Sunday, August 1, 2010

8/1 Ride Report - The BIG Ride

What could be VeloViet's biggest and wildest MSP ride happened today. 47 riders (yes... you did read it correctly… 47 people) came out to participate and see the BIG show. Check out the size of this group below. The row of riders was way way too long for my panoramic camera!

Photo #1 - 47 riders came out for VeloViet's BIG Ride.

The stage was set for a gun-blazing showdown. Our new member Steve had e-mailed us mid week and told us that he was bringing out his “Vegas Crew”, a strong bike crew that he rode with while he was living in Las Vegas. Featured among them is a young climber named Bang, an ex-KOM climber who used to train regularly at altitude at 4100 elevation. Yikes!!! Where the heck is Fed-Ex? Baby vacation is over buddy and it's now time to train again!

The stage was a challenging one, full of hills, hills, and more freaking hills. Our route “designer” The Animal happened to not come out today. Yeah right! Scott was probably relaxing and laughing at home knowing that we are suffering on yet another hill on this “custom-design” course for us.

Photo #2 - Ngoc, Minh, Dave, Martin, and Alex posing before the big showdown.

Photo #3 - Nancy was riding solo today as Tan was at home watching the kids.

Photo #4 - Cap't, Toan, Sang, and Loc bonding before The Big Ride.

The group was so large we had to divide into 3 separate groups: the A1 group was led by Luke and Duc, the A2 group by Toan and Billy, and the Newbie group led by Cap’t and Minh. How come Cap’t is riding with the Newbie? I know he has extra energy as I saw him running around MSP ½ hour before the start.

Photo #5 - Some of our new riders: Loc, Tina, and Kirk.

As usual, the A1 group started first. There were 11 of us: Luke, Duc, TZ, Sang, Steve, Matt, Sean, Mathew, Phillip, Martin, and I. We did a nice roll down to PCH with Luke and Duc driving most of the way. I did my sprint back and forth to take pictures initially, but got tired. Where are you Cuong? I miss you man. This sprinting picture thing is hard!

Phto #6 - Double paceline on the way down to PCH.

Photo #7 - VeloViet pack at the stop light.

There were so many VeloViets at the PCH stop! The Velo Lighting bike group is there, and they are usually the largest group at this stop, but they dwarf us in size today. There were VeloViet riders everywhere and there was no comparison which group was larger. I had a chance to run around and captured a few nice pictures below.

Photo #8 - Our gorgeous VeloViet women! Guys... wipe up your drool and pick your jaws off the floor!

Photo #9 - The Rock Racer rock stars. Ladies... time to join now and meet one of these guys!

Photo #10 - Phillip and Mathew are now super fast and were working us on every hills!

A quick rest and Greg, our A1 Road Captain for today, push us on. PCH South was okay with speed around 22 mph. I chatted with Sean, one of the Vegas Crew from San Diego, about drafting as he was not used to riding in a large group. The extra work that Sean was outputting from not drafting was taking a little toll on him.

We did a surprise turn on Back Bay and started climbing. Man... I did not realized there were so much hills back here. Steve and Matt drop back a bit to accompany Sean. The climb was also taking a toll on Martin. Not surprisingly, our two boys Mathew and Phillip had no problem as they started to gap the heavier adults on these hills. Every time the A1 riders hit yet another hill, we were sure to make another vocal tribute to our route designer who was not here to “enjoy” this with us!

On Newport Coast, disaster struck. Luke, Steve, and Matt were in front leading the way. There was a large gap between them to Mathew, follow by another large gap to Greg and I. Instead of turning left on Newport to go up the hill, Mathew turned right to go down the hill. Greg and I yelled to him as we came up but he was too far off. A quick conversation, we sent off Duc, Sang, and TZ to chase after Mathew while the rest of us shepherd Phillip on. We rode to Vista Ridge then on to Shady Canyon Park where we had a quick pit stop. Here chatting with Greg we decided to split into two packs: Phillip and I would continue on to Circle K stop, while Greg and Luke would take the Vegas Crew on to an extra 5 mile Star Crest loop.

Photo #11 - At the top of Vista Ridge. It was hard work, just check out Luke's face!

Photo #12 - On the other hand, "Vegas Crew" Matt looked like he could do another Vista Ridge. Matt was probably the strongest rider of the Vegas group.

Phillip and I bombed down University and made a right to head to Circle K. A block away from Circle K, we spotted the A2 group on the other side of the road. Phillip and I hooted and hollered to attract the folks. I swear half of the group saw us and it seemed they picked up the speed! Where is the brotherhood? Phillip and I continue half a block to the light, and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the light to change for us to cross to the other side of the road. The chase is on!

Like a locomotive, we bombed along University between 22 to 24 mph. It was a heads down and all out chase on this flat section of the road. The A2 pack was not in sight and I had to take care such that I don’t bonk trying to chase down these A2 folks. We even rode past the A1 guys, who were on the other streets, and hollered out to them. We were not going to wait though, as this would mean we are letting the A2 guys go even farther.

After an all out effort for about 20 minutes, I backed it off to 20 mph to catch my breath. Phillip came to the front and pulled at 21 mph to let me rest a bit. After a few minutes, I was ready to resume again. Back at the front to try to catch up those A2 riders.

The Back Bay was extremely windy, and made the chase even harder. We passed every rider there and no one passed us. On PCH, we caught up to the last A2 riders and one of the tandems. Infused with new hope, Phillip and I attacked harder and caught the second tandem at the bottom of the SART overpass. We regrouped with the A2 guys at the start of SART.

SART was gain filled with attacks. After the wooden bridge, I remembered Kyanh and Phillip riding hard at the front. Cap’t was in front of me following another rider, with an increasing gap between our front and a small front group. I decided to close the gap so I passed Cap’t and increased my speed to catch with the front group. I was going so fast that I decided I might as well continue pass the front group. This group latched on.

I must have drag Toan with me because after a few minutes, Toan suddenly burst out from behind and I initially could not latch on. A small gap built and I kept it constant until I had the energy to close it up. All of a sudden Cap’t pass pulling a small group, and we all latch on.

As we approached a small hill on SART, I remembered rotating back from the front and I saw a small gap developed in the formation. I called out to the rider there to close up and remember seeing Cap’t in forth smiling. Well he put on the after burner and passed everyone like they were standing still. I remembered trying to stand and attacked, but my quads quivered and told me enough is enough! After SART, we roll nicely back to MSP.

Today's ride was probably the biggest ride VeloViet ever hosted at MSP, even though we missed some of our usual members. Thanks to Greg and Duc who stepped in as A1 Road Captains and did a great job leading this group. Also thanks to the Vegas guys who made this ride fun and challenging on every hills. I bashed him a little, but credit must go also to The Animal who put some time to create this route (even though he is at home with his legs up and a beer in hand)!

Photo #13 - Greg, one of today's A1 Road Captain, did an excellent job leading this fast pack!

Hey Nic... we heard you crashed hard in the Cat 5 crit race you rode this morning. Jimmy says to stay away from those Cat 5 as these races are ususally prone to crashes. Heard you snapped your fork but hopefully you are okay. Get well buddy



  1. As always, thanks for the re-cap Phong. I missed another great ride. Was at home babysitting and training with my son on the trailer ;-)
    Nick hope you are ok. I just happen to have an extra orbea orca fork on hand so you can get rolling again.

  2. Yes im ok just calf muscle was bruised a bit. Thanks guys. You know its bound to happen some idiot not knowing how to turn properly. Its racing and its going to happen sooner or later. Luckily the only damage to my bike was a shattered fork.

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  4. Thanks for the recap and nice pictures of a whole big group. I could not imagine how fast our VV has growing, looking at the group on last Sunday at the park I was just speechless...I was in shocked! It was a huge crowd! So many riders that I thought I was in the Palm Springs century again...

    Not mentioned that there will be more members are on their rider named Jay pulled next to me at the Back Bay, he gave a nice complement about our VV jerseys, how organized and riding skills we are. We exchanged conversation then he finally said that he will talk to his Vietnamese girl friend to come out with him to join us. And also there was another rider checking with Ngoc at the NP Coast climb about our website. Whooh! whooh! VeloViet!...riders around the county have been recognizing, interesting and watching us.

    OK enough of that, here is A2's story...
    The A2 group including...Capt, what?(was spying on us again), Billy P, tandem Mac + Michelle, tandem Billy D + Co, Loc, Ngoc, Alex, Dave, Nancy, KyAnh, Bang, Sky & friend, Mathew’s dad & I (sorry if I missed anyone) were the 17 road warriors heading to the battle grounds.

    The 2 tandem’s teams must have cursed me on the Newport Coast climb (I have already skipped the Pelican Hill climb, which Capt disappointed) but they conquered it anyway. However, at the Vista Ridge climb, tandem teams must have hated me more; so they and some other folks bailed out and decided to wait for us at the other end of Newport Coast/Vista Ridge junction.

    Ngoc was slow on Newport Coast but he suddenly gained power on Vista Ridge…I think that was his secret. Bang also proved he was once a KOM… KyAnh did not want to be left out, together they pushed hard to the top. The highlight of the day was Nancy, she worked her way up the Newport Coast and Vista Ridge climb…she just hung on and did net let go. Way to go Nancy!

    Everyone was back together and rode out to the Circle K water stop. We knew group A1 had just left, the empty water bottle left behind telling us so, “that was group A1’s trademark” someone claimed. OK, please remember to clean up the mess you guys, this is VV’s shelter!

    On the way back of SART, Loc strongly took the lead for a few minutes, yikes! Even Capt and the rest of stronger riders drafting under his shadow…But after the wooden bridge things turned brutal…. It seems to me at the SART attacking among us now became a tradition, no matter how easy or hard you have been riding for past 2 – 3 hours, on the way back of SART is another “Last Kingdom of Men”.

    Ride On...

    ~~~~~ __o
    ~~~~_ <_
    ~~~ (_)/(_)


  5. Thanks for another nice recap Phong and A Toan as usual. That was a super large group, even though we missed lots of riders. I was trying so hard to catch up with the attacking group on SART but I could not, I saw Cap't sprint up so strong ( at least 30-32 MPH ) passing me like Ferrari vs Toyota, I only wish riding like that when I grow up. Group A2 are faster and stronger every week guys, Phong is right, it is time for a Epic ride.

  6. I love the pictures at the start and rest stop. Our lovely ladies having a great time, big smiles. We need to promote more friendly lady riders. It can only attract more friendly guyes, wink/wink. By the way, there are a couple of new riders that will join us - Anna and Nga. Hope to see them soon.

    Man, every time I spy on our A2 group, they never failed to show big improvements. I worked harder with A2 than A1. You guys continued to amaze me. Every one was strong and begining to ride in nice formation. This is what people will remember aside from our jersey. Keep it up. Awesome.

    Lastly, what a nice turn out. I wish we could have enough jerseys for everyone. Would love to see street covered with red/black and white. We will soon get there.

    Ride on,

  7. Hearing that everyone is getting stronger, why don't you A2 guy ride together with the A1. We all know you can hang, just don't be afraid. I think it will only push you to get stronger. Phong, Long, & Sang rode with us and they can hang. Maybe we need to do a big group ride with all levels.