Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anthem BC/BS Race Narrative, 04/21/07

The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cycling Team was very active throughout the 2007 Plainville Spring Series.

Ron LaRose III won the Individual Series Title.

Good job, guys! ... Jim Thompson

Originally scheduled for 3/17/07, postponed to 4/21/07 due to inclement weather.

Cat 3/4 - The internet is a funny place. You know, you talk a little trash on your blog, and then the next thing you know, the whole southern New England amateur cycling scene knows about it. Go figure.

Anyway, upset by versions of events as previously posted on our blog, Cyclenauts came in full force, ready to show us a thing or two. On the line was the yellow jersey, which we has a 5-point lead over Ian Sinclain of Targetraining. Cyclenauts wanted to protect its team-overall lead, which we threatened.

Before hand, we saw Mike Norton of Cyclenauts conferring with Targetraining. Oh boy, I didn't like the looks of that. Just like after we caught wind of some trash-talking comments from one side, we worked with CVC to damage Cyclenauts during the second week of this Plainville series. My guess is that Cyclenauts and Targetraining would each work to help reach their goals. Ian Sinclair was close to catching our Ron "Stabbing Fire" LaRose for the yellow, and we were threatening Cyclenauts for the team overall. Could the two work together to send us home with nothing but second places? Or Less? Let's find out.

The field was the largest it has been. Lots of new faces. Targetraining brought is some talent that I recognized as able to put the hurt in. A gorgeous sunny day, we start, and then immediately to my right, there is a crash., I here is, but I didn't see it. I just gallop and go. Immediately John Durham from Cyclenauts an attack is gone. I hang back --- still recovering from yet another mystery illness (well probably not much of a mystery --- Life Lesson 3056: If you have to debate longer than 3 seconds to decide if you should eat cocktail sauce that's been hanging around in your fridge for a few years, that's a good sign you're an idiot). Jeff "Biff" Murray, Hunter Provonost, and Tom "Iron Pipe" Arcari, were responsible for covering the early stuff. As we round the start finish line, I see the Stabbing Fire get a push from the pit back in. He was the one who crashed at the start line.

The break was out front for a while. And we were happy to let it just sit out there. John Durham, who won the first race, and we wanted him to exhaust himself a bit and take himself out of the finish. But he was out there for a bit. He later admits to me he was feigning tiredness to get us complacent with him dangling out there. And it may have worked. As the race was nearing 20 minutes old. Enough was enough --- if he's out there during a bell lap, those are valuable prime points that Cyclenauts will grab. I rally up the guys to attack him back. But not wanting to pull the field up, we want to get some separation on an bridge up so the other teams aren't all rested when the break is caught. Biff, I.P. and Hunter were attempting to, but we were seriously marked. I came around, got The Stabbing Fire on my wheel, and laid it down as hard as I could. We're attacking but can't get any spearation. Well, ti's tool alte for that anyway. Regardless, we need to pull Durham back. Going by the start finish, I was pulling hard and the bell rang for the prime. Oh crap, Durham still has a gap, but maybe if I lay it down as hard as I can the next lap, I can close it enough for the Stabbing Fire to blast by and overtake Durham for at least some of the prime point available.

Still digging in, I come around, my legs about to give out. Into the headwind, I get the F out of the way, and hope S.F can take it. But right there is Mr. Norton. He gets some speed going and S.F. never gets around him. And in fact, Durham still manages to stay out there. So that's how it goes. Cyclenauts spanks us for the prime points. Mr. Norton is all smiles.

With this development, it would be very difficult for us to win the team overall. So, while recovering from my leadout for the prime, we will be racing to protect our yellow. All of us, are trying hard not to break apart the field. Even Jeff "The Obessed" Ferraro, coming in for his first race of the year, gets into the action. We're launching great stuff and counter-attacking, but it all seems like a fools errand. Cyclenauts is determined not to let anything go. They cover us extremely well, and frustrate attempts. Targetraining try as well, but were are watching them and frustrate their attempts. At one point though, myself and Bob "50 Amp" German, our unofficial junior riding for Aidan Charles' junior squad (and wearing a Pedal Power jersey) gets into a two man attack. But on our wheel is Durham. I yell at 50A to step on it. He does. Durham, exhausted from his previous efforts, has to drop off. I see him gesture back to the field, some like "hey, cover this now."

50A and I now lay on the gas. Then G damn it, I turn around and a different yellow and black Cyclenauts hornet is sucking on our wheels. Well its not so bad. I yell to Bob not to drop this guy though, as the two of us rotate through. I figure Cyclenauts will probably let us gain a little ground as long as they have a guy up there with us. Once we get the gap up to 30 seconds or so, we can try to shake him. And it will be too difficult for Cyclenauts to send another guy to bridge up. And I really thought 50A and I were laying down the gas nicely to effectuate such a brilliant idea. But obviously with their talent and numbers, Targetraining must have been busting buns to catch us. And then did. Such a beautiful idea from such a beautiful mind now sent to the garbage heap. Oh the tragedy.

So it comes down to this: nothing with a Anthem, Cyclenauts or Targetraining would be allow to go. Attacks initated by Biff, Hunter and I really should have succeeded. But wow, did we meet some resistence. And none of these three teams would work with the other team in a break (my thinking about Cyclenaut's and Targetraining's alliance may have been wrong) And the Stabbing Fire was watched so closely, anything he was was quickly matched. Despite everyone's best attacks, the field settles in for the sprint finish.

So you would think. But ever so nonchalantly, 50A and Bryan Haas of Zephyr cycling just start to pull away (with a CVC? rider as well). I tell guys not to chase. For simply odds. If it is a full sprint finish, with 7 places in the line, Ian Sinclair had a much better chances of gaining 5 points on the Stabbing Fire. But with only 5 places, his chances are tougher. (seriously, trust my match on this one). So we happily let 50A and Bryan go away. During their attack, I heard 50A did the lion's share of pulling. The gap was getting huge. With 2 1/2 to go, I see Mr. Norton give his patented Hornet waive -- calling the rest of the hive up to protect him for the finish. I also knew with their numbers, they may also send a sneak way to force us to chase down and wear ourselves down before we could give S.F. a leadout. I wanted to frustrate that, so I took off (something Biff was ready to do if I didn't), passing the CVC rider who was dropped out of the break, I can see 50A and Bryan, it looks like I'm about 10 seconds away from bridging. But that's as close as I'll get.

Regardless of the cause, we'll just blame that failure on rancid cocktail sauce.

On the bell lap, that's about all my legs have. The field is on me, I move the hell over to the left. Crit-master Aki Sato goes and tries to launch something early, hopefully catch the field sleeping in a position battle. But the field is on his tail. Into the final turn, I see a lot of Yellow and Black (and probably even that patchouli wearing hippy, G-bigs) in the front. Stabbing Fire's yellow jersey is 6th place. Mr. Norton has quite a lead. I don't know there. It doesn't look good. But then, I see the after burners go on. Stabbing Fire goes, and get the field sprint. Ian Sinclair comes in for 6th. Stabbing Fire has retained the yellow.

Finishing seconds before us was the two-man break. I later heard that in a big display of sportsmanship, Bryan told 50A that he wouldn't contest him for the sprint (something Bryan, an excellent sprinter could have taken) as 50A did the majority of the work. 50A, not happy with winning Battenkill the week earlier, 2nd place overall at Bethel Cat 4, and Bethel junior yellow jersey, now chalks up a 1st place in a hotly contested 3/4.

But don't get cocky guys. You see....Bragging a lot doesn't do too much good. It breeds a lot of people very hostile to your efforts to win. This makes a difficult task much harder.

And for any other teams reading this, really we are just a humble bunch of guys, earnestly interesting in this cycling thing. We are not a serious threat. We give all of the money we however honestly acquire from the various races, whose promoters, such as Jim Thompson, we genuinely thank, to Fidelco, a charity that helps train little puppies for people who need dogs to help them with daily tasks.

This might not really have been how it happened. It could be all made up by my feeble food-poisoned mind. So don't hate me if I got it wrong or missed something really big.

Courtesy of Anthony Parent
Ronnie, awesome job man. You deserve this for sure. I was glad to help out in your quest.

I was shocked to see you go down right off the line and i was troubled that someone would gun it from the start despite a rider falling. Durham and whoever else was with him ( Norton?! ) need a good excuse for that one. I dont care what the pre-race plan was. The only reason they escaped is because it took me a half lap to stop worrying about our team leader and decide to chase down the madness.

From then on the race was fast and we worked wisely and as a team. Anthony, you talk about our being in 2nd place teamwise, maybe you guys talked about taking both titles without me before the race, but i was never too concerned about the team standing. Ronnie's individual was our main priority. It would have been hard to secure both.

Props to Jeff Murray for his selfless attacks. Each time, taking the pressure off me and any other Anthem riders in the front ten. Jeff F too for being determined to help out first time back. Props to Bryan Haas as well, not just for letting Bob take the deserved win, but for his many attacks during the race to test the wills of the big teams there.

Its fitting in this war of 3 teams, that the two strong riders with no official teammates were the ones to ride off eventually. But both those guys are good in my book, and Bob of course, is practically on the team and watching him ride away was the secret ace in our sleeve for the day.

Good job guys, lets bring that same do whatever it takes attitude & heads up ness to Palmer on Sunday....

Courtesy of Hunter Pronovost
It was a great series for the team. We set goals for each race, executed them and in the end almost took the team win with yellow and the team. You guys will see the jersey in the shop the rest of the season.

It went down early. Literally. I didn't clip in very quick (one of my problems) and I got hit from behind on the start. Then I got run over, busted open my bottle and the chain fell off. I was picking myself off the ground as I watched the field round the first corner. I get myself together and redline it to try and catch up. They are out of site. I come back around to the start/finish and the race official stops me, asks me if I'm alright and gives the bike a quick check. I get some water from some of the guys from the last race. I get a push and I'm off.

John and Ian are off the front and we reel them in relatively quickly. I rip off the shredded tape from my bars, stuff it in my jersey and things get going. See A-train's recap for the mid race details. I had my eye specifically on Ian and after John won the prime and I got no prime points, I had an eye on him too (lucky for me he was also watching Ian and wasn't ever far off). On the bell lap Aki leads the train (For some reason, I can't explain Aki can dice through a field with his eyes closed. Want to learn how to move up in a pack? follow him). Lots of yellow up front, I'm sitting about 6 coming out of the final corner. Mike hits the gas, I have to get around one rider for a clear line before I hit the burners. Its Mike and I for the line, I pick the wrong side (his left), hes moving close to the curb but I squeak but on a drive way cut out at 38 mph and take the field. I was only scared when I went back and looked at the line in the sand, its about 3 in from the curb.

Courtesy of Ron LaRose

Diamond in the Rough - Aki Sato

Aki Sato has provided sage promoting advice to me over the years. I'm glad he found an opportunity to race the PSS course. I also appreciate his perceptive comments (see below). I copied this narrative from his very interesting blog, sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.com.

Plainville - A Diamond in the Rough

"Back in the day", the old guys would say. I was 15 and to me it seemed like all I heard about was "back in the day" from those old guys. I mean they were at least 20 or something, old fogeys, they had to shave and stuff. And they always talked about how lucky I was, how things were so much easier for me. When they started, racers were tougher and grittier and didn't rely on new-fangled equipment like they do nowadays.

Now I say "Back in the day". Go figure.

Well, back in the day when the racing community found a budding new racer, they'd call them a "diamond in the rough". Nothing negative about it - simply a racer that needed a bit of time to mature. They said this about Greg LeMond who ended up one of the best riders ever; they also said it of other racers, many of whom didn't make it through the system before burning up and dropping out.

I raced the Plainville Spring Series race yesterday (04/21/07). As soon as I did a lap in the race I knew that this was a diamond in the rough. The course has two right turns, a right "bend", and a right-left swerve. It is totally flat. It promotes speed work, pack riding skills, and encourages sharp attacks and violent chases. It even has a "last turn" which is reasonably critical in positioning for the sprint.

Okay, the weather was incredible - a touch over 70 degrees, sunny, a hint of wind. And although I hadn't ridden much in the last month or two (except racing at Bethel), I did do an intense two days prior - I rode just over two hours in two days. Not a lot I know but to me I felt like I was immersed in training (the two hours took place over three rides on Thursday and Friday, ending at 7:30 PM Friday). I had my new pedals, shoes, and a yet-to-be-mentioned gizmo so I was making efforts all over the place. So my legs felt reasonably good albeit a little more fatigued than normal. But with the lack of riding, fatigued legs felt a lot better than, say, puffy and swollen slow legs.

I got lost getting to the race, breaking a basic rule of bike racing - know where the race is before you leave the house. The Plainville police station was closed (I didn't want to call 911 to find out where the race was) and after about 45 minutes of rising panic I finally drove by a bike shop, slammed on the brakes, parked, ran in, and got directions. Ends up the exit where I made a highway u-turn was the exit for the race - if I'd gone right instead of left, I'd have been at the course almost an hour earlier.

Anyway, I got there, registered, started setting up the helmet cam, and tried to do everything at once. I lined up okay with a one lap warmup - I think that amounts to about 1 mile of riding including riding over from the parking lot.

There were all sorts of permutations in the race - individual and team standings, just like in Bethel. And with a smaller field and a lot of three teams present, I figured any break with the three teams would simply disappear up the road. And when the leader crashed at the start (dunno what happened) and the rival team launched half their team at the same time, we were off at a crackin' pace.

Small fields are terribly hard to read. It's more important to choose your moves because if you follow the wrong one and blow, you get dropped. And after I went with what I thought was the winning move, suddenly we got caught, I was blown, and hasta la vista, I was OTB.

I rolled around till I got lapped then sat at the back, which is where I should have been instead of bridging to breaks. And since I was a lap down, I didn't do much to interfere with the fight for the two overalls - the team and the individual prizes.

Because I got lost on the way to the race, I had had no time to learn who was in what place in the Series. So I had no idea who was in what position other than the leader (he wore a Leader's Jersey). He raced for team Blue. This other team wanted to beat them. That was apparent when one of their guys yelled to his teammates "We only chase Blue". They must have had second overall and wanted it to come down to a sprint.

Hey I know how to read races! With that in mind I stayed out of Blue and We Chase Blue's way.

Interestingly enough, with a few laps to go, another team's rider came up to me. They'd been somewhat active, had shown up with some numbers, but I didn't understand why. Well, it became clear at that point when the rider told me he was in second overall.


I asked about We Chase Blue - ends up they wanted the team prize.


Sub-plots within the plots.

Anyway Secondo would have to win and the current leader finish worse than third in order to take the Series. The only way to do that would be to bridge to a two man break and beat them. But it didn't seem likely (the other two teams were marking all the moves). And we were rapidly running out of race - it was only a few laps to go.

With some sketchiness in the field I moved up some and ended up semi-active, i.e. responsible for keeping on the wheel in front of me. I tried to be some invisible pack glue, holding things together but not influencing the moves.

With the bell approaching, I was following Secondo and he was trying to get his guys lined up to do a leadout. We Chase Blue had a good half dozen guys on the front. Blue, with the leader, were just behind.

I figured this would be the time when I tried to "get my lap back".

I rode around Secondo and a teammate who had just slotted in ahead of him. Knowing a good thing when they see it, they latched on, I think a third teammate getting the picture and joining the train. Then I started to gun it.

I had to get around the We Chase Blue leadout before the first turn - I didn't but I drew up next to them and we went into the first turn two wide. Then, after checking to make sure the guys were on my wheel, I moved my hands to the tops, sat upright, and started going hard.

I learned a long time ago if I leadout from the drops there's no draft - so my leadouts are on my tops, sitting up, elbows out, trying to be as tall and as wide as possible.

I accelerated to the low 30's and held it there. I recently saw a great clip of Fred Rodriguez leading out his man (I forget but maybe Zanini?) to a stage win in the Tour. I wanted to emulate him. But I'm no Freddy. I started to thrash. I started recruiting muscles I forgot existed. And finally I started to cramp a bit. I realized I couldn't make it to the final turn so I pulled off just short of it - ideally I should have gone around the turn in front and then pulled off.

About 6 or 7 riders came past me - the rest had been gapped.


They sprinted and after all that work, all that chasing, nothing changed overall, at least nothing at the top.

I spoke with the promoter as he's been struggling with the Series for two years. He mentioned some of the things he's run into over the last year. An unpleasant tenant near the course which he's seemed to be handling well so far. I've dealt with the same, even going to the guy's liquor store to speak with him about the "unpleasant marshal". Said marshal is now my fiancee and she told him he couldn't drive on the course as the race was about to pass. You can guess who's side I was on in that one.

Another problem - in the rush to give out prizes he gave out money to the wrong people. In one race the overall teams were thought to be tied on points and the promoter awarded the prize to the team that did better on the last day. But one rider's annual purchase license finally made it through the USAC system the previous week and his points at the beginning of the Series technically won his team, the one in second, the team GC. I told him he should ask for the money back as the now-second-place team technically didn't earn it. I've done the same - it's embarrassing but I awarded the team trophy to the wrong team one year. The team with the trophy graciously met with the team that won at a later race. The trophy changed ownership, they shook hands, and then proceeded to pound each other's legs into Jello in the race later that day. And personally I've mailed back prize money I didn't win - like my miraculous 6th at the Jiminy Peak Road Race. Miraculous because I got into my car after a lap and was well on my way home when the race finished.

And finally, like all new grassroots promoters, low turnouts have hurt his budget - I guess it's two years now where he's essentially paying a lot of money to watch other people race. He's struggled with race categories and is focused on trying to appeal to more racers willing to show up and race.

Like all new promoters, he has his struggles. That is what I call rough.

But the course really suits racers preparing for the speed and intensity of the summer racing. I think a cold, windy, sandy race there would be less than pleasant, but that would be the case anywhere. A day like yesterday was great. Very fast, very consistent, and a long enough course that you can't solo easily for a lap.

I call that a diamond.

I think this is a great venue. There are always improvements - the promoter was talking about what changes he wanted to make for next year before he finished paying out the prize money. I was doing the same at Bethel too.

Although technically his race sort of competes for a limited pool of racers with mine (since it's tough to do two days of racing in a row in March and April), I really hope his Series blossoms like Bethel did more than 10 years ago. His Series has slightly different offering than Bethel and I think it a better course for the new racers who need to get used to the speed of racing. Bethel is better for racers easing into the season.

And heck, maybe next year I can do both Series. I could virtually double the number of races I do every year!

Here's to polishing up a diamond.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Ride Warm-Up VERSUS Autoparts International

Hey Y'all,

Jane received a complaint from Jay of Autoparts International while working at the Registration Tent on 04/07/07.

Autoparts International represented that their delivery drivers had several near collisions with riders warming up by riding laps around the 10 Farmington Valley Drive parking lot.

Mr. Geoff Sager, owner of 10 Farmington Valley Drive, previously denied my request to use the parking lot.


Thanks for your help!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Missing Series Leaders Jerseys

Hey Y'all,

I'm missing two leaders jerseys. If you accidentally brought one home with you, then please send me a note (jthompsoniii@gmail.com) and bring it back to the 04/14/07 event.

I request leaders pick-up the jersey at registration, wear it for their race, and return it to registration. I will was wash and return them to registration the following week.

Thanks ... JIM

Thursday, April 5, 2007

03/13/07 Observations

03/13/07 PSS Observations

Organizing a race requires many people. Jane Thompson, Coleman Ross, Dennis Ciccarillo, Brent Soderburg, Mike Stimpson and Randall reed deserve many thanks. I won’t forget.

The race venue permit is dependant on Plainville Town Manager. The Town Manager is very sensitive to any impact on commercial activities within the park. Some cyclists observe the race from the middle of street at turn no. 1. The progress of exiting commercial vehicles is impeded by these cyclists. One complaint from one of the businesses can shut down the series. Please stay off the road

“Energy Gel” Wrappers
The races are about one hour long. The human digestive system is not that fast. Nonetheless, racers consume many “energy gel” products. I’m disappointed by how many litter the course. Don’t litter! Please pocket your own wrappers.

Parking is not convenient. The Hartford Courant building owner (D. Margison) does not allow use of his property. The property includes the parking lot AND the driveway to it. Please park at MRS Systems, Valley Water, EBM/Papst, or Trumpt (re: race flyer and plainvillespringseries.com).

Eric Merrill, the winner and series points leader, was surprised by the slow speed and lack of attacking that played to his sprinting strength. I’m convinced that many riders and teams in the 11:00 race would have more fun and be much more competitive in the 8:00 race. There certainly is a lack of committed attacks. Everyone waits for the final sprint.

EBCC raced as a team. Elmer Demers surprised and out sprinted Ralph “Sandbagger” Pulver while Jeff Baugher surprised everyone. Jeff arrived at 8:55, barely made the starting line, and sprints to 3rd in his first race of the year. Nice work!

It’s always fun to watch the Cyclonauts race and they kept one member in every break. Randy Kirk and Bill Thompson attacked off the Prime. Doug McKeon was able to join them in a 20 minute break while Mike Norton and other Cyclonauts sat on the field. Randy almost brought the bell lap to a complete stop to get the others to lead before gaining an advantage at a turn and sprinting to join and lap the field. Very impressive!

The number of youth racers continues to impress everyone. A ½ neutral lap and 1-1/2 lap race seems to fit the kids just right.

Chris Strempel and Tim Ratta of the Cogswild Racing Club scored 18 points to take the Team Series lead from DEVO-NSO/GIANT and their team of one, Greg Carpenter. Nice work! Stuart Jensen raced at the front and finished 5th in his first race of the year. The finish was the closest of the season. Spectator video helped resolve the 4th and 6th places.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cycling (“ABCBSC”), Capital Velo Club, and the Cyclonaut Racers brought sizeable teams. ABCBSC brought the longest name and the most amazing results to the 03/31/07 race. Good on ya!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

03/31/07 Cat.3/4 Open Race Narrative


Cat 3/4 - On the drive over to Plainville, I spy the Iron Pipe on 91 with the fam. I pass by him roll down the window and he yells "win today."I tell him, for you baby, we are going to win.At the start we got 33 starters. Cyclonauts is there with 10 or so and the bug gumba Norton is there making the place look ugly. CVC had a good sized contingent. Maybe 8. We got 6 --- Biff, Stabbing Fire, Sasha, Me, Hunter, and 50A. And we got the strongest MFing squad too.Strategy is to work off CVC and Cyclonauts who will be gunning for each other. And perhaps find some opportunities. First few laps, the field is just pissing me off. Every attack is so lame, it turns my stomach. And I was not sure how I was feeling, my warm up left me unsure if my bronchitis was going to hold me back. SO I go and take a tester into the head wind. Just see how I feel. I go. Feels ok, so I lay in a little more. Look over my shoulder to see who I got with me and shit, its no one. I was hoping to have a CVC to work with. I was thinking about abandoning, but then say screw it. I keep the hammer going. Feeling good for about 5 laps solo. Finally I see some guys start bridging up. I see a Cyclonauts and Colby College and then behind CVC, the the Stabbing Fire getting a free ride up. I let up a bit to work the bridge. Nice to see S.F. get up with me without blowing himself too much. We're starting to rotate, but really its just me and S.F.. CVC and Colby are doing ok efforts, but nothing to write home to your coach about and Cyclonauts is doing nothing. I mention to S.F. that we need to drop the freeloaders. We both find our groove a little, and then S.F. asks me if I want him to drop the hammer. I say oh yeah. I tuck in right behind him and he unleashes it. We weren't even going for that long I swear, I turn over my shoulder and everyone else is gone. It's just me and S.F. in a 2 man breakway and our gap is now 30 seconds on the field!Holy crap. We keep the pressure going. I know the two other big teams without any representation in the break must be killing themselves to try to chase us. But I also knew we had a squad who knows how to block and be 100% bastards. So S.F. continues to push. Gap is so much we are now only 20 seconds away from lapping the field. Bell lap rings. S.F. and I just ride with our normal rotation and I wind up with 1st he gets 2nd. (unfortunately, I should have let S.F takes 1st place points). The field now decides to really start hammering. Our gap is shrinking. But both S.F. and I are like the harder we work, the less everyone else on our squad does so lets keep it going. Finally we are over taken. Sasha and I yell for Bob to counter. But Bob is feeling like crap. Shoot. I want the pressure on. I move up front. I take another attack. Fock it. I get caught, no one wants to pull through. Sasha tries to, and he gets a tremendous gallop, but again, Cyclonauts is squelching everything. Hunter goes, and he gets no where. S.F. goes again for a nice long one. Almost looked like it had something. Finally with five to go, the field is going from 28 mph down to 18 mph, quite annoying. Cyclonauts are all over the place riding in their ugly style.With I think 4 to go, Biff launches an awesomely timed attack. Cyclonauts were scratching their butts while Biff was just going further and further away. Norton is waiving his arms like a lunatic. We are all up front just watching their move. Finally, Cyclonauts starts some sort of chase. They do get Biff with 2 to go and now they are afraid of moving back, so they keep up the speed. But its not enough to shake us off. We have 4 riders in the top ten positions going into the last lap. We are all watching carefully. Final turn, Cyclonauts gives S.F a great leadout and he goes and gets seperation. Hunter gets blocked, and then I get blocked by Norton. S.F. wins. Sasha gets 6th. I think I rolled in at 7th.Just an awesome job. We road aggressively and kept the pressure on. The 4 lap to go attack by Biff was key to setting up Cyclonauts to lead us out.


The Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield team had a very productive day and took the Series Team Leadership position. They also drafted a nice race narrative.

Good Job, Guys!!

Go Fast ... JIM

Sunday, March 25, 2007

03/24/07 Team Points Tabulation

Hey Y'all,

In my rush to publish 03/24/07 race results, I miscalculated the team scores.

Only the three highest scoring team members count toward the series team score.

Three teams have more than three scoring members (e.g. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cycling, Clinton Cycling Club, and Eastern Bloc Cycling Club).

In the Cat.3/4 over 39 race the Clinton Cycling Club team score is adjusted from 29 to 26 and the Eastern Bloc Cycling Club is adjusted from 13 to 11.

In the Cat 3/4 open race the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Cycling team score is adjusted from 13 to 11.

Go Fast ... Jim

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cycling CLUBS versus Cycling TEAMS

Hey Y'all,

USA Cycling (formerly know as the USCF) provides the definitive and confusing discussion at the following link.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mr. Anonymous

Hey Y'All,

IF you'd like to post a comment, THEN don't hide your identity behind the ANONYMOUS Moniker!

IF you are afraid to be identified with your comments, THEN don't bother.

Jim Thompson

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

03/17/07 Event Weather Status

Weather forecasters predict freezing rain, sleet, and snow for Friday night and Saturday morning, 03/17/07.

Conditions for bicycle racing may be too hazardous.

Continue to check this website, the EBCC website forum, and messages on Jim Thompson's cell phone (860.209.0226) for the 03/17/07 event status.

Monday, March 12, 2007

John Durham's Write-up of his 03/10/07 Race

Hello fellow Cyclonauts,

This is a long one so if you have to go potty or want something to eat or drink, I’d take care of that now. I’ll wait……All set? O.K. Here we go.
Here’s the Cat 3/4 race recap from the 1st Plainville Spring Series race.
(a.k.a. The Story of the Lone Cyclonaut)

First off, I was a little surprised that I was the only Cyclonaut in the race. I thought a couple of you guys were coming down. Oh well, more on that later. Let me start by sharing the bonehead moment of the day which came at the end of the Cat 4/5 race. Don’t know who the guy was that won, but you may not hear much from him for a while. The goofball did a no-hander victory salute and managed to crash himself and someone else…hard. Not only that, but some schmuck who was sprinting his brains out for 10th place or so (money goes 3 deep, points go 6 deep, F.Y.I.) wasn’t able to make the corner AFTER the finish of the race and crashed into the curb after turn #1 all by his lonesome. That’s quality entertainment. Now, on to the main attraction.
As we lined up for the 3/4 race, I realized I had my work cut out for me; Anthem-CCCC had 6 guys including Hunter Pronovost, CVC had 5 guys including Stan Lezon (a strong Cat 3) and Max Accaputo (winner of the C/B race at Forest Park last week). TargeTraining (the team I jumped ship from) and Keltic both had a couple of teammates each and there were a few other loners, like me, as well. All told about 20 to 25 racers.
Being by myself (have I mentioned that yet), I exercised my right to do nothing and let the Anthem and CVC guys get the ball rolling. About 5 laps in or so, Max Accaputo (CVC) rolled off the front and Anthem wisely let him cook out there for a while. After Max was brought back, a couple of CVC and Anthem guys started to lift the pace. At a couple of points for the next few laps, individuals took mini-flyers but nothing was sticking. About 10 laps in, I watched as an Anthem, Keltic, TargeTraining guy and a couple of CVC guys got a little gap. Perfect. All bigger teams represented equals no chasing. I jumped across the relatively small gap and started to sleigh drive a bit. The break ended up being three CVC, two Anthem, one TargeTraining, one Keltic rider and yours truly (you can use your fingers if you want, but that equals 8…wait a second…1, 2, 3, 4…yeah 8).
Holy crap, these guys couldn’t get organized no matter how much I “persuaded” them and I found myself on the front of the break…a lot! I began attacking the break in order to keep the pace up and managed to pop off the Keltic guy and one of the Anthem riders. Still, even though we were down to 6 (three CVC guys which included Stan Lezon and Max Accaputo, Ian Sinclair for TargeTraining, an Anthem guy I didn’t know, and me), nobody was pulling through smoothly. As I began doing my best Mike Norton impression and barking at the others to get their act together, the Anthem guy began to whine that my pulls were too hard (you forgot your violin, ace). At that point I muttered “F all y’all” and attacked again for what had to be the 5th or 6th time. I really had no intention of soloing away; I just didn’t want to get caught by the group. After a few more laps alone in front, I eased up a little and let the break catch me…again. Wouldn’t you know that’s when they rang the bell for the one and only prime (uh…thanks). So, these guys start saying stuff like “I don’t care about the prime. Let’s just keep the break working.” Translation: “I’m too tired and scared to do a little sprinting right now.” Mind you, the main group was NOWHERE to be seen – a solid half lap back at least. So as we approached the turn into the home straight, I’d me best Eric Cartman impression (Southpark anyone) and said “Screw you guys. I’m going home (insert “for the prime” in place of “home” now). Amidst some grumbles, I took the prime uncontested ($10 and 4 series points…thank you).
A couple of laps after the prime, we caught the main group. So get this, the guys that were in the break start saying “O.K. Let’s just all of us pull through.” Uh…help yourself gents. The officials won’t be pulling the peleton and it’s perfectly legal for your teammates to help you at this point, but if you want to go out and roast…enjoy. So that’s exactly what they did. They went to the front of the group and started driving the pace, all except for me and the Anthem guy (who now has 5 other teammates to lead him out). I watched this go on, to my amusement, for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Some of the other guys start asking me to get up there. I stayed pretty tight-lipped, thinking to myself “well…if there was a reason for me to do that that DIDN’T suck, maybe I would.” I just told them “hey…I’m by myself here…not my job, man (did I mention that I didn’t have any teammates…O.K.).”
So now we get down to it. With about 10 minutes to go plus 5 laps (someone explain this one to me), Anthem goes to the front and starts driving the pace (???)! Needless to say, they end up cooking themselves pretty good and there are still 5 laps left! By the way, I haven’t had my nose in the wind once since we lapped the field (hee, hee). With about 3 laps to go, Stan Lezon takes off pretty hard. Now, I know Stan well (we raced for Benidorm together last year and for CVC in previous years. He also takes one of the Spinning classes I teach) and I’ve seen him pull this move a few times for wins and high placings, but I still let him go. I had a feeling that my legs were pretty good and I was pretty sure that if I bridged, it wouldn’t have gone unnoticed. Aside from that, it was Anthem’s place to chase him down; they had a guy in the break and were potentially letting the win go. I was right. I marked Hunter with about 2 laps to go as he put his nose down to bring Stan back who now had about a 50 meter gap. Hunter pulled off abruptly with a little less than a lap and half to go. Uh oh…I was on the front (gasp)! So I did what any lone pseudo-sprinter would have done (did I tell you that I was the only Cyclonaut in the race?), I slowed down a little, faked like I was breathing really hard, and dropped my head down between my shoulders (I’m so naughty). This prompted two Anthem guys, a CVC guy and Ian Sinclair (TargeTraining) to pop around me. I would now like to take a moment to introduce you all to my new leadout train. The Anthem guys ramped it up fairly well which popped Ian. Now I’m in 4th wheel. With about half a lap to go, the first Anthem guy blows and I’m in 3rd spot in the chase (Stan is still managing to hold around a 40 meter gap or so). Here’s where the wind comes in gentlemen. The back straight had one hell of a head wind, which means (all together class) that there was one hell of a tailwind on the finishing straight! I know for a fact that it’s almost exactly 200 meters from the final turn to the finish line (which will play more like 150 with the tailwind). Additionally, I know most guys wait until AFTER the final corner to start their sprint. I also know I can corner faster than most guys (I swear…it’s true!) so with about 50 meters to the final turn and with the final Anthem guy starting to die, I do my best Mike Norton impression, jump around the Anthem and CVC guy, and do a full sprint into the last 90-degree turn. I caught Stan with about 50 meters left to the line. He looked back right as I came up on him. Ah, but alas, it was too late,Stanley. The Lone Cyclonaut wins (insert cheering here)! As Jim Thompson (the race’s organizer) so eloquently put it after the race: “Holy crap, Jon! You passed Stan so fast it looked like he was going backwards!” Stan held on for second as there was no one even close to me because my sprint was so huge that…oh…sorry. Thought I was someone else for a second (;^}).
Now…since I secured a maximum 11 points toward the series (prime=4, win =7), I will be obliged to wear the series leader’s jersey next week. This means I will have a very bright yellow jersey that says “SERIES POINTS LEADER” on my back next week (i.e. a very easy-to-spot target). In other words, how ‘bout some help next week, y’all. I will do my best to hold on to the leader’s jersey (by myself if I have to), but it will be hard on my own. And if I’m going to have to take it off at some point, I’d like it to go on another Cyclonaut’s shoulders.
Thanks in advance for your support. And, come to think of it, I believe I just got the first Cyclonauts road win of the ‘07 season if I’m not mistaken…cool

Sunday, March 11, 2007

PSS 03/10/07 Observations

PSS Week 1 Observations

Hey Y’all,

General Notes:
1) Parking
a) Parking is only permitted at the locations identified on the race flyer. Attendees may not park at the Hartford Courant lot, nor at the 10 Corporate Park lot (used in 2006).

2) Thank You Note
a) The Farmington Valley Corporate Park (“FVCP”) race venue is permitted by the Town of Plainville. Not all businesses within the FVCP are in favor of the race series.
b) The Plainville Town Manager permits our use of the town road and right-of-way.
c) By sending a brief “Thank You Note” to the Town of Plainville, Municipal Center, 1 Central Square, Plainville, CT 06062, Robert Lee, Town Manager, relee@plainville-ct.gov, you help ensure that this venue is available in the furure.

3) Lapped Riders
a) The PSS is for spring training and permits lapped riders to remain in the race (USAC para 3D3b).

4) Club/Team ID
a) Your Club and Team are shown on your license.
b) In order to a racing member of a club it must be listed on your license (USAC para 1A17).
c) You wear the jersey/kit of the club/team you are licensed with (para 1L4).

5) Event Waiver Forms
a) I require one event waiver form to be completed for each race that a rider participates in.

6) Junior Roll-Out
a) Junior riders MUST report to the officials IMMEDIATELY after the race in order to have junior gear restrictions tested by the “roll out” method.

Cat 4/5 <40,>39, 9:00am
EBCC demonstrated exceptional teamwork with Gerry on break, Ralph sitting on the field, and Pat doing it all (break, prime lead-out, finishing sprint). It was a great team performance!

Cat 3/4 >39, 10:00am
Small field …almost postponed to 11 … Bill Thompson clearly the strongest rider.

Cat 4/5 Open, 11:00am
Greg Carpenter drove a three man break for most of the race. The break ultimately got caught. Greg won the sprint finish, threw his hands up in victory, then bumped and crashed with the 2nd place rider. A lesson learned!

Cat 3/4 Open, 12:00pm
Anthem vs Clinton. John Durham won the prime and the finish with fantastic power. He also initiated a break that lapped the field. Stan Luzon ran out of gas 100m from the finish.

Go Fast ... JIM

Monday, February 19, 2007

Aki's Sprinting Blog

Aki Sato, promoter of the Bethel Spring Series, has always provided sage advise as I organize the PSS.

Aki has a great cycling blog (http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.com/ ) that I'm sure you will enjoy.

Go Fast ... JIM

UCI versus ASO, RCS, & Unibet

Hi All,

The French Amaury Sport Organization (“ASO”), the Italian RCS Sport (“RCS”), and the Spanish Unipublic (“Unipublic”) organize some of the greatest and most historic, annual professional cycling races (e.g. Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Fleche Wallonne, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana, etc.).

The Union Cycliste Internationale (“UCI”) promotes a Pro Tour comprised of 27 races of which 11 races are organized by ASO, RCS, or Unipublic.

The UCI currently requires Pro Tour organizers to automatically invite the 20 teams that hold UCI Pro Tour licenses.

All teams and riders with UCI Pro Tour licenses are members of the rider’s union, Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP).

A Swedish team named Unibet.com (“Unibet”) holds a UCI Pro Tour license and is an AIGCP member.

The ASO, RCS Sport, and Unipublic did not invite Unibet to several events and intend to invite only 18 teams to the grand tours they organize.

What action should the AIGCP, the rider’s union, take?

1) None. Professional race organizers can invite any team they choose. It's their race.

2) Strike. Boycott races organized by the ASO, RCS Sport, and Unipublic.

3) Protest. Disrupt races organized by the ASO, RCS Sport, and Unipublic.

4) Revise. Request UCI remove the ASO, RCS Sport, and Unipublic events from the UCI Pro Tour schedule.

5) Abandon. Request UCI stop promoting the Pro Tour. Let organizers invite teams according to the organizer’s interests.

6) Other

Go Fast … JIM
“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." … Beckett

Monday, January 22, 2007

What determined the PSS race format?

The 2007 Plainville Spring Series ("PSS") format is based on my 2006 PSS experience and several other ideas and goals.

Geographic Need
Cyclists are very traditional and surprisingly enjoy 'sitting in' large fields during 'training'. During the '06 PSS, I received several complaints about the small field sizes. Aki Sato (Bethel Spring Series promoter) and I are friends. We are not in competion. However, the Bethel Spring Series is a juggernaut on which the '06 PSS was modeled. If a cyclist chooses one over another, they choose Bethel. A small minority rides both. Cyclists, especially experienced ones, are acustomed to driving. I still don't understand how a large field helps training. Inexperienced riders, Cat. 4 & 5, in the Farmington river valley appreciate the shorter drive.

Saturday Racing
This is an admittedly hopeful idea! I go to church on Sunday. I thought others might like to also. Based on '06, a Saturday event has no impact. Riders are accustomed to Sunday events. I remain hopeful.

Cat. 4 & 5 Focus
The '06 P/1/2/3 category race had small and decreasing field sizes. The field size trend was downward ( e.g. 18, 14, 16, 12) and I saw no reason for it to increase. Indeed, in April, elite riders plan to participate in other, larger races and opt to skip the PSS. I cancelled the two remaining '06 P/1/2/3 races. I don't expect P/1/2/3 interest this year. In fact, P/1/2/3 racers are more focused on Bethel and very few race twice on a weekend.
Additionally, 65% of the '06 riders were Cat. 4 or 5. Cat.5 is by far the largest category in New England.
The '06 PSS lacked team efforts. Only three teams consistantly raced the '06 PSS (Epic Velo, Cyclonauts, EBCC). I hope '07 PSS series ending team prize promotes some team racing tactics.

Two Races per Race Day
After the planning, packing, driving, and setting up your gear, its a shame to ride for only 50 minutes and go home. The 2007 format allows riders to race one event for competion and a second event for training.

Women Categories
There are very few women racers. My intent was, and is, to allow for maximum women participation.

Go Fast ... JIM