VOS 2017

First off, I think Gene deserves teammate of the year.  He let Tim and I stay at his house, even fed us, and then drove us the thousands of miles around central Arizona to the various sites … all after injuring his calf in the TT.  He cramped up and had some micro-tears that developed into a full blown calf tear first trip up the hill on the road race.  Despite all that, he braved the wind and cold, twice, to give Tim a bottle in his race which was about 3 hours after we were finished!

I’ll let Tim tell his story, of course, but I’ll mention what he’s going to leave out, probably.  He was in a VERY strong Cat 3 group … there were some absolute studs there doing their last Cat 3 races before moving up to Cat 2.  I follow several of them on Instagram and Strava…that field was LOADED!

As for me, I finished 2nd in the GC for men’s cat 4.  I’m super happy with that, especially since I never really expected to do a lot of winning this year.  I thought NEXT year would be my “come-back” tour.  (That’s a little sarcasm because I’ve only raced half of one season before getting hurt.)

In the TT I had a very, very bad day.  It was good enough for second on the day, but I felt I didn’t deserve it  … silly, but the amount of power I put on that TT was what I usually do for tempo intervals.  But, I was pretty sick, and I wasn’t slow due to lack of effort!

The wind on the TT was pretty strong, a tail cross on the way out, which is slightly uphill, and a head cross on the way back.  I had a 90mm front wheel on and I got pushed around a lot!  But, the wheel never got twisted, I just got moved side to side, sometimes abruptly.

The road race figured to be a real shit-show.  It was windy, blowing all different directions, very wet and there were parts of the course with some bad road, huge rumble strips and a cattle guard right after a turn.  But, as it turned out, the only people on the day that crashed were juniors!  I felt better than I did on the TT, but still was just dying to make it up the hill in the group.   I never really figured into the make-up of the race other than to try and bridge to a break away, but being 2nd, I wasn’t allowed any leash.  I came in 8th place on the day.

Before the road race both Stephen Pendone and Tom Danielson reached out to me with encouragement and advice.  It wasn’t advice I was able to execute in the road race, but I felt stronger still on day 3.  I wasn’t sore and had good legs.  The advice was, in TD’s words, “Make the race a fucking blood bath.”  It was interesting because during the crit, someone else was doing just that for the first few laps and I was hurting.  I moved up and moved up and it got easier.  I kept moving up until the first prime lap when I attacked, got $50 and got away.  One dude bridged and then another, but after I think 2 or maybe 3 laps, we got reeled in.  I just stayed well positioned from them on, until lap 3 when there was another prime.  I just moved up patiently and then stood on the pedals just enough to get a second prime!  

On the last part of the second to last lap riders STOPPED holding their lines and people started getting really twitchy.  All I needed to do to stay 2nd in GC was finish, so I just went on the front and held the pace high until the back stretch when some people started attacking.  I just surfed wheels in and came in mid-pack, same time as the winners.    😀 

I learned exactly what Stephen and Tom were talking about.  When you’re dictating the pace, even when you’re not attacking anymore, people look at you and treat you differently.  It gets way easier when they’re a little afraid of you.  Next time I’ll see if I can use that to get a W.

-Philip

Merry Crit-Mas 12/17/16

This was criterium number three for me and since I crashed out in number two, I was a little nervous.  The field was pretty big compared to the other races on the day … 38 racers I believe.  The weather was windy and cold. 

My goals going into the race were as follows:

  1.  Have fun – Stay Upright
  2. Discover weaknesses I have
  3. Learn tactics
  4. Gain Experience
  5. Win

Yup, winning was pretty low on the list.  In fact, I had a very tough week of V02 max work and over-unders (intervals where the rest is at 95% of FTP), a trip to the gym for weight lifting and a whole lot of bad sleep. Also, I’m working on losing weight and lost 6 pounds the week of the race.  That’s great for the future racing, but lose 6 pounds in a week and you’re weak and tired.

My pre-race ritual was better executed than last race.  I remembered my gloves (left them in the car last time), and turned on my every-important GoPro!  My warm-up routine seems to work well for me, so if nothing else, I think that’s pretty dialed in.

At the whistle there was some dude who just took off, but he was given zero leash.  Two turns in, on the back stretch (directly into the wind), and the whole field was stretched out single file. I found myself on the back as I didn’t line up early enough for a good spot (lesson learned).  So I had to move up to the front 3rd of the field into the headwind, burning some matches.  What also got burned off with the match were my nerves. Once I was racing, I was calm.

About five minutes into the race, Team Tolero decided to toughen up the race and they shelled a large portion of the field. Thankfully, racers that were lapped got pulled in this race, unlike last time.  During this time with Tolero working hard to soften the race I realized that I suck at corners.  Watching the GoPro footage I realize that I scrub off too much speed heading into the corners.  I got gapped every single corner for the whole race, but especially when there was a high pace. I burned a lot of matches regaining contact coming out of corners.

The first prime lap was interesting as the field slowed down and they let one dude take off solo and win it.  Here I made my second big mistake … I chased him down, dragging everybody with me.  I had planned on attacking after the prime, but had I read the race better I would’ve known it was a bad time. 

The second prime was more like I anticipated, but I messed this one up, too.  There were aggressive moves and the top riders all took off.  I let them go and reeled them back in. (I was fully confident that nobody in that field could ride away from me, so I could burn fewer matches by not matching their explosive attacks, knowing they’d blow up, and then have juice to counter attack when I caught them.) On the back half of the course they sat up and looked at each other, which is when I should have attacked.  I don’t know why I didn’t attack there, doh!  Big mistake number 3 … which is perfect, I came to make mistakes and learn from them.

The rest of the race unfolded like the other crits I’ve done.  I did a good job allowing others to close gaps, just following 2nd or 3rd wheel.  Then, second to last lap there was a move, I followed it.  Once that dude seemed vulnerable I attacked him but not hard enough to shell the guy at the second wheel.  This time I didn’t get cute, I played my card which is putting out power and that last lap was the fastest of the day, 27.2 mph.   I figured that if he could hang on my wheel and roll me at the finish, he deserved to win.  That’s exactly what happened.  I hate finishing second or third usually, but am perfectly happy with how things shook out. 

It was very cool having Doug and Liz Perry and Tim there cheering me on. 

Here’s the gopro footage (edited) of the race:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJQA1yn6vzI

 

 

–Philip Brown

 

Southern Arizona Onmium 2016

Aggressors,
 
I love road races.
 
I opted, as I did last year, to only do the road race as I am not a fan of time trials. The cat 4 group was, as I’ve noted in previous race notes, particularly large this year, and we were combined with the collegiate B. Thankfully they closed off both sides of the road this year all the way up the hill and past the finish line for a few hundred meters.
 
I approached this race as I did last year: with nonchalance…or being casually deliberate depending on your philosophy. It was a great day to be outside, smell the cactus flowers, and get in some nice climbing efforts. Brandon can tell you how the front of the group was as he played the role, handsomely I might add, of domestique for Brian (who captured 1st for the omnium in collegiate B) on the UA cycling team, but I chose to hang off the back, practice my whistling skills, and get to know some of my fellow off-the-backers. I don’t want to suggest that I wasn’t paying attention: The race was filled with, what appeared to me now on my 3rd run of it, ritual fake attacks on the downhill and surges up the climbs (all of which were neutralized) as if someone wrote a textbook entitled How to Race at Colossal Cave.
 
The race came down to the final climb as had been my experience. With the whole road open to us this time I rounded the corner and swung wide off to the left immediately getting out of the saddle. I stayed out of the saddle all the way up the hill steadily picking off riders, but I’d planned my move too late. By the time I hit the line I took 10th in Cat 4. I’m happy with that as my previous handful of races were a mix of frustration and lack of fitness, but today I felt calm and in control.
 
I can’t wait for TBC!
 
-J
 
Aggressors:
TTs are becoming sort of mechanical for me, and I don’t hate them as much as I used to.  I expected to finish 2nd behind Michael Patterson from USAC HQ, but I ended up crossing the finish line only 6 sec behind him and, as I started 30 later, beat him by 24 seconds for 1st in the TT with an official time of 30:52, my best ever on that course.  I’ve become quite comfortable riding my road bike without aero bars and I am now convinced that it works better that way.
 
I like the CCRR as it includes the Pistol Hill ascent each lap. The combined field of 32 (55+) riders was big enough to easily hide toward the back of, which I did.  Lap 1 was inconsequential, with a few furtive attacks, that were easily reeled back.  However, I should have noticed that they were almost entirely courtesy of Phil Holman, since I ride with him just about every week now.  Going over the top of the hill at the end of lap 1 Phil took off and was allowed to go.  In the downhill that followed Jay Guot, Preston Robertson, and Lou Waugaman commenced individual efforts to cross the gap to Phil and were also allowed to go.  I did not know any of this was going on as I was hanging out at the back of the peloton with my competitors.  Ultimately, Jay and Lou joined Phil, and Preston was dropped.  None of the 4 were ever seen again so the 55+ and 65+ races were over at that point.  Over the remaining laps riders continued to be dropped so by the final lap going East on Old Spanish Trail, we were down to about a dozen.  At one point the lazy-assed peloton leaders were 5 wide going about 10 mph up OST and I finally became so disgusted that I went to the front, got in TT mode, and bumped the pace quite a bit so I would at least get a decent training ride.  Finally, after the feed zone was cleared, a few standing riders contending for what was left did go by me, including my Canadian friend Roy Quade, so I stood and got on their wheels for the (sprint?) to the line.  I had no competitors left by then so I easily took the RR and the Omnium.
 
All-in-all a fun weekend, but I would have preferred it if I had been paying enough attention to try and go with Phil and the other breakaways, even tho I would almost certainly have been dropped with Preston, as we ride very close.
 
Rick E.

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  • Mission

    Aggress is a Tucson-based statewide / regional cycling team formed in January, 2004.
    As a developmental team for both road and mountain bike racing, Aggress continues to actively – yet carefully – recruit according to a philosophy that emphasizes teamwork in both training and racing tactics.
    Our focus is to race as a team, utilizing team tactics to get our man the win. We ride in support of our designated racer, with each member in turn supported in the key event(s) of his choosing.
    We are aggressive when we race, but we behave in a courteous and sportsmanlike manner at all times. We also have team training rides that we utilize throughout the season.