Closing Out 2015, with Joy McCulloch

Goal setting is tricky business. Last winter, my coach Paul and I outlined my cycling and racing goals for the 2015 season which in turn, focused and streamlined the specificity of my training and racing. As with most goals, however, we had to push the ‘reset’ button several times through out the season. With the canceling of the Nature Valley Grand Prix NRC Women’s Race held in June, I was left demotivated and frustrated with what to do with the remainder of my season.

I came to the conclusion that spending more time at home building my coaching business, with a few opportunities to race while visit family, would be the best way forward for the remainder of 2015. This kept me off of the road traveling and racing, and allowed me to focus on a secondary goal I had put on my list back in December. Winning the SoCal Cup Overall Series.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The series lasts all season long and runs in an omnium format, which means points are earned at specific races between January and August 30th. In 2014, I was fortunate enough to win the overall title and although it doesn’t come with much fanfare, I was very satisfied having laid out a goal, stuck to the plan, and executed consistently for 8 months, in order to win. This year, I was coming from way behind, having had my sights on out of state racing until the tides turned. We analyzed my odds with the points tallied and committed to giving the overall win another solid shot. Week in and week out, I focused my race strategy on steadily chipping away at my deficit and although my results were not off the charts, they were solid and constant, putting me in the points lead in early August. As the heat began to rise and the racers began to fade from the start lines, my lead was solid. Yet I needed to maintain a consistent presence at the races and earn respectable results to hold it through the final race at CBR on August 30th.

After what seemed like forever, Brian and I arrived at the final CBR race pumped and ready to rock. We have been training in morbid heat for weeks and I was excited to try my fresh legs on one of my favorite courses. As the heat ratcheted up to the 90s, I filled my bottles and took to the course to preview the wind direction, then head back to chat with coach Paul one last time to solidify our game plan.

I was racing solely for the SoCal Cup overall win. I had 108 points, Pam Schuster was close with 100. With both of us racing, I knew that my #1 job was to stay with Pam. If I finished near her, I could hold onto the overall.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

My usual tactics would be to race hard, from the front, launch attack after attack, especially since there was a whopping $1,100 in primes alone up for grabs. However, my presence in the race lulls my competitors into not racing hard, as they look to Pam and me to create the animation in the race. Unfortunately for them, I was OK with solo riders going off the front, as I had my focus on one goal. My fear was had I attacked, the only person willing to counter attack me was Pam, putting me in a sticky situation being forced to cover her move, eventually putting me on the back foot. Racing conservatively is very mentally challenging for me, especially when my legs are fresh and asking to be unleashed.

Through out the 50 minutes of racing, I stuck to our plan and avoided my knee-jerk reaction to bridge to the solo move up the road or attack Pam. “Be patient, be confident, be committed to the plan.” These were my thoughts the whole time, culminating as I was coming into the final turn. I came out of it a bit too hot and not on the wheels I wanted to be on, and as I slightly hesitated my pedal stroke, enough slack was made in my chain and WHAM it fell off to the inside. Gah! Seriously? “Stick to the plan. Stay with Pam. Stay as close to Pam as possible!” I sprinted as hard as I could in my baby ring to finish 10th, just a few spots behind Pam. With my heart rate pinned, I calmed down and reminded myself I had executed the plan perfectly, I saved the finish and was able to achieve the number one goal for the day, which was to stay with Pam and maintain the point spread.

Or so I thought…As the ladies gathered for awards and podium, I noticed Pam was paying extra close attention to her phone, a USAC official and some papers. Instinctively, I grabbed my phone and checked out the SCNCA website where the points are tallied for the SoCal Cup Series. I had checked it several times after the Ontario Final which was the most recent race in the series. The points had been added, I was still in the lead, so I left it be.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Now looking at my phone screen while I sat on the 100 degree curb, I saw something I hadn’t seen all season: 1st – Pam Schuster 112 Pt; 2nd – Joy McCulloch 108 Pts. What!? Where did these points come from? When were they added? I joined the huddle around the rule book to investigate and all parties agreed that 12 points had been added to Pam’s total within the last week. Our belief was that these points were from the 805 Criterium weekend. In June. This meant that for the past 2.5 months, I had been racing with a deck of cards I believed to be valid and true. Come to find out, I had the completely wrong hand. If I had known about the 12 points when they were received in June, I would have raced each and every one of the races between then and now extremely differently.

I learned long ago to be gracious in victory, as well as in defeat. But man that stings. I don’t mind getting beat, I lose all the time and I understand it is part of the process. But not having the opportunity to race in a fashion to give myself the best fighting shot of the overall win, was very disappointing.

But you know what? I totally won. I won because I learned to trust myself, my coach, my team and my sponsors. I learned to resist the urge to dash after the “shiny penny” that distracts me from goals. And I also learned that I am capable of setting a plan, a goal, and a path to reach it successfully. I allowed myself 24 hours to be upset, discouraged, hurt and disappointed about my situation. During that window I was on a 5 hour plane trip to Hawaii where I had ample time to journal about my season. I scribbled down my feelings of anger, my excitement, the letdowns, the elation of success, as well as what  I was looking for on the bike. Before the plane landed, I closed the journal and wrapped the rubber band around it to seal it tight.

This week you can find me on the beach in Kauai with my rad husband and my ever supportive parents. Life is good. Actually, life is great! I am thankful for another successful and safe racing season with the KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling Team, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates and sponsors. Thank you!

Mahalo

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

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The post Closing Out 2015, with Joy McCulloch appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Mt. Whitney Stage Race: Flores Wins both Stages and Overall

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

As I arrived in Lone Pine on Friday evening, I started to prepare myself mentally for the extreme temperatures I was about to put myself through for the second weekend in a row. The next morning, the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. to give my brother and I enough time to have breakfast before getting ready for the 8:00 a.m. start to the Alabama Hills Road Race.

The race did not have a huge turn out, but everyone who showed up was very strong. All categories started together and from the first lap, the pace was very high up the initial climb. The main climb is very pitchy and not gradual at all which makes it hard to keep a good rhythm. Every lap, a few more riders were getting dropped on the climb until there were only a handful of us by the final lap.

Each lap as we went up the climb, the temperature seemed to gain 5 degrees until the last few laps where the heat exceeded 100 degrees at points. With two laps to go, my body went through a tingling sensation from the blistering heat that I have never experienced before. On the final lap, a couple more riders were dropped on the hill, and the rest of the riders started attacking each other repeatedly. I stayed patient and responded to a strong attack by Chris Walker. As I came up towards his wheel, everybody else was tired from responding to harsh attacks. I took advantage of this moment and instead of sprinting out of the saddle to make an obvious move, I went around him as if I were taking a hard pull. At this point, I dropped down another gear and started to ride away in TT mode. I quickly realized I was really starting to establish a healthy gap.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

There were 5 miles to the finish and all flat with some wind. All I could do was go all-in to the finish. I approached the finish line completely spent but happy with the win and ended up gaining 30 seconds on second place. I was happy with my ride, but really what I was hoping for was that it made my fathers day as it was his birthday.

Sunday morning was a similar routine as Saturday. Only this time, we drove down to 9 Mile Canyon Road for Stage 2. It was already starting to warm up fairly quickly before the start and we were all prepared to ascend 6200 ft. within the 30 mile race. As the race started, Chris Walker went to the front and set a blistering pace until him and another rider named Jansen both rode away from everyone else.

I struggled to stay with the four riders chasing them and was dropped from them as well. I had paid for my efforts the day before and was losing some ground. As I kept the chase group in my sights, within a few miles of the first summit, I was a minute and a half down on the lone leader, Jansen who had dropped Chris. At this point, Jansen had a good lead over the chase group, where I followed within sight. Over the hardest climbing of the day there was a plateau with some rollers for a few miles. This is where I started to feel stronger and drilled it until I soon caught the chase group of only 4 riders. I then attacked them and began to chase the lone leader on the road.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Over the summit of the climb, Jansen, (an ex-motocross racer who is incredibly strong) took the K.O.M./record on the climb by 4 minutes! I followed behind him over the climb about a minute back and started the descent. Going down the descent I took a few risks reaching 50 m.p.h. through bends and spinning as fast as I could until I caught Jansen at the end of the descent. From there, I held on to his wheel going into the final climb which was close to 4 miles to the finish.

Both of our computers read 29 miles and we thought the finish was at 30 miles. I saw a sign and cars parked on the side of the road and realized the finish was within 100 meters, so I put in an acceleration to the finish. Jansen didn’t realize that was the finish and only thought I was attacking so it was not the type of fight to the line that I wish it would have been. Otherwise It was quite the animated race overall as I went from being a minute and a half behind to a winning position.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Overall, it was a great, tough experience and a fantastic event put on by Steven Barnes of Anti Gravity Cycling. Thanks to my father for getting my brother and I up to the race and Happy Birthday to him!

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

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Twitter: @iPA_Sports

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The post Mt. Whitney Stage Race: Flores Wins both Stages and Overall appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Big Win at CBR Criterium by Shawn Wayland

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Our team fielded 5 riders at the 90 minute CBR Criterium on Sunday, August 23rd. The plan was simple – we wanted it all: all the money, and all the results. There were eight, $100 cash primes, and one $200 dollar cash prime through out the race on the 4-turn course.

The game plan was to have Fabi and Chris mop up as many primes as possible, and set me up for the win, whether it was in a sprint or breakaway. It felt good to have that responsibility to be the closer, and have the teams trust to deliver. I’ve matured a lot physically and mentally this year, and was ready to get the job done.

The race was a flurry of attacks and breakaways and splits. The team did an outstanding job of covering moves, starting breakaways, bridging to breakaways, and raking in the primes. Everyone was riding extremely well. With about 20 minutes left in the race, there was a group of 3 off the front including Fabi that looked like it could finally be the winning move.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

With 5 laps to go, I followed a wheel across to the group making the trio now six. As soon as our group attached to the rear of the original 3, everyone but Chris Waggoner of Spy Giant sat up. I got on his wheel and we rode away from the others. Fabi played the game perfectly by sitting up as they all looked at each other seeing who was going to pull it back. As they hesitated, me and Chris had opened up a gap and were committed to doing work.

As we rolled across the line with 2 laps to go, the announcer screams, “$200 prime on the next lap!” Not wanting to play games for the money and risk getting caught, I knew it was time to go. Chris finished his pull coming out of turn 2, and I launched up the inside of the turn, effectively dropping him.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The next lap and a half were a blur. I remember only quick glimpses and feelings of things. Looking down at my Garmin and seeing over 460 Watts, my lungs forcing gallons of air in and out, my legs feeling like they were machines and just simply pedaling, and lastly, my Director Paul Abrahams screaming, “SPRINT!” as I came around the final corner. I drove to the line, and as I crossed the line I threw my fist in the air, and pounded my chest (doing the Peter Sagan lol). And then all my teammates came up as I gasped for air on the cool down lap just as stoked as I was about what just happened. We won as team! I’m thankful for each of my teammates, and all the support from our sponsors, Director, and of course my family!

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

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Ontario Grand Prix: 2nd for Castillo, by Chris Barton

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Our game plan for the Ontario Summer’s End Criterium was two-part. First, get myself or Fabrizio into a breakaway that didn’t contain SoCal Cup leader Corey Williams. Second, win the race. As the six of us warmed up, Dave casually mentioned to me that his Garmin was reading a temperature of 114. Good. This meant it would be a race for the strong-willed and our job of breaking the race apart would be that much easier.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

From the gun, we began taking turns attacking the field. In the first 15 laps, each one of us took several attempts at breaking away from the peloton. Each time one of our attacks was brought back, we would launch another. After a while I began to wonder if we would ever wear down our competitors or if we would just tire ourselves out. My worries were soon forgotten when Ulises threw down a monster attack and the elastic finally snapped. I waited until the group that Ule had taken with him was about 15 seconds ahead, and then I attacked and bridged the gap. As Corey Williams was not with us, we began driving the break and quickly gained a 40 second lead on the field.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Once our lead was established, it was time to assess the strength of the breakaway and decide how we were going to win the race. Being the only team with two riders in the break, Ule and I decided that we would take turns attacking with 5 laps to go until one of us got away. We attacked and attacked, but our competitors chased us down each time. With one lap to go we had a decision to make. Do I attack one last time in hopes of snatching a solo win, or do we wait for the sprint finish and have Ule lead me out? With less than a minute left in the race, I made a hasty decision to attack. I put my head down and stomped on the pedals as hard as I could, but it wasn’t quite enough. I was caught with about 50 meters to go. Fortunately, Ulises had capitalized on the other riders having to chase me down and was able to sit on their wheels and sprint in to 2nd place.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

We are always happier when we win, but our loss today was not for lack of trying or commitment. We spent a good hour with our director Paul Abrahams reflecting on how the race played out and what we could have done differently. We head to the next race with 1 more day of experience under our belt with the intent of improving that 2nd place by 1 spot.

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

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The post Ontario Grand Prix: 2nd for Castillo, by Chris Barton appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Hotter N Hell Mt. Baldy Hill Climb: Win and Course Record set by Efren Flores

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

I have raced the ‘Hotter N Hell Mt. Baldy Hill Climb’ twice now, and both times it has lived up to its name. Keeping as cool as possible was essential for a good ride up the twelve mile climb of self-induced torture in 100 degree heat. This year, my preparation leading into the TT was much better as far as utilizing ice and cold water before the start. Adam Mills gave me some great advice to put ice in my pockets and soaking myself with cold water at the start and that really helped a lot.

Also, my coach Jason Siegle competed in the event which was great because that gave me a bit of a psychological boost for the sake of not being beat by him. One very important note I took after my first participation in this event last year was how easy it was to get too excited in the first half of the TT and over cook it before the final few miles. So from the start, I stayed in the small chainring up the initial hill and paced myself well before turning right onto Baldy Mountain. From there, it was a good long stretch of consistent gradient which is my favorite type of climb.

My gearing was good as I was able to keep an optimal cadence until the last few miles where I was really smashing on the 25 in the rear to get over the very steep pitches. This is where I really pushed through the tunnel of extreme pain and persevered. I knew I was doing a good ride and could make a run for the record.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

A couple times within the last several miles, I thought I was approaching the finish but the climb was deceitful. As I came around the final switchback and a slight bend, the finish was finally in sight. From there, I accelerated as much as I could until crossing the finish with nothing left to give.

A few minutes later my dad showed me what he timed me at and I was happy with the result putting over three minutes into my time from last year where I had lost by one second. A short time later, the results were finalized and my Coach Jason Siegle put down a very impressive time of 1:00:30, giving him the second fastest time of the day and I had done the fastest time of the day with a 57:18.

It was a great result on a hard TT and a fantastic event put on by Back on Track Productions. Thank you to all who were involved in putting this event together. Also, thanks to my coach Jason for guiding me through training and prep so I can be my best in racing. And a special shoutout to my dad for driving me all the way out there in the morning while I slept in the back.

Efren TT

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

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The post Hotter N Hell Mt. Baldy Hill Climb: Win and Course Record set by Efren Flores appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Brentwood Grand Prix: Von Nacher Wins in Style

Photo Credit: Danny MusnonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson  – Story by: Chris Barton

The last two years, the team has come very close to winning the Brentwood Grand Prix. Both times, the race came down to a field sprint and we were not quite fast enough to take the win. The best field sprinters in the state always show up to this race, so we decided this year we didn’t want to take any chances.

We planned to attack and attack until one of us rode clear of the field and hopefully held off the chasing sprinter’s teams. From lap one, our plan was under way. Efren Flores, Brian McCulloch, Shawn Wayland, and Ulises Castillo attacked over and over in the first 20 minutes, keeping the pace high and forcing our competitors to chase them down.

Photo Credit: Danny MusnonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

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