Velo Veneto - Ciclismo Italiano !

Stories from the Velo Veneto bike racing camp in Castelcucco, Italy

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I'm a 50 year old kid who loves to race bikes. I operate a bike racing camp in Northern Italy. When not in Italy I have the good fortune of living in one of the best places to ride, the Northern California Wine Country.

Monday, March 07, 2005

McLane Pacific Classic

The McLane Pacific Classic in Merced, California is the first big race on the US National Calendar. All the top Pro men's and women's teams are there and for the Masters and Category riders it is also a important event with big fields. You can check out the coverage on and also some good pictures of Cindy's teammates Gavin Chilcott and Laura Charameda. The photos were taken by Dewars team supporter photography.

Cindy had a decent weekend. She said she didn't feel sharp and focused in the crit but did win a prime and finished 16th earning us enough money for a nice dinner! In the road race she was feeling much more agressive, getting in breakaways and always riding in the front of the race where the action was. She finished 15th in the road race.

Speaking of riding in the front, I need to vent about the way too many people "raced" in the Masters 45+ road race this weekend. First off let me say that my form and fitness is behind because I've started a new job! I'm a caddy at the Mayacama Golf Club four days a week, except the months we're in Italy running Velo Veneto. So I only get to train on the bike a few days a week.

So anyway, I figured I'd be way behind in fitness for the McLane road race and I'd be suffering just hanging on in the field. Not!!! I just can't do that anymore. I've gotten so used to the Italian style of racing....Attack, Attack, Attack ! It's like it's almost in my genes now because over there you either attack or die. There is no sitting in. Here in America most of our Masters races have a fairly small number of riders who dominate things. We all know who they are and when they attack you go if you can, but most often there aren't enough strong guys willing to chase, so they go away to yet another victory. If they can't get away, they are most often some of the best finishers/sprinters too, so either way they can win. It seems that was the tactic they were content with this weekend. If there had been an award for "Most Agressive" rider, I would've won it. I was in a number of breakaways, including one with Laura Charameda that lasted almost 15k's. Unfortunately two of us against 85 other riders just wasn't going to work. How nice would it have been for us to stay away and have me finish 2nd to Laura...wouldn't that have made the rest of the peloton proud, have a 41 yr old women, with her "secret" teammate in the break, school the rest of them for the victory.

Of course attacking just for the sake of attacking can be foolhardy, but you sure get a better workout in than being a wuss like the rest of the lemmings and just sitting in the draft, then sprinting at the end. I'd rather finish 50th but having "made" the race, than 5th in a sprint and feeling like I hadn't raced. So Laura and I were caught with about 20k's to go, but there were no counter attacks, so after a few kilometers of cruising with the field I attacked again solo. This too was brought back with about 10ks to go. Now it was time to rest and plan one final assault. I had tried to gauge the total distance (78k's I thought) of the race on my cycle computer, but I guess I mis-calculated (There weren't any signs marking distance to the finish as per usual). I thought we had about 2k's to the finish and I was preparing to move in to position for a final attack when all of a sudden we were going over the last roller and there was the finish line. Being way out of position all I could do was watch the front of the group, led by that hard ass Laura sprint away. She ended up 7th. (She also finished 8th in the Pro Women's crit the day before).

The bottom line was that we had ALOT of fun this weekend. We raced hard and weren't afraid to "Have a go". In my opinion, that's the only way to race.

I don't know when I'll get to race again as I've chosen to work Saturdays and Sundays at the golf course. But there will be plenty to talk about as we share Cindy's stories from the races.


Blogger Navarone said...

Wow, does this mean that I am part Italian? For all those years I have been at best an average domestique level rider with the herd, but I do recall many a time when for no darn good reason other than to want to push you and Cindy I would "have a go" and give it everything I had. I thought, and still think, that's how you are supposed to cycle, it's like hitting a 1 iron from 228 yards away on a par 5, all carry over water, smart strategy, perhaps not, but it sure is fun. Keep up the great work with your blog:)

March 8, 2005 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Pat Carroll said...

You're darn right Tom. In life sometimes you have to risk losing in order to win. We/I attack in order to set up for a win!!! And sometimes you blow up and lose. Just as long as we don't do it like Tin Cup!

March 8, 2005 at 1:37 PM  

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