by Gary Schobel and Michael Hast
Cat 4/5 Masters 50+
The Masters 4/5 road race was a combined race of the ages 35+, 40+, 45+ and 50+. That made for an interesting dynamic during the race. We had to race 2 laps with a total of 50 miles. Each lap had a 1 mile hill climb with an incline of about 4%. That hill climb was in the middle of the lap, so there were still 8 miles to go to the finish after climbing. In the first lap, someone told Erwin from Aggress that he couldn't be second wheel for the entire race. He responded with an attack and rode off the front and was never seen again. I (Gary) stayed tucked away in the group waiting patiently for the hill. On the hill I went to the front to be able to fall back in case there were surges up the hill. Conor positioned himself in the back of the 24 rider group. During the hill climb a surge happened and I was able to hang onto the first group. Conor unfortunately got separated and ended up in a 3 rider chase group. When my group crested, I had 3 riders from categories 35, 40 and 45 and 2 rider from my 50+ category. The group included Joe Lewis from Cyclefit Solutions Racing and Charlie Everett from Bicycle Ranch Racing. I was wondering what I could do to shed my competition. I talked to Charlie if he could help me during an attack to get ahead of my competition. About 2 miles before the 1 mile hill climb on the 2nd lap, I attacked and Charlie followed my wheel. Charlie assisted me with a good pull before wishing me good luck. He dropped back and with Rob's help made sure the other 2 riders wouldn't catch up to me. I rode as hard as I could for a few miles and then settled into my TT mode all the way to the finish. Praise the LORD for the endurance and the help to be able to win the Masters 50+ Cat 4/5 State Championship.
Cat 1/2/3 Masters 45+
The Masters 1/2/3 road race was also a combined race of the ages 35+, 40+, 45+ and 50+ which made for an interesting dynamic during the race. Similar to the Cat 4/5 Master race, we had to race 2 laps with a total of 50 miles. The race started fast. Rich from Aggress took off with one other rider and the chase was on. Once caught, there were various attacks that didn't pan out and we regrouped with about 1 mile to go before the 1 time up the 1 mile climb. Zack from the 35+ category attacked and took Jesse with him. Rich who raced in my (Michael) age group bridged over to them which caused me to follow him. The first climb was brutal, but at a steady pace I was able to close the gap to Rich. Now it was 4 of us up ahead of the group. Paul Thomas who raced in the 50+ group bridged over to us and encouraged us to go on the attack and break away. I followed his wheel right away, Rich, Zack and Jesse recovered from the hill climb and fell back. After the climb we turned right and everyone followed. It turned out, after a long descend that we turned too early. Our right turn was supposed to be 1 mile later. The referee overtook us in the car and stopped us after about 5 miles. We decided to turn back and get back on the right course. Paul charged up the hill, followed by Zack and me. I was unable to take a pull at the front while we charged up the hill. Once we crested, I never looked back, but we had a little gap to the rest of the field. Now the hard part was to settle into a rotation for the next 8 miles back to Duncan. Under Pauls guidance we found a good rhythm, but our break got caught as we entered Duncan. Once we started the second lap riders didn't all out attack, but the group let them ride off the front. It was mostly Jesse who rode away from the group. He wasn't in my age group, so I didn't worry about him. About a mile before the 1 mile climb, Paul bridged over to him and they started working together. Once the climb started, I wanted to bridge over to Paul and hammered up the hill. Rich followed as much as he could, but I dropped him 3/4 of the way up. After I crested I thought I would be able to bridge over to Paul, but he was long gone. I was in no mans land for a little while but waited for the group to come by. Now everyone went into a pace line trying to chase down Paul. I was already a little exhausted from our breakaway and didn't participate as much in the rotation. Once we entered Duncan, the strategizing started who would lead whom out. I had to watch Rich and one other rider who raced in my category. Rich took off and I watched the other rider for a while before it dawned on me that he didn't want to chase Rich down. I took off after Rich and closed the gap and hoped that I hadn't started to late. I came up on Rich and had enough speed to overtake him, but instead of going left in between Jesse and Rich I got caught on Rich's left side, I had to slow down for a bit and then tried to overtake him on the right, but ran out of road. He crossed the finish line half a second before me. Congratulation to our new State Champion Rich for the Cat 1/2/3 Masters 45+. Praises be to our Heavenly Father for the 2nd place and a wonderful day of racing.
by Michael Hast
Praises be to our Heavenly Father for an awesome race at the Tour de Mesa. Congratulations to Conor for taking 1st place in the 34 Mile distance. Congratulations also to Charlie from Bicycle Ranch who was in the break with Conor.
"Great race this morning; finally got my first win! Got into a 2-man break that was eventually caught, but was able to take the sprint. h/t to Charles Everett for the smart and aggressive racing...and the pics! Congrats on your podium; well-deserved" (Conor)
by Michael Hast
Praise the LORD for a fun and action packed weekend.
On Saturday we had our Halloween Scavenger Hunt Bike Ride benefitting Therapy Trykes Tucson. Therapy Trykes Tucson's mission is to provide, free of charge, custom-built and individually fitted medically adaptive therapy tricycles to wounded and disabled veterans who can no longer participate in the great outdoors or exercise in it without these personally adaptive cycles. The ride raised $302 towards that mission. We praise our Heavenly Father for the generosity of the riders.
We rode on the LOOP bicycle path along the Canada del Oro Wash on this beautiful late October morning looking for Halloween themed scavenger items. Some were easier to spot, others took a little looking around. It was great fun for the whole family. We hope to get more families involved in future events.
by Michael Hast
Praise the LORD and congratulations to Gary and Michael for placing on the podium at the 2017 Arizona State Time Trail (TT) Championship. Congratulations also to our competitors Kevin, Greg and Scott.
We got up early Sunday morning driving to Arizona City. I decided to ride in the 40+ Merckx category because I don't have a TT bike. I also thought to myself, it would be good training for the upcoming Bike the Bluff Cat 3 Road Race Championship, staying in the aero position as long as I could. Gary started in the Cat 4 category.
My goal was to keep my threshold power as steady as I could. I have never raced with a power meter before and knew that it would be challenging to keep that power up. Right before the race I remember that I hadn't calibrated my power meter and in the rush of heading to the start line, the calibration failed. Well, I should have done this at warmup. Once I started, my Garmin showed nothing for power. I thought to myself, well, the power meter battery must have died, even though I just replaced it 2 weeks ago. Ok, heart rate it is. I started out hard, my heart rate went into race zone and I started to wonder if I am pushing it too hard. I caught the rider who started 30 seconds ahead of me in my category fairly soon. That gave me even more reason to speculate if I am hitting it too hard. After passing the rider, boom, power data was showing again.
Calibrated or not, I was glad it was back and now I focused on my threshold power. It was very hard to stay at that number, the bumpy road, the perceived head wind, the fatigue. I was very glad to see the turn around point. I passed a few riders on the way to the turn around, but after that no more passing. That made it much harder going back, even though there was no head nor tail wind. I saw Brandon and Jesse who raced in the Merckx Under 40 category in the far distance, but never made any gain on them. It is alway nice to have a target ahead of you. I tried to stay as aero as possible on my road bike, continuing to focus on my power data. After 1:02:26 I crossed the finish line, winning the Merckx 40+ category.
#togodbetheglory #howihammer #christiancyclingtucson #christiancycling #timetrails #arizonastatechampionship
by Michael Hast
We raced in various categories in the Campus Criterium on Saturday and then on Sunday in the Oracle Road Race at the Santa Catalina Omnium. Congratulations to Steven Terry for placing 3rd in the Omnium in the Cat 4/5 35+. It was a strong field where Philip Brown from Aggress won.
Men Cat 3/4
The Campus Criterium course was clockwise around the mall at the UfA with a sweeping corner on the west side and a hairpin corner on the east side (at Campbell). Every time we accelerated out of both of those corners which took a toll on the field. My strategy was to make it hard for the first 10 minutes of the race to shake up the field. On the 4th lap there was a crash on the hairpin turn because the first rider went into the turn with too much speed. We all went around him, I took the lead and a prime was announced. I was able to lead the pack around the course and won the prime, a box of R Bars. I was also able to win the second prime, a pair of tires from the Bicycle Tire Club. My plan wasn't to win the primes, but to find someone in the field to work with for a possible break. But nobody in the field thought it was a good idea. I eventually faded from all those accelerations and was passed through to the end of the field. I stayed there until the end of the race. But the accelerations kept on going.
The Campus Criterium was already a tough race with all those accelerations, but the Oracle Road Race with over 4000 ft. of climbing on a 54 mile course was even more challenging. The climbers among the racers were definitely favored to win in the road race. My plan was to stay with the field until the final climb. And I should have listened to my plan. On the first climb 2 riders broke away and stayed away. After the turnaround in Oracle we headed into a headwind and nobody wanted to work to chase down the 2 riders. I attacked and wanted to bridge to those riders to potentially work with them and get a head start on the second climb. I caught the first rider Peter, but he wasn't able to stay with me on the downhill. After that I worked hard to catch the first rider, but never able to. The field caught me right after the turnaround at the bottom of the climb. Now the final climb was upon us. I stayed near the end of the field of 20 riders to protect myself from any cross or head winds. It worked out pretty well, but when the attacks started to happen my legs did not respond as I wanted them to. There was a decisive attack heading into the outskirts of the town of Oracle which I was unable to respond to. The winners of the race had about a 30 second lead on me when crossing the finish line. I placed 9th and was pretty happy with my first Cat 3/4 road race.
by Michael Hast
Men Cat 4
he first day of the Crit-Mas Series was a very windy one. The temperatures were quite different from El Tour de Tucson. I think winter starts now ;-) When we setup the venue, I wasn't quite ready to race. I was quite busy with learning how to setup and work the registration for our event. Right around 11 am everything with regards to registration calmed down and I felt this was a good time to warm up for the Men Cat 4 race. I got myself ready and before you know it, without a real warmup, the race started promptly at 11:40 am. We had a group of 13 racers. Because I rode without teammates and wanted to save some energy for the Men Cat 3/4 race, my strategy was to stay with the pack and watch out for any breakaways. I attacked a few time during the race to see how the group would react, but found myself very fast back integrated into the group. The strong headwind didn't help with any breakaway efforts. With 2 laps to go, Lynn pulled away and his teammates blocked for him. That was my cue to move up in the group to 4th position and when we turned the corner into the headwind to attack and bridge over to Lynn. Now there was only 1 lap to go. I passed Lynn and pressed on, trying to increase the gap to the group. On the tailwind side, I tried to recover as best as I could with my legs screaming at me. I had to save a little for the couple of 100 feet against the wind to the finish line. I was first through the last corner, but Dustin "dusted" me right before the finish line and took 1st. I came in 2nd with Chris finishing 3rd. I was very glad and hoped I had some left to race with Buzz in the Men Cat 3/4 race.
Men Cat 3/4
I thought Buzz would join me in the Men Cat 3/4 race, but he said his bike needed some rest and didn't even bring it to the venue. So I race again without teammates. My strategy was pretty much the same as before: initially try to conserve energy and make my move when a breakaway forms. I watched the Men Cat 1/2/3 race where Jace and Johnny from the Bicycle Accident Attorneys placed 1st and 2nd. Those two were the guys to watch for. The race started pretty casual without any major surges. Riders tried to find our other riders strength. At one point Jace attacked with the wind and had a pretty decent lead. When we turned against the wind, I attacked and bridged over to Jace. We started working immediately. For the next couple of laps our lead was only 5-7 seconds. We switched the lead every half lap, Jace pushed hard against the wind and I hammered down the trail wind stretch. Jace's teammate worked for us in the group trying to slow them down as best as he could. After about 15 minutes that payed off. The gap increased to 30, then 40 and 50 seconds. After it was clear that the chasing group could not catch us, they re-grouped and started to strategizing for their final lap and their sprint to the finish. We kept the same pace which enabled us to catch and pass the field. I know now that I should have not passed the field but rather keep a safe distance with Jace and prepare to just sprint against him. But I was so exhausted that I was ok with placing 2nd and didn't want to fight it out in a sprint. Jace deserved to win because he did so much more work than me.
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