2008 Monroe County Hill Climb

The second annual Monroe County Hill Climb took place with an increased field, increased interest but decreased temperatures. On the coolest day of the year since late April a group of 23 riders tackled the climb on Pinegrove road up from Lake Monroe to SR446. First to attempt the grade that has some steep pitches and yet some areas where the riders could but shouldn’t relax was Jon Palak (Team Tortuga). Palak showed that his summer racing has improved his form as he finished with a solid 5m49s good enough for 5th place on the day. The favourites arrived after another 10 minutes with Ryan Knapp (Alderfer Bergen) besting Palaks time with 5m47s. Knapp clearly didn’t lay it all on the road given his quick recovery and the fact that he admitted to creating a playlist on his iPod during the climb! In contrast Mike Sherer (Alderfer Bergen) laid it all on the road to take top spot with 5m45. Sherer clearly has the hill climb gene as he was struggling for breath for a good five minutes after his effort showing the form that took him to victory in the inaugural event ( http://www.teamtortuga.org/blog/?p=70 ).
However it was not to be Sherers day as Renjay Shei (Tortuga) crushed the fastest time with a scorching 5m25s. Shei had the dual benefit of a strenuous warm-up after racing out of class to reach the event and also having Tom Cox as a significant rabbit to catch as his minute-man. Next man up Ryan Shanahan snuck into 2nd place with a 5m43 in an event that is a lot shorter than those that are his forte. Shanahan had the consolation of taking the Over25 trophy whilst the other awards were won by Randi Cox (1st Female) and Greg Moves (1st Frat). Thanks to everyone who came out to ride. The start-finish lines are out on the road so anyone can go out and see what they can do whenever they want! Get out and ride!

Renjay Shei (Tortuga)            5m25
Ryan Shanahan            5m43
Mike Sherer (Alderfer Bergen)    5m45
Ryan Knapp (Alderfer Bergen)    5m47
Jon Palak (Tortuga)            5m49
Zach Trogdon                6m00
Chris Beck (Tortuga)            6m01
Greg Moves (DTD)            6m02
Kameron Gray (CCC)            6m13
Tomasz Golas                6m16
Tom Cox (Alderfer Bergen)        6m17
Valentin Todorow (BKB)        6m17
Brent Powell                6m27
Scott Mueller (BKB)            6m33
Brent Nowinski            6m41
Tim Davis (Tortuga)            6m50
Kirk Weesner (Pike)            6m55
Chris Stoker                 7m07
Randi Cox (Morris Trucking)        7m11
Neil Bansal (Kappa Sigma)        7m19
Evelyn Ewing (Morris Trucking)    7m47
Evan Wolf (Kappa Sigma)        8m10
Liz Nash                8m11
Larry Stropes    (Kappa Sigma)    8m48

Course Records!

The final MMSF TT was the fastest of the year with two scorching times from John Meyers and Ryan Shanahan. The last time these two TT titans clashed it was Meyers who set the course record but this time out even though he set another course record (21.03) it wasn’t good enough to win the day as Shanahan rode a remarkable 21min dead for the ten miles (28.5+mph)! Myron Lewis came in with a strong 3rd place (22.33) and the fact Ryan had to chase the Tortugan could be the real reason he set a new course record. RJs good form also continued with an excellent 23.10. Now all remains is for everyone to train up
until next year when surely the times will dip into the 20s!

MMSF 10 mile TT 8/26/08

Place   Name             Time       Time back    mph   kph
1    Ryan Shanahan    21.00.0   0.00.0    28.57    45.98
2    John Meyers    21.03.0        0.03.0    28.50    45.87
3    Myron Lewis    22.33.0        1.33.0    26.61    42.82
4    Ren-Jay Shei    23.10.0       2.10.0    25.90    41.68
5    Valentin Todorow    25.11.0 4.11.0    23.83    38.34
6    Sarah Sanders    25.58.0     4.58.0    23.11    37.19
7    Scott Mueller    27.47.0       6.47.0    21.60    34.75
8    Evelyn Ewing    28.37.0       7.37.0    20.97    33.74
9    Frank                  29.06.0    8.06.0    20.62    33.18


At the end of any cycling road race one rider crosses the line first as the victor but behind his or her achievements is the fact cycling at the highest level is a true team sport. This is most clearly in evidence as we observe ‘Team Columbia’ or ‘Team CSC’ driving the TdF peloton toward a stage win or a yellow jersey for a member of their team. At the local level team-work is rarely attempted and less often successful. This is particular true of Cat3 racing in which the majority of riders are looking for some individual glory!  However when teamwork does work then it give great satisfaction to all involved and so it was at the IN State Cat3 RR champs this past Saturday.

A field of 65 rolled out for 65mile with four Tortugans (Renjay, Chris, Adam and Geraint) equipped with a vague plan as to how they hoped the day would pan out. Four against 61 other riders are not good odds especially when there were many teams of equal or greater size. The best way for RJ or Adam to win was for them to slip into a breakaway whilst we felt confident that Chris could win a bunch sprint if it came to that. During a surprisingly aggressive opening lap RJ did indeed get into a promising breakaway that unfortunately came to nothing thanks to some strange tactics by rival team who seemed to be well represented in the break!

After a number of abortive efforts throughout the race, it all came down to the last lap with a couple of riders off of the front of the group. The Tortuga plan was then became to try and ensure a bunch sprint so it was that Adam and Geraint went to the front and set the pace for the final 8 miles whilst RJ and Chris stuck close together in the group. The escapers were eventually captured and whilst the pace wasn’t very high the fact that we were willing to lead the group appeared to discourage any attackers. For some strange reason the remaining 60 riders in the group all thought that they could win a bunch sprint so were content not to attack. I would also guess that the fact his teammates were clearly working for him meant that Chris felt both some confidence and some pressure to perform and that helped his focus and ultimate performance.

As the group came onto the final long straightaway, Adam and RJ both hit the front to position Chris for a run at the finish. The result is almost irrelevant (Chris did end up taking the win after a protested finish) as the fact that the team was able to put their rider in a position to win was the main achievement. We were able to do this with a small number of focused riders who could have easily been taken off of task by some aggression by othr teams. Did every other rider really think they could win a sprint? Why wasn’t there attacks by riders who have no sprint? Isn’t it better to attempt to win rather than sprint for 20th position? If Tortuga had played in a similar way then I have no doubt we could have finished within the top 20 but is it better to go 6th, 11th, 12th and 20th than 1st, 18th, 21st and 50th? I think we chose to attempt to make the latter happen and in my mind it is much more satisfying!

And what a day it was the team as a whole. Three state champs was a phenomenal return on a days racing- Chris (cat3), Myron (masters) and Sydney did the team very proud indeed! Fear the Turtle ;)!!