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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let the fun begin.

I officially started training for next season, yesterday. Damn, cycling has made me weak. I was doing push ups and first set was 20, 15, 2.. I used to do 500 a day, with sets of 50. Well here is what my winter will look like. I don’t mind sharing since most people don’t like to do 4 ½ hour rides on stationary bikes. I’m up to my pre base weight of 155. Last year I lost 13lbs even with eating as much as I could find so I like to get a little fat before the fun starts.

Oct 12th lift 2 days (high reps)
Oct 19th lift 3 days (high reps)
Oct 26th lift 3 days (medium reps)
Nov 2nd 12 hours of base + 2 days lifting
Nov 9th 15 hours of base + 2 days lifting
Nov 16th 18 hours of base + 1 day lifting
Nov 23rd 9 hours of base
Nov 30th 21 hours of base
Dec 7th 24 hours of base
Dec 14th 27+ hours of base

All work and no play makes ryan fast on a TT bike.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One step closer

I took my Level 3 coaching test last night and now earn the right to spend more money with USA cycling. I don't know if I will want to take on clients now but since you have to be a level 2 for 5 years before you can get your level 1, I decided to get a start on this whole process. I mainly decided to get my license so I can learn more and I think with things I have learned from George Opria and Bill Gross, I would make an OK coach. I know I'm still really new to cycling but I must be doing something right. I just have to learn how to race, which is another reason I am making the switch to Haymarket. Not that the guys on Evo cant race, just i don't get to race with them.

Last year working with George my base went from averaging 175 watts for 2 hours to averaging 240 for over 4 hours at the same heart rate (70% max). This year I will be doing the same winter training but will be doing more interval work come spring. I think my threshold went from right around 300 to over 340. With a racing weight of under 145 its should be a decent power to weight for next year. I just have to work on coping with surges.

Well should have my license around the 1st of the year after all the background checks and other expensive things.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 2

Vegas day 2

I don't really know how to explain interbike except that it's just like any other tradeshow but better. I think I found the product of the show, well it excited me the
most. A new power meter that should be coming out soon, it has strain guages in speedplay pedals. It has the same accuracy as a powertap , all for $1,000. I think this has huge potential.

I was walking Around and stopped to check out the SRM booth and I heard my name and see a friend and highschool racing buddy Mike Hall. I found a wheel SET that weighed in at 650 or 680 grams total. Curtis spotted landis so I got a poster signed, wether he cheated or not he used to be fast. Then the best news of the day, Dave Zabriski was over at the garmin booth. I got him to sign my I phone. CVV was there as well but the z-man is my hero, and that made the trip worth it for me, yeah sounds gay but I don't care. Then I headed over to the shimano di2 clinic to learn something. I did if you go to interbike go to the clinics, they gave away a full Di2 group.

Well the night is young and I'm headed to help jared at the UCI crossrace.

-- Post From My iPhone


Vegas blog day 1

The trip started out pretty boring till a United "crew" member pissed me off. I'm in Denver waiting on my conecting flight and I had a question about the flight, so I walk up to the service counter and wait for the 2 women to finish there very important about there personal lives. The one woman looks at me as to take my question, she waits till I'm finished then proceeds to gesture up and down to show me what she is wearing , a little badge that says "crew". So I proceed to tell her I don't know what that means. Here is a great way to deal with customers, if you don't want to talk to the person just turn around and walk away.

Met up with some of the guys from haymarket and shared a cab over to there place. They wanted to take a nap so I walked about a mile to my hotel to check in, a nice 4 star marriott.

After We walked 137 miles we met up with Jared and I proceeded to get drunk and lose a $100 at blackjack.

All in all the first day in Vegas was good. I stayed up for 41 hours ( if you don't count the nap on the plane) , went 14 hours without eating and ddnt get any fingeres cut off. Interbike starts tomorrow so a little less shananagans but just as much walking.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My seasons over...

I changed my mind about doing the TT in PA this weekend. It doesn’t look like it gives enough points for me to move up to first in the USA cycling rankings, I‘d move up to 2nd just for showing but for what. After seeing that the start time isn’t till noon I realized I didn’t want to waist a whole day to move up to second on some result that no one looks at. Plus I’m still getting to know the guys on my new team and they are having a team ride / BBQ that I would rather go to. I still don’t know if they have told there teams they are leaving yet so I won’t give out any names. But I’m super excited about having teammates next year. I was really envious of guys on The Bike Rack (not for there fashion) and even NCVC riders, for having teams. I really enjoy the tactics of racing but playing with only one card isn’t as much fun.

Already thinking about Valley of the Sun, it’s only 5 months away. I hope all this excitement helps me through my base training. I think I made it last year just out of ignorance but now I know how bad 4 hour rides on the trainer are and how bad 27 hour weeks can be. I hope I see gains over this winter like I did last year, I know they wont be as big but it would be nice. Last year I knew I had a bad base, my VO2 test even showed that I jumped right to zone 3. But after doing George Opria’s plan I went from riding base at 175 watts to around 240 or so. I don’t know my threshold power since I sold my power tap at the beginning of the season but I’m guessing from others I ride with its somewhere around 340 or so. I think it sounds realistic to hope for 20 watts but I probably won’t know since I have completely de-evolved as a cyclist, going from having 2 computers on my bike to none in one season. If I can get a good deal on an SRM I might go back to riding with power but they are so Fing expensive.

I think I had a good season, 2 championships and a bunch of W’s (mostly TTs). It seemed like there just weren’t that many breaks this year, it’s not for me not trying. I was probably off the front with Tim Rugg at least 10 times this year alone. Oh yeah I also picked up a MABRA champ GF haha. She makes breakfast and I clean the bikes, fair trade.

My 2009 results

Cat 3
Mabra I.T.T. Champion
Mabra Crit Champion
Currently Ranked 3rd in the Nation for Time trials

1st Church Creek Time Trial 1 (40k 54:45)
1st Church Creek Time Trial 2 (40k 53:37)
1st Deep Blue Time Trial (12 mile 23:40)
1st Hagerstown Challenge Criterium
1st Carlisle Time Trial (40k 52:47)
2nd Tour de Ephrata G.C.
2nd Tour de Ephrata Time Trial
6th Tour of Washington County G.C.
6th Tour of Washington County Criterium
6th Tour of Washington County Time Trial (flat tire)

Cat 4
3rd Mount Joy Road Race
2nd Jeff Cup Road Race
1st Farmersville Road Race

6 days till Vegas

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where are all the turkeys?

Well the last Circuit race of the season is finally over. I felt surprisingly good for barely riding my bike over the past couple of weeks, just not good enough to win. I did the 3 / 4 race and it seemed like the easiest race I’ve ever done, time just flew by, I could hold my position and I even had fun taking a prime. On the first prime lap I bridged to a small group of about 5 or so, an NCVC rider attacked the break. It took me about 10 seconds to remember there was a prime. He had a good distance on us but I thought I could grab it. I started winding up and kept seeing him looking back, I passed him just as he was running out of gas and I was just hitting full speed with about 5 feet to the line. I got cussed at but it was worth it, no turkey this year just $10. I guess there was some screw up with the turkey order this year so there were no turkeys in sight.

So the BAR doesn’t change, Win 1st, Steve 2nd and myself 3rd. I’m not too upset since I knew it was a small chance of me winning Turkey Day and it wasn’t a goal of mine until a month ago. It would have been nice but its also pretty bad ass that Win and Steve held there placing even without racing in the 3’s over the past couple of months. I’m just going to ask that they add more Time Trials to the BAR for next year. I’m also pretty nervous about wearing the MABRA jersey in the first 1/2 crit next year. Back to being a nobody for next season, at least for a little while. I think my overall goal for next year was to gain acceptance in the elite field.

I think all the sprint points on the Haymarket ride have helped me with tactics of winning the sprint, not saying I’m out winning sprints, just that I know the theory. It would be nice to be a pure sprinter in this area but I’ve learned how to win sprints my way. If you seen me sprint I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, who else has a seated sprint? If you can ever make it out on a Wednesday night, it’s a blast. It’s not a huge group like the Reston rides but the riders that do show are fast and when the pace picks up you don’t have a lot of room for recovery. Plus there is only one traffic light on the whole ride and that’s right when you are leaving the shop.

I think the team might start some buzz once everyone starts to announce that they are switching to Haymarket. Its going to be a nice well rounded team, the road racers seem willing to help the crit guys and vice versa. And I think I will be an all around work horse for the team next year, but I hope my time trialing puts me in GC contention in stage races since that will probably be how I get my point to be a 1.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Make It Stop

So I’ve barely been riding due to a saddle sore but still managed a win at deep blue, granted I only had to beat 3 other people. I did end up with the second best time of the day. It was a pain in the ass (or taint )all around, I spent 5 hours in the car over $20 in tolls and about $30 in gas plus the $26 entrée fee to race for 23 minutes but I guess it was worth it to lock up a podium spot for the BAR. I haven’t lost a TT event yet ( I have lost TTs in stage races) which makes it almost feel less fun. I feel like a dick thinking that all I have to do is not have a mechanical and I’ll win. Next year will be different though, I’ll have to fight for placing which will make it feel nice when I do win (If I win). Deep blue put me 3rd in USA cycling’s ranking for the country so now I might try and do one more TT to see if I can’t work my way up to 1st. I don’t think you get anything from USA cycling but it might be cool to put on my race resume. Well I get to remember what not winning feels like this weekend at turkey day. Not that I’m not going to try just don’t think I have much of a shot. If I do some how win, it will also give me the cat 3 bar. If I finish 2nd or lower I’ll still have my 3rd place.

The rest of the weekend was nice, I got to meet some of my future teammates. Then I just relaxed with the girlfriend and her family which was a nice break from running around racing. I am Looking forward to the off season.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going to Vegas!

Just booked my airfair to Vegas for interbike.. Should be a good time. Jared from Haymarket Bikes got me a ticket and hotel room, I hope don't have to put out.. I've been wanting to go since I started working at my first bike shop when I was 14. I'll try and do a daily blog and upload pics if i can figure out how to so it from my phone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Get Felt

With nothing but saddle sores to talk about from the past couple of weeks racing I’ll just write up a make shift review on my rigs for the 09 season. I rode Felts exclusively this year for no other reason than I got good deals, but it worked out ok.

I spent last winter building base on my 08 race bike, a 2007 Felt F2. It might not be the lightest carbon bike out there but it has to be one of the toughest. After several crashes last year the bike has only chips in the clear coat. Being that it is 4 cm too big for me and I have horrible sprinting form, my only complaint is more likely due to fit than fault of the manufacture. When out of the saddle sprinting the rear wheel spends about 20% of the time hopping and skipping around behind me like a dog left leashed to the back of a station wagon.

After losing several places in G.C. last year by a few seconds in a hill climb I vowed to so something about my 18 lb race bike. I used the trusty VISA to get myself a 2009 Felt F1 SL. The F1 weighed in at 14.06 with stock wheels (no pedals or cages), pretty impressive for a sub $10k bike. After I saw the Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates in Velo News my race wheel selection was made. After swapping the wheels, stock cables with Nokon (for weight and looks), Speed Play Ti pedals , and a Fizik Arione CX saddle the bike was just at 14 lbs all built up. After dropping 6 pounds myself from doing close to 4,000 miles over the winter and the 4 lbs on the bike I was a bit quicker on the up hills ( yeah I’m a fat ass now that was 10lbs ago). Needless to say I felt like the bike floated up the climbs. I only use the F1 on race day so it always feels a bit quicker. The mix between the bike, the wheels and an awesome fit from Beth Mason makes for the best handling bike I have ever ridden. There are not too many people that can hang on my wheel in a corner, I’ve been opening gaps all season and probably could have won Jeff Cup had I not waited in the final corner for the guy to get back on.

The F1 came with the new Dura Ace 7900 which I love, it shifts smoother, brakes better and its quite a bit lighter than the 7800 stuff. Oh yeah you can dial in the levers if you have midget fingers. As for the wheels I got to test out the MP3 program Mavic offers, the MP3 is their crash replacement policy that can be bought with the wheels. It took 6 days for me to get a new wheel after I used the first one to ride over someone at 35 mph. Just wish they had an MP3 for my knee.

As anyone who knows me knows I like to Time Trial and one reason in my bike. Last winter George Opria sent me an email with a link to an Ebay sale, I think all the email said was “If you want to do stage races you need to get this bike”. The bike was a Felt B2 with Zipps, a 1080 up front and Sub9 in the rear both had ceramic bearing upgrades, all for $3200 or $3600 I don’t remember but it was a good price either way. I slapped on a set of Easton bars and I was ready to roll.

My first ever TT was Evos team winter training TT series, George wasn’t quite ready for the effort since he was a couple of weeks back in training than I was so he paced behind me giving me pointers(good guy to get pointers from). I was the fastest time of the day despite the fact that I had to stop on the last lap to pull my chain out of the chainstays. I was only 30 back from the courses best time held by George so it was game on in a month. I wasn’t using my race wheels and neither was George when he set the fastest time on the course the year before but I was sure as hell going to use my new gear to try and break the record. Well George caught wind of what I was up to and showed up in full race gear to defend his spot as record holder. We both blew away his time from the year before but I got him by a few seconds. I like to think that I got him since I was a few week ahead in my training but he says I beat him fair and square. Well the B2 has only lost 1 time trial and that was due to a flat so I can’t complain about the bike at all. To wrap it up I’ll just end it by saying I think Felt makes a great bike for the money. It might not have the looks of a Ridley or an Orbea but its gets the job done.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Its official..

I wasn’t going to talk about it much till the season was over but since most people know already I’ll just put it out there. Yeah, I’m switching to Haymarket for next season, for a couple of reasons. They are closer to my home, the shop has kept me going and I feel I can pay them back a little for all their help, I have been envying teams for the past 2 years and I’m really excited to be joining one (the biggest reason). I really liked all the guys at Evo and they helped me become a half decent racer, and that was the hardest part. I know they want to have an Elite team and they really wanted to keep me but I don’t think an unknown cat 3 who has been racing for 2 years could recruit an elite team so I took the easy way out. I’m looking forward to being able to do some work for my new teammates. I really think that I’ll make a good addition to the team as I think I’ll be the only TT specialist.

About the Bar and other racing..
So I found myself in contention (if the stars align) for the bar without even thinking about it but with only 4 events left it seems like a possibility. After my complete failure at Page Valley Brandon Lumm (nice guy) scored 9 more points. After spending a night sorting thru all the bullshit I have heard about these bonus points and I have heard a lot. I’ve been told I get them from moving to 3’s from the 4’s and or Brandon would get them if he upgrades to a 2. I heard anywhere from 10 to 35 point. Well, here is the rule in question.

7.b. Any Novice rider who moves from the Novice class to the Senior class as a result of a voluntary or forced upgrade of USAC racing category receives a o­ne-time 25 point bonus in the Novice BAR In addition, Novice class riders may not earn more than 150 points in a single season. Any placings in excess of this level will not score toward the BAR

So, unlike I had thought from what people had been saying that my current 65 point had an additional 25 added to them and Brandon and I were tied with 90. WRONG , I get 25 points added to my placing in the cat 4 bar and zero in the 3’s. So as far as I can figure Brandon now has 99 points 34 more than I do and still 36 points back from Win Elliot. And unlike what people had been saying I can’t find it anywhere that getting upgraded takes you out of contention for your BAR (looks like you where right Pete). But going from a 3 to a 2 has no reward, the bonus only applies from novice to senior.

There is still another 86 points to be had. I will screw myself right now by saying that I should have 51 points in the bag unless someone else has been doing 52 minute timetrials using an alias or I flat again (guaranteed to happen now). But that only puts me at 116 so I’ll need to get 20 more points from the hill climb and turkey day. Fuck this is going to be hard. So at least if I fail at the hill climb I can just say screw it and upgrade after the TT and start working at getting points for my cat 1. Yeah I want to be a 1, that is another reason why Haymarket was my choice. I want to race in the big races that are invitation only, and they get invited thanks to Jared. So on Tim Rugg’s cue my season goals where
1) Go from cat 4 to 2 (Check)
2) Win every type of race ;RR, Crit, TT, GC (Everything but the GC)
3) Make an elite team (Check)

My lifetime goals coming out of this season.
1) 4 more years of Base Possible if my knee can take it
2) Cat 1 I think I can get it with GC result from my TTing
3) Sub 50 minute 40k Just a dream but better to dream big
4) Masters Nationals TT see above
5) Get on the track Just have to drive 3 hours so should be easy
6) Be in a break that makes it with Rugg, we must have been in 5 failed breaks this year.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Not much to talk about

I'll I did this weekend was the Carlisle time trial. I let sara from cycle life use my time trial wheels since one of her goals this year was to break an hour and she had been using regular wheels. I had no goals for the tt so I didn't care. I still set a personal best of 52:47 finishing 3rd overall. So what ever you number junkies think my time would have been if I had on my sub 9 , 1080 and tt helmet on. So I inadvertantly checked off one of my goals of going under 53 minutes. And might have been in the 51's with the race wheels.
-- Post From My iPhone.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't take all my cokes

So I’m Back from my break.

So I took a mix between a mid season break and a rest week last week. Since I had already taken 10 days off due to the crash I didn’t take a full break. I found out before my vacation that I actually have 5 things wrong with my knee and will need surgery (at some point). I have a tear in my PCL, a bone fragment, a cyst, something called a plica or something, and a bruised bone. Luckily Haymarket Physical therapy has been keeping me up and running. Still haven’t gone back to the Orthopedist to talk about surgery but I’m hoping I can put it off to 2011 or longer.
I went up to New England for a week and tried to go back and visit things I remember as a kid. On the first day we went on a 4 hour ride stopping by my house I lived in growing up only to find out they tore it down. It wasn’t that old it just got too close to falling in the Ocean. So that was a bit of a bummer. Then for dinner we were suppose to go to one of my favorite restaurants, nope it burnt down, I was more upset about the restaurant than the house. The next day we explored the Cape a little, and stopped by an amazing diner in Denis called Grumpy’s. On Wednesday we rode around Martha’s Vineyard on are road bikes in flip flops with platform pedals on and regular shorts, bad call on my part, I rode the last hour standing up. The next couple of days we went to my uncle’s place in New Hampshire and just relaxed. Got some nice 2+ lbs lobsters right from the fisherman’s dock. On Saturday we climbed Mt. Monadnock and started heading back home. Got a camp site at some random camp ground off of the highway, nice place and cheap. BUT it rained and hard for most of the night but luckily I spent the money when I bought the tent and we stayed completely dry, even my shoes that were out in the vestibule. So going to work Sunday night after getting back at 7:30 pm with little sleep the night before was not that easy.
Now I’m back and I’m going to start to get ready for Church Creek. I know there are people saying I’m sandbagging but it’s not like I’m out dominating. I’ve only won 1 race and 1 TT as a 3 and I upgraded as soon as I had my points as a 4 in April. And I will be putting in for my upgrade after church creek. I had no plans on winning the championship crit and it just happened. But after seeing how well I time trialed at the first church creek , which was my first 40k and first TT outside of a stage race, my goal was to get the championship jersey and try to set a good time to get my name out there.
As I plan on racing for a while and will be racing with the big guns later this year and starting next year I know that earning respect is a big part of it. I don’t know what it is about this sport but I think its funny that the same people you try and have a polite conversation with pre race and they blow you off are the first people that want to talk to you after you win. I’m not really complaining about it, I just don’t understand it. My coach has warned me that being new in the peloton that your more likely to make a bad impression than a good one, and you need to keep it professional till you have earned peoples respect as a racer before you can start cracking jokes at the start line ect.. The other thing that I kind of like about being new is that even know I have heard my name a couple of times at races ( I think because of church creek ) people have absolutely no idea who I am at least what I look like. It’s kind of nice not being Lance Lacy who gets called out everywhere. Oh and Lance is not won of those guys mentioned above, I remember talking to Lance at my first race and that is how I hope be as a racer. So there is always a place in my tent for people to stop by no matter if you are a cat 5 or 1 just leave me a fucking chair and don’t drink all my cokes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A good finish to a weird week…

The week was a bit on the weird side. On Wednesday I did an hour of hill repeats then did the Haymarket “B” ride (“A” ride was canceled for some gay mountain biking thing). I figured I didn’t want to blow up a “B” group ride so I would just follow, well that didn’t work. I was riding 2nd wheel up the first climb when “Super Tri Guy” attacks. No big deal, I jumped over to his wheel. Then the sleeveless fucker looks back like he is Lance Armstrong and attacks. Well that pissed me off, so I shifted up and let out a nice up hill sprint, leaving tri guy with his other group riding buddies. I relaxed after a few minutes and got back in the group. I was leading the group into the sprint point and figured I would just try and hold off any sprints by powering thru. That’s when I look back and see this tiny girl on my wheel. I’m 5’5” and she had to have been a foot shorter and a whole 80 lbs. Yeah she won Mt Washington Hill climb overall. So I just finished out the ride by keeping Lance JR from taking any sprint points. I think he just likes to beat up on the B’s every week, sad.
Rode my Fixie for an hour on Thursday, then on Friday I built my race bike back up and remembered I was having a problem with my shifting. So I decided to ride over to Haymarket Bikes to see if they could fix me up. I was making a joke about how I was going to be SOL if I flatted on my ride since I was riding my race tires. Well I cut the F’ing thing and had to call for a ride. Last time I went out on race wheel before a race I flatted so I guess I’ve learn my lesson.

I went into Hagerstown with zero expectations, just another race. I have been having bad knee issues ever since the Turkey Hill crash, and some days are really bad. Friday was a bad day but luckily Haymarket Physical therapy was there to fix me up. Originally I was going to do Mt. Nebo but since the promoter still owes me money from Ephrata and won’t return my emails, I’m boycotting his races. So after getting talked into doing Hagerstown by Vic, who says he is going to work for me so I can win it. I thinking ok just another crit with me getting crashed out.
Well the day started out great, watching Sara from cyclelife ride away from the field with an elite woman to take the women’s 3 jersey, oh and although she didn’t do the finish salute that we talked about pre-race she did manage to do the Arsenio Hall fist pump (I got it on video).
Talking pre-race with my teammates and Lance Lacy, I wanted to set Lance up to go with Vic from the gun. Figuring Vic could set up a nice break and I could bridge to it. Well all pre race plans went out the window and found my self bridging to almost every break but feeling good. Nothing was sticking and with 3 to go so I rode up behind Vic and told him I was there. He was supposed to lead me out to the sprint if I didn’t make a break. Vic work his way through the field so well that there was no way in hell I could follow him. I had to keep going on the out side just to get back to him. 2 laps to go and Vic goes to the front and started hammering it, he did his job for as long as he could and had the field strung out. When he was finished a guy took a flyer with Lance pulling me up to him. It must have been around 500m to go when they both died leaving me next in line. I just said now is my shot and hoped Lance would get on my wheel. I never sprinted or even stood up; I just put my nose down and started to crank it up. About 200 to go and I see a lead out or some type of train coming up on my left then they started fading back. That’s when I knew I had a shot so I just kept grinding and held off the sprinters by about half a wheel. It was by far my most gratifying win to date, and not just because it was a championship race. Amazing how one race can change your whole outlook on the season.

Well I’m ready for my break and will be going up to Cape Cod for a week next week for a little R&R. Then when I get back some serious TT work. I want to break into 52 minutes and I know I’m faster than I was at the first church creek and I was told that it was a bad day for times so I have my fingers crossed. Hopefully I can grab 2 jerseys this year… I only thought I was going to get the TT one but I’m not bitching about getting the crit jersey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Looking Back

So I was having a bit of mid season burn out the past couple of weeks. I’ve been somewhat unhappy with my results, yes I know shut up. How can anyone bitch about going from cat 4 to having there points for cat 2 in 4 months of racing? Well simple, after spending upwards of 28 hours a week on the bike, never missing a day of training, taking a night job, pushing away all my friends, maxing out the credit cards , and giving up any chances of getting a date, I was hoping to be untouchable.
The season started out ok but quickly seemed to not be what I was hoping it would be. I mean you see these guys in the 1/2 fields riding solo for 50 miles, and I can’t even hold off the cat 3’s. I’ve always been the type of person that gives up if I don’t see myself winning. I know it’s a shit way to be but it’s me. Its why I bitched out of the hill climb, I didn’t want to get second.
Well my attitude started changing over the past week or so. I think it was actually after I flatted at TOWC. I just went into the crit angry, its hard to explain but I just didn’t care how I did. I was just going to go hard, I didn’t give two shits if I place or even finished but I was going to make people hurt. Well I don’t know if I made anyone hurt but I rode strong and actually placed higher than I had before in a crit (cat 3) and picked up a prime.
Last weekend I fell somewhere in the middle, I rode my ass off in the RR but still gave up because I didn’t think I was going to win it. Sunday however I just rode my ass off and crashed but had an absolute blast. So I’m thinking that I’m probably just going to go into races with no expectation of placing but expecting to go as hard as I can and finishing ( flats, crashes excluded).
I know no one noticed me when I was just sitting in the field conserving energy and getting slower. But now that I’m riding my dick off (RYDO) it seems that people are starting to take notice, and I seem to be getting faster. I just think I’ve done a whole lot of work not to be winning.
Ah but this is when I take a look at how far I’ve come. Last year I did the Reston race 3/4 and was just hanging on and thought that it was one of the hardest races I had ever done, this year I was one of the aggressive ones in the race and it felt easy. So maybe I should stop my bitching and look at how far I have come and just realize that I still have room to grow. But if I’m not soloing a race in 2 years there will be some good deals on 52cm bikes I can tell you that.
And all my sacrificing hasn’t been in vain, I love my night job, I’ve made new friends, almost paid off the credit cards, hell I even got a date out of it, but I’m still not untouchable..

Monday, June 29, 2009

Earning my wings

This weekend I had my tires off the ground more than one should as a road racer. Poolesville went as most road races have gone for me this year; I was in the break of the day but that’s about it. After playing at the front of the field with Lance (Bike Rack) I attacked hoping he would follow but he just let me go. After learning my lessons this year on how to get a break to form, I didn’t go all out. I just went hard enough to hang off the front in close bridging distance. Well it worked; I was soon joined by a rider from The Bike Lane (Kyle, I think) and someone from Kelly Ben.. I got word from two separate marshals that we had 20 seconds on a hard chasing pack. I like to hear that we are holding on a chasing pack, it means that we just have to out last the few riders doing the work then they will usually give up after a while when no one else is helping. Kelly guy and myself where working well together, I think it always feels like you are doing more than the other guy so I can’t say for sure but I think I was spending a little more time up front. Feeling confident in the current break I was happy to commit myself to it 100% hope that maybe 1 or 2 others would bridge up after the chase slowed a bit. I overheard The Bike Lane guy getting told he needs to do some work. After he did one more pull he was off the back, not his day I guess. Going into the dirt I remember yelling up to the guy “take it easy, on the inside. Then drill it”, well he didn’t seem to listen because he went wide and right into the woods. I slowed for a second but the pack was getting very close at this point so I just got back on the gas. Well I opened up another gap and was holding it well when Tim (Bike Rack) comes rolling up with the field. I guess he tried to bridge but they wouldn’t let him go.
Tim and I just kept the pace up for the rest of the lap and we kept opening little gaps off the front but nothing serious. I wasn’t feeling it any more after committing myself to the first break, I think it was just more mental than anything. My leg felt fine and Tim had mentioned that he was getting the little twinges in his legs so I gave him my magic powder (BC powder). The stuff works great for cramps and pussy leg syndrome. I had missed my feed on the 3rd lap and was out of water, I started cramping on the 4th lap and didn’t want to push it since I was racing Reston the next day so I just pulled myself at the feed zone and grabbed my bottle. 2 hours was enough for me today I though, I’ll just kill it tomorrow.
When I showed up to register at Reston people kept asking me if I was doing the 3/4 race, then would seem upset when I said yes. I don’t know why, I haven’t won shit this season. I could understand if I was Steve Wahl and I was taking every sprint but I’m not. This season has been me going in brakes, lasting a little bit then having a crap placing or getting crashed out or me flatting.
I planned on going out hard from the gun at the race and told several people what I was going to do so that they would attack as I was done drilling it, hopefully with a teammate. So after lining up at the start I was one of the riders to get a call up, don’t know why but I did and I’m not complaining. As soon as the whistle goes I’m gone and have a gap by the first turn. The hole race a was super aggressive and I was feeling really good, I didn’t care if I was off the front or on it I just kept on the gas. It was nice to be able to keep the field strung out like that and I was just thinking how good this will be for my TTing. After going back into the pack for some recovery laps my teammate Ray shows up all of a sudden and I feel I can finally take a break. After recovering a little I started moving back up the field for the last 5 or 6 laps. I was holding good position around 10th wheel or so and felt really good with 2 to go when on turn 5 the shit hit the fan. 540’s sprinter ( I’m bad with names sorry) rolls his front tire and takes out probably 10 guys. I was right behind Lance Lacy and performed my “flying midget” trick. I flew thru the air landed on the grass and then somehow Lance lands on me. The EMTs come running over to the sound of 5 or 6 guys all howling. It was crazy we had all just started cramping. I’m not sure but I don’t think anyone was seriously hurt in that crash, pretty lucky actually since we where hauling ass for the final laps. And I’m just glad I don’t have any road rash. Lance ended up buy me lunch later for being his landing pad so thanks Lance. And you know that the crash took out everyone that was going to win. It always feels that this is my day and I would have won it when you get crashed out. If you are oen of the guys that crashed out don’t lie you know you where thinking the same thing.

I’m finally feeling like I’m riding well in the 3’s and that I belong. I don’t like being pack filler. Everyone is at some point but I’m just glad its not me, I like having an impact on a race and thinking that if I wasn’t there it would have been a different race. Plus right now I’m just trying to get noticed I guess. I’m starting to hear my name around a little, I just hope its for good reasons and not bad.

To end this I was wondering what you guy’s / gals think about the course? Is turn 5 to dangerous?

Being from the host team I was just wondering.

I personally like the course the way it is. Yeah turn 5 is a hard one but its not the worst corner around and its not like you don’t know it going into it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Longest Blog entry ever

Ok so if you are reading my blog you probably have some idea who I am (a lowly cat 3). Granted it might be just as the Evo guy with the tattoo on his leg (not both that’s Rob). I started racing about 2 years ago but with no training, then I picked up Bill Gros as a coach. I told myself that if I got back into racing that I was not going to be the random pack fodder that I was in high school when I was racing mountain bikes. I conveyed my concerns to Bill and he agreed to take me on as a client after the 2007 season. It was august I think and I was ready to go, I found a race down in SC called Greenville classic. It’s 2 days of crit racing with a huge food festival going on right next to the course so there are a couple thousand people watching , very cool! I had done 3 races at this point, getting one place closer every time 13,12,11, so I figured 10 more and I’ll have a win. After talking with Bill he told me some useful sprinting strategy, I guess he knew what the hell he was talking about. Final lap I was 4th wheel and with 200m to go I came around and won my first race. The next race was almost as good but I guess I got a little cocky so I led out the sprint and only picked up 2nd...
Then the spending started; powertap, VO2 max test, new bike, coaching. After the VO2 test it looked like I had a decent engine to work with so I guess that made it a little easier. After my first season I had a threshold power of 300 watts with no formal training but almost zero base. I would just go out and ride as hard as I could, bonk then ride home. Bill fixed me up with gear restrictions and spin up drills to get my cadence above 80 along with how to ride easy on off days... My 2008 season started off great as a cat 5; 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 6th. Damn, money well spent!! Then I started having to travel for work and having other issues that caused me to start missing days here and there. I did my 10 races and quickly moved up to Cat 4.
Cat 4 racing was by far the scariest racing I was ever in. Probably a mix of the fact that I wasn’t strong enough to be where I wanted in the field all the time and the fact that it seems 4s have more balls and power than brains. I did quickly learn that the mid atlantic’s competition is much harder than most other places. I was out in OK for work and a teammate / team super hero George Opria sent out a team wide email asking if anyone wanted to do Tour of Arkansas and Joe Martin stage races. Well I think he was joking because when I said sure he said “ OH REALLY”.
Now I don’t remember which one came first and I’m way too lazy to look it up but lets just say it was Joe Martin. George was racing the Pro 1/2 race which was a couple of days longer than the cat 4 race. It was my first time racing the cat 4s and in the road race I was a typical shitty rider, riding right at the front pulling the field around. It came down to a field sprint in which I almost died. Why are 50 people sprinting for 15th place in a stage race that they only give out time bonuses for the top 3? 3 guys got to ride the “bad day mobile” although one of them probably doesn’t remember because he was unconscious. Long story short I got 9th in the hill climb and 3rd in the crit bringing me a 6th GC but I think it impressed George because he offered to coach me. George doesn’t really coach but when someone with his results offers to coach you, it made me feel good.
Now I really like Bill as a coach and it was a really hard choice to leave him but free coaching and from someone who I was able to ride with once a week, no brainer right? So Bill got shit canned, sorry Bill. He was cool with it and understood, but I still felt bad. George really didn’t do much coaching that first season or at least what I was used to. With Bill I got my work outs emailed to me every day with specific details on how long to ride at what effort, George on the other hand is more like go easy on Tuesday and go hard on Wednesday etc. But the biggest thing I learn from George is how to go HARD, I had just been going what I thought was hard. When my body was telling me I was done I would say ok I’m done that’s as fast as I can go. Well, no game with George because as soon as that happened he would pull around and tell me I better chase him. George is one of the most reserved guys I know, till you put him on a bike or even near a race. All I can think of is some old ass Disney cartoon about some quite guy that once he gets into his car he turns crazy.
So back to OK for another trip and I do the Arkansas state championship race, 56 miles, 105+ degrees and in the Ozarks. Before the race I was hanging out with an old navy buddy and his friends who talked me into racing with them. I had said I wanted to break away and quickly got the reply from that group that a break would never work on that course. Well that’s what 99% of cat 4s say about every race so what ever. On the first climb about 3 miles into the race someone attacked and I covered. When we got to the top of the climb we had about 10 seconds on the field. 10 seconds turned into 1 minute that turned into 15 minutes on the field with a 5 man chase group 3 min behind us. I got sick after the race, average HR for 2 ½ hrs was 196. I finished off 2008 with a couple of shitty results, no big deal I was getting ready for George’s famous base training…

2009 season started in November for me with George’s base training, this was going to last up to Xmas week. I had 3 or 4 weeks over 20 hours and I don’t mean 21 hours I’m talking 25, 28 hours. For you power guys 4 weeks over 1000 TSS and my hardest week was 1550 if I recall correctly. I started with my base power at 170 and after the 8 weeks I was averaging around 240 or so. Did my transition block then came the first test, the Evo team practice time trial. George rode behind me giving me pointers on pacing etc. last lap my chain jammed and lost me some time but I still posted the 3rd fasted time on the course ever with George holding 1st and 2nd best times. Next time it was game on, full TT set up; 1080 up front, sub9 in the back, TT helmet, and shoe covers and I think I even shaved my arms. George notice me getting excited for the TT and knew I was going after his time so he wasn’t just going to let me take it from him so he brought out the race wheels and helmet. He had a delay in his training so he was about a month behind me in fitness so i'm sure that’s why I got him but we both killed the past times by minutes and I think I got him by 30 sec. That was one of the weirdest days, like you final got that fucking grasshopper. Yeah he can still kick my ass but I can now repay the favor every once and a while.
Now one of the biggest bennies of being on Evo is the training camp they do. Brutal climbs and long days followed by lots of food. Oh and why not take 2 of the best climbers in the area with you to make the climbs a little more fun. And its not just riding up these 3 to 5 mile climbs with them, it was attacking, chasing and trying to put the hurt on each other all the way up. I was feeling pretty good being able to keep up with two cat 2s who both have multiple hill climbing championships.
Well the first race of the season was Farmersville RR; I went on a solo break for 2/3 of the race then got caught so I had to take it the hard way in the field sprint. Then the next weekend at Jeff cup I attacked with 7 miles to go and it stuck with me getting out maneuvered at the line to pick up a 2nd. I got a 3rd at Mt. Joy's crappiest day of racing ever. Got my points and put in for my upgrade. Woo hoo hello cat 3s, I got my ass handed to me at Syn Fit and Carl Dolan, although I did manage to make the split in the 1/2/3 and lap the field. At this point I had seen my fair share of Tim, we had somehow kept ending up in breaks together but he hadn’t got his fitness up yet and kept crapping out. We ended up in “the break” at Turkey hill, I still can’t figure out what happened there, we had a time check of 1 min then next thing you know the field comes rolling up. The only reason I had done Turkey hill is because I didn’t want the pressure of going down to the hill climb and not winning. The cycling gods made me pay for being a pussy and sent me flying over the bars at 30+ in the field sprint. I blew up one of my new Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels and just found out this week I cracked my 09 Felt F1 SL frame. Mavic’s MP3 program is the reason I bought the wheels and they came through and I had new front wheel, for the $15 dollars it cost me to ship it, in 8 days. I was on crutches for about a week and had to take time off of work due to the fact that I couldn’t walk. I pretty much shut down thinking that all those 4 hour days on the trainer were wasted and my season was over. Well it was mainly just a lot of swelling and I was back on the bike around 2 weeks after the crash. I still have knee problems but it is getting better with the help of Haymarket Physical Therapy & Chiropractic ( ).
I got back to racing with Fulton RR up in PA and that is one ass kicker, I’m just clad I didn’t do the 1/2/3. Then Ride Sally ride double header to get the fitness up. I went into Church Creek TT having never done a 40k before and not really happy with the way I was riding but the stars seemed to have aligned somewhat and I had a good day taking a much needed win by 1’50”, and posting the 4th or 5th best time of the day 1 second behind my teammate Ted (now state TT champ), I should have shaved my eyebrows. Well that time seemed to have put up some flags because I seemed to be one of the marked riders at TOWC. The first decent looking break of the day, I bridged up to and heard “fuck, not you”. Looked back and the pack seemed to be strung out quite bad, I’ll just imaging that they where worried about me. My plan was to not let anyone put huge time in at the RR and kill the TT. My 20k at Church Creek was 30.2 mph and I looked at the times from the year before and it looked like I would have the whole race with just the TT as long as I didn’t let anyone get minutes on me. Well the Bike Rack has really become one hell of a Racing Team and I only see more wins in there future if they keep riding like the way they are. They had at least one guy up the road at almost every point in the race and I lost track of who was who going into the last lap. There was one really scary point when about 10 to 15 riders just started riding off the front and I really had to use up some gas to get around the gapped riders to make sure I wasn’t left behind. Bike Rack did a great job and put Tim up the road with about 50 seconds on us. I wish I had teammates to keep it closer together but I was feeling confident that I could bring that back in the TT. Well I was absolutely crushing the Time Trial when I heard the wonderful sound of a tubular exploding 8 inches from my ass. Note: I think I had just passed my 4 minute man when it happened. So I started running back down the road to the wheel pit, I got a new rear wheel and started off again. Passing Kyle Jones again, sorry Kyle, I didn’t have it in me to call him a pussy again. I hope he knows it was a joke but I love to see Kyle suffer on the hills, and he keeps coming back for more. I mean I hate trying breaks in the wind so I don’t do it, Kyle hates hilly races so he does as many as he can find. He is either ballsy or stupid (I’ll go with ballsy so he doesn’t chase me down). Well anyways with a 2+ minute wheel change I still manage a 6th place and depending on who you talk to 27’37” or 27’07” either way I was pissed.
I went back to the hotel very upset and ended up giving myself heartburn. Then headed out to the crit knowing that I had lost the race. But I was going to make other people hurt at least. I was sitting in 8th place GC 3 seconds back from Lance Lacy and a couple of second from 6th. So I figured I need to break away or take sometime bonuses. As soon as the whistle went off I went straight to the front and just started TTing and it felt good to look back and see the whole race in a single file line right from the gun. I heard Joe Jefferson say that I must have something to do after the race and I was trying to get it over with. On the 5th lap, last corner I caught my pedal, and from what a marshal told me after the race, got my rear wheel at least a foot off the ground. So after I shit my paints I decided to let someone else take up the pace for a bit. It looked like the Bike Rack was going to keep it together so I decided to try for the middle time bonus which as long as Lance didn’t win should move up a spot on GC. I came around the final corner in perfect position and took the 10 second time bonus. The rest of the time I just stayed up front and hoped The Bike Rack would keep it together. They almost lost the race when they let a gap open on the final lap, I made it around them and bridged and got my best crit finish this year 6th and took 6th GC I think 50 seconds back from 1st. TOWC was some of the best racing I have seen this year and maybe in my whole (short) time of racing. Wow just realized I had three 6ths at that race MARK OF THE BEAST, no wonder it was unlucky. Well if you made it through all that congratulations I owe you a coke. And just think you might have been able to squeeze in a ride instead of reading this.