The Pasadena Athletic Association (PAA) has a long and accomplished racing history that began somewhere in the 1960s and even earlier through looser connections. Racers of all disciplines have enjoyed being part of PAA’s heritage over the years and honed their racing talents including Chris Horner, who raced for the NutraFig/PAA Team in late 1990s before becoming an integral part of some of the biggest teams in the peleton racing in the world’s biggest races.
If you are looking to get involved with road, criterium, time trial, mountain bike or cross racing with PAA, please use the contact list below.
Sean McGill | Captain MTB
Kent Hammond | Captain CX
Master Men’s 45-49 and Men’s Single Speed
Lakewood, Washington (25 miles south of Seattle) offered a cyclocross paradise with cool temperatures, endless rain, ankle deep mud, twisty descents, and two massive run ups.
Master Men’s 45-49. 4th Place.
There was never a dull moment in this race and playing into this was the amount of rain that had come down over the preceding days including the heaviest downpour about an hour before the race’s start. The conditions were perfect and I was excited to see what would happen.
I had a fourth row call up, 36 of 71 riders (points are tough to get riding cyclocross in So Cal), and the goal was simply to pass as many people as possible while keeping a technically clean race. So that is what I did, put my head down, buried the needle, and shot through the rain and mud. Around the third lap I found myself in a pack of three riders, one of them was wearing the 2018 championship stars and stripes jersey (Adam Myerson), and realized that this was the 5,6,7 positions. I figured this was going to be a battle for that last podium spot and settled in.
Eventually though I made use of a long climb to keep moving forward, dropping that group and now catching the 4th place rider. He seemed tired, I knew I was tired, but it was Nationals and the battle for fourth commenced over the last two laps. The two of us yo-yoed about, usually with me getting a few second gap but then him latching right back onto on my wheel. Factoring into this was my increasing inability to shift gears as the mud and grit were taking a toll.
Finally, on the last lap I opened up a maybe 10 second gap, but on the final descent I had my biggest blunder of the race. The descent was Z shaped where at the top you did a large off camber drop then turned/launched into the second portion; so on the top portion I got off my line and slid into the protective hay bail, landing on my feet and running the last 15 yards of the descent. Luckily I maintained a few second lead and from there it was all out for the last part of the course which included one last flyover, a 40 yard sand pit, and a bumpy false flat.
I was hoping to crack the top ten so crossing the finish line in fourth place was a sweet surprise.
Men’s Single Speed. 15th Place.
This race started with being called up in 67th position of what would eventually be some 140 riders. Although the conditions were a little drier than my previous race, the course still offered plenty of mud and I figured the first lap or two would be chaos, and it was. Within that chaos though the plan was again to pass as many riders as I could. By the time it was over I pedaled, ran, and slid my way into 15th place.
Note: The Men’s single speed race can be viewed on youtube.
The Men’s Single Speed starts around 5:33:00.
If the link doesn't work can search on youtube “USA Cycling 2019 Cyclocross National Championships - Saturday”
Carson City Off Road, June 28, 2019
Carson City Off Road is part of the "Epic Rides" series of events; 50mile mountain bike races where 1000+ competitors and a bunch of the best pro's in the world ride some of the country's best trails as part of an overall bike racing experience like no other. These guys put on bands, food, beer, an expo, the works. Last year a few of the team did the Whiskey 50 round in Arizona and we were keen for more, so Rob and I (Nick) chose to race the Carson City round this year.
Carson City is a small town to the east of the mountains around Lake Tahoe and the race makes good use of them - it heads west out of town with a sustained 20miles of climbing, then hits the world famous Flume Trail with unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe and the descends some fantastic singletrack back into town. If you haven't ridden the trails around Tahoe they are among the best in the world, go check them out, highly recommended.
The race started off fast from the gun with a 3mile road sprint out of town to the start of the climbing proper. After a nasty steep road section, an even steeper, nastier dirt road section followed, meaning the group was well split up by the time the first single track appeared. Rob got a clean run but I got caught behind a single speeder who couldn't get round the tight hairpin corners. Not that it mattered as I was gassed anyway and started going backward through the field over the next 15miles or so of climbing. I regrouped with Rob at the aid station by Spooner Lake but quickly got dropped again before the Flume Trail section - this is arguably the most scenic mountain bike trail in the world - just amazing. I resisted the urge to stop and take a selfie the view though and so managed to catch back up to Rob again before the next aid station. Unfortunately I then got dropped again on the next climb - there was definitely a bad theme developing!
After the climb though it was predominantly flat to downhill and we rode in to the finish together in a little over 4hrs for 21 & 22 in Category (45+ masters) and 93 & 94 overall. All there was left to do was drink a free beer (from one of the race sponsors no less) to celebrate, grab some food, recover and talk smack about such an awesome ride.
Race Report: Cat 3 Big Bear XC
Although it was the last race in this seasons CA mountain bike series, it was Peter Dixon and I’s first time racing mountain bikes. Not as early as the low category road races, we were treated to a 2 mile climb to get to the starting line by 10 am. This climb warmed up the legs nicely and gave a preview of the fire road climbing that started the race.
There were many different racing categories staging at the start line, beginning juniors all the way to senior men and women. Peter and I started in the first wave with about 10-12 other Category 3 men. People went hard from the start with my heart rate quickly climbing towards my top end. It didn’t take long for that pace to drop nearly everyone. A few of us remained at the front but gaps of several seconds opened and we were mainly racing on our own. The twists and turns of the course always gave you a glimpse of the riders ahead and behind.
Eventually, the fire road turned to single track as we wound our way back downhill. The trails were flowing and allowed for significant speed to be carried throughout. As I saw Peter pedaling off into the distance I came upon a group of young riders that was tricky to pass. This forced me to slow down and be caught by 2 fellow Cat 3 racers. We eventually did pass the young riders and continued our way down the descent. The pressure from the two riders behind me made me less confident on some of the technical sections that we were encountering. So I let them pass by and went my own pace.
Coming to the bottom of the single track, we navigated a fence with just enough width for my handlebars. Then it was a sprint (more of an individual time trial) on a road back to the base of the ski resort and the finish line. Peter crossed the line first with a time of 1:04:35 and I wasn’t too far behind, finishing in 1:06:02. It was a fun race and a great introduction to the mountain bike racing scene. I don’t think I will be able to stay away from the Big Bear trails for long.
Redlands Downtown Criterium Race Report
Conor Jones - 4/1/2019
One benefit of waking at 4am to go racing is the lack of traffic. Heading east to Redlands from Pasadena, the roads were so empty you may have wondered if there was some sort of apocalyptic event you were unaware of in the night. Maybe it was just the coffee hitting my nerves. This was my second time properly racing my bike so I arrived a little over an hour early. By the time I registered, got my numbers on and my bike together, it was nearly time to line up! On my way to go warm up, I bumped into my teammate Mike Lee. Redlands is a decently technical circuit with five corners to negotiate, three of which take place on the downhill part of the course. We chatted tactics and decided it would be best to stay near the front, try to control the pace, avoid surges and any mid-corner sketchiness. As we spun around the circuit to warm up, the start time came and went. There was a vehicle parked on the circuit which led to our race being shortened. While unfortunate, the group was grateful to avoid dodging a car near turn two.
This was a mentored ride so the first three laps were led by coaches. There were also people posted on course reminding us to carry speed through corners and drink water. The coaches pace was relaxed in the beginning and ramped up by the third lap. I stayed on the wheel of the second coach so I could have good position when the race properly started. Lap three came to an end, and I was on the front.
Game time! We found a pretty good rotation with Mike and a handful of other riders. The pace was strong but manageable. Mike was doing a good job of making other riders work, taking strong pulls then letting off, forcing riders to respond. Right around five laps to go, the pace kicked. I was in the red, Mike was in a break, and a gap had emerged. I hesitated too much to close down the gap so I chose to stay with the group to save a match for the bunch sprint. I’m third wheel with two laps to go. The lead rider threw an elbow, the dude behind him didn’t go, and I didn’t either. He opened it up and we held on for a pretty spicy lap. With one lap to go we hit the 180 degree turn with good speed. The pace slowed so I hit it with a few corners left. I got a gap and managed to stay away until the last corner. The finish had a slight rise to it so I added a gear, thinking I would need it for the sprint. I should have downshifted or stayed with the gear I had and then sprinted. I gave it my all but the cadence just wasn’t there. A rider came around me at the line, leaving me with 6th place.
Given my lack of experience racing, this was a great result. I rode the post race high for a few days at least. Looking back, it might have been fun to see if we could have controlled the break more had I been able to close the gap and stay with Mike. For the next race, I will be more aware of those gaps and proper gearing for the sprint. I am thrilled to start the season with a top 10 finish.
Santa Barbara Country Road Race | Race Report
William Denman - 2/23/2019
SANTA BARBARA RR | RACE REPORT
The first race of the season is always a tough one. You want to go in with low expectations because usually off season training has not been as fast as you wanted and you are coming in heavy if you did the december holidays correctly. For a couple of us, Mike Lee, Peter Dixon and myself we decided to shake off the cobwebs with Santa Barbara Country Road Race. Due to it being early I set some goals that didn't require me winning the race. Peter and I since we are both Cat 4s spoke about treating it like a hard training ride. We wanted to avoid any crashes, stay with the group for as long as possible and give the legs a good early blow out.
The SBCRR course has changed slightly in recent years. It starts with a neutral roll out down into what will be the finishing stretch and then shifts to a 14 mile rolling course through fields. With no real long straight a ways and one tough hill climb, organized breakaways has been successful in the past. One of the my goals for the race was to not allow a breakaway to win the race.
The cat 4 race went off at 1240 with limited delays and a field of 42 racers. The bunch moved off comfortably with most people there to test the course. There was a short breakaway by a single La Grange group but a group of us made sure to keep it within line of sight. The course seems slightly longer than you think with the backside being a longer descent and a hard right turn. Lap one evolved with little movement and Peter and I had discussed attacking on the second lap to attempt to form a breakaway. On lap two I worked to catch a break and hopefully give Peter and a USC rider a spring board to gain some separation but it was quickly pulled back. As is common in Cat 4 races, the last lap was the most eventful with the first half progressing slowly as the bunch got back together.
Unfortunately about 5 miles into the last lap there was a touch of bars next to me which caused a Go Fast rider to crash. This crash stranded Peter behind the pack leaving me on the back of a group of about 20 riders. On the larger climb a group of H&S riders managed to establish a break and the field picked up the tempo to reel them back in on the rollers. This then gave two riders the ability to bridge and then move away as a two man breakaway. In the lead group this led to a lot of looking around as people wanted to conserve energy for the final uphill finish. After finally organizing ourselves we managed to catch the breakaway before the 500 meter uphill to the line. This hard effort to catch the break left a scattered field across the road. Knowing that it was a tough uphill finish a bunch sprint seemed unlikely. I worked to be one of the first into the final section knowing it was would be difficult to pass in from that point forward. I came into the last corner in 7th hoping to move up to with lead group. As is usually the case the final sprint feels much longer in your head and I was only able to pass one person before the line as the group strung out across the road.
While the overall goal is to always to put PAA at the top of the podium the process goals as well as a 6th place finish will set up the Cat 4 race team for a competitive 2019 season. The next confirmed road race is UCLA which features a very tough climb with a long open descent and should be a good race for any sustained climbers.