by Jimmy Davis, Jr
My race began last year. I learned a lot during the race last year and I did not want to make the same mistakes again. Also, I have been suffering from low back pain for several years which had been a limiting factor for me during races.
This year I decided to go get my back looked at and discovered that there were some issues with my back and I was referred to a physical therapist. This was a hugely important step as they really helped me with some core issues and weaknesses.
I also planned to ride the race completely different than I did last year. I would not go in any breakaways or find myself alone on the front. My plan was save energy, draft, be smart and stay out of the wind.
There were some things that I kept the same this year, for example, I still did a proper warm up on the trainer. Connor Johnson was holding a place for me in the corral so I wasn't worried about my start position. There were 1152 riders in the race!
The beginning of the race was pretty nice, not too fast, not too slow. I sat near the front for about 20 miles...there were plenty of folks willing to sit on the front. I was wondering if all the folks were going to be able to maintain the pace. I concentrated on staying within myself and tried very hard to be patient. This was difficult because on several occasions I wanted to take off.
It was not until we got to the hill right before Rancho Vistoso that things got interesting. I figured that someone would try to hit the small climb hard and someone did but was not able to sustain it. We mostly stayed together through Twin Peaks and Silverbell Road. However, we had a strong cross-headwind on Silverbell (my time was 20+minutes slower this year). We had some strong riders in our group namely, John Howard the previous land speed record holder at 152 mph, the current female land speed record holder Denise Mueller at 148mph both on a tandem, Connor Johnson director of the Speed School, Mike Kozda's, Julian Turner And Lorenzo Molteni.
At some point on Silverbell the tandem attacked the group but Mike closed it down. Mike, Julian and Lorenzo did a lot of work during the race and Lorenzo took some pretty long pulls into the headwind on Silverbell. I'm not sure what happened but we lost our police escort and ended up getting stopped at Grant Road. The traffic officer cleared the way once we advised him that we were the lead group for the 55 mile race. I continued to only rotate short periods of time during the race. One highlight during the race was passing by my dad's house and seeing him video tape us as we went by. He was yelling, "That's my boy, that's my boy!". I was really beginning to get encouraged at this point because I knew the race would come down to a sprint...my strength!
The final leg of the race is about .8 of a mile to the finish. When we made the final turn I wanted to be positioned close to the front about 4-5 riders back. Just as we turned for the last stretch Mike K. attacked. I did not chase because I had chased last year and I knew it was too far. I was pretty sure that John and Denise were going to gain speed and close the gap so I waited. Sure enough I saw them coming from the back so I got out of the saddle so that I could get on their wheel as they went by. Once they caught Mike I stayed behind them until they overtook him. At some point I became aware of Julian and Connor with us. Once I saw Julian and Connor start to sprint I went to the right (dodging a rider who was finishing from the other race). I kicked and just tried to hold on to the finish. Praise God I was able to hold on for the win!
The podium was an amazing thing. It was huge and they did a little interview on the stage. I also really love the Conquistador Trophy that they present to the top three racers in each distance.
I felt blessed to be there and I was really glad to have the opportunity to race with such great folks. I'm looking forward to next year! I know that there will be folk looking to get that trophy...I'll be there to defend!!!
Thank you to God, to my family and friend and also to our national and local sponsors!
Very honored to race with such classy guys as you see below
by Michael Hast
The plan for the Bike the Bluff road race was to start our attacks early and potentially send a teammate ahead of the peloton and then to bridge to him later in the race. It all started according to plan. Jimmy and I released Gary and Evan from Tolero Racing. They got about 50 feet from the peloton, when a bunch of riders started to chase them down. I launched an attack right before the highest point of the race, Juniper Point, trying to see who would be willing to stay with me on the uphill. A junior racer from Team Winded was glued to my wheel and took off with me. I signaled him to work with me, but initially he didn't want to come around. He finally did on the downhill after Juniper Point, but due to his junior gearing, he spun out and it was hard for him to keep the speed going downhill. The peloton caught us and I went to the middle of the peloton. The junior rider was still glued to my rear wheel.
A group of about 5 riders took off after my attack. We let them go to about a distance of 200 yards before we started a pace line to wheel them back in. The pace line didn't really close the gap, so I attacked with the intent to bridge to the 5 riders on the last climb before the turn to Clay Springs. There were about 5 riders with me, one of them being Leo Carrillo. I wanted Leo to be in my break because Leo is a very strong Ironman. He knows how to time trial and can put out an immense amount of power on downhills or straights. I did not want him to chase me down. After we bridged to those 5 riders, some of them broke off and we ended up with an 8 rider break. Going through Clay Springs we had about a lead of 100 yards. I was asked if we could make the break succeed and answered with a confident absolutely. Coming out of the last corner of Clay Springs I went to the front and hammered as hard as I could to the final hill before the next 20 mile downhill. On the downhill Leo went to the front and increased our lead quite considerably. Our group worked well together all the way to Taylor, where our strength started to fade.
We climbed the finals hills from Taylor back to Show Low without any attacks. The chase group didn't get any closer and we prepared ourselves for the finish. Everybody did just enough work to get by. On the last hill where our speed went down to 10-12 mph, I was planning to attack, but because of the strong headwind I decided to wait. After the 1 mile to go sign, I launched an attack and had a little gap. But I faded rather rapidly due to the aforementioned strong headwind. Another rider attacked, but had a cramp in his hamstring. Then I remembered my teammate Jimmy's observation, be first or second on the final corner and be first or second on the podium. I saw the corner, attacked, went first though it and then pedal, pedal, pedal, don't cramp hamstring, pedal some more. Right before the finish line, I saw 2 front wheels in my peripheral vision, but I held on to win.
What a wonderful moment to be able to win the Arizona State Championship Road Race in Category 4.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph 1:3)
I wanted to thank my family for coming with me to Show Low and spending their morning with me on the race venue. Thanks to all my teammates, especially Jimmy and Gary for their support, insight and wisdom before and during the race. Many thanks also to all of our sponsors!
#christiancycling #christiancyclingtucson #ic3tucson #bikethebluff #togodbetheglory #statechampionship
by Michael Hast
On May 18, 2016, the Ride of Silence traversed and united the globe as nothing before it. Cyclists took to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.
With the killed and injured cyclists in Tucson earlier this year, this was especially bittersweet for some riders.
Brendon Lyons from 'Look! Save A Life / Arizona' had a display of his accident and what distracted driving can do to a cyclist. He had information about his campaign to make texting while driving illegal in the State of Arizona which is now banned in Pima County.
GABA organized a great Ride of Silence. We had a police escort of 3 motorcycles and 1 car all the way. It was an amazing ride with all riders being silent for the 1 hour event. We rode East on Broadway to Wilmot Road, then back on 22nd Street. The turnout was great, with a bittersweet fellowship afterwards.
by Michael Hast
We had another Service Worship Sunday at the Good News Community Church repairing bicycles from church members and members of the surrounding community.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:14-26)
by Todd Huff
We had a wonderful time last Saturday as 23 of us gathered for the annual Lasagna Dinner. It was a great time to relax, enjoy friends and family and some great food. The weather was absolutely perfect and the patio setting was cool and comfortable. We played some Pictionary and other games as everyone got to know each other better in a setting other than a bike ride. It was nice to see Pat and Cindy... first timers, at the event and we had several returnees. If you missed it, we missed you too! We look forward to another opportunity to be hosts again in the future.
by Michael Hast
Friday's race was the Masters Men Cat. 4/5 40+. It was a combined race of Masters Men Cat. 4/5 30+/40+/50+ with a field size of about 30 riders. I had high hopes because the course, an L-shape course with a 180 degree turn, was the same as last year. Last year the acceleration out of the 180 degree turn caught me by surprise, so this year I accounted for that in my training. Jimmy and Jeff (from Colorado) raced together with me, but in a different age category. At the begin of the race it was announced that some riders would be randomly drug tested after the race by USADA. It was important for us to check in after the race, otherwise that rider would have been found positive for testing for drugs.
Before the race, I didn't really strategize with Jimmy nor Jeff. We just wanted to get a feeling for the competition and the race course. My intent was to tire out the competition with attacks and then eventually end up in a break. That only worked to a certain degree, the competition said they were hurting during the race, but not enough to launch a break away. So we ended up with a mass sprint to the finish and I didn't set myself up early enough to place in the top 10. Jimmy and I placed 6th in our categories.
After the race I almost forgot to check in with the race officials to see if I was chosen for the random drug test, but thanks to Jimmy for reminding me. Annnnnnnd I was chosen for drug test. Well after a 30 minute race in the afternoon sun, it was hard pee in the cup. 6 riders were chosen and we all drank at least 3 bottles of water. 1 1/2 hours later it was finally over. I definitely don't envy the pros that have to do this all the time.
by Michael Hast
On Sunday was the Cat. 4 State Criterium Championship race. So far this year the Cat. 4 races have been more competitive than the Masters Cat. 4/5 40+ races. So I was looking for some strong young riders to go on a break with. Jimmy told he was hesitant to go to the front of the pack during Fridays race in fear of being stuck up front. I told him our strategy should be that he should go up front and I will launch an attack to relieve him from the front position. Or we would both go to the front and one of us attack.
After the 1st lap we did just that, we went to the front just after the 180 degree turn, but didn't launch an attack just yet. I was waiting for prime to be announced and someone chasing that prime. Someone always does and so the attack was on. The attack after the 1st prime didn't succeed, but there is always another prime. The rider who won the second prime had a decent gap (see video 1:00 min) and after catching that rider, I launched another attack. Adam from Tucson Endurance followed, passed me, telling me we had a gap (see video 1:28 min). From that time I dug deep and wanted that break to succeed. Adam and I worked well together switch the lead every half a lap. Eventually Adam told me, he will dig in one more time and bring me to line for me to take a the prime and them I am on my own. He worked hard and had to drop back (see video 2:18). Adam from the MORE Foundation Cycling Team bridge up to me and brought new energy into the break. At times he put in such an effort that I couldn't hold his wheel. But I dug in deep and said to myself, if this is the last lap of my life, let's give it all I got. With 2 laps to go we had about a 20 second gap which is not much, but after a 35 minute race the chasers are usually tired as well. Starting on the last lap after the 180 degree turn Adam sprinted which took me by surprise, but I stayed calm and concentrated on catching his wheel again. After the last turn we both started our sprint and Adam out sprinted me. I was very happy and give thanks and all the glory to my Heavenly Father for the 2nd Place finish in the Cat. 4 and winning one prime.
I have to give thanks to my wife Tina who cheered me on and took this video, to Jimmy for lending me his backup bike (the team bike ;-)) and both Adams and their teammates who helped the break to succeed.
by Michael Hast
The Marana Heritage Criterium was put on for the first time by Tolero Racing, GST Racing and ChristianCycling Tucson. Because of our volunteer efforts at the event, I was the only one from our team to race. I approached Colton to work together to get a break going fairly early in the race. We decided to make our moves right after the primes were given. The first prime was announced after the first lap. We attacked, but got caught fairly early on Tangerine. We mixed with the pack until the second prime was announced.
During that prime lap the pace slowed down quite a bit and it came to a crash where Colton was involved. The crash happened behind me, so I didn't know until we passed that area on the next lap that Colton was out. I attacked after someone won the second prime and Noah from Tucson Endurance jumped on my wheel. I rode hard all the way on Tangerine to the turn on Lon Adams and saw Noah fade away. David from Team Santini USA caught up with me and we rode a few laps in the breakaway together. David did a couple of great pulls, but unfortunately couldn't keep the pace. I rode by myself for the last 2 laps and had a gap of 22 seconds. During those 2 laps I managed to win a prime, 2 Schwalbe tires. But on the last lap a rider did a monster pull for his friend, bringing the pack back to me on the finishing stretch. I got caught 200 meters before the finish. Here is a video of the finish posted by Christy Camera Photography.
It was great racing. I loved every minute of it. Let's do it again!!!
by Buzz Wright
The TBC time trial is my favorite kind of time trial. A short one. There are some things that I hope they will change about this TT for next year though -- removing the climb, making the course a loop instead of a point-to-point, changing it from a distance-based event to time-based and having multiple laps of the loop done, switching it to a mass-start style and allow drafting, and for fun including a few special laps in there to sprint for prizes.
Ah yes, now that would actually be fun. The opposite of riding as hard as you can, puking nonstop for a couple hours, and then learning that you placed 40th, almost 2 minutes slower than the leader. Yuck.
My legs hurt and I was tired, but at least the road race allowed drafting. The plan was to stay near the front, conserve energy for the first two laps, and then work hard on the final lap to help Gary and Jimmy finish well. Gary dropped a bottle on the first lap so I told him to let me know if he needed fluids and I would share. The first lap was pretty tame until we got to the climb, where the pace pushed me into the red. I was able to fall back through the group though during the climb to minimize the pain.
We were going through the rollers section prior to turning back down Helmet Peak when I realized that Gary was off the back of the group. I looked at him and then looked at the front of the group, then back at him and tried to quickly decide what to do. I opted to fall off the group a bit to give Gary a sort of bridge to get back on. He wasn't too far and I felt a short strong effort would be all that was needed for him to make it back. I sat up and motioned for him to jump up to me. After about 30 seconds I looked back at the group and realized that there was a bit of a surge and the gap between the group and me was growing. I got nervous and looked back at Gary, then back at the group. I realized that my better option would be to get back in the group and try to help Jimmy, but after about a minute of chasing them I decided to sit up and wait for Gary so we could work together to try to catch them on Helmet Peak.
My indecision during that period essentially ended my race. Once we turned on HP I got to work trying super hard to regain contact with the group. We could see them up the road about 20 seconds ahead of us. My hope was they would take the descent somewhat easy (like we did on the first lap) -- but even though we were 30 seconds faster than the first time with the group on that segment, Gary and I were unable to catch them. The gap before we turned on La Canada was probably around 10 seconds. Once on flat land I was pretty gassed and told Gary we wouldn't be able to catch them. We continued to work hard together for the remainder of the race, making sure we stayed away from anyone who was behind us and hoping to be able to pick up a few guys as we went along.
It was pretty hot and with Gary missing a bottle we were in need of more fluids. When we passed through the feed zone on the final lap I yelled out for neutral bottles and was able to get three (thanks Jelly Belly). Turned out that Gary wasn't able to get any bottles so it was a good thing I grabbed three. We hydrated and pushed on, finishing in the same time as the race last year (but doing so without the assistance of the main group) -- the competition this year is definitely stronger.
The circuit race is a lot of fun and I was looking forward to it. Plan was the same but my legs were pretty much dead so I focused on conserving as much energy as I could with the hope that I wouldn't lose contact with the group. I moved up when the pace was easy and slid back with things got hard. This worked pretty well but on lap three I had trouble holding wheels and ended up about 3 bike lengths back during the rollers leading up to the finishing climb. I knew the pace would be hard up the climb and I was going to blow myself up trying to jump back up to the group so I looked back to see if there was anyone else I could work with. Turned out Stephen with Carlos O'Brien's was there with another rider. I sat up and waited for them and then the three of us traded pulls for a lap to attempt to get back in the group. Stephen and I ended up dropping the other rider and continued working together but without much hope of reaching the group.
Despite being dropped again it was a fun day of racing. Stephen and I worked hard and finished strong, though our placings weren't that great. Michael held onto his 3rd place spot on the GC so that was very cool. I look forward to this race next year and hopefully will have enough fitness next time to be more of a help for my teammates.
Buzz in the circuit race (photo by Damion Alexander)
by Buzz Wright
Both Gary and I were signed up for 3 races and my plan for all three was to work for Gary to try to get him some top-10 finishes and hopefully a few upgrade points. The course was new this year and I really liked it -- smooth and fast. There were a decent number of attacks in the this race, most of them getting chased down pretty quickly. One rider went off the front for a while but being solo nobody seemed too worried. He was left out for a few laps and then caught during a prime lap. With 4 to go I checked for Gary and started to get ready to put in a strong effort on the final lap for him.
Buzz hydrating (photo by Ricardo Arduengo)
We stayed near the front to defend our top-10-ish position and then on the bell lap I looked for the right time to burn my match. On the back stretch I pushed hard on the outside and moved us up a few spots heading into the last two corners. My legs were pretty spent and I wanted to save a little for the next two races so I decided to peel off before the final corner. Gary was able to get 10th place which was awesome but I think I could have pushed a little harder and continued my effort through the final corner to help him out more. Fun race, and Gary got a great result.
With the same plan and a lot of comfort with the course I had some high hopes for this race. Gary and I stayed near the front and within sight of each other. I took the outside lines through most of the corners while Gary opted for the inside lines to be more sheltered from the wind. Everything was going great until 2 laps to go when a rider touched wheels and went down. It happened to the left of me and I knew Gary was on that side but wasn't sure if it had taken him out. I checked a couple times and didn't see him so I figured he must have got caught behind it.
Buzz hanging on (photo by Ricardo Arduengo)
Without Gary on my wheel I decided to do my best to finish well and maybe get an upgrade point or two. On the bell lap I was able to get in to a fantastic position sitting 4th wheel, but my legs were screaming. We took the final corner and I put in the best sprint I could muster (which wasn't much). My jump just isn't there right now, not anywhere near what I had last year when I was training those anaerobic zones. I was passed by a couple guys and ended up taking 6th place, which was good enough for one point. I was happy with the result but concerned for Gary.
Turned out that Gary did go down in the crash, but he wasn't too banged up and his bike did not get damaged. He was disappointed but still wanted to race in the third race.
My legs were pretty toasted for this race, but I was able to hang on during the rough surges (one which lasted multiple laps) and maintain a decent position near the front of the group. I checked for Gary often and after a while noticed that he had been dropped from the group during that long, strong surge. With 4 to go I burned a couple small matches getting up to the front and with 2 to go I was sitting third wheel.
The guy at the front had done a lot of work and was looking pretty tired so I decided to shift back a couple spots because I didn't want to hit the front too early. I soft-pedaled through one of the corners to give up three positions and then slotted back in as we started the bell lap. During that lap the pace was blistering and I lost a couple positions prior to the final corner. I again had no sprint and was only able to get 13th place, but I was happy with how I had raced.
It was a great day, even though Gary hit the deck. We had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and watching the P123 race before heading back to Tucson.