump to his wheel and settle back down. I picked the
old fart as my best chance for a lead out in the finale. A big early
the last little rise caused more than one rider to blow. It was
three of us at 400 meters.
The mystery old fart suddenly was out of the saddle
and down the road. I knew it! Old fart was none other than Bob
Bahlman, a top rider locally many years ago. ( and people give ME
about being down in the C's). I hesitated to see if the other guy,
would go after him first, but in those hyper seconds of time, I
would have to do the job, even if it meant offering him my wheel.
still leading at 100 meters to the line, Rob came by me. Seeing
contesting, I foolishly let up instead of keeping the gas pedal
eased as well, and who knows, maybe had I kept it up, I could have
2nd. But to have been beaten by a guy of the caliber of Balhman and
race with such a huge C field, I was quite satisfied with my 3rd
I'll take a hard won third over a piece of cake first any day!
AGAIN, to the officials and worker-bees, without you, such a huge
would have been total chaos.
And another B Report
(look at all these reports!)
Dare I say it? OK, I will.....
(But first let me give a little background. This is my second year
of road racing and last year I got handily dropped from the lead
group every time at Boca.)
THIS RACE WAS EASIER THAN THE SPARKS CRIT COURSE. Time was about the
same... 55 minutes. At Sparks I've never thought about being able to
hold a conversation; last night at Boca there were several places
where I could. Sparks kills me with the heat; last night I
consciously observed how good the cool air and the shade felt.
Anyhow, the details:
Stayed with the main field in the "B" group till the Wall, where I
knew I would be dropped. And I was. And it was demoralizing how
people wouldn't just pass me, they would pass me like I was on a
tricycle. Not just passing but FLYING by me. Zheeesh, and I've been
doing hill work this year too....
After lugging my thoroughly deflated ego over the top of the Wall, I
started working with an Alta Alpina guy (OK, sucking his wheel, but
who's counting). During my pull, a strong mutha on a blue
Specialized in UNR gear went by. My kind of wheel... strong guy who
could pull on the flats and the power climbs. As we got to the
turnaround the lead group was only 30 or so seconds ahead (and oh
what painful seconds those can be). I played sleigh driver to our
group (we'd picked up a few stragglers along the way), yelling at
people to work together and bridge the gap. We could see the lead
group, but it was just a little to far to try to solo, and I had
confidence that our group could get back up there. As we turned off
of Hirschdale on the dam road we were pulling close. A big hit of
power on the flat part of the dam and the gap was bridged. We were
in the main group again!
(Side note: this was the victory of the night for me... just to say
I wasn't dropped and finished with the group. Especially after the
ridiculously hard effort that I put in at Peavine on Saturday).
So from here on out I managed to keep up. In fact there were times
when we were just casually loafing along and at a talking pace. I
was really surprised that those skinny climber dudes who had so
thoroughly blown me to bits on the Wall did not make any big attacks
on the returning climbs...but they didn't. So there we were in the
canyon, and I was STILL with the lead group... wow! A different Alta Alpina guy attacked a couple of times on the flats and I jumped on
his wheel both times. But we couldn't get away, and I would come to
regret the efforts. As we got towards the end a couple of more
futile breaks went, and then at the last corner the real breaks
went. Turns out I had burned up a few too many matches covering the
breaks on the flats and was too pooped to hang for the final field
sprint. Probably finished 15th(?).
Nonetheless, a VERY nice 15th. Given my history with this race last
year and my leg destroying effort at the Peavine Challenge, just
staying with the lead group was a huge victory for me. Looking
forward to doing this one again where I can try to race a little
smarter at the end.
Send your race report to Michael