Race Report: Hanna Muegge

Posted on

First race of the season was CCCX #2 on Keith DeFiebre’s Seaside Bay View Course. It’s great to have people like Keith as a local race promoter and integral part of our Monterey Peninsula cycling community. I like that course for its challenging 180-degree turns and was looking forward to starting the season the right way. One of the racers I most looked up to from my 2015 racing experience, Mary Maroon, was present and it became a showdown between the two of us in the end. I played my cards nicely, positioned myself perfectly coming out of the final turn, and accelerated to the win.

Next up was a race I had heard about last year. Napa’s Cherry Pie Criterium. Guess what prestigious award the winner receives…


I wanted that pie. So, took advantage of all the momentum leading into the first prime lap and after outsprinting the other prime contestants, I kept the pace up and created a gap between the three remaining prime-sprinters and the rest of the field. Maintaining a high pace, the other two on my wheel quickly fell off and I realized I had to either fully commit to my break or fall back to the rest of the field. I went for it. Not only did I maintain my break, I swooped up all the primes and ended up lapping the field by 1.5x. Wow! That was hard work but incredibly fun! I’d like to try that again in the future. The Cherry Pie Crit course was a new one. They had moved the course to a parking lot with several 90 degree turns, then a roundabout and the finish is after a riser and up a false flat. It’s a great course and the promoters did a fantastic job putting together this race.

In anticipation of racing with my teammate and team director, Kelli Samuelson, we hit up Folsom Winter Criterium and Copper Town Circuit race next. To make the most out of the weekend and since these were still tune-up races for the upcoming Chico Stage Race, both Chris and I mentored the beginner races in the mornings. It’s great to have a chance to talk to newbies or returning racers about strategy and the races pre- and post-events. Having company as mentors is also good, and I was lucky to have the awesome Laurel Green as the captain of our mentor duo. Laurel is wonderful. You know what, she was my mentor two years ago when I first started racing!

The Pro 1/2 race at Folsom was OK. Kudos to Diane Moug for her decisive and well-timed counterattack after I went for an intermediate prime sprint. She soloed away and I was left to lead the chase. With Diane off the front and the field disorganized, I settled for winning the field sprint for 2nd. Team Razzle Dazzle did an excellent job getting three girls to the front with half a lap to go and organizing their leadout train. It was hard fought, but I managed to win the bunch sprint.

Copper Town Circuit Race was the following day. After a good night’s sleep at our host, David Anton’s house, Chris and I drove to the Copperopolis area for an early morning mentoring session. It was a frigid morning out in beautiful nowhere.

Despite the low pre-reg for my P 1/2 race, more lined up at the start than expected. Among them were 3 Metromint. The last two years taught me a lot about the race tactics this team likes to exhibit. Instead of succumbing to frustration or the need to be vocal, I played their game right back to them and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After one of the other non-Minty racers, Lisa Cordova, attacked going into the 180 degree turn, I saw my opportunity to create chaos. I counter attacked out of the turn which shattered the field. Remaining with me were Lisa and Rikke Jeppesen. After many good rotations at the front between Lisa and me, Lisa attacked as we headed out of the Copper Towncenter. I conveniently stayed at the back and recognized that Rikke was not going to do anything at the front. So I countered going over the first riser, and I countered HARD. Keeping my head down and pushing a high wattage, I realized this was it! Just like at Cherry Pie, I wanted to stay off the front. Coming through the start/finish I had a 20 second gap on Rikke. The other Metromints had caught Lisa. With Chico coming up, I knew I could use this race as a good practice for time trialing. This course is known for its windy sections and today was very rough. Nevertheless, I tried to work on keeping an efficient pedal stroke and staying as aerodynamic with my position on the bike as possible. In the end, I won with a 5 minute gap on the rest of the field and rolled through the finish with a big smile on my face!

Race Report: Chileano Valley Grasshopper

Posted on

by Clarice Sayle


Image c/o: http://www.grasshopperadventureseries.com/grasshopper-2015/chileno-valley-hopper/

Chileno Valley Hopper Route and Ride Profile


This was my first experience with a Grasshopper event, and it was crazy. They aren’t races, they are “timed rides” – which I think actually makes them harder because I end up trying to chase Levi Leipheimer around for 80 miles. Most of these rides are a mix of road and dirt, but this one was all paved roads around Sonoma County. It was right in the middle of one of the wettest weekends in history there, but my team had already registered me for the event so I didn’t feel like I could bail. Because I’m a real romantic at heart, and suffering in the wind and rain for five hours is good relationship building, I dragged my boyfriend along with me.


Usually about 300 people show up but because conditions were so awful, only about 169 participants were brave enough to roll to the start and only 80 or so finished. Levi and Peter Stetina were there, along with a bunch of faces I recognized from the local race scene. It wasn’t raining as we lined up, but it was cold and windy.


The race starts with a climb. It’s kind of punchy and steep and I found it easy to get up with all the adrenaline that was kicking through my system. I had done some pretty painful intervals the day before and they usually zap me for a few days but on this Saturday I was feeling really great. There was one girl who has been killing it in the regional races, Diane Moug, that I was keeping my eye on. I knew she would be a good wheel to follow and while I wasn’t confident that I could keep up with Levi and Peter without doing some drugs myself, I was sure I could stay with Diane. We had dropped most of the other riders and were chasing just a small group of the fast guys when one of Diane’s bottles popped out and she stopped to grab it. I figured it was the last time I’d see her.


After the climb came a long, technical descent, and that was where the groups really shattered. The road led us onto the coast where the wind was absolutely brutal. It was the kind of wind that, had I been by myself, I would have gotten off my bike because it wasn’t safe. However, I looked at the guys in front of me and thought “If they’re not getting blown off their bikes, I’m probably okay” and just hunkered down and thought about what a great core workout I was getting. I knew the only way I was going to survive this ride and finish in under 10 hours was to stay with a group. It was while riding along the coast and trying to figure out why I was doing this that Diane reappeared by my side with some quip comment about being used to wind like this from her hometown, Davis.


As we turned inland and followed the undulating terrain, the rain really started to pick up and our group fell from about twenty to around ten. Most of they guys were getting shelled on the climbs, and then couldn’t catch back on with such windy descents. At mile 50 we stopped for a quick feed, and our group dwindled to five. With such a small number of us in the wind and rain and with less than 30 miles to go, everyone started to bicker about who wasn’t pulling enough. People were cursing and making pointless attacks and this is when I realized that everyone was cracking. We still had another hour and some to go! That gave me motivation and I kept my mouth shut and focused on pushing and pulling the pedals. We were catching up to and passing guys who had been ahead of us in the faster group, and with about 25 miles to go we rolled up on my boyfriend, Steve. Nothing drives me more than wanting to beat him, so I had a second wind (pun intended) of energy. Diane flatted on a descent another five miles later, and this time I wasn’t going to let her catch up. I knew that put me in first as far as female finishers went, but now this was about beating Steve.


The last five miles of this course are the hardest. It’s after 75 miles with some 7000 feet of elevation, and the climb is long enough and steep enough to find time to talk to God. The kid in front of me got off his bike and pushed it up the steepest part of the hill. This actually looked like a great idea but I wasn’t sure how I would later explain my drop in power to my coach. After the worst of it, said kid jumped back on his bike and beat me to the finish, so lesson learned there: Always walk your bike up steep grades. Steve was still with me and Diane was nowhere in sight, I was soaking wet and covered in mud and manure, I couldn’t feel the bottom of my legs, and I really didn’t want to be on my bike anymore. I got out of my saddle and pushed the rest of the last half mile or so to the finish, beating Steve by about five seconds. I came in 14th overall, and first for the women.


Sayle celebrating the win after crossing the finish line in first.

Sayle celebrating the win after crossing the finish line in first.


It was my first Grasshopper, my first time riding in conditions like that, and my first time rolling back to the car after the finish with a big bottle of prize-wine in my jersey pocket. I will definitely be back again next year. Hopefully I will still have a boyfriend.


For more info on the race and results, go to http://www.grasshopperadventureseries.com/grasshopper-2015/chileno-valley-hopper/.

Race Report: Santa Cruz Classic

Posted on

by: Clarice Sayle


Santa Cruz Classic was the first race I ever entered three years ago, and I hadn’t raced it since. It’s my hometown and a course that suits my strengths, so I rolled to the start with high expectations. Team Mike’s Bikes Women and JL Velo were out in force, with Elle Anderson (Rally Cycling) and Liza Rachetto (Hagens Berman-Supermint) other riders to watch. The forecast threatened rain, but I was hoping it would hold off until the end of the 50-minute criterium.


This course is rad. It starts with a hairpin descent that turns into a fast straightaway, a couple corners, and leads up to a short power climb before the deceptively long stretch to the finish. I sprinted against Liza for the first prime and settled back into the group to wait and watch. I went again for the second prime with no one else contesting and had a sizeable gap with about 35 minutes remaining.


This is a great breakaway course because when off the front, you can take the hairpin at a much faster pace than when in the group. I made the costly mistake of settling into a manageable tempo before actually finishing off the attack. I sort of forgot about the part where I had to go really hard for a few laps. The spectators were awesome – yelling my name and telling me to stick it. Everything is a lot more fun off the front. I dangled out in front with about a fifteen second lead for four laps and won another prime before the field caught up to me and I started sucking wheels again. I noticed Elle was no longer in the race and I figured either I was so fit I blew her off the back or she had had a mechanical. Turns out, she had a mechanical. I stayed near the front and let another rider take the next prime because I wanted the women to think I was tired from the effort of the solo break. I noted that most people started the sprint at the bottom of the hill, way too early, and died out before the finish line. I also noticed that the pack had a tendency to go way to the left. I decided that it was probably going to come down to a sprint finish and I would take an inside line and stay right, and follow wheels until the top of the hill where I would start my sprint.


It’s actually a really good plan, and I might have won had I stuck to it. Instead, Liz (Mikes Bikes Women) had a well-timed attack with two to go and no one wanted to chase. I was sitting on Liza’s wheel, thinking that she would close the gap and would have a good finishing sprint since she was the only rider who contested for the prime. I got so focused on staying on her wheel that I completely forgot about my carefully crafted plan and followed her up the hill and to the left and….then I was boxed in. There is no worse feeling than coming up to a final sprint and not being able to sprint. Liz won, and I came in right behind Liza, in 9th. I’ll try not to get distracted by wheels next year.


Thank you to Velo Promo for hosting a great event, to Alex Chiu for the race photos, and to Jakroo racing and all the women who came out and made it a good time.



Jakroo Women’s Composite Team Announced

Posted on


Clare Sayle riding in the Santa Cruz classic. Photo by Alex Chiu


Keep an eye out for a strong Jakroo Women’s Composite team rolling up to the line at this year’s Redlands Bicycle Classic on April 6th. The team includes Jakroo’s own Northern California based factory riders Clare Sayle and Tina Hughes, as well as composite members Hanna Muegge (CA), Kristen Arnold (OH), Sara Enders (CA), Kimberly Lucie (AZ), Samathan Vroomen (CA), and Jen Whalen (CA).   The goal of the Jakroo Women’s Composite Team is to help launch riders into the professional ranks.


“We’re proud that 2 of our riders from last year’s Jakroo Redlands team secured professional contracts for 2016, and this year we’re working to build the best platform possible for the team to


Hanna Muegge is coming off a strong start to the 2016 season, winning 6 of the 10 road races she’s entered so far. “I’m thrilled to be joining this great squad for the tough Redlands Classic,” she said. “Keep your eyes out for us as we aim for a stage win at this prestigious race!”


Kristen Arnold’s experience in the deep end of the talent pool racing the USA Women’s Pro Challenge and the Cascade Bicycling Classic in 2015 has her her eager to test her mettle against the best of the best in Redlands. “This will be my first Redlands and I am going in to get as much experience as I can and learn from my teammates,” she said. “Being from Ohio, I am all too familiar with endless flat corn fields and short steep hills. I’m looking forward to the stages which favor fiercely steep short climbs as well as the technical criterium.”


There will be a photo session with the women’s team, as well as our other Jakroo-sponsored teams at Saturday’s Criterium day Expo, 11:30 AM PST.

Racing with Laurens Ten Dam

Posted on

Featured Photo by Chris Brown



It wasn’t until the night before this race that I decided to come out to the UC Santa Cruz Slugapalooza Criterium in Salinas. I’m glad I did!


As the defending champion of this fun, small criterium, it was almost obligatory to make an appearance. However, the true reason for coming out this sunny afternoon was to support our local cycling events. The Monterey Peninsula is somewhat isolated from all other calendar events, besides the Central Coast Cycling Series (CCCX) and Sea Otter Classic. Typically, to get to a race one has to drive at least 1.5 hours or more. Salinas, being about a 25 minute drive, is a stone’s throw away!


The Pro 1/2/3/4 women’s race started off with a mechanical for me. After getting back in to the race, I was forced to chase down a few early break attempts. Thereafter, the field settled into several laps of excruciating below-endurance pace, and I became the marked rider. The name of the game became resilience. Who had the capacity to recover the quickest from attacks and counter-attacks? Who would be the toughest in the field? Unbeknownst to me, the officials had planned to put in prime laps to keep us racers on our toes. Making sure that no break stayed out of reach, I was able to sweep up both primes.


The final lap was fast and somebody chopped my wheel! As a light rider, it’s always beneficial for me to stay protected from the wind as much as I can. I waited as long as I could before sprinting for the win!

For some extra miles and intensity, I also signed up for the Men’s Pro race which was to be the last race of the day.


The big news was Laurens Ten Dam, the Dutch pro cyclist racing for Giant-Alpecin, was to race in the Men’s Pro race. What an awesome opportunity for us domestic racers to get the chance to be in the same race as such an experienced and accomplished racer as Laurens TEN DAM!


Ten Dam has had many top ten finishes in important stage races including the Volta a Catalunya (2007), The Tour Down Under, the Tour of California, and the Tour de Suisse (2011). Also most noteworthy were his 2x top ten finishes in Grand Tours: 8th in the Vuelta a España and 9th in the Tour de France, and he won the Mountains Classification in the Tour de Romandiein 2009. [Source: Pro Cycling Stats.com, 2016]


Oddly enough, I heard someone had complained to the chief official that Laurens Ten Dam should not be allowed to race with us. I’m not an expert on the rules, but in my opinion it’s an honor to race with such an accomplished rider as Laurens Ten Dam. Who wouldn’t want to get a chance to race with someone who has basically traveled the world to race at all the major tours, AND who has done exceptionally well at it? By a show of hands, the riders voted to let Laurens Ten Dam race. Off we went.


It was a fast and furious race with many attacks, breaks, and small groups forming on a continuous basis. The results at the end of the day, don’t tell the story. It was an incredibly hard race, with strong tail-, cross-, and headwind sections. No riders were pulled by the officials, so people were lapped, dropped, lapped again and even jumped into the breakaway group of riders. It was hard to keep up with who was actually the head vs. the tail of the snake. I had the pleasure of jumping in with the breakaway and getting a few action shots together with Chris and Laurens Ten Dam. This was totally worth the extra $15 to race a second race!