Team Swift Race Reports - September 2013
Ethan & Elliot Frankel cheering the riders on Le Col de la Madeleine
Race Reports for:
1. Mt Tamalpais Hill Climb
2. Giro di San Francisco
3. Tour de France Report
September Top Results:
1st Place Mt Tam Hill Climb Juniors 10-16 Eli Kranefuss
2nd Place Mt Tam Hill Climb Senior Category 4 Ben Cook
4th Place Mt Tam Hill Climb Juniors 10-16 Brad Butterfield
12th Place Giro de San Francisco Senior Wm. Category 4 Emily Abraham
Rider Race Reports
1. Mt Tamalpais Hill Climb 9/14/13 Stinson Beach
1st Place Mt. Tamalpais Hill Climb Juniors 10-16
I was stoked for this race. It was my last race of the season, and it was local for once. I was planning on driving over, and warming up on a trainer, but the day before the race, a local shop said that they would be leading a ride to the start. I woke up, ate breakfast and left to meet my teammate Ben Cook and the other riders. We left at 7:45 and went up Highway 1, slowly, we threw a few sprints in to open the legs and then we were at Stinson. I got to the start with some time to spare and I picked up my number. Pinned it on and headed to the start line. I saw the other racers and decided that to have any chance of doing well, I would have to drop the other racers on the climb because climbing is my biggest strength. We started down the coast up to Bolinas. We were moving very slow and nobody wanted to pull. When we got to the base of the climb, we crossed the cattle grate and I attacked. Zack, Sterling and a few others grabbed on, but we were moving away pretty fast. A few switchbacks later, it was just Zack, Sterling and I. I kept my power high, but sustainable. We dropped Sterling and we didn’t slow down. I knew that Zack was a sprinter and if I couldn’t drop him here, he could take the win from me. I also knew that Sterling was strong, and he wasn’t too far back. I kept pushing on, and I could tell Zack was suffering. He said, “We should slow down so we aren’t too tired on the sisters” so I attacked. He was a bike length behind me now. I kept the pace up until there was a gap. I was at the top of the first of the 7 rollers, and I could see him about half way up it. The lead grew until I crossed the finish line.
4th place Mt. Tam Hill Climb Juniors 10-16
I was very excited for the Mt. Tam hill climb because it was the first race that wasn't a criterium. I wasn't disappointed! The hill climb was a lot more fun (and painful) than the 2 crits I had done before.
I got to Stinson Beach about 45 minutes before the start, got my numbers then warmed up for about 20 minutes on highway one. The race had a neutral start on the highway but then it took off. I felt really good until about halfway up the hill. I couldn't stay with the front 3 riders but battled for 4th place for the last 4 miles. It was a great experience and I'll be back next year!
14, category 4
2nd Place Mt. Tamalpais Hill Climb Senior Category 4
I came into the Mt. Tam hill climb completely stoked for my last race of the season. The 4’s had the one of the biggest fields there, with 28 people, adding to my excitement. We started off pretty slow down Highway 1. But once we hit the turn onto the climb, there was an instant surge for position. I was already close to the front, so I moved up some, and found a spot within the top 5 places. An early attack was made, and I countered, but was dragged back not long after. I was feeling very strong today, and was sitting coolly in the field as riders began to drop back all around me. I started to take pulls with a few other riders, most notably Chris Malloy, from the Sram Factory team. We kept the pace high, and soon enough, riders began to fall off.
“Let’s keep this up, the drafting may not matter, but it’s all mental. So work with me and we can pop these guys.” Said Chris.
“Of course, no attacks until the sisters.” I replied. Chris and I could still talk, and the end of the line was stringing out. We started to include another junior, named Jovanni in with the pulls. The three of us worked well together, but we soon realized that nobody was falling off. These riders may have been a threat to us, so Jovanni pulled an attack at the top of Bolinas Fairfax road. Chris and I chased back on, and I came with the counter.
I stayed off the front for the beginning three of the seven rolling hills to the finish. Eventually, the two caught me. We traded off, sometimes Jovanni would be off the front, and Chris and I would chase him down. But sometimes they would be chasing me. I soon noticed that Chris couldn’t stay off the front, but was still a major role in my race.
The three of us were ahead of the others, and the podium places were set, but we still had a win to fight for. The final riser came and Jovanni and I both went at it. It was our last chance to get rid of one another. I came around on the left, and sprinted my heart out. He and I were both side by side trying to get rid of the other, but I couldn’t hold on to the top of the roller. Jovanni flew ahead, and descended into the finish for the win. I cruised in for 2nd with Chris a few seconds back in 3rd.
I had a very fun race, and came back down to the Stinson parking lot with Chris. We congratulated each other on a good race, and hung out as we waited for podium. I learned more on how to take pulls on a climb, and got to practice more climbing tactics in a real race. I used to do a group ride that would race up a similar climb, and I had learned most of my tactics from there. It was good to test them out and know that I had learned well. I was very happy in the end, and finally had a fun, well ending race!
2. Giro di San Francisco 9/2/13 San Francisco
12th place Giro di San Francisco Senior Wm. Category 4
After a few weeks of an extremely difficult transition of riding my bicycle everyday to running, I began to miss the joys of racing my bicycle. Since the bicycle season was coming to a close and the cross country season had just begun, I decided I wanted to do one more bike race. The Giro di San Francisco seemed to be the perfect race to end with.
The category 4 women's race was scheduled for the first race of the day at eight am. In which case, I had to leave my house at five to arrive an hour and a half before my start. As soon as we got there I grabbed my number, rode the course a few times, and then jumped on my trainer to start my pyramids. After I was nice and warmed up, I rode the course twice more before lining up at the start. At first I was a little concerned about the cable car tracks that were just before one of the right hand turns, but after pre-riding the course I quickly learned that they weren't a problem. When everyone lined up for the start I couldn't seem to get rid of this horrible nervous feeling inside my stomach. After two laps into the race, I was finally able to calm down and focus. One woman in the race kept attacking just before the short incline; I sprinted to grab her wheel allowing the two of us to make a small break from the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, we were caught again as soon as we hit the climb. The race continued at a pretty moderate but somewhat quick pace. Everyone stayed together except for a few women who dropped off the back. Throughout the race I kept thinking about my placing, I frequently reminded myself to move up and take a good position. When the lap cards showed two to go, I moved up to the front. I was in perfect position at second wheel once we got to the top of the small climb. I was aggressive and held my position. Then we crossed the finish line with one lap to go, immediately everyone picked up the pace. I gave all my energy to remain in front, but once we hit the climb for the final time my legs were toast. All the running I had been recently doing caught up with me and my legs refused to push any harder. Although I was disappointed with myself, I gave it my all until the end of the race.
Overall this race went well. It was really fun to get one more race in before officially starting the cross country season. I was angry with myself for not having a better finish, but I now better understand the importance of continuous training on the bicycle. I had hardly ridden my bike more than twice during the week before Giro di San Francisco so that clearly had a big effect on my ability to race well. Also I want to congratulate my friend Kristin Wolfe, who I race Junior Wm. 15-16 with, for getting first in this race!
The day before the Giro Di SF I wasn't feeling 100%. I arrived on race day feeling better but I was still uncertain of how I would perform. I was lucky enough to have an afternoon race so I could sleep in. We also found super close parking which made getting to the line really quick and easy. I tried listening to some music while I did my pyramids and it really got me to push hard especially during my 1 min effort. I rolled to the start and saw Emily who raced at 8am and said “hi” then waited at the start and watched the women's sprint finish which was really fun to watch. I got a spot right on the start line and the officials had us roll out behind the field so I thought I'd lose my good place and start at the back. The officials were very gracious and called all of the juniors back up to the front after roll out. I rolled with an early attack and did a little effort just to warm up my legs a little more, and almost learned the hard way not to go out of the saddle between buildings because wind shoots through them and can blow you off your bike; especially with deep dish wheels. The remainder of the race was sitting in, moving up constantly and hydrating. With 4 to go, I put myself about 20 wheels back knowing people would pull off as we neared the end. With half a lap to go, I was 4th wheel going up the hill which was the last big effort. I thought about staying close to the curb to prevent anyone from moving up, but I thought I should save energy by sitting in instead of riding slightly in the wind. A bunch of riders surged up the gap I left open and pushed me into the wind putting me 15 wheels back. I was almost crashed out in the last 180 degree turn before the finish due to an overly aggressive rider racing for 49th place and finished at the back of the field so I didn't get caught up in an accident. Overall I was very pleased with my tactics and despite not feeling 100% I still managed to ride a good race.
3. Tour de France Report July 2013 France
Ethan and Elliot Frankel
15 and 10 years old
France/Tour de France 2013
On July 17th, 2013, our family arrived at SFO early in the morning. The flight was long to New York and three hours longer from New York to Geneva, Switzerland. It was around 7:30 a.m., in the French time zone, when we arrived (on July 18th). We rented a Volkswagen Polo and drove two hours to Annecy. After we bought food at a supermarket, we drove to Le Col de la Madeleine, with an altitude of 2,000 meters.
We saw spectacular sights of the French Alps and many glaciers and waterfalls. We arrived at the top in the early afternoon and looked for places to camp on the side of the road. We didn’t find any at the top, so we drove down a little, still looking. We ended up driving over 7 km before deciding to turn around and keep looking higher up. We eventually found a small spot 1 km from the summit. We relaxed there and set up camp. Then, our dad took us into the ski village to buy some French Alps food. After we’d eaten at our camp, we relaxed and went on a walk up and down the mountain. Then, near 8:00 p.m., it began to rain. The rain thickened, so instead of sleeping in our tent, we slept in the car until the rain subsided at around 10:00 p.m.
At 8 a.m., we woke up and ate a breakfast consisting of cereal and croissants, and then set up our car with signs. We prepared for Stage 19 of the Tour de France, which was to come through in just a few hours. Throughout the morning, many people arrived, and lined up on the road. We met many nice people (the ones that we could communicate with) and had fun. Around noon, the cars started pouring in. They threw out goodies, so we grabbed as many as we could, and by the end of the hour-long train of cars, we had over 3 pounds of food, wristbands, hats, etc. Before long, we heard news of a Pierre Rolland/Ryder Hesjedal break away. An hour later, we saw them pass the 3 km marker 2 km below us, and six helicopters buzzed overhead. The excitement began to brew.
Five minutes later, Rolland and Hesjedal came around the corner before the 1 km marker. Another minute and both of us were screaming and sprinting next to them. But our mad dash only lasted for a few seconds, and then we were stopped dead by the crowds. But we had a second chance in ten minutes.
The peloton came blasting up the mountain and Elliot jumped onto Ethan’s shoulders. Ethan ran alongside the peloton with Elliot on his shoulders and our mom got some great pictures. We were literally inches away from the riders, and we could see the pain and sweat on each individual rider. It was an amazing, awesome, and surreal experience. The rear of the peloton was very strung out, with Cadel Evans, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, and other sprinters hanging off of the rear. We screamed at the top of our lungs.
We both observed the cadences and faces of the riders, individually. I noticed how focused they were and how they were communicating with each other to strategize. I also noticed their posture on the saddle, when tired and climbing. Especially with Quintana, many looked fairly relaxed, but many were also gritting their teeth and pounding on the pedals. After analyzing those observations, I decided that I was more like the relaxed riders, but that I still need lots of improvement to become more comfortable and efficient on the bike.
Once the riders and support cars had left for the backside of the mountain, the crowds diminished. After an hour, almost all of the cars and people were gone, and it started to pour. In fact, it was hailing, so we quickly packed up our tent, and jumped into the car. We were all talking about how miserable it must be for the riders.
We waited in traffic at the top for over fifteen minutes, and then finally descended the backside. We couldn’t see the train of riders, but we did have great views of the Alps. When we got down to the bottom, we drove towards Annecy and almost immediately hit more traffic. Then we looked west and saw cars and riders slowly making their way up another mountainside. We were stuck in traffic for 30 minutes, but we gladly watched the procession of riders. And then the traffic cleared and we went through town after town for miles until Lake Annecy. We passed a couple of small towns completely decorated with cycling apparel, fit for the TDF.
That night, we camped out at Lake Annecy for one night, and then we drove 8 hours towards Paris. We arrived late afternoon, went to Napoleon’s palace in Fontainebleau then spent the night in Fontainebleau. We woke up early and went to Paris. We went to the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe and took a long walk around Paris in the 95° heat.
That evening, the Tour de France came through from Versailles. An hour before the cyclists arrived, the support cars drove by (but didn’t throw out goodies) and we watched them from directly above from our third floor room. Then the cyclists whizzed through at over 30 mph. We glimpsed them for ten seconds, and then watched them cross the Seine and turn into the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. From our hotel, we watched the race from across the Seine, and from the television. We couldn’t see the finish, so we were all worked up and our eyes were glued to the television. All of us moaned when Cavendish was beat out in the end, but we were happy for Marcel Kittel, Chris Froome, and especially Nairo Quintana.
On the TV, we watched the amazing award ceremony and were completely awed by the light show on the Arc de Triomphe. After the excitement, we went to bed, very satisfied with the whole day.
The next morning, we went to the Musée d’Orsay and checked out all of the Impressionist art. Then we took the boat ferry to the Eiffel Tower and walked to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed to the very top. The views of Paris were spectacular.
The next morning, we drove to Versailles and checked out the palace. We then drove south and saw many chateaus and hundreds of fields of sunflowers. After six days around the Loire Valley, we traveled to Bourg-d’Oisans at the base of Alpe d’Huez.
My dad and I (Ethan) rented carbon bikes, and prepared for a nice, long ride up Alpe d’Huez the next morning. We rested well and got up early in the morning.
By 7:30, the two of us were leaving our hotel in Bourg-d’Oisans and riding towards the base of the 4,500-foot climb over 14 kilometers. At the base of it, I said, “Goodbye,” to my dad and started the massive ascent, in sneakers. It felt like hours before I reached the first of twenty-one switchbacks. I stayed relaxed and kept up a steady cadence, speed, and heart rate. Soon, another cyclist came into my view, about 100 meters ahead. I slowly increased my speed to catch him, and did just after switchback number 4. I hoarsely mumbled, “Bonjour,” and kept going.
After the steady increase in speed, I was gasping for breath and tried keeping that slightly accelerated pace. I kept it up for two switchbacks, but couldn’t keep it up after number 6. I soon reached a small village, and other cyclists, but kept pedaling steadily. I finally started to enjoy the view after I’d passed the village and looked out to the beautiful Alps.
I smiled inwardly when I passed switchback 12 and kept a steady pace. I kept mentally focused most of the time, but occasionally I started reading the paint on the roads: “GO FROOME” and “ALLEZ” and many others. After the 14th switchback, I arrived at the village of Huez, which is below Alpe d’Huez. I kept going, and then on switchback number 20, a photographer took many pictures of me. Afterwards, I came to the village, Alpe d’Huez. I saw a few other cyclists milling about and a few residents of Alpe d’Huez. I rode to the finish of the climb and was totally elated. I waited for my dad at the 21st switchback and he arrived 20 minutes later. Together, we rode to the finish.
The view wasn’t spectacular, and the climb wasn’t particularly steep, so we decided to ride longer and up to the ski slopes. We rode slowly, with wind gusting up to 20 mph. But it was worth it: the views were amazing and we had climbed more than we had originally planned.
Then we descended the sketchy and windy road back to the village, took a few pictures, and then started the real descent. I took every switchback fast and passed many cyclists, and even managed to make a car pull out (drivers in France are courteous!) Then I was stuck behind a car unwilling to pull out, all the way to the bottom of the 14-kilometer descent. From there, I blasted to victory on the flats, hitting my max speed of 42 mph. I waited for my dad with my brother and mom at the cafeteria, and he arrived five minutes later. The whole ride was awesome and I loved riding in France!
We left Bourg-d’Oisans that day and headed to Lake Geneva, and stayed on the Swiss side for one night, then the French side for a night. On July 31st, we got onto the plane and flew home.
The whole experience was remarkable, especially watching two stages of the TDF and riding Alpe d’Huez. France is one of the most spectacular and breath-taking countries, and we will return there again, hopefully in the Tour de France.
-Ethan and Elliot
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Director/Coach, Team Swift Junior Development
This Article Updated January 4, 2016 @ 10:06 PM For more information contact: