Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Atlanta Criterium Series/100K Classic

Labor Day weekend saw no less than FIVE bike races in the ATL. The first four consisted of the Atlanta Criterium Series organized by Spincycle and spread across Friday, Saturday (2 races), and Sunday. While these races were standard, local race-sized fields, Monday's 100K Classic was in stark contrast with a field of 175 riders containing many of the nation's top professional bike racers including riders from Rock Racing, Jelly Belly, Colavita, Team Type 1, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Jittery Joes, Health Net and Rite Aid just to name a few.

Race 1
Lindner Capital was represented by Karel Sumbal in the first of the weekend's four crits. Two riders gained a lap on the field, and Sumbal was able to take second in the field sprint...just missing the podium with a respectable 4th place finish.

Race 2
In the second criterium of the weekend, Sumbal was joined by one of Linder Capital's newest acquisitions: University of Florida student Shawn Gravois. Sumbal was happy to have some help in covering the moves led mostly by DLP Racing's Tommy Nankervis and ever-strong Myogenesis rider Eric Murphy. This time around, a break did form. Eric Murphy, James Lanham (Marx and Bensdorf), Diego Garavito (Latino Cycling) and Shawn Gravois snuck away and gained some time on the field. Sumbal won the award for best supporting teammate covering all of the bridge attempts from the field thereby ensuring Gravois' successful breakaway. Gravois tried very hard to play his best hand attacking his group of 4 in the final laps, but it was not to be. In the end, Gravois brought home another respectable 4th place for Lindner Capital.

Race 3
The third of the four races gained yet another Linder Capital rider with Ryan Saylor bringing the team's tally to three. Attacks flew from the gun, the first being covered by Saylor. As soon as it was brought back, Gravois went with the next and again found himself in a group of 4 gaining time on the field. Similar to the break away in the previous race, the group consisted of Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagen), James Lanham (Marx and Bensdorf), Diego Garavito (Latino Cycling) and Shawn Gravois. Before the group got too far ahead, Daniel Larson (CycleScience) jumped hard out of the peleton and managed to get across to the breakaway bringing the lead group to five. Seventeen-year-old Mike Niemi had a short moment of weakness and fell off of the pace of the hard charging breakaway and quickly found himself back with the rest of the peleton thus bringing the breakaway group back down to four. Many of the remaining riders were not happy with the breakaway and many more attempts to get across were made. The duo of Sumbal and Saylor made certain none would go without them having to drag a Lindner Capital rider with them--thereby stifling all attempts. Eventually, Saylor was able to slip away with Fucundo Bazzi (Latino Cycling) and race for 5th place. The peleton continued to see attack after attack and each took their toll. Many of the racers fell off the pace and soon Sumbal found himself in a group of 5 chasing after Bazzi and Saylor. Just as in the morning, Gravois again tried his best to suprise the breakaway with an attempt to go for the win solo. Unfortunately, the group would not let him go and brought him back in the final few hundred meters of the race. Four seemed to be Lindner Capital's lucky number for the weekend as Gravois brought home yet another 4th place finish. Saylor could not match the sprint of Bazzi and took 6th place. Super strong Tommy Nankervis (DLP Racing) drug the next group of five as hard as he could toward Saylor and Bazzi and nearly caught them with 600 meters left in the race. Fortunately, Sumbal managed to both sabotage the catch as well as take 8th place for an overall good showing for Lindner Capital with 4th, 6th and 8th places.

Race 4
Team Lindner Captial's Sumbal, Gravois and Saylor were joined by Jeff Kopp and Curtis Long for the last of the criterium quartet. With five riders on the same team, Lindner Capital was fully expecting to easily control the final race of the series. Surprisingly however, they were matched by 5 Locos riders and overrun by a throng of Metro Volkswagen riders. No less than 9 riders wore the blue and black outfits of the Texas based Metro Volkswagen squad giving them roughly one third of the entire field. Controlling this field was not going to be as easy as Lindner Capital had hoped. The race began and immediately the pace was high as attack after attack flew from the field. Within the first two laps, the field has already split into several groups with Long and Saylor representing Lindner Capital in the front group. Long was feeling very feisty and would not rest as the lead group displayed lack of cohesion despite having a decent gap on the next group. Long attacked numerous times until he broke free with Locos rider Oniel Samuals. Saylor was unable to cover all chase attempts of Metro Volkswagen and Mike Niemi was able to slip away with Seth Hansley (Locos). Once the big teams of the race had represenatives off of the front of the race, the pace slowed and Kopp, Gravois and Sumbal were able to regroup with the main front group. For the remainder of the race, Metro Volkswagen set tempo in the field content with just one in the top four. Long, who is having a stellar year, gave Linder Capital another great finish to add to their record with 2nd place behind race winner Oniel Samuals. Hansley bested Niemi for third and Sumbal put in another great sprint in the field to take 7th.

US 100K Classic
("Czech" out Karel on the far right!)

Finally, the 100K Classic was held early Monday morning. To give perspective, the previous 4 races posted $500 prize money for each race to the top 10 finishers. The 100K Classic gave away $20,000 to the top 35 finishers. With no less than 40 professional racers, this was easily going to be one of Lindner Capital's toughest races of the entire year. While most ameteur road races take place on back country roads, the 100K Classic takes place on main Atlanta thoroughfares. Out-gunned by many of the nation's best, Lindner Capital's main goal was simply to finish. If anyone was able to get near the front in the end, it would be a resounding success. Oddly, while there was tons of depth in the peleton the pace would remain fairly civil throughout much of the race. However, there were several times during the race that were very, very hard just to keep contact with the group. Attacks regularly blasted out of the peleton but almost all were fairly short lived. There were a couple splits that saw groups of 20 or so riders gain some ground, until one of the pro teams decided they didn't like their representation in them and would bring it all back together. Heading into the final miles of the race, all five of Lindner Capital's riders remained present in the race despite 50 or so other racers abandoning. Teamwork in a field of this size and depth was exceedingly difficult for an ameteur team. Despite this, Karel Sumbal proved that he could mix it up with the nation's best and nabbed an outstanding 14th place ahead of countless guys who make their living from racing bicycles. Curtis Long also finished a very respectable 38th place—just outside of the prize money. Two more very solid performances showed again that Lindner Capital can perform even at the highest levels of American racing.

P.S. (Thanks to Marni Rakes for the great pictures!)

-Ryan Saylor

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jacksonville Cycling Classic - Curtis Claims Two!

The Jacksonville Classic saw a new venue for 2008 in the town of Nocatee, FL with a 63 mile road race on Saturday and a circuit race on Sunday. Temperatures reached the mid nineties both days and there was no rain to cool the riders down either day. Team Lindner Capital recently joined forces with Sweetbay Cycling forming an even stronger force to be reckoned within the peleton. Andrew Gonzales’ excellent sprinting ability as well as Shawn Gravois’ stellar time trialing will add ammunition to the team’s already stocked quiver.

About 45 riders started the hot road race with both Joel and Daniel Chavez (Preferred Alliance) and the Herbalife squad being the biggest players to watch out for. Curtis Long, Karel Sumbal, Clint Bridier, Victor Rodriquez and Ryan Saylor joined their new teammates Gonzales and Gravois to represent Lindner Capital. The riders rolled off the start line with some trepidation but it didn’t take long before the attacks started flying. Team Lindner Capital rode well and was present in most of the threatening attacks. A group of 7 riders slipped away about 15 miles into the race with the biggest teams being represented. Joel Chavez (Preferred Alliance), two Herbalife riders including Rudy Robaina, Dan Larson (CycleScience), Ryan Saylor (Lindner Capital), Scott Giles (Velobrew) and Shane Braley (Wheel and Sprocket) formed what seemed to be a promising break as the riders rolled quickly and shared the workload fairly evenly. Amazingly, the group was later joined by a lone Curtis Long who admitted later that he held 34mph to catch the break. Panic must have struck the field as they chased hard enough to bring back the hard working break. More attacks ensued and soon it was Grant Potter (Herbalife), Dan Larson and Scott Giles who snuck away and were soon out of sight. The trio worked hard and it looked to be dangerous. Team Lindner Capital made certain to be represented in every chase attempt. Fortunately for the peleton, Giles got a flat tire and Larson couldn’t match the power of Grant Potter so the race again came back together. Another group of 10 guys formed off the front with Victor Rodriquez and Sean Gravois covering the move. The group gained some distance on the group and it was looking like it was going to stick. Karel Sumbal bridged across with Shane Braley to give Lindner Capital good representation with 3 guys in the break. This time the break would not come back. Joel Chavez would not be denied the sprint and took the win with Allison Anjos (Herbalife) and Scott Kuppersmith (Herring Gas) rounding out the podium. A cramping Sumbal still managed to take 5th place with Gravois close behind in 8th. Rodriquez and Gravois worked hard to keep the break going and it was their work that lent to Sumbal’s solid 5th place finish.

Sunday’s circuit race was composed of two 180 degree turns spaced 1.5 miles apart and almost all of the same riders began. Unlike the previous day, the attacks started from the gun. While the initial few were chased down, Scott Giles (Velobrew) and Nate Adler (Fat Cat Bicycles) slipped away without much worry from the group. However, the duo worked steadily together and it didn’t take too long before the group was regretting the gap they had given them. Curtis Long jumped and no one responded. Long, who won the Masters 35+ race earlier in the day, again put in a valiant effort to bridge across to Giles and Adler. However, bring them back by himself was tough going and after a few minutes he was only keeping even with them. Fortunately, Gunter Hermanni (Herbalife) took off after Long and Gravois was there to cover. Gravois and Hermanni closed the gap to Long and the trio then worked to catch Adler and Giles. The catch was made and the five of them put their heads down and with the race’s biggest teams represented (Herbalife, Lindner Capital and Velobrew), the five riders were not going to be caught. All bridge attempts from the field were stifled by Hebalife and Lindner Capital. The Chavez brothers grew increasing frustrated as they were marked by everyone in the field. On the last lap, strategy played into the hands of the only team represented by two people in the break away—Lindner Capital. With Long looking like the favorite in the sprint, Gravois attacked ruthlessly forcing the others to chase while Long was able to stick to the wheels of the working chasers and rest. Gravois was brought back twice before he attacked a third time and almost snapped the rubber band the final time. However, they worked again and barely brought him back—all the while Long was licking his chops at the thought of tasting victory. Assuredly, Long did not disappoint and showed no mercy as he unleashed his powerful sprint on his break away companions. Hermanni was closest followed by Adler to round out the podium. Gravois finished in 5th after a masterful display of cunning tactics. Icing on the cake came from Andrew Gonzales as he attacked hard out of the final u-turn and motored for a mile and a half with a Frank Lopez (Herbalife) to take the very next spot—sixth place. With 3 guys in the top six as well as earning the team’s first pro/1/2 win, Lindner Capital could not have had a better race.

-Ryan Saylor

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

LaGrange, GA - Georgia Cup

Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor of Lindner Capital headed up to LaGrange, GA for a Georgia Cup stage race consisting of a time trial, Georgia’s state championship crit, and a road race plus a special bonus crit with a win-and-out format.

Unfortunately, the LaGrange race was competing with better paying races in Tennessee. That, combined with summer heat stifling many racers motivation to race, led to a miserable turn out. Six Pro/1/2 racers turned out for the 1.6 mile time trial. Pro-racer Oscar Hanao (Clinica Union) edged out Gainesville, Florida’s Gary Yates (Naples Cyclery) by three tenths of a second for the win while another Gainesville rider, Brett Miller (Naples Cyclery) took third. Karel took 5th place while Ryan would have earned the lantern rouge position overall had the stage race not been cancelled due to lack of participation.

Next up was the Georgia State Championship Criterium. Bolstered by some masters entrants, the criterium hosted around twenty racers. Henao again demonstrated his dominance and broke away by himself to lap the field by the end of the race. Many attacks flew during the race, but nothing would stick (except Henao). Karel sprinted very well and just missed the podium to take 4th place while Ryan was determined to maintain his theoretical lantern rouge position.

The unusual format of win-and-out was next on the menu. In this race, racers raced the first five laps as they would any other criterium. Then, the winner of every single lap for ten laps won $100 and the race ended on the last $100 sprint—the 15th lap. Once a racer won $100, his race was over. Despite the race being open to categories 1-4, the continued trend of poor participation was again present. With only about 18 riders in the field, over 50% of the entrants were going to leave $100 richer. Fortunately for the Lindner Capital riders, both Karel and Ryan were able to recover some of the weekend’s expenses. Karel again sprinted well for the 4th cash give-away while Ryan attacked the remaining group and rode solo for half a lap to take the next-to-last $100.

The final race was the road race. The race was supposed to be a 102 mile endurance marathon. However, only eight “Pro-Am” riders showed up for the last race of the weekend. With so few riders, the promoter combined the Pro/1/2 riders with the masters 30+ field and shortened it to 68 miles (though they would be scored separately). Lindner Capital decided to team up with the Naples Cyclery riders for this race in order to strengthen its ranks by numbers. The race saw many attacks by Lindner Capital and Naples Cyclery, but the Clinica Union riders chased them all down. In the end, Karel unleashed his powerful sprint and could only be bested by Henao giving Sumbal his first Pro/1/2 podium finish. Temporary teammates Yates and Miller finished 3rd and 5th respectively to add to the team’s spoils.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Florida State RR Championships

This past weekend was the Florida State Road Race Championship weekend. Saturday was the state championships for each age category, and Sunday was for your actual USCF racing category.

On Saturday Ryan, Jeff, Curtis, Karel, and Victor raced in the 30-44 age category (later split out in 5 year increments). Curtis spent the majority of the day in a break which would be caught near the end (a theme for Curtis this weekend)...but, still managed to take 3rd place in the 35-39 category. Karel was 9th in the 30-34.

Sunday Ryan, Jeff, Curtis, Karel, Victor, Clint, and myself represented Lindner Capital in the Pro 1,2 race. There were full squads from Toshiba-Santos, Preferred Alliance, Herbalife and various other regional teams. The course was a 5 mile loop with a couple short steep hills...and a bunch of heat! The race started quickly and we all took turns covering different moves. Drifting back from covering an early break, I see a few guys go up the road with Curtis latched on. This is somewhere around 10 miles into the race.

This break would remain in the lead until about 15 miles to go. Curtis and a Team 19 rider were doing 50-75% of the work, while 4 riders from the three big teams in the race sat on and wouldn't pull...and then try to attack. It's amazing how racing has changed over the past 10 years in Florida. With an influx of foreign riders and their negative riding tactics, the entire dynamic of racing has changed.

Going into the last lap everyone was back together...and then Joel Chavez and John Durango attacked. The remaining Lindner Capital riders were out of position, and with the "Yellow Line Rule" being strictly enforced, we were left to watch them ride away. Strangely, the huge Herbalife squad didn't make an effort to chase and gave the race away. There was one spot left on the podium up for grabs, and coming down the finishing straight it was curb to curb. With nobody able to take control with a race leadout, it was free form chaos. Jeff, Karel, Victor and myself were lined up together trying not to get run off the right hand side of the road...but trying to squeeze through. It turned into a bit of a mess, but Karel was able to storm to a 10th place, while Jeff cruised home in 15th.

It was a rough day, and hoped for a podium spot...but in cycling, even with the best plan and efforts, you're left with the cards you've been dealt. Although we weren't on the podium, 10th place is a great finish and the entire team worked very well together.

Thanks to Karel's fiance, Marni, and Kevin for staying on the course the whole day and handing up water to a very thirsty crowd.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Georgia Cup, Union City

The Lindner Capital Cycling Team headed up to Union City, GA this pat weekend to once again take part in a Georgia Cup GC Race. We really enjoy doing these races because they require you to be a good all-around rider if you want to win. The race involved a 10 mile TT on rolling hills with a few longer climbs, a Crit, and a 91 mile road race that would serve as the Geargia State Championship. Curtis, Karel and Jeff were the only full time team members that were able to go so we brought along our Junior rider, Cody Vance to give him a taste of some Pro,1,2 action. GA Cup races are Pro,1,2,3, although he would be the ONLY 3 in our field. We also asked a friend of ours, Adam Baskin, who rides for Team 19 to ride for us for the weekend. Marni Rakes, Karels fiance raced in the Lindner Kit in the women's 3,4 race as well.

Time Trial
We all new this would be a really tough TT because of the elevation change over the 10 miles so we drove the course on Friday night and got a little feeling of where to push it and where to recover. Jeff turned the second fastest time of the morning running a 21 flat getting the Lindner boys there first podium of the weekend. Curtis dropped his chain in the first 600m and the race director let him re-start and he finished a very respectable 7th.

Saturday evening it was really hot and the field was really small for the Crit so we knew it would be a tough race. When the field is small and strong you have to react to everything. Basically there is no place to hide. So with that Curtis decided to attck on the second lap and see if he could establish a break and that he did. A few riders bridged up to him, including riders from Myogenesis, Clinica Union, and Hincapie Barkley U23. They break sat at 15 seconds for a few laps and when the Hincapie rider was dropped Curtis and the Myogenesis rider pushed the pace and the break was gone. With Lindner Capital, Myogenesis, and Clinica Union controlling the small field there was no way anyone was going to go across to Curtis. Curtis delivered the second podium of the weekend getting a solid 2nd place finish. Karel came in 7th and Jeff 13th. The young lad, Cody did a good job working on the front as we asked him to do and then dropped out with his full pride intact and our respect.

Road Race
Sunday morning came very quickly with an 8am start and we learned that Curtis was in 1st place overall and Jeff was in 3rd. Two riders sitting atop of the GC was very surprising and we new what that meant in the RR. Everyone would attack us and make us work our butts off to win the GC. As we rolled out we new we were in trouble when we saw how many hills there were on the course. Curtis and Jeff are not very small and gravity tends to work against them in the hills. The team did a lot of work on the front for the first 50 miles just trying to control the pace of the race and discourage attacks but at mile 60 we could no longer hold the field back. A break of 3 got up the road and we held it at 2 minutes or less for the entire race but with the day growing hotter and the hills getting longer Curtis and Jeff knew they were in trouble. Karel, Cody, and Adam were lost a different stages of the race on one climb or another. Curtis and Jeff found themselves in a group of 3 in the last 10 miles and went into survival mode just taking turns with hard pulls to limit the time loss. In the end the two finished two minutes behind the leaders Jeff (13th), Curtis (15th). Overall Curtis finished 9th in the GC and Jeff finished 11th. We were pretty discouraged after the race but we were really happy to get two 2nd place finishes for the weekend. Of note, Karel got lost after he dropped out of the RR and ended up riding 115 miles making it bake to the start finish by way of Pick-up truck!

Thank You,

Jeff Kopp
Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville
9965 San Jose Blvd. #6
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 880-7227

American Bicycle Company
240 S. Third Street
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 246-4433

Monday, May 12, 2008

2008 Sugarloaf Road Race - Ryan Saylor

The weekend of May 3rd and 4th saw racers from around the state gather in central Florida for possibly it’s most difficult road race of the year. The Pro/1/2 race consisted of a 75-mile race with 7 times up the notorious Sugarloaf Mountain. Being in Florida, Sugarloaf is obviously not actually a mountain but it is about a one-kilometer leg-breaker of a hill.

As usual, Florida’s finest lined up for the tortuous test of testosterone. Ricardo Hernandez (Blue Star), Joel and Danel Chavez (Preferred Alliance), Ivan Franco (Toshiba/Santo) and Alison Anjos (Herbalife) were among the tough men to keep an eye on. Ryan Saylor was the sole representative for Lindner Capital.

Soon after the group rolled out the attack began. With a few miles, a group of four slipped away including Ivan Franco, a Preferred Alliance rider, a Blue Star rider and Shawn Gravois (Team Florida) who won the time trial the day before. With a long race ahead of them, these four riders had their work cut out for them. The rest of the field saw many attacks to try and establish a chase group, but with all the biggest teams represented in the break, nothing was getting away.

The first time up Sugarloaf had anxious riders practically sprinting up the difficult climb. The break away split apart as Ivan Franco and Shawn Gravois dropped their break away companions. However, they continued to fight and were soon completely out of sight of the field. During the next 4 of 7 laps, the race largely remained unchanged. There were countless attacks but all were brought back. Ivan Franco and Shawn Gravois maintained their lead on the rest of the field.

Finally, Daniel Chavez snuck away with Jorge Perez (Toshiba/Santo), put their heads down and headed toward Franco and Gravois. Another chase group formed within a lap of Chavez getting away which contained Ricardo Hernandez, Brett Miller (Naples Cyclery), Nat Faulkner (Epic Cycling), Adam Baskin (Team 19), Andy Holland (Naples Cyclery), Alejandro Bello (Blue Star), Alison Anjos (Heralife), Maikel Matos (Preferred Alliance) and Ryan Saylor (Lindner Capital). This group shared the work to try and bring back the four people up the road. Strangely, as the group pedals around a bend they came across Ivan Franco sitting on the side of the road, out in the sun on a hot day looking as if he were in pain. It was unclear if Franco had cramped up, crashed or suffered some other ailment. Nonetheless, the group started to become unhinged as riders were starting to bonk and others were getting anxious and wanted to break up the group. Soon, the chase group split apart into smaller group as Holland and Faulkner rode away from Anjos, Baskin, Maikel, Bello and Saylor while Miller, Hernandez were dropped.

Meanwhile, Gravois who had been off the front since the beginning of the race was completely cooked and was passed by many of the front groups. Holland and Faulkner caught Chavez and Perez to form a lead group of four with half a lap to go and were chased by a group of 5 including Anjos, Baskin, Bello, Matos and Saylor. Chavez out-climbed Faulkner who was just ahead of Perez and Holland. Matos and Bello outpaced the rest of the chase group while Anjos, Baskin and Saylor traded punches up the final climb. Saylor managed to drop Baskin and came around Anjos in the sprint at the top of the climb to take 7th place.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SE Crits Series, Beaufort, SC

Here is the race report from yesterday's race in South Carolina...ouch!

"We, got our butts handed to us tonight in a huge way. The race was so freakin fast from the gun. I can't even put into words how fast things get in these races. One thing this Crit series is doing is setting the bar a an entirely new level. Beaufort is a gorgeous small town in the South Carolina Lowcountry but I had lactic acid in my eyes so I couldn't see it very well. 142 riders started 47 finished and only 20 were on the lead lap. The main problem.....ok.... major problem was turn one. The start/finish stretch was really long, slight downhill grade, and two lanes, so we were going 35mph single file into turn one which was 90 degrees and down to a very narrow single lane, we called "The Alley". There were two layers of hay bales and then some giant cushions up against all the street signs and telephone poles. Good thing that they were there!! Huge crash early in the race in turn one almost neutralized the field, approx 40 riders went into the pits including Karel and myself. Turn one very was sketchy from that point on. I have never scene riders blow up like they did last night in the middle of a lap. Literally 5-10 riders would get dropped because one riders could not hold the pace. Curtis lasted about 20 minutes as did Karel. I made it 32 minutes. I was cutting deals with myself at 27 minutes to make it one more lap. All three of us were pretty mentally crushed after that performance but we I rolled off the course things were put into perspective. There were full domestic pro teams sitting on the sidelines watching the race just like us. We thought, heck, they do this for a living and lasted as long as us so we now are understanding that these races are a roll of the dice. A good position is the difference between lasting 20 minutes and finishing. In the end Hilton Clarke from Toyota United won in a sprint just edging out Kyle Wamsley from Colavita. We will find out more about levels of suffering tonight in Waltorboro, SC.


Article on Athens Twilight

This year I didn't go to Athens Twilight...so Jeff, Curtis, Karel, and Ryan will be filling out the race report about that race and some of the others that they are doing in the "Speedweek" series.

But, Athens is the original...the fastest...the most fun (and painful) criterium that I've ever done (and 99% of the crit racers will agree). Below is an article written by an ex-Pro rider from the Athens area. It was published many years ago, but I think it helps capture the atmosphere that is the "Athens Twilight"...

Road Rage
What It’s Like To Be On A Bike In The Twilight

The Athens Twilight Criterium is, by consensus, the fastest one-hour of bicycle racing on this planet. The speed is insane. The maniacal speed is a direct result of the course - it's a one-kilometer rectangle that riders can whip around without braking, even through the corners. If a rider even feathers the brakes, he's (she's) losing ground. The Twilight is an opportunity for a rider to slap his chain onto the big ring, open the throttle and flat-out haul arse. The insane speed is also a direct result of the racers. These are the adrenaline junkies, the ones with the need for speed, the fastest guys and gals in the world over short distances. These lunatics can lean their bikes, and their bodies, around this one-kilometer rectangle at precarious angles and ludicrous speeds that defy Sir Isaac's general principles, and maybe one or two of Moses' ten tenets. Going this fast must be a sin. But if you think this race is all fun and games, think again.

Easy Riders
You see them before the race - glabrous and glistening, heavily oiled, gliding philosophically on their bikes through the parking lot. They're wearing a tan fit for a bejeweled and bedaubed country club wife with a heavily insured husband. They look cool; they look calm - like an unprepared, but veteran trial attorney. But look closely: inside they're falling to pieces; they're coming undone. If you took their shirts off, you'd see: their brittle torsos are as white as cotton. The tan's a façade. They may even be smiling now, but as Conway and Loretta would say, "It's only make believe." The Twilight averages over 30 miles-per-hour for one solid hour. This is no joking matter. Does a condemned man rejoice in the moments before placing his back to the wall and his chest towards the muzzles of a dozen pointing rifles? It's absurd to think so. These aren't nihilists. These are disco sprinters (vainglorious fools) who think getting dropped in this race, in front of everyone, is a fate worse than death. These moments of dread and despair before the race feel like a hundred little rats chewing on the inside of your stomach. In these worrisome moments, many riders realize that they, like Henry Fleming, might fling the rifle and head for the hills in a moment of impending catastrophe - their red badge of courage a poop stain in their pants. When a racer is standing at the starting line, he does his best impression of a relaxed rider. But relaxing when thousands are staring laser-guided missiles through you ain't easy. And, it's too noisy to concentrate - this Rabelaisian crowd is cackling like a henhouse full of lusty roosters. The pretend-unperturbed rider's heart is actually beating against his chest like a sledgehammer pounding on a thin tin roof.

Mad Dash
A couple hundred corralled cyclists are bobbing and bouncing like a field full of insaniatics, waiting for the gate to fall so they can escape from the asylum. The riders on the front row don't dare look back; they don't want the riders behind to see the terror raging in their eyes. Their common consideration? They might be trampled to death in the very near future. When the gun finally fires to start the race, a rider sprints to the first corner as if his life depends on it. It might. It's the maddest dash of the entire race - the dash to the first turn. If a rider makes it to the turn first, or near the front, he can hit the throttle and floor it out of the corner and accelerate down the road with no obstructions. Clear sailing. If he gets to that first corner too late, its like a bucket of sand poured into a small funnel; it just takes a little time to get all of it through. The point: in the Twilight, if a racer comes out of the first turn too far back, his race is over and it's only 10 seconds old. Finis. Finito. The End. Good Night, Irene! In order to survive 60 laps, the total distance of this race, a rider must get through the first lap unscathed and well placed. He can't be too far back from the front. Generally, only 50 or so will finish. The rear of the field is like the tail of a whip. The unfortunate souls at the wrong end of the single-file line are getting whipped and tossed about like a fly in a tornado. If a rider can't hold the wheel directly in front - that is, keep his front wheel about six inches from the forward rider's rear wheel, sometimes while traveling at speeds topping 40 miles per hour - his night won't last long. It is impossible to bridge gaps in this race. If a rider 20 places in front of you allows a gap to open, he and everyone behind him will be out this race in a matter of seconds. It is a modern-day example of Darwinism: to live, one must keep up with the herd. Become separated, and the vultures will soon feast.

Speed Demons
If the racer is still alive at the end of the first lap, and not too far in arrears, then he must bury his muzzle in the crack in front of him and hold on for his honey's life. During the first 10 laps, a rider's pain meter is quivering at the far end of the red zone. He is feeling the scalding lactic burn in his legs caused by excessive speed. The fastest riders in the world are uncorking the top-shelf bottles of high-octane. These merchants of speed know that in the first 10 laps they can cause an explosion in the field. Over half the field will get dropped, quit the race or crash in the first five laps. The disco sprinters want to shred the field and dump as many riders as possible, now. This leaves fewer to contend with later. In most criteriums, if a rider survives the first 10 laps, he knows he will survive until the end. In most criteriums, after the initial frantic, escape from the Titantic-like frenzied free-for all, there is an ever-so slight decrease in speed. A small incremental drop in speed can do wonders for a rider's ability to stuff his lungs back down his esophagus and recover his runaway breath. But the Twilight is not like "most" criteriums. In fact, it's most unusual. The speed does not drop. It is relentless. It is like trying to play chess while your heart rate is a constant 200 beats per minute. Riders carry out silent disputations with themselves in the first five laps. See one grimace; his inner self, the rational one, has just scored with a cogent point phrased as a question: this is fun? But these two-wheeled warriors, at least the ones that are left, are also master magicians, real Svengalis. They've been outwitting pain for years. Pain, they know, is strong like a bull, but smart like a tractor. They trick pain; they confuse pain; they endure pain like a visit from a mother-in-law. They force pain to a back row. And just when they think everything is under control, the race becomes faster. A rider is pedaling 37 miles per hour and is struggling to hang on. He looks up the road and sees a group of four riding away from the front of the field. He looks down at his speedometer on his handlebars. He's going 38 now. The four are still riding away. This can't be possible.

Road Runners If a rider can hang on and hold out for half the race, something happens. The demon of self-doubt is put to sleep. Confidence begins its slow drip into the veins. You don't need to see a rider's face to know: look at the way he handles his bike. A rider with confidence does not ride with his fingers over the brake levers; he's down in the drops, gripping the bars. He's sailing through turn one in a perfect arc, coming out of the corner in front of the Georgia Theatre cruising comfortably two inches from the curb, intentionally coming within centimeters of the heads of the habitués that are stretched out over the barricade. (No one's ever been beheaded.) He's smiling. He's entered the Zen-zone. This is special. If a rider makes it to the end, there is another factor to consider. Pro teams are expected to win. This is no longer about sportsmanship and fair play, if it ever was. Riders bump and grind and jostle for position. Various invectives are hurled. Psychological tactics are employed. The best sprinters in the world play a terrifying game of chicken: hit the brakes or hit the fence, take your pick. Back off Jack! Riders may be at The 283 Bar afterwards downing a cold beer, but at this point in the race, this is a job. This is a paycheck. This is thousands in prize money. This is winning. These boys are living. The last two or three laps of this race are spectacular. The big teams are amping up the speed as high as it can be humanly maintained. The reason: it's impossible for a rider to move up if he's 20 back and already pedaling at his limit. The disco sprinter on the team - the one expected to win - is sitting forth, fifth or sixth wheel. Out of the last corner, the sprinters have moved up and are now second, third or fourth wheel. These are the spots the winner will come from. The last 200 meters is simply a stripped-bare example of sheer speed. Racers look as if they are trying to tear their bikes apart at the seams as they pull and jerk and twist and pedal in a violent display of inner angst. They cross the line. It's all over. All smiles. That was the greatest race they've ever done. They can't wait to do it again. Have you ever watched film of mountaineers climbing Everest? They're miserable. Their teeth chatter like a jackhammer. Have you heard them speak of their experiences after they return? They can't wait to go back. They're sick, the whole lot of them!

-David Crowe

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Georgia Cup #3 - Chattanooga, TN

Karel Sumbal made the 12 hour drive from Tampa up to Chattanooga to take part in the 3rd stop of the Georgia Cup series. He was alone and up against a stacked field of Pros and elite amateurs, but still managed to unleash his fast finish in his favorite event...the criterium.

Our European cycling phenom "Czechs" in with his report below.

"Last week I went to Chattanooga for the GA cup race. It was 3 stages race. In TT I got my usual bad result 65th out of 75 riders. But in the night crit I did better. There was over 90 guys on the start line and they were announcing all the "big guys" names and saying that it is the most competitive field in the GA cup this year so far. Among the regulars there were 8 guys from Toshiba with Frank Travieso and Mark Hekman (last year Athen's winner) and Keith Noris (National Champ U-23) leading the squad. The Inferno Team with Jeff Hopkins had lots of guys too. The DLP racing, Team Type1, Jittery Joe's and BMC were presented as well.

The race started very fast and stayed like that until the end. The loop was pretty technical with 6 corners and long wide open straight road up to the finish line. There was several breaks but nothing stayed away for very long so the main field was getting ready for the last sprint. Toshiba started their lead up train with 5 laps to go and they really push very hard pace to avoid any jumps from the field and secure their sprinters. I was trying to get to the end of their train where Frank Travieso was sitting but everybody else wanted exactly the same thing so it was very scary elbow to elbow. One second I was almost there next second I was 15 places deeper in the field. But in the last lap I manage to get right on the Travieso's wheel in the last corner. The sprint was pretty long and I was sprinting with few other guys head to head. Frank won, Jeff Hopkins get second Chris Scott got 3rd, Oscar Henao got 4th and I got 5th. I was happy with my place in that competitive field but at the same time I was a bit disappointed because I was so close to be on the podium!!! Oh well maybe next time...

The road race was pretty hard too. Again the field close to 100 guys and pretty challenging terrain in Chattanooga hills in front of us. We did 92 miles (4 loops). First 3 of the 4 loops were OK. There was some break at the front but Toshiba team kept it with in 1min to secure Travieso's over all lead. In the last loop the break got back to the field and the real race started. It was very windy and the field stretched to a single file. After several hard moves the field started splitting and I was in the second group. I tried very hard to bridge back to the front group but it was very hard. I got help from other 4 guys but we still couldn't close it for several miles. We were very close but couldn't quite close that gap. Than when we got close for few bike lengths I jumped across and got back there but I was pretty much done. I gave everything I had in that moment and need some time to recover. Unfortunately in the next hill one guy from BMC launched very hard attack and split the field again this time into many small groups. My vision was pretty blurry and I was just hanging on some wheel in front of me. I had no idea on what position I am. After few miles we formed into a bigger group and were heading to the finish. Somebody said that there is like 30 guys in the front group and that we are racing for 30ish place. I decide to sprint anyway and got 3rd from the main field. After the results came up I realized that there was only 10 guys and I got 13th out of almost 100 guys who started. Frank Travieso won again, Mark Hekman got second and Tod Dullin from DLP racing gets 3rd place. My over all place wasn't that great because of my TT time. In the crit everybody gets the same time and so did the guys who were in my group in the road race so I got 32nd place over all."

-Karel Sumbal

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SC State Criterium Championships

The following report was submitted by Jeff Kopp. Great job this weekend guys!!

"With the South Carolina State Championship Criterium Title on the line Curtis, Jeff, and Clint decided to throw Florida’s hat in the ring. The Crit was held in Hampton Park just off of the Citadel Campus. A flat fast 1 mile loop looked like it would be a good course for us. We knew it was going to be a tough race when we looked at the start list and noticed riders from SC, GA, NC, TN, OH, and FL along with one Professional Team DLP Cycling. The race was fast from the gun with attacks going off non stop. Each team was constantly sending riders up the road in order to establish a break. We had decided as a team since we were only three strong we would sit in for the first 15 minutes and get a feel for which teams were worth watching. We each took turns getting into a move in which the Pro Team DLP Cycling was involved with because we figured nothing would go without them. It turned out DLP Cycling was killing all of the breaks in order to set things of for their sprinter Boyd who was from SC and had also won the day before. With about 8 laps to go a group of 10 riders formed off the front of the field and for some reason the large field was content to just let them hold a 10 second advantage for a few laps. With about 3 laps to go Clint decided to try and get the field to close down the gap and tried jump across the gap into a stiff headwind. After a strong push the effort got to him and he decided to come back to the protection of the peleton. With two laps to go Curtis decided that Lindner Capital better be represented in the group off the front in case the field got lazy and jumped across. DLP Cycling and others finally organized at the front and quickly shut down the break. Jeff grabbed Curtis’s wheel as he skillfully powered onto the back of the DLP Cycling lead out train. It was a really good position and several teams tried to bust in on the DLP Cycling train but Curtis and Jeff held strong. Out of the last corner with about 600meters to the line we were in perfect position about 7 riders from the front. As the sprint started Curtis stood up to start the long lead out and pulled right out of his pedal!. Jeff dove to the right of Curtis to avoid any slow down but Curtis skillfully clipped back in without missing a pedal stroke. We guessed that was probably a 1 in 10 shot. At 35 mph clipping out is REALLY SCARY! The sprint was on and Jeff having lost Curtis’s wheel the deal was to both sprint for results. Lindner Capital ended up 6th (Curtis) and 7th (Jeff) for the day"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Atomic Race Weekend Road Race

Thirty five pro/1/2 racers headed to Quincy, Florida April 6, 2008 to race in the Team Atomic Race Weekend Road Race. After the criterium was cancelled the night before due to lightning, the racers were chomping at the bit to get on their bikes and mix it up. Lindner Capital was represented by Jeff Kopp, Clint Bridier, Curtis Long, Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor and was the largest team in the field with five riders. Other major teams present were Naples Cyclery and Velo Brew out of Jacksonville. Though they were there without strong team representation, the men to watch were obviously going to be Joel and Daniel Chavez (Preferred Alliance) as well as professionals Emile Abraham and Joe Eldridge of Team Type-1.

The race started under overcast skies. Lindner Capital decided to be aggressive right from the start. Since Curtis Long had been under the weather the last couple of weeks and it was questionable whether he’d be able to finish well, he decided to go out on the attack early to put pressure on the other teams. Someone attacked hard right off the start line but the group reluctantly followed and chased him down. Then Long counter attacked and with such a long race ahead, the group decided one person could not make it on his own and let him go.

Over the next 10 miles, Clint Bridier and Jeff Kopp set tempo on the front to discourage chasing and bridge attempts up to Long while Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor focused on going with and sitting on every attack. Eventually, Gary Yates (Naples Cyclery) recognized that, being on one of the largest teams in the field, catching up with someone from the largest team would provide lots of support in the field to discourage chasing and stifle attacks. Lindner Capital had the same thought and let Yates go to help their lone teammate up the road. Sure enough, Yates caught Long and the two worked well together and were quickly out of sight from the field.

Bridier and Kopp continued doing an outstanding job setting tempo and covering attacks until Kopp suffered a flat tire. He drifted back through the pack and waited for the wheel truck. Bridier dropped back to help Kopp pace back up to the field while Sumbal and Saylor continued their jobs of covering attacks. The value of Bridier’s and Kopp’s presence was immediately felt once they were absent from the group.

Sumbal, who has had bad luck in many of the races so far this year, was determined to get a good result today and was covering almost every single move that came from the field and eventually found himself off the front with current Master’s National Criterium Champion Jason Snow (YSG/Metrahomes/Wendy’s) and Daniel Domingo (Velo Brew) and worked diligently to stay away and catch up to his teammate.

At this point, it was looking very good for Lindner Capital with 2 guys in the top 5 on the road. However, the Chavez brothers were none too happy with racing for 6th place and chased and attacked relentlessly to bring back the chase group. Saylor successfully stifled these attacks for probably 15 miles but they were taking their toll on him. Finally, Joel Chavez attacked and Saylor cracked and could not answer. Chavez gained a gap on the field with a couple cohorts. With perfect timing, Jeff Kopp sprinted past the field and up to Chavez group. Kopp had just caught back up to the field after chasing for 15 miles with the help of Clint Bridier. Unfortunately, the mammoth effort required to get Jeff back to the field cost Bridier his race as he selflessly sacrificed himself for teammate Kopp.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of Kopp and Saylor the Chavez brothers were eventually successful and almost single-handedly brought back Karel’s chase group of three while Long’s and Yates’ lead had grown to 4 minutes. After several more moves were unsuccessful, a group of seven riders slipped away including Jason Snow, Emile Abraham and his teammate Joe Eldridge, Joel Chavez, a Velo Brew rider, Andy Holland (Naples Cyclery) and Ryan Saylor. Because Saylor and the Naples rider both had teammates up the road, they had a free pass to not help in the effort to chase down the breakaway. Even still, the five others in the chase group worked together enough to bring back the dog-tired legs of Yates and Long bringing the breakaway to nine riders with 15 miles left in the race.

The miles were taking their toll on everyone, especially Curtis Long and Gary Yates who had spent almost the entire race off the front. With about 5 miles left in the race Emile Abraham attacked on one of the climbs causing Long to lose contact with the break. Only Joel Chavez could respond to Abraham’s attack and the two were not to be caught by the remaining 6 breakaway riders. Abraham, who has won many national level races out sprinted Chavez to take the win. Eldridge attacked on the final rise before the finish and no one could respond to him either, leaving the remainder shooting for fourth place. Young Andy Holland put in his last dig at the top of the same rise. S aylor followed but could not come around him in the final meters and took third 5th place finish of the season. Impressively, a spent Long was able to hold off a chase group of three and hold on to 9th place while Sumbal was only bested by Daniel Chavez for the group finish and took a respectable 14th place.

-Ryan Saylor

Monday, March 24, 2008

Webster Roubaix

"Fifty-one men showed up for the 105 mile long Webster Roubaix road race, known for it’s 2.5 mile long dirt road stretch on a 9 mile long loop. Conditions were near perfect with a temperature around 60 degrees and overcast skies. Many of the usual suspects of Florida racing were present including Herbalife, Preferred Alliance, and Blue Star as the major players with surprise visits from Scott Tietzel (Jelly Belly) and Daniel Holt (Team Type-1). Team Lindner Capital was represented by Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor.

The race started off neutral in the middle of the dirt stretch. Once the last rider hit the pavement, the race officially started and the attacks began to fly. One group of three slipped off the front and lingered about 30 seconds off the front of the group as Herbalife and Blue Star set tempo to keep them from gaining too much of a lead. After a couple of laps the trio were safely back in the group. Unfortunately, Ryan Saylor suffered a broken spoke at the end of the second lap and despite a fairly quick wheel change could not catch back up to the field.

On the 5th of 12 laps, six men escaped the grasp of the field for good. Daniel Chavez and Chris Keen (both of Preferred Alliance), Joel Chavez, Bobby Sweeting (Toshiba/Santo), Daniel Holt (Team Type-1) and 16-year-old Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagen) rode steady and were soon out of sight of the field. Although Herbalife missed the break and had 3 riders on the front of the field chasing, it simply wasn’t enough. The break away continued to gain advantage. Then, during a moment of lost concentration, University of Florida student Chris Keen overlapped wheels with fellow Gainesville resident Mike Niemi in a turn and lost control and crashed taking Daniel Holt down with him. Holt quickly scrambled and was able to regain contact with the break away but Keen was out of the race leaving only 5 men in the breakaway.

Meanwhile back in the field, more attacks came as racers wanted to at least form a chase group. Eventually, Alison Anjos (Herbalife), Ricardo Hernandez (Blue Star) and Sean Coleman (U.S. Military) slipped away to form a chase group and Garrett White, Adam Baskin (Team 19) and Donnie Autore formed yet another chase group. While Karel Sumbal was active in the closing laps trying to get in a late move, all were reeled back in by the field.

Bobby Sweeting (another University of Florida student) surprised the crowd and out sprinted Daniel Chavez to take the win. Daniel Holt took third, Joel Chavez forth and Mike Niemi took 5th.

With two chase groups of three between the breakaway and the peleton, the field was now sprinting for the last money place of twelfth. Andrew Gonzolas graciously took that money with sprinters Frank Lopez and Karel Sumbal close behind to take 13th and 14th places respectively ahead of the hard charging field."

-Ryan Saylor

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Below is the update from Ryan...also of note, Karel Sumbal did the Masters 30+ race on Saturday morning and finished in 3rd place for a podium spot!

"This past weekend Jeff, Curtis, Karel and Ryan headed up to Perry, Georgia to represent Lindner Capital in the Perry – Roubaix race weekend. There was a time trial and circuit race on Saturday and a road race with a dirt section on Sunday. The format was an omnium, not a stage race meaning the overall placings were not based on time, but rather points earned for placing in the top 15 of each race.

Time Trial

The time trial route was mostly on a Georgia state highway in an out and back configuration. The course was rolling with one fairly long climb near the turn around.
Jeff in route to a 12th place finish
The weather was pretty nasty in the morning with a bunch of freak tornados striking the Atlanta area just a couple hours north the same morning. Fortunately, it eased up for the time trial except for some strong wind. Forty two people registered for the time trial and Floridians Bobby Sweeting and Frank Trevieso (both of Toshiba) took the two top spots. Jeff was Lindner Capital’s top finisher at respectable 12th place.

Circuit Race

The circuit race was later in the day and the weather remained stable with no rain but plenty of wind gusts to make things difficult. Toshiba controlled much of the race covering the breakaways that they didn’t initiate themselves. While Lindner Capital was able to stay in the mix of most of them, eventually one slipped away and within a couple laps it was obvious that they were not coming back. More attacks ensued to create a chase group. Jeff and Curtis remained active and were able to get in many of these. Finally, Curtis got in a strong chase group with Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagen) and two Toshiba riders including Frank Trevieso. The field slowed to a crawl watching these four ride away. It didn’t take long and the original breakaway ended up lapping the field despite the relatively long lap. Additionally, Curtis’s chase group was also about to take a lap from the field and caught the field/breakaway. This brought the number of people who lapped the field to about a dozen riders. After getting some reprieve in the group, Curtis was ready to take on the sprint and found his way up to Jeff Kopp’s wheel who took him up near the front of the group. Curtis unleashed his sprint and was able to beat all but 4 of the dozen who lapped the field. It was a great finish in a tough race. Karel again showed his sprinting prowes s and also finished near the front of the group taking about 4th place of the lapped riders.

Road Race

The road race saw clear skies and cool but not cold weather. The course was rolling with two fairly tough hills to hurt the rider’s legs. Additionally, there was about a 2 mile long dirt (clay) section the racers had to traverse every lap of the 8 lap, 100 mile race. With a hard rain the night before the race however, the dirt had a gummy feel but was not loose sand as it was in 2007. It wasn’t long into the race before the attacks started to fly. Ryan got into a break of 6 riders eight mile s into the race. The break included 2 Myogenesis riders (one of the larger teams in the field) as well as Daniel Vaillancourt, a Toshiba rider (formally of Colavita/SutterHome), which seemed like a good mix. The break stayed away for close to 40 miles and despite a steady and fairly balanced workload, the 6 riders could not keep the field away and were caught half way through the race. More attacks followed and two riders, Australian Tommy Nankervis (Toshiba) and Canadian Bruno Langlois (Myogenesis), who both previously raced on Jittery Joe’s, were able to get away never to be seen by the field again. Later a chase group formed with six more riders containing Floridian Sean Coleman (US Armed Forces Cycling Team) who took 2nd in the race in 2007. The group was quickly out-of-sight of the field and 65 miles into the race, it seemed as if the breaks were established as the field grew lethargic. Finally, Ryan slipped away with two riders and the trio worked steadily. Soon the 6 man chase group was in sight and another lap later, the two groups merged to form a 9 man group chasing duo Nankervis and Langlois. The race was taking its toll however and the 9 men split into three, three-man groups over the course of the last lap. Ryan made the 2nd group of three who worked diligently to keep the following group at bay and the group ahead in sight. In the closing miles, it was apparent that none of the groups would catch each other. Ryan attacked his group with one mile left in the contest and was able to hold them off until the finish for 6th place."

-Ryan Saylor

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ryan Rages at Rouge Roubaix!

Ryan Saylor was the sole representative from Lindner Capital at Rouge Roubaix and has compiled this report:

2008 Rouge Roubaix

"Mike Niemi and I made our way up to the 10th edition of Rouge Roubaix Road Race this past weekend in St. Francisville, Louisiana. This classic road race covers 100 miles in one big loop and traverses greatly varying road conditions from smooth-as-glass, fresh pavement to horrible, pothole ridden roads plus three fairly long sections of dirt/gravel roads. The “A” race (pro/1/2/3) started at 8am with well over 100 riders. Temperatures at the start were a finger-freezing 37 degrees, but were expected to reach the low 60s by the end of the race causing many quandaries for the racers when deciding what to wear.

With a long race ahead and near freezing temperatures, the race started expectedly slow. Soon after the start, Mike’s young Metro Volkswagen squad (directed by former Florida racer Nathan Rogut) took control of the race and sent three riders to the front to set tempo early in the race. While their pace was far from fast, it was just fast enough to keep almost everyone content with just sitting the slipstream. However, some impatient racers couldn’t sit still and would intermittently attack only to get reeled back in by the steady effort of Metro Volkswagen. Eventually, a Hotel San Jose rider attacked and a Metro Volkswagen rider was sent up to him. I saw this as an opportunity since the most well represented team i n the race, Metro Volkswagen, was now in a break so I jumped across making the break three strong. It quickly became evident that the break was going nowhere because the Metro Volkswagen kid wasn’t pulling. Despite this, we quickly gained a minute gap on the field. I was satisfied working in our destined-to-fail break because I hoped to make it to the first dirt section without trying to compete with 125 guys going ballistic trying to be the first to the dirt and my plan worked. We were caught a few miles into the first dirt section and I elbowed my way into the front of the hard charging pack. The group hammered through the first 8 or so mile long dirt section only to hit the pavement again all together. For the nex t 25 miles or so (all smooth pavement), Metro Volkswagen again went to the front and set tempo while the rest of the field lazily sat on. However, the second dirt section started with a mile long climb and the selection seemed to form with 12 or so riders slipping off the front (including myself) and managed to get out of sight of the field. Unfortunately, lack of cohesion made the gap short lived and we were caught a few miles later when back on paved road. The group stayed together again until the third and final dirt section about 75 miles into the race. This section also started with a steep, leg-breaking gravel climb which finally fractured the field into several smaller groups. While one guy slipped away solo, I found myself in a group of 10 who tried suc cessfully to fend off the next group for the remaining 25 miles. Amazingly, the solo guy held his lead until the finish (I didn’t even know he was off until after the race was over). I managed 4th place in my group for 5th overall.

This was a great race and I would recommend it to any of you who are up for a little adventure."

- Ryan Saylor

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Georgia Cup #1 - Albany

Once again, here is another great race report from Ryan Saylor:

Regions Bank Albany Stage Race
Team Lindner Capital made their way up to Albany, Georgia the first weekend of March for the Regions Bank Albany Stage Race, the first stop of the Georgia Cup race series of races. Jeff Kopp, Curtis Long, Karel Sumbal, Clint Bridier and Ryan Saylor were in attendance to represent Lindner Capital. The weather was nice all weekend which made for some great racing. The stage race consisted of three stages—a prologue, a criterium and a 85 mile road race. Some big teams were represented in the race including Jelly Belly, Health Net and Jittery Joe’s.

Time Trial
The time trial snaked around the crit course in downtown Albany and ended up being a little less than 2 miles with no less than eleven 90 degree turns and one 180 degree turn around a roundabout. John Murphy (Health Net), who just two weeks prior tied Tom Boonen for 20th in the Tour of California Prologue (and finished one second faster than Bobby Julich), smoked the Albany course with a time of 4:07 to win the opening stage in a field of 70 Pro-Am starters. Notably, Florida’s own time trial specialist, Grant Potter (Herbalife), just missed a podium spot and took 4th. Curtis Long again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with in the race of truth with his 9th place finish. Jeff Kopp also had a great ride and missed a top ten by less than one second taking 11th.

Later in the day, 74 riders lined up for the criterium. The race had eight 90 degree turns per lap with some brick crosswalks thrown in for good measure. Attacks were fast and furious throughout the race but none could gain any significant gap.

Criterium start and Karel sprinting for the line

In the end, the group was destined for a field sprint and Curtis Long again came through for Lindner Capital. Long led the pack through the last two turns and opened up a massive sprint but Emilio Esconeguy (Latino Cycling Team) edged him out by the width of a tire. Floridians Chris Scott and Seth Hansley (both of Locos Grill & Pub) rode well to take 4th and 7th respectively and Lindner Capital’s Karel Sumbal avoided his string of recent bad luck an d finished a strong 8th place thus giving two riders in the top ten for Lindner Capital.

Curtis on the podium after taking 2nd in the criterium

Congrats for Curtis...and the ever popular Czechoslovakian, Karel Sumbal

Road Race
The road race course showed the riders the fantastic roads just outside of Albany. The roads were relatively flat and lined with many open pastures with which the breeze tended to pick up speed. The race started off at a cool 51 degrees, but the sun brought the temperature above 60 in the first hour of racing. For the first 5 miles or so, the cool weather kept the pace easy. As the riders warmed up, so did the race. It seemed as if alarms sounded every time John Murphy (Health Net) or Nicholas Riestad (Jelly Belly) attacked as the group quickly reacted to each of their moves. Within the first 10 miles of the race, a group of three formed off the front including 16 year o ld Floridian Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagen). Niemi, just a junior in high school, is the training partner of Lindner Capital’s Ryan Saylor. While the field didn’t seem too concerned with the break away, the three kept their heads down and worked relentlessly to stay away. The field continued to see attacks which even brought the break away trio to within two hundred meters at one point. The three would not give in and continued their fight. As the apathetic field started to dally, the gap opened again and the break was soon out of sight. About 30 miles into the contest, a chase group of 10 formed containing Lindner Capital’s Ryan Saylor. By the 40 mile mark, the chase group caught the break away and the break was then 13 men strong. One of the 13 poorly took a musset bag in the feed zone, crashed and ended his race early bringing the break away down to 12 riders. The gap continued to grow between the break away and the field and swelled to over 4 minutes. Saylor nabbed two time bonuses during the race for a total of 4 seconds in intermittent “king of the mountain” sprints. While the break away rotated steadily for mile after mile, attacks continued in the field and eventually another 10 riders slipped away to form a chase group. However, the break away was not to be caught. Saylor, not known for his sprint, could only muster 7th place in the end just edging out his tra ining partner Niemi who is required by the USA governing body of cycling to race the pro/1/2 races using junior [smaller] gears. Karel Sumbal (Lindner Capital) finished strong taking second in the field sprint.

Team Lindner Capital ready to start...as Jeff wonders why he can read his arm warmers, and nobody else can...

Karel takes 2nd in the field sprint

The overall standings were overshadowed by the road race with the lead group of the road race finishing 4 minutes faster than the chase group and six minutes faster than the field, thus neutralizing time gains in the time trial except for the twelve who were in the road race break away. In the end, Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagen) took 7th overall and Ryan Saylor (Lindner Capital), just four seconds slower, took 10th overall. Fifth place and tenth place overall were separated by just 5 seconds. Stage races often make riders think about where they could have saved a second here and a second there and the Albany edition of the Georgia Cup was no different!

Results for all races can be found

- Ryan Saylor

Note: The race leader going into the road race, John Murphy, was disqualified for multiple "center line rule" violations. From what I hear through Curtis, he got into some kind of shouting match with a motorcycle official...and some obscene gestures and language were used, and the official DQ'd him...strange turn of events for such an incredibly gifted rider.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lake Mary Criterium

Lindner Capital once again rode very well to finish with some great results on the day. Curtis and Jeff lined up to do the Masters 35+ just to gain more fitness for the upcoming events of the season. Both held their efforts to around 80%, like the day before, and were able to easily take 1st and 2nd in the field sprint finishing in 2nd and 3rd place overall. They then got ready for the Pro 1,2 race (Curtis' 4th of the weekend!).

Ryan "Strongman" Saylor sent in the following report:

"The Lake Mary Crit was blessed with better weather with mostly sunny skies. The fairer weather brought many more racers to the start of the pro/1/2 race with close to twice as many riders as the previous day. Among the extra riders were Jeff Kopp, Clint Bridier and Andy Mills who joined Curtis Long, Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor to represent Lindner Capital. The 3 corner course had wide turns and was laden with attack after attack, none of which could stay away for very long. Lindner Capital raced well throughout the race being present in almost every break away of the day. Moreover, the break away presence by Lindner Capital was spread amongst ALL of its riders, not just a select few. Unfortunately, some of Karel Sumbal's bad luck from last weekend resurfaced as a rider in front of him knocked over a cone and cause him to crash hard landing on his head. Fortunately, he was able to regain his composure enough to rejoin the group after taking a free lap. The most significant break happened with 20 minutes plus 5 laps to go in the race. Seven riders slipped off the front with representation by one Herbalife rider and TWO Lindner Capital riders (Long and Saylor), Shane Braley (Wheel N Sprocket), Todd Sanders (Toshiba/Santo), Bobby Sweeting (Aerospace Engineering Group) and another rider. The group worked together erratically and while they remained clear of the bunch, they never gained a substantial gap on the field. Reportedly, Florida strong man Joel Chavez (Preferred Alliance) chased for lap after lap in attempt to bring back the 7 man break. After 20 minutes off the front, the breakaway was struggling to keep cohesion. Sweeting attacked the break hard but could not shake Saylor, the Herbalife rider and Braley. The four worked furiously together in the closing laps but were swept up on the last lap by the hard chasing group. Going into the last turn, Jeff Kopp attacked for a long sprint from 400 meters out and was only passed by four riders with Eduardo Colon, Rudy Robaina (Herbalife) and Horace McFarlane respectively filling out the podium."

-Ryan Saylor

Sanford Lakefront Criterium

Once again Lindner Capital had a successful day. Before the Pro 1,2 race, Curtis decided to do the Masters 35+ race for extra fitness. Racing at about 80% effort he was able to snag second place between two Herbalife book ends. About an hour later he lined up for the Pro 1,2.

Ryan "Strongman" Saylor, our race correspondent, has sent in this report of the action:

"The Sanford Criterium was a soggy race and was not well attended by many of the usual suspects. The most obvious absent racers were those from the south Florida area. Nonetheless, twenty-eight brave souls lined up for 70 minutes of slogging it out on a six turn course riddled with brick roads and painted corners. The two biggest teams in the race were Herbalife Racing Team and Texas Roadhouse. Herbalife had 6-8 riders while Texas Roadhouse had at least 4 or 5. Lindner Capital was represented by Karel Sumbal, Curtis Long and Ryan Saylor. Karel rode pretty well surfing the front of the group for most of the race while Long struggled to find a rhythm. Saylor's corning skills proved to be lacking on the wet course as he struggled to keep pace through the turns. Zach Morris, who took 2nd in the Gainesville crit, and Allison Anjos (both of Herbalife) riders slipped away without enough reaction from the field and that was the last the group saw of them. Karel, despite missing the break, continued to ride smartly near the front. With 5 minutes and 5 laps to go, Mike Niemi (Metro Volkswagon), current US Junior National Time Trial Champion, attacked the group in an attempt to go for 3rd place without the danger of the closing lap craziness of a bunch sprint. Grant Potter (Herbalife), a time trialist himself, would have no part of it and brought him back with 5 laps left in the race. Saylor, who somehow found his way to the front, immediately attacked in another attempt at the final podium spot. Three laps later, Saylor was joined by Bobby Sweeting (Aerospace Engineering Group). However, the duo was caught with one lap left in the contest. The bunch sprint was won by Chad Burdzilauskas (Texas Roadhouse) followed by Rudy Robaina (Herbalife) who were teammates in 2007 on the now defunct CycleScience Racing Team. Sprinter Frank Lopez got the best of Lindner Capital's Karel Sumbal who took a respectable 6th place."

-Ryan Saylor

Monday, February 18, 2008

Race for Humanity Criterium

Here's a wrap up of the Dade Race for Humanity Criterium last Sunday...thanks again to Ryan for the race report:

"Sunday's Humanity Crit saw only Victor Rodriguez, Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor for Lindner Capital. With another large field starting the crit and many racers looking for revenge for Saturday's battle of endurance, the race strung out to single file from the gun. Victor and Karel rode smart from the onset and stayed in the front half of the field seemingly out of trouble. Saylor started near the back and quickly found himself near the rear of a field that was breaking up in several places. Within 15 minutes of starting the race, Saylor was off the back in a small group of discouraged riders who watched the field disappear in the distance around the many turns of the tight course. The field saw many attacks and threatening breakaways, but it wasn't until Ivan Franco escaped with John Durango (both of Toshiba/Santo) that a break actually stuck. Franco and Durango were flying through the turns and increased their lead over the field every lap. Not long thereafter, the break awa y duo lapped the sad group of about eight dropped riders (containing Saylor) who refused to forfiet thier entry fees. Franco and Durango blasted past the dropped riders without concern while the struggling group could not miss the fast wheels that just passed them and latched onto the two blazing teammates. It soon became clear that their misfortune was turning around as the Toshiba/Santo riders were pulling the dropped riders back into contention. Seth Hansley (Locos) and Saylor were the only riders able to keep pace with the breakaway and were delighted to find themselves back in the peloton and in contention for 3rd place. Several more laps ticked off and Saylor was able to join Rodriguez near the front of the group. Unfortunately, a tough race took it's toll on tired riders and one of several crashes took down Lindner Capital's sprinter Karel Sumbal who suffered a broken fork in the collision. Suprisingly, Saylor managed to hold onto 13th place (one spot out of the prize m
oney) with Rodriguez close behind. After this weekend, Karel's luck can only get better and we'll look for him to place well in Orlando next weekend!"

Ryan Saylor

San Antonio Road Race

Ryan Saylor for the second weekend in a row made the winning break to finish 8th place in the hilly San Antonio Road Race. He sent in this report from Saturday:

"San Antonio proved again to be a brutal venue for the 2008 edition of the Race for Humanity. While eighty five miles isn't the longest road race around, add in some long central Florida hills and the miles take their toll. The weather couldn't be much nicer to the racers with blue skies and a high around 80 degrees. Lindner Capital was represented by Jeff Kopp, Curtis Long, Victor Rodriguez, Karel Sumbal, Clint Bridier and Ryan Saylor. With over one hundred racers starting the pro/1/2 race, the large field started relatively slow with the group pedaling with nervous trepidation. Soon however, the attacks starting flying and Phil Gaimon slipped away with a handful of riders which did not include any of the normal Florida big names. They did however gain about a minute and a half on the field who did not seem overly concerned with the move. Phil Gaimon unfortunately got a flat tire and was forced to wait for the wheel truck which trailed the field. This seemed doom for the break away, but rumor had it that Frank Trevieso, now with Toshiba/Santo, bridged across to the break and replaced Gaimon with a different set of worthy legs. Not too surprisingly, after changing his wheel Gaimon caught back up to the field. After some relentless work from Gaimon combined with sporadic attacks from the field the break was eventually brought back about 50 miles into the race. More attacks followed from Winston David (Aerospace Engineering) and Gaimon until the rubber band broke again--this time with Gaimon, David and Allison Anjos (Herbal Life). The trio quickly gained over a minute lead before Daniel Larson (CycleScience) attacked the field with a Preferred Alliance rider in tow. The two also gained a lead on the field and seemed to be on their way to bridge to the leading trio. Ryan Saylor ( Lindner Capital), jumped out of the field with yet another Preferred Alliance rider and after some leg breaking work tagged onto Larson and the Preferred Alliance rider. Larson, Saylor and the two Preferred Alliance riders worked together, but didn't seem to gain on the lead trio. After 10 miles of suffering, the four chasers were caught by yet another group of chasers containing many of the usual Florida big names (Joel Chavez, Ivan Franco, Ricardo Hernandez, John Durango, Rudy Robaina and more). The chase group then swelled to as many as a dozen riders or so. However, the group's unforgiving pace left five riders heading back towards the peleton while Saylor found himself unfittingly among what seemed to be a Spanish armada of strong men. Outgunned, Saylor sat on the back of a blistering fast group until the lead trio was run down with only a few miles left in the contest. Broken, Allison Anjos and Winston David could n ot withstand the final attacks from the anxious favorites and rolled in just behind the lead group. John Durango outsprinted defending state road race champion Joel Chavez for the win. Rafeal Meran rounded out the podium. Ricardo Hernandez took fourth. Phil Gaimon, not known for his sprinting, managed to come away with fifth followed by Ivan Franco in sixth. Ryan Saylor hung on for 8th place. After some unfortunate mishaps, Kopp, Long, Rodriguez, Sumbal and Bridier rolled in strong amongst a peloton which left over half the starters as casualties."

Ryan Saylor

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pictures from the UF criterium

Thanks to Jim Wright from the Jacksonville Racing Club for these pictures!

Ryan covering Joel Chavez

Ryan making the jump to the winning break

Me in an early break with Phil Gaimon...some guy sitting on in pink, and then an Herbalife rider bridged up...but, it all came to nothing

Me looking back for some help as Joel attacks

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shawn Burke - Velocity Multisport Coaching

Speaking of sponsors...I have to tell you about another one of our sponsors, Shawn Burke. Shawn and his associates (Rich McLaughlin, Susan Wallis) at Velocity Multisport set up training plans for our team and is one of our new sponsors this year. Everyone knows, or should know, that the single best thing you can do to help you reach your potential in any sport is to get a coach.

Velocity Multisport has a wealth of knowledge in triathlons, swimming, running and cycling. They're able to plan an athlete's season using data from heart rate monitoring history...or more accurately, watts. I found the following short clip about Shawn on the internet and just wanted to share it.

Shawn Burke - Athlete Spotlight

Shawn...in a short movie!

Thanks to Velocity Multisport for all their help and support for the coming year.

University of Florida race weekend

Today was an 8 mile time trial...about 4 miles out and back with a few small rolling hills. There was a tailwind on the way out, and a headwind on the way back.

Since this race is organized by UF students, there are always delays. The first wave of riders started an 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours behind schedule. I'm not going to complain because I'm happy that they are taking the initiative to keep this race going. I know it's a thankless job, and we all appreciate the opportunity to have another race on the schedule.

The results are posted, but they are still incomplete. Curtis had a great race and was the top finisher for our team in 9th place. I snuck in ahead of Jeff for the next spot, and the "Koppster" continued to show his TT prowess one place back. So, we ended up in 9th, 10th, and 11th. Two top 10's...not bad.

The Koppster giving lessons on proper TT warmup and form...

This was the downtown Gainesville criterium course that has a bumpy brick section all the way from corner 1, through corner 2, and about 25-50 yards on the back stretch. As an added bonus, right before the 3rd corner there was some construction in the road which had been filled in with limestone...nice.

The way the course was setup, it made it somewhat difficult to get away. There were many attempts before a group of 4 leapt off the front and included one of our newest team members, and Gainesville resident...Ryan Saylor. This was a good move and we were happy with Ryan representing Lindner Capital for a possible win. Unfortunately, a group of 3 bridged up to Ryan...and the rest of us missed it. Having only one person in the break of 7 wasn't great odds. The breakaway had a lot of horsepower and gained a gap very quickly. We covered the rest of the attempts to latch onto the break...but none of those came close.

Ryan rode a great race and was 5th, an excellent effort for one of our "non sprinters". It was great to see Ryan place in his hometown race, and we were all happy for him.

Our first tier goal is to put someone in the top 5, and we accomplished that level. The whole team rode great and worked together as a cohesive unit. Only good things can come from working together...and they will.