Thursday, April 29, 2010

MV at the Matrix Challenge

Every year since McKinney Velo sprang to life at the outset of the ‘08 racing season, the “King of Crits,” the Matrix Challenge (2 full days of criterium racing near downtown Dallas), has been a race the team targets. The MC organization is impeccable; the support, race purse and primes supplied by our sister club Matrix and the sponsor we share, Richardson Bike Mart, is superb; and the venue, a super technical 8 turn track run under the shade tress of the Meadows Foundation’s campus, never fails to produce a worthy victor. Unfortunately, in the 40+ field at the ‘10 MC, that worthy victor wasn’t an MV racer either Saturday or Sunday. Instead, Kentucky resident and 23 time national champion Curtis Tolson of the Texas Roadhouse team took the W both days. But not without a fight from MV.

Saturday, 11 MV racers lined up for the start of the 40+ race determined to leave their mark. Sure enough, within the first 10-15 minutes of the 50 minute race, Oz (Steve Weber) and Bling (Patrick Burke) powered off the front with Tolson and Park Place racer Shaun Bonavita. Although their lead fluctuated as their cooperation periodically broke down, their break was never seriously threatened. After Oz nailed back a dangerous move by Tolson – a move Oz desperately wanted to counter, but his stomach didn’t cooperate – and Bling brought back an attack by Bonavita, it was obvious the victory would come down to a 4 man sprint. As Bling powered down the back stretch heading into turns 7 and 8 with Oz tight on his wheel, Tolson took a sharp inside line and slipped ahead of Bling and Oz. Oz responded, but the finish straight at the MC is so short, it’s almost impossible to pass anyone. As a result, Oz ended up 2nd and Bling held on for 3rd.

To some though, the most impressive effort of the day was put in by Seabass (pictured above practicing his standard pre-race ritual... in his dinosaur race socks, no less... the resemblance to his son Jack is uncanny, huh?) just behind the break. As Oz and Bling worked to keep their 4 man break up the road, Seabass, CP (Chris Powers), and Richie Rocket (Rich Miller) put in some monster efforts patrolling the front of the field. After CP neutralized a particularly dangerous effort to bridge to the break by fast finishers Jorge Merle (Park Place) and Richard Lamb (Sun & Ski), Seabass took off after a strong move by an Austin Nationals racer. But instead of just being satisfied with shutting that move down, Seabass launched his own effort to bridge to his 2 teammates. And on the bell lap coming down the back side stretch, Seabass made it across. Sadly, he wasn’t able to help Oz and Bling battle Tolson because Mirage’s John Eder, a lapped rider who had been catching a ride with the break for 20+ minutes, eased up just as Seabass latched on the back of the 5 man group. Fortunately, Seabass still held on for 5th, while CP managed 8th. No win, but 4 in the top 8 and 2nd to a 23 time national champ is a decent consolation prize.

MV’s contingent on Sunday was significantly smaller as only CP, Brownie (Mike Brown), Seabass, Bling and Walt ‘Disney’ Megura returned for a 2nd day of racing. The 40+ field was clearly determined not to let Tolson and any MV racers get away for a 2nd day. As a result, our boyz endured a super hard, super fast and super frustrating race that ended in a field sprint. Tolson took that win too, while CP secured a spot on the podium with a 3rd place finish. While MV is never really happy unless an MV racer wins, we still enjoy a hard fought battle at a high quality race. And the 2010 Matrix Challenge certainly provided that. Thanks to Matrix and to Jim Hoyt and the rest of the folks at RBM for another fabulous weekend of racing.

Eavesdropping on the Webers...

An authentic transcript of a fake conversation between Julie and Steve (Oz) Weber and their daughter Olivia last Sunday [April 25] at the family farm:

Olivia: “So Mom (Julie), how did you and Mrs. Seabass [Olivia thinks the MV nicknames are ‘fun’] do at that Young Life Adventure Race in Lewisville yesterday?”

Julie: “We did very well Olivia... Ms. Lara (Price a/k/a Mrs. Seabass) and I won the Epic Adventure Female team race!”

Olivia: “Did you crush the competition like you usually do?”

Julie: “I don’t know if we crushed them. The 2nd place women only finished about 18 minutes behind us, and our time was only better than 12 of the 17 men’s teams that started.”

Olivia: “Wow Mom, and you had to run 3 or 4 miles, then paddle a canoe for about 30 minutes and then ride your mountain bike like 12 miles? You and Ms. Lara must be really fit. So Dad, how did you do in your old man’s bike race yesterday? You know, that race where all you had to do was pedal your bike around in circles on concrete.”

Steve (OZ): "It wasn't a circle, it was a technical 8 turn course."

Olivia: "Whatever... how did you do?"

OZ: “Pretty good, I was in a break almost the whole race and I finished 2nd!”

Olivia: “2nd [sigh]?!? You didn’t win this race either? Well if you didn’t win, then which teammate were you “helping” win this time?”

Oz: “No one; I was trying to win this race myself.”

Olivia: “ Daaaaaad, I thought we had this talk already. If you’re going to take the time to “chamois up” (whatever that means, although it sure sounds gross...), you may as well win!”

Taking the win every time she chamois up is becoming old hat for Julie Weber. Congratulations to her and semi-MV member Lara Price for their victory last weekend. And good luck to Julie as she goes for her 3rd straight weekend victory this Sunday at the McKinney Kiwanis Triathlon, and to all other MV triathletes who tackle the McKiwanis Tri.

Justin Hicks High School Racing Update

Heading into last week’s State Championships in Austin, MISD (MHS)/MV Junior Justin Hicks had taken a commanding lead in the High School Men’s B overall standings. It didn’t hurt any that Justin swept all the men’s B races at the MSU race weekend April 18-19... swept as in he won the road race; he won the street sprint (at left, Justin is shown lining up for a wet sprint); and he won the crit! Congratulations on a great race weekend and a great high school race season.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Because nothing says King Tut like an April Triathlon in McKinney Texas... Stonebridge, McKinney, Texas, Earth was once again host to Playtri's King Tut Sprint Triathlon yesterday, April 18. Although McKinney Velo had a much smaller race contingent at the Tut in '10 (only 3 -- Julie Weber, Eduardo Guerra and Jonathan Sparling) than at the '09 version (where 10 or 11 current or former MV triathletes competed), MV's 2010 participants left their mark! Congratulations to Julie who took top weekend race results honors in the Weber household (i.e., Julie placed higher than Steve) with a 1st in the Women's 40-44 division and to Eduardo who won the Men's Clydes 40-44 division with a strong 1:12:38 time! And in the very competitive Men's 25-29 division, Jonathan came in a solid 11th. Nicely done MV Tri-people... way to represent!

Mineral Wells Stage 3 - Final GC - Team GC

Sunday Stage 3 road race finale was both good and bad for McKinney Velo. The bad started with another brutal day of wet rain and ended with Allen Abel of Joe's Pro Bikes besting CP for the 40+ GC title. The good - CP topped Abel in Stage 3, finishing 2nd while Abel took 3rd (with Bling in 4th for the stage, Oz 7th, Fene 10th, Seabass 13th and Big Patrick P T Cruiser Boxer Burke 14th). With those finishes, CP ended 2nd on GC, Bling was 4th, Fene 11th, Oz 12th, Seabass 14th and Boxer 15th. And that was enough to allow MV to handily take the 40+ team title.

Congratulations to Mirage's John Emerson who read the race dynamics beautifully and soloed to the Stage 3 win. Also congratulations to Abel on a hard fought GC win. Finally, congratulations and a big thanks to Mineral Wells race promoter Andy Hollinger and his fine promotional team for a splendidly organized and run race from start to finish... nothing makes old men feel more like the pro kids than racing a challenging stage race with hills, rain, wind and a ROLLING ENCLOSURE. Great race Andy! And thanks to the people of Mineral Wells for letting a bunch of silly looking cyclists play in your streets.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mineral Wells Stage 2 & GC

After two stages in Mineral Wells, the Fayetteville 40+ race revisit continues. One place separated Allen Abel (2nd) and CP (3rd) in the stage 2 TT and one place (and one point) separate them in the GC heading into today's road race finale. In the team competition, it also looks like it'll come down to Joe's Pro Bikes v. McKinney Velo. Recognizing that these photos, the GC picture (top of page) in particular, are not terribly 'crisp' - thankfully CP's rides better than he photos - the GC after 2 stages has Abel (Joe's) 1, CP 2, Bling 5, Richmond Frasier (Joe's) 8, Kevin Barton (Joe's) 10, Fene 11, Oz 14, Seabass 17, and Big Patrick PT Cruiser Boxer (f/k/a Tenzing) Burke 18. Look for MV to leave it all out there today as the team works for another narrow CP over Abel win, and a team win as an added bonus.

Meanwhile, over in the MW 3s race, The Chosen One, Clay 'Hobby' Hobson, took a great 4th in the RR yesterday. MV 3s captain Steve 'Fitness' Borski didn't fare as well on the hilly, windy and wet road course. Nevertheless, Fitness planned to be the faithful teammate and ride support for Hobby in the 75 mile cat 3 road race finale... too bad then that Hobby was to be a DNS today. Stay tuned as we investigate and determine whether Hobby maintains his status as The Chosen One.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mineral Wells Stage One

Fayetteville all over again... that was the feeling after stage one of the 40+ at Mineral Wells. Like Fayetteville, it was wet, it was windy and it was a little cold. And like Fayetteville, it was McKinney Velo's Chris Powers in a knock down drag out battle with Joe's pro Bikes Allen Abel for the GC lead. As this results sheet shows, Abel took the first stage 50 mile road race win, but thanks to some KOM points, CP sat 1st on GC. Stage two, a 6 mile TT was to follow about 5:00 this afternoon, and then it's another 50 miles Sunday. The biggest difference between Mineral Wells and Fayetteville? At MW, CP has more help. At Fayetteville, Team MV had only three: CP, Marco 'Joules' Corsi and Brownie. At MW, Team MV has the Bros' Burke x 3 (Patrick ('Bling'), Patrick Timothy and Timothy), Jeff Fene, Seabass (Brad Price), CP and Oz (Steve Weber). But then Joe's has a strong team too, as does OKC Velo. It's shaping up to be another battle royale (with cheese).

MV at Fort Davis - Race Roundup

From the better late than never file.... My typo in the Fort Davis stage one report where our MV boyz (pictured here returning to their base camp) had such great successes – that “MV is not set to solidify its 40+ lead in the afternoon TT” rather than is ‘now’ set... unfortunately proved to be prophetic. Think Cash Racing’s Jack Stepczynski tapped out a blistering fast (37:15) TT to jump up to the top of the 40+ GC. Bling (Patrick Burke) also broke 38 minutes (37:54) to hold onto 2nd. CP (Chris Powers) came 6th with a 38:46 which dropped him to 4th on GC. Meanwhile, Oz turned a 39:44 that left him almost 4 minutes back of Stepczynski. (Meanwhile, over in the Cat 2 race, Deuce (Mitch Blackwell) passed 3 on his way to a time that rivaled Bling’s and that moved him up 9 places on GC. Unfortunately, Deuce overworked his back in the process and was a DNS on Sunday.)

While not pleased to give up the GC lead heading into Sunday’s 75 mile RR finale, that shift in the standings did allow our MV boyz to race the way they are most comfortable – triple aggressively! With Richie Rocket (Rich Miller) and Oz (Steve Weber) more than 4 minutes down on GC and the stage offering 4 major climbs, they were designated to blow the race up in hopes of setting up Bling and CP for a breakaway that would bring the GC lead back to MV. Richie Rocket did an amazing job keeping things in check and setting tempo, covering early moves. Then Oz snuck off the front with Kevin Barton of Joe’s Pro Bikes who was also right at 4 minutes down. Barton was the perfect companion for Oz because Barton did not have any teammates higher on GC and he’s strong.

Oz and Barton stayed off over first 2 of 4 climbs until mile 60, and had a 6:30 gap at one point which meant the field and in particular GC leader Stepczynski had to work while Bling and CP followed wheels. Over the 2nd climb, Oz stopped pulling because he knew he needed to be fresh to help Bling and CP if caught or ensure the stage win if he and Barton made it to the finish.

Back in the field, Bling and CP used the 2nd hill to launch an attack that only their stage one break partner, Mirage’s Joe Howard, could follow. Bling and CP were all too happy to have Joe come along – he’s super strong, a great guy and was lying 7th on GC, so no threat to Bling or CP’s placing. This threesome caught Barton and Oz on the flats after the 2nd climb at mile 60. Shortly thereafter on the 3rd climb, Barton who had been off with Oz for 50 miles, had to pull over and stretch to overcome severe cramping. The 3 MV and Howard pushed on over the top of the 3rd climb.

It was a super fast technical decent in the pouring rain and hail coming off the 3rd climb, but Oz gave it all to help seal the break for Bling and CP. These three and Howard continued to drill it through the next flat section to put time in chasers. Oz could not keep pace on the 4th and last climb, so he dropped off and waived Bling, CP and Howard to go up the road. At the top, Oz was caught by a group of 4 which had the race leader, 5th, 9th and 12th on GC. Oz followed wheels on the 4 mile decent and 4 mile flat section before the steep 500 meter finish. There, Oz snapped off an attack for 4th on the day.

Up ahead, Bling and CP reversed their stage one finish with Bling taking the stage win and CP 2nd while Howard again came 3rd. With stage finishes of 2nd, 2nd and 1st, Bling was your Fort Davis 40+ GC winner, while CP’s 1st, 6th and 2nd were good enough for 2nd on GC! Oz used 2 11th places and his 4th on stage three to move up to 7th on GC, the last paying place! Meanwhile, Richie Rocket, the ever faithful teammate finished 15th on stage three and 16th on GC. Congratulations boyz, you done MV proud!

MISD/McKinney Velo High School Team News

Led by 2nd year team member Justin Hicks (pictured at left), the McKinney High School team sponsored by McKinney Velo has quietly put together a strong high school race season. Justin won the Men’s B road race and finished 2nd in the TT at the most recent high school event – the Baylor race weekend, on his way to 1st in the GC! Justin’s friend Austin McCown became his teammate at Baylor and with a strong 3rd in the TT, Austin finished 5th on GC. As a result, the McKinney Boy’s team is 3rd in the B season standings and 5th in the overall Boy’s standings. Other McKinney High/McKinney Velo boy’s team members are Brett Fene and Zachary Koeppe.

The McKinney/MV Girls (Christina Koeppe and Jennifer Garcia) are 3rd in the Girl’s season standings. Combined, McKinney High/MV sits 4th overall... quite an impressive showing for such a young and inexperienced team – the very unofficial and not widely publicized word is that a couple of the McKinney High team members would be eligible for a McKinney middle school team. Congratulations to all our high school/juniors team members for your successes and for representing your schools, your city and MV so well! Congratulations are also owed to the men who head up the MV/MISD program - Johnny White Shoes Moore, his assistant Big Patrick P T Cruiser Boxer Burke and our MISD team/club sponsor Mark ‘baby’ Bayer (hey, he volunteered his nickname... just sayin’).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brownie at Battenkill

MV’s Mike Brown, known by most as simply “Brownie” (pictured here winning the 40+ at Copperas Cove in January 2010), had targeted the Tour of Battenkill in New York all Winter and into the early season Texas races; going so far as to lose 10 el bees to drop down to his high school weight.

Brownie aptly chronicled the obstacles racers face at Battenkill in a series of TxBRA posts, but in short, the 40+ field tackled a 100km course that featured 8 dirt/gravel road sections with several hills (like the two pictured above, the top picture showing a climb being crested by the Pro 1 field), including some at 17-19%.

Brownie gave a brief race summary on TxBRA and will provide greater detail on his experience in The Racing Post. But you’re not on TxBRA and you’re not reading The Racing Post. Instead, you want to know now, how did he do? And I’ve got the answer – damn hell well! Out of 125 starters, Brownie finished 20th, which is a very nice result for such a challenging course, but that placing hardly describes the impact and impression Brownie left on his fellow competitors.

Battling legs that were threatening severe cramping and knowing that the final dirt road section included a nasty climb, Brownie attacked with 20 miles to go on the approach to dirt sector 8 of 8 in pursuit of a 5 man lead group. Although he didn’t catch the break, Brownie did manage to hold off the main field for 16 miles. Then, after sitting in to recover for 2 miles, Brownie launched again and stayed off until he was swallowed by the field with 50 yards to go. All in all, an excellent display of aggressive McKinney Velo racing!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

McKinney Velo Boyz at Fort Davis


Not sure what (l-r) Bling, Oz, Deuce, Rocket Richie and CP ate and drank yesterday in Fort Davis as their pre-race meal, but it was the right choice. During this morning's 40+ stage one, Oz and Rocket Richie set tempo and kept the group together until CP and Bling could launch an attack on the finish climb that only Mirage's Joe Howard could follow. Then in the last K of the climb, Bling attacked first, but Howard brought him back. CP immediately countered and got the gap that would lead to the stage W! Bling was then able to drop Howard and follow CP in 2nd. Great job by the entire team. MV is not set to solidify its 40+ lead in the afternoon TT.

While his teammates were practicing team tactics in the 40+ race,Deuce was left to fend for himself in a brutal P 1,2 field -- the 2s were scored separately, but the race was combined. With Hotel San Jose setting a blistering pace leading Blackgrove to the stage win, it took all Deuce had just to survive and finish mid-pack. But even then, his climb time was as good as or even better than CP's winning climb in the 40+ giving an indication of just how hard the P 1,2s raced today.

TT reports to follow.