Nevada City Classic / Red Kite Criterium

Posted by on 6/20/2017

“Survival can be summed up in three words - never give up. That's the heart of it really. Just keep trying”

 

Bear Grylls


The fabulous Nevada City Classic was last Sunday.  This is one of the most famous criteriums in the USA.   The course is brutal. 1/2 the course is straight uphill and the other 1/2, downhill.   There are little team tactics.   Basically, ride as hard as you can and see what happens.   I have included three separate race reports from the three riders who tackled the beast known as Nevada City.  These reports will give you a unique insight as to how three riders from the same team survive this intense race.   Enjoy!

 

Nevada City Classic
Date: June 18

Riders:  Josh Carling, Kevin Tufts, Timmy Bauer

 

By Josh Carling:

Nevada City from the view of someone who is normally just pack fodder in a race such as this:  This race took place on a treacherously hot day that no one was really prepared for.  There was some serious power in the field. It didn't take long for Torrey Phillip and Cameron Bronstein to break away.  I was already on my limit going up the climb and responding to the move wasn't even an option. A couple more riders got away including Chris Riekert the eventual winner, and Cole Davis shortly after. I almost felt like I could make the acceleration to go with them, but held back because it was still so early and I figured I wouldn’t be able to hang for long. As the race progressed and riders fell off the back, my confidence grew. I was able to lead on the descent and every lap had a slight gap going into the climb. I saved crucial watts and late in the race when the attacks came from our whittled down pack, I was able to respond.  I sprinted up the climb on the last lap following a Mikes Bikes attack and going over the top I couldn't even see straight. Another Mike’s rider attacked and I thought I was threw. I somehow found the strength to push one more time and on the descent to the finish I was able to go past.  I held off a hard charging Nick Reed to finish 6th overall, my best ever result in The Nevada City Classic. Maybe a smaller field than years past, but no matter what, always a classic.

By Kevin Tufts

Nevada City.  Coming off of a confusing performance a week before Nevada City in which my lungs decided they were too mad at me to work anymore, I had lot of anxiety and stress about probably the toughest crit in the nation.  This race is more about survival and less about team tactics so at least the pressure was off if I was less than dependable for Timmy and Josh who were doing this race as well. My Wife reminded me to just do my best and have fun.  It was Father's Day anyway so just relax and stop stressing.
I got a nice warmup riding on some beautiful little road and then met with the team to ride to the start.  My family was down there to replace the ice sock that had melted with a fresh one.  We lined up and we're off on a brisk neutral lap that everyone was already using to fight for good positioning.  I felt a twinge of a cramp on that first lap in my hamstring but thought that this was not going to be a bad race.  The pace was high and I followed a move that the eventual 3rd place finisher initiated and went a little deep.  I was trying to recover going down the hill but ending up in a worse position than I wanted to each lap needing to break way too much and losing momentum for the stair step climb back up the course.  My power was better and was breathing easier than the week before but I popped off the group with a few others before the 15 min mark. I then settled into riding as hard as I could but starting to feel a little ill at the 25 min mark. I told the guy I was riding with I was thinking about pulling the plug.  It was a mental battle I kept having whether I should do one more lap and then stop being that I was already getting lapped by the 2 freaks of nature that had attacked and would eventually lap me 3 times.  The thing that kept me pushing myself forward was the team families that were cheering and yelling for me each lap even though I was far behind.  I found myself riding harder than I should just to show that I was not giving up and try to give an effort worth cheering over.  I also got determined to not quit this race because I had never got pulled or a DNF in it before.  The last time the chance group came around I yelled encouragement to Josh who was in a chase group racing for 6th. Timmy caught me through the start finish line with 1 to go and I rode at the pace I had been riding and maybe a little harder knowing I only had to go around 1 more time.  I sprinted down the hill at the finish satisfied that I had done my best effort and very happy that I had not pulled myself.  I was overheated and exhausted but I was done and safe and my family was with me.  I ended up 29th.  Nevada City done.


Nevada City

By Timmy Bauer

Nevada City, an event that I love! The hardest criterium on our calendar and a race with huge history spanning 57 years back to the first race in 1961. This is a race I dream about winning and even have devoted myself to special workouts to be ready and fit for this 75 min test of climbing fast descending and technical turns.

 

Josh, Kevin and I arrived to the line and set off in 102 degree temps.   As always this race draws the hardest, strongest rider field of any criterium on the NCNCA calendar. The first 10 minutes were fast and furious but I was riding really well and sitting on the climbs when others were standing and straining to stay positioned. Around 20 minutes in, a big move went Josh and I responded. I was so confident and felt great my run up was great to this race and I was going for the podium.

 

After the big split settled down around 30 minutes in I was suffering a bit from responding to the acceleration but knew I was still ok. I was 3/4’s back of the 25 man front group we came to the decent and I hit a hole while shifting down. And my rear derailleur locked up after the chain getting caught on the cassette while the derailleur was shifted all the way down. I had to stop remove my rear wheel to get things straightened out without breaking anything and then continued on.  Loosening a lap almost instantaneity I was now 30th+ with 45 minutes left of racing.  I had worked too hard to give up so I did the opposite and just kept going as hard as I could lap after lap.

 

I kept riding my best proving to myself I had the legs and could finish in the front if not for the mechanical. With the help of our family's cheering us on and 4 bottle handoffs from my awesome feed zone help my mother in law (who has a fractured foot but was still out there) I ended up 17th overall. It was not the result I wanted or expected. Though the mechanical was not in my control I did everything I could to do my best and kept going no matter what. Next year I’ll be back and more hungry for that podium than ever. Josh was awesome at 6th overall.   Fantastic result.   Kevin also finished and rode his best which was great for the team!

 

Red Kite Criterium
Date:  6/17
Riders: Sam Hill and Matt Tufts

"Hey, is anyone else doing Red Kite with Sam? I'll pay your reg fees and gas if you do!"

Fortunately I didn't have any plans that day, and that offer from Team Mom Kristen Hill made the 131 mile drive from Placerville to Pleasanton worth it. Plus racing with Sam is always fun. We met up in Davis and got him loaded up in my car, and that gave us time to talk about the plan for the race.

Some guys will say," I just want to get out there and see what I can do."

Sam says, "I want to win", and that's why I like racing with him. As there were only 2 of us representing Williams Cycling, the plan was for each of us to take turns going with moves up the road, but not initiating them. Sam and I are both sprinter-type riders, so we were hoping for either a field sprint, or a move with one of us in it. Throughout the race there were multiple attacks, and more often than not, Sam or myself was up the road. He said he felt marked, because anytime he was up in the break no one would work.

Fast forward to around 10 laps to go, and I had just got reeled back with a group of four when a break formed with Sam in it. As I was trying to recover, guys were making their way up the road, and eventually our group of 28 was split in half, about 6 seconds apart. I decided that I needed to keep myself as rested as possible so if the group came back together, I would be able to help Sam. Then I saw Sam at the front of the group, trying to split it up. Now I was thinking that if Sam's plan didn't work, I might have to be saving myself for a sprint! With 6 laps to go, my patience paid off, and we were all back together. Now all we could hope for was a field sprint.

That was not to be. With 5 to go, Aaron (Squadra) jumped and nobody followed. He is a known TT guy with big power. Still, Mike Bikes had 6 guys in the race so it was up to them to pull that back.

They failed.

There were unorganized jumps to get across the gap from multiple riders, but at that point no one was willing to let anyone get away. I kept myself 6th wheel or so, figuring Sam might have spent his last match and it was up to me to do what I could. With half a lap to go, Sam comes around me and I knew he was ready to go. I jumped with 500 to go, yelling for Sam to take my wheel. He took it without a fight, and I got him to the final corner before running out of gas. Someone cut him on the inside and forced him wide, but Sam was able to regain enough momentum to lock down second in the sprint, 3rd overall. Not a bad result for the 2 of us, and even though we raced to win, us Williams guys still like podiums!


Thanks for reading, Matt.

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