2013 Cone-Azalia Race Report (Cat 3)

By Paul Skorupskas

Photo courtesy of Cristin Robb

Another Cone-Azalia race has come and gone and now the road racing season is officially underway in Michigan. For those who are not familiar with the race course, it takes place in Milan, MI, is a pancake flat 10 mile circuit race course, typically very windy and 40% dirt roads whose conditions vary from year-to-year. Aside from being a very difficult race, the pre-race decisions that go into what kind of bike to use (road or CX) whether or not to use race wheels, what kind of tires to run, etc. add another interesting wrinkle to race that reminds of last fall during CX season. My setup this year was the same as last year, road bike, clincher training wheels with 24mm Vittoria Pave tires with reinforced sidewalls. This is the same setup that I used last year when I won the Cat 4 race so why mess with something works. The rest of the team was on a mix of CX bike with road tires and varying widths. Seems everyone has their favorite setup.

This year is the inaugural year for O2 elite race team and Cone-Azalia brought out most of the racers so that we had good representation in the Cat 3, 35+ and 45+ fields as well as some racers spread out throughout the other categories.

Jerry Gase, Doug Burcicki and myself showed up to the line to race the cat 3 race. With 3 similarly strong racers our plan was simple. Attack! Attack early, counterattack and continue attacking the field. The race really starts strong every year once the field hits the first dirt section about .5 mile into the course. This year was no different. We had a few marked riders on other teams and they did not disappoint driving the pace as soon as we crossed the train tracks and hit the dirt section. The pace was fast, but Jerry and Doug took turns covering the mini-breaks and bringing them back while I waited. This continued for most of the first lap until the pace really slowed on the drag to the start/finish into the headwind when no one wanted to pull the field.

Eventually a rider had a enough and put in a little attack. Our team was content to let him hang out front for a while where we could see him. He looked to be getting a good enough lead that we needed to start thinking about bringing him back even though it was early in the race. However right as we all made the first turn of the second lap, the entire field including the mini break was stopped by a train. A new experience for me in this race. In any case, we now had gruppo compacto right at the beginning of the second time through the first dirt section. Immediately after the gates went up, some teams put in a big attack and got off the front, but Jerry or Doug were able to make their way into this break as well. Within a mile that break was brought back which meant that it was my turn to put in a big attack. I gave it a good jump and quickly found myself off the front with a substantial lead. Getting some rest in the tailwind section and finding that my lead had grown after exiting the second dirt section, I started to think about pacing and staying away for the rest of the race. Little did I know what I was in for.

For the next 6 miles I got my pacing down but also realized in the carnage that is the chattering roads of Cone-Azalia I lost my second water bottle. With little water remaining on a hot day and no reserve I thought better of trying to ride the next 30+ miles solo and decided and slow down and go back to the group, re-group and we’d try again later.

Fast forward to the fourth lap, the eventual winner put in a huge attack that really blew up the field. We had Doug and Jerry following so I stayed back wondering if they were gone for good. However, I could see that he was getting away and so I decided that I should try to bridge up. Coming through the second dirt road section I started picking people off, and found out that the leader was up the road along with a group of two chasing him down. Coming out of the final dirt section on the 4th lap, I found myself solo in 4th and decided I need to work as hard as I can to bridge up to the chase group. After a very difficult 10min effort I was able to bridge up to Clay Monahan (one of the strongest breakaway riders in the field) and Brian Wachlarz. We worked well together sharing the workload to try to catch the leader on the 5th and final lap, but when it became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to catch him, it was time to try to conserve energy for the sprint. Clay put in a really good contest for the sprint and took the 2nd place finish while I had to settle for 3rd thanks to some tired legs.

We certainly achieved our goal or racing well as a team, making our presence well known in the field that day, and putting a racer on the podium. Some big highlights of the day were having racing together for the first time this year with some great teammates, getting a podium, 3 racers in the top 10 of the cat 3 field, no flats by anyone on the team in the most treacherous road race on the calendar, and of course seeing Jim Ignash in the 45+ field soloing by our field at top speed for the win in the 45+ division.

Great day of racing for the team and many thanks to everyone who helped put on the Cone-Azalia road race. Another year of another fantastic event.

Results are posted for the Ann Arbor Training Series – Race #3

O2 / Cadieux Bike Club comes out swinging Sunday:

Tony ripped it up in Ann Arbor… After sharing some racing knowledge during the Club’s Cross Winds Clinic on Saturday, Tony went out to Ann Arbor Sunday morning and finished 4th in the A race.  Great Job Tony, we expect nothing less:)

Then a new member, Jeremy Meyersick, finished first in the 4/5 race.  WOW…  Welcome to the Club!  A great start to the new season. 


Proposed weekly clinic

I’m proposing a weekly ride for Wednesday evenings focued on learning and practicing skills that will help you be safer, faster, and better able to manage the unexpected scenarios that are a part of bike racing. This clinic is guaranteed (?) to challenge new racers and those with experience, giving you better skills and awareness of where to improve your technical skills and how to do it.

Tell me what you think… I started the topic in under Forums (Rides & Training).

Saturday, April 20th – Cross Wind Clinic

I’m not talking about a ride leaving from Crosswinds Mall, I’m talking about how to ride and race in the wind. Cross winds create unique challenges and opportunities during a ride or race.  
The Clinic will begin in Stony Creek Metro Park at 2:00pm.  We will meet in the building located at the boat launch and spend 20-30 mins talking and then ride.
This ride will is primarily designed to train the space between  your ears,  training  your legs and  aerobic system will be secondary priority.  There may be stopping  to explain things and/or yell at you like a grouch old bike racer does. 
Topics we’ll cover include…
o   Knowing which way the apparent wind is coming from 
o   Knowing which way to pull off
o   How to avoid getting “spit out” in a crosswind
o   How to ride in an Echelon
o   What the doorman in the echelon does and  how he can make your ride tolerable or miserable
o   What side of the road/wind to attack on
o   How a team can split the field in a cross wind
I encourage all those racing this season or interested in racing attend.
Mark Cahn

Sunday Crosswinds Ride

 There will be a A level ride meeting Sunday mornings at Crosswinds Mall.  The ride will begin at 8:30  The route will be determined at the start.  Options normally considered include the Milford, Brighton and Fenton loops.  This will be a fast ride with speeds reaching 30mph. All are welcome, just be warned if you drop you will be on your own.

Racers not going to the Cone Azalia Race are encouraged to make efforts to attend.

Mike Dega


2013 Waterford Race Series

Results are posted here – congratulations to Jeremy Meyersieck for his performance in the C-Race.  Jeremy gave the team our first win for 2013.

Waterford Race Series

Hi Team,

Most of you noted the race posting by Jim earlier.  This is for the Waterford Hills race series.  For those of you interested in racing and new to it I’d strongly recommend starting at Waterford.  The course is a circuit without tight turns and as a result each lap becomes more familiar.  These races are cool in that they count in your “points” towards getting an upgrade to Cat 4 from Cat 5.  This is cool, especially since a number of you are masters age and if you want to do races that are your age bracket you have to be at least a cat 4.  You can get upgraded by acquiring the right number of races under your belt (still 10 I believe but I’ll check) or getting high finishes in Cat 5 races.
Waterford is broken down into an A and B race. The B race will be plenty vigorous and is shorter in duration than the A race.  Race tactics come in handy at Waterford especially. You can help your teammates and learn tactics or they can help you.  If you aren’t in “race shape” still give it a try. The feet to race there is less than other races and if you get dropped they most usually let you sit in when lapped or if you sit up. You can still get a great workout and learn a ton.
Alex will be be at the B race as I’m sure a good number of other racers will be too. If you want to race contact him and he’ll fill you in. Unfortunately I am tied to work this weekend.  Good luck to all.
Now, I also recommend getting a USCF license for the season.  This will end up saving money as you avoid one day fees which can add up.  Go to www.USACycling.org.
Best wishes to all for a great season!
If you don’t have a jersey yet but want to race under the banner let someone know (me?) and we will try to find one for you to borrow in your size.  (If you don’t get one but want to race tell the race director that you race for Team o2 but don’t have a kit yet.  This will keep you in line with the rules.)

First Scheduled Derby Ride for 2013

There will be a Tuesday Derby ride April 2nd at 6 PM. EJ will lead the C group which is great for someone who has never done the ride or is just starting their season. There will be a A and B group. Since it will be cold tomorrow my guess is there might be a combination of A/B ride. Ride goes out of Derby Middle school in Birmingham. Helmets are a Must! Please be considerate and kind to all riders.

Waterford Race Series

Ready or not!  Racers, we kick off the South East Michigan criterium season by supporting a series of races organized by the Flying Rhino Bicycle Club at Waterford Hills Raceway.  The race flyer is attached below.  Lets use the TRAINING races to give us a chance to begin working together toward our goals for the upcoming season.



Road Racing Team – Sunday Training Ride

Sunday at Kensington . Time 11:30.   Park at first lot when entering from Kensington road (west boat launch).  We will meet riders from other teams on top of hill by the ranger station.  Cadieux will plan to ride up to three hours. You can go longer or shorter, up to you.  We will be looping counter-clockwise between Kensington and Island Lake State Park.  Bikes will be road or cx bikes with road tires.  Jason Hess and his team may join us.  This ride has included some intense interval work in the past, so be prepared.    I hope you can make it . Should be fun.