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The Paul Mach Blog - June 2010

Living life on the edge... of the road
Photo by Musa Zaid

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June 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010 - General
Classic composition Last weekend, to escape the Davis heat, I headed up to Tahoe for a ride. While circumnavigating the lake I took this classic Burke shot (1 2 3).

Funny thing is, to take the picture I had to get off my bike and stand behind it. Seems like Burke's "I'll just casually take a sweet iPhone picture with my bike to show I rode up here" pics aren't so casual after all.

I also participated in Sierra Nevada Hill Climb TT #2. It was a nice little climb up Mt. Rose from the Lake Tahoe side. I ended up second... to Jesse Miller-Smith... a cat. 2... who had just finished working the night shift..... I'm not going to lie, I cried a little bit.

As a side that note, one of my wife's students used that last phrase as a supporting argument while asking for more time on a test. I guess even Davis High has its share of bad apples... roast!

For those of you that bothered to read this far, I have some extra special news for you. Well, more like rumors, Tour de Nez rumors.

First, next year they plan on having the prologue start inside the casino, you'll zoom past the all the slots before heading outside.

Next, they want to add a road race. Something that should be made easier with a changing of the guard at Tahoe's CHP.

Lastly, I heard the Truckee crit was canceled because they couldn't find any local businesses to sponsor. Sad times we live in.

Of course those are all rumors, rumors about a race 11.5 months away.

Monday, June 21, 2010 - Race Reports
The first thing I heard when the wife and I got to Nevada City was, "I don't get cycling, all they do is sit there and zoom by." Hey dude with beer and confederate flag, 7 words: National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

So yesterday was Father's Day, but it was also Nevada City Classic day. It was a hard race, but I guess most races worth remembering are, and this one was pretty sweet. There was chalk on the roads and the cheering was off the hook.

At one point, someone on the inside of the top left hander chanted, "Paul Mach," like 10 times in rapid succession. It worked so well that Burke Swindlehurst stopped pedaling and looked around confused. Good work out there everyone.

It took about 45 minutes for a break to form. I put in one of those, I'm so dead I hope everyone else is, kind of attacks. I was soon joined by Burke, Floyd Landis, Zach Davies, Ian Boswell and Adam Switters. Once Ian was there we put in a couple digs up the climb to establish the break.

Towards the end Burke attacked and got a lot of time on us. We played games for a bit 'cause we were all tired. But, in the end, I had to recognize that since we had two in the break, Bissell was going to have to bring him back. At about 5 to go I laid it down for a few laps and with help from Floyd we managed to catch Burke.

On the last lap, Zach attacked and I gave chase but was exploding. I looked back to see only Ian on my wheel so I buried it to get him as far up as possible. In that moment, right at the top, Ian came through and attacked for the win, it was impressive.
one-two It was a big win for 19-year-old Ian Boswell, who, for the record, had been racing bikes longer than me.

His Dad was so excited that all he could talk about was how this might mean he won't have to pay his kid's car insurance anymore. Now that would be a sweet Father's Day gift.

Sunday, June 20, 2010 - Race Reports
The Tour de Nez ended yesterday with a circuit race at Northstar. We did 90 minutes around a tough little course at the village.

Ian and I weren't feeling all that super and I knew I didn't have the legs to pull off some hero move. That was fine, I figured we could at least get in a breakaway or something.

Both Ian and I rode pretty aggresively, throwing down multiple attacks. I tried the full spectrum: dumb ones, smart ones, weak ones, strong ones. But nothing seemed to work.

The few times it did work, I'd look back and we'd have a big gap, then look back again a few seconds later to see the field fast approaching.

Soon after the dude doing the pulling would roll up next to me, breathing through his eyeballs, and give me a look. I'm not sure what he was expecting, I didn't have any gold star stickers with me.

Anyway, in the middle of all this hoopla, Graham Howard and Burke Swindlehurst managed to get away with no response from the peloton. That made me laugh.

Then someone said to me, "We need to keep the pace up to bring them back." Those guys are ex-Bissell teammates and good friends, so I had no interest in that. Graham ended up taking the win, with Burke second. Good on them.

Overall, it seemed like the peloton was too tired to attack, but more than willing to chase. That situation usually leads to sprint finishes, i.e., lame races.

Oh well, we'll give it another shot today at Nevada City. Maybe the legs will come around, maybe they won't. You'll just have to come out and see.

Saturday, June 19, 2010 - Race Reports
You may be wondering what it's like racing with a 19 year old kid who brings along his younger brother. Let's just say the "Girls tell me that all the time" joke is funny again. That and it sucks when he can't get into the after party.

Yesterday, Ian and I raced the second stage of the Tour de Nez. It was a variation on the downtown Reno criterium course of old.

After the prologue and the race's blog post insisting the course was safe, I wasn't too sure what to expect. But, it really wasn't that bad. It helped that the field was smallish and the pace was high.

Ian and I did the best we could to get in a break, but nothing worked. There was a lot of aggressive riding in the field that kept the race hard. Overall we rode like good GC riders, at the front and out of trouble.

In the end I helped pull back the break with a lap to go. Why? Well mainly because I wanted nothing to do with the 5 lane to 1 lane funnel, 400 meters from the finish line. And I wanted to do something.

The circuit race in Northstar this afternoon should be more fun. But with only 90 minutes, how are we supposed to separate the men from the boys?

Friday, June 18, 2010 - Race Reports
So I had big plans for some sweet blog posts over the last week, but here we are again with another race report. This time from the Tour de Nez.

The Bissell hit squad for this race consists of just me and Ian Boswell. Are two guys really a hit squad? Well, technically it's the smallest kind of hit squad you can have, so yes.

Yesterday's prologue was 12 corners, 1.5 miles, on slick cement, very technical. With nowhere to get up to speed, it was all about the sprint out of every corner.

At the start there was a lot of talk about the sketchy course. But it got real when Ian's brother came by to tell me Ian had crashed. There was blood all over the top tube of his bike.

I rolled into the start house contemplating if I'd been psyched out, only to be distracted by something else. 15 seconds before my start I felt a bit of pressure on my backside. It felt like the holder was leaning his crotch up against my saddle.

I thought it was weird but was still professional about it. Later I realized he must have felt it too and didn't move. My wife claims I liked it but I can assure you that was not the case.

Anyway, finished 25th. That was expected considering how I rode the course. I got less and less bummed the more people I saw who'd crashed.

Tonight is the circuit race in downtown Reno, and it looks like Ian is okay to start. What's a little road rash when you're 19?

Monday, June 7, 2010 - Race Reports
So the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic ended just like it started, in the rain.

But there's an upside of bad weather, you have a good excuse to hang out at the coffee shop. Doppio came well recommended so the wife and I headed down to get "work" done. It seemed like there was a bunch of cyclists with the same idea.

For the criterium, they reversed the course and shortened it to 60 minutes. Basically a break of non-gc contenders formed and UHC controlled the front.

The course was pretty dicey so I threw in a few attacks for the parents and then just settled in. The cost/benefit of railing a corner was... unfavorable.

Such ended my 23rd race in the last 40 days. Overall I had 5 good days at Hood, the problem was there were 6 stages.

Tour de Nez and Nevada City are up next, after a little break. Then it's off to Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in July.

Sunday, June 6, 2010 - Race Reports
Yesterday was a big day at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. It featured the stage ending at Mt. Hood Meadows and was going to make or break the race.

From the Velonews article on the race, it seems like everyone thought there would just be a simple showdown on the final climb.

Well, Chris Baldwin tried that last year and it didn't work, plus he won the time trial. I didn't think that strategy was going to give me 14 seconds so the Bissell team tried something a bit different.

The plan was to create chaos at the start to help Rob slip away and put pressure on UHC. The strategy included me yelling, opening gaps and throwing in some "soft ones." It worked okay, but not great.

At about 10k to go, Rob finally got up the road and was putting the pressure on UHC. With 5k to go, De Maar was on the front.

Pwnt All that was good until 3k to go where I couldn't follow the acceleration (see picture for the visual). At that point I curled in the fetal position on the floor of my pain cave and suffered. I suffered bad and lost some time, moving me down to 4th on the GC.

So yeah, we raced crazy and hard right from the start. We weren't happy with second, and it was going to take crazy racing to win. It just didn't work out.

Friday, June 4, 2010 - Race Reports
Sutton This little girl is a resident of our host house here in Hood River. I'm her favorite bike racer because I give her yellow shirts. In fact, her and her brother have yellow jerseys from the last four Mt. Hood Cycling Classics, all provided by Bissell riders.

This morning at breakfast the crush went a bit too far as she insisted I take off my wedding ring. Why? Because she wanted to wear it. This one is going to be serious trouble in about 10 years.

As for the time trial today, well, it was windy and I got second. I felt I rode it well, but some days there is someone better.

Now I'm 14 second behind Marc De Maar. Some of you may recognize this situation as the opposite of last year. Back then I was leading Chris Baldwin by 13 seconds at this point in the race.

As for tomorrow's road race, the team is going to take a hint from Dwight Schrute:

They say that no man is an island. False. I am an island, and this island is volcanic, and it is about to erupt with the molten hot lava of strategy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010 - Race Reports
It's all a blur So, just a quick one on the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic...

Yesterday's circuit race in Portland, at Mt. Tabor, was a slip 'n slide. The roads were wet and had moss growing on them. Lots of guys went down. I manged to keep it upright, but I can't imagine what it would have been like in the rain.

My Bissell teammates and I spent most of the race getting double teamed by United Healthcare. It wasn't the most fun experience, but that's bike racing.

Morgan Schmitt had an impressive ride, winning and taking the race lead. Morgan is a former teammate and how also a former friend.

Today we raced in Washington on the Mt. Adams loop. It was a beautiful course, I just wish I could have spent more time looking around.

It was a pretty typical start with lots of attacking. Towards the end the break was still a ways up the road and UHC was losing guys.

But since they'd used their numbers against us at Mt. Tabor and earlier in the stage, I was willing to let them use those same numbers to do their part controlling the race. That, again, is bike racing.

Rob and I both finished in the first group. Thus, we still have good position for tomorrow's time trial that will decide most everything. So I guess that means the pressure is on?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - Race Reports
I grew up in Seattle, so I don't mind the rain. But while I've done a bunch of running in bad weather, I didn't start riding a bike till I moved down to sunny California.

So yesterday's Mt. Hood Cycling Classic prologue brought me back to those Seattle roots. It was two, wet, dark, laps around the Portland International Raceway.

Just FYI, you can't see anything when it's dark, it's physics. The first lap I didn't know if the next turn would be a right or a left. Luckily I had a guy, who was on his second lap, showing me the way.

The results were me, Morgan Schmitt and Ryan Parnes. Bissell has a bit of a small team so it'll be hard to defend, especially with the time bonuses at the finish tonight

Originally we had 6 guys on the start list, but then they all got injured or sick. So now we're just down to me, Rob Britton and David Williams.

Omer, who helped control the race for me last year, is directing this time. I tried to get him to suit up, but he refused. I guess he knows it's much easier to talk about how he rode the front than to do it again this year.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - General
It's been a whole week, but I finally received, organized, and processed all the data from the Tour of California. It's all on right now.

The graphs show time between groups, usually peloton to break.
Some things to look for:
  • How long till the break forms?
  • How quickly it gains time initially?
  • How it gets caught, pulled back quick or sits at 45 seconds for a while?
Each of the links below opens in the same racedata window/tab. So you'll have to switch back and forth.

Stage 1: Nevada City to Sacramento
Since there are 3 riders trying to bridge, the field has to chase them down before the break is let go. The peloton just plays games with the break on the way into Sacramento.

Stage 2: Davis to Santa Rosa
After a crazy decent down Trinity, half the Bissell team crashes and Jeremy ends up in the second group. They get within 20 seconds over the last kicker, but are unable to close it.

Stage 3: San Francisco to Santa Cruz
After almost an hour and a half the break finally forms with Andy JM. The grupetto looses 10 minutes to me, and 2 or 3 more to the leaders, in the 10k up Bonny Doon.

Stage 4: San Jose to Modesto
Rob Britton of Bissell has an excellent ride off the front. At 160k, the crash and subsequent cross wind bike racing took some serious time out of the break.

Stage 5: Visalia to Bakersfield
The break gains 2:30 in its first 3k. The field splits over the first climb with pressure from RadioShack. The break splits over the second climb, but once it's back together, the games start.

Stage 6: Palmdale to Big Bear Lake
Total pain and suffering. Jeremy, Andy and I all finish 28+ minutes down, in separate groups.

Stage 8: Thousand Oak Circuit Race
After the first lap I ended up in the chase group with the Saxo boys. Looks like Fabian rolled back 50 seconds. Jeremy puts up a good fight till the fireworks on the last lap.

As I said before, there is a learning curve to Explore, and embrace the right click.

If you have questions, suggestions or some GPS files, shoot me and email: paulmach -at-

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