Hello visitors of this site and VuMedi fans, the 2016 cycling season brings a lot of change. VuMedi Elite Cycling Team will be no more, in its stead, Echelon-Storck Development Team will rise from the ashes. If you are keen to follow along our journey as we turn meaningful experiences into stories of success, give us a like on Facebook and follow along on our website. We hope to see you there!
This past weekend, VuMedi sent seven riders down to southern California to compete in one of the most challenging stage races California has to offer — the San Dimas Stage Race. The race began on Friday, the 27th, with an uphill individual time trial that snaked its way up the fully exposed Glendora Mountain Road, or GMR as it is known to the locals. The next stage consisted of laps around a seven mile circuit in Bonelli state park right outside of downtown San Dimas. With extreme heat and steep, punchy climbs, this stage ripped the category 2 and pro/1 races apart. Luckily, VuMedi had Trevor, one of the team’s two directors, helping the riders out by giving cheers and cold bottles of Hammer Nutrition’s Heed drink mix in the feed zone. The third and final stage was a six corner criterium in which reduced pelotons fought for bonus seconds, primes, and one last chance of glory.
VuMedi had a successful weekend of racing in the category 2 field. Alexander Gaidis, back from the east coast, netted 7th in the ITT and was able to move up and secure a final general contention (GC) position of 5th over the next two days with the help of his teammates Stephen Cabebe, Andrew Biscardi, and Jason Gandzjuk.
In the final day of racing, Stephen played his cards wisely and sprinted to victory in the criterium. Below is what he had to say about the race.
After successfully helping move my boy Alex Gaidis into a podium GC position by sheparding him through stage 2’s road race, I was more than ready to do it all over again during stage 3’s criterium. My legs felt fresh the morning of stage 2, so waking up to another set of fresh legs the morning of stage 3 boosted my confidence even more. The L-shaped course was set in palm-lined downtown San Dimas, featuring a slight climb on the backside of the course and a long downhill straight into the final corner that’s 200m from the finish line. With two riders both under 10 seconds behind Alex and two bonus time sprint points mid-race and bonus time points at the finish, our plan was simple: to make sure the riders closest to Alex on GC do not get those time bonuses and to make sure Alex makes it safely through the race to retain his GC position.
From the gun, attacks went left and right with the field strung out for what seemed like forever, but no moves looked promising. Just as in the previous day’s stage, legs eventually became tired and if there was a huge lull in pace, I would go to the front with Alex on my wheel to string out the field and make sure Alex was safe.
With 20 minutes remaining, Alex was able to nab a few precious bonus seconds in a sprint against the high-placed GC riders, and knowing that Alex would be gassed from the sprint, I slipped away from the field, giving Alex a chance to rest while other teams were forced to chase me. Eventually, 4 riders (Bruno Suttles – Davis Bike Club, Sean Henderson -Squadra SF, David Mesa – Red Peloton, Marco Colex – Team Winded) bridged and we built up a maximum gap of 15 seconds on the field. With 2 laps to go, Robert Freeman (Team Rokform) bridged up to us with the field not far behind, ready to swallow us. On the final lap, Freeman attacked early on the downhill straight-away and no one responded. I soon attacked, caught Freeman’s wheel right before the final corner to take a breath, and gave all I had into the final 200m to take an incredible first win of the season – just as the field caught us.
I want to dedicate this win to my late Grandma Nora, who never doubted me in whatever I pursued. I want to thank my teammates Alex, Andrew, Jason, Jonathan, Mario, David, and my directors Trevor and AJ for all their support and encouragement throughout the whole weekend. And I want to thank our sponsors Real Wheels Bicycle Studio, Kennedy & Associates, VuMedi, D-tools, Jakroo USA, Neilpryde Bikes, SRAM, Thomson, Selle Italia, POC, Hammer Nutrition, American Classic and Panaracer tires for all of their support along the way.
While the majority of VuMedi was fighting for victory at Land Park and Bariani, the team’s lone east coast rider was fighting a battle of his own against the elements in what was an epic beginning to the east coast’s opening weekend of collegiate races. While Alex Gaidis lives in San Jose, he goes to college out on the east coast. After anxiously hearing the results from the early NorCal races rolling in for the past month, he was eager to finally get out and stretch his legs with some racing.
This past Saturday marked the opening race of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC). The week leading up to the race consisted of sunshine and temperatures in the high 40s — beautiful. The only sign of the wretched winter the east coast endured was the pothole-marred streets. The Brown University Cycling Team drove down to the southern tip of the Hudson Valley, NY for what was sure to be an exciting race. The course was a fast 3.7 mile counter-clockwise loop around a lake — generally flat with a few rollers on the backside of the course. The races proved to be even more exciting than anticipated as torrential rain flooded the roads, filled potholes, and soaked riders to their bones before the first lap was even finished. Mud flew everywhere, fog reduced visibility to fifteen feet, and snow banks turned roads into narrow, 5-foot-wide bottlenecks. It reminded me of the classics. I watched riders from the C and B categories finish so cold that teammates had to undress them because their hands were to numb to do anything useful. But, needless to say I was psyched as I thought I had been training in similar weather — I hadn’t. Luckily I had my Jackroo bibs on so the wet didn’t give me any saddle sores. It is the little things in life.
The race kicked off. As expected, moves flew left and right and it soon became apparent who had done their off-season homework. I tried to mark every move I could, but eventually a break slipped away and I wasn’t a part of it. I worked with other riders to reel the break back in but to no avail — the break of two riders stayed away. The peloton, successfully disoriented, trudged on with the race. Wary of attacks now, the peloton let nothing get away. Without team members, a successful chase was futile and the race culminated in a field sprint for third. I crossed the line with a top-ten finish, happy that I didn’t crash and made it through the race in one piece. It was a killer race, it definitely got me stoked for the season. But at the same time I was bummed with my result, and the hunger in my belly for a result only grew overnight. I went into Sunday’s criterium highly motivated and looking for a result.
After a good night of sleep, sharing a pull-out futon with another racer (not sarcastic!), I was feeling amped to race. The criterium was located on the Rutgers campus in New Jersey. The course consisted of a counter-clockwise loop with three corners and a finish that was uphill and into a strong headwind. I ended up riding to the criterium with another local A-racer who showed me some of the scenic back roads New Jersey has to offer — truly beautiful, even with a roaring headwind. It took us around 2.5 hours to reach the criterium. My legs really started to open up and feel loose about an hour into the ride. A few efforts later and I was feeling pretty good about the race to come. Aside from a flat tire I got riding to the criterium, everything seemed to be going well for me. It is impossible for me to have a bad day when I have my pre-criterium breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter and some coffee — oh, and of course a solid morning bathroom trip.
I analyzed the course before racing. I noted that the final corner coming into the finish was sharp and sketchy. Remembering Bryan’s previous win at the first Red Kite Criterium this season, I made a mental note of the final corner. The gun blew and I settled into the first third of the peloton. I was a factor in the race — never more than 7 riders from the front. I hopped on anyone’s wheel who put in a dig and broke away from the peloton. After the break getting away the day before, I wanted to make sure I was a part of it, so I got in every break that formed. It hurt, but thirty minutes into the race one of these breaks got ten seconds on the peloton. The break grew to five riders and the gap slowly grew. Twenty, thirty, forty seconds we heard from the spectators (and five seconds from that one nimrod trying to make us nervous). We worked well together sharing the work and making sure our move was the winning move. It was.
With one lap to go we lapped the main field. Remembering a chat I had with Bryan a week prior, I launched my attack 400 meters or more out from the finish. I made it to the sketchy corner with daylight, railed the corner and put in another dig to carry myself across the line in first place. I couldn’t believe it worked! I am so grateful for the advice Bryan gave me, as well as all the support our wonderful sponsors have given us so far this season. I also can’t forget to thank AJ, who continues to believe in my development and success. I am very fortunate to have such wonderful support!
This past Sunday, Bryan Larsen dominated the second Red Kite Criterium of the 2015 season. Of course, he will not mention the win without mentioning the help that Byron Anson contributed. Check out the footage that Bryan recorded and compiled on his cockpit mounted GoPro.
Welcome back to another edition of VuMedi Cycling Team’s weekend roundup. VuMedi Cycling experienced another weekend of NorCal racing success and solid team development.
VuMedi Topping the Team Standings
Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) ranks NorCal teams according to point accumulation at different NorCal Premier Series races. The VuMedi Cycling Team has worked its way into the number one position on the list. The top five rankings are as follows:
- VuMedi Cycling Team
- SquadraSF p/b Terun
- Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees
- Davis Bike Club Race Team
- Herbalife p/b MarcPro-Strava
To see a full, comprehensive listing of the team rankings, visit the NCNCA team standings page here.
All Aboard the Team Van
This past week brings the introduction of a newly painted team van. The light blue of VuMedi Cycling will now be present in the motorcade following the peloton offering support to riders. Equipped with bike and wheel racks, the team will be prepared for any issue that may arise. NRC here we come!
Chico Stage Race Report
Last weekend the team fought hard against some of the best teams in the country at the Chico Stage Race. Matt Schaupp was the team’s highest placing finisher. He gave a great, in-depth summary of the race. Check it out here.
Cherry Pie Criterium Podium
Justin Traud made the podium last weekend in the Cherry Pie Criterium. He shared a few quick words detailing the race and his success.
We started the day with three VuMedi riders in a field of 38 guys — Chris LeBerge, Russ White and myself. It was my first time racing Cherry Pie so they filled me in on everything I needed to know. As we rolled up to the start line, Chris told me to be third or fourth wheel through the first turn. The race whistle blew, and we were off! I went through the corner in about fourth position and as soon as we hit the first long section, Evan Murphy (Lupus Racing Team) attacked on the right side. I jumped on his wheel as he passed and the next two laps we were off the front.
Then a Hagens-Burman rider bridged up and brought along two other riders. Our break away was up to five guys. We paused for a second and this allowed a second Hagens-Burman rider to bridge up. At this point I knew I was outnumbered and out-gunned. For the next 20 minutes, we killed ourselves to get away. I felt like my legs hated me. Then, once we heard we had a 40 second gap, things lightened up… slightly. Hagens-Burman used their numbers and attacked a couple times.
Coming into the last lap we were all together and I followed the Hagen-Burman riders. Evan Murphy attacked on the right with Christopher Coble (Olympic Cycling) and I sprinted on the left passing the Hagens-Burman riders for a third place finish.
We kept the break alive and it paid off in the end. I also heard my two teammates in the field did a lot of work as well. I’m so appreciative of Chris LeBerge and Russ White for the crucial pre-race advice! Now I will be enjoying some cherry pie! All I can say is I’m part of a great team!
With this performance, Justin helped the team gain its 12th podium of the season. At six wins and twelve podiums, VuMedi Cycling has had a solid first month of racing.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY
Friday marked the start of the race weekend with the opening stage of the Madera Stage race — the Ben Hur Hill Climb Time Trial. Three VuMedi riders lined up to start the stage race, David Benkoski, Andrew Biscardi and Todd Stone. The hill climb course saw the riders traverse six miles of rolling hills followed by a steeper 4 mile incline for a total of ten miles. Adrien Costa (California Giant/Specialized) took the stage win in a commanding fashion beating second place Chris Harland-Dunaway (Herbalife p/b MarcPro-Strava) by over a minute. Neilson Powless (Hagens Berman U23) rounded out the podium.
Stages two and three commenced on Saturday, a time trial followed by a criterium. Again, Adrien Costa dominated the race against the clock. Dillon Caldwell (Kryki Sports p/b Audi) followed over a minute behind for second place with Neilson Powless again rounding out the podium.
Todd Stone rode the break in the stage three criterium, but ultimately the breakaway was caught. No moves ended up panning out, and the race finished with in a field sprint. Tommy Lucas (Bear Development Team) took the win followed by Evan Murphy (Lupus Racing Team) and Owen Gillott (Hagens Berman U23). Todd managed to salvage some energy after the breakaway and sprinted into a solid 6th place.
The Dualton Road Race marked the fourth and final stage of the Madera Stage Race. Todd (Strongman) Stone again hit the breakaway. For most of the 85 mile course Todd pushed the pace in the break. But unfortunately, he regained contact with the main field on the rollers that plagued the finish of the race. Jack Maddux (Hot Tubes Development) snagged the win with Sean Bennett (Hagens Berman U23) and Ansel Dickey (California Giant/Specialized) coming in second and third respectively.
Overall, Andrew Biscardi was out highest ranked rider in the general classification at 17th. Adrien Costa, Neilson Powless and Chris Harland-Dunaway made up the final podium.
A little closer to the Bay, Bryan Larsen, Byron Anson and Matt Schaupp were busy crushing the local Red Kite Race Series. Not one, but both Bryan and Byron made it into a five man breakaway. Byron bent over backwards to keep the break separated from the main field to give Bryan a shot at victory. When push came to shove and the breakaway sprinted for the line, it was Bryan who was out front with a commanding lead. Nick Baird (Integrity Racing p/b Integrity Roofing) and Jonathan Penaloza (Davis Bike Club) rounded out the podium.
In other news, our fellow Mexican friend seems to be enjoying his time in America…
The VuMedi Cycling Team left for the Chico Stage Race early Friday morning from director AJ’s home. There was an apparent sense of nerves and excitement among the riders as this would be our first real objective for the season, and nobody knew what to expect. Expectations of rain, strong teams and stronger wind left us heading into the weekend with little more than base mile fitness and blind optimism.
Riders: Andrew Biscardi, Jason Gandzjuk, Dustin Cottle, Jonathan Sandoval, Byron Anson, Gregory White, Todd Stone, Bryan Larson, Matthew Schaupp (me)
Managment: AJ Kennedy, Trevor White, Chris Mcgovern
Friday, February 27: Thunderhill Circuit Race
Excited teams and swirling winds kept the field together. Our tasks were split with part of the team representing us in breakaways, part protecting Bryan for general contention and myself for a result on the day. Things had been going just as planned as we rolled through the start/finish line with two laps remaining. Bryan and I were together surfing the front of the field coming into the small hill on the backside of the course but a headwind slowed the front of the race enough for riders from behind to come around on both sides. We lost our position and the speed picked back up all the way to the line. We left unscathed and positive that only slight adjustments were necessary for us to be back in the mix.
Saturday, February 28: Paskenta Road Race
The road race began long before we even heard a whistle for the neutral roll-out. I caught a few elbows and found myself halfway down the field before I had one foot clipped in. With the expectation of massive splits happening through the gravel and following hill and crosswind section of road I was a little panicked at my field position. Unable to move up, I was massively relieved to see the group staying together while winding through the gravel. We lost Andrew, Jonathan and Byron to flats very early, but they did an amazing job staying motivated in what, as far as I’m concerned, is the hardest group to ride in. The rest of the lap stayed pretty calm. While Greg was handing me a much needed bottle of Hammer Nutrition HEED I nailed a pothole and flatted. Thankfully, a quick change by Chris Mcgovern allowed me to reach the back of the field just before the rolling section of the course began. Greg and Todd were waiting for me and just as we started working our way up, Todd flatted too. The rollers and heightened pace heading into the gravel prevented him from making it back through the caravan.
With half our team together towards the front we made it through the gravel and felt the wind had picked up heading into the long crosswind section of the course.
Before anybody could prepare themselves the whole Optum team and a few others pulled away and opened a minute gap. Suffering from earlier work, Jason and Greg dropped back which left Bryan and I in the second group on the road. With around 25km to go, we agreed that catching Optum was out of the question but preventing the gap from growing was. While Bryan saved energy and tried to get me fluids, I worked with Justin Rossi of Herbalife Marc-Pro Strava and KHS to hold the gap. Desperately looking for fluid I asked Roman Kilun of Mikes Bikes if he had spare water. Without a word he reached down, felt the weight of his front water bottle, shrugged his shoulders and handed it to me. There was less than a sip left in that bottle and I was stoked to have it. At 1km out Bryan attacked and crossed the line five seconds ahead of our group and 15th on the day. I rolled across in 22nd and felt that in spite of things not going perfectly Vumedi had still persevered. We had Bryan in the top 20 on GC and in position to gain a few places and almost every rider starting the next day. HUGE thanks to our management for cleaning every one of our dusty bikes at the end of the day AND setting up the TT rigs.
Sunday, March 1: Individual Time Trial
I can’t speak on everyone’s ride because the individual time trial is just that, individual, but I can summarize my own. I started the day with doubts…I was optimistic, but doubtful — if that’s possible. I had a bike I don’t train on, borrowed wheels, no way to judge my pacing and output beyond speed and time, and a warmup that consistedof spinning 2 miles from our host house to the starting gate. I did have a few of Chris McGovern’s words in my head however. With what I believed to be a mixture of seriousness and sarcasm he said to me, “Just go 30mph. Just put it in that gear, spin it up and go 30mph.” I smiled. He did not. I did my best to follow those instructions and wound up riding into the top 20 in GC.
Same day: Criterium
The plan of putting me into position to grab a placing was not successful. Suffering from a lackadaisical leader (me) the team spent the race riding circles, waiting for me to arrive. I was being lazy and waiting for opportunities to come to me. This might be the only lesson to learn in bike racing beyond drafting: nothing is given out. For this I apologize to my teammates and directors.