Tour of the Gila 2018

2018 Tour of the Gila
This year a few Aggress members drove out to Silver City New Mexico to check out the Tour of the Gila.

Rich Horn: 1st place Inner Loop Road Race.
Rich Horn: 2nd place Gila Monster Road Race.

-Rich

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.

VOS 2016

Aggressors:
We had perfect weather but sadly, only 8 65+ guys registered.
 
I elected to do the TT this year without aero bars because I’m convinced that I am actually a bit faster without them; my body position is 1-2” lower by just laying my forearms on the top of the handlebar.  I was please with my effort; I managed to get my HR up as high as 157 and never dropped below 150.  In the end I finished 3rd (1s behind my Canadian friend Roy Quade, Dang!), nevertheless, my best finish in a VOS TT.  Ken Louder from SLC won it, as usual, beating Roy and me by almost 3 minutes.
 
The RR is the high point for me in this event.  I like the course, which includes a modest hill every lap and features an uphill finish.  Ken, Roy, and I all hung with the 55+ leaders for the 1st lap but managed to avoid any pulls.  On lap 2 the climb pace was higher and Ken Louder was dropped, and stayed dropped.  As the lap 3 climb to the finish began, I moved up to about wheel 5 behind the 55+ contenders with Roy on my wheel.  At about 150m to go, the 55+ sprint began and shortly thereafter, Roy came around me.  I accelerated and we both had to kind of pick our way thru the ejected 55+ contenders as we went for the line.  I thought I might have just nipped Roy at the line, but video frame analysis said otherwise and I finished 2nd.
 
The Crit on Sunday was fun, but mute; the 65+ podium gc positions were locked in after the RR.  The 3 of us hung out at the back of the peloton and just cruised along since nothing was going to change as long as we all finished.  I cruised over the line for 3rd in the Crit and ended up 3rd for the gc.
 
Although I viewed this event as just a training ride to help keep decent base fitness until Summer, I must concede that losing to Roy Quade by a second (or less) is starting to become annoying.
 
Rick E.
VOS Podium 2016

VOS Podium 2016

Mt Evans 2015

Greetings all:

THE mountain has been conquered, once again.  Race day dawned crisp, clear, and mostly calm.  Gran Fondo riders went off at 0645.  USAC racers began starting at 0700.  My scoring group (MM70+) went off at 0715.  Five of us went off in a tight group and all of us actually did a pull of about a mile or so.  However, for the next round of pulls, only Herb Johnson and I were willing to work at the front.  By the time we were approaching Echo Lake (1/3 of the way up) only Herb and I remained.  We continued to exchange pulls and he did make several furtive attempts to drop me, but his “stand & deliver” segments were barely faster than his seated segments, and I was able to maintain the pace without standing.  As we were approaching timberline I went to the front to pull and bumped the pace by a couple of km/h, because I could.  I could hear his breathing becoming more labored behind me, and after a while I could no longer hear him at all.  A km later during a hairpin turn, I took a look back and he was several hundred meters back.  I resumed the same pace and by the finish he was no longer visible behind me.  I think my Bete Noire has been finally banished.  Post finish, I grabbed a banana and some fig newtons and sat down on some rocks next to the summit parking lot to eat.  Soon, a herd of a dozen or so rocky mountain goats walked up to me and the other riders sitting on the rock pile and looked at us expectantly.  A rangerette asked us not to feed them and after a while they wandered away.  However, one goat in particular, a big billy, gave me a very knowing and disquieting look.  Made me wonder if this is where the Aggress goat goes when it dies.

A new disposable timing chip system was tested for this event, and it failed miserably (Courtesy  timing vendor).  Preliminary results listed Herb as the only finisher in my group so I immediately filed a protest.  I was followed in short order by 50-60 addnl protestors, at which point the preliminary results were pulled down and the Promoter announced that there was a bit of an issue to be resolved with the timing system.  By mid afternoon the estimate for resolution of the protests had degraded from “in a little while” to “as soon as we can.”  Judi and I were looking at a long drive back to our cabin, so I left my mailing address with the Promoter, and we hit the road.  It is very unfortunate when critical features (scoring) of a spectacular event of this magnitude are so poorly executed.  It will surely hurt next year’s attendance and the reputation of the event.

I was satisfied with my approach for this “bucket list” event.  I feel my training was about right and, in contrast to the opinions of many In the coaching sector, I feel the week at 10,200 ft (vs 5,000 ft) prior to the event was important and made a difference, as I felt comfortable all the way to the summit.  The descent back down was in some respects more challenging than the climb and required continual focus and a light hand on the bars to avoid craters here and there in the road surface and to mitigate the jarring impact of uneven cracks in the road surface.  There was also some casual water and dirt sections to keep you alert.

Rick E.

Arizona State Road Race 2015

2015StateRRHorn

Rich Horn – 2nd Place

Rick Ellwanger 1st Place!

Rick Ellwanger 1st Place!

Aggressors:
This RR includes a feature I really like; a neutral rollout thru the town of Show Low before the race actually starts. It allows the riders to get comfortable in a position and get rid of the start line stress that may have built up, thus reducing the likelihood of incidents when the race begins. I raced in a combined (60+) field of 22 and had only 2 competitors in my scoring group, neither of whom were known to me. I did memorize their kit during the rollout and at the first modest uphill pitch about 12 miles into the race (Juniper Ridge per Strava) I went off the front of the peloton and set a pretty good pace up the hill. As I summited, I pulled out and took a good look back down the hill at the stretched out peloton and neither of my guys were even visible so I knew my race was in the bag as long as I finished. Of course, I could not just “finish.” By then, I was feeling comfortable riding up front with Reggie, Phil, Dave Burke, and Bixby and decided to make it a good training ride so I made the effort to hang with them on the roller surges from Clay Springs to Pulp Mill Rd. On a couple of those, I had to dig pretty deep to output enough Watts to barely hang. After the turn to the South in Taylor, I went off the front with Dave Burke and we traded pulls up the first hill, only to be re-acquired by Reg, Phil, etc. after summiting. I think we numbered 13-14 at this point and I got gapped a little on both of the modest downhills following that first summit. I was able to re-acquire both times on the uphills that followed. About a mile from the finish where the climb flattens out Reg, Phil, and Bixby began seriously bumping the pace and I tried but in the end had to settle for hanging with the slower guys in that leading dozen. Nevertheless, a satisfying effort and by then I knew I had gotten a good workout.
I’ve identified a serious flaw in my racing toolkit that Reggie, in particular, is persistently exploiting. As I summit a hill climb, especially early in a race, Reg will begin hammering the descent as hard, and for as long as he possibly can, and I am barely able to output the Watts to hang. Without hill climbs following several such events in this race, I would have been dropped, for sure.
Representation in this State level event was good; CASTLE, CIASCA, ELLWANGER, HORN, MISEVCH, MICHAUD, STEINMANN. Podium capture was fair; ELLWANGER, HORN
Rick E.

Cotton Classic TT #1

It was great to see Tim back on the bike … I even saved a place for he and Shane to park next to me!
For those that want the bottom line, without reading all my details below, I got second in the 20K and first in the 32K (I was the only entry in my age group in the 32K).
The Details:
 

When I got up yesterday morning at 4:15AM, it was pouring at my house and I was ready to bail on the race … I had signed up for both the 20k and 40K and would be making a contribution of $50 to Saguaro Velo, if I did bail. But I’ve been converted by Shane, so I first checked the radar … it was clearing in AZ City! So I hopped in my car and drove through the rain and arrived at AZ City, to find mostly dry roads with damp, windy and chilly conditions.

I spent my time on the trainer and did a little warm-up on the road and found that I definitely needed a base layer. Returned to the car to get one. First observation, for the way out on the 20K there was a pretty good headwind. Second observation, similar to Rick’s, was I wasn’t getting my HR up as high as usual … I had this happen at the Flapjack TT earlier this year when it was cold … may just affect us old guys?? Third observation,  my power numbers were not as high on the outbound as I expected them to be … I averaged only 253W versus my goal of 265/270W. Coming back was a tail/crosswind and I averaged only 247W … 250W average for the entire 20K. Average outbound was 22.7mph, inbound 27.1mph. Overall numbers were 30:18, 250W, 24.7mph. At first I was a little disappointed with these results as they were off from my time at the State Championship last year which was 29:48, but when I compared them to my key competition, my mood improved. (I’m always looking for things to improve my mood!) Specifically, against Phil Holman (the likely national champ in my age group TT this year), at VOS he averaged 27.1mph versus my 25.4mph. Yesterday he averaged 25.7mph vs. my 24.7mph. So the gap dropped from 1.7mph to just 1.0mph. I have no delusions of catching up with Phil (this year at least!), but I’m  getting closer. I was an easy second place in the 20K.

Upon returning to the car, after the 20k, I had about 15 minutes before the start of the 32k (reduced from 40K due to construction and according to Don Mehaldo it may be that way for the State Championships this year). I was the only entry in my age group for this distance so I was guaranteed first place! Yay! As Tim already reported, there were headwinds in both directions …. kinda weird. Doing both races makes it difficult to pace, but I like to get the race time on the TT bike. I finished the 32K in 49:34 and averaged 24.1mph. I was satisfied with the effort.

 
Note: the road condition in AZ City has gotten even worse over this winter … especially, the first 5K … spent a lot of time dodging potholes and looking for relatively smooth pavement!
 

I’m still thinking of going to Nationals this year for the TT … if I’m properly trained, I feel I have a good chance for top 10, and an outside chance for top 5. I’ll see how the summer goes before deciding.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at Kurt and Ariana’s!!

Doug

2015 AZ Crit Champion

2015 AZ State Crit
Aggressors:
Sometimes things just work out without any rhyme or reason.  The 2015 AZ Crit was one of those times.  I arrived at the venue an hr before my race.  The course was surprisingly park-like, given the downtown Mesa location and there was only one turn (a 180) that required close attention.  All the masters men 50+ went off together so it was a big group.  However, the other 70-74 guys seemingly hung out toward the back of the group and just before the start Jack Dillon rolled up next to may and said the 70+ guys were going to hang back a few seconds to stay clear of the 50+ melee.  I was on the front with Lou Wageman and did not really want to do that, but I agreed and moved to the side to be clear of the horde.  The 70+ mini-group was lapped about half way thru the race and I, Jack Dillon, and Michael Patterson latched on as they went by.  A prem lap followed and the group as a whole accelerated significantly toward the end of the lap and I was outputting near 100% to stay buried in the group.  With one lap to go I did look back expecting to see Jack on my wheel, but he was not there, nor was Michael Patterson or anyone else from the 70+ group.  I rode the last lap with Reggie Dowdall and he did sprint at the finish to take his group.  I rolled across behind him to take my group by attrition; all my competitors had been ejected and were absent.  How easy is that?
 
The event seemed very well run.  Boris DeCourt had the scoring completed half an hr after the race and the Promoter had the award ceremony completed an hr after the finish.  Impressive.
 
Rick E.

TBC 2015

TBC2015CC
TBC2015 is now history. The weather was more or less as predicted; sunny and windy.  9 Aggessors raced.
Prologue  The McCain loop is a gorgeous venue to get this classic Tucson stage race going.  Following some test rides, I made the decision this year to ride my climbing bike.  The Plus is light weight; 12 lb, 7 oz.  The Minuses are; less than optimum gearing (42 tooth chainring), no aerobars, “twitchy” in high winds.  On race day this year we enjoyed a tailwind on the downhill for the first time in my experience.  As a result, I was spun out a bit worse than I had anticipated and likely lost a few extra seconds on the downhill.  I ended up laying on the top tube about half the descent as there was simply no reason to try and pedal any faster; I couldn’t.  The uphill was a pleasure.  I did most of it at 42/20 with a lively cadence and still had enough in the tank for a “stand & deliver” at the finish.  My best finish ever here at 09:10, good for 2nd, behind Jack Dillon (08:54).  I do think the Prologue is afforded a bit too much importance.  A 12 sec gap is frequently insurmountable.
 
Road Race  2 laps around the 20.5 mile course NW of Green Valley.  As usual, a combined field (65/70/75).  My only credible competitor (Jack Dillon) made it clear that he would be hanging out toward the back of the Peloton until the Finish so I sort of tried to work up near the front with Doug to try to get him some time on Roy Quade (the Leader) or John Conahay.  He would occasionally try to sneak off the front and I would act like I was going to stay with him as I allowed a gap to develop.  Roy never allowed the gap to go much beyond 20m, however, and in the end, all failed.  As we neared the end of the Helmet Pk descent on lap 2 Jack Dillon moved up near the front and I tucked in behind his wheel and stayed there all the way down La Canada until we turned onto Duvall Mine Rd to gently ascend to the Finish line.  Given a decent tail wind I moved to the front and began pushing up the miniscule slope toward the Finish.  At 1 km I picked up the pace some and at 200 m Jack stood and sprinted past me toward the line.  I tucked in behind him until about 50 m to go when I could tell he was weakening.  I moved left and began pushing as hard as I could to go around him.  The attached photo shows the sad reality at the Finish line.  Dang!  2nd again.
550 - 551 finish
 
Circuit Race  I had a plan for this race and I stuck to it.  Work Jack every lap on the uphill leg; hide on the other segments.  This race was pretty mundane.  I went up front each lap for the Anklam climb and drifted back for the rest of the lap.  However on the last lap I pushed harder up the hill and Roy Quade made the effort to hang with me and as we summited he moved up front so I could draft him over the top and down the hill to Speedway.  We worked together and managed to hold a gap part way E on Speedway, which apparently burned most of Jack’s remaining matches, because when the time came to sprint to the line, he didn’t have much sprint left, and I prevailed fairly easily.  It was nice of Roy to help me as he really had nothing to gain from it (except perhaps a glass of good red wine).  This time Dillon the Villain (lol, Jack) went down and I took 1st.  A nice way to finish.
 
Rick E.
TBC2015GC

Team,

      First off words cannot express the amount of fun and enjoyment I had and shared with you all this weekend! Thank you all for such an incredible weekend of support and awesome racing! Now on to some details. But before I do I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of what Gus had planned for me in the 4’s. In a nut shell, the Team was going to work for me to get me on the podium. Needless to say I didn’t sleep much this past week due to fact I was concerned to not let the Team down and I was needing to put everything I had into this weekend to make sure my teammates efforts were not wasted. “No extra pressure here” lol. I felt like Ray Finkle the kicker on Ace Ventura Pet Detective. So Brandon if you didn’t know there was a movie back in the day and the kicker Ray Finkle…..just kidding I am sure you saw it!!!!  That said this race was ALL ABOUT THE TT to help my chances for an aggressive weekend in hopes to stay within reach of placing. My other concern was my lack of hard riding the 2 weeks leading up to TBC. I crashed 3 weeks prior and was still licking some wounds and swelling in my right knee was still there. I was not fully 100% recovered 

DAY 1 TT

             My race start time was 3:17 and thanks to Gus we scored the Aggress spot. (Thanks mang)  I did arrive pretty early and thank goodness I did, because race day jitters got the best of me and I was now back in my car driving in search of a Port O-my gosh!!!lol.. Just know it was a happy ending (not for the visitor center though) Anyways now I am on my trainer with Brandon to my right, Gus to his, and Petey and Horn to our rear. Jonathan was rocking some super jazzy yoga poses in front of us. He put on quite the show!!! Kathy a great friend of Gus was there and she snapped some great pics!! The Sun was out wind was blowing and it was raining too!! What a combo!! Warm up was so-so and I was pretty much just spinning, heart rate went up and broke a nice sweat too. The conditions were similar to our pre-ride and I was praying that the tailwind would hold on for 20 more minutes. I did have a pre-ride goal of Sub 8mins for my TT. I also had about 20 hand written 3×5 note cards that read, TT SUB 8!! posted all over my house and in my car. Everywhere I went I saw my reminder. I know, I know somewhat childish and a bit excessive but I am believer of one who writes down goals increases the chance to accomplish them. I made it to the start line and hit it. I rolled out nicely did a steady ramp up and made sure I didn’t go out too hard too fast.  About 30 seconds in I found myself flying down the course. I have NEVER done this course on my TT under max load and I found myself being a tad cautious on some of the turns and before the 1st kicker. My downhill speed was perfect for me 36-39 mph. That speed would give me a little wiggle room up the climb to hit my goal.  Both Climbs were grueling however the 2nd was a tad less grueling due to the fact Gus was on the side of the road roaring like a Lion for us to GO GO GO!!! What a shot of adrenaline! Thank you!!! As I passed Gus, I felt myself getting to that place. The place that I have always wanted to be. However, have not been there yet on a TT. The inside out feeling. I glanced at my Garmin and saw the time and I knew I was close to the finish and also close to my goal. I got out of the saddle and put everything I had in the last little hill. DONE! I coasted to the bottom passed the water jugs and laid across my bars trying to get my breath back! THAT HURT!!!! Time was 8:09 and 8th overall, and 18 sec off leader. I can’t lie I was disappointed that it was shy of my goal but I was more excited that I got to enter the PAIN CAVE!

Day 2 RR

Plan was to watch Gus and follow his lead, control the group, initiate attacks and close down any that we see. Also when he pointed to the sky he was not bird watching he is saying get on my ass now!!! LOL..Gus also wanted us all up top 10 riders for safety and to show our presence. Well, we were the last 4 riders (of 52) to show up to roll out and we were in the back. Race started and Gus and Brandon started to weasel (easily done when you’re a size of a water bottle) their way through the group. Just then BAM! There is a dude crashing right in front of me 20 yards past the starting line. This slowed me up a bit and now we were 52 strong and I am back 2/3 of the group on a skinny road with double yellow line crossing fear. Actually this played nicely because the 1st 6 miles just before descending sprint hill was pretty tame. Head cross wind was bullying the group and descending Helmet was plain comical. The first time the group was tested was the right on Continental. It went from slow to 30mph plus and the HR jumped real quickly. This was also where the 1st attack and Team Tactics were used. Yep, Trisports! They kept Yellow jersey safe with a man in front of him as they let 3 of there mates hit it and few other riders followed too. I saw this unfold and moved left and burnt some matches some to bridge up. I think my gravitational pull was used nicely because when I looked back the group was back on it too. This stretch of road had a gnarly cross wind that thinned out the peloton and if you were not careful you were riding in the gutter or kissing a mailbox. Our Next right to Duval was heavenly! An uphill tailwind!!! Nothing crazy on this stretch! Except for our own “Little Beast” Brandon putting out a crazy pace up the hill!!! Way to go!!! I was sure we lose some riders with this wicked pace but ended lap 1 all in tact. Lap 2 started and “little beast” sees the feed zone and kicks it up another notch. I hear somebody in the back shout “don’t attack the feed zone” I laughed put my head down and kept going with Brandon. Side note, I had 2 bottles on my bike and in 1 in my jersey. If you can’t hold what you need then don’t expect me to wait for you to get a drink! Just saying! Off to the rollers and Brandon and I both were feeling a little Froggy. No one had attempted any real attack and I felt as this ride was going to turn into a group ride with a 1 mile sprint to the end in hopes for a victory and a 10 second bonus. Well about a 1/4 mile or so before backside of sprint hill I put the hammer down and went into Beast Mode into a full headwind. The wind was so bad I couldn’t hear anything but it blowing in my ears and honestly felt I was alone. Just as I approached the back side of sprint hill I noticed a wheel glued to my rear wheel. My first thought was “yes it was Brandon” I was able to then look up and saw a white helmet and then realized it was not, and in fact it was a Trisports rider Erik. I put my head down again and drilled it he road me like a shadow and did pretty well too! I signaled for him to pull thru (like he would really do that) but I had to ask. He didn’t and he wouldn’t. I kept going and did notice we had a sizable gap on the group. Come to find out this was due to Gus putting on some awesome counter attacks to keep the gate shut. However, with the headwind and the rider whom wasn’t going to do anything for me I felt is best to get reeled in and take Helmet descent under cover and save some fuel. Halfway down Helmet a guy went off the front and a Trisports rider (Erik same guy who sucked my wheel) followed. I did not go after them as I felt safer with group and knowing the Trisports guy will burn up chasing him.  My prediction came true and we caught them back on Continental. A few more attacks were attempted but nothing that broke anything up. Now for the Drama heading up to finish line.  The middle of the pack blew up and before we knew it bodies are flying everywhere and bikes and riders locking up and I see an orange helmet hitting the deck and then another rider rolling over Gus’s bike. I safely avoided the crash looked up and saw the group ahead of me starting to drill it.  I began to chase them down. After the feed zone I saw both Brandon and McLaren had made it through the carnage but we were down a man. Apparently there was another crash at the feed zone that happened behind us. I knew bodies were fatiguing and minds were not as sharp so extra focus was needed. Same story on lap 3 however, nobody attacked and Helmet was a never-ending 15 mph descent. This was the calm before the storm and we all knew it was going to hurt. We made our 1st right turn and yes it ramped up and stayed up. Hast went off the front and we all followed. The wind was even more of a challenge now I found myself hugging the far right side of the road to aide no one. We approached Duval made a fast turn and it ramped up again and did not slow up. The tailwind was so helpful but the legs were heavy and the cramp zaps were tingling. We could see the trailer off in the distance and it was way too early to hit it. Just before the 1 KM mark 2 riders in front of me clip their wheels sending one sideways and he drops his chain and skids off to the left. I don’t know how he stayed upright however I am glad he did. This event was just enough to get many of us out of sync and we lost a few pedal strokes and now the pack finish was turning into a long accordion finish. I knew I was not going to be able to win this stage and the amount of WATTS needed to try were more valuable to me for day 3 which was now only about a 100 yards away. I finished 13th but I was safe. I did lose some time. Special thanks to Mrs. Steinmann, for saving my 10×10 wildcat tarp which almost blew away to Mexico!!! Thank you!!!

Day 3 CR

Alarm went off at 3, and I was tired!! Legs were dead and I was slow moving getting up. After day 2, I crept into 6th GC and was now 40 seconds off the winner, but only 28 seconds off of 5th!  I came to Gus with a plan and he supported the plan. Real quick here, super F’n KUDOS to Gus for being there and riding day 3 after his crash!!! YOU ROCK!!  Back to the plan. The plan was to recruit a few other riders from other Teams (IC3, TR, DNA and Rafa) to put on an attack after lap 3 and have Gus, Brandon, and McLaren stay back and keep the gate shut as we all try to stay away for the remaining 3 laps. Like all plans they sound so good and easy, however it’s a race and anything can happen.

 Lap 1 right out of the gate Trisports drill it and it went from zero to mach speed. This woke everybody up and just to make sure you were “Little Beast” hit the climbs and before we knew it he was off the front with 3 other riders. One is Yellow Jersey. The gap grew and grew as we let them all go. Lap 1 was easy peasy, which was perfect for me to help get the blood flowing. Lap 2 started and was very similar to Lap 1 very uneventful. However, Brandon and the break were nowhere in sight. You could feel the anxiety of Trisports as they ALL were losing sight of there podiums. Lap 3 began and you could feel something about to happen. BAM!! Trisports x 3 began to drill it and a few others followed. Kyle currently 2nd in GC was one of them. I was pinned in and I told the guy to my left I NEED OUT!! He backed off and let me out and I put on BEAST MODE to catch the break. I finally caught on to them just before the real climbs started and knew I was going to surf these wheels the best I could and survive the hills. I don’t have a HR monitor but I felt my heart coming out of my nostrils and the yummy taste of blood was on my tongue. They continued to ride strong and actually did an awesome rotation which I strategically watched with zero participation. I made sure my energy was going to be saved. Karma came full circle as the guy who rode my wheel day 2 (Erik) was now in front of me pulling me up the hill! Sweet payback!! We made it to Anklam and I did take 1 pull so I wasn’t labeled “that guy” and was faced with a brutal headwind. I looked up and saw Brandon and Yellow jersey down the road and we soon caught them. So now both the leader and 2nd place riders were back together and we were now approaching the Prime bonus. I knew the 3 second wasn’t going to make or break me so I let the others fight for it and I let them pull me up the hill. We still had 3 laps to go. And this was the lap that our pre-ride plan was supposed to take place However; I was surrounded by all of the riders who I was supposed to attack. So Lap 4 was now try and stay away from the pack and maybe turn this smaller group of 6 or 7 into a final sprint for the finish. We all worked well together and we did stay away until the Feed zone. The pack had caught us. Again we were one big group. Kyle came to me and said a few guys are going to drill after the turn on Anklam and asked if I wanted in. My answer was you know I will work, he said that’s why I am asking you. Kyle would keep the gate shut and keep his eye on yellow and as long as we didn’t gain more than 30 second lead he would be safe. So I quickly found Hast and few others and let them know it was on. I actually was first across the finish line and we turned it on. BAM!! I was now engaged in Break # 2 after about a 1/4 mile I looked back and one other rider was on my wheel. It was Hast. We did a few rotations and looked back and saw a handful of others coming too. Some nice teamwork was done by all to rotate thru the feed zone up and over the climbs and we all bombed the decent. However, the headwind continued to get stronger and a few of the riders could not pull through so I found myself out-front pulling the group. We made it to Speedway and started our climb we could see the group a ways back but they looked as they were coming quick. Bandon, McLaren, and even Kyle were doing their best to keep the gate shut but others in that group were fighting to get through. Our break made it to Anklam and we began to hammer even harder. Looking down doing 30mph uphill was quite exciting. But fatigue was now a factor and we were now in the climbs. Our group slowed as the chase sped up. Before we knew it just past the Feed zone we were all one big group again. Another failed break and many matches burnt. Again we make our way to the descent greeted with more brutal headwinds and all are jockeying for a spot as this race will now come down to the final ½ mile uphill sprint. We make the turn and head up the first climb and find myself in the lead position. I move as far right possible to force drafters into the gutter. We are heading to second climb and get out of my saddle and start mashing my pedals. However, I am realizing that 3 days of race pace have taking a major toll on me and the incline was too much and the gear I was in was too big! I settled back into my saddle and grinded as fast as I could. Seeing riders pass me on both sides was quite deflating as I crossed the finish line. It was a pack finish so times were all the same and I was 23rd.

So my saving grace this weekend was my TT. Thank goodness I was able to put up a decent time which helped me with my overall GC which was 5th and yes a very exciting podium!! J Thanks again to all who played a key role in helping me!!!

Can’t wait for the next one!!

 Big Mike

Summary

Last year TBC (2nd in GC) was probably the highlight of all the racing I did … this year (3rd in GC) not so much, but not all bad either. Details below …

TT

TT’s have recently become my area of concentration as I’m no longer doing crits …. too many broken bones! I have a new bike and have had some great results at the State TT champs, VOS, etc. … both of these were PR’s for me. I was ready for a great result. I know the course pretty well by now. However, I was still up in the air over wheel selection until the last minute. Significant weight savings versus being a little more aero … I continued to hear the voice of Schlegal … “Go full aero!!” The morning of the TT, Gus was also voting for the aero. I followed their advice and went with the disc and my Enve 6 in the front. I’m sure this was the right choice for me. Standard TT warmup, rolled up to the start ramp and got going … felt good. Downhill section was fast  … averaged 32.2mph,36.2mph max, 2:43 … very good time with an average power of 259W. All going according to my plan. Hit the uphill and felt good …. kept my speed up and was able to stay on top of my gears all the way up the first climb section. This was going to be my best time ever on this course on race day! As I got to the top of this section, I was shifting to my 54 ring and was ready to go … when … it … happened … I DROPPED THE CHAIN! I’m screwed!! Rotor cranks are great, but can be a bit tricky when paired with DI2! Tried to get it back on, but couldn’t. Stopped, got off my bike and realized the chain was jammed. Tugged at it several times (cutting my finger) and finally got it to release. Jumped back on my bike and ground my way back up to speed. Don’t really remember much about the rest of the way to the finish line as I was still screaming at myself. However, even with the chain incident costing me 35-45 seconds, I was amazingly only five seconds out of first! Finished in 9:34, 272W versus my goal of 280W …. With the woulda, coulda, shoulda counting I would have been below 9 or the first time … next year! BTW, thanks to Rick and Judy Ellwanger for the first aid when I got back to our tent site!

RR

First lap was slow as usual with nothing of interest except the headwind encountered on Helmet Peak.On the second lap coming down Helmet Peak as we approached LaCanada, Roy Quade (from Canada) and Curtis Ingle (from Nevada) took off … they got a gap of about 20-30 seconds on us. With Franz Hammer, John Conahay and I taking turns of the front, it took until we just started up Duvall Mine for us to catch Ingle … we never caught Quade who won by 21 seconds. Franz, John, Ingle and I were alone trying to catch Quade. It became apparent that we weren’t going to, so I began to concentrate on Conahay who was 2nd in GC and five seconds ahead of me. I knew that Conahay was a great sprinter and I didn’t want it to come down to a 200 meter all out race. I took off about 500 meters to go and got a quick gap on him and drove hard to get second for the day and put four seconds on Conahay and an additional two seconds on him with the bonus time. Moved into 2nd in GC by one slim second! 

Circuit

For me this day was all about beating Conahay. Beat him and I get 2nd in GC, he beats me and I get third. Several times I tried to drop him and Quade, but it never worked. Rick was also trying to drop his primary competitor, Jack Dillon, and that didn’t work either. So, it came down to the last lap. Going up Anklam for the last time, Rick and Quade took off and gapped the field by a little. I was confident I could catch back on and I did. As I looked behind me, there was Conahay dropping further back … Great! Coming down Speedway I tried to drill it some to put more distance on Conahay and I was beginning to feel good. As we were getting ready to make the final turn to the finish, I looked behind and who was right there … Conahay. This guy will work HARD! I decided to make Conahay move to the front and draft him until I was ready to jump. He jumped first and I was caught in the wrong gear (dumb!), I pulled even for awhile, but John had too much for me and pulled ahead to beat me. I got 3rd in GC (compared to 2nd in GC last year). I got John in the sprint on the RR, but he got me in the more important day this year the Circuit Race.

Learnings:
1. Get the shifting down on the rotor cranks before next year, or get a different setup for this race!
2. Practice on the circuit course and be totally ready for the sprint!!

3. I still love TBC, VOS and races like these … wish there more of them. I just don’t like all the logistics of getting up early, loading and unloading the car, etc. etc.

Doug (the Wheelman) Perry

I had another great weekend at the races. My efforts made no difference in any of the three days. If it was inability to breath for the TT (high pollen)or getting caught up  in a crash in  the RR landing on a pedal with my back and leg run over and then bringing all  that soreness into the circuit I was just there for the scene. But here is what happened….
 
TT
 
Friday I got the the “Aggress spot” at 8:15 and set everything up 10x and cooler, trainers and sat and enjoyed the early morning as my race didn’t even start till after 3:00. Doug was the first to arrive and relieving me from hanging out from the spot and I raced to Twin Peaks to pick up a friend who just got clearance to get out and do some hiking/walking after her second battle with cancer. She won. We hiked for 2miles. We had a pretty good set up so much that some P&S Specialized vatos Ernesto Yberra and Louis warmed up with us. And a Friend from the east coast Jaquiline Parker. 
I practiced this course with about a dozen pre-runs the weekend prior and had it broken into four sections and I knew every point of shifting or change in body position on the bike. All was good nutrition, rest, and a clear view of the course in my head. Bring it. Sub 8:00. It didn’t take but a few seconds to get up to speed and 53/11 grind for the first 1.2 miles with a tail wind. But I couldn’t breath. My legs were demanding WAAAY more oxygen than my lungs could provide. Felt heavy chest pressure and had the climb to go. I stuck to my plan as practices and didn’t want to shock myself by standing for power or using a different gear.  I think I finished 8:41. Sure I’ll take that considering I thought I was going to die when I hit the two kickers and I’m supporting Ciasca any way. 
 
RR
 
Road race was just bad ass from the start…….of the second lap. First lap was a death crawl. Second lap as planed Brandon to the front and drill it and try to thin out this group as fast as we can. Just gotta say that he did this kill mode pace for the entire Duval mine rd all the way to sprint hill for every lap.  Jr. on fire!  I kept myself a the front for what ever reason because the attacks were pretty weak until BIG MIKE shot off the front like his ass caught fire taking a Tri-guy with him. And they were getting away. There was a very long pause and a Tolero dude shot out with a team mate so I attached my self and did the tactical dick move of not pulling when they went to rotate. But it shut them down. 
Long story short, last lap huge surge rounding off of Continental onto Duval Mine rd. everyone seemed to be tired of the small attacks and surges to close gaps and fighting the crazy ass wind that always happens on this day and mistakes are made. Crossing of wheels and CRASH down I go. Flip on my back probably to save my bike but I landed on a pedal with my back and then trying to pull my legs in to not get run over but my left leg got run over anyway. and then a front wheel to my back from a skidding bike. I got on my bike and ready to chase down the main group but noticed that a rider was in BAD shape. At that point I’m not thinking racing but he needs my help. So I stayed with him till we know he ws ok and I asked him if he was able to finish the last lap and that we are going into no mans land but will be able to move on to the circuit. It was a LOOOONG 20 miles.
 
CIRCUIT
 
I went into this completely sore and injured all over. But what the hell TBC is only once a year. First lap started fast and that was my warm up. Got four laps in on the front and then the pain was a bit too much for me to try to endure for another two. I pulled. 
 
It was an amazing race to watch the rest of the fours duke it out and watch my boy kickin some serious ass. I just have to say that being around you guys (and ladies) is very motivating and am proud to be part of this team 
 
Great job to all that raced this weekend.
 
GRA

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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.

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