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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

geezer dribbles

ah, what the hell ... here's a little blah blah on Berzerkeley Hills, ver. 35+ (boob-catchers)
(all photos yoinked from Mike Nachteway ... damn good eye, check it out)
- - -

I guess there's a reason all these wackjobs want to live around the Berzerkelay area ... soft rolling hills, temperate and tickly weather, windy twists of road dropping in and out of lush canyons and skirting sun dappled reservoirs. Pretty hip stuff.

Berkeley Hills is definitely a classic road race course. Enough loops to keep the spectators engaged as field after field gasps and grinds up the 3-Bears of pain. They've named the hills all Goldilocksy ... but, i've got no clue as to which is mama or papa or cousin It.

I just put my head down and try to hang on to the other kids' wheels.
- - -

Our Geezer race had a fairly significant Disco contingent and a smattering of all the other squads and indies that make up a typical full-field 35+ race in the NorCal. The opening lap was mostly a feeling out of the pack, a flurry of attacks from sacraficial Disco-Cassani were followed by a few, but, we had Reed or Pasco latched to everything early, so felt comfortable. A couple times Larry Nolan rolled off with some steam, but the Zteam hammerheads would immediately blow gaskets in chase ... not wanting him up the road one bit. It turned out to be a sound decision, because the big-Diesel actually made it over the climbs every lap and even did a bit of work to set up Disco late in the race, as well.

dude is fit, ya'll.

Anyway, lap 1 was fairly uneventful but for Disco sending out either Nolan, Cassani, or Dylan "Bonaparte" Casey. Those orangey Team Oakland guys had a few motors in the field, as well ... but really the biggest engine they had rolling was Joel Robertson. I think this guy is new to the sport ... because he pedals his bike like somebody stomping heads in the revolution. He's all unguided fervor and brute strength. Unfortunately (for us), he's also learning the sport quickly ... which could make him a dangerous rider very, very soon. Big talent.

After the opening lap's jitters and warmup ended, the race started in earnest. San Pablo saw several thousand attacks go off, get chased, go off again. This is when Zteam pretty much burned up their matchbook, leaving their climber, Chris Phipps, isolated for the remainder of the race. After the descent into the valley that approaches the climbs of ursus major, minor and in between ~ a break went away with 3 teams represented - Spine had the ever-off-the-front, Colin Cooper, Disco had Craig "my wine is better than yours" Roemer, and we had BagBoyBlondie Chris Wire.

The pack shut down soon after and the gap ballooned up to 90 seconds as we crested the finishing hill, spread out wide into the mild headwind and nobody really committing to the chase. A few miles later and bluffs finally succumbed to, it would be Robertson of Team Oakland joining up with a very committed EMC chase. There was a guy in what looked like a Fusion jersey that was also up their slaying himself to bring back the break. You've just got to like seeing something like that ... a guy riding solo, missing the break, but still willing to help out in the chase to bring back the move.

That's how you ride.

Not much but the watch-the-chase hustle all through the valley and up over the first couple of climbs. EMC, Robertson, the Fusion guy, and the odd other individual taking shorter pulls are all that are at the front and I'm thinking that we BagBoys are sitting pretty with our man Wire up the road and ready to win from the break. We can see that Disco isn't all that satisfied with only having 1 rider in the break of 3 ... but honestly, those were probably the best odds they'd get all day. Thus far, going to plan for us boys in black.

Up the final climb and somebody pricks Disco Metcalf in the butt and he attacks up the climb something ugly. It's a decent acceleration and a separation of 4 leaves the pack. It's Metcalf leading, BagBoy Taz Martin gliding on rails behind, Phipps in his characteristic 14cog climbing pump, and me ... just watching and not really all that interested in hurting as much as I am.

About 300m from the top Taz puts in a kick and jumps away from us. Metcalf loses contact immediately and i lay off the gas to make Phipps work to come around and connect with Metcalf. A few meters later, Taz looks back and sees he's got the gap with Metcalf and Phipps riding tempo to try and keep him relatively close. He turns frontwise again and i can see the hunker down position that means the teeth are clamping on the bars and he's gonna start ramping up the pain-meter.

"ok, what the hell you doin', Dan?" thinks I to myself. "you gonna bridge across to the break, solo?


The officials give us the 1 lap to go, with Dan a good 6 or 7 seconds ahead of us. But, as he crosses the line ... i see him start to turn and ride towards the side of the road, soft pedaling like one would do if the race was fini...

oh no he did-unt.



I exchange a look with Metcalf and he just gives me that buddha smile of knowing and i can't but help bust out with a giggle myself. I loves me some Taz.
- - -

Our foursome gets drug back by the pack and we're riding tempo again until we reach San Pablo. As we eek up that little leg breaker to make the turn, we get our first time check of the day from the moto (uh, thanks?). But it's not really necessary because we can see the break a stone's throw away. Bummer.

So, it's all back together again and the attacks are immediate and with prejudice. The turn off San Pablo and it's the predictable hardman's attack up that "killing me gently" roller through the neighborhood. Taz knows he's on the shitlist-extraordinaire if he doesn't win this race - so he's out of the saddle and shattering glass off the front. Metcalf and Phipps follow him and that seals the deal. It's the 3 strongest climbers in the race from 3 strong teams gone and gone.

But wait - an EMC rider, David Loogman, is trying to launch across solo. Oh, the humanity. He's chasing like a man possessed in between and just a pure locomotive. What an effort. He never quite connects with the lead three, but is strong enough to stick with the final group that shoots out of the pack for the remaining places.

On the final climb, it would be Taz jumping away from Metcalf for the win, Phipps sticking tough for third, then Wire and I jumping away from the chase group for 4th and 5th.

whatever - another bike race.


Flandria said...

pretty cool...

chatterbox said...

Tough geezers! There's something beautiful about skilled racing that's done only for the love of the sport.

JHL said...

The Fusion guy was Jeff Eisenberg, and that was his first Geezer 123 race. His credentials: last year he tore his bicept with the result that it curled up his arm. He put tribars on his ride and punished the trainer until his arm healed. He then went out and won Leesville and a bunch of other Cat 4 races and has been racing Cat 3 this year. He's also about the nicest guy on the planet, and he gets to races so late that he often has to talk the reg people into letting him race.

Anonymous said...

They have Maille down as the winner and dan 11th

Kevin said...

The results were initially wrong due to getting a number transposed. They told me that they had it straightened out when I picked up my stuff...

Olaf Vanderhoot said...


Maile gets a roadie win.


McSassy said...

All of that and I get stuck in that silly prosey race, I suck.


Jack said...

OV, I can't tell you how happy Joel is going to be seeing his name in your blog! And nice words to boot. He and I were joking the other day that our greatest racing goal (besides a win) would be to get a mention in your blog. We are both closet Hernando tifosi. He is definitely not a youngin' (grey hairs under the helmet), with kids nearin' high school, but definitely a motor. I am getting my 'Will work for blog mention' sign ready for the races!

Nick said...

[Fusion guy] Jeff is a great guy and strong as hell. Glad to hear he was throwing down.

I've been playing in the dirt lots... Mike, got yer SS yet? :)

banks said...

I'm buying the picture of junior with his tongue out. Nice yoink. Thanks for finding that for me.

And put some ads on this thing. I'll click 'em.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

Eisenberg ... right on.

Jack, thanks for coming out of the closet! yeah, i was impressed with them Oakland boys this weekend.

damn good riding.

see you at the next one.

Banks, that pic does rule eh? guys got a way to capture with that camera. cool.

sasser, you know you were satisfied with that p1/2 race. we've just to get you to not worry about saving it and have you riding it aggressive like you do in the old-guy meetups.

C2K, baby!

runjoelrun said...

I think this is same Fusion Jeff that gave me the winning wheel in the 3's at Ford Ord last year. I flatted in the feed zone and was pleading for anything, he gave up an identical Mavic wheel to mine, and on I rode.

Only win for the year... so if it's the same Jeff then thanks again!

McSassy said...

Oh I was happy with that prosey result.

18th and not doing jack 4 it is good.


runjoelrun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
runjoelrun said...

Thanks for the applause mike, I'm sure I don't deserve all that but it's much appreciated.

I had a really really had a good time in this race... the field is a real step up from racing in the 3's. I flatted with half a lap to go. The guy in the wheel van wouldn't give me one, and I even know the guy!

And yes, I'm new to the sport as anyone can tell you.