Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Lacking a pure sprinter and determined to buck history, four members (Meyer, Vandeven, Tenney, Wiecek) repeatedly shot their bullets in an attempt to break away from the field. Despite multiple, hard, attacks by each rider, no one could escape the peloton; and the race came down to a field sprint. Meyer attacked with two laps to go to set up the sprint for Gray, who had been sitting in the whole race, but was brought back. Vandeven (7th) and Gray (9th) managed to squeeze into the top-10 in the somewhat confusing final lap.
The racing in the WCA series is always competitive and anyone who is anyone is going to show up and race hard. Combine that with the fact that us Cat 3s would be allowed to race against some of the of the best regional professional teams (Bianchi GP, Grandstay, etc.) in the last race of the day makes these trips to the North worthwhile.
*See "Victory in Wisconsin," below.
GALLERY (Photos courtesy of Craig Gartland)
Strong-man Steven Vandeven checks the gap during one of his breakaway attempts.
Wiecek goes for it with the Wisconsin State Champion and an ISCorp rider.
There was at least one attack each time up the hill. This time, Tenney gives it some grit.
With just 2 laps remaining in the race, Meyer goes off the front to set it up for the sprinters.
But, he gets caught and admits at the finish: "That had no chance."
We would like to congratulate both of your teams for putting on two safe and exciting events this weekend. All of us at Team Get A Grip enjoyed the weekend immensely and would happily make the drive from Chicago again next year.
Director, Team Get A Grip Cycles
Monday, May 21, 2007
Hi, everyone. Seth here with a quick report from the Baraboo Sharks Road Race in Denzer, WI.
The course included a steady-grade climb early in the lap that took about five minutes to do, followed by flats, a bit of descending, and downhills to the straight run-in to the finish.
I felt really great on the climb. On the last of four laps, I attacked and went over the top with six other guys. On the one other obstacle on the course, a very short power climb (but still long enough to do the trick), I accelerated again to slim the front group down to three riders. For the next miles to the finish, it was a tough, tentative move, as the three of us were trying to outpower the four behind us. The gap never rose above 20 seconds or so until the final mile when the guys behind must have given up or started jockeying for position because our advantage finally rose then.
In the sprint finish, I jumped out of third position to win by a few bike lengths. It was a good day and the climb was definitely to our advantage. It was nice to get Team Get A Grip Cycles another victory this season and further our podium total, which has also, by the way, been made up by seven different riders!
Finally, another picture thanks to Newt Cole from the climb (3rd time up):
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Team Get A Grip Cycles' West Coast representative Angelo Digiovine reports on his first attempt at racing in San Francisco:
"There's a Tuesday Night Training Crit out in Golden Gate Park. Pretty cool ride....about a 3-mile circuit with 2 sprints per lap....tonight was about 30 guys.
I heard 'Get A Grip, that's in Chicago, right?'
I felt great. mixed it up in an early break and nearly died...recovered and then ended up rocking out 3rd in a sprint, 1st was up the road pretty far. I kept it going and caught the solo guy. He and I nearly held it off for sprint #2 and then the guy that caught us blew up and we kept it going for another loop and I snatched 2nd."
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Haskell, riding for the University of Chicago, finished third in Saturday's hot and hilly Perry Lake Road Race and sixth in Sunday's Lawrence Criterium, garnering a fourth place in the omnium competition.
The eight members selected for the Collegiate All-Star Team will be racing together in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the nation's premiere women's stage race. Team riders will be provided with travel, lodging, uniforms, and mechanical services for the six-day event. Funding for the team has been generously provided by Ryan Construction.
Other notable performances by Team Get A Grip riders at collegiate nationals include a 20th place by Seth Meyer in the Road Race and 22nd place by Melanie Wong in the criterium. The efforts of both Meyer and Wong contributed to Northwestern University's best ever team result at the National Championships.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
In last night's Big Shark Training Crit, Jim out sprinted the CAT 1,2,3 field with enough gusto to sit the last 10-20 meters and WIN! Way to represent the team in St. Louis! This weekend Jim will participate in The Joe Martin Stage Race. Go Jim!!!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
I just wanted to quickly send you a message thanking you and all those who helped promoting and putting on the Vernon Hills Grand Prix. It was a great, safe, well-run race, and it was nice to have a criterium that was very accessible to Chicago riders. I hope, building off of its first-year momentum, we can get even more riders out next time. We'll certainly spread the word. Thank you again! You did a fantastic job!
Seth Meyer, on behalf of Team Get A Grip Cycles
Monday, May 7, 2007
My Get A Grip System Six is like the Green Goblin without the purple hat and a bazooka instead of pumpkin hand grenades.
Here is my Team Get A Grip bicycle for 2007. Frame is 60 cm with no headset spacers, SRAM Force group, Reynolds wheels, and Cannondale's carbon cranks and SI bottom bracket.
I have ridden it twice and can't praise the frame enough. I've been on a very comfortable Orbea Orca for a couple of years, and I was a little worried that the Six's aluminum hind end might beat me up. I was wrong. The two bikes are nearly identical in that department.
The Six is vicious. The front end makes you want to dive-bomb the local crits.
Cannondale carbon cranks and SI bottom bracket transfer the watts.
Custom graphics on the top tube and caps support the sponsor.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Uwe in earlier Masters 30+ race.
Lee between Marek (LOT) and Tim (Swanson) in cat 3 race.
Cat 3 & Cat 123 - Lee Heaton
A surprisingly small crowd of no more than thirty racers lined up for the Cat 3 race. The weather was great, albeit a bit windy so perhaps the racing at Whitnall Park the day before had thinned out the field?
Representing Team Get A Grip were Jon Tenney and myself.
JT was in feisty spirits with the effects of an extended warm-up clearly evident. While I was still trying to clip in Jon had shot away with a Hayes (?) rider before the first corner on lap one. Those two drilled it and stayed away for a good ten minutes before being slowly reeled in. In time honored tradition' once the catch was made, the pace slowed to a funereal crawl, even more so on the finishing straight as everybody did their best to force another body to the front to do the work into a wind gusty enough to blow the registration tent over. If bikes were equipped with reverse gears I can confidently state that certain "racers" would have been engaging them with gusto at this point.
Enough was enough. It was time to give it some beans. I launched into the headwind stretch and after a few hard strokes looked around to see Marc Moeller on my shoulder and daylight between him and the chase. We worked it well together trading pulls for half a dozen laps, even slowing a bit to let more firepower in the not insubstantial shape of Clif Bar's Jason Mindeman bridge (which turned out to be a mistake as he got popped the moment he caught us) but "the pack were not letting us get away" or put another way, we were too slow / fat / untalented to ride away from them.
Once caught, JT decided he needed yet more face time into the wind and off he went again. This time, in a heroic effort, he rode solo and maintained a 100m gap until 2 laps to go. Had this been a TdF stage Jon would have been lauded as the most combative rider, earned a case of champagne for the team from his sponsors and won over the hearts of bored housewives countrywide. As it was it was just left to a few listless girlfriends and Al Stern to applaud Jon's effort.
As the race wound down to the inevitable group sprint, it was the usual suspects coming off the last corner. I got bumped, pushed wide lost two spots and was passed by a suddenly rejuvenated Mindeman, showing an impressive turn of speed, to pip me on the line. Where was that energy when we needed it in the break?
All in all it was a good day for GAG with the green & black off the front in one form or another for 95% of the race. I finished 5th & Jon in the pack.
Jon, Uwe (9th place in the earlier Masters 30+ race) and myself then lined up for the even smaller 1,2,3 field. Against my better judgment I joined an attack on lap one initiated by a very strong and suspiciously tanned young rider who hammered round at 30+ with me clinging desperately to his wheel and hoping he would just slow a little bit as I was suffering from partial blindness, nausea and blood was leaking from my ears. Needless to say it wasn't long before he rode my panting, aging self off his wheel. My memory is a bit shaky owing to the near coma inducing effort but I believe I lasted about five laps before the aforementioned wunderkind disappeared into the distance never to be seen again.
After engaging one of those reverse gears I was disparaging earlier I was unceremoniously swept up by the group and it was all I could do to hold on to the back while my vitals returned to something like normal.
With around three to go it was Uwe's turn to make a move and he slid off the front of what was left of the shattered field, closely followed by Kevin Stephens from Swanson. It was a slick move and they held a gap through to the finish. Uwe got 5th. I finished twenty seconds back in 6th. Jon was somewhere further back reveling in the glory of his epic attacking in the race before and perhaps reflecting on why we choose to spend weekends suffering on a bike until you want to vomit instead of lying on a hammock, sipping mint juleps and listening to Django Reinhardt records...
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Chip, Schwinn (very much in the gutter) and Clif Bar.
As the end drew near, it was obvious who was the strongest.
Pressure, Pressure, Pressure!
Eric policing the front.
"One down and many more to come!", Steven
From my perspective:
Chip, Eric, and myself headed up to Whitnall Park on Saturday (April 28) to do our first USCF crit of the season. We were all excited to represent Get A Grip on a tough but fun racecourse. Once we arrived, registered, and surveyed the course, it was official; we knew it was to be a sweet day of racing! As we prepared ourselves for the day's intense efforts, I kept saying one thing over and over again, "patience". This was my key word for the day. Eric, (“we raced with precision and guts, it was very fun”) vowed to be aggressive early so I could follow my plan and wait until later in the race.
Well, just after the start it seemed like things were going according to our plan. Eric quickly went to the front, followed the first attack, and found himself in a break w/ about ten riders. The Schwinn team looked to be the aggressors of the day getting things started early. Chip and myself hovered about 5 to 10 back in the peleton as the field stretched out single file for about 2 to 3 laps, until everyone came back together.
Almost instantly the Schwinn guys launched another rider, and soon after another bridged up with Luke of XXX on his wheel. Eric pulled up next to me and suggested that I go up to work with the Schwinn guys. I quickly yelled "patience" in response. Moments later a Baraboo shark rider attacked and I was quickly on his wheel, not sure if this was to be a bridging attempt or a chase. Turns out we bridged with Chip and an unattached behind me. Once I realized we had a group of 7 with 2 Schwinn and 2 Get A Grip, I decided the time for patience had come and gone, a whole 10 minutes into the race.
I quickly jumped on the front and did a long hard pull, and then looked back to see our gap had doubled in length. The only bummer was we were no longer 7; Chip and one of the Schwinn guys had disappeared. Oh well, I started barking for us to form a pace line. It took a few minutes, but once we were organized I started to feel we had a chance. The rest of the race we had a gap of 15 to 35 seconds. Every time we felt threatened, we all worked harder and managed to increase our gap. Soon we started to realize Baraboo was skipping his pulls so myself, and I think Schwinn, started yelling at him, forcing him to help out.
I worked super hard until I was certain we would stay away. This didn't happen until about 4 to go. At this point, I started resting, skipping a few turns and only pulling w/ about 1/2 the intensity as earlier. With one to go, Luke attacked at the start finish, but I was quickly on his wheel. We had a small gap and I thought about going solo, but being uncertain about the other's strength, I decided to wait. Going up hill for the last time, it turned into a cat and mouse chase with me on the front, not what I wanted. I started the whole swerve and crawl action, but no one was coming around. At this point, I decided it was time, and attacked over the hill into the wind. I guess I caught them looking at each other or just plain hurting, when I went it didn't feel like anyone even tried to go with and I instantly had a 20-30 meter gap. I hammered down to the uphill finish, sprinted to make certain, and looked back to see everyone about 40-50 meters back. I was then able to enjoy the victory and roll across the line with arms in the air. Yahoo!!!
PS - I chose the title that I did, not to be cocky, but because my "little" brother Jim had good results this weekend as well. He participated in a Missouri stage race, placing 3rd in the uphill time trial (20% grade), and 2nd in the 2nd crit (losing the sprint by half a bike to someone upgrading to cat2 this week). He wound up 3rd in the overall. Way to go Jim!!
Go Team Get A Grip!!!!!
Steven Vandeven (The Flying Vandevens!)