Sunday, September 8, 2013

USA Masters Nationals Time Trial and Road Race Championships September 4-6, 2013

2013 USA Masters Road Nationals Race Report
by Jim Langley and Mark Edwards

Jim's race - click to zoom
Race Details:
Race registration/headquarters: Bend, Oregon (this was the 3rd consecutive year that Masters Nationals has been held in Bend. Next year it moves to Ogden, Utah).
Time Trial location: Prineville, Oregon 30K Time Trial "Crooked River" course on Wednesday, Sept. 4 (about 30 minutes out of Bend and 1,000 feet lower)
Road Race location: The "Sparks Lake" 84K course started/finished at Mt. Bachelor's ski resort, Sept. 5 (50-54 age group) and Sept. 6 (60-64 age group). It's also about 30 minutes out of Bend but higher with a start/finish at 6,200 feet elevation
Bicycle Trip racers at the Nationals this year:
Mark Edwards (team coach) raced in the 50-54
Jim Langley raced in the 60-64

Team manager Ed Price wrote this nice report on our races, which tells the tale nicely:

Our team coach, Mark Edwards along with Jim Langley just finished three intense days of time trialing and road racing at the USA Cycling National Masters Championships in Bend, Oregon. 

Wednesday, Jim Langley finished in a solid 10th place in the 60-64 age group at the National Time Trial Championships, covering 30 kilometers in a time of 43 minutes and 42 seconds.  The winner was Wayne Watson of Denver, Colorado, riding for Natural Grocers Cycling Team in a time of 40:36.

Jim followed up his time trial performance two days later on Friday with a 30th place in the road race in a time of 2 hours 34 minutes and 8 seconds.  The winner was the very same Wayne Watson of Denver Colorado who won the time trial.  Watson won a 3-man sprint to the line in a time of 2:27:30. He narrowly pipped Joe Lemire.

Our team coach, Mark Edwards finished 16th place in the 50-54 age group at the Time Trial Nationals, riding 30K in a time of 42:43.  The race was won by a local bay area rider, Kevin Metcalfe of Pleasant Hill.  Riding for Team Specialized Racing, Kevin raced to an amazing time of 38:00. 

 With no rest-day before his road race, Mark finished 28th place in the 50-54 Road Race at Bend on Thursday in a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 26 seconds.  The winner was Brendan Sullivan of Atlanta Georgia who finished about 30 seconds ahead (2:08:06) of Katrin Tobin's brother, Michael Tobin.  One second back from Michael Tobin in third place, was an "on form"  Kevin Metcalfe in 2:08:07.

Here's a video of the start of Mark's road race. He had nice weather and was up against one of the toughest fields at the Nationals. Here's a great race report of Mark's race:

Jim's comments about Ed's race report-
"Thanks for the great report Ed! We gave it our best shot but the competition at Nationals keeps getting stronger with more riders and more famous names. I'm embarrassed by my 30th place in the RR so I want to explain that I took a chance and it didn't work.

I knew I could not win if it came down to the final climb. The race was stacked with climbing specialists from places at elevation. So, I attacked about 1/3 of the way into the race. Ahead was a long stretch with rollers and I though I could build a solid gap. It took 4 tries and I finally got clear. I was out in the wind for about 10k and the moto ref gave me 5 time checks of 20-25-30-25 and 30 seconds, so I kept trying.

I felt strong and hoped I could get to the last wall with my lead intact. Back in the pack the NorCal and SoCal guys would not chase cause we help each other. Last year's winner, Hank Pfeifle (leading the pack in the photo of Jim's race at the top of the page) realized it was up to him and he finally chased me down dragging the pack with him, though about 20 guys got shelled.

After that I sat in and tried to recover but I could only tempo to the finish. It may seem stupid what I tried but year after year one or two stars and stripes jerseys go to guys who take a chance and I do think I had a small chance feeling as fit as I did."

Here's the USA Cycling race report on Jim's 60-64 road race.

Here's how the weather looked the morning of Jim's race - check out that flag! By race time it had improved but it was still cold and windy.

Here's Jim about to roll to the line in his 60-64 race on Friday when the weather had changed. It's about 46 degrees and with a 20 mile descent to start the race, riders were in everything warm they brought with them. Jim's hand were freezing and he didn't have gloves until he found one being blown across the parking lot by the wind and picked it up and switched it from hand to hand to keep his fingers from freezing before the start. A lucky find!

There were about 50 guys in the 60-64, which Jim believes is the largest field by far to enter that group in the 6 years he's raced in the Nationals.
In Mark's race they played the national anthem before the start and the riders had to remove their helmets. That's the first time they've done that at Nationals. They didn't do it for all the races.
Here's the lead group in the 60-64 coming up the final push, with about 3K to the line. The guy in front is last year's winner in his stars and stripes kit, Hank Pfeifle. He's the guy that chased Jim down (see Jim's race comments).
Here's the chasers from which the last podium position would be picked. There was a good gap between the two groups.
In Jim's race they started the 50-54 and 55-59 women's groups just before Jim's group (5 min. gap each). Jim's group caught the 55-59 at the bottom of the descent. The officials pulled the ladies off the shoulder so Jim's group could pass. The old guys then caught the 50-54 women but they were already on the shoulder taking a natural break - in a National Championship race. It made for a slow and very distracted pass by the men.

This was the first National where they did doping testing of the top and random riders. We haven't heard any of the results yet.

NorCal superstar Chris Phipps won the 40-44 RR in epic fashion - soloing home up the final climb with goldball-size hail hammering down on him and covering the road. Due to the miserable weather on top of Mt. Bachelor they postponed 3 races to Friday, but Chris enjoyed his Andy Hampsten moment I'm sure and got the biggest win of his career.

In finishing the 30K Time Trial in 38 minutes, Kevin the clock-crusher Metcalfe averaged 29.3684 miles per hour. Kevin is 52 years old. Crazy fast.

What does it take to become a National Champ? Joe Lemire found that getting laid off from his job was extremely helpful. His wife was then nice enough to allow him to setup his own elevation training camp in Mammoth Mountain for two and half months where he prepared himself for Jim's race at Nats, the 60-64. Joe had already had a great year in NorCal racing. To ensure his best finish in Bend, he decided not to ride the time trial that he had pre-registered to race. But as luck would have it, one racer was just a little better prepared than Joe and Joe ended up getting pipped at the line by Wayne Watson (who had also won the TT), and missing out on the coveted stars and stripes jersey. Understandably, he was disappointed after the race. He had done everything right but one guy was just a little bit better. But, that's Nationals - only one racer wins - and it's quite often the best racer. Joe may get his jersey next year when he's in the 65-69s.

Jim Gentes fans will be sorry to hear that Jim lost any chance in his 55-59 road race when the battery fell off his electronic shifting bicycle on the long, fast descent that started the race. The battery cage screws weren't tightened and they vibrated loose. Because the battery cage was mounted to the chainstay beneath the bike, the battery fell off and Jim spent the rest of the race kicking his derailleur with his heel in order to limp to the finish. He was in good spirits at the finish anyway, laughing at his bad luck.

1 comment:

Dennis the Mennis said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure! It's so cool that you weren't afraid to attack even at that level of racing!