A day before the 2015 Manhattan Beach Grand Prix kicked off I was uncertain on attending this race. I missed pre-registration and had some team mates out due to injury. I was hesitant to line up for this prestigious race in So Cal solo. As we got closer I committed to showing up for this late afternoon race. My wife and I arrived at our aunt and uncles house who live 2 blocks away from the starting line and they were more than happy to accommodate us. Once I lined up for the race I noticed several other teams with quite a turn out including (but not limited to) OTR, La Grange, and Care Fast. The temperature was a cool 72 with a 12mph wind on shore. This made for a quartering tailwind on the start stretch and a headwind all along the back stretch. The race got underway and I was sitting comfortably in the pack. There were several breaks which never materialized and I felt a little tired from last week’s training. As 4 laps to go was called I found myself in the back half of the field and I began creeping up. With 3 to go a rider from La Grange/Michelob Ultra launched a solo attack. 2 to go was called and we were closing in slowly but not fast enough on the break. I did what I could to get these guys to hammer it to cover the lead rider. Once 1 lap to go rolled around I was sitting about 15th. We took the first hill climb and I moved off to the left. I had a nice line around the first hairpin which swung out wide but allowed me to keep pedaling and carry more corner speed. As we approached the last short hill the break was caught and several riders went for it. I kept the momentum and dug in for around 5th out of the last hill. I continued down the final hill and moved into second place into the final hairpin. From there it was a 200m sprint to the finish and I was able to secure a solid victory. I would like to thank all of our sponsors for the support as well as my family and friends. This was truly a race to remember.
The team lined up 6 strong at the LA Circuit Race next to the runways of LAX. Airplanes were the only ones flying today (See what I did there). Bryan, Craig, Greg, Mike, Ralph and Rudy tackled the 4 mile out and back course for the 35+ race that was 20 miles long which felt more like a criterium than and circuit race. The goal was simple, chase any breaks, make sure it’s a field sprint and get one of us on the top step. The pre-race plan was to take mike to the line with Ralph on his wheel as a back up. The race played out like we wanted, they guys sat on the front and nothing got further up the road than a few seconds. With one lap to go we lined up on the right side and did what we do best, work for each other and race hard. Rudy and Craig came to the front and pulled the rest of us along up the hill. Greg joined the party and kept it fast and clean. Around the last turn I had mike and Ralph on my wheel sitting 3 back. We were in perfect position…and then we weren’t. We got swarmed on both sides and I had to get crafty as the finish line was quickly approaching. I made a move to create a hole and was able to get through but Mike and Ralph got stuck. I was on my own and had to make the most of the situation. I jumped wheels and found myself 3rd wheel with 300 meters to go. This sprint is perfect for me, slight downhill with a tailwind. I launched my attack with 200 meters to go, kept my head down and my legs turning. A few peaks under the arm to see if anyone was close, they were not, and I sat up to cross the line in 1st place. Mike fought back and finished a well-deserved 4th. The boys did great today as we secured our 8th team victory of the season.
I made the trip up to Ontario from San Diego after an early Easter morning mass. My truck was packed with bikes and people, I had family in town and my nephew Cole was set to race his first crit race. The plan - get some points in my race (30+ 4/5) and protect Cole in his race (4/5.) The day was hot and the sky was clear, the only thing missing was the Impact EZ up from turn seven. I had failed to make sure someone was going to bring it. After a proper warmup I headed to the line for the start with Craig and Jake in tow. They had just finished the 4 race and secured the midway points and another top ten for the team. The race unfolded as expected with the normal attacks that were quickly shut down by Craig (the junkyard dog) and when the points lap was announced I was sitting comfortably behind Jake (the cool cat.) I crossed the line for the points without contention. As I went to shut it down to recover, two riders passed and off we went on a break with 5 to go. The riders seemed strong and we had a sizable gap, so I thought "sure why not!" We stayed away for a few laps but we're loosing ground to the charging field. So with 2 to go I sat up, waited for the field, jumped in about 7th wheel and tried to recover. I was hurting! With one to go I moved to the top five, but my lead out man Jake was missing. I knew he had gotten caught up on the other side of the field, but I had faith he would find me. After turn 5 the field slowed and I knew we were going to get swarmed so I pushed up from 5th wheel. By the time I got off the front and rounding turn 6 Jake had slipped underneath me on the inside and I immediately cracked the whip! GO NOW! With his momentum and power we came through turn 7 with a gap. I jumped early and powered to victory. Jake and Craig were awesome and super pumped for our result. This puts us in a commanding lead for the series win with 25 points, second now only has 12.
Now, it was time to take the kid (Cole -15) on his first crit race ever. My advice to him was "just sit on my wheel as long as you can." I had great hopes for him, but being his first race, the reality of him getting dropped was looming. We rolled out and settled into the middle of the field. I looked back, and he was there. At the midway the field broke in half and we were caught in the back. I looked back again, still there. I told him I was going to bridge to the front group of 9, only to hear some kind of grunt. I put in a dig and brought Cole and what was left of the field up to the break. With 4 to go Cole showed his first sign of cracking, "Uncle Mike, how much longer?" At this point I had a flashback to my first race with Bryan, we went to the front and hammered down the start finish. I remember thinking " Man, we are leading the race, how cool is this!" So out of turn 7 I pulled Cole to the front and I pulled him in the front of the field for half a lap. He had no sprint at the end but he finished 18th with the field!!!! I am so proud of him and feel so lucky to have experienced this with him. It was a good day.
Winning the overall at the Tour de Murrieta didn’t just happen because we decided to go race it and make it happen. Our journey to the overall started many years ago while most of us were racing for SC Velo. A core group of us grew up as cyclist and learned how to race under SC Velo. Along the way we made many friends from many different teams. In those earlier seasons we wore the same kit but didn’t race like a team and as a result we never had success.
Three seasons ago Matt and I decided that we would make an effort to race as a group. Our commitment would no longer be to the individual rather it would be to the team. We decided that any money earned would go to a BBQ at the end of the season for all who raced together to enjoy. That first real season we won races and had many podiums. Guys learned what type of racer they were and embraced their role along with the team concept. What we didn’t expect were the friendships that grew from this newfound commitment to each other. We began to understand that it was easier to suffer and ride as hard as you possibly could if you were doing it for a friend, for someone you have respect for and someone who would do the same for you.
Last year we grew as team and added a few new members. We continued our success and started to gain a reputation in the peloton. The newbies quickly caught on and embraced the selfless ideology of our group. What we didn’t know was that one experience would shape the way we raced for the rest of our lives. The Tour of Americas Dairyland in Wisconsin is one of the premier stage races in amateur cycling. Greg H had finished 2nd overall the previous year, so a few of us went to help him out and see how we stacked up against Midwest racers. We were quickly humbled and took our lumps. We managed to survive and help Greg to another 2nd overall. More importantly we came back home with a new attitude on how to really race a bike. This new way of thinking would turn out to be a game changer for our team.
The end of the 2014 season brought change as our core group decided to form our own team, with our own mission, and focus on what’s important to us as a group. On September 6, nine of us met at Starbucks in San Dimas and IMPACT Racing was born. We brought on a few guys from other teams we knew were looking for a home and would fit what we do. We were 16 strong and we were ready to make an IMPACT. We were made up of normal working guys over the age of 30 who trained 8-12 hours a week and raced category 3/4 on the road and 2/3 on the MTB.
The season started off with our first ever training camp in Palm Springs followed by the usual local crits. As our fitness grew so did our results and our confidence. We continued to race selflessly as a team. By the time the Tour de Murrieta rolled around we had 4 wins and many podiums/top 10s. This race was a target for me and I had been training since November.
Tour de Murrieta is a 3 day race that includes a Time Trial, Criterium and a Circuit Race. After finishing the Day 1 Time Trial in 4th place I was in prime position to challenge for the overall. Day 2 criterium saw the arrival of my teammates as 7 of us braved the challenging downtown course. We were unable to catch a break away that included the race leader but I managed to finish 3rd on the day thanks to the help of all my teammates working at the front. I was now in 2nd overall just 5 points behind the leader. Day 3 is on a 3 mile course which we raced 11 laps around. The plan was simple, sit on the leaders wheel, let nothing get away and sprint for the win. In order to win the overall I needed to win the race and the leader needed to finish 6th or worse. The whole day the team rode the front and marked the leader. The guys rode their hearts out and kept me in a good spot and fully protected. They gave me everything they had, some even landed in the hospital for their efforts.
In the end the guys put me into a position where I was able to win the race. When results were posted I was tied for first with the previous days leader. Much to our enjoyment the overall tiebreaker was the final result of the days Circuit Race. We won!!! I say WE because this was not my win, it was OUR win. This overall victory was 3 years in the making. It was because we decided that racing together was more important than racing in the same jersey. I am so proud of the men on this team and I am glad to call them my friends. I am humbled by the sacrifices they made in order for us to achieve this goal and I am thankful they are apart of my life.
So like many Sundays this was no different, I was going to race my bike today, the only difference was, I wouldn't be playing the team roll, I was going to win.......or well I was going to try my best for a win. The plan was simple, Mustache Mike and I were just going to sit in towards the front, let the race unfold and then he would try to get me in to a good position for the win. Now I have to tell you I don't usually even finish races with the pack as I usually do the majority of my work with 1-2 laps to go so that my team can get in to position, so I had to change my mind set and prepare to finish and finish up front (this was very stressful for me).
With 3 to go I make it up to Mike and tell him "I'm here, let’s start moving up" and I immediately lose his wheel, luckily I put in a good effort and catch back on before turn two, but I have to tell you this was really stressing me out and I was having to throw my bike and body around to protect my spot. Bell lap! Things were looking good and the position couldn't have been better. We get swarmed and then a rider comes up on the inside and we are locked up with each other. We break free of each other, guys to my left crash as I headed for the turn to get to the lead group. I had enough momentum to get over the hill, I put in another hard effort, passed everyone and was headed in to the last turn in front of everyone. I couldn't hold the lead and I didn't have enough gas to sprint, but I held on for 10th. No it wasn't a win, but it was a different experience of being out front when it counted........think I’ll go back to being a work horse.
Waking up to clear sky's in Glendora was short lived as we drove down the 15 towards Temecula. Scot Harvey, Bob Leaming, Mike McCluney, and I got to Vail Lake and were greeted by rain and plenty of mud. Scot went off first in the Endurance class and rode extremely fast until a mechanical on his last lap took him out. He was definitely on pace to finish strong. Scot had the best quote of the day after his first lap saying 'You guys are not going to believe how crazy it is out there".
Bob went off shortly after only to share the same fate as Scot with a mechanical 3 miles into lap one. I started next and quickly realized that just holding on and controlling the bike was going to be the game plan. Uphill traction was next to none, so there were plenty of dismounts and Cyclocross style running going on. I finished my two laps covered in mud and was able to land on the podium in 3rd place.
Thank you to the Impact Racing Wives, Daughters, and Teammates who weathered the storm to support us during the race. Fingers crossed for a DRY round #2 Kenda Cup in 2 weeks at Bonelli.
As the Dare to Race GP got underway in Ontario Ca, the weather was taking a turn for the worse. It was shaping up to be like round 1 in the rain. Today was all about the Cat4 and 30+ 4/5 with King Poe, Craig D, Bob L, Mike M, and Jake W. The plan was to line Jake W up for the mid points and lead him out for the Cat 4 and do the same for Mike M in the 30+ race.
The gun went off and the race got underway. When Ralph called the mid prime, the group went to work. The lead out was textbook and created a strung out field to secure the points. On the last lap, the field swarmed and Jake was only able to secure a 9th.
During the 30+ race all was going as planned and it was heard “Ontario series” during a prime announcement from Ralph. The lead out again was textbook taking Mike M to the line in first place. As we rounded turn one with the main field catching, Bob L informed us that we were NOW on the mid points prime. Not lined up as before, Mike moved back into position and took off solo at the top of the hill. There was a large enough gap that Mike was again able to secure the points. With 1 to go the lead out train was not in position as before. Bob took a pull setting up Jake and Mike 1 and 2 into the back stretch. Not being an ideal position, Jake slowed which caused the field to bunch. Mike was able to get on a fast wheel and they went after it up the hill. Jake moved behind Mike going into the final straight. The finish ramped up and Jake was able to hold a strong wheel for 2nd while Mike secured 6th. As the team completed the cool down lap the rain began letting loose. It was a fun day of racing and once again a strong showing for the Impact Racing Team.
“Teamwork. A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.” Anonymous
Today we lined up for the CBR Cat 3-4 race. It was the west side course, which is shorter and has a punchy little hill before the last turn. With 8 guys in the race we liked our chances of being able to control whatever situation was thrown at us. Bryan and Christian won primes early on while the others looked to cover any possible breaks. As the race wore on, no breaks were established and the effect of the punchy hill took its toll on the peloton. When legs get tired in bike racing bad things happen and unfortunately today our very own Christian “King” Poe, winner of this weekends UCLA RR, was caught up in a crash with 3 laps to go.
With our main set up man down it was up to Bob and Ralph to drive the front and keep the race in order while Bryan kept Matt safe and comfortable for the finish. Bob covered a dangerous break with 3 to go. With his main job done he headed back to the pack and Ralph took over. Ralph led the parade of racers around for 2 laps making the pace just fast enough where no one could come around yet smooth enough where he didn’t burn out his teammates. Ralph played his roll to perfection.
The last lap was fast at 30.1 mph average and out of turn 2 a rider took a flyer. It was now or never for Bryan and Matt. Bryan covered the attack and came through turn 3 hot carrying momentum up and over the hill. With the attacker caught, Matt on his wheel and one turn to go Bryan drove the pace harder, pedaled through the last turn and started his lead out. As Matt and one other on are glued to his wheel, all three began their final sprint. Bryan stayed in the middle, Matt to the right and Dennis of Paramount Racing to the left. The three drag raced the final 200 meters and in the end it was an IMPACT Racing 1-2 finish. Congrats to Bryan on his 3rd win of the season, Matt finished second with his 2nd podium of the season as well and Melvin snuck in for fifth place. Congratulation to the team on a great result.
Tony Gjeesing and I started out the day with U.C.L.A road race on the table.
The whistle blew, the temperature was a chilly 47degrees and we were off. There were three laps for a total of 37 miles; it was survival of the fittest! On the first lap there was an attack by Carefast & StageOne Cycling. Noticing there was no response from the peloton, I bridged up and was followed by a gentleman from Rock N' Road Cyclery. During this breakaway, the four of us did quick-pace line rotations and gained a forty seconds gap, a gap that would only increase for the rest of the race. The climbs out here at the U.C.L.A road race were different monsters. They were ranging from 2.6 miles at 6%, 7.1 miles at 4% and a few steep 7% risers. On the other side of the course was the downhill; it was approximately five miles long with a 5 percent downgrade. My maximum speed was recorded at 52 mph. No guts no glory!
Our break stayed away until and with the finish approaching the cat and mouse games began. As we entered the final turn approx 1.5 miles from the finish, I led it out. I was out of the saddle pushing the pace pretty hard try to put a hurt in the breaks legs before the final push. Noticing the men were still on my tail I sat down and took a little breather to recover. After a few seconds, I got up again and pushed the pace even harder. The goal was simple, drop them or hurt them, either way they would have to earn every bit of this finish. Behind me all I could hear was heavy rapid breathing, they were starting to crack. Now that we were getting close to the final hill, I dropped down a few gears and it was time to light the fire. As I started the final push, the voice of someone very upset behind me let out a final gasp and he was off my wheel for good. I was able to secure a comfortable distance for my first win!
My teammate Tony came in with a solid tenth place. This was his first road race and I have to say, watch out for him. Tenth place is very impressive my friend!
On a side note, last year I did this race with leg cramps into the final turn. I want to truly thank GQ-6 their FLOOID kept me Hydrated, cramp free and help make this win possible.
Fresh off a successful team camp last weekend, seven men from Impact Racing headed down to San Diego today to compete in the Spy Optic Red Trolley Classic. Spy Optic is our newest partner and we were excited to support them and compete at the new course at Qualcomm Stadium. The team lined up in the 30+3/4 race with multiple game plans based on breakaways or a pack sprint. All of the guys took their turns patrolling the front, going in breaks and closing down breaks that weren’t favorable to us. With five laps to go the last real breakaway threat was brought back and it was clear that a pack finish sprint would determine this race. Since this course was somewhat technical on less than perfect pavement, we assembled early and stayed in the top 15 with 3 laps to go.
As with most technical courses, it’s a battle to stay in the front, but mandatory if you want a good finish. With one lap to go we came out of turn 1 lined up, but a little further back than planned. Thankfully as we accelerated down the long winding back stretch Craig and Christian came along side and brought Bryan and Matt towards the front. Greg was almost caught out, but was able to shoot through a gap and jumped in line at the perfect time. Christian led the group into the bottom straight and Greg jumped hard to get Matt and Bryan to the front coming into the final U-turn on the course. Matt was able to take the final pull into the headwind leading out Bryan to the final straight. With about 150 meters to go Bryan went for it sensing that it was now or never. He had an immediate gap, but was being quickly pursued by a Surf City rider. Bryan and the other rider drag raced to a finish that was so close, neither rider knew who had won. The team quickly came together after the finish waiting for the results. When it was announced that Bryan had won in a photo finish thanks to a perfectly time bike throw, the team erupted in cheers and hugs. After reviewing the video, Bryan had won by the width of his rim. Today’s race was truly a team effort where every man filled their role perfectly.