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.
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.