TdlCCycling

Thorsten Askervold Race Report from Chico Stage Race

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The team rolling in the hills of Nor Cal during team camp

 

TACSR

What happens when your team mate gets a flat on the way back from the stage……..Team Work Of Course! Check out the video on @taskervold on IG. #squadgoals

 

Thorsten Askervold is a Tête de la Course Cycling coached U23 rider racing for the domestic elite Team California. Along with Logan Owen and Heidi Franz, Thorsten will be posting about life on the road racing bikes. Here is his first post from last weekend’s Chico Stage Race. Enjoy.

The Chico Stage Race was the first race for “Team California” and I. If you have not heard of the team already it’s based out of Northern California hence the name. We are a development team racing under the guidance of AJ Kennedy, Freddie Rodriguez and Kirk Carlsen. Our Main sponsors are Storck, FSA/Vision and Gu Energy Labs. 2018 is my 2nd year with the team although the team went through a huge transformation going into this season. A very cool thing about our team is the diversity of our team. We have 2 Mexican riders, a kiwi, a rider from Hong Kong and others scattered all over the US.

 

Going into the stage race I wasn’t sure how we were going to ride as a team since we’ve only ridden once together at team camp back in February. Day one was the thunder hill circuit race. Our team objective was to get my teammate Cooper and I in a winning position for the end. However near the end a break ended up getting away and we had Cooper in it and he sprinted for 5th. A good result, but we were hungry for more.

 

Going into the 2nd day I knew this was a perfect course for he and I. It was a 90 mile road race with a 4 mile gravel section and a small hill during and after it that we had to do 2 times. We had a plan going into the race and we stuck with it. I was really excited the way our team rode. We entered the gravel section as a team first on the last time through. I was feeling very optimistic with a couple teammates in front of me and Cooper right behind me. About halfway through the gravel Cooper had gotten a flat so it was up to me to finish it off. Patience was my enemy though and I decided to make an attack on the gravel hill (about 5-6 miles from the finish). I thought that this could succeed because I saw everyone was hurting and no teams were organized and I had good legs. However I ended up getting caught right before the next hill exiting the gravel section and that is when Team Rally decided to attack and that was the end of my race. It was the difference between me sitting in on the final little hill and making the front group. But my lesson was learned.

 

On the last day patience was our enemy again during the final stage (the crit). We made too many moves to be fresh at the end. But with about 2 Laps to go we had Gera up in a break, but the gap closing very quickly as Team Elevate took control of the race. 1 lap to go I had Cooper in front of me but he got moved off his line and lost some speed which left it up to just me. I had to gain a couple more positions to be where I wanted and got there and then the sprinting started –  going into the final corner we caught the breakaway. We were going a lot faster then the guys we caught and they were all spread out through the corner and I got caught behind them as I took the outside line when I should have gone to the inside – missing out on a potentially very good result.

 

This was our first race as a team and we made mistakes. But our team has a lot of potential and we learned from those mistakes. Main lesson being patience and how big of a difference it makes in this sport.

 

Next race for our team is Tour of Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Logan Owen – GP Larciano

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Yeah, that was a rough one….

Everyone was talking about the Strada Bianche from this past weekend – as they should. That was one hell of a bike race.

 

There was another bike race in Italy last weekend as well – the GP Larciano – held the day after Strada. This is a little late in appearing due to some travel delays following the race but here is Logan Owen’s report from Larciano:

On Sunday we had GP Larciano on tap. Many of the riders that raced an epic Strada Bianche were racing Larciano because it was really close to the finish of Strada.

 

As we rolled up to the start of the race it reminded me of many of the U23 Italian races I had taken part in in the past. From the presentation stage to the announcer – everything was very similar to my last few years of racing in Italy.

 

The plan for the day was for our climbers Dani Moreno, Daniel Martinez and Julian Cardona to wait for the 4th of 4 times up the 11km climb to follow moves or attack themselves. The team also gave me the green light to try and make it over the climb and be there for the sprint. After the 2nd time over the climb I realized I wasn’t going to have the legs and did everything I could to help all the climbers by positioning them into the climb. 

 

Martinez ended up finishing 25th. He was one of the strongest on the climb and was able to split it to just 8 riders but everyone looked at each other and a few other groups were able to get back on. I ended up being dropped the 3rd time up but kept smashing on with a big groupetto so we could finish the race. We ended up finishing 10 minutes behind the winner, Matej Mahoric. I can say that it was a rough one.

 

I am now in Girona for a few days with some of the guys for a mini-camp before I head back to Belgium.

 

I hope everyone enjoyed reading – thanks!

 

 

Thanks to Logan for the report. And – congratulations to his wife Chloe who absolutely smashed it at track worlds last week!

Logan Owen Reports from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

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The Pink Armada with Logan sitting second wheel

OMLOOP COBBLES

Cobbles!

The 2018 Spring Classics season has finally arrived!

The opening events of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne took place this past weekend in Belgium and Tête de la Course Cycling athlete Logan Owen was there racing. Logan was originally supposed to make his European racing debut with his EF Education First team at KBK on Sunday but that changed when he was told last Tuesday that he would be racing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad instead.  Historically Omloop HNB has been harder then KBK, That definitely would be the case this year as it would cover the same roads and cobbled climbs of the old Tour of Flanders in the closing kilometers.

As his coach I was a little nervous. Logan was just getting over a cold and missed a scheduled session behind the motor to help get him back to race speed after the racing break he had following Tour Down Under. Now he was racing one day earlier in a harder race. Logan took it all in stride though and was pretty psyched to get a shot at Omloop HNB.

Below is his race report filed just after the race. Enjoy.

 

On Saturday I raced my first Spring Classic as a pro and probably my biggest race to date. I was a little nervous as to how hard the race would be since I’ve heard from many former pros that the classics are always full gas from start to finish.

 

Saturday morning we all got on the bus and prepared for war.

 

We played some old school rock to get pumped and ready for the race as a lot of the guys on the team were a bit older than me (so – a lot of the same music you heard in my car traveling with me to all of those races as a junior? 😉 – Joe)

 

As we walked off the bus to head to the sign-in in the center of the Ghent Velodrome there were tons of fans asking for autographs and pictures. In between trying to grab my bike and getting to the sign-in I had to sign around 30 autographs which was something I haven’t had to do on a large scale like this. I was blown away by how many fans showed up and how big the whole race seemed. After sign-in we did our final radio checks and headed to the start.

 

The temperature was just above freezing and everyone was completely bundled up. My job for the race was to make sure Sep and the other couple of guys going for the finish were taken care of all day and to make sure they were in the front at kilometer 115. If I made it past that I was to position them for the bottom of the Kokerelle, which was a new climb to the race and where fireworks were expected to go off.

 

Everything went according to plan and I was able to help put them in the front for both of those sections. It wasn’t easy as I spent a lot of energy closing gaps and keeping Sep out of the wind earlier in the race.

 

I basically treated those two points as my finish line and gave everything to make sure we were in the front for the key points in the race. After that I held on to the back of the bunch for a couple more kilometers before getting dropped with a big group.

 

Before the race started I told myself that no matter what I was going to finish the race. Many guys in the group that I was in got in their respective vans and team cars but I slugged on with 7 other guys to the finish. Although I finished they put me down as a DNF for some reason even though I wasn’t outside time cut but I was able to complete all the goals the team and I set out for myself before the race.

 

Sep really rewarded all of our hard work with a podium finish.

 

For my first classic in the World Tour I couldn’t have asked for a much better start.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

-Logan

 

 

Logan races again next week at the GP Industria & Artigianato in Larciano, Italy.

“It’s a fucking bike race so we’re bringing it” – Heidi Franz reports from VOS

"...it’s a fucking bike race, so we’re bringing it."   - photo courtesy Jonathan Devich (@photogjono)

“…it’s a fucking bike race, so we’re bringing it.” – photo courtesy Jonathan Devich (@photogjono)

 

Recovery Starts Immediately - so EAT UP!  -photo courtesy Jonathan Devich (@photogjono)

Recovery Starts Immediately – so EAT UP!
-photo courtesy Jonathan Devich (@photogjono)

Bike Racing is Hard....

Bike Racing is Hard….

Tête de la Course athlete Heidi Franz opened her 2018 race account in Arizona this past weekend at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race. Here is her race report:

 

Valley of the Sun 2018 Race Report

For the first time, I wasn’t starting my road season with a of couple relaxed Collegiate road weekends with friends, or the classic Tour De Dung road races out in Sequim, WA. In the words of Rally Sport Director Zach Bell, we were now “100% Pro”, through and through, and that’s just how this season would start.


Sara Bergen, Gillian Ellsay, Summer Moak and I were sent to The Valley of the Sun Stage Race. Three of us had never done it before, just as three of us had never raced together as teammates. The purpose was to set a precedent for the rest of the season in terms of communication, coming up with a plan, and sticking to it. Using the weekend to get our race legs back on and get back into the road mindset allowed us to ease into the season with low pressure. But of course, when we line up at the start to race, it’s a fucking bike race, so we’re bringing it.

Stage one is a time trial, basically a flat 14 mile out-and-back. We set warm-up camp in our sweet VIP parking near some desert brush and Porta-Johns, and began the day. Gillian would go off first, Sara second, myself third, and Summer fourth. As the Phoenix/Scottsdale resident, Summer knew this race well. There was little wind to speak of, so it made for a less than complicated effort.


There were reports of Sara Bergen rocket-shipping herself around the course, absolutely steamrolling the competition and landing securely in 2nd, 13 seconds behind Leah Thomas. I…went a little slower, but that’s fine. Always critical at first, I had to remember that it was my third TT ever on an actual TT bike. So, I was content . Summer put down an absolutely amazing personal best time, putting her in 5th. Gillian put out a super strong showing in 10th. With me in 13th, the whole team was starting in the top 15 in GC. We could start to scheme our cards for the road race the next day.

Tibco missed out on the top 6 in the TT, so we expected a fireworks show from them to get something up the road. What we didn’t really expect (or count) was that 10 women would all go on the attack from that team. 10!!! We had planned for Gillian and I to cover moves early on that could be dangerous, but that meant following anything that had UHC and Tibco in it. Needless to say, we were busy! No breaks were sticking, and the pace was incredibly high. With one men’s field passing us left and right (literally) and our peloton catching some straggling men on the last lap, the finish was decided in a decent manner of chaos. We were setting up for a bunch sprint, and Sara and Summer were to follow wheels and help each other position in the last km. If Gillian and I had anything left, we would try to help. Little did we know, those weren’t just dudes up the road, but a break from our peloton. Lauren Hall ended up taking the win for UHC and Allison Jackson in 2nd for Tibco. Far enough down on GC, they didn’t change the top 15 very much. Sara was still solidly in 2nd. So, how to make up 13 seconds in a criterium….? Hmmm.

Spitting fire and getting Sara in a break was the goal for the crit. If not, set up Summer for the bunch sprint. The course was fast, 8 corners. Being the first crit of the season, I was pretty nervous, but just focusing on the plan would keep me from overthinking anything. The first half was great. We were riding safe, always towards the front and choosing our responses carefully, letting Tibco flyers go up the road if they wanted just to come back a couple laps later. We learned to save our matches for the really dangerous moves. Unfortunately, a serious crash 15 minutes in with a young 2020 rider neutralized the race for about 15 minutes. Starting us with 25 minutes to go, there was little time to get going. Each of us tried to move up and reshuffle the field with attacks and get Sara in position to take off. However, she was too marked to get away. Suddenly 4 then 2 laps to go, it was a rush to move Summer as far up as we could. Sara was in a decent spot and there was little more Gillian and I could do with such little time.
Stopping the clock at 35 minutes… Kendall Ryan took the win for Tibco in the sprint.

Overall, we came away feeling good. We raced well as a team for the first time, communicated well and knew when and where we needed it better. We raced hard and held our own, being a small squad of four against the powers-in-numbers. With a 2nd, top 15 for everyone, and Best Young Rider, we are happy and ready to do it again.

All our best goes to Zoe Ta-Perez’s recovery! Glad to hear she will be okay.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

– Heidi

Heidi Franz Reports From Rally Team Camp

Sport Director Zach Bell Giving Instructions Before a Ride

Sport Director Zach Bell Giving Instructions Before a Ride

 

Tête de la Course Cycling athlete Heidi Franz is racing for the Rally Cycling Women’s Professional Cycling Team in 2018. She is currently attending team camp in Southern California and sent in this report and awesome photos. Enjoy!

 

Team Camp Report
January 26, 2018

 

It might officially be the end of day six at Rally Cycling team camp, but for me it’s going on day 24 of rolling on the roads of Ventura County in the sunshine. Sorry PNW folk, I made it one sentence before rubbing it in.

 

Rally Cycling was kind enough to put up myself and three of my teammates, Gillian Ellsay, Sara Bergen, and Abby Mickey, in a house in Oxnard before our team camp began on January 21st.

 
Eat, ride, sleep, and repeat was our mantra for the build up to camp, with some intermittent game nights with some of the Rally men’s team. To be honest it was quite heavenly, getting to spend the day climbing my pick of any canyon along the Pacific Coast Highway, and make my way back to the beach along “The Flats of Despair”-not so heavenly. The teammates eventually started rolling in and schedules got dialed, and before we knew it the whole team was dressed in kit outside Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas, waiting to be introduced to sponsors and VIPs as Rally Cycling for 2018. Then the party really got started.

 

The first couple days of camp have all the glamor. Our media guys were leap frogging back and forth, getting every possible action shot with every possible angle. Our superb soigneur Kelly is busy preparing an amazing lunch for us when we get back, and Zane our wonderful mechanic is ready for anything we throw at him. Even a fender. (Because of course I brought my fender to California.) For us riders it’s just a fun time to get to know each other while we suffer up some canyons. Not everyone is present at camp (Kelly Caitlin and Allison Beveridge at their track World Cups/camps respectively, Emma White preparing for Cyclocross World Championships… I am happy to keep bragging about how awesome my teammates are) but the first couple days are nice for getting a sense for where people are in their training, as we do long steady tempo and go our own pace up the climbs.

 

On our third day, director extraordinaire Zach Bell put together some breakaway/chase drills, controlling and pacing the gap between a small break and then attempting a catch. Sometimes it’s not just about catching the break, but controlling the leash and playing the gap to your advantage. The infamous “Camp Champs” loop in Malibu is where this all plays out. It’s about 10 miles long, along the ridge where the top of Westlake meets Mulholland, around to the top of Encinal and back to Mulholland- if you’re familiar with the area. On our second go around, myself and breakaway buddy K. Maine (aka Peanut) successfully held off a raging chase group of Sara Bergen (Iceberg), Sara Poidevin (Tiny Dancer), and Gillian (you guessed it, Gilligan) for 1.5 laps of Camp Champs- 1,500ft of climbing in 45 minutes over 15 miles. It was a solid day.

 

At this point, we are 17 hours into the week. We hear there is money on the line at the top of a canyon tomorrow, and our legs are getting tired. However, we are busy editing team photo projects and watching lots of Netflix, so hopefully we’ll be well rested for the onslaught ahead of us.

 

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow along @rallycycling for all the fun.
Sending sunshine wherever you are,

Heidi

 

rallycats 2

RallyCats Roll

 

So many bikes.....

So many bikes…..

 

Super Mechanic Zane Getting All of Our Gear Ready to Roll

Super Mechanic Zane Getting All of Our Gear Ready to Roll

 

Another Canyon.....

Another Canyon…..

 

PCH Rally Cats

PCH Rally Cats

 

 

Logan Owen Reports from The Tour Down Under – Stage 6

 

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Most Combative Rider on Stage 6! photo pulled from @RideArgyle IG feed

Logan Owen made his World Tour debut this week at The Tour Down Under in Australia. Logan made the most out of his first stage race as a World Tour rider by getting into the breakaway on the last stage, a 90km circuit race in Adelaide. He was named the stage’s Most Combative Rider. Here is Logan’s recap of the stage:

 

We had a 90km Circuit race on tap for today. The plan for the day was to get Will in the break and for me to help Mitch and Scully in the sprint. Will gave it everything in the first few laps to get into the break but it just didn’t work out. I started to follow moves and accidentally ended up in a move that got a decent gap. That group broke apart leaving an Astana rider [Truls Korsaeth] and me off the front. A guy from Trek [Laurent Didier] then came across. Both of them stopped working so I attacked and just went solo. Eventually a Dimension Data rider [Ben O’Connor] came up to me. He was going full gas to get the time bonus on the line with 7 laps to go. I told him that I wouldn’t work with him until after the sprint because it didn’t benefit me or the team to waste my energy and help him get time bonuses to move ahead of our GC leader. Either way he was going to get enough to leap frog Canty in the GC so I didn’t even bother sprinting. Once he got his bonus seconds we began to work together going flat out. Eventually with about 4 laps to go I attacked because I figured this would be my best chance at winning the stage. Eventually I got caught with a little over 2 laps to go (8km) and then just hung on for dear life.

 

In the end I got the Most Combative award and a trip to the podium. I was really happy with this because it was a cool way to cap off a great week of racing with the EF-Drapac p/b Cannondale boys. I learned quite a bit this week including that WT racing is very controlled and can be really easy until it gets ridiculously hard at the end of the stages. All in all it was a great week of racing for the whole team!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

– Logan

 

Logan is now headed to Girona for team camp. Check in next week as Logan will be filing a couple of posts from camp.

Logan Owen Reports from The Tour Down Under – Stage 5 – Willunga

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Logan Owen is making his World Tour Debut with his new team EF Education First at The Tour Down Under. He has been sending in updates on his race. Here is his recap of Stage 5 – the penultimate stage that finished on Willunga Hill:

 

We had the iconic Willunga Hill on tap today. This stage usually decides the GC for the race. Our goal was to put our two GC guys in the front going into the final time up Willunga Hill and try for the stage win. We looked after our GC riders really well all stage long, kept them out of the wind, kept them hydrated and everything. The whole team made it over the first of two climbs up Willunga. We were able to keep or GC riders near the front and protected coming up towards the crosswind section that goes for about 5km into the base of Willunga. Will and I moved Simon and Brendan up to the front before we made the left to the crosswind section. We hit the cross wind section with the four of us on the front and we slammed the race into the gutter. Will, Simon and I did some pretty long pulls going flat hoping to put the other GC contenders on the back foot. We were able to do some damage to what was left of the bunch and we were able to drop Brendan off at the base of the climb fairly fresh. At the end of the day he just didn’t have the legs to go with the attack that Richie Porte put in on the climb but we couldn’t have raced a better race as a team. Hats off to Richie on his stage win. Everyone knew when and where he was going to attack and he was still able to get the win.

 

The Tour finishes tomorrow with a 90 km circuit race which will most likely end in a bunch sprint.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

– Logan

Logan Owen Reports from The Tour Down Under – Stages 3 & 4

 

LOGANcoolerTDU

Logan Owen and Brendan Canty try to stay cool in the shade and on top of one of the many team coolers

 

Logan Owen is currently making his World Tour debut with his new team, EF Education First, at the Tour Down Under. Logan has been sending in updates on his race. Here is his recap of Stages 3 and 4:

 

Stage 3 Report: It’s hot.

 

Stage 4 Report: IT’S HOT!!!

 

Seriously though, it has been really hot the past couple of stages, especially coming from a Pacific Northwest winter straight to summer in Australia. The team gave me a really good heat acclimatization protocol which I did prior to coming here but even with that, when the temperatures inch towards triple digits Fahrenheit …. Because of the heat the race organization shortened stage 3 and  for stage 4 they pushed the start up 1 hour.

 

Stage 3 my Garmin was reading close to 50 celsius. We spent most of the day riding what would seem super easy on paper but was actually an uncomfortable pace because the temperature was so high. It’s so hot it feels hard to just breathe. There was one section of road that we rode past that looked like it had melted away. My objective for the day was to make sure that our GC guys were in the front for the final 2 km because it was a pretty technical finish and we didn’t want to lose any valuable time if there were any splits. The entire squad did a great job putting them in the front and none of our leaders lost any time.

 

Stage 4 was the first of back to back days that will decide the GC for the race. My job was to look after the GC guys and deliver them into the final climb in good position. Along with that I spent time getting bottles, which was much more difficult with a strong cross wind for most of the day.

 

Heading towards the climb, Mitch and I were looking after Brendan and keeping him in the top 10. Eventually I hit the front and gave a good turn to drop Mitch and Brendan off a little under a kilometer before the start of the climb [ed note: If you were able to watch the coverage you can see Logan at the front with about 17km to go]. At this point my job was done and I just limped home up the climb in the scorching heat. Both of our GC guys, Dani and Brendan, were active on the climb and ended up finishing in the front reduced group. This shows good signs for the stage up Willunga Hill tomorrow.

 

Thanks for reading. I am going to try and stay cool now…….

 

– Logan 

 

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Lots of water bottles and ice socks for the heat.

 

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A lot of trips were made to the team car for bottles to stay hydrated on another hot day.

Logan Owen Reports from The Tour Down Under – Stage 2

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Logan talking with some fans prior to stage 2 of Tour Down Under

 

Logan Owen is making his World Tour debut this week with his new team EF Education First at The Tour Down Under. Logan will be sending in some brief posts about the race here. This is the second installment following yesterday’s Stage 2:

 

The profile for today was tough from start to finish. Plus it was really hot – 38 degrees C. The break went almost immediately again and Will (Clarke) made it into the move again. Will was able to win both sprint points out on the road which also gave him six bonus seconds. 

 

I looked after the GC guys again today. In the finale, I helped to get everyone into position at the base of the final climb up to Sterling. From that point I just rolled into the finish with one of the Bora guys. Overall my legs were good until it got really hot on the circuits – it definitely felt hard those first few times up the climb on the circuit. 

 

Time now to cool off and recover.

 

Thanks for reading. 

 

– Logan

 

Below is a screenshot of Logan’s file from the race.

Logan’s file from the stage. His peak 20 minute heart rate (highlighted) was 188 bpm and came towards the end of the stage as he was working to get his teammates into position for the finale.

 

Logan Owen Reports from The Tour Down Under – Stage 1

Logan TDU

Logan getting interviewed prior to yesterday’s stage.

 

Logan Owen’s World Tour debut with his new team EF Education First was yesterday at the Tour Down Under. Logan will be sending in some brief posts about the race here. This is the first installment following yesterday’s Stage 1:

Overall it was a pretty chill day. The stage profile was such that it was more than likely going to end in a bunch sprint. A breakaway went very early on the stage and we had Will (Clarke) in it. Will was the last of the breakaway to stay away and was able to win the most aggressive rider of the day as a result. He also was second on the stage’s only KOM.

 

For the finale we just looked out for our GC guys and kept them safe and in position. All in all it was a good day and we were able to accomplish what we needed to on the stage. Stage 2 is going to be tougher. It has a hard finish circuit with constant short climbs on it and a drag that goes up to the final sprint. Anticipate a select uphill group sprint.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

– Logan