RBC Stage 1 Time Trial Report: Chris Barton
This year’s Redlands Bicycle Classic began with an Individual Time Trial up in Big Bear, as opposed to the usual time trial in Redlands. The new time trial was generally more flat than the old one, but it was much more technical. In addition to it’s technical difficulty, the fact that it was set at an altitude of just under 7,000 feet made for a challenging event. Considering the altitude, I don’t believe the results would have been much different on the old course. The lack of elevation gain was somewhat made up for with the thin air.
I was able to pre-ride the course several times leading up to the race, which allowed me to find the fastest lines through the turns and to see where I might need to conserve energy and where to give 100 percent. My preparation paid off, as the only surprise during the race was having to maneuver around a fellow cyclist while negotiating the tricky curves of the road. I was happy to end up in 18th place when the day was done. Teammate Mike Olheiser had a great race and placed 10th.
I personally enjoyed the new time trial course. It added a new dynamic to the event with sweeping turns and thin mountain air. I hope they keep the venue for next year’s event.
RBC Stage 2 Beaumont Road Race Report: Brian McCulloch
As I embarked on my fourth participation in the Redlands Bicycle Classic, I was specifically looking forward to the Beaumont Road Race. The Beaumont Road Race, during my first RBC participation, was my first 120 mile race day, which is a big test for anyone’s legs, but especially for a rider new to the NRC racing scene.
Beaumont is a particularly testing day because it has a large amount of climbing and substantial winds across the entire course meaning there is little to no place to rest your legs or hide. This course is a day for ‘hard-men’ to come to the front and play their cards in the hopes of glory.
At CashCall Cycling, we have a number of ‘hard-men’ that were looking forward to this day. Not the least of which was teammate Cole House. Other wild cards were Michael Weicht and Logan Loader, and one can never count out our resident BA Mike Ol’ManHeiser. With four guys capable of putting up a good result for our team I was charged with the task of taking care of the boys to the best of my abilities. This is a job I love to do and a job that I take particular pride in doing.
Throughout the race I used my energies to help House, Weicht, Loader, and Ol’ManHeiser stay out of the wind. I helped the boys make their way to the front of the peloton before the climbs each lap before the group would go ‘nutty’ for KOM points. It is good business for us to race at the front, one never knows when an opportunity can present itself, this especially true before, during, and just after KOM points or Sprint bonuses.
As the race wore on, my legs were starting to fatigue. The 15km before the 4th ascent (of five) of the main climb saw the group string out and start to splinter. I was able to start the climb near the front, but not as far up as I really needed to and because of that, I was climbing out of my skin to stay in the group. It was about 500m from the top of the first climb of the course that I found myself on the wrong end of the group which was splitting. This is never good! The alarm bells started going off in my head and I ignored the pain in my legs and my racing heart beat. I stood and sprinted to get back into the group, and as I crested the top of the KOM, I saw my homeboy Weicht stranded on the side of the road fighting a mechanical. I immediately stopped to help him, he is a crucial part of our team and getting him back into the race is not just a necessity, its something I like to do.
Unfortunately for us, a big result on this stage was not to be. We raced hard for half a lap trying to get back into the race and for a while we were holding the peloton within our sight and even moving closer. But we were just outside the race caravan of cars, which would have provided necessary draft opportunities to ensure we got back in the peloton. Once it became clear we were not going to regain contact with the main group we turned our attention to energy conservation. This meant that we consumed every bit of remaining Hammer Nutrition products we had on our bikes and in our pockets. Any good cyclist worth his/her salt knows, preparation for tomorrow begins the moment the efforts of today end.
Thankfully, we were fully loaded with Heed and Hammer bars, which enabled us to not finish the 120 mile stage completely depleted! This would prove particularly critical for Weicht because he would ultimately give teammate Fabrizio Von Nacher the best lead-out possible from one man in order to secure our team great result in the Downtown Redlands Criterium!
When we finished the days stage, nearly five hours of pedal time, Weicht and I were relieved to hear that our teams main objective had been accomplished. Ol’ManHeiser had moved from 10th place GC to 9th. We may not have had a big stage result, but protecting Mike’s top ten position is something to be proud of. He rode like a beast and all the little help we gave throughout the day, no doubt, made a difference when it came time for him to pour on ‘the chili’ on the last climb. When the big-guns were firing, Ol’ManHeiser rose to the occasion. Today we are one step closer to getting our very first top ten GC result in an NRC race…only two more days to go!
RBC Stage 3 Downtown Criterium Report: Fabrizio Von Nacher
The Redlands Classic Criterium is one of the most technical in the country. Boasting 9 turns on the downtown streets of Redlands, this event is a fan-favorite. The racers were glad to have a lazy morning and not line up at the start line until 4:30PM.
The course was very technical with 9 turns. It was a really fun course! I liked it because you really had to stay focused the entire race and be very aware of what was going on ahead of you and behind.
Our team goal was to get a top finish with me sprinting at the end. Michael Weicht did an awesome job keeping me in the front 15 riders for the last 10 laps of the race. He kept me safe and out of the wind the entire time. Michael is not only a very strong bike racer, he is very intelligent and knows exactly where to put his efforts. The last 5 laps, he kept me safe right behind the Jamis train at the front of the race.
It was a hard race and at the middle of the crit, there was a crash on turn 1 which is a sharp 90 degree right-hand turn. I got tangled up in the crash and it took me a while to get back to the front again. Once I got to the front, my teammates did all the work for me to stay in position and be safe. Cole House was in a breakaway for several laps and the break was absorbed with a few laps to go. Michael and I were already in a good position for the sprint. The last lap was very fast and crazy. The sprint started almost a 1 km to go, and at the end I finish in 7th place!
RBC Stage 4 Sunset Road Race Report: Cole House
Going into Sunday I was hoping to have good legs. The 4th day of stage races is normally the best day of racing for me. Most of the guys are tired and not as snappy. I wasn’t quite sure how it would play out all day. All I really knew was the first and last laps would be the hardest. The Sunset race starts in downtown Redlands on the crit course where we race 5 laps. We then head up into the foothills of Redlands for 12 fast and hard circuits of the Sunset loop.
The first few laps of the circuit were fast on the climb, but with smart riding and by staying near the front, I was never really in a bad spot. Olheiser was always near the front as well and only had one spot of bother when he punctured. Fortunately, teammate David Santos was right there to swap wheels with Mike to ensure he could protect his 9th place GC spot.
Everybody knows when Paco Mancebo 5hr Energy is attacking and gets 30 seconds on the group, it is about to be really really hard. Optum’s Chad Haga was in the yellow (leaders) jersey and their team had to chase. Their team was fried and weren’t really gaining, so coming into the finish circuits back on the crit course, it almost felt like they just gave up the chase and let Jamis do the work. Again Paco had 30 seconds on what was left of the field. Everybody was at their limit, I knew the race was pretty much over, but there was a small chance he could still be reeled in. But when Jamis used their team up and only world-class sprinter JJ Haedo left, I knew we were in trouble. I really only had one good acceleration left and had to use it wisely. Haedo attack going into one lap to go, really caught me off guard and by the time I responded it was too late and basically wasted my last effort and I couldn’t even salvage a decent result. But you learn from your mistakes right?
Redlands is a great race and one of my favorites. It is one of the most challenging races we’ll do all year. It’s the first big race of the year as well, so everybody wants to come out and show everybody how good they are. I think our team had higher expectations, at least I know I did. Olheiser had a good ride with top 10 overall. I was really looking for a chance to win a stage but in the end it wasn’t to be. Michi rode a good race, always being there when we needed him and helping Fabi in the crit with Brian, Dave, Logan and Chris racing solid all event and doing a great job helping Olheiser maintain his top 10. Overall, it was a good confidence builder for the guys to be able to be there when it was hard and racing at a higher level than normal and should help set the whole team up nicely for this next block of racing.