Saturday, April 4, 2009

Van Uden, Bailey, Hagen Pick Cherry City Wins

THE DALLES -- Land Rover-Orbea tuned their team game to perfection in the men's pro/1/2 race of the Cherry City Criterium, launching Roman Van Uden across the line ahead of Hagens Berman's lead-out train and Bissell's pros. Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers) snuck into the mix for second. Joshua Liberales (Ten Speed Drive) outfoxed the field for third.

The third stage of the Cherry Blossom Classic featured a four-corner 1K crit in downtown The Dalles. Sunny skies and summer-like temps greeted riders, who had been challenged by bitter temps and sustained winds in Friday's stage 1 road race. Saturday evening's criterium was shortened from 50 minutes to 35 after the start was delayed by a crash on the last lap of the Women's Pro/1/2/3 race that required medical attention for several riders.

With a shortened race on tap, the field showed little tolerance for escape attempts -- not that it discouraged people from trying. But the inevitable field sprint of the shortened stage played out in an exciting finale.

Although they had two riders in the top-two spots overall, the boys from Bissell were outnumbered against the powerful (and well-stocked) Land Rover-Orbea and Hagens Berman lead outs.

"It was really a full team effort for the last few laps," Van Uden said of his win. "Evan (Elken) was my last man out there. He took me through the last two corners and I came right off his wheel."

Portland's Gentle Lovers grabbed some limelight when Steven Beardsley worked his way to the front by jumping into the Hagens Berman train.

"I actually cut into their lead-out about the first guy through," he said. "The Land Rover-Orbea guys came up beside them and I saw Roman (Van Uden) there. I knew he was their guy to sprint so I jumped on his wheel."

Unfortunately for Beardsley his spot turned out to be just one wheel too far back in the bunch as Elken launched Van Uden across the line. Van Uden said his team put him in the right spot at the right time.

"Steven Beardsely was right there, but he had some issues taking the last corner too tight and skipped out his wheel," Van Uden said. "Even he said afterward you had to be second wheel to win the race. And that's where I was."

Stage 3
1. Roman Van Uden (Land Rover-Orbea)
2. Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers)
3. Joshua Liberales (Ten-Speed Drive)

Men Pro/1/2 Overall
1. Paul Mach (Bissell) 4:01:49
2. Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) +1:44
3. Nick Clayville (Hagens Berman) +3:31

Women Pro/1/2/3

Stage One winner Patricia Bailey (Wines of Washington) was first through the last corner of the Women's Pro/1/2/3 race and held her advantage to the line over the fast-charging Heather Albert (Riverstone Women’s Racing Team). Overall race leader Robin Secrist (Veloforma) was third.

The race was marred by a terrifying last-corner crash that sent four riders to the local hospital. Early reports indicate everyone is OK.

In a race typified by short-lived attacks that were quickly swallowed up by the motivated field, Bailey knew she'd need to be first out of the last corner to win a field sprint.

"In the earlier races, no one changed position coming out of the last corner," Bailey said. "So I decided to (attack) on the back side of the course into the wind. Team Group Health girls did a great job of keeping the pace up, and that was really, really helpful."

Stage 3
1. Patricia Bailey (Wines of washington)
2. Heather Albert (Riverstone Women’s Racing)
3. Robin Secrist (Veloforma)

Women Pro/1/2/3 Overall
1. Secrist 3:47:59
2. Albert +:31
3. Bailey +59

MASTERS 40+50+

Hood River speedster Karsten Hagen's love of wine propelled him to a win in the Masters 40+50+ race. The ZteaM rider got a gap while winning a bottle of wine in a prime with about eight minutes to go and decided to take it all the way to the line. The field finished nipping at his heels, led by Wines of Washington riders Joe Baratto and Mark Hinman.

Hagen (pictured in ZteaM blue) seemed determined to make something happen in the race, initiating the fist move of the day with ZteaM comrade Clint Chase, and then jumping into just about every attack for the rest of the day. But it was his love of wine that motivated what turned out to be the winning move.

"I tried to win a bottle of wine and just kept going," Hagen said. "I saw I had a gap and just opened it up and gave it everything I had."

Hagen, who finished third in the combined field at February's Jack Frost Time Trial, put his skills to use staying away from the field.

"I kept looking back because I was fairly sure they were going to catch me, and they finally did right at the line there," he said. "I'm a good time-trialer, and that helped, because I did not want to be in a field sprint."

Stage 3:
1. Karsten Hagen (ZteaM)
2. Joe Baratto (Wines of Washington)
3. Mark Hinman (Wines of Washington)

Masters 40+50+ Overall
1. David Zimbelman (ZteaM) 3:33:21
2. Todd Gallaher (Counterbalance) +:08
3. Mike McManus (Finnegans Toys/Discover Chiropractic) +:11

Cherry Blossom Stage 2: Hegyvary takes win, Bisssell's Mach Keeps Overall

THE DALLES -- Washington's Hagens Berman team came out swinging Saturday morning, claiming two of the top three spots in the time trial after falling prey to a Bissell one-two punch during Friday's opening stage.

Hagens Berman rider Adrian Hegyvary set the best time of the day, covering the 8-mile out-and-back course in 17 minutes, 4 seconds. Hegyvary's Hagens Berman teammate Patrick Stanko finished third on the day, with a time of 0:17:44. Bissell's Jeremy Vennell, (second on stage 1) was sandwiched in between the Washington duo.

Despite Hagens Berman's stage 2 success, the four-man Bissell squad's efforts Friday in the road race, taking the top two spots and putting several minutes into the competition, was enough to keep overall race leader Paul Mach (Bissell) on top of GC. Mach finished seventh in the time trail, setting a time of 0:17:54.


Veloforma's Robin Secrist used her winning time trial to take the GC lead in the women's race. Secrist's time of 0:19:44 gave her the win over Riverstone Racing's Heather Albert, who finished with a time of 0:20:15. Friday's winner, Patrcia Bailey (Wines of Washington), finished third at 0:20:43. Albert now sits second overall, with Bailey in third.

Gallaher Sets Pace For Masters Field In Stage Two, Takes GC Lead

Counterbalance's Todd Gallaher set the pace for the Masters 40+ field with a time of 0:18:17. Gallaher's winning ride was also enough to propel him into the GC lead after two stages. Mike McManus (Finnegan's Toy's) finished second with a time trial mark of 0:18:20. ZteaM's Clint Chase finished third at 0:18:22.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bissell Takes Top Two Spots At Cherry Blossom; Bailey Bests Women's Field

(UPDATE: Complete Cherry Blossom Classic Stage 1 photo galleries are HERE. Pro/1/2 men; Pro/1/2/3 women; Masters)

THE DALLES -- The Bissell Pro Cycling Team pulled off a one-two finish today during stage 1 of the Gorge Delights Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic while Patricia Bailey (Wines of Washington) won a three-up sprint to take the women's race.


A bitterly cold wind opened the first stage of the inaugural Cherry Blossom Classic just east of The Dalles. The Men's Pro/1/2 field covered four laps of the 18.6-mile course, which featured one long grinder of a climb that faced squarely into the famous Gorge winds.

Paul Mach (Bissell) finished several minutes ahead of teammate Jeremy Vennell. The pair rode away from a break group that formed on the first lap and eventually grew to as many as 15 riders but was whittled down to five by the time Mach soloed away halfway through the third lap. His teammate followed suit on the last lap to solo in for second. Hagens Berman riders Sam Johnson and Nick Clayville finished third and fourth respectively. Evan Elken (Land Rover-Orbea) finished fifth.

"The third time up the climb I attacked, and Jeremy (Vennell) just kind of sat on (in the chase group)," Mach said of his final escape. "I was just going to wait and see what happened. If they caught me (Vennell) would be fresh. Plan B was looking pretty good. So I just went for it."

Mach built his lead on the fast tailwind section leading to the big climb.

"You're pedaling hard but you're going so fast it doesn't hurt," he said of the high-speed tailwind side of the course.

Clayville, the Hagens Berman rider who eventually bridged up to the winning move with teammate Sam Johnson, said the Bissell riders' tactics put them in an ideal position to counter any attempts to bridge up to Mach.

"It was just Elken, Sam Johnson and me," Clayville said, noting that Vennell didn't work in the chase after his teammate escaped up the road. "We were trying, but (Mach) just kept putting time into us."

Clayville attacked from the four-man chase group going up the climb on the last lap, followed quickly by Vennell, who sat on the Hagens Berman rider before attacking and dropping Clayville on the short rise before the descent to the finish.

On the road behind, Hagen Berman rider Sam Johnson attacked Elken and bridged up to Clayville for third and fourth. Elken held on for fifth.


Wines' of Washington rider Tricia Bailey won the women's pro/1/2/3 race after separating from a day-long break group near the finish with Veloforma's Robin Secrist and Heather Albert (Riverstone Women’s Racing Team). Cheryl Thonney was fourth overall and the first Cat. 3 woman to finish. Team Group Health's Jen Akeroyd finished fifth overall and second of the Cat. 3 women.

The seven-rider breakaway group formed on the big climb going into the headwind and quickly started putting time into the chase group. The mix of category 1s, 2s and newly minted 3s worked well together throughout the three-lap 60-mile race.

Once free of their breakaway companions, Bailey, Secrist and Albert worked together adding to their gap until Albert attacked with about 400 meters to go. Bailey as able to come around Albert for the win and hold off a hard-charging Secrist, who finished seconds behind.

Turpen Wins Field Sprint For Masters Win

ZteaM's usual tactic of sending riders down the road, bridging more riders up to the lead group and then ganging up on their breakaway companions didn't work at Friday's stage 1 when one of a ZteaM rider flatted on the first lap. The team stayed behind to help tow the rider back, and ZteaM breakaway rabbit Dan Zimbelman ended up staying away by himself for most of the day.

Eventual winner Greg Turpen (Chinook Cycling) said he worried when he initially saw a ZteaM rider roll off the front early.

"All I could think of was a similar strategy of Banana Belt 3," he said of the race where he lost the overall series as a result of ZteaM tactics. "They roll a guy off and then have a strategy to bridge others up and roll the team off the front of that group."

Apparently the first-lap flat also deflated those plans.

"We rolled on for the next couple of laps," Turpen said of the chase. "And everybody was taking it real easy up the climb. I don't know what happened. We saw (Zimbelman) kind of coming back toward us, so everyone started working a little harder. We pulled him in with maybe 2k to go."

Turpen took the lead with about 300 meters to go and outlasted the closing pack. Cyclepath's John Browning finished second. Todd Gallaher (Counterbalance) was third.

Men's Pro/1/2
Women's Pro 1/2/3

(More photos from Stage 1 are posted HERE)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bissell Sending Pros For Cherry Blossom; Kem's First Race Since Cali Crash

(Be sure to check back with Oregon Cycling Action for daily reports on Cherry Blossom Classic stages.)

The Pacific Northwest's elite cyclists will converge on The Dalles Friday for the start of the inaugural Cherry Blossom Classic, and they'll face a four-man squad from one of the country's top domestic teams, according to a preliminary list released on the race website. Pro mountain biker and reigning U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Ryan Trebon is also registered, along with his KONA Factory Racing teammate Erik Tonkin.

The race starts Friday morning with the Colmbia Hills Road Race. Riders face two stages Saturday, the 8-Mile Time Trial in the morning and the Cherry City Criterium in the afternoon and evening. The race wraps up Sunday with the Columbia Gorge Road race.

The Bissell Pro Cycling Team has four riders registered for the race: Jeremy Vennell, Morgan Schmitt, Paul Mach and Salem's Omer Kem. This will be Kem's first race back since sustaining serious injuries in a Tour of California crash.

Oregon's Hammer/CMG Racing Team, a powerful squad of juniors has five riders registered, although Piece of Cake winner Jacob Rathe will be in Belgium competing this week.

The Land Rover-Orbea team has seven riders registered, including Oregon's own Evan Elken. The team, which benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is fresh off a swing through California that included racing Sand Dimas and Redlands.

Washington's Hagens Berman squad has eight riders registered, including Piece of Cake runner-up Nick Clayville. Veteran Washington strongman Kenny Williams (1st Rate Mortgage) is also registered.

Team Group Health and Hagens Berman are well represented in the women's pro/1/2/3 field. Riders from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, Illinois and Alabama are registered so far.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hagen Caps Masters Hat Trick at Piece of Cake

Karsten Hagen (ZteaM) topped off his Banana Belt series overall win with a Piece of Cake Sunday by claiming his third victory in as many races. The Hood River rider finished his March hat trick the same way he won the second and third races of the Banana Belt series -- by joining a small break away group set up by one of his ZteaM comrades.

In a race typified by many breakaways and bridging efforts, the attacks started on the first crosswind section and did not let up. There were a couple of initial efforts up the road that were swallowed quickly; the wind made it difficult for small groups dangling off the front to stay away.

"If you didn't establish a convincing gap right away, the field would swallow you up," Hagen said.

Nike, ZteaM and controlled the race until Matt Slater (ZteaM) and Matt Hill (Garage) got away about halfway through the first lap and built a good gap right away. Mark Magilner (Half Fast Velo) slipped away and chased alone for nearly an entire lap.

Hagen said with constant bridge attempts up to the two-man break, his goal was to make sure another ZteaM rider made it into any chasing groups.

"I finally got a good bridge effort going with Mark Steger (Nike) and Brian Griffith (Garage)," he said. "Brian refused to work, so Mark and I battled the headwind until we caught Magilner. Our speed picked up and we caught Slater and Hill with about one lap to go."

With six strong riders in the lead group working hard against the winds and building a good gap, thoughts turned to the finish.

Hagen and Slater began attacking the group and whittled the leaders down to four: Hagen, Magilner, Steger, Slater. Hagen started attacking with about five miles to go and within a mile had dropped everyone but Steger.

"Mark began sprinting at about 300 meters and I came around him at the line," he said. "I raised one hand in an OBRA compliant salute."

Magilner and Slater duked it out for third and fourth respectively. The Garage riders came across the line individually and Kent Johnston (Fred Meyer/Lakeside) won the field sprint.


1. Karsten Hagen (ZteaM)
2. Mark Steger (Nike)
3. Mark Magilner (Half Fast Velo)

2009 Piece of Cake Masters 1/2/3 Slideshow:

Complete photo galleries posted HERE.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rathe, Moon Take The Cake In Woodland Bluster

Junior National Team member Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG Racing) continued his hot streak by taking the Men's Pro/1/2 race in a two-up sprint at the 68-mile Piece of Cake Road Race Sunday in Woodland, Wash., while the Veloforma juggernaut propelled Miranda Moon over the finish line first in the Women's 1/2/3 event.

The race betrayed its inviting moniker when blustery winds turned the nearly pancake-flat course along the banks of the Columbia River into a battle with the gusts as well as each other.


Junior phenom Jacob Rathe, who leaves for Belgium this week with the USA Cycling Junior National Team, proved himself a tad faster than the men’s field again this week by winning the Piece of Cake. Rathe initiated a break almost immediately after the neutral roll out. Jeff Bannink (Team Type 1) and Shannon Skerritt joined Rathe in the escape, which left a temporarily splintered field behind.

Although he knew he was in good company, Bannink said having just three riders so early in the race was cause for concern.

“I knew with Jacob in the group that his teammates weren’t going to chase,” he said. “I figured a couple more guys would come up because three on the first lap is too few for that long of a race.”

Bannink’s foresight proved correct. Before the field had covered half a lap, two Washington riders, 2005 Collegiate National Champion Nick Clayville (Hagen-Berman) and Phil Elsasser (Fanatic Bike Co.), made their move to join the leaders. Now five strong, the lead group quickly started adding time to the gap, leading a chase group of about 10 riders by more than a minute and the remaining field by nearly four.

With about 2 ½ laps to go, Skerritt had fallen off the leaders’ pace and Elasser had fallen on hard times.

“In the middle of the second lap I flatted my rear tire,” Elasser said. “I got a wheel change and was about to hop back in that chasing group, and then I flatted my front immediately after.”

With the lead group back down to three, the load fell back on Clayville, Rathe and Bannick (pictured above) to make the move work.

“I was like, ‘Oh, only three of us left with 2 ½ to go,’” Bannink said. “But Jacob was super strong, and (Clayville) was just so smooth. I knew with the three of us, if I could just sit in there and roll it steady, we could stay away.”

Bannink’s intuition again proved right. The trio held their lead for the last laps, leaving time for some games before the finish.

Clayville tried several attacks, which peeled Bannink from the group, but Rathe kept clawing his way back.

"Me and Nick just kind of played cat and mouse the last few Ks," Rathe said. "We came around the finishing turn and kind of slowed down. So I jumped early with about 400 meters to go and got small gap on him."

Clayville fought his way back onto Rathe’s wheel where he sat for several meters before launching one last attempt to pass Rathe, whose bike throw won by inches at the line.

"He almost got me," Rathe said. "But..."

Bannink rolled in 30 seconds later to hold onto third. The first chase group crossed the line about 2:15 later led by Aaron Sander (Cyclepath) wheel to wheel with Team Oregon's Joseph King. The field trailed in minutes behind.


The Women Pro/1/2/3 tackled 51 miles on the wind-swept course. Newly upgraded Cat. 3 Lindsay Fox (Team Oregon) wasted little time acclimating to her new competition, escaping with a rider from the powerful Veloforma team and staying away for most of the last lap.

Team Group Health’s Jen Akeroyd said the field caught the two leaders after a series of attacks and counters.

“The last little bit of trying to catch them required jumps,” Akeroyd said. “Me jumping and then the Veloforma riders would jump around me, and I’d get on their wheel and jump again.”

With the group back together nearing the finish. Veloforma had the numbers to launch Miranda Moon past the competition, but not before Fox had another chance to test her legs. The Team Oregon rider attacked with a 5K to go and began the wind up to the finish, but the seasoned Veloforma squad took over from there.

“Elice (Huggins) from Veloforma picked it up from about 3K out,” Akeroyd said of the lead out. ”Then Susan (Peithman) came in around 2K and kept pulling through. Then Miranda took over from about 200 meters, and she just had better legs than me today.”

Akeroyd held on for second.


1. Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG Racing Team)
2. Nick Clayville (Hagen Berman)
3. Jeff Bannink (Team Type 1)


1. Miranda Moon (Veloforma)
2. Jen Akeroyd (Team Group Health)
3. Laura McGraw (Veloforma)

Masters 1/2/3

1. Karsten Hagen (Z Team)
2. Mark Steger (Nike)
3. Mark Magilner (Half Fast Velo)

Men Cat. 3

1. Zac Kovalcik (Team Beer)
2. Mike Stockton (Team Oregon)
3. Rob Wessel (Team Oregon)

Juniors 16-18

1. Zack George (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
2. Kendal Johnson (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
3. Zach Bowden (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling Team)

Complete photo galleries posted HERE.