blue squirrel

after a self-imposed 20 year absence from cycling, the sport i love, i am back and dedicated to holding my own in the superfast 40+ catagory. this blog will tell the journey, the highs and the lows, the team [team becher+] and it's cast of characters, our sponsors, supporters, and other local riders that make it happen... [anonymous comments are lame, cowboy up and put a name or start a blog]

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Cascadia Crit Series: Fremont RACE REPORT

[race report from from our new upstart in seattle, eric cockrell.  who by the way we are all very proud of him representing the b+ colors in the northwest and his first outing in a crit.]

The course was super fast (less than 1k), wide and had 3 corners, one of them being a nasty u turn. There was a crash at that turn on every lap, and it was definitely on everyones mind everytime we came around. This totally could have been becasue it was a 4/5 race, but from what i heard, there were still a lot of bails in the womens, and the 1/2/3's. I took as much advice as I could retain through the butterflys. I showed up early (didn't pre reg) and warmed up on the course to get comfortable, I even started dead center very front with no trouble clipping in after the whistle. stayed pretty hydrated, but could have drank more during.

40 minute race, field of 75, and I was able to hold the 6th wheel for the first 15 or so minutes (missing the primes by inches, SO FRUSTRATING), then I really started to have trouble maintaining my speed out of the corners...slowly dropping back. I eventually found myself in a small group of 7 or 8, and nobody wanted to work together to catch up. One of the guys in our group was yelling at everyone trying to get a pace line going and it seemed like him and I were the only ones that cared at that point, and it showed. We started to make some progress on bridging the already too large of a gap when we were dropped out with about 6 laps left.

Overall, pleased for my first crit. I expect to do much better on Saturday, .8miles, 4 corners (one of them downhill) lots of brick, rain, and loud drunks.

VIA Polar:

Time- 29:46.0
AvgHR- 174bpm
MaxHR- 183bpm
Kcal- 575
Dist- 11.4miles
Avg Spd- 23mph
Max Spd- 29.1mph

Labels: , ,


WIN WIN WIN, team becher+ takes the mt. hamilton road race.  
kristopher tjernell, in true b+ fashion, won with a solo attack on the attacking front few.  [race report to follow]

patrick piccolo having fun in the heat

benjamin barry looking strong as always

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 01, 2010


[wes nielson, aka capt'n: ontario race report]

Yesterday I contended in 2 races at Ontario, 30+ 4/5 and the 4/5. Both races were pretty uneventful. So I’ll start with the excuses. I have been pretty sick for the past 3 days leading up to the races, and have just returned from a vacation that had nothing to do with cycling and everything to do with eating and drinking.

In the 30+ 4/5 race I stayed in front for the majority of the race but my legs felt so sluggish and cob-webbed from not riding for a few days. With 2 to go I was sitting about 20th and knew it was now or never so I jumped outside the group to make a move to the front 10. Just as I did so the group slowed down and I slang-shot right to the front of the pack. “Fuck” I was thinking I was in no position to pull the group this late in the race but had no choice and figured it was a training race so I put my head down and drilled it on the false flat leading into the last 2 turns of the 7 turn course. After my pull I sat up when the surge came around me and latched onto the back of the group. I made one more move to the front during the last lap but again realized my legs and burning lungs from my cold were not going to allow me to contest the sprint so I just sat in and coasted in at the back of the pack. No biggie and really not a bad race for my first race of the season and feeling like complete shit.

Race 2 the 4/5 race I was accompanied by John. We had a good warm up and I could tell my legs were going to feel way better this race. At the gun I took off to take a short pull to wake my legs up (my signature move) and noticed I gaped the field. So I sat up and took 7th wheel or so. John and I were in contact for the majority of the race only to be separated every now and than but always finding each other again. My legs felt a lot better and therefore was able to race way more aggressive. I took a couple of pulls and maintained a position in the top 10 for most of the race except when I go boxed in and shuffled to the back from a surge that came up the side. When this happened John and I simply sat in the back for a lap while we coasted and recovered. With 4 to go I told John we need to get to the front. So I booked it and got in the top 20 and then jumped again 2 turns later in the head wind section to go to top 10. “Perfect” I am thinking sitting 10th wheel with 3 to go all I have to do is hold position and go with any surge that comes around. With one to go I was still in position and thats when it happened, some asshole crossed 3 lanes to chop my wheel in turn 5 causing me to have no other choice but to brake and loose 20 positions. At this point I had absolutely no momentum so I simply sat up and cruised in with the back of the pack. I was pissed and call the mother F’r out. I went looking for him on the warm down lap. I didn’t find him but found 2 of his teammates (SDBC) and asked if they were the ones I yelled at, they said no, I told them the story and they admitted they were sure they knew who it was. I told them tell him to cut that shit out and learn how to race safe or next time Ill put my bike up his ass.

Anyways, first two are done and although they are not the results I shot for I am happy with my second race. I was in good position the whole race and had the legs and lungs to finish top ten if it wasn’t for that SDBC shit head. Oh well that’s racing as much as I would hate to admit it.

John had a great race and was riding real strong. He pulled the group with me on his wheel with 3 to go which kept us in perfect position. Ill let him tell his story though. Sorry for the shitty and long race report my cold is still causing me to feel spacey in the head. Oh and sorry for the shitty results, at least in the first race I never crossed the finish line so they wouldn’t log me a 60th place! haha.

I’ll be at Long Beach next week and hopefully redeem myself.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

look more

more race reports and funny videos, enjoy.

brisbane criterium antics by the norcal team.

race reports:

[sean neilson / roger millikan / crit 14 feb 2010]
sean neilson 7th

The Milikan Crit is held in Brea. The race was to go off at 1:25 so it gave me plenty of time to sleep in and watch Rocky 5. Just for a little inspiration, cause Mickey loves ya! Ha ah!

Anywho, the course is a four corner course with a 2-3% climb from the exit of turn 3 into turn 1, a slight down hill out of turn 2 and into 3, and there are 2 fast ’s’ curves between 4-1 and 2-3. The sun was out, and it was an awesome day for racing. The field was full and it was gonna be fun. Race started fairly easily and I quickly slotted in right behind Mike. I stayed at the front of the field for a few laps and about 4-5 laps in I gave a little effort to test the waters and see how I felt. I rolled off the front a little and saw that no one wanted to come with so I just sat up as to not use too much so early. I blended back in and for the next few laps the field was not wanting to do too much until about halfway a couple of guys decided to attack. They would dangle out front for a few laps but with the help of a few other riders they were reeled in. With about 10 minutes left another attack came and nobody responded. The chase would finally form with only a lap or two to go and unfortunately it never came back. With 2 to go it was time to move forward and get ready for a sprint. I was able to move up into the top 15 or so going into turn 3 and went around the outside of turn 4 to move up to top 10. I was able to open up a sprint and moved up to 7th at the finish. Decent finish and cannot complain as it’s more socal cup points for the team and myself. Until next time keep those pedals turning.



a lot has been going on with the team, namely we have gotten a lot of top 10 finishes recently.  first off check out the following video of mike and john getting in some training miles in at the tour de palm springs.

and now for some team becher+ riders race reports:

[benjamin barry  /   Cantua Creek RR (1 of 2 of the Fresno adventure weekend) race report]
benjamin barry   15th
patrick piccolo   20?

I woke up in Sacramento at 3:30am and picked up Pat at 4am. We were both very sleepy but my roommate who was racing CAT 5s didn’t mind driving. We fell asleep immediatley. When we woke up we were pulling into a gas station, not for gas but for coffee. Soon after we were wide awake and pulling off the freeway, our car puttered to a stop… we were out of gas. Unknowing how far race staging was from our car we hurriedly changed into our kits and decided it would have to be our warm up. Our iPhones estimated it was 10 miles. Pat was so angry at the whole ordeal he defecated in a Gofer hole and wiped with his left hand.
Staging turned out to be 0.56 miles from our car. We registered and got to the line. At this point I realized I needed to drop the Cosbys off at the pool. I sprinted back to registration to find a 30 person line waiting for the potties. I ended up getting back to the line a few seconds before the race went off, significantly more relieved.

As for the actual race (not the beginning of the Fresno County Curse). It was pretty boring for the first couple of hours. Pat and I had great spots at the front of the race. We sat in and chit chatted. The course was a 26 mile lap total of an out and back course with a small climb at the start/finish. The total elevation gain for the 71 mile race was 2,100ft. Several attacks were launched during the second lap but none were successful. I talked to two people I recognized from the early bird RR (they had got 2nd and 3rd at that race in a break together). They said they were breaking at the overpass and that I should come. After some thought and talking with Pat I didn’t think it was a good idea. It was a mostly flat race and there would still be 20 miles to go from where they wanted to break. The time came and they got away pretty easily. There were 6 strong guys in the break and I instantly wished I was in the break. After the turn around the break was becoming out of sight and no one seemed concerned with bringing them back. Team mates of the break members were setting the pace (very slow). At this point a few people started trying to increase the pace. Pat and I led this effort and took more pulls than any one else. It seemed silly to put so much effort into bringing the break back but there was less than 15 miles left and I knew the break was strong and capable. Team mates of the break did a really good job sitting up and not pulling through. Pat and I had to constantly sprint around them as to not leave each other hanging out to dry at the front. After quite some time of this my HR hit 199bpm and I started to fade. Suddenly I looked behind me and I was the second to last person in the pack, the last person was Pat. I snapped out of it and went to the middle, Pat followed. With less than 3 miles left to go the last 2 members of the break were pulled in. The pack had diminished to roughly 30 people by this time, a lot had been dropped while pulling in that break. More people went to the front and started jockeying for position. I stayed where I was and we soon hit the climb. People on the edge immediatley slowed. Moving around them as quickly as I could I caught the wheels of the leaders. I was about 10 people back and still going uphill to the finish. With 50 meters left I fell off the back going 30mph with a HR of 201bpm. A few seconds later I got a great view of the winner crossing the line. I got passed by a few people and finished 15th. Pat finished shortly behind me in the twenties.
Bummed I went to the potty to take a leak, some one had crapped in the urinal. I felt I had been doing the wrong thing in the wrong place most of this race so this urinal seems an appropriate way to end this report.

[patrick p.   /   Pine Flat RR (2 of 2 of the Fresno adventure weekend) race report]
patrick piccolo   23rd
benjamin barry   28th
The Fresno adventure race weekend consisted of 2 races, the first being the Cantua Creek RR on Saturday the 13th (which Ben is writing up the race report), and Pine Flat RR on the 14th. Both of these races are located in the Fresno area, so Ben and I decided to make a weekend of it and stay in Fresno on Saturday in the choice motel of the city, the aptly named “Holiday Motel.” This was an adventure in of itself, however that is a totally different story. Saturday was a hard 70 RR so Sunday morning we awoke at 5:30 am feeling stiff, groggy, and travel weary. Our start time was an ungodly 7:40 am, and the race was a good hour plus drive from the hotel, so despite our attempts to be punctual, we arrived with only moments to spare. This meant no real warm up (not good, but not totally detrimental as this was a long race that had a mellow start and a neutral roll out up a ridiculously steep hill) and no real breakfast, only some banana and hand-fulls of cornflakes in the car. The latter of the two was definitely of consequence despite the fact that both Ben and I brought ample nutrition along with us. At the start of the race I knew very little about the course except that there were 2 climbs and that it was 62 miles long. The race began with a typical slow to moderate pace as we rolled along the hills surrounding the Pine Flat Reservoir. At about mile 5 the pace quickened and we continued to move up some short, easy climbs and down some rather quick and twisting descents until at about mile 15 we hit a turnaround at the top of small, gradual climb. At this point about four or five riders broke from the group and slowly, and rather unchecked by the peleton, got away. Up to this point both Ben and myself were able to maintain good positions in the front of the peleton and both thought it was silly to joint the break group or to chase it down as there were so many miles left to race. This may have been true, however, the next 30 miles or so were pretty much downhill and the brake ended up staying away almost to the bitter end. The descending was somewhat fast, my top speed was 42, fast enough to string the pack out in to a single file for a few miles. It probably slowed things down a bit when at the top the pace was neutralized as we went around a rider from a different group with his face smashed in, blood all over the road, and a few other injured riders laying on the shoulder. After the descent there were about 15 miles of straight, smooth, and fast flats to contend with, however the pack was working like a well oiled machine with a staggering 15 plus man rotation taking short and quick, yet seeming effortless pulls (myself and Ben included). Shortly before the main climb, as a result of some jittery juniors playing bumper bikes, there were 2 pointless crashes that took out a few people, both of which happened right next to me, the second one forcing me off the road but I was able to rejoin the field with almost no effort. As the climb started the pace was intense and I really began to feel the miles in my legs from both that day, as well at the day before. This is the point where things started to go wrong. By this time the field consisted of a solid 20 or so riders hammering up the climb myself towards the back, but holding my own. At what must have been only about 200 m from the summit Ben, who had been a few riders ahead of me most of the climb, hit his wall and dropped back. We briefly spoke, but at the same time I lost contact with the group and summited with a group of 4 in time to watch the main group descend around a bend. At this point I was hurting but was in a group that was working well, and working fast. This was the last 3 miles of the race and everyone know it. A few more people joined our group and we hammered towards the last mile of the race. this last mile was a grueling up hill to the finish but I continued on and finished just making contact again with the main group at the finish line for 23rd place. A few minutes later Ben crossed the line for 28th and then we pedaled another 10 miles to the the car at the staging area, tired and disappointed. There were a few things that I did wrong, but in the end I just didn’t have the legs… thankfully its only February and I can look it as a good weekend of race training and motivation to work a bit harder for next time.

[ben at pine flats RR]

Monday, February 08, 2010


sean wasn't the only team becher+ rider in action yesterday, tim 'action' jackson suited up and contested the mega fast 35+ amgen show at the red trolley crit.  as most of you know tim has a harrowing bad crash on the track over a year ago and has been in the process of rebuilding his body and mind set ever since getting out of the hospital.  he put all of that behind him sunday and zipped up his skin suit [XL, no less, he still has some big guns] for the first real crit of 2010.  he kept it going strong for the first part of the race, but subcumped to the brutal amgen pace and retired to race another day.  for tim, coming out unscratched is almost as good as contesting the sprint.  we all know he expects more from himself, but all things considered, job well done tim.  read more here

EXTRA EXTRA, read all about it

first win of 2010
sean neilson ripped the field at the red trolley crit in san diego this past sunday [7 feb 2010] and took the first win of the season for team becher+. we are all on cloud 9.

not only did sean rip it up on sunday in the crit, he mounted a superb campaign on saturday at the epic boulevard road race, coming in 8th after a long cold, wet effort.  any top 10 finish at boulevard is a huge achievement.

the team is looking forward to giving sean and others more support in the coming months, so look for more wins and plenty of top 10 finishes, as this is finally our year to dominate. our whole team this year is full of depth, strength, courage, discipline and all out desire by everyone to work for the team and attack the field, good results will only follow.

i have a few more posts coming, as we have had our first team camp a few weeks ago, which was a huge success and other team news. we would of course like to thank our sponsors for helping to make sean's win possible, becher+, enervit, bobo's hamburgers, masi, midnight oil creative, iMartin, and greg jarrett. we would also like to thank all of those companies that give us support, especially louis garneau.

[sean's race reports]

boulevard road race
Today was the boulevard road race and someone ordered a lot of rain.
The day was filled with rain and cold. The highest temp I saw all day was 46 degrees. The course begins with a fair climb that leads into a long shallow descent then climbs back up to the start. Climbs are average 5 to 6% grade. We did roughly 50 miles, 2 laps.
100 people strarted in the rain and cold. But once we were rolling the temp wasn’t such an issue as the body heat rose. With the centerline rule in effect and a full field I knew position was most important. I got a good start and was never outside the top 10. The first half lap was fairly easy with a tempo pace. After that first half lap though legs and lungs were burning. Being at 4000 feet the air was thin. A group of us began to ride away from the group, about 15 of us. The pace was high and I was sucking air on the climb. I was shelled and in pain.
The rain didn’t let up and the chase began as I was beginning to feel better. I chased for a bit and caught up to a group of 4 guys and worked with them trading pulls and trying to close down the gap. On the last big climb I was feeling good and went to take my pull and just kept pulling until I realized I had some how ridden the whole group off my wheel leaving me to cross the line alone. Ended up 8th, unfortunately out of points and money.
Boulevard Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Category 4
PlaceLicenseNameTeamSoCal Points
1270784Brian WilsonMoment Cycle Sport28
2256517Henry Valenzuela lllPAA / RE/MAX22
3294285Marco MenchacaTriSports Cycling/Eclipse Racing20
4269508Nick GillockHerbalife LaGrange18
5292387Brien MillerUnattached16
6295278Roman GamaCitrus Valley Velo14
7288624Jonathan HornbeckTeam Ranchos12
8288949Sean NeilsonTeam Becher+10
9272524Taylor VaccariCoates Cyclery Racing Team8
1020386Jay LaRivierePeninsula Cycle Club6

red trolley crit
Red Trolley Crit. Today was the exact opposite to yesterday. Nice blue skies with some clouds and a bit of wind.
The course is super fun with turns 1 and 2 flat and turn 3 being a fast sweeper downhill and a bit tighter but fast and fun! After turn 4 is a big ring climb that flattens to the start/finish line. Front straight had a bit of a head/cross wind and between 1 and 2 a cross wind. Rest of the course was tailwind and fast.
After yesterday having a good night relaxing and resting I felt good. From the start pace was high and the group was dropping riders every lap. I would consistently keep myself at the front being protected on the headwind and using the tailwind to my advantage to move forward. With about 20 minutes left I and another fella gave it a go and attacked the group on the climb. We would last for 1 lap as the group wasn’t going to let us go. So I would just make sure I wouldn’t let myself get swarmed and as soon as it would begin to get crowded at the front I would get up and push the pace a bit to keep position. Halfway through last lap attacks started to come so I pushed to keep with front group. Went so fast through last corner I drifted a bit before opening up a sprint on the climb probably about 8th wheel back. I went wide while everybody was wrestling for inside line and just put my head down and butt up. I was able to hold pace and come accross the line arms in the air and a loud ‘yeah!’
I couldn’t be any happier to deliever the first win of many for Team Becher+ in 2010!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 11, 2010


here is yet another story out of china, cheap IS apparently actually cheap.

LOS ANGELES — Moving swiftly, U.S. product safety authorities say they are launching an investigation into the presence of the toxic metal cadmium in children's jewelry imported from China after disclosure of lab tests showing that some pieces consisted primarily of the dangerous substance. The promise to "take action as quickly as possible to protect the safety of children" followed by hours the release Sunday of an Associated Press investigative report that documented how some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead in cheap charm bracelets and pendants being sold throughout the United States. more here on the AP story

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


wow, what a difference a day makes. sunday was one of those days that would just never end. 60 miles in 5 hours [riding and fixing], 3 flats, multiple headaches, finally got home and tried to put the day behind me.

today was a completely different day, i got out for an early lunch ride for a little over an hour. it was a great spin, in great weather and i stuck to the only true bike path in the area out towards topanga [the length of the valley]. so now all is good in the universe and we are back on track. i think it just feels great to get in a good solid leg speed workout and feel super doing it.

in other news, i am really looking forward to our team's first camp of the season and it will be great to get a chance to properly gel with the 6 - 8 new teammates that will be there. the nor-cal contingent will be having one as well. so if you see us out on the road, give a wave and say hi [i throw that in for you tmgj, by the way i waved at every rider i saw today, i think i even said good morning to a few runners as well, weird]

[i think i am even going to crack a smile]

or was it this one?

but diffidently not this one.

[nice kit sky, almost another shameless knock-off of our design, although i am sure that boasson hagen'dazs will be rocking in it this season]

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 02, 2010


today was a good 60 miles, in beautiful sunny +75 degree LA weather. that was until we hit the far north east corner of the valley coming out of sylmar. the wind kicked up and gusts were blowing at over+40mph. it seemed like more than that, but none of us got blown over today. which i am sure made my orthopedic surgeon happy, not to mention me.

team news
the new year brought our first top 10 finishes of the 2010 season with a 6th place by patrick piccolo and an 8th by benjamin barry in the san bruno hill climb. way to go guys, that is one b_tch of a climb and all your preseason work is already starting to pay off.

race report
[san bruno hill climb / patrick piccolo]
Bright and early this morning was the first race of the Northern California season, the epic 3.5 mile straight up San Bruno Hill Climb. Thankfully the race started at 10 am and is a 10 min. drive from the city, so I was able to get a little of sleep beforehand. That however, that didn’t seem to help me feel ready or at all well. Though the race is short, its pretty steep and fast. Ben and I had a good start and perhaps went a little too hard at first, but then again the higher up you go the steeper it gets so its hard to tell. The last 100m are the worst and I just didn’t have the legs (or the stomach as it turns out) that i needed. I ended up doing it 17 min. 55 sec. which was good enough for 6th. Ben came in about 20 seconds later for 8th. Aside from the fact that I felt like death for the few seconds before I puked up my banana just after the finish, I would have to say I was feeling good and had a good time. Ben was mad that I talked him in to doing it.

Labels: , , ,