Month: August 2011

Appalachia Visited for Epic Battle of GamJams Cat 3 Cup

Appalachia Visited was the final race in the GamJams Cat 3 cup series. The surrounding area of Rowlesburg, WV provided the battleground for the series finale to be played out. Dan Netzer from Celerity Cycling and Brian Sjoberg from Bike Doctor were separated by a single point going into this race, with Brian in the lead. In store for them was a 58 mile road race with 4000+ feet of climbing. There were two significant climbs near the middle and end of the race that would decide the race and Cat 3 cup victory.

Course profile for race

This race was promoted and executed by the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association. JR Petsko, runs the association and certainly knows how to put on races for those that enjoy going up. It was a picture perfect day and the riders amassed at a park that saddled right up against the ever inviting Cheat River. The riders were already eye-balling the river for post race bathing.

Both the category 1/2/3 and 3/4 mens fields were a little light on attendance so they were combined to make up a field of roughly 45 riders. Brian’s plan going into this race was to keep an eye on Dan and make sure he didn’t lose contact with him at any point in the race and then out sprint him on the flat finish. As the riders tackled the first of two major climbs a small group peeled away and left Brian in a position to keep control of his effort and let some of the 3/4 riders go up the road. Dan had lost contact mid way up the climb and Brian just needed to make sure he didn’t blow up.

As Brian crested the climb he found himself in a group of four that immediately upped the pace and caught back onto the lead group after 3-4 miles of chasing. The tempo in the lead group slowed when they caught on so Brian just looked to conserve as much energy as possible knowing that Dan would probably catch back on. Well after another 6-7 miles, Dan was able to reconnect however he had noticeably expended a few more matches because he had to do the effort solo.

Pack tackling an early climb. Photo Credit: Fred Jordan

The lead group continued to swell and as they hit the bottom of the final climb Brian moved up to front with Dan glued tightly to his wheel. The pace was lifted by Patrick McKeegan of HPC List and then Ian Spivack of DCMTB. Brian was able to match their first couple of accelerations but Ian’s last acceleration was too much and he went up the road with one other 1/2/3 rider. Brian eased onto another wheel and settled in for some good quality time with the pain doctor.

Midway up the climb Brian still noticed Dan stuck to his wheel and began to worry because he was starting to break and didn’t know exactly how much more climbing was left. Luckily Brian was able to embrace another pain level and not long after he saw the desirable sight of Dan’s shadow slipping off his wheel. Brian and the other rider would eventually bridge back up to Ian and crested the climb with a good size gap over Dan.

Brian being the heaviest guy in the group by 20 pounds took the downhill leadership roll and bombed the descent. Once the riders came off the descent they had another 3 miles of flat to rolling roads to the finish. Ian and Brian represented the lead group of 3/4’s. Because Brian needed Ian to work with him they discussed a plan to make sure they kept the pace high without having to worry about the cat and mouse game to the finish line and Brian would lead out Ian.

Cat 3/4 Podium (Sjoberg 2nd). Photo Credit: Fred Jordan

The plan was executed to perfection and their group ended up catching all but a breakaway of two 1/2/3 riders. Ian walked away with the victory. Congratulations Ian! Brian placed 2nd and secured the GamJams Cat 3 cup individual victory and also 2nd place in the team competition for Bike Doctor. Dan rolled in about 30 seconds later to capture 3rd on the day. He put up a very hard fight and will be 2nd in the cup and Celerity Cycling will be walking away with the team competition. Congratulations Dan and his team!

Post race the guys that had been battling it out during the race, grabbed some frosty beverages and beelined it to the Cheat river for a very refreshing dip. They reflected on the day’s racing action as well as the season long battle for the GamJams cup and were looking forward to the next season racing as category 2 riders.

Additionally the team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike DoctorCannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

This awaited the riders after the race!

Tour de Millersburg knows how to support Bike racing!

A few members of the Bike Doctor team had done Tour de Millersburg last year and absolutely raved about it on many levels. They said the town was fantastic and very energized, the courses were great and the organization was top notch. For the team members that went this year, the guys reported that their expectations were exceeded and that this would be a fixture on the calendar for years to come.

This event centers around the small town of Millersburg, PA and is promoted and run by Team Chameleon. It is comprised of a short rolling 9.5 mile time trial on Saturday morning, a criterium Saturday afternoon and a road race Sunday morning. The riders that made the trek for Bike Doctor to Millersburg were Scott Giles, Sunny Gill and Jim Weinstein for the category 1,2 race and Robb Hampton, Frank Ramos and Brian Sjoberg for the category 3 race.

Representative Giles TT machine!

Time Trial – The guys woke up to a beautiful morning, around 75 degrees and were amped to tackle this out and back course. For the category 1,2 team, Scott Giles posted the fastest time for the team on his “frankenbike” with a 20:06. For those that haven’t seen Scott’s bike it is an old hooker bike from the late 80’s/early 90’s (see representative picture). His time was good for 8th on the day. Jim Weinstein cracked the top 30 with 28th and Sunny Gill (under cyclocross conversion) came in 51st. For the category 3 guys, Brian Sjoberg posted a time of 21:18, good enough for 6th place. Frank Ramos and Robb Hampton finished 24th and 31st, respectively.

Giles driving the pace in the 1,2 race. (Photo Credit: Joe Mallis)

Criterium – The criterium course had been touted as a flat course but the guys found out very quickly that “flat” was relative to last year’s course that must have went over Alpe d’ Huez every lap. While it wasn’t like the Luray “wall” criterium, the hill that spanned from the 3rd to 4th corner would takes its toll on the fields quickly. For the category 1,2, Scott Giles was called up to the line as a result of his top 10 time trial finish. Once the gun went off, Scott wasted no time in splitting the field to pieces and within a couple laps there were small groups sprinkled all over the course. Unfortunately Jim and Sunny started towards the back of the field and were now part of one of the trailing groups. They would eventually be pulled. Giles on the other hand was destroying the field.  He was chasing breaks that others didn’t want to and was following smart wheels. Unfortunately, luck would not be on his side and with about 12 laps left he went down in corner 2. Broken handlebars and bruised pride … but head still intact. The guys were looking forward to the road race for some retribution.

Breakaway established in Category 3 race.

For the category 3 team, Brian Sjoberg was called up to the line and in similar fashion to Scott Giles he bolted off the front with Justin Mauch (HPC/List). Justin has a habit of doing this for the first 3-4 laps so Brian wanted to tag along this time. After the first lap they had a gap but Brian was not willing to work because there was still 24 miles left in the race. Justin continued to set a blistering pace and after 3 laps Brian saw another rider bridging across, Calvin Hoops (Shirks Racing ??).  This group represented 1st (Justin), 3rd (Calvin) and 6th (Brian) in the time trial. This was a significant group and so Brian joined in the effort. With every lap their gap grew and it was only a matter of time when the trio would lap the field.

Sjoberg victory in category 3 criterium! (Photo Credit: Joe Mallis)

With 10 to go the riders could now see the field and so Brian decided to stop pulling because Robb and Frank had been caught back in the rear of the field at the start and had been pulled. It would be better to sprint against 2 guys without teammates then 20 other riders and their teammates. Despite Brian sitting on, 2 laps later they caught the field. They quickly moved to the front of the field and settled in for the sprint. On the final lap, Brian was 4th position coming out of the final corner with Justin glued to his wheel. Brian waited about 50 meters and then fired off his sprint for a victory!

Fast downhill before the turn in the road race.

Road Race – Fantastic, easy rolling hills circuit course. Add a little rain and it was great conditions (not everyone feels this way but the team did) for some racing action. 10  minutes before the start, it began to rain. While the course wouldn’t splitter the field, one part of the course was definitely worth considering and that was the downhill into town. With 50% (if not more) of the fields on carbon wheels with carbon brakes, things could get interesting real fast. The “downhill” was the 3km or so leading into the finish.  Basically imagine screaming at 40+ mph in pouring rain in a pack of 60+ guys going into a sharp, bumpy tight right hand side street at the bottom of a hill. For good measure there was a manhole cover dead center on the turn. After surviving the turn their was about 800 meters to the final right and 200 meters to the finish line.  It’s a fast and furious finish that requires some Cojones!

Hampton finishing the leadout for Sjoberg on the fast downhill finish!

Category 3 – The first two laps were pretty uneventful however on the third lap two strong riders (Andrew Shelby of Whole Wheel Velo Club and a PA rider that placed 4th in the TT) peeled off the front. The pack seemed content to let them roll for a little but Brian know what was up the road and tried to rally the other GC teams to help in the pursuit. The team did their best to reel in the two escapees but came up just short.

Stage race podium (Sjoberg 3rd).

Robb bombed the final descent into town to set Sjoberg up for the final kilometer, one guy bombed underneath just before the fast corner and created a gap that Sjoberg started to close but then threw his chain (1 of 3). After a few pedal strokes the chain went back on and he was able to resume the chase and then his chain flew off again (2 of 3). 4-5 guys passed him just before the final corner and 250 meters left. As he stood up to finish the sprint his chain fell off again. 1 or 2 more riders came by him but he was able to hold onto 10th place on the stage and secured a the final podium spot for the overall. Great job team, Sjoberg fix your bike!

Giles and Weinstein on the fast corner into town.

Category 1,2 – The team planned to follow wheels and set up Jim for the sprint. On the 3rd lap Jim indicated to Scott that he would be good for the sprint and they agreed to find each other on the 4th lap.  However on the 4th lap Jim started to cramp pretty bad. He did all the things you are supposed to do … shook his legs, stretched, drank a lot quick … things didn’t get worse, but didn’t get better. Scott ushered Jim up the final climb and had them sitting in good position for the final downhill. Jim was able to be in the top 10 or so that were hammering down the downhill.  It was 45mph! He said that he couldn’t see well with the rain and everyone was elbowing each other to get the front 3 or 4 guys wheels. Jim’s heart rate was at max … but that’s because he thought he was going to die going into the right turn on a wet slick road at 45 mph but they made it through. He snuck into the line about 15 back and began his sprint. Unfortunately he had nothing for the sprint as every painful pedal stroke caused a massive cramp. He ended up 28th. Giles, realizing his job was done, cruised in safely.

All in all it was a great weekend and the team vows to be back next year!

One special note: The community was amazing. They really support the race.  The guys passed at least 3 or 4 Amish horse drawn buggies. Many of the families were out on their lawns during the crit and road race (even with the rain) cheering the racers on. It gave the team a great sense of joy to know that their enjoyment of the “little” things in life is a shared trait. Just as the guys were racing in the pouring rain, truly enjoying their time on the bikes, pushing their bodies to the limits, enjoying the outdoors … the Amish families too have made a life of enjoying the basics … the little things, the life without much material worth.  Although it seemed very dichotomous with the team … and their $5-10K bikes … their shared joy of the outdoors and that feeling of inner nirvana that they get from riding and competition …well, that they think is something we all experience in a positive way …

Already looking forward to next year.

Next weekend the team will be headed to Church Creek TT, Appalachia Visited and Dawg Days! Wish them luck!

Additionally the team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike DoctorCannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Highway to Heaven Hill Climb Championship Results

Some of the Bike Doctor team decided to make the short trip to Ellicot City, MD to contest the very short but grueling Highway to Heaven Hill Climb Championship presented by Chesapeake Wheelmen in partnership with Adventures for the Cure. They described the climb as something other than Heavenly. Here is how they fared.

Tanner Browne – 1st, jr 13-14, Time – 00:04:42.99

Todd Bickling – 4th, category 3, Time – 00:04:23.62

Scotty Millar – 5th, category 4, Time – 00:04:09.04

Great job team!!

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike Doctor, Cannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Picturesque Page County Cycling Action

On the calendar this weekend for the Bike Doctor team was the Tour of Page County omnium race. As the race name implies this was set in the beautiful area of Page County, Virginia. Page Valley Cycling and Whole Wheel Velo Club co-promoted this race and it was very well run. Chris Gould certainly knows how to put on a race. This was an important set of races for the team because it was the MABRA senior road race championship as well as the last few races in GamJams Category 3 cup. The team was sitting in 3rd overall and Brian Sjoberg was tied for the lead.

The racing action started out with the Showdown at Shenandoah Speedway Friday afternoon. For a select group that made it out to this event it was a great change of pace and allowed the riders to get a taste of track style racing. Brian “Sobe” Sjoberg would be competing for Bike Doctor and trying to secure some overall omnium points and beer! The first event was a scratch race for the category 3/4 division. This is basically a criterium style race where the riders complete a number of laps and their order is determined by how they finish on the final lap. Brian ended up getting 4th in this first event.

Next was a points race. The riders would complete 16 laps and every other lap they would sprint for 3 places (3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd, 1 point for 3rd). Then the final lap would be worth double points. Sobe was able to find his sprinting groove and won most of the intermediate sprint points and then rode in solo at the finish to score maximum points. He won this event and secured 3 omnium points going into the road race on Saturday and some beer for the evenings carbo loading!

Last race was a miss and out where the categories were combined. Here the riders would do a number of laps (based on the number of riders) and each lap the last rider across the line would be pulled. This would continue until only 3 riders were left and then the riders would ride a neutral lap and then contest one more lap where the first person across the line won the race. Brian made it down to the final 3 riders. The other two riders were Harry Fang of NCVC and Pete “Two Turn Tables and a Microphone” Custer of North Tek-Aria. Pete Custer was leading into the first corner and just before the second corner he swung out a little and looked right and Brian attacked down the inside and had an instant gap that wouldn’t be closed. He went onto to win this event and secured another 6-pack of beer!

On Saturday was the Page Valley Road Race (Senior MABRA road race championship). Peter Warner and Scott Giles were entered in the category 1,2 race and the Brian’s (Rist and Sjoberg) were entered in the category 3 race. Scott Giles made the front group selection early in the race but eventually the heat and climbs took its tool and he came unhitched. Peter Warner ended up finishing 15th with Scott in 26th. Congratulations to Russ Langley from XO Communication/Battley Harley Davidson as the new MABRA senior road race champion!

Starting Line of Category 3 race

The category 3 race saw some early breakaway attempts but nothing really materialized. The last couple of times up the KOM and finishing climb saw Paul Rades pound out leg breaking paces that whittled the field down significantly. On the last lap an HPC List rider (Patrick McKeegan) rolled off the front and no one thought much of it until the moto said he had 45 seconds. It took a little while to get organized and it was too late by the time they did. They would be racing for 2nd. The pace up the final climb was blistering and Brian Sjoberg was able to finish 4th, one spot below Dan Netzer of Celerity Cycling. Great result however this put him 2 points behind Dan in the GamJams cup. Congratulations to the new MABRA senior 3 road champion, Patrick McKeegan!

Scott Giles hammering up the wall

Sunday was the Luray Criterium. This was set in the quaint downtown area of Luray and was an 8 corner course with a huge wall to climb to the finish line every lap. Scott Giles signed up for the category 1,2 suffer fest where they would end up doing 37 laps on this course. Ouch! A break of 3 Harley Davidson riders and Joe Dombroski established themselves and would stay away. Scott settled in for a long solo ride and was able to get 8th.

Tour of Page County Category 3 Omnium Podium

Brian Rist, Todd Bickling and Brian Sjoberg were ready to hit this course hard and try to regain the lead in the GamJams cat 3 cup. Early on the race was pretty animated, fueled by some aggressive racing by Brian Rist. About halfway through the race Tim Pope from Fat Frogs Racing was off the front and put the pack in the red as he was caught. Sobe counter attacked and established a nice gap immediately. One lap later Ben Frederick of Team Traveler bridged up and Brian knew this was the move. Brian had been racing with Ben recently and knew he was a motor and a great climber. Sure enough the two started working together and their lead only grew until the finish. Ben’s climbing pace was wearing Brian down and on the last lap Ben attacked and won. Brian hung on for 2nd. Dan Netzer would finish 3rd on the day and allowed Brian to retake the GamJams Cat 3 cup lead by a mere 1 point! Additionally Sobe ended up 2nd overall in the omnium!!

Additionally the team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike DoctorCannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

 

It’s About Time – Tour de Toona Trip Report

Sunny Gill and Brian Sjoberg went to Altoona, PA to represent Bike Doctor in the Tour de Toona amateur stage race. Sunny raced the category 2 ranks and Brian raced the category 3’s. This race has been around for a long time (although it was off the calendar the last couple of years) and tends to bring out some heavy hitters because of the prize list and challenging courses.

Blair Road Race – On the menu today was a 68 mile mountainous road race through the areas around Altoona with the toughest climb being the one up to the Blue Knob ski resort. This climb is roughly 4 miles long, has sections of 18% grades and near the top has sections of gravel that if one stands up their rear wheel will slip.

Both Sunny and Brian experienced some unique events in their race where some of the fields had ridden off course and had to be redirected. This resulted in neutralization of some fields while the officials sorted things out. Eventually everything was sorted out and the racing action continued.

25 miles into the race the riders hit Blue Knob climb and as expected the fields exploded. Brian managed to keep contact with the main group however 3 more riders slipped up the road on the climb. 2 riders had gone from the gun. Sunny made it over the grueling climb and found himself in the 3rd group. The guys were able to maintain contact with each of the groups they were in. Brian was able to win the field sprint for 5th place and secured solid points for the overall. Sunny rolled in for 33rd out of 80 riders.

Criterium finish, Sjoberg closing in on rider that was off the front. (Photo Credit: Team Traveler)

Downtown Crit – The criterium downtown is a very fun and technical course. There are a few manhole covers to avoid but once the right lines are found the course keeps the riders adrenaline pegged. The category 3 race saw things stay together as the GC contenders and their teammates made sure nothing got away that could jeopardize their standings. With 4 laps to go a rider took off the front and everyone just looked around at each other. With 2 to go the pack started to reel the rider back but even on the last lap it looked like the rider was going to stay away.

Sjoberg giving it everything to catch rider but came up short. (Photo Credit: Team Traveler)

Leading up to the final couple of corners Brian fought for position and was able to come out of the final corner in 3rd position and ignited his sprint immediately. No one came around him and he was a mere half bike length behind the rider that was off the front when they crossed the line. Brian ended up finishing 2nd in the criterium and locked up 2nd place overall in the stage race!

The category 2 race was fast and had a few crashes that Sunny had to negotiate and expend valuable matches reconnecting with the pack. He ended up 31st on the day.

The team would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support, without whom we wouldn’t be able to promote and enjoy the sport that we love. Please check out their great products/services: Bike DoctorCannondale, Bell Helmets, Tifosi Optics.

Shenandoah Time Trial Delivers!

On Saturday, Warner, Sobe and The Wrobb packed up the TT bikes and headed out west to represent Bike Doctor for the inaugural 40k Shenandoah Time Trial promoted by Page Valley Cycling Productions and Whole Wheel Velo Club. Jim “I ride across America” Weinstein also felt the irresistible calling and drove down from Frederick.  Chris “Promoter Extraordinaire” Gould hosted quite the event that didn’t disappoint!  As with all Gould events, the organization was impeccable. The course was well marked with boatloads of volunteers and extremely challenging! This guy puts in a ton of time for us to race and we are forever grateful.

Although the mapmyride course preview looked a bit ominous, nobody was 100% confident just how to tackle this monster.  It was gonna hurt no matter how you sliced it.

Sjoberg negotiating a corner.

Sobe & Wrobb were the first to set out shortly after 10 a.m.  Sobe posted a great time to finish 2nd in the Cat 3 division at 59:42, just 32 seconds back on his GamJams Cup rival Dan Netzer.  Sobe & Netzer are slugging it out for the top step for the GamJams Cup.  They are now tied on points but Netzer will wear the jersey since he had the best result in the latest event. Although The Wrobb posted on Facebook, “I will get better at time trialing I will get better at time trialing I will get better at time trialing”, he may have distracted himself a bit when he started envisioning his gainer attempt to follow later in the day at the pool.  Confirmation did follow that one of Wrobb’s goals for the day was met!  A legend is born with the elementary kids at the pool!

Shenandoah TT 35+ Podium

Warner & Weinstein teed off a bit after 11 a.m. with the 35+ crowd.  In what can only be described as the most painful fun in memory, both Warner & Weinstein were happy to survive without their heads exploding from the heat.  Warner grabbed the last step on the podium with a 59:27 and Weinstein finished a respectable 6th. Here are the full results from USACycling.

The drive home was made even more spectacular with a big plate of bbq from a family road side stand!  Those Shenandoah’ens cook some mean bbq!

Next up,  Tour of Page Valley!!!  Get there!

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