Bike Rack Racing & the Jeremy Powers ‘Cross Camp!

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Thank you to local photographer and bike racing picture taker extraordinaire Bruce Buckley for this shot. (http://www.brucebuckleyphotography.com/)

Bike Rack Racing teammates Sam and Michelle attended the Jeremy Powers ‘Cross Camp at DCCX in August. Check out our recap below!

The cyclocross camp was put on in conjunction with Bill from Crosshairs (a fellow DC-based cycling team) and JBV Coaching and Fulcrum Coaching.

In short: It was incredible.

If you race or are interested in racing cross, make sure you snag a spot in the camp the next time they hold it (maybe this time next year).

More deets: They really broke down the technical skills: how to have three points of contact on the bike when you are dismounting and remounting, how to glide next to your bike, how to adjust the pedals in your back with you shoulder the bike, how taking the outer edge of a turn is faster, how to break before a turn and carry speed into the turn with shifting your weight, and so much more.

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Sam and Michelle at camp (Sam did wear his BRR kit the first day, but I was smart enough to do laundry that night so I could wear it again the next day)

They made us practice drills over and over again, and it helped to build the confidence and skills to do things like ride really tricky and steep off camber sections and how to start a race.

At the end of the weekend we did a mini practice race (just two laps on the mini DCCX course they set up for us) and it led to feeling much more skilled and confident. Plus, learning from Jeremy Powers, the top cyclocross racer in the US and 9th in the World, was pretty darn good too.

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Photo credit the awesome Bruce Buckley (http://www.brucebuckleyphotography.com/)

#crossiscoming

The Ol’ Gapping a Teammate Trick

Page Valley Road Race: Women’s Cat 4

The road race is mostly false flats, punctuated by two nasty climbs–the steeper, unsurprisingly, leading up to the finish line–and a deceptively sharp left-hander that took out an untold number of riders. Also unsurprisingly, it was very hot for all the BRR riders racing in the afternoon. Yay for neutral water!

The heat and the hills didn’t stop the BRR Cat 4 women from executing team strategy and, once again, putting a rider at the top of the podium.

At the beginning of the race, the Cat 4-only field (inexplicably?) stretched out into a single file line, with Leah sitting second wheel and Ellen sitting third. The rider doing the pulling (at a comfortable pace) was the only representative from her team, so Leah let her do all the work, sticking to her wheel like white on rice, even when she attempted to pull off the front. Someone further back was apparently unsatisfied with the status quo, and, as she moved past, Leah let a small gap open and waved Ellen on to cover the move. But it was a false alarm–she, also the only representative from her team, just wanted to take a turn pulling at the front at a comfortable pace. With the single file line reassembled, Ellen was third wheel and Leah fourth, followed by two ABRT riders.

When the first climb hit, Leah stayed on Ellen’s wheel for a little bit, then, as it got steeper, sat squarely in the line of riders and slowly let a gap open up. Ellen was paying attention, saw the gap and turned on the gas, jumping past the two riders in front. By the time the ABRT riders saw the move and started to sprint past Leah on the hill, it was too late. Ellen’s acceleration and Leah’s deceleration had opened too big of gap for the ABRT women to be able to reel Ellen back in on the steep gradient.

No one saw Ellen again until the finish line. She TTed the remaining 25 or so miles, and finished five minutes (!) ahead of the next rider. ABRT took second and third. Leah had gotten pulled a lap early (along with almost half the field) and got to cheer Ellen on as she crested the final hill, escorted by her own personal police vehicle, motoref, and neutral service car.

And then Ellen got stung by a bee in the face on way back to the parking area. Because that’s life, apparently.

But, as it turns out, this race was also the MABRA BAR championship, so Ellen took that too. Along with a basket of local veggies, bike-part earrings, a bottle of local wine, and a pie. (Am I missing anything?)

Huge thanks to the race organizers for offering a women’s Cat-4 only field, equal prizes, and making everyone feel welcome and at home.

Giro di Coppi 2015: BRR Women Sweep the Podium!

It was hot. And the hills were unrelenting. But that didn’t stop the BRR women’s team from SWEEPING THE PODIUM at the Giro di Coppi road race! Amelia, Ashley, Ellen, and Leah were the BRR ladies at the start line for the combined Cat 1/2/3/4 field.

Not long into the race, a group of Cat 1/2/3 riders escaped into a break. And not long after that, Ashley and Ellen formed a second, two-woman break off the front. Amelia tried to follow, but the well-organized NCVC squad shut down any attempts to bridge–they wanted to protect the position of their Cat 1 rider in the first break. With NCVC controlling the peloton with no interest in chasing, both breaks stayed away.

That means Ellen and Ashley took first and second in the Cat 4 race! And back in the peloton, Amelia outsprinted the rest of the Cat 4s on a tough uphill finish to take third! What a fantastic finish! Amazing job, ladies!

Ellen won a sweet bobblehead as her first place prize, and Leah, after enjoying a beautiful ride in the countryside, was more than pleased to serve as team podium photographer.

Unfortunately, though, Lady Luck was not shining on the BRR Cat 4 men. Homer drove all the way there, but wasn’t able to start, and Matt F was well-positioned in the bunch, but flatted and wasn’t able to rejoin. Ahmed also ran into some trouble on the course, but was ultimately able to finish. Better luck next time!

Finally, congratulations to Sam, who completed his last Cat 5 race with a 15th place finish at the Giro di Coppi. See you in the Cat 4 field next time, Sam!

Congrats to all the BRR racers who conquered this tough course on a toasty, humid day, but especially to our podium-sweeping Cat 4 women Ellen, Ashley, and Amelia. Yay!

Summer 2015 Select Race Reports!

Here are some highlights from summer 2015 road season!
April 25-26th  – Tour of Page County
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This three event stage race consisted of the Hooray for Luray Road Race, Luray Caverns Time Trial, and the Downtown Luray Criterium. BRR had a good showing for the Tour, our first team target race of the season.
A great weekend of racing, training, and cheering was had by all. We were by far the loudest cheer leaders on the crit and pretty much the whole crowd got into it with us (for instance, urging Homer to get a longer seatpost). Best pain face goes to Ben and Erica; major kudos went out to Natasha for finishing her first race and sticking with it on the crit; to Leah for leading by presidential example; and to Amelia for earning a hard fought podium. Ken and Tyler represented well in the higher cat mens. A few of us went on a nice training ride on Saturday, made especially tough by an unexpected 6 miles of gravel (up and down a ridge). Major major thanks to Laura for coaching us all, to Michelle for being an awesome organizer and cheerleader, and Allison and Matt for joining in on the fun. BRR rocks!
May 3rd  –  Bunny Hop Crit
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BRR had racers in the women’s Cat 4, women’s masters (Beth raced both!), and men’s Cat 5 and a group of team members to who came to cheer. And there was our beagle mascot, Banjo. There were several top ten finishes and prime wins.
June 6  –  Ride Sally Ride
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Bike Rack Racers cam out en mass for this “classic office park crit.” Top finishes included Matt, placing 16th out of 60 in the men’s Cat 5 and Amelia and Beth finishing 2nd and 6th out of 27 in the women’s Cat 4.
July 11 – Giro di Coppi
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The highlight of the race was the Bike Rack Racing podium sweep for Cat 4 women, with Ellen, Ashley, and Amelia taking first, second, and third! Giro Di Coppi was a great race with lots of hills and strategy involved.  Perfect weather, tough course, and awesome teammates. The men also had a good showing, with Matt and Sam racing and Homer watching because he forgot his peddles 😛