Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 season wrap up slide show (20 minutes)...

2007 - Pro 1, 2 Results
1st - Atomic Omnium, TT (Andy)
1st - "Bring it on!" Race #1 (James)
1st - "Bring it on!" Series Overall (James)
1st - Athens Twilight Amateur Finals (James)
2nd - Atomic Omnium, RR (Jeff)
2nd - Atomic Omnium, Crit (Curtis)
2nd - Athens Twilight Amateur Finals (Curtis)
2nd - Lake Mary Criterium - (James) *TA
2nd - Georgia Cup #1, RR -(James) *TA
2nd - Georgia Cup #1, Most Aggressive (James) *TA
3rd - Stuart TT (Jeff)
3rd - Atomic Omnium, GC (James)
3rd - "Bring it on!" #2 (James) *TA
3rd - Georgia Cup #1, GC (James) *TA
3rd - Georgia Cup #1, TT (Jeff)
4th - Camp Murphy CR (Curtis)
4th - Atomic Omnium, TT (Jeff)
4th - Atomic Omnium, GC (Jeff)
4th - Atomic Omnium, Crit (James)
4th - Athens Amateur Qualifier Cat. 2 (Curtis)
4th - Georgia Cup #1, TT (James)
5th - Tour of Bahamas, GC (James) *TA
5th - Atomic Omnium, GC (Jeff)
5th - Atomic Omnium, RR (James)
6th - Atomic Omnium, TT (Curtis)
6th - UF Criterium (James)
6th - Spin City Classic, CR (Victor)
7th - State RR Champ. (Victor)
7th - Perry-Roubaix, RR (Curtis)
7th - Deland Cup, RR (James)
8th - Palatka RR (Victor)
8th - Sugarloaf CR (Victor)
8th - Georgia Cup #1, Crit (James)
8th - Perry-Roubaix, CR (Curtis)
9th - Atomic Omnium, GC (Andy)
9th - Tour of Bahamas, RR (James)
9th - Atomic Omnium, Crit (Andy)
9th - Perry-Roubaix, CR (Victor)
9th - Sanford Lakefront Crit (James)
10th - Perry-Roubaix, GC (Curtis)
10th - Perry-Roubaix, TT (Curtis)
10th Jax Cycling Classic, RR (James)
*** Crit = Criterium
*** CR = Circuit Race
*** GC = General Classification
*** RR = Road Race
*** TA = Top Amateur
*** TT = Time Trial

2007 - Masters Results
1st - FL State TT Champ. M30-34 (Curtis)
1st - FL State Criterium M35+ (James)
1st - Superweek, Stage 1 M30-39 (Curtis)
1st - Superweek, Stage 5 M30-39 (James)
2nd - Superweek, Stage 6 M30-39 (Curtis)
2nd - Superweek, Stage 9 M30-39 (James)
2nd - Superweek Overall M30-39 (James)
2nd - FL State TT Champ. 35-39 (Jeff)
2nd - FL State Criterium M30+ (Curtis)
2nd - FL State RR Champ. M30-34 (Curtis)
3rd - FL State RR Champ. M40-44 (Victor)
3rd - Athens Amateur Qualifier M35+ (James)
4th - FL State RR Champ. M35-39 (Jeff)
7th - Athens Amateur Qualifier M35+ (Jeff)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Seasons over!

The season has wound down and with only a race or two left, most of us have called it a year.

There were a couple races in between my last update and this one.

Victor went down to Palatka to race a field consisting of on half Preferred Alliance, and a mix of others winding down the season. He was able to make the final break and snatched 8th place. Victor rode great this year and is always super fit...he's been a great asset to the team.

Curtis and Jeff attended a time trial and a circuit race in Stuart. The Koppster smoked the TT course and "stole" 3rd, this guy is turning out to be a TT powerhouse...I shutter to think about what he'll accomplish next year! In the circuit race, Curtis bridged to the final break. After a looooonnnnnggg season, he wasn't totally on top of his game...but did his share and ended up in 4th place, while Jeff did his part in the pack. Curtis has found an extra gear this year, and will be a rider to watch in 2008.

What a fantastic year we all had! We worked well as a team, and had some great results. I want to thank all of our sponsors for their support during this busy year...

Thanks to American Bicycle/Trek Store of Jacksonville for supplying us with outstanding equipment and service through the whole season. Jeff, Tony, Mike, Tim and the entire staff always went that extra far the most professional and friendliest bike shop in town!

Thanks to Kona Multisport for the continued support for our team, and helping Jeff become one heck of a rider in such a short time. You guys know your stuff!

Tony Boselli at Whataburger was very generous with his help to the team. He's also turning into quite an endurance in triathlons, and even coming out on some of the rides to give the best draft in the city! A true gentleman and a world class athlete.

Thanks all for a great year...and see you in 2008!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

...more Superweek (International Cycling Classic) pictures...

Series of James winning the MGA Proving Grounds Road Race...

Curtis on one of the Alpine Valley climbs...ouch, ouch, ouch...

Curtis at the Bensenville Criterium finish...

Monday, July 23, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 9 (7/22/07)'s all over but the cryin'...

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Cycling Grand Prix
Today's stage was in Evanston, IL...the home of Northwestern University. The course was flat and fast, with 6 corners. This was the last race in the series, and I was still 9 points behind the leader. The plan was to race hard, and leave it all on the road...and that's what we did.

Knowing how fast the course was, I figured it would come down to a field sprint...and it was fast the whole time. After some shadow boxing among the favorites, as well as the guys high up overall, it came back together with about 6 laps remaining. With 3-4 laps to go Grant Potters Herbalife team took the front to string it out. With 2 corners to go on the last lap, Curtis took the front and drilled it through the final turns and dumped us out onto the finishing straight. I unfortunately misjudged the final sprint, and started slightly too late. I ran out of room, and Grant won relegating me to second.

The overall series leader finished 7th, so I missed out on winning the overall by 4 points. If it weren't for me crashing out on Stage 2, then the overall may have been different...but with all of our bad luck this week, 2nd isn't too bad. Curtis rode like an animal all week, and Jeff rode himself into the ground while he was a big thanks to those two guys!

ABRT results:
2 - Stage wins (Curtis and James)
5 - Podium's (top 3)
12 - Top 10's

Below are some podiums pictures from the last race, and for the overall.

James being interviewed after taking 2nd in the final race. Notice our lovely podium girl holding the flowers...

...thanking the folks from Illinois and Wisconsin for the races...

...2nd in the final race, Stage 9...

Podium placing for the overall, 2nd place in the series...

...another overall series podium shot...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 8 (7/21/07)

Carl Zach Cycling Classic
The course today had 8 turns with a sharp downhill turn, and a slight uphill finish for a total lap distance of .7 miles. Curtis and I are concentrated on trying to win the overall, so we are racing full tilt.

About lap 2 in the 50 lap race there was a 10 man split, and I bridged across to it. Later, Curtis bridged up with a few other riders, and that was the break. During the next few laps there were several premes, and Curtis took one for $50. Two riders ended up getting away, and lapped the field. As the top 3 overall watched each other, two others got across to lap the field. The rest of the break got within 200 yards of lapping the field, but then the attacks started and the gap stabilized.

After Curtis and I made several attempts to get away, I got away solo for about 3-4 laps...but was being chased pretty hard. I dropped back to the group with about 8 laps to go. Curtis made the next move and stayed away solo to take 5th. My early efforts took some of the sting out of the old legs, and combined with being overgeared I got rocked in the sprint and ended up 9th. I lost 1 point to the leader and 2 points to the guy in 3rd place.

Tomorrow is the last race of the series...and we're going out with guns blazing. I'm going to take some chances, which could drop me out of second place...but I came here with the goal of winning, so we'll see what we can do.

Curtis found his new home...

Me with Otto Wenz, Jr. He started Superweek from a single race in 1969 to the longest running multi-day bicycle series in the Unites States. A member of the United States Cycling Hall of Fame, and one heck of a personable guy...thanks Otto!

Friday, July 20, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 6 & 7 (7/19 - 7/20/07)

Humbolt Park Criterium
Yesterday's race was around a park, with an uphill climb on the backstretch. After a few turns there was a downhill curving finish. The top 3 places overall in the series are very close in points, so the day was spent with us watching each other. This opened up the door for Curtis to get away in a break with 8 or 9 other riders. Jeff stayed in the pack to help hold things together, and then lead out the sprint at the end. Curtis took 2nd place, and I was able to get 10th...which moved me only 1 point closer to the lead.

Later that evening was the Pro 1,2 race...and Jeff wanted to at least race in one of the Pro 1,2 races while up here. The race was 100k, and Jeff raced for 30 minutes and then dropped out. He could have finished, but wanted to be able to help us the next day...a true teammate!

Shorewood Criterium
Today we raced a couple hours Northwest of Milwaukee. The course was on an .8 mile course with 7 turns for a total of 30 miles. Curtis and Jeff kept the pace high and I tried to attack several times...but I wasn't able to shake the series leader. Halfway into the race, the guy who is 3rd place in the series attacked with 1 other rider. They were able to stay away for the rest of the race, and I was 3rd with Curtis coming in 6th place. I made up 2 points on the leader, but we're running out of races.

Curtis and I are pretty tired, so we're ready for this series to be over. Our plan is to keep racing full tilt right to the end, and hopefully take over the lead. I'm I'm off to bed. Below are some picture for your amusement...

This is Jeff buying custard from Kopps

Here is Curtis doing work on his throne...

Jeff isn't too impressed by the Pro's

Jeff in the Pro race...

"Stick a fork in me...I'm done!"

Jeff and Curtis by one of the Rock & Republic Cadillac's

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 5 (7/18/07)

MGA Proving Grounds Road Race
Today's course was 8.9 miles with a couple little climbs, and one that required the use of my 39 x 21 and 39 x 23. The finish had a small hill with the finish about 200 meters from the top. The roads were very narrow at times, and the yellow line rule was strictly enforced. There have been 2 deaths within a year up here, so they take the riders safety seriously.

Curtis and I were in 4th and 5th overall in points, so we had to try and make something happen. Today was the last road race, which have double points, until we start doing criteriums again tomorrow.

The race was 5 laps, and on lap 2 three riders attacked up the road. About two miles later, Jeff went off the front with 2 other guys. One dropped and came back to the pack quickly, which left him with one other helper. About a mile or two later I attacked with 3 other guys. We caught Jeff and started bridging up to the first 3 riders. We caught Jeff, and he immediately went to the front and began chasing back the front group. After we made it, Jeff dropped back to the pack to recover after his massive efforts. Without his help, we probably wouldn't have made it.

We now had a total of 8 riders in the break. At one point we had about 1 1/2 minutes on the pack, which dwindled to about 40 seconds going into the last lap. In the last 5 miles there were several attacks, and going up the hill there was 1 rider with a small gap. I was able to sprint up the hill and past the last rider to take the win.

Vance James from Team 19 and a slightly rested Jeff Kopp strung the field out for the last couple miles to lead into the last hill. Curtis made an early bid going up the final hill and was just caught by a few riders over the top. Curtis finished 14th on he day to gain a few points to add to his total.

Two wins in five days for ABRT. I haven't seen the overall after today, but I think I'm in second place, with first place 9-12 points ahead. We have 4 days of criteriums, and will try and make up the points over the next few days. It will be tough, but at least we now have a chance.

Vance and Adam from Team 19 hanging out after the race today...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 3 & 4 (7/16 - 7/17/07)

Alpine Valley Road Race
Yesterdays stage was at the Alpine Valley Ski Resort...pretty scary words for us Florida boys. True to its name, there were 3 leg breaking climbs per lap that required the use of 39 x 23 for gearing...and I was wishing I had a 25. Each day either Curtis or I have had bad luck, and yesterday it was Curtis' turn. On the first climb of lap 1 Curtis dropped his chain onto his bottom bracket, which required him to get off the bike to put it back on. I waited near the back, and luckily the pace was he was came back quickly. On the next climb it dropped again, and he had to stop for neutral support to fix it. His front derailleur must have been jarred in the plane ride, and was out of alignment. The SRAM guys fixed it the best they could, but now Curtis was 4 minutes behind. The SRAM car started pacing him back up, but as they were closing they got a call about a crash in another category and had to turn around to go help.

On the second lap 3 guys got away, and stayed away the rest of the race. A lot of guys were just in survival mode, and were looking to make it through the stage. Each lap we dropped a rider or two as we hit the series of "leg breakers". Curtis was able to pick them up a couple at a time, and continued on to try and score some points. The points went 25 deep, and it looked as though not many more than 25 would finish. In the end a few guys were able to drift in ahead of the main pack, and I was able to sprint in for 8th. Curtis finished 24th for a couple points. We were glad to be done.

Whitnall Park Road Race
Jeff Kopp arrived to help with the cause, so it was nice to have another teammate. Today's course was more like a circuit, about 2 1/2 - 3 miles in length, with a uphill finish. The uphill stretch wasn't hard enough or long enough to break up the group. Jeff flatted near after a couple laps, and was forced to chase for 2-3 laps before finally making contact. He was pretty cooked, and stayed at the back to try and recover. With 2 laps to go, Jeff found himself at the front, so he pulled for just over a lap to keep it strung out and discourage attacks. The last lap had a lot of pushing and shoving, a couple it was pretty hectic. Coming into the last turn I was way too far back, so had to sprint up the hill to make up spots. Curtis grabbed my wheel and we came around everyone except 3 others who had already started their sprint...and we just ran out of room to pass. Curtis was 4th and I was 5th. Going into today, we were 8th and 10th this should have moved us up some. The guy who won today was leading the he moved further ahead. The other 2 ahead of us on today's stage are also well placed.

With the bad luck we have had, it doesn't look as though we will be able to win the overall...but we'll see what happens.

As a side note, we have host housing here in's pretty great. Peter and Ann are hosting us, as well as 4 members of a German team. The house we are staying in was built by the founders of Schlitz back in 1907 and is right on Lake Michigan. The house was later given to the University of Wisconsin, who couldn't raise the money to maintain the they sold it back to some of the "Schlitz kids" who then divided the house into condos and sold them. This was an amazing mansion...I can't even describe it in enough detail. I was reading a book about the historic architecture here in Milwaukee...and this house was on the cover! Some of the stained glass reliefs were imported from Europe and date back to the 16th century! I have a picture below...but will take more...which still wouldn't do it justice.

Below are some pictures for you're enjoyment.

House built by the founder of Pabst beer...this city was built on beer!

Our host housing...built by the founder of Schlitz...

...another shot...we're staying on the left side...

...and here is he right half...

Curtis reflecting on the 2nd floor balcony...we're actually sleeping on the 3rd floor.

Picture of me updating today's blog...

My wife's favorite beer...taken out the window from the highway...

Jeff's new business...

Some say Curtis is he devil...and here is the proof...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 2 (7/15/07)

Well, some days you have good luck...and some days you don't.

Today's course had 6 turns on a .9 mile course for 40 miles. The field was bigger this made the race pretty dangerous at times. The course wasn't difficult enough to split up the field, or fast enough to keep it lined out for any significant period of time.

Towards the end a break of 3 guys got away, and we missed the move. This means that we were going for 4th place. With 1 1/2 laps to go I was in pretty good position, but it just wasn't fast enough, so the pack was spread across the road...and I ended up getting shoved off he road. I went over the curb which dropped off into a rut on the other wheels got stuck and I had to unclip at 30+ mph to try and stay upright. Luckily I did, but during the jarring my chained dropped off my chainring onto the bottom over. Curtis was behind me, but was able to jump the curb and go onto a sidewalk and come back down a driveway. This sent him back about 30 places...but he sprinted the last lap to move up and end up 5th in the sprint for 8th overall. It wasn't the results we were looking, but at least Curtis made some points. He is probably in 2nd or 3rd overall now.

Tomorrow is a race in a place called Alpine Valley...Curtis and I just got done driving the course, and all I can say is, "Oh brother"! There are several long, steep, leg breaking climbs! So pray for us Florida, criterium riding, flatlanders!

We're staying a place called Alpine Valley's a strange place. The place is in the middle of nowhere, and it's practically deserted. It reminds me of the resort in the movie The Shining! "Redrum...redrum" - for those of you who saw the movie.

I'm not totally sure of our internet access form here on out...but I hope to at least get to a Starbucks and updated periodically. Below are a couple non-race shots...until next time...

Picture of the "Rose" water tower in Rosemont, Illinois

This is some granola, free range, grain fed, organic, hippie place where Curtis buys his milk...I don't know...ask him...

I thought this was an interesting sign...

Curtis calling for the ski report...

This is the backside of the ski slope...they added dirt to make it higher! I find this strange...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day1 (7/14/07)

Curtis and I have traveled to the midwest to take part in what is know as Milwaukee Superweek. There are a series of races that take place throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. We're racing the Masters 30-39 series, which consists of 6 criteriums and 3 road races...all one after another...9 days of suffering.

Today we raced at a place called Blue Island, Illinois. I'm not sure about the name, since it is not an island...I suppose that is a job for Google. Anyhow, I'm updating this from the will have to be brief.

Curtis Won!!

Curtis bridged to a break that ended up with 9 riders, and they lapped the field. He then won the field sprint! One heck of a ride. I was able to get 5th in the field sprint for 12th place. Wow...what a start! With his win, he is now leading the series.

Can't get away from these Herbalife guys!

Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Deland Cup Omnium (6/23/07 - 6/24/07)

This past weekend was another blistering hot two days of racing...each race beginning at 11:00 am! The action took place in Deland, Florida, which is the home of Stetson University. This time we had Clint, Curtis, Jeff, Victor, our new recruit from UF, Mitch Hall, and myself

Saturday was a 70+ mile road race in the mid day heat, followed by a 7 mile time trial in the late afternoon heat. On Sunday we had a 80-90 minute circuit race in the mid day heat. Does anyone else see a theme here?? (Hint: Caliente)

When you race bikes, there are some days when you feel like you can cover any move. There always seems to be a tailwind at your back and you can attack at will, or bridge to any break. This only happens a couple times a year, but during those days you feel like everything around you is happening in slow motion. Now, think of the opposite of that kind of day, and it will describe how I felt this weekend...

Saturday - Road Race
The first 7 mile lap felt ok, but it was all down hill after that. The course wasn't difficult, but there were constant attacks. Our new recruit, Mitch Hall, rode great covering a series of early attacks. Clint and myself also covered several early attempts to gain freedom from the shackles of the peloton.

I knew I wasn't feeling great, and this was reinforced at the bonus sprint. Since this was an omnium, there were points awarded at the finish of each stage, as well as a bonus sprint during each race. Curtis brought me near the front, but we ended up getting caught going into the headwind side. I was a little far back, but sprinted anyhow...and ended up 4th in the place out of the points. A huge effort, with nothing to show for it. I really never recovered, and would drift to the back of the pack to try and conserve what little energy I had left for a final sprint at the end of the race. Curtis, Jeff, Victor, and Mitch were all active and covered almost all of the breakaway attempts. Each lap saw the pack get smaller and smaller due to the heat, and everyone looked pretty tired.

In the end, two riders were able to just barely hold off the hard charging pack. I was able to sneak into 5th place in the sprint for 7th overall. Victor was 14th, Mitch 18th and Jeff 20th. But the sprint wasn't without incident...within the last mile there was a big wreck. Luckily none of our rider went down, but judging from the large mound of blood soaked towels, someone was hurt pretty bad. Hopefully everyone will recover quickly.

Saturday - Time Trial
Without getting involved in too much detail, we all rode as fast as we could. The race was behind schedule, so in the ensuing chaos, the officials had to nullify all of the results. At least we got in a good training time trial, but it wouldn't count towards the overall.

Sunday - Circuit Race
Another super hot 11:00 am start. As with the prior day, my legs didn't have any power. This was too bad, especially considering how our team rode! Curtis, Victor, and Mitch covered all the moves...and chased down the ones they missed! Jeff and I were saving ourselves for the closing laps of the race...well, I was just hanging on. With about 3 laps to go there was a breakaway or 3 riders that included Jeff. This would have been a stellar result, but Jeff rode a little too hard in the break and was dropped with 1 lap to go. The remaining 2 riders stayed away, and in the ensuing field sprint I gave what I had left to get 15th. Not the results we would have liked, but we really rode well as a team. I was very impressed by everyone's efforts, and only wished I would have had a little more power at the end of the race to pick up a good result for the team.

This was the last race before Jeff, Curtis and I head to Superweek on July until we return, drink a few cervezas and stay out of the sun!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Florida State TT Championships (6/17/07)

This past Sunday Jeff and Curtis traveled to Olustee, FL to represent ABRT at the State Time Trial Championships. Both of these guys have been gearing up for this event, and have been riding well.

Jeff had a blazing time of 54:54 for the 40k event, which put him as the 4th fastest time of the day. He placed 2nd in the Masters 35+ category. This time smashed his personal best, and has shown that all the hard training has paid off!

Curtis went even faster...with a 54:48, which was the 3rd fastest time of the day. His time was also a personal best by over a minute. This placed Curtis 1st in the Masters 30-34 age category, and successfully defended his state title from last year.

Both of these times were incredible, and were accomplished aboard their Trek TTX time trial bikes. Proving that good results are accomplished through hard work, and having quality equipment.

Congrats to both!

Friday, June 15, 2007

State RR Championships (6/9/07 - 6/10/07)

This past weekend was the Florida State Road Race Championships in Ocala, FL. It was super hot!

Age Graded Championships - Saturday
On Saturday was the race for the age categories. The state championship placings would be given out in 5 year increments (30-34, 35-39, 40-44), but we would all race in the same race. This made for a HUGE field, with varying levels of ability. The race was about 55 miles, and didn't have any climbs or crosswinds to make it difficult. The finishing stretch started with a slight downhill section with a tailwind...which made for a very fast finish.

The race basically stayed together the whole time, except for a few breaks that couldn't get established. About 3 miles to go there was a wreck that took down several riders. Heading into the final rise before the finish, about 1 1/2 miles to go, Jeff attacked hard. About 1/2 mile later there was a huge wreck, that took down dozens of riders. The leadout started, and Jeff was swept up 150 meters from the line at 45 mph. Curtis was able to finish 2nd in the 30-34 category, Victor placed 3rd in the 40-44, and Jeff was 4th in the 35-39. Two podium spots, not a bad day!

Our best wishes go out to those involved in the wrecks. I know that riders had broken ribs, broken collarbones, and at least 1 concussion. Get better soon.

Pro 1,2 Championships - Sunday
This was a very, very hot wind, it was like an oven. The last time I raced in heat this bad was in Tobago, which at least had some wind to help cool off a bit. Throughout the race there were several breaks, but nothing would stick. Jeff, Victor and Curtis were in many very promising breaks, but none really gained any time until about 5-6 laps to go. Victor was able to get in a break of about 13 riders, that would eventually parse down to 9. Victor was riding great, but unfortunately we weren't able to get another rider in the break to help him. He did a lot of work to keep the break from getting caught, and then paid the price in the sprint...he cramped up really bad. He rolled across the line for 7th, a great result considering he wasn't able to pedal during the sprint!

The weekend was pretty successful, and we only missed out on a state championship jersey due to some poor officiating...but that's a story for another time. Our next race is the State Time Trial Championships this coming weekend. Jeff and Curtis are ready to go, so we hope they bring back a win for ABRT.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

...Athens Video(s)...

Before the melee...

Covering some of the early moves...

James off the front in Athens...1 lap to go...

Right after turn 4 on the final lap...

Courtesy of CycleHardPaul

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Atomic Memorial Day Omnium (5/26/07 - 5/27/07)

This past weekend the while "gang" headed over/up to Tallahassee for the weekend. Jeff, Curtis, Clint, Victor, Andy, our new recruit Wes, and myself were all present for a 3 stage omnium put on by the folks from Atomic Race Team. The race had good venues, but the Pro 1,2 peloton suffered with a small turn out due to racing in other parts of the Southeast, and further the Pro 1,2 field was around 35-40 riders. We were in pretty good shape with 7 guys, but were Preferred Alliance who had 10-11 riders.


The criterium was a large course with a big sweeping downhill turn, which started the first uphill section. The course then flattened out before the sharper uphill section leading into the only real turn to the left, and then onto the finishing straightaway.

Our plan was to have a representative in every break, and be aggressive. During the race there was a "points" sprint that would add to the overall omnium score. As it neared two Preferred Alliance riders attacked going up the last hill, and Curtis latched onto the back. I was able to squeeze through the pack after having to lock up my back wheel to avoid some erratic riders. We made the last left hand turn, and I was able to take the sprint with Curtis nabbing third. The race progressed and Curtis rolled off the front to test the "waters", and was soon joined by a Preferred Alliance rider. They worked well together and started putting time on the pack. A second break formed, which would later be caught, but not before another Preferred Alliance rider bridged across to Curtis and his teammate. Knowing Curtis was a strong time trialist, we were happy with this race situation. There was a time trial later in the afternoon, and Curtis should be able to outperform his breakaway partners in that discipline. This might propel him into the omnium lead. In the end, Curtis took second, while Clint and Andy lead me out to win the field sprint to take fourth. Andy was able to hold on for 9th even after his lead out!

Time Trial

This was held on the same course as the criterium, but with an added downhill section, and then a 180 degree turn that took you back up the long hill and toward the finish. It was a short course, around 2.5-3 miles. In the end Andy took first place in the TT! The pro mountain biker scorched the course...and left everyone else crying about their performance. A bit further back, Jeff was 4th and Curtis 6th.

We didn't receive the overall omnium results, but knew we probably had 2-3 of the top 5 spots. The 95 mile road race the next day would be interesting.

Road Race

This was a 19 mile loop course, with much of it covered by a canopy of large Oak trees. The were some small rolling hills, but no major climbs or wind due to the foliage. This made it a pretty easy course to sit in, and the canopy offered some periodic shade so it never got too hot. The only thing that could add difficulty would be the distance, 95 miles.

After a couple of miles I moved to the front and put in a couple small attacks to see how people would respond. Just as I returned from one, a Preferred Alliance rider attacked and Jeff took off after him. The two started working together, and before you know it...they were out of sight. Now that each of the big teams had a rider up the road, the pace slowed drastically. This was fine with me...especially with me trying to find fitness and get in some long miles. Throughout the day we never received any credible time splits, but knew they were pretty far up the road. We think at one point they were around 10 minutes! The rest of the pack finally put together a chase around lap 3...but it would prove to be too late. Jeff was able to hold onto the diminutive Preferred Alliance rider until a hill about 2 miles from the finish...and then his 210+ pound body would have no more! Jeff then put it into time trial mode through the finish to take second on the had to have hurt...a 90 mile breakaway with two riders...awesome!

Curtis sacrificed his overall chances to try and lead me out in the field sprint. Curtis went early with Victor on his wheel...and just as he was winding it up at 40 mph (yes, 40) a Preferred Alliance rider came from the left and ran me off the road into the grass! I was able to stay upright, and hop back onto the road. By this time the sprint was full on, with a swarm coming from the left...I sprinted hard and was able to salvage a 3rd in the sprint, and a 5th overall for the day. I was lucky not to crash, especially at 40 I guess we were very fortunate...

Jeff "Huge Draft" Kopp playing with the kids...


In the end I was 3rd, Jeff 4th, Curtis 5th, with Andy finished 9th in the omnium.

Overall we did pretty well, but all of us being competitive, are never totally satisfied unless we've won. Looking back we did achieve our goal, with 1st in the TT, 2nd in the criterium, and 2nd in the RR.

Here's an article in the Tallahassee Democrat interviewing Jeff

Tallahassee newspaper pictures from the criterium

Our next race is in 2 weeks at the Florida State Road Race Championships in Ocala...until then...


Monday, May 21, 2007

Florida State Criterium Championships (5/20/07)

(Thanks to Team19 for these pictures!)

Florida State Criterium Championships
(Masters 35-44, 30-34)
This race has been held the last several years in Lakeland, FL. The course is 4 corners, with a very fast downhill section into turn 3 followed by a long uphill drag to the finish out of turn 4.

Due to a host of issues, like Curtis having a sinus infection and on heavy antibiotics, Clint getting some sort of bacterial infection caused by food poisoning, and me only having one week of riding in the legs after 2 full weeks off the bike...we decided to try to win a Masters state championship as a first priority, with results in the Pro 1,2 secondary. "A bird in the bush, etc." get the picture.

The Masters 30-44 race was first, and it was stacked! Herbalife had the same idea we did, and had 6-7 strong riders. Also in the race were full squads from ASV, Team 19, and many other riders making up a very large field. Since there was a state championship for 30-34 and 35-44 in the same race (but scored seperately), we had two shots at a state title. For ABRT we had Jeff, Victor, and myself for 35-44...and Curtis for the 30-34 category.

I've won the age graded state time trial a couple times, and the age graded road race a couple times...but, never the criterium! I've been 2nd and 3rd many times...and was hoping for a change. Also, Curtis has won the age graded time trial, and has been either 2nd & 3rd each time he has done the we were both hoping for at least one of us to pull off a win!

The race was pretty fast with a lot of attacks. It seemed like there were constant attacks througout the entire race, but either Curtis or myself were in 90% of them. Victor wasn't feeling well, so after taking a couple premes he dropped out. Also, Jeff started having problems dragging his 210+ lb fame up the long hill on the front side of the he called it a race. With 3 laps to go Brian Lancaster from Team 19 attacked...I knew this was a good move, and Brian's a very strong rider. So, with 2 laps to go I saw Curtis at the front after being realed back in from another breakaway I jumped hard into the first turn and sprinted off in pursuit of Brian. I didn't catch him until turn 1 going into the last lap, he pulled through turn 2 and halfway down the back straight. I then pulled the rest of the way down the back straight and through turn 3 and turn 4. Coming out of turn 4 I jumped hard up the right hand side and he didn't respond, so I kept going hard all the way through the line for the win. Curtis sprinted in and placed second in the 30+ category...which is amazing considering how sick he was...I didn't even think he would make it too the race!
James being interviewed for Univision/Telemundo

Florida State Criterium Championships
(Pro 1,2)

Curtis and Victor opted to sit out the Pro 1,2 since they both weren't feeling too well. In the Pro 1,2 we had Jeff, Andy and myself. The race was fast, and also had a lot of attacks. During the last part of the race there was an eight man break up the road...and Andy was in it. This break should have been gone...there were 3 Peferred Alliance, 2 Cyclescience, 1 NERAC, and a couple others along with Andy. It turns out the Preferred Alliance guys didn't like the make up of the break and quit working. I guess they liked losing better, because even though they had 12 guys in the race...they didn't even get a podium placing. Anyhow the break got caught, and going into the last lap Andy brought me close to the front. I was cramping pretty bad in the sprint and ended up 13th...and they paid 12 places. Andy rode an awesome race, and if it hadn't been for the lack of knowledge on race tactics by others, he would have had a great shot at placing top 3.

But...we achieved our goal for the day, and that was a state championship jersey! We also had a silver medal with Curtis, so in all we can't complain too much.

P.S. Oh, and this was my birthday!


Monday, April 30, 2007

...Athens pictures...

Ouch, ouch, ouch...
(Steve Boyette Photography)

Checking to see if the Karma girls saw me...
(Steve Boyette Photography)

Does anyone have a beer??
(Steve Boyette Photography)

Why are the Karma girls on the outside?!?
(Steve Boyette Photography)

The start...going into corner #1
(Bob Brussack Photography)

What's with that goofy look on my face?!?
(Bob Brussack Photography)

Athens Twilight Criterium (4/28/07)

Wow...where do I begin...Jeff, Curtis and I went to our favorite race of the year in Athens, Georgia. This race is held in the downtown section of Athens, right next to the University of Georgia. The course is 1 kilometer long, 4 corners, and anywhere between 25k-40k screaming, piss-drunk college kids and cycling fans. Racing the course is like being in a super loud tunnel constructed of people.

The race has been held since 1980, and I started racing it when I was about 16 years old in 1985 or 1986...jeesh I'm young! This was my first big race as a junior, and I got the cockiness beat right out of me...a great eye opener.

Morning Qualifier Races
On Saturday morning there are qualification races to do the Amateur Finals race, which is run before the Pro race. The last 2 years I have done the morning Masters 30+ race with Curtis...and the last 2 years I have taken 3rd, and Curtis has taken 4th in the qualifying race...EACH TIME (weird). Curtis has had better luck in the Finals race, and has come extremely close to winning on several occasions, with several top 5 finishes. Of the 4 times I've done the Finals I have placed 7th...EACH TIME (weird). This year they changed the Masters race to 35+, so Curtis was too young, and would have to qualify in the Category 2 race.

Jeff and I were first up in the Masters 35+ race, and they took the top 15 for the Finals. The race was pretty slow, with most of the riders concentrating on not wrecking and saving their energy for the final sprint up the hill. Two rider got away late in the race, and the rest of us sprinted for the remaining positions. I won the field sprint...for 3rd (again...weird), and Jeff was 7th. Curtis raced a couple hours later...stayed upright, and took 4th place (again...weird) in his race. Now we had all qualified for the Finals, and were one step closer to our goal.

Twilight Amateur Finals
The downtown course is always packed, and this year was no different. For our event, there were probably 15k-20k people lining the course...and they were lined up 4-5 deep along the entire finishing straight.

The entire race is only 20 laps making the starting position crucial, so we would forgo the warm up and stake out our spot on the starting line. There were about 120-130 riders with a mixture of categories. There were top qualifiers from each category, and many quality riders. I noticed a few ex-pro's and many Category 1's and 2's. Lined up next to me was Roberto Gaggioli, who has won the Pro event...and has had over 200 Professional victories. He's now "retired", and decided to do the race with us by qualifying in our Masters 35+ race earlier in the day...Oh, brother.

The starter's gun finally fires, and we sprint off the line towards corner 1. Corner 1 is pretty's very narrow, and is taken after blasting down the slightly downhill front stretch. I've crashed there a couple times, once giving me a nice black eye dealt to me by my racing glasses. Turn 2 is next, and once through is a nice uphill drag for half of the back stretch. Turn 3 is a fast one that heads very quickly into the infamous last turn...number 4. Many a pileup has taken place here, and I have had my own share of bouncing off metal barricades or the stray rider trying to move up in the final turn. Gaggioli and a couple riders had a slight break, and were closely following the pace car...I jumped across to them, but it soon fell apart and we were back in the pack.

On about lap 4, Curtis jumps into a small breakaway and takes a $40 preme. The break is caught a couple laps later. About lap 8 a rider makes a strong attack on the back stretch and gains a nice gap. He continued to stay in front and slowly gained small amounts of time each lap. Going into lap 9 they rang the bell for a $40 preme, and I decided to bridge across...I caught him right before turn 3. After exiting turn 4 I stayed on his wheel, then sprinted past him to take the preme. The best line of the weekend was shouted by one of the race announcers as I sprinted by the rider to take the preme, "...SOMEBODY CALL A COP...THAT GUY JUST GOT ROBBED!" I almost started laughing!
Call the Kopps?? Oh, COPS.

I tried to wait for the guy I just passed, but he seemed a bit tired from his earlier I decided to keep going alone. There were 8 more laps to go, but I decided that if I got caught then one of my teammates would have a great chance to counter attack.
Me suffering to keep speed up the hill...

I glanced back on the straight aways to see if the pack was gaining, and on lap 5 I could see the entire pack lined out chasing. Luckily Curtis and Jeff were "enthusiastically" blocking, and helping disrupt the chase efforts.
The "Kopp" patrolling the pack...with an eye on Gaggioli

Each lap seemed soooooo long, and the hill on the back stretch started to take it's toll...but, it was amazing how you can push yourself with so many people screaming for you. While I was in front I took 4 more premes (That helps with the gas money!). I didn't know I truly had it until I came out of the last turn and looked back to see I still had a good gap. The finish was great, it was so loud I couldn't hear anything...then, more good news...Curtis dusted the field to take second place! Jeff rolled in 26th, and just 1 place out of the his first twilight race! ABRT, 1st & 2nd place (and 5 premes)! The victory lap was pretty cool, and all 3 of us were ecstatic.
Jeff strolling over to take part in the "scrum"

Having great teammates made all the difference in achieving our goal.
Am I really that short in real life?!?

Curtis, me, and a non-English speaking Argentinean

Posing with 2 of the Karma girls...mommy!

Now is a time for me to take some R&R, and get ready for the next part of the season. Ending the first half with a win was very nice, and hopefully the success will continue in the second half!

P.S. I'll post more pictures as they come check back.