San Rafael Twilight (Sunset)

Tucker makes a brief appearance on the start line (from :03 to :05) in the winner, Justin Williams’ (Cylance) video from Saturday.

Those #FigFast green & black colors look good under the lights…next year we’ll send a full squad!

Jessica also took another top ten in the women’s 3/4 earlier in the day.

Cascade Classic Results & San Rafael Sunset Criterium

The team is back from a long trip and big stage race in Bend, Oregon – the Cascade Cycling Classic. We scored three podiums, and two more top tens. Full results can be found here.

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Brandon scored two second place finishes, this one atop Mt. Bachelor, and a 6th overall in GC.

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Jess got barley nipped at the line and took second at the Downton Criterium after her TT in the morning on Saturday.

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Julia guest rode for the Canyon Bicyles – Shimano pro team in her first race as a 2. She had some unfortunate luck that saw a screw go through her wheel during stage 3, ending her weekend a bit early. We can all attest the Giesch still had fun!

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Not a bad drive, albeit 12 hours long…

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Racing in the mountains with scenery like this, we’ll be back next year!

Tomorrow, Tucker is racing the San Rafael Twilight (or Sunset as it is now known) criterium in Marin County. His form is on point, look for him to sneak up on some NorCal hitters and grab a #FigFast podium!

Bbakes also scored his final upgrade, fourth of the season, into the 1st. This is FMBR’s 11th of the season.

Patterson Pass Road Race next weekend as well…stay tuned!

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The 2s squad post Mt. Bachelor Road Race before the podium shot.

Crusher in Tushar, SoCal Crit Racing and Cascade

The team had a great adventure to Beaver, Utah for the Crusher in Tushar and enjoyed a weekend at elevation gravel grinding and enjoying the the southern Utah Mountains. David made a sweet video of his experience out on the course here:

Jess continued her domination of the 3s in the SoCal crit scene (results are updated) and seven team members are in Bend, Oregon for the 37th Annual Cascade Cycling Classic.

From our women’s team, Julia is guest riding for the Canyon Bicycles Shimano team for her first UCI pro event.

Stay tuned for #FigFast results over the course of the weekend!

Results: Nationals, CCCX & Long Beach Grand Prix

D. Priest (the Beast) took home 55th and 60th in the TT and road race this week in Louisville, Kentucky. A great showing for his first two races as a category one racer against the best amateurs in the country.

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TJ returned to racing for the first time in eleven months to snag his first podium in the #FigFast green & black. He is riding strong, happy and ready to attack the late season races in order to make the jump to the elite squad.

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Stern snagged his third win of the season and a fourth place at CCCX for a few more upgrade points, bringing him over the 50% mark for his category one upgrade.

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Caps Not Hats

Jessica took her second win of the year in emphatic style, posting up for a finishing line salute at the Long Beach Grand Prix today.

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Next weekend the team sends a group of racers to Beaver, Utah for the Crusher in Tushar – thanks our amazing apparel sponsor DNA Cycling for setting this up…road trip!

Full results HERE

#WeAreFigMtn

Lake Elizabeth Cat 3 Race Report by D. Silverander

Long Story Short

It was stupid windy, which determined the dynamic and outcome of the race. I didn’t quite recognize this while we were racing, largely because I was too attached to my pre-race assessment that the climb would be the most selective element on the course. The main takeaway is that, in extreme weather, you must be quick to recognize how it will impact the race and adjust your plan accordingly. Also, when conditions are tough, many people will be racing just to finish. Aggression is likely to be rewarded, therefore, by a field unmotivated to chase effectively.

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Short Story Long

There aren’t a lot of road racing opportunities in Southern California this time of year, so when I saw that the Lake Elizabeth RR was happening just two hours away in Lancaster it was an easy decision to sign up. With a 2:05pm starting time, I figured that it would probably be a really hot day on the bike. What I did not see coming was that the race would take place in some of the strongest and most unrelenting wind that I have ever experienced.

The course is a 14 mile loop—basically a 3 mile climb, 4 miles of descending and the rest pretty flat. On a normal day, a course like this would definitely favor small climber types, who could put the hurt on the field by pushing the pace on the climb. This was not a normal day, though. No, this was a day when the wind blew like it was trying to stop time.

Two good things I will say about the wind. It was quite consistent—although it did swirl wildly in the canyons—and it kept the temperature fairly low. Other than that, it pretty much sucked. This was the kind of wind that makes it hard to stand up straight, let alone ride a bicycle fast. I’m no meteorologist, but I’d guess that the sustained wind coming from the West was at least 20 miles per hour, probably closer to 30 by the time the race was over. Gusts to 40 or 50 were frequent, causing at least one solo crash in our race and many near misses. Not content just to assault the riders, the wind also saw fit to knock over the portapotties at registration. I’m telling you, it was ugly out there.

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As the 30-man 3s field rolled out onto the course, there was a palpable sense that this was a pretty ridiculous thing to be doing. This is a hobby, after all, and wind that strong just makes bike riding unpleasant. It’s loud, you have to pay extra-close attention to everything, you keep tensing up trying to hold the bike steady… overall it’s exhausting and annoying. I know from personal experience that focusing on negatives can easily infect one’s mind and sap one’s will to compete. So, as we started, I consciously redoubled my commitment to the race and decided that, if nothing else, it would be a unique experience.

The course starts on the main climb and most of it was straight into the wind. This made for an unusual dynamic, where drafting was hugely beneficial and therefore the advantage that a strong climber would normally enjoy was muted or nonexistent. I had been anticipating a race of attrition, where each time up the climb we’d lose a few from the main field. Given that expectation, I figured the best thing to do was stay in the group, ride smart and see where things stood after 2 or 3 laps.

What I failed to recognize was that the wind changed the race dynamic entirely. Since the wind meant that you could basically sit in on the climb, it was not selective in the way that you would have expected. Instead, we all trudged up together, slowly and shakily, sand occasionally blasting in our faces. I was feeling good and, had I realized what was going on, I would have made an effort to get up the road. It’s hard mentally to want to leave the comfort of the group in conditions like that, but it was the smart thing to do. The few guys who ever got a significant gap on the field were never pulled back and those three were rewarded with the entire podium.

The rest of us slogged it out for 3 long hours. A lot of it felt like bike racing in slow motion. Someone would attack all out and gain a gap of maybe 10 feet, which the rest of us would close down over the course of 30 seconds. The Strava segment for the last two miles of the race tells the story perfectly. Racing in the 8am 4s race before the wind started, my friend Danny covered the distance at 18.8 mph with an average power of 233 watts. My best time on the segment was 12.6 mph (this is up a 2% grade) on 277 watts, meaning that Danny went 50% faster with 15% less effort. Like the rest of the day, it was all about the wind.

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That final two mile push was both excruciating and comical. The wind was hard from the right, so we were echeloned from shoulder to centerline, creeping along with everyone trying to balance the need for shelter with the desire to maintain some kind of decent position. I spent most of that time in third wheel, cranking along in the small ring and staring at the finish area, which was tauntingly visible in the distance.

Finally, with about 150 meters to go, someone opened up the “sprint” and I did what I could to follow. I’d been just on the edge of cramping a few minutes earlier, but I was determined to give it everything I had. A few guys got past me and I was able to pass a few of them back. My speed peaked at 16.5 mph, which is about as fast as I could sprint on foot. I ended up fifth among what was left of the field and eighth overall. Not a great result, but a hard fought one from which I learned a lot.

P.S. Okay, one other good thing about the wind. It turned an otherwise unremarkable descent into an all-time ripper—4 miles in just over 5 minutes.

Master’s Nationals Road Race Report from Q. Sims

I got to North Carolina Sunday afternoon and rode the course twice on Monday and once on Tuesday. After watching the previous races, I knew it would probably be a pack finish because the hills were not long or steep enough to keep the sprinters at bay. Personally, I was stressed. Resigned to mid pack finish. Fifteen of the top twenty racers in the Nation had shown up to compete and the race predictor had me at number six. After talking to Joe Lamir (4 time national champ and great friend), he suggested to follow Kevin Metcalf (past national champ). Metcalf does not like to sprint and will try to get away early. “Keep it simple and follow Metcalf,” was the advice he gave me.

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Race day was warm (70 degrees and soon rose to 80 degrees with a high humidity). About 90 racers came to the line and they all looked like sprinters with quads the size of my waist. Two teams from Northern California were well represented (Thirsty Bear and Hammer Nutrition), this put me at ease because I know there game and tendencies from racing all season against them. The other guy I wanted to keep track of was Chris Walker. The gun went off and as soon as we got through the neutral strip Hans Growin from Thirsty Bear attacks. Did not know it then, but learned later, they wanted to make it hard so it would not come down to a pack finish for them (Hammer Nutrition had the same idea). So sure enough, half way into the first lap we catch Hans and Metcalf attacks and gets away with two other riders. (I lost track of him damn it). The peloton kept him within 100 meters for a whole lap. I burned a couple of matches trying to bridge thinking this was it, but then had to sit back in the pack to recover. The narrow roads, quantity and quality of the riders made it very difficult to stay in the first 15 riders.

The second lap saw Chris Walker attack and stay away for about half a lap (nearly 18 miles). Again, the peloton kept him within 100 meters. I kept my wits about me waiting a for chance to do something, but unfortunately on the second lap I had some bad luck. Midway in I hit a bump and lost a water bottle. Five miles later, I lost the other bottle because I put it only half way in and hit another bump and lost that one also (no neutral water). The next 22 miles in 80 degree heat was going to be brutal!

On the third lap we started with Dan Shore (Hammer Nutrition) and Hans Growin (Thirsty Bear) attacking and getting a good gap. I realized this may be a good opportunity, so on the only significant hill (Dull Road) I attacked to bridge up. One other racer went with me from the east coast. After a three mile chase, we finally caught them. After working together for a few miles we had built our lead to 55 seconds. At the 10k mark, the East coast guy blew to smithereens! I had nothing left and Hans also had nothing left. The gap started to narrow(40sec). I told Dan he would have to do the majority of work if we were going to stay away. Both Hans and myself committed to Dan (he was way stronger on this day and played his cards perfectly). With 1.5 miles left, Dan attacked and dropped us. Soon after Hans attacked me. I caught Hans with 200 meter to go. The pack was on our butts literally 100 meters behind me. Hans wanted to play the sprint game but I knew we had no time to play games! I just kept on hammering knowing Hans would sit on and sprint around me. Sure enough, 25 meters left, he sprinted around for second place by one second. I took third with only 2 seconds to spare before the pack caught me! I was totally dehydrated but elated!!!

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57th Annual Mt. Hamilton Classic Road Race Win

This was my number one race on the calendar from the moment I finished the 2015 edition. I fell in love with the gradual HC climb to start, the stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Bay Area, the wicked technical descent that always breaks a few bones each year, the kickers, point-to-point, the finish, the whole shebang. It requires competency in so many skills which is perfect for me because I’m not amazing at anything, just really good at a lot of different things on the bike.

In 2015 I’d never ridden the backside descent of Mt. Hamilton ever before. Talk about an eye opener. For those local Santa Barbarians, it’s akin to bombing down Painted Cave – trust me, I’ve done that before and it’s no exaggeration. That is what it takes to make the front group at Hammy.

Luckily, this year I got to ride it again only a few months ago. I thought ahead that day to May 29th and knew I wanted to win yesterday. It’s amazing that the power of intent and positive thinking can have an affect on the outcome, but I’m sure that was the case with yesterday.

Our race weekend started with an awesome team ride around Pebble Beach, an entertaining coffee stop and awesome team dinner – watching the Warriors win and force a game 7 was icing on the cake! It was also a bit inspiring.

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After the game we had a brief Strava course recon and impromptu team strategy meeting. With Dolce Vita bringing 6 strong riders that we’ve all competed against before, we knew to keep our eye on them. Based on our success this season, we also knew that we weren’t an unknown anymore. We had a target on our backs, but there was nothing anyone could do.

The plan was executed to a ‘t’ from the moment we lined up. Bobby was ready to attack from the gun. And attack he did. As soon as we made the right hand turn onto Mt. Hamilton Road from Alum Rock, he went. Within a minute he was back, but the tone was set. Shortly thereafter another solo rider rolled off the front and Bobby went with him. They slowly gained a gap and went out of sight. This forced exactly what we wanted; Dolce Vita to use energy to keep the breakaway within reach. Everyone knows a big gap on the climb can be sustained to the finish if the riders off the front can descend.

David, Brandon and myself stayed easily in the top 15 for both pitch one and two of the climb as Bobby inched away and Dolce Vita burned match, after match.

After the long swooping left hand bend leading into the third and longest pitch of the Mt. Hammy climb, Bobby and his breakaway compatriot came into sight. The tempo picked up as we gradually pitched into the six mile finale to the peak. I quickly recognized the increase in speed and moved as close to the front as possible following another decisive wheel. Right before the catch happened, a Dolce and unaffiliated (who can always be dark horses) bridged up to the break and pushed on. My friend and fellow competitor since nearly day one of my racing career, Chris Zappalà, started crushing and Brandon quickly grabbed his wheel.

This was the deciding moment of the race.

As the hecticness of the climb continually reshuffled over the next few miles, Brandon and Chris’ gap grew to a minute thirty over the top. I came over the summit in the second group featuring two Limitless juniors, one Muscle Milk-Specialized, one Team Illuminate (who was in my breakaway in the 3s last year), our unaffiliated friend on a Santa Cruz disc bike with ‘cross gearing and one Dolce rider close in pursuit.

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Photo by Alex Chiu

I came to the front to push the pace even higher over the top knowing we could pop those who sat up across the false summit and also to be able to lead down the descent – which I did. Erik (in the black who came over the top with me last year and stayed in the break as well) and I shared duties leading down the descent featuring gravel, 180 degree hairpins, cattle guards and bumpy tarmac. We kept it safe and fast as we lost the two juniors and Muscle Milk rider.

We collected our neutral feeds and took a breather as Chris fell back to our group, “Your teammate was an animal on the descent.” Yeah, I know he is a beast – I still remember the Century. I quickly realized Brandon was solo off the front at a minute plus and as Cooper from Dolce bridged up I had a free ride from a group of my four breakaway compatriots. So, for nearly 45 minutes I sat on fueling/hydrating and just enjoying the view as I watched four very organized racers rotate through. I’d never been in a position like this in a group. I’m always working and instigating. But in this particular position, everyone was just jealous of me. I was saving precious energy that I would use later.

At this precise moment I realized I was going to to win this race.

We caught Brandon at the start of the second kicker about 20 miles from the finish. My free ride lasted nearly 20 miles…I gave Brandon a big smile, took an extra empty bottle from him and asked how he was. Good, as always. I gave him a few minutes to recover and then I attacked, bringing Cooper with me and forcing Erik to chase with Brandon sucking his wheel. Chris and Adam (unaffiliated) were dropped instantly and our group was down to four. FMBR now had a 50% chance of winning.

The last hour of racing was finishing my second bottle of Skratch, always Matcha for a caffeine boost at the end. I don’t do caffeine until the end of the race. I also thoroughly enjoyed having two more UnTapped syrups – this stuff is a natural boost of energy that is high in electrolytes, easy to digest, not sticky like traditional gels and gives me a huge kick of energy.

All four of us rotated fairly cohesively with a few little mini attacks as everyone started to think about strategy. It was one of my most enjoyable racing experiences being able to talk with Brandon, gauge how he felt, give him info of time, mileage and terrain to go. As we approached the final technical and quick descent Cooper jumped hard and Brandon covered his wheel. I told him not to loose it because we were so close. Stretched out, but together we came into the flat lead-up to the finish and then it all slowed. Erik came to the front and announced he wasn’t going to sprint – that makes our life easier. We now have a 66% chance of winning. I forced Cooper into second wheel with Brandon behind me. At the 200k meter to go sign, right after Cooper looked over his left shoulder and as soon as his head was facing forward, I jumped as hard as I could over that side, Brandon followed and we went 1-2 with relative ease.

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Photo by Alex Chiu

This was easily the most enjoyable, beautifully executed and memorable race I’ve ever been apart of. Not to mention giving me my first two win season ever! Thanks again go to my teammates Brandon, Bobby and David for being apart of some #FigFast magic.

I went to bed the night before thinking I could win, I woke up believing I would win and as I sat on the back of the group bringing back Bbakes I KNEW I was going to win. #WeAreFigMtn



Q Doug Sims Takes Bronze at Nationals

Mr. Sims travelled across the States to the Winston-Salem, North Carolina to contest his 55-59 age group in the road race. After a strong season that has seen him pick up 6 podiums, he went in with high expectations.

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We’re proud to announce he took 3rd place (his 5th third of the year) in a 180 man field, a seven spot improvement from last year – we know where he’s headed next season already! Congratulations Q!

#WeAreFigMtn #FigFast