Wednesday, February 21, 2007
When compliments are received regarding DBCJRT, they most often entail descriptions of the boys' teamwork... be it Joe's ride at Nationals in support of Blake, Davitamon's blocking in the 3's at McLane, or the VOS crews' ride in support of TK, nothing makes me prouder than watching the kidlets sacrifice their own results for that of a teammate. DBCJRT seems to be earning a reputation within the cycling community about their ability to work for the common good... and I'm all smiles!
Photo Credit: Jan Stastny
Monday, February 19, 2007
Valley of the Sun Time Trial; Late afternoon
This stage unfolded just as predicted... Big rides from TK and AWfoSho resulting in the top two steps on the podium. The only hiccup on the day was a flat tire for El Gigante just before the turn around relegating him to the time of the slowest rider on the day... a whopping 12:07 down after a 14 mile TT. Big dissapointment because he was riding strong and his time at the turn around would probably have put him in the top ten.
West Phoenix Motel Six, Late Evening
Other than the obnoxious hysterics of the kidlets, and three trips to the office to borrow the plunger, a rather serious meeting resulted in a defensive game plan for stage two... defend TK's lead and AWfoSho's second spot by letting a small group of non-threatening riders roll off the front and hold them at about thirty seconds while they sweep up the time bonuses, reel them in and launch TK and AWfoSho at the base of the final climb. In the best case scenario El Gigante covers the early break.
ACT TWO: Scene One
Valley of the Sun Road Race, Early morning
Major Motion covered every attempt El Gigante made at establishing the early break. Instead the kiddos let a group of five roll off the front and held them at 30 seconds... until the masters 40+ field passed them. The pack, with all the DBCJRT boys in it, neutralized, the break... well I'll let you decide... the gap ballooned from 30 seconds to three minutes in less than nine miles, the break of "non-threatening" riders rode through the feed zone in the midst of the 40+ guys, and for the next 15 or so miles five of DBCJRT's top dawgs set up a five man rotation on the front to reel the break in. I'm not saying that the guys in the break were, uh, bending the rules, but seems like they had an awfully good day given that none of them could place on the podium in the TT and most of them were over 4 minutes down after the TT was over. The second time through the feed zone, the break was STILL at 3 minutes and STILL in the middle of the 40+ field. After El Gigante and The Staz (aka Chris Stastny. I liked KGB better, but The Staz seems to have stuck) fried themselves on the front, the inevitable attack from Major Motion came with TK the only one with enough gas in the tank left to respond. AWfoSho and Davitamon were left gasping in no man's land. But, the chase wasn't over... Ricky and Freddie Cruz of Major Motion, along with TK, spent the next 15 miles chasing at nearly 50K an hour and only took back a minute and twenty seconds or so... when the dust had settled, TK was bumped from his GC spot and AWfoSho rolled in fried... all the way down in the eighth spot on the GC.
I toyed with the idea of naming this scene DBCJRT versus the VOS Master Men 40+ Field because that is what the race really boiled down to. But that would imply that I felt that the kids, who shall remane nameless, in the break had actually received a free ride from the 40+ field. Like I wrote above, you can decide for yourself.
The Chief Judges Tent, Valley of the Sun RR
A written prostest, signed by the directors of Major Motion and DBCJRT on behalf of 12 riders in the junior 17/18 field is lodged stating that fields were mixing which allowed the two top finishers in the 17/18 road race to establish and maintain their lead.
ACT Three: Scene One
Valley of the Sun Criterium, Early Morning
The previous days protest is denied, albeit by sympathetic officials who seem to agree with the protest, but lacking a moto official to verify the mixing of groups, there simply isn't enough 'proof.'
Flashback... late evening previous day... two game plans are formulated: plan a if the protest is upheld, plan b if the protest is denied. Plan b calls for TK to attack early, take somebody from Major Motion with him so they won't chase, and pin it while the rest of the kiddos do their darndest to slow the field. Davitamon will patrol the front, sweeping the pack into the gutter whenever possible, El Gigante his lieutenant. The Staz calls out the attacks and AWfoSho shadows the new "race leader" making life as uncomfortable for him as possible, bumping, gapping, sweeping... you know the drill.
Flash forward again... plan b is set into motion and the "race leader's" race is over before the second corner of the crit... TK attacked from the gun, taking Ricky Cruz with him. AWfoSho swept their wheels and a ten second gap formed almost instantly. The pack didn't even know what happened. Then the DBCJRT boys went to work... Davitamon put them in the gutter over and over again. El Gigante put enough pressure on anybody who tried to mount a chase so as to make them uncomfortable, AWfoSho had the "race leader" gapped off and in the gutter for most of the race. All the while, TK had his head down working with his break companions to build a lead of over a minute in thirty minute crit.
The boys wanted to send a few messages... first to the officials: there is no way that the RR break rode clean and we are going to ride circles around them today to prove it to you. Second to the guys who were in the RR break: if you want to race dirty, we can play that game... but we are going to do it within the rules.
Valley of the Sun Awards Presentation, Late morning
TK on the top step, messages sent!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
El Gigante: aka Zachary Wick... Zach was christened with his nickname at the 2006 version of Valley of the Sun. Picture a 6' plus 14 year old kid racing against tiny twelve year olds in the 12-14 age group and you will understand the name. As Zach road circles around the field, his older teammates stood courseside yelling, "El Gigante..." the giant in Spanish for those of you that are language challenged like me.
Davitamon: aka David Vuilleumier... simply named for his ability to ride like those one day masters on the former Euro Pro Team Davitamon Lotto. Either that or his name sounds an awful lot like the name of the former Euro Pro Team Davitamon Lotto.
PtotheArker: aka Parker Childress... christened as such by AWfoSho for unkown reasons. Well, somehow the name stuck.
AWfoSho: aka Alex Wick... for several seasons Alex's nickname waffled back and forth between Pop Rocks and AWfoSho; pop rocks for the fast twitch muscles he is blessed with, AWfoSho as cheap rip off of Joe Iannarelli's email address. AWfoSho is more fun to say, so that is what we call him.
The Garden of Edan: aka Edan Levaton... likeAWfoSho, Edan had several nicknames, one being Sir Farts Alot, but The Garden of Edan seems to be more fitting. He is often times referred to as simply Garden.
Tapinator: aka Cody Tapley... duh!
Kelbster: aka Kelby Spore... duh, again!
College Boy: aka Musa Zaid... he may be the only kid on the team who's brain is bigger than his thighs. Musa can boast being a collegiate racer and a junior racer, probably one of very few in the country.
Laundry: aka Andreas Freund... the story goes that some kid at school couldn't pronounce his name so took to calling him Laundry because it sounds a little like Andreas. Again, the name stuck.
Dishes: aka Alexander Freund... little brother to Laundry, Dishes simply fit. Like brothers go together, Laundry and Dishes are chores that go together.
TK: aka Taylor Kuphaldt... again, duh!
Thor: aka Blake Anton... no longer a junior, but a name worth mentioning. If you saw this man-child you would understand this name. Blake looked more like a man as a 12 year old than I will ever be able to boast. Who is more of a man than Thor, God of Thunder! That and he alone is the reason that DBCJRT shorts are orange and blue, not white.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Apple Pie, in Santa Rosa, saw the kidlets racing in sideways rain. The junior field was surprisingly large given the weather conditions. DBCJRT put on a display of tactics... attack, counter attack, bridge to a solo rider off the front while teammates patrol the field. TK and AWfoSho ended up off the front togethter once the dust had settled and worked in perfect tandem to put a lap into the field. Once safely in contact with the back of the group tactics switched from staying away from the field to leading out Davitamon... Ben Barsi-Rhyne put in his wicked little sprint and instead of a 1/2/3 finish, the boys had to settle for a 1/2/5 finish. Apple Pie #1! While TK and AWfoSho played off the front, El Gigante frustrated the rest of the junior field by sitting second wheel and disrupting any chase. In doing so, he road himself to a 1st place finish in the 15/16 age group. Apple Pie #2!
Fast forward through several hours of time spent in the cars with the heaters blasting in vain attempts to dry out gloves and armwarmers and shoes, and the boys kitted up again for the elite 2/3 race, again in sideways rain. An hour long affair in which TK spent over 50 minutes off the front to take a solo victory. While doing so The Garden of Edan, Davitamon, AWfoSho, and El Gigante did their darndest to keep the chasing field at bay. Playing for a 1/2 finish in the field sprint was the only damper, besides the rain, on the day. As AWfoSho wound up his sprint he was caught behind lapped riders and had to slam on the breaks 50 meters from the line. He had to settle for sixth, with little bro El Gigante on his wheel for the seventh spot. Apple Pie #3!
Fast forward again, this time to Napa. Kelbster got the ball rolling for DBCJRT with his first ever win in the 10-12 age group. Pie #4, this time Cherry! While Kelbster worked his magic, Dishes was doing the same in the 13/14 field. This time to the tune of second place, only a bike length behind James LaBerge of AMD. Pie #5!
The Garden of Edan put in a last lap attack in the 15/16 age group that strung the field out for Laundry and El Gigante. In the charge up the hill Laundry was too quick for the field, taking home the top spot. El Gigante nipped Davis Bentley in a bike throw to claim the final podium spot. The Tapinator finished strong, just outside the top ten. Pies #6 and #7!
The 17/18 affair was a live and learn lesson, with the AMD kids taking a page from the boys playbook and beating them soundly at their own tactical game. Ian McPherson, PtotheArker, Chris Stastny, Davitamon, TK, and AWfoSho tried to put the race under control but ended up playing into others' hands. This time having to settle for TK's 4th place as the break sprinted for the line. Just outside of the pies...
Most of the kiddos took their shots in the adult races in Napa as well with varying success... The Tapinator and PtotheArker mixed it up in the elite four category, rumors are flying concerning Ian's participation in the elite fives, and AWfoSho, Garden, and El Gigante turned and burned in the elite threes. AWfoSho was able to grab a top ten spot in the threes, and we are awaiting news of TK's ride in the Pro/1/2 race.
Time to go eat some pie... and get some rest!
Monday, February 5, 2007
Instead, Riki gave us a brief pep talk on superstitions and the number of the beast was put to rest. In its place fear reared its ugly head...
For those of you that have never experienced watching your kids gallop through the final five laps of a nearly full crit field you quite possibly haven't experienced fear... there is something about the posibility of picking one's offspring up off the pavement that strikes terror in one's heart.
So, imagine my relief when, with two to go, El Gigante had delivered AWfoSho to fifteenth wheel in the charging group (fewer riders to deck in front of him). My sense of relief increased when the AMD/Discovery team hit the front and strung the pack out. Funny thing about bike racing... the faster it goes, the safer it is... usually. Anyways, that relief gave way to excitement as the group came out of the final corner, still single file, with AWfoSho sitting fifth wheel behind two household names...
Dean LaBerge is a rider that the boys will always gravitate towards. He's has been more than a competing bike racer to them. He has always had something good to say, some word of encouraqgement, a quiet confident demeaner. Not to mention that he is really fast. The other name, Roman Kilun, ex-DBC'er turned Healthnet pro, is another household name, more so because he gives the kiddos no quarter when they bump into eachother at the races, usually at the earlybirds. He has successfully spit both AWfoSho and El Gigante out of breaks, pushed them off wheels, and single-handedly brought back a good break that AWfoSho was in. So when the kids mention Roman it's usually along the lines of "Oh gawd, Roman's here."
...After spinning out for the entire last lap at or around 35 mph thanks to junior gears, AWforSho didn't have enough hell and fire left in his legs to put a kick into Dean and Roman, but he did hang on for the final podium spot. While he was up front, the Garden of Edan cruised in with El Gigante towards the rear, both having done their jobs. Garden banked a few more miles for the spring campaign. El Gigante, proud of his work delivering his teammate to the front, crossed the line full of an even greater pride because at one point in the race he did battle with Roman. It seems Roman wanted the wheel he was sucking... instead of backing down, El Gigante put his bar into the black spandex with the Healthnet logo and successfully defended the wheel... not much in the big scheme of things, but then neither is bike racing. And taking pride in your riding is sometimes all you can take away from a race... sometimes the podium doesn't matter.
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