December 18, 2013

Thompson Bucks County UCI Road Race and Doylestown Criterium

Paul Martin on the podium at the Thompson Doylestown CriteriumThe sight of us all together, 150 strong, shoulder to shoulder across the entire road with a full caravan is something an amateur like myself doesn’t get to experience very often, and not something I’ll quickly forget.

The break went right off the rip, and I was immediately put into difficulty on the first climb. By mile 35 I was dangling, but got to use the caravan to get back in which was fun. My demise came shortly after, however, and I spent the rest of the race in the feed zone handing up bottles and watching Paul, Kirk, and Andrew battle. The last time through Paul was in a small chase group free of the massively reduced peloton (only 65 riders finished the race) which looked promising. That move unfortunately was reabsorbed closer to the finish though, but Kirk and Andrew were there, and Kirk managed to get up for a hard fought top 20 result.

Sunday consisted of a very challenging crit, boasting 36 laps of a 1.4 mile course, totaling 3500ft of climbing. The attrition rate was again very high, with roughly 50 DNFs. I spent the race getting pummeled, but survived. Paul, on the other hand, was the swinging hammer of the day inserting himself into a 5 man group, before attacking said group solo with 5 laps to go. He spent the rest of the race off the front by himself, and was only caught by one other with two corners to go, holding on to a very impressive 2nd place. Kirk, ever consistent, finished in the top 10.

Big thanks go out to Tom and Karen, our hosts, who offered up some excellent digs for the weekend.

- Rob Thompson
December 18, 2013

Seitz wins Appalachia Revisted Road Race

Rowlesburg, WV.

Early on at Appalachia RevistedI took the 2-hr solo trip down to Rowlesburg for one of my favorite races.  It’s a single 94-km loop with 1215-m of gain over three separate climbs – with the final climb of 8-km @ 4.5% topping out just 9.5-km from the finish.

My enthusiasm got the best of me and I attacked on the first climb 12-km into the race, as the field let me go, I spent the next 30-km by myself about a minute up the road.

I came over the top of the second climb with a lead of 45-sec on a group of 6, then took the descent easy and a group of 4 riders bridged up as I hit the bottom.

John Heffner (Cleveland Brothers CAT p/b Big Bang Bikes)
Paul Lengermann (NCVC p/b United Healthcare)
Dan Quinlan (WAS Labs Cycling)
George Ganoung (ABRT)

The five of us shared the work evenly over the next 30-km into the final climb.  I attacked the group about 3-km from the top and didn’t look back.  I crested the top alone with over 30-seconds on the chase and ripped the descent about as fast as I could and stayed away for the win.

Seitz wins at Appalachia Revisted.Appalachia Revisted - Seitz wins.

Thanks to Fred Jordan for the photos.
- Andrew Seitz
December 17, 2013

Second half of the season results

Tour d’Burg
2nd Kirk Albers
4th Jeff Pendlebury
7th Paul Martin

Grandview Criterium
1st Paul Martin
3rd Andrew Seitz
4th Ryan Knapp
7th Jonathan Freter

Hyde Park Blast
3rd Ryan Knapp
7th Andrew Seitz
8th Jonathan Freter

Madeira Criterium
4th Paul Martin
6th Kirk Albers
7th Andrew Seitz

Ohio Three Criterium Weekend Overall
2nd Paul Martin
3rd Andrew Seitz
4th Ryan Knapp

US Elite Time Trial Nationals
5th Paul Martin

US Elite Road Nationals
9th Andrew Seitz
28th Paul Martin

Ohio State Criteirum Championships – Sylvania
1st Kirk Albers
3rd Paul Martin

Tour of the Valley
Stage One
2nd Paul Martin

Stage Three
1st Martin Vecchio
5th Kirk Albers

2nd Andrew Seitz
3rd Martin Vecchio

Milford Criterium
1st Martin Vecchio
6th Jeff Pendlebury
10th Kirk Albers

Warsaw Criterium
3rd Martin Vecchio
7th Jeff Pendlebury

Tour of Elk Grove
Day One – 2nd Jeff Pendlebury
Day Two – 3rd Martin Vecchio

Ohio State Road Race Championships
1st Paul Martin
2nd Rob Thompson
4th Jeff Pendlebury

Birmingham Criterium
3rd Paul Martin
6th Kirk Albers

Debaets Devos Memorial
1st Jeff Pendlebury
7th Kirk Albers
9th Martin Vecchio

Thompson Bucks County Classic UCI Road Race
20th Kirk Albers
42nd Andrew Seitz
54th Paul Martin

Thompson Doylestown Criterium
2nd Paul Martin
10th Kirk Albers


December 17, 2013

Photo and video highlights from second half of season

Photo and video highlights from second half of season

Thanks to Jeffrey Jakucyk and Fred Jordan for the photos.

Paul Martin wins at Grandview Criterium

Seitz and Knapp escape for third and fourth

Pendlebury and Albers near front of field sprint

Tour de Burg podium - Albers, Perry, GrimmRyan Knapp off the front at the Hyde Park BlastAndy Clarke winning the big prime at the Madeira CriteriumVecchio at Road NationalsMartinKnappRoadNationalsSeitz finishes a very strong ninth at Road NationalsVecchio and Pendlebury at Criterium NationalsPaul Martin stringing it out at the Ohio State Criterium Champs in Sylvania.Albers, Benson, and Martin - podium at Sylvania Criterium/Ohio State Crit ChampsMartin rolling the time trial.Tour of the Valley Final PodiumApproaching.Almost there.Vecchio takes it at the line.Vecchio on the top step at the Milford Criterium.Jeff Pendlebury wins Debaets Devos Memorial

June 26, 2013

Nature Valley Grand Prix

NVGP started off with a 7.7 mile out and back time trial along the river in St. Paul, MN.  The course was pretty mild in elevation gain but littered with bumps, cracks, and road patches which made for quite a bumpy ride.  That, and it was pouring rain for most of the riders – not ideal.  Winning time was 16:02 by Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly).  I rode a 17:00 flat for 30th place, best placed on Panther.  Knapp, Freter, and Atwell all rode to top 40 placings.

Stage 2 St. Paul Crit
The racing was fast and hard.  Freter, Knapp and Atwell rode aggressively and Freter saw himself off the front several times during the race.  Freter and Knapp rolled in for 23rd and 24th place, respectively.

Stage 3 Cannon Falls Road Race
First road race of the GP.  93 miles with finishing circuits in Cannon Falls, MN.  The race started fast from the gun.  I was active early hoping to get some representation in an early move but made my efforts a little too early in the race.  The first KOM came in the first 5 miles of the race, I found myself going with the initial accelerations but eased up on the climb as I was out of points contention and these riders were unlikely going to keep pushing for a break.

Later on a rather large group of riders got a gap with no Panther representation.  I attacked to bridged and enough riders came along that it came back together for another group of riders to go.  A move of over 15 riders eventually got away with no Panther representation.  The Twin Six Metal team also missed out and set up pursuit at the front of the field.  I joined in taking turns to bring back the break but the large group appeared to be working well together and we couldn’t bring it back to anything under 45 seconds.

After a short lull in racing several riders including the eventual Yellow Jersey wearer Mike Friedman ripped off the front of the field during a brutal section of cross wind.  That group later picked up the shattered break from earlier in the day.  The field entered the finishing circuits long enough after the break away that they closed the course and gave us a pro-rated time.

Stage 4 Uptown Crit
Pancake flat 6-corner twilight crit.  With only Atwell, Freter, Knapp and I left for Panther in the race we needed to be aggressive and at the front of the race.  We all took turns attacking and covering moves to try and make something happen but Optum was dead set on keeping things together for a field sprint to protect the overall and GC standings.  They succeeded and it came to a field sprint with JJ Haedo (Jamis) taking the win.  Freter continued to mix things up at the end and finished 13th in the sprint.

Stage 5 Menomonie Road Race
Plenty of short climbs and finishing circuits over 101 miles.  A very early move slipped away in the first km’s of the race and Optum rode tempo for most of the day.  There was only about 4k ft of climbing throughout the stage but almost all of the climbing came in 2-4 minute climbs which took their toll on the field. 

Around mile 80 the initial break was caught and riders began attacking to try and create the race winning break.  I was at the front and responded to several attacks but was put into difficulty when we hit the final KOM.  Atwell, Freter, and Knapp made the main front group but a smaller group of 4 riders had gotten away.  Atwell took 11th in the field sprint for 16th on the stage.

Stage 6 Stillwater Crit
The race was 20 laps on the 1.4-mile circuit.  From the gun riders were being thrown out the back by both the pace as well as the toll of the last 5 days of racing.  I had a poor start toward the back of the field and found myself closing gap after gap through the first 5 laps trying to get toward the front of the race.  After several laps of this I found myself unable to find the front of the field and settled into a small group off the back chasing until the officials pulled us from the course.

Knapp and Freter both maintained great positioning for the entire race near the front.  Knapp gave it a go with a few laps to go trying to get away from the Optum train.  A counter attack the moment he came back put him in the red and he lost contact the with the lead group.  Freter rode well staying in the top 10 riders until the final time up Chilkoot to the finish where a rider pulled out of a pedal and forced Freter to dodge a crash, costing him a high finishing spot.  Freter still held it down for 16th on the stage which helped move him up to 3rd in the Young Rider category and 20th on the GC.

- Andy Seitz

June 26, 2013

Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic

June 7 – 9

Martin Vecchio on the track.The Fixed Gear Classic is the kickoff to the 11 day Nature Valley Bike Festival, the folks at the National Sports Center Velodrome that run this race always do a really good job promoting the race, taking care of racers and putting on a great show for the spectators.

Martin Vecchio represented the Panther p/b Bakehouse Granola team on the track, racing against some of the best riders in the country, not to mention a couple of seasoned european track pros. The headline riders were current omnium national champion Zak Kovalcik, Tour de France stage winner Leon Van Bon and 4 time world champion and 6 day super pro Franco Marvulli.

What's going on back there?Over the three days of racing, Martin raced 3 scratch races, a points race, a super sprint, a miss n out, a win n out, a madison kilo, and a madison. Lots of racing packed in to three exciting fast paced nights.

Martin was always representing with his aggressive racing style, attacking with one other rider early on in the 60 lap scratch final on Thursday night. The two maintained a half lap advantage over the pack but were never able to complete the lap and were eventually reeled back in by the field. The final of that race came down to a sprint.

Friday night’s main event was the 80 lap points race. Martin was aggressive early on and picked up some valuable points in the early sprints. With only 8 sprints in this race it’s extremely important to pick up any points possible. Martin finished 4th.

Madison action.On the final day of racing, the madison was the main event. Martin teamed up with his future nationals partner to take on the super experienced 6 day racers. Being aggressive yielded the the team points, but left the team a little flat when Marvulli and Kovalcik attacked to take a lap.  A fast chase group formed with Martin and his team mate each taking really strong pulls to reel the attacking duo back.  It took more than 10 laps to gain the lap, but eventually Martin had to settle for being a lap down and finshed 3rd.

June 24, 2013

Velo Rose Criterium

Paul Martin crosses the finish.With six Team Panther/Bakehouse riders racing in Minnesota at the Nature Valley Grand Prix with the pros, Andy Clarke and I headed to Wooster, OH for the Velo Rose Criterium on Father’s Day.

For a 60 minute race, this is about as difficult of a course as you will find in Ohio, a 1.4 mile uphill/downhill circuit with 2,400 feet of climbing – not your average Midwest crit.  The finish stretch was a long uphill drag into a crosswind that guttered the field most laps leading into the hill.

Andy got away with Aaron Cruikshank (WasLabs) and built almost a 30 second gap that was looking solid until the last 5 laps. Strong chasing by Robert Sroka(Lake Effect), John Heffner (CAT) and Steve Kurpiewski (GPOA) brought the break back inside of 3 to go and set off several counterattacks. I  jumped and got a gap on the chasers with 2 laps to go but Shawn Adams (WasLabs) bridged across to me on the last time up the hill.

I made one last effort on the last 30 meters of the hill and got just enough breathing room to hold off Shawn on the downhill and finishing straight.  Matt Celek (RideOn) took the sprint for 3rd from the chasing group.

Thanks to Team RideOn for a good race on a tough course!

- Paul Martin

June 17, 2013

Tour of Mount Pleasant – Criterium and Omium

Mount Pleasant Omnium - Diekema, Albers, MartinKirk Albers lead the omnium standings after the road race, with Paul Martin not too far behind in fourth, but the criterium would prove to be a battle without the services of Pendlebury (off to NVGP) and Clarke (business engagement).  An on form BMC devo rider Alexey Vermeulen and Nuvo – Bissell riders Williams and Diekema were all close behind in the standings.

The criterium began much as the road race did, attacks from the gun, the new course featured an “either side” roundabout as well as a sharp one block hill three short turns away from the finish, all new elements proving hard to contain the aggressive field.

Paul and Kirk did their best to contain all the dangerous moves, but it was Nate Williams who forged a solo lead of over 30 seconds afte r the halfway point of the race.  An untimely took Williams out the hunt for the win as the laps went to single digits, and the field could sense a bunch sprint.

The attacks continued to come in the closing laps, fortunately Kirk and was able to find Paul Martin’s wheel with a half lap remaining, it was full gas from there to the line, with Kirk first out of the last turn to hold on to win, and Paul crossing the line in fourth, resulting in Panther – Bakehouse going one – two in the final omnium tally.

The team sends out big thanks to all the sponsors and promoters of the Tour de Mont Pleasant, definitely an event to mark on the calendar for the coming years.

June 17, 2013

Tour of Mount Pleasant, Time Trial and Road Race

Mt Pleasant Road Race podiumPaul Martin and Kirk Albers made the trip to Mt. Pleasant, MI (June 7 – 9, 2013) to try to make amends for a couple of years of mixed results at the event.  Although the Panther – Bakehouse boys had notched two wins in a row at the criterium, success in long road race event had proved quite elusive.

Paul made quick work of the short 3.87 mile time trial, edging out Nuvo -Bissell riders Alex Vanias and Jordan Diekema by 1.7 and 13 seconds respectively, to take the win.

Andy Clarke and Jeff Pendlebury rounded out the squad for the 107 mile road race, primarily a little rolling, but with a straight and flat one kilometer run into the finish, situated in front of the Soaring Eagle Casino – a big supporter of the event.

The tactics to avoid our past disappointment in the race was simple, represent in every breakaway attempt.  Easier said than done, the weekend omnium, Paul’s win on Friday, and a strong field provided the impetus for attacks to fly fast and numerous.  Andy Clarke performed above and beyond in the first couple of hours of the event.

A detente near the first feed zone, just before the halfway point, gave the Panther – Bakehouse boys a little breather, not longer later the peloton was again on the move and the deciding breakaway formed, Andy Clarke was slotted in, joined a few kms later by Kirk Albers.  11 riders strong, the turns at the front were quick and the break cooperated well.

A final round of liquids at the last feed zone, the race retraced its path back to the casino start, and at approximately ten km to go, the attacks started to fly again as the breakaway riders assessed their chances for the win.  BMC devo rider Alexey Vermeulen made the first, covered by Nuvo – Bissell rider Daniel Lam, Einstein’s Ryan Cross and Kirk Albers, then a counter came from Nuvo Bissell rider Mike Anderson, which was covered again by Kirk Albers.

A quick look over the shoulder and it appeared the two man break with Anderson and Albers had a decent chance of success.  The gap widened as the finish approached, both riders opened up their sprint with 200 meters to go, with Albers just ahead at the finish. Andy Clarke finished strong in fifth, while Paul Martin was second in the bunch at 13th.

News Coverage from the Morning Sun

June 16, 2013

Tour of Franklinton

Kirk Albers at Tour of Franklinton, photo courtesy of Blair FraleyThe Tour of Franklinton (June 2, 2013) was a much anticipated first year criterium promoted by Team 614, it has all the makings of a must do event in the central Ohio racing calendar.

The six corner course, just west of the Scioto river near downtown Columbus, was a mix of technical features and longer straights, culminating in 110 degree final turn and a short dash to the finish in front of 400 West Rich – innovative artist studios and food truck pod. Continue Reading »