October 30, 2008

What Do You All Think?

I know there are only maybe five people that regularly read this space...well that's slightly disingenous...I can tell you for a fact that we've had 291 unique visitors stopping by 592 times since July 1st. Which works out to almost 3 people a day! Way more impressive.

anyway, back to my point...

Simple question for ya.....should we do a team for 2009? I've been kicking it around for a few months now and i don't have a definitive answer. Inclinations & Leanings, sure. The point is to try and introduce a different dynamic to the classical 'club-team' format; to bring some team level coaching to the members and expect some team level cohesion in events. We'll aim to develop riders in each category, kick down some good deals, have fun, and of course to . But hey, don't all teams try to do that...

I don't have a perfect model spec'd out in my head yet....but it would certainly be a racing team, would probably be pretty small (despite my world domination tendencies), and would look f'ing sweet! We may even land some sponsors...but it's my team so that's probably enough right?

Anyway - we'll probably do it, but I'd love to hear some opinions, suggestions, offers?

October 25, 2008

Slash to Rip Up Surf City Sunday!

In a flash of brilliance Sterling has hired G-n-R guitar hero Slash to fill in for oft-injured team manager Matt Mc at this weekends Surf City Spooktacular! Slash has a particular affinity for the single-speed class and will be working to de-rail Matt's current 4th place overall in the NCNCA Cup Standings. So, bring your friends, yourself, and your best rock & roll attitude out to Soquel high tomorrow!!!

October 22, 2008

BASP #1 Race Report - Bill Strachan

This was the first race of the year in the BASP series, my primary
goal for the year so I was motivated for a good race.  I was hopeful
that there would be less climbing than the last couple of years on
this course since I heard that we would be taking an extra lap on the
football field adjacent to the start finish area but I was
disappointed. There may have been less actual climbing than in years
past but we still made it all the way up to the top of the tree
covered hill and back. The climbing was mostly in one sustained
section that took something like a minute and a half to negotiate.
I was able to get a couple of laps on the course in the time between
the first and second heats for a warm up, I did not warm up on the
trainer as planned since I stopped to say hello to my kids, wife and
sister so instead of warming up on the trainer just rolled around on
the infield. I was nervous about trying to get a good start position
so I ended up standing by the course entrance for 5 minutes or so
getting cold anyway.
I got off the line well, getting my foot in the pedal on the first
stab, and made it into just about 5 place for the first time up the
steep run up. I had a clean bike pick up and a pretty good climb up
the hill. Right after the hill one guy crashed, got up and crashed
again right in front of me right but made it past him and through the
rough sections that followed. I lost a couple of places on the first
long climb but was trying to cool it and not dig too deep on this
first lap. Good plan because I was able to give away only a second or
two but get it all back on the rolling, downhill and flat sections
that followed. Felt good and strong in the flat, loose and sandy
section, and was able to pass a guy or two there on the first couple
of laps.
After the first lap and a half or so it was pretty clear how the race
would sort out. There was one guy who was smoking the field and a
group of four guys close together chasing. I was leading another small
group of guys behind who could not quite close the gap. I would
occasionally lose a place to one of two guys but then gain it back,
usually on the approach to the football field or on the football
field. For the first half of the race, the second group was close,
only 10 seconds or so but we gradually lost sight of them. With just
under one lap to go, one of the guys I was trading place with put in a
hard effort just after the run up and gapped me pretty good. I lost a
little more time on the climb, made up a little on the football field
and held off the guys behind for a good result, 7th place. I managed
to have a clean race, no crashes, no dropped chains and clean over the
barriers every time.
Next one in two weeks for me at Candlestick.
Thanks for reading.

October 14, 2008

Central Coast / NCNCA Cup #1

The best description of the races so far is off the ncnca website - race reports link. Dusty does a great job of painting the picture.
Given that i'll just mention some of the SterlingWins.com p/b Leopard highlights...

We put Matt V, Ed M, Liza R, and Matt M on the line to race. Aaron was there but not racing - injury, lucky! Anyway, the highlight of the race was the stupendously steep uphill grind to the top of the corkscrew. I'm gonna guess the steep part was probably 150m or so...but the fun part was that it kept getting steeper! Then after the steepest barge section you got another climb to the barriers. Nice. Matt V rode a smart and steady race to pull 2nd - medals rule! Matt also scored a huge tray of Strawberries, which Mia was kind enough to eat most of the rest of the afternoon! Thanks for sharing Matt! Ed M looked good on the bike. He's really learning fast. Smooth in transition, he looked composed on the loose stuff too! Liza learned a new level of technical skill riding! That course is a tough debut to the scene...good job Liza! The speed will come and then your fitness will carry the day! Keep practicing those loose sand skills though..they are a nor-cal staple! As to my race, well it went pretty well. It was only about 3 laps too long. I rode kinda easy out of the gate just waiting to see what would happen on the climb. I didn't know any of the real players so I just followed wheels and settled into about 4th the first time up the climb. It went well and my bike choice, single speed MTB with a 42x21 was a great one for the top section - Super Technical! Loose and switchback prone it was easy to loose the front end. I squeaked away at the start of the 2nd lap and took the lead. Charged the next 3 laps and came through to hear 5 to go!! Ouch. The rest of the race was about pacing and energy management. When passed by the eventual winner, it was obvious right away that I couldn't hold his wheel, so I tried to sit back and tempo off him. A couple of laps later here come the two buy-cell guys looking like straight killers!!! Stomp, stomp right by me and now I'm in 4th. Fortunately I could hold their gap to about 15 seconds for the rest of the race. I made a run at 3rd on the 2nd to last climb, but he was able to gas again at the top and move right back to 15-20s. After that I rolled tempo to the finish. I think I was about 19th overall when combined with the A's who started 1 minute in front of us. Wow, that was pretty fast! Update: It was actually 17th in A's and 37th overall by average lap time (old guys are flippin fast!!)

October 10, 2008

Looking Back....

I don't know why, but as I was cruising around the inter-web-net I read Mike Hernandez' post on the BAWC dinner thing coming up....and it mentioned Sarah Bamberger as being in attendance..which got me thinking about old teammates. Specifically it got me thinking about the team we had at Sycip in 2000 - 2003.

Sycip is a frame builder of National repute - making nice stuff out of steel (& Aluminum & Carbon too). Jay & Jeremy not only make sweet bikes, they are genuinely cool, nice, down to earth and just a little bit crazy! They also managed to cobble together one of the best teams I've ever ridden on - but probably didn't realize it at the time. Let's do a quick recap on who was on the team and just how bad-ass they were....

Leading the charge - John Funke...come on if you know nor-cal CX history you know how fast Funke is. Always, I mean ALWAYS in the mix with the big dogs, John would come out of nowhere each August or September to do a few road races (crits mostly) in the run up to the start of 'cross. Then when the season started John would be rippin' at the front in full-charge mode against Justin R, Damon K, Jackson S, Dave W, Andy J-M, Josh S - I mean really, really good riders! Top 3 in the '03 Surf City Series, 3rd in '02.

Next Up - speedster Sarah Bamberger. She was just getting fired up in cycling when she rode for Sycip. I've been pleasantly amazed at her growth in the sport. She is proof positive of what a slice of talent and a ton of dedication will do. She's really become one of the best riders in the country.

Don't Forget - Lauren Costantini. She'd just moved to the Bay area and was only a couple of years into her riding..but what a talent! Lauren progressed so fast and had such visible talent that it was a pleasure to watch her ride. She rode pretty much anything. I know she podiumed at CX Nationals in 2004, and I'm pretty sure she has a National Championship in MTB as well. Oh yea, and she's a PhD....Fast and smart!

Steve Paleaz - He of World Cup track competence. Steven always looks sweet on a bike! That he's developed world class leg speed and talent to match over the past few years is way cool!

Rachel Lloyd - she was really only on the team the first year I was, but she did win some serious races, including National Championships I think. Rachel is a true rennisance woman of the peloton. She raced pro XC and DH in the same season - wow!

Jon Brown - Jon came to the team from Colorado with a developing reputation as an adventure racer. Little did we all know that Jon was seriously good! I only raced with him at Tour of the Gila (well, he was in a different category so it was mostly hagn out time at the hotel...but he proved to be a good racer and a great guy. He's gone on to stardom on the Salomon/Crested Butte Professional Adventure racing team. He can do it all - run, climb, ride, raft, swim - pretty much anything athletic and endurance based. Awesome

There were many other great riders on that team - Hans Kellner, Santiago Bolon, Scott Francis, Kelsey Aldrich...just a very good team all around. As I look through cycling I continue to see how small our community is. The old adage 6 degrees of separation is probably only 1 or 2 in cycling, for everyone. That's kinda cool....

Start of a small flurry....

Here is a bit of inside info on the CX1's from Leopard. Joachim Parabo has been racing in the U.S. for the early season and has this to say about the bike:

The bike draws attention !!!
I left it outside a diner in Queen Anne part of Seattle - during 45 min. 5 guys stopped and stared for 2-4min. Their girlfriends looked like - oh... there goes my new kitchen!
I random biker pointed at the bike and stopped me on a cycling patch - I let him ride it. He was thrilled by the acceleration.
Guys were drooling at the Wednesday practice with a 200 pers. turnout at the Marymoor Velodrome (StarCrossed venue).

Handling and quality
The bike handles well. The accelerations are crisp and not wobbly, like the new BH cross carbon for instance ... For a bike weighing 1180g in 58cm painted - that is QUALITY.