Monday, March 02, 2015

Clean Win in Woodland!

Jaden Salama at the start line.
Salama wins Dirty Circles Road Race
Followed by race reports from Randy Word and Jaden Salama
Photo Credit: Mo Salama

Woodland, Washington was the location of the first pack race of the season. Featuring 6mile loops around the bottom land behind a high dike holding back the mighty Columbia River, narrrow roads kept the packs sewn up tighter than sardines in a can.

Racing in a pack is terrifying. Just racing alone on the open road in an Individual Time Trial is daunting work. Merely staying on a rural road with big cross winds is hard enough. But add other people, team dynamics, and more speed and you have the cumalitive challenge of road racing.

Sunday, three Cyclisme Racers took on the challenge of pack racing in three different divisions.

Randy Word raced in the Master's 3/4s with 50+, Cliff Theisen raced in the Master's 4/5s, and Jaden raced in the all younger age inclusive "Junior's Division."

Randy narrowly avoided a crash in the sprint and finished top 20. Cliff held on while boxed in the middle the whole race, but then got dropped by the pack sprint in the last 500meters to roll in about 25th. Jaden hid amongst the leaders doing little bits of work to keep the pace high, then sprinted for the win in the end.

Race Report from the Master's 3/4s and 50+
I lost the race in the parking lot! Sounds crazy, but there were 78 riders in our field and the roads are very narrow. People lined up for the race well before the start while some of us were out warming up. I probably started around 40th or worse.
I spent the entire race (which was too short, in my opinion) just trying to move up. The only place I could move up was on the edge of the road, and only occasionally.
In the final sprint there was a big crash in front of me - I hit my brakes, hoping no one behind would run into me, but then saw an opening, let go of my brakes, and got through the crash unscathed.
The sprint was incredibly sketchy, it was slow and people spread all across the road banging handlebars. I was just starting to get wound up and could have blown by nearly all of them if there had been an opening, but I backed off when I saw people banging bars & shoulders. I ended up 19th, and was somewhat disappointed, but yet happy to have made it through my first road race in about 4 years without any incidents and still feeling strong thanks to a flat course. We did 50km (31 miles) in just under 1 hr 15 min. The weather was perfect, scenery was great, and the rush of 78 riders on a narrow country road was fun.

Cliff and Jaden raced earlier in the day. I actually saw Jaden, and the Junior's pack, on the road as I was driving in. I didn't get a chance to talk with Jaden, but he won 1st place! Congratulations Jaden. BTW Be sure to contact OBRA or the chief ref ( and let her know Jaden is on the Word-RCB by Cyclisme team - the team affiliation is not showing in the results.

I did get a chance to talk with Cliff after his race, and before mine. It sounds like he did exceptionally well in his first road race. He rode smart and finished with the pack. He said he had a great time and it was a good experience. I think he's going to have a good season. I also noticed that Cliff did not have a team affiliation showing. Maybe we need a reminder sent out for everyone to include their team name on their license application and race sign-ups.
Inexperience at the Dirty Circles Road Race
By Jaden Salama
From the start line to the finish line, inexperience abounded. 
In the very first lap, on the first bend, a very large rider came up on my right, and slowly rode up to the person in the from of the paceline. When he was next to the leader of the paceline (who had no idea he was there), he just sat there, not saying anything. The front rider swerved right a little bit to avoid a peice of debris, and the insurgent slammed on his brakes and skidded in the loose dirt he was in. 
In the paceline, many riders pulled through, and then, worked hard to ride alongside their teammates at the front of the paceline. Some riders would attack hard in the middle of a lap, only to be caught, breathing heavily, by the rest of the team. Due to difficulties at the front of the paceline, some riders would randomly hit their brakes, almost crashing me and other riders out on multiple occasions. Not only were these riders inexperienced, it didn't seem like they had much of any training. 
The one rider that seemed like he knew what he was doing was pretty burnt out when we reached the 500m mark, so I just decided to sprint for the finish. I didn't see anyone after that, however.
In the midst of all this inexperience, there was teamwork and companionship. One rider weaved in and out of the paceline to provide a young teammate with shelter from the wind. When someone attacked, there was a large cry of "Attack!". 
When I was leading the pack, I took my pull and then drifted left and slowly slowed down to drift to the end of the pack. After a couple seconds, I didn't see anyone pull through, so I looked behind me and found that the entire pack had "pulled off" to the left with me, and was slowing down. 
When the end came, I sprinted. I was amazed by how much ground I gained. I was a long way off the front as I crossed the line. 
I am thankful for all my training with my team. It really made life easier today.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jack Frost kicks off OCITT Series!

Photo Credits:
2014 OCITT Champ supports 2015 JF Winner,

Grace Kemling
Tim Bergmann
Tim White

Strategy is the art of thinking ahead, and making a plan for success.

Jaden Salama starts with determination.

Last year, as a team looking at the calender of the 2014 OBRA season, Word RCB racers built a strategy around the "Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Series" or "OCITT Series."

Led by Alex White and Gillian Bergmann, kids like Willy Campbell and Jaden Salama  blossomed into very fast cyclists.

Father and son prepare for another OCITT SeriesVictor

This year, returning from sabatical, Maya Bergmann won her first event. Riding a TT bike provided by the White family, Maya is showing excellent form.

Ten year old Joshua contemplates his 51 minutes of pain.
Keeping up with the kids, adult mentors also saw real improvement in their ability to race medium distances against the clock.
For 2015, the strategy has remained the same. However now, we have done it once already.
That point improves the strength of the strategy exponentially.

Cindy and Del target the Blind Stoker Para Olympic Pipeline
Everyone on aero bars, our tandem team more practiced than last year, lot's of aero helmets and a clearer understanding of what they are getting into, Word RCB is a whole new team starting 2015.

Compare times of the 2014 Jack Frost to the times of the 2015 Jack Frost.

Keep up with the 2015 Oregon TT Cup Series standings (here)

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Keegan signs with Marian

Indianapolis, Indiana is the home of the Major Taylor Velodrome. Just across the street is America's premiere cycling college, Marian University.

Keegan O'Neill is a b.i.k.e. Graduate who recently committed to matriculating at Marian with a large partial scholarship for cycling.

Keegan has long had his sights set on college, and collegiate cycling.

While Keegan rode with Bicycles and Ideas for Kids' Empowerment he led with motivation, love of cycling, and doing what it takes to succeed at getting into college. Academic zeal and community service were two of his most prominent characteristics.

Like Staci, Nils, Rion, Nissy, Stephen, Jake and many others, Keegan O'Neill represents the ideals of Benevolence, Good Form, Simplicity and Team without omission... and we are very proud of him.

Thanks Keegan, for bringing honor to the Lore of Cyclisme and to the reputation of the OBRA peloton.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wind, rain, and pacelines.

Joshua is a blueberry dynamo in his full rain suit.

Dark skies, and an early morning rain storm inspired many not to show up, but those who did, had a grand time!

Jaden and Bergmann are on radios and keeping all well.
Balmy air on an inner city route made for perfect  conditions.

Beginners and State Champions alike enjoyed a brisk crossing of town. From River City to the Eastmorland Park sign, Portland's inner-SE side was traversed.

Lara Gifford pulls through to the front.
Riding close together, and pulling through on the lee-ward side, then falling back on the windward side were the orders of the day.

Little Joshua and new commuter Lara, had been practicing in the wind just the day before.

They did a great job of demonstrating their power and prowess in the more advanced ride the next day.
Lara and Joshua on Piedmont Bluff the day before.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Speed, unbridled!

Jason Skelton puts the death blow to the race.
Practice is usually a place to implement some of your skill, then return home before you are so tired you get sick. I often ask:
"What do you want to win? Practices or races?"
They usually answer "races!"

Thinking behind all this, is development comes safely when you practice within your abilities. Inevitably, even the conservative trainer finds themselves out on the edges of pain, and traction speed. As strength improves, skill follows suit.

Reasonably it works within the context of commuters who make race goals and rehearse them on the weekends.

Three off the front, shatter the field.
Recently however, the stakes have risen. Real racing has become one of the practice activities, and a go for broke, devil may care ambeance has permeated the scene. A real race peels your skin back and leaves dust where your heart once was.
Recovery takes days.

Out in northern most Portland's Hayden Meadow, Bob Mionskie showed us a two mile loop. Just two miles is palatteable to anyone. But three times in a row, climbing two hundred foot climbs each time, it bites you like a shark.

"On your mark, get set, GO!" are the mystical words that change everything. Now when you a wheel, the party is over. You are toast.

Everything seems to happen quicker when the racing is real.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Educating Joshua

Joshua Morris in the pack.
Development of bicycle racers at Cyclisme has always included a wholistic list of details. Mind body, and spirit all must be given ample attention in the activities Cyclisme cycling programs offer.

Coach Morris has a willing student.
Cindy and Dell debuted on the tandem.
Children are taught to read and write. Youth are expected to coach and mentor, and adults are led to serve the community in the fullness of their skill set. These supra-cycling elements build the team up in a way that is often vexing to an opposing peloton wondering how to come around our lead out.

The Gerwings watch as Elena pursues cycling.
Early this Sunday, our team event was improved by the attendance of our youngest, and most motivated team member, Joshua Morris. We were having something of a homecoming event featuring the visitation of famous members of yesteryear, The Gerwing Family.

Starting with breakfast at GRAVY, the group enjoyed a mega portion breakfast and laughter. Afterward, the group sauntered down to THE FRESH POT. Joshua got his carbon fibre bike out and rode it up and down the sidewalk. Little Elena Gerwing tried to keep up with Joshua on her tiny wooden stride-a-bike.

Preparing to sprin
She was thrilled to be playing on her bike under the adoring gaze of so many cycling fans. Joshua lent his cycling expertise graciously. Elena was all smiles.
Nurturing plants.
After lattes, it was down to Swan Island for speed work. Joining up with Robin Jacobson and Texas Lawton, the group gained enough strength to take on double digit mileage.
One would think when the paceline began to roll in earnest, little Joshua would drop away, but Joshua is not built that way. He is determined to perform well amongst his teammates everytime. Time and time again he came to the back of the pack and renewed his resolve to pull through to the front.

Finding strength and shaping character, Joshua empowers his teachers when they nurture him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fifty Miles and a Sprint!

Climbing out of the Rock Creek Valley.
Rock Creek Valley arrives after treacherous pot holes, and energy sapping hills like only The West Hills can provide. When 9 people set out to work together to get there, the adventure is intoxicatiing.

Skyline Blvd. traverses the crests of the NW Tuality mountains. Over the years, sub-urban development has turned rural nature into public
Griffin and his Dad.

Loreful, though this old training road is, it is also now infested with cars. This neighborhood is known for its many cycling casualties. Statistically it is the lone rider dutifully tucked over in the gutter at on the edge of the road who gets knocked out by a passing truck mirror like the slowest gazelle get snatched up by the hungry lion.
John Hilde lives for Skyline.
Cyclisme tradition and self preservation lead the team to form up our paceline to protect us from automotive predators like circling fish defend against sharks. Arguably the defense works not too effectively, but the team van adds another layer of deterence.
If racers saw what we see in the rear-view mirror, they might be shocked  by how fast drivers fly up behind.
Between vehicles of different size, shape, and speed, the tension on those roads is palpable.

So the question begs to be asked, "where does an inner city cycling  team go to get 50 miles and a sprint?"

Brendan and Ryan separate themselves when the road ascends.