|April 28, 2009
Dana Point - April 26, 2009
The Swami's DET rolled into Dana Point down a few of our regular riders (Alex and Rob were off at Collegiate Conference Championships in Davis), but with the added reinforcements of Joel, Pascal, and secret weapon Orion Berryman. In addition to our added firepower we had Corey, Jason, and myself representing as well. Daggs 'wired us up' before the race, pro style (race radios). Every time we came around the squad received status updates of breakaways forming, and relative position of all our riders in the field.
Swamis in the middle
We had a field of 60-70 racers, Cat 2 only, on the fast and technical course in Dana Point. Very similar to the course of last year, with a slightly wider "back stretch" for added "safety". Still technical, still plenty of opportunites for sketchy guys to make dangerous moves.
Our race was shortened from 60mins to 55, and after brief race instructions from the announcer and head offical, we were off. The Cat 2 Swamis did a good job of starting near the front and all our guys were active from the start. Category 2's racing is known for very irratic pacing. Attacks, lulls, more attacks, more lulls, a crash, an attack...etc. Minus a few scary guys, this race was surprisingly safe. Nearly every move had a Swami covering it, and we all maintained great position throughout the race. Pascal covered no less than 15 moves on his own. That guy is a machine!
Towards the end, Corey attacked and got off the front, only to be reeled in. Immediatly Orion counter attacked, and spent a few laps off the front. He was brought back with about 5 laps to go, setting up for a sprint finish. I made a point to find Joel in the scrum, as we were supposed to link up for the leadout in the finale. By Magic/Miracle/Sheer Luck we linked up, and I followed Joel's wheel throughout the final laps. When I got antsy and started trying to get in front of Joel he would caution me to hang back and stay on his wheel.
Finally, with 1 lap to go, Joel surged with me still on his wheel from about 10th position. We came up the little rise and Joel dropped me off on the outside of 3 turns to go in 3rd wheel. I punched it from there, and 2 guys attacked on the inside as I came over the top. I got on them and then moved inside to come out of 2 turns to go in 2nd position. From there the guy leading accelerated down the back straight and about halfway down the back straight I made my move around the last guy in front of me. I did the whole sprint/acceleration in the saddle, as I was worried standing up to sprint would cause me to lose a tiny bit of momentum. I came into the last turn super hot, leaned the bike and pedaled through the final turn, barely scraping my pedal. From there it was just about holding onto the lead. Somebody told me I crossed the line with about 5 bike lengths on 2nd place.
Great race! Awesome teamwork by the entire expanded squad. Huge thanks to Pascal, Orion, Jason and Corey for the hard work/awesome attacks. Props to Joel for dropping me off in perfect position. Well done team!
September 8, 2008
I wanted to send out an update as to how the Swamis-FPPI Developmental Elite Team has been doing lately. First off, I am excited to report that our squad will be racing the upcoming San Francisco Twilight Criterium (www.sftwilight.
Swamis-FPPI DET will be sending:
Chris Daggs (Captain)
Rob Carr (newcomer)
Alex Jarman (newcomer)
Our team is extremely proud of the solid group of racers we are sending to this event, especially Rob and Alex, two stagiaire riders who have proven their solid racing ability all season long, fought through the ranks of the Category 3 racers, and made the leap into the Pro/1/2 peloton.
In other racing news:
Last weekend on a reconnaissance mission; Chris Daggs, Marc Yap, and Zack Simkover headed up to Northern CA to contest the Dunnigan Hills Road Race and Giro de SF Criterium. We had quite the enjoyable road trip and were led by Daggs 14th place in the rolling and extremely tough, 86 mile road race. Almost immediately the peloton formed echelons and blew apart into several groups, with Daggs making the front group and riding out a solid result.
The next day was the Giro de SF, through the streets of Downtown, near the famous Embarcadero. The course had bad to worse pavement, several technical off-camber corners, and one small rise per lap. We raced for 40miles which worked out to around 100mins, and the pace was hard and steady the entire race. Daggs unfortunately went down when his wheels became stuck in a rut in the road while he was attempting to corner. Bravely, Daggs took a free lap and made it back in the race to help his teammates. Simkover flatted while in front of the peloton, got a wheel change and integrated back into the group. Yap pulled a super domestique move and took Simkover back into the front group. As the pace accelerated towards the finish Daggs kept Simkover safe towards the front as the pack splintered into several smaller groups. Simkover ended up finishing with the lead group of around 30-40 riders of the original ~150 riders that took the start line.
Not a bad weekend for Swamis-FPPI DET considering the small, yet scrappy group we took up to battle the Norcal racers. Northern CA riders definitely have a different racing style than here in Socal, but I feel it suits our team very well, and I think odds of doing well at the prestigious SF Twilight look awesome!
Thanks for everybody's continued support of our program. Our team has been proud to represent Swamis in both local races and out of town as well!
SF Twilight report to follow next week.
Zack Simkover, Swamis-FPPI DET
June 8, 2008
It has been awhile since I've sent out an update on team racing, so I figure its about
April 14, 2008
The Swamis DET is on a roll! 2 wins in 2 weekends....
This weekend brought the Isla Vista Crit (hosted by UC Santa Barbara) and the Garret Lemire Memorial Grand Prix. The team traveled up north with Chris Daggs, Skyler Bishop, Dana Alia, Jose Quintero, myself, and Adam Bickett along with Colter Cederlof joined us for Saturday's race as the collegiate weekend matched up with a USCF weekend. Alex Jarman and Jake Jolly also raced the Cat. 3's. Colter provided awesome host housing for both the DET and UCSD teams. The house was packed with cyclists! Big thank you to Colter for setting that up for everybody. The weekend's heatwave was definitely felt. Ninety degree temps both days added to an already challenging race weekend.
As Garret Lemire is an NRC race, many solid pro teams were in town. Basically everybody not headed to Tour de Georgia. As a result, the IV Crit was destined to be a fast race. The field included the typical fast Socal guys, plus several Healthnet riders, a full Successful Living squad, and team Plowman Craven - a UK based pro team (my first race against true Euro racers!). The pace was hot from the gun, as the course was untechnical and wide, with fast corners. Much of the race was spent lined out, but moving up was possible if the timing was right. Daggs and Skyler covered many moves, at one point Adam, Skyler and myself were in a move of maybe 7 guys, but unfortunately nothing panned out. At 5 laps to go the field was flying. I was up near Skyler, but not right on his wheel, but in the dicey nature of 110 riders coming to the line together, I got shuffled backwards. In the end Skyler ended up 13th, I was 31st, and the rest of the DET guys came in with the field (the res ults were not posted very deep, so I don't have the other team placings yet). Jake and Alex raced excellently in the Cat 3's. The 2 of them controlled the field, got in moves, chased down breakaways, basically rode like a 5 man team. Alex ended up 2nd in the 3's! He is now just a few points shy of his Cat 2 upgrade.
Garret Lemire is in Ojai, just east of Ventura, off of Highway 150. Dana and I decided to ride to our race. We left a little before 8am, made a few wrong turns, had one major flat, and climbed Patterson Pass (Tour of California climb in '06). Dana and I arrived to reg with 4 mins before close, reg'd, took care of all the pre race activities, and made it to the start, right on the front line. The Cat 2 race was very active, with many attacks, but never a really serious splitting of the field. Dana patrolled the front, and I spent most of the race hiding in the middle of the pack. With 5 laps to go I made my way into the top 5 riders and was determined to stay in that spot until a good opportunity presented itself. This strategy paid off and with 1 lap to go I was still up in 5th position. A little move of 3 riders came by our group on the decent before the final hill, and I jumped onto their train, moving into 4th wheel. On the final time up the hill a BPG Montana Velo (Norcal Bay Area team) rider attacked. I followed his wheel, and he led into 2 turns to go. I started my sprint in the straightaway leading into the final corner, caught the BPG rider, and led thru the final corner. From here I accelerated into the finish and got win #2 for the DET in as many weeks!
Daggs, Skyler and Jose did the NRC, Pro/1 race at Garret Lemire. It was completely lined out, every time thru the start finish. Unfortunately Daggs and Skyler fell victim to the heat and pace, as did more than half the field. Great job and many props go out to Jose, who was one of the only amateurs to finish the race.
The team is really rolling now. Everybody's form is solid, and I get the feeling I'll be sharing more good news in the near future!
March 19, 2008
Sorry to send out this race report a little on the tardy side - Nytro is starting up their busy season, and I've been pretty swamped over there. This Sunday, Chris Daggs, Marc Yap and myself drove up for the LA Circuit race. A giant hotdog shaped race course with 2 long straights and 2 one hundred eighty degree turns. Due to the late start to the National Race Calendar, many pros are living in CA, waiting for the first big stage race of the year: Redlands. As a result, all our local races have been FAST. The fields are at max capacity, and everybody is coming to race with solid fitness. LA Circuit Race was no exception, and registration filled all 125 spots for our race. Several Pro teams brought their fast guys - including Toyota United with Ivan Dominguez, Dominique Rollin, Caleb Manion, Hilton Clarke, and Jose "Chepe" Garcia. Rock Racing brought a full squad, including former 4th place Tour de France finisher, Tyler Hamilton. Marc was a victim of this race's new found popularity. He got caught out on the waitlist, and did not get to start.
Daggs and I toed the line and the race kicked into high gear right away. The wind was blowing hard, with a huge tailwind on the downhill finishing straight, and a nasty headwind on the back straight. As a result breakaways would continually roll away on the tailwind section, only to be reeled in on the headwind side of the course. I followed several moves, a few of which were initiated by Tyler Hamilton. That guy is tiny, but definitely strong. He did not have the hollow look of a grand tour racer, but the natural talent he possesses still shines thru. With so many sprinters at the racer, the field sprint was inevitable, and Daggs and I finished safely in the pack. Fast race with a quality field.
In other news, as you may have read, the North County Times is doing a special on our Swamis club, and the Hoehn Del Mar Crit Series. The paper was interested in learning more details about our club and the race we are putting on this Saturday. The article should be coming out (with photos!) in tomorrow's paper, so try and nab a copy of the North County Times and check it out!
See ya all at Del Mar #2!
March 13, 2008
Del Mar Crit.
Our race started off fast. We had 10 guys, definitely a strong presence in the race. The pace were hot from the gun, and several attacks were swallowed up. A few laps in, a small group of 3 rolled off the front. As the chase picked up to bring this group back, a Schroeder Iron rider in 3rd wheel managed to lay it down in the "kidney bean" section of the course, directly in front of me. Despite efforts to slow down, I went over the top of him, somersaulted, and landed on my backside pretty hard. Dana (who was on my wheel) also was a casualty of the crash, with minor road rash of his own to report. Dana and I made it back to the mechanic area, and Colter Cederlof (Swami and UCSD racer) donated his rear wheel so that I could get back in the race. My tubular had flatted due to the crash.
The race official let us back into the race on the same lap as the field and Dana and I killed ourselves, and managed to reintegrate with the field. We went straight to the front, where we found the other Swamis who let us know that the break had swelled to 6-7 riders, and had a healthy gap. Swamis entire team went to the front and slayed themselves for the rest of the race, controlling the pace and taking huge pulls in attempts to reel in the break. Unfortunately the break was mostly Pros, the gap held steady. The Swamis kept it fast (and safe) and setup up Skyler Bishop for a nice top 10 finish that was well deserved.
We may have missed out on the podium, but we rode like winners. Its an awesome feeling to have the field lined out with no less than 8 Swamis on the front at any given time. It is too bad Dana and I went down, but I've never been part of a greater team effort than tonight. We flew the Swamis flag proudly tonight, and established ourselves in the peloton, and earned valuable respect as a formidable team of quality riders.
Very proud of our squad.
P.S. A special shout out to Robert Carr and Alex Jarman. These guys may be 3's but they were up there going pull for pull with the rest of the DET guys. Nice racing gentlemen!
March 8, 2008
Pardon the long race report. I got a bit caught up in the retelling of this epic first day of the ToM.
The DET team took 4 riders to Murrieta. Co-Captains - Chris Daggs and Marc Yap, Skyler Bishop, and myself. The field this year is considerably strong than years past. Jittery Joes brought 3 riders, Kelly Benefit brought a full squad, Tony Cruz from BMC, full Rock Racing squad, former Slipstream (currently Symmetrics pro team) rider and previous Canadian National Champion, François Parisien, and 2 riders from Toyota United, including Dominique Rollin - winner of the hellish stage of the Tour of CA into San Luis Obispo. Needless to say, it was to be a fast day. Add to that the standard compliment of 5-Star, SDBC, Kahala LaGrange, and other LA and OC based Elite squads; it was a full field on this sunny Saturday.
From the gun our field was lined out. Daggs, Skyler and Marc were all up at the front. I did a crappy job clipping into my pedal and found myself in the middle of the pack. As we were heading up the small rise towards the back straight the rider that I was following (who will remain anonymous), unbeknownst to me, was riding directly into a group of traffic cones. He avoided them at the last moment, giving me zero time to react. I nailed the cone (one of the bigger, tall, skinny ones) at around 26mph, nearly ate it, unclipped a foot, corrected, and got back in the field...towards the back. While the pros ripped up the front of the race, I was stuck in the back, trying to move up, mostly unsuccessfullly. Marc, Daggs, and Skyler stayed at the front, while I clawed my way back. Around halfway thru the race, when the pace was blistering, the field began to split as a break formed, and riders bridged up to it. I happened to catch onto a good wheel heading north thru the field, and managed to make the split, along with all the other DET guys.
The big split jettisoned about 1/3 of the field, and luckily I started feeling better. The rest of the race was a positioning match to stay up near the front for the eventual field sprint. I hooked up with the other DET guys and they helped me stay up towards the front. With 5 to go things were looking good. Marc and I were hanging around 10-20th wheel. Coming into 4 to go Marc was bringing me up the outside, when a Kelly Benefit rider right at the front (their star sprinter) went down in the first corner. He took down at least 20 guys, with Marc and I right in the thick of it. We both nearly escaped on the outside, but Marc was caught, and I unclipped and jumped off my bike and onto the curb. A 5-star rider landed on my bike, and stayed tangled up in it...way too long. By the time he shook himself off my bike and I put my chain back on the field was gone. Daggs and Skyler survived the mayham, while Marc and I rolled over to the corner to watch the sprint play out. Skyler kept his good position, and ended up 7th, sandwiched between to Rock Racing Pros. The only amateur to come in ahead of Skyler was one of Kahala Lagrange's star sprinters.
Tomorrow is a new day, and we'll be riding to protect Skyler's 7th place on GC. Today was a great team day, as we were all right up there at the end. Unfortunately, even when you do everything right...sometimes luck is not on your side.
March 5, 2008
Lots of exciting news to report. First off, I am happy to let everybody know that Adam Bickett, a rider on the UCSD Team and new Swami, has upgraded from Cat 3 to 2! His 3rd place overall in the 3's at Valley of the Sun helped secure the final points necessary for his upgrade. Adam will be joining the DET as a stagiaire (guest rider) and racing alongside the other DET riders in both P/1/2 races, as well as some of the Cat. 2 races this spring. Adam is 24 years old, and is also pursuing a PhD at UCSD in Computer Science. We are excited to have another young and motivated guy on board!
On the racing end, last weekend was the Tour of California, so a group of us took a few days off to follow some of the SoCal stages and watch Levi clinch another ToC title. This last weekend was the traditional Norcal season opener - the Merco races, presented by McClane Pacific. Chris Daggs, Jose Quintero, and Skyler Bishop raced the P/1 races, while Adam Bickett and I raced in the Cat. 2 field. Alex Jarman also came up and raced in the Cat. 3's.
Merco's crit is fast, technical, and pretty dangerous. Even though we have been racing for the last month, this is Norcal's first REALLY big race, and as a result, everybody is nervous and twitchy. Of our team, I was the only minor casualty of the day, going over the top of a rider that crashed in the chicane portion of the course. I saw the crash coming and luckily was able to slow way down. My only injuries were to my hand (which either went into somebody's spokes, or chainring) and my left knee (only lost a little skin, no swelling). With only those minor injuries I was able to get back to the pit, take a free lap and re-enter the fray. Unfortunately, with the crash went some of my gusto, and I ended up finishing mid pack. Adam managed 15th, which is awesome as it was his first Cat. 2 race. Chris, Jose and Skyler finished mid pack in the P/1 crit, a feat in itself as their race was lined out, THE ENTIRE TIME. Our best result of the day was Alex in the Cat. 3's. He came out of the last corner in 2nd wheel with a slight gap on the field. Coming into the last 150 meters, Alex made the move of the day, taking his first win since upgrading to Cat. 3.
The road race followed on Sunday. The course is a 23 mile circuit, mostly flat and fast, with some small hills before the start/finish. The 3's did 3 laps, 2's did 4, P/1 did 5 laps on the course. Our race in the 2's was fairly uneventful in the first 2 laps. Plenty of nervous energy, several crashes, but luckily none affecting Adam or me. On the 3rd lap I ended up in a breakaway that went halfway thru the lap. Coming into the last lap we had built a gap of 1min on the field and it was looking like we would probably stay away. I rotated thru evenly, and we were driving it all the way. Unfortunately, I drove it too hard, and imploded with 5km to race. In the final hills leading into the finish I could not keep the break's pace and tried to survive to the finish, but was caught by the charging field with 2km to go. A big crash blocked the road for Adam, so he ended up finishing safely midpack. I came in about a min after the peloton. The race result was bittersweat, as I know I made the right move, but made poor decisions towards the end that cost me a solid result. In the P/1 a break of 20 riders rolled clear mid race, containing all the major pro teams. Chris, Skyler and Jose finished midpack, in the thick of the action. Alex once again had the best results of the day, placing 6th in his race.
With 2 solid results this weekend Alex earned valuable upgrade points towards his Cat. 2 upgrade. The DET looks forward to the future when we have more young riders coming up thru the system like Adam and Alex. Our goal is to develop young, talented riders, and so far our program is off to a great start! Stay tuned for an upcoming report on the Tour of Murrieta, which our full DET squad will be racing this weekend.
February 18th, 2008
Another Valley of the Sun is in the books and I am happy to report Swamis finished strongly. In the 2's race I maintained my GC spot, crossing the line in 22nd to finish 12th overall. Chris Daggs, Marc Yap and Jose finished in the pack in the P/1 Crit, with Chris returning the best result in 29th. Our best results of the day came from the Cat. 3's, where Adam Bickett finished safely in the pack to capture 3rd overall and secure the final points necessary for his upgrade to Cat. 2! Robert Carr and Alex Jarman came out of the final corner of the Crit in good position and came across the line in 2nd and 10th, respectively!
VOS was awesome this year. Strong fields, contested by strong Swamis. A huge thanks goes out to Jose who hooked up host housing for the DET with his close friends in Mesa, AZ. Now that the racing season is off and rolling, it is evident that long hours of hard winter training are paying dividends on the race course.
February 17th, 2008
Here is the latest action from Phoenix:
Last Saturday saw the first race of the season in the town of Crenshaw, which is more or less South Central LA. The course was approximately 2-3km, with a bumpy descent over 3 drainage ditches, followed by a sweeping left onto the back straight into a tailwind, followed by a chicane leading into a bumpy 1 block hill, before making a final left turn into an uphill headwind 200m finishing straight to the finish. As this was not a scheduled team race (the first being this Sunday in Dominguez Hills), the full Swamis - FPPI Devt Elite Team was not in attendance. Chris Daggs, Dana Alia, and myself ventured up to Crenshaw, with Daggs competing in both the Master's 35+ and the Pro/1/2 races. Alex Jarman from the UCSD - Swamis development effort also raced the Cat 4 race. Loic Marcourt (our Belgian exchange cyclist) came with us to get his first taste of US Crit racing. Loic helped us get ready for ou r races, cheering and shouting advice from the sidelines.
Chris Daggs was very active in the Masters race, following many moves and generally being an aggressive rider thru-out his race. With 15 minutes to race, Daggs launched a vicious attack, quickly building a 30 second gap. Now in Time Trial mode, Daggs maintained his gap and took the 30 second gap into the final lap. Unfortunately, the cards were stacked against him, and the sprinters worked together to bring him back. The worthy effort was foiled, and Chris had to rip off his top number and now race in the P/1/2, with less than 10 mins of recovery.
Dana and I were considerably more fresh for the race, and it looks like the big, consistent miles we have put in over the winter are paying off. We took turns countering moves off the front along with Daggs. It is worth mentioning that the field was a very solid and fast one, with LaGrange Cycling out of West LA bringing 16 riders to the race. Tony Cruz (former US Postal and Discovery Channel rider) from the BMC Professional team, along with Hilton Clarke (former Navigators Pro Team) from Toyota United Pro Cycling team were also in attendance, along with a smattering of fast guys from around Southern CA. Clearly, with LaGrange bringing the full squad, they were looking to dominate the race, and put guys in every move, or chase down anything that did not have a couple of LaGrange riders in the break. Gradually a break of 8 riders formed, escaping in 2's and 3's. Hilton Clarke made the move, and with his help, the break lapped the field. Meanwhile, back in the pack, the attacks were nasty, mostly coming from riders who wanted to be in the winning break. Tony Cruz was especially active, and when that guy dials it up, it is brutal.
The breakaway of 8 lapped the field with 5 laps to go, and LaGrange began to lift the pace, looking for a sprint victory (5 of 8 riders in the break were LaGrange). As the pace got faster and faster, two other LaGrange riders that had attacked the field (not part of the original break of 8) were left out in NoMan'sLand, and their gap was rapidly shrinking. Tony Cruz led thru the chicane and up the final hill, before Hilton Clarke blasted thru the inside of the final corner, snatching victory from LaGrange. Going into the chicane, I was sitting in about 6th wheel, with Dana Alia right behind me. We blasted up over the hill, and I opened up my sprint, good enough for 4th or 5th in the field sprint, 12th overall. Dana came in a few spots behind me, somewhere around top 20. Daggs unfortunately paid for his heroic efforts in the Masters race, and finished off the pace of the lead group.
For the first race of the season I was satisfied with the result. I feel like Swamis - FPPI Devt Elite can be a factor in any race we do, and this weekend's Crit is a sign of better racing to come. The race paid 15 deep, so we even got to split some prize money at the first race of the year. Following the Crit, Dana, Daggs, Loic, Alex, and I went to see the LA Track World Cup. We saw the Men's Keirin, Team Pursuit Finals, and Men's Scratch race. Watching world class athletes in competition helped us see the bigger picture, and what is possible at the top end of our sport.
Until next race.
Swamis - FPPI Devt Eite
Team and Media Relations