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Monday, June 7, 2010

Good investment

This weekend I was able to get my first win of the year and as a Cat2. Thanks in no part to a good investment I made last week. I’m not talking about a seat tube motor but rather my new fit. Even with having some minor difficulties I was able to beat my best church creek time by around 30 seconds and would have easily broken the 53 min mark.
I was quite worried about being Chucks 30 second man. He claims not to be a good time trialist but I think this is the first time I have ever beat him and I consider myself a specialist. I was worried that while he does not consider himself good at time trialing, he could put in a good effort at the start and catch me. Then all he would have had to do is stay with me or just beat me out right. I had never thought about tactics in a TT before but I definitely when harder the first 5k than I would normally.

I was catching so much cross wind that my bars were twisting and by the 20k mark my right shifter was on the left side of my wheel when I looking down. I contemplated stopping but resorted to just trying to yank the bars back to center. I tried standing up and yanking on them and at one point I think I was even grabbing my fork and trying to twist them. I think I had just passed Greg Abbott when I was doing this and I’m sure if he was looking forward he must have been wondering what the hell I was doing.

Besides having the problem with my bars I think I rode really well. My legs did not feel that great when I was warming up but sometimes that is a good sign for me. This might sound weird but it is nice knowing that I have to have a good day to place well in the time trial. I really think it helped me push myself. Last year I found my self getting to cocky and watched as my times would go down each time. I don’t think it was due to losing fitness but rather not feeling as though I had to push myself as much.

There are still some guys that I would like to go up against. I know I won this church creek but I’m sure I will not win them all especially since there are a lot of people that have broken the 53 min mark and Josh Frick has the fastest time I can find at 50:55. I do think we might have had slower conditions on Saturday because Simon Walker is usually sub 53 and I just barely beat him. Hopefully as I get used to my new positions I can continue to get faster as well. I am definitely still hurting today and was not even sure if I was going to be able to race Ride Sally Ride, but that was taken care of by the officials.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Can you say busy weekend?

Wow so I had bit of a busy weekend.

I started things off with a 4 hour fit session with Josh Frick at Cyclelife. I was completely surprised with how much we changed. Saddle down and forward, bars slammed and back, and shoulders in. The question is not if I am more aero, its if I will be able to hold it for 40k. I think I remember Josh saying "If it doesn't hurt at the end you are doing something wrong.". So I guess the test will be this Saturday.

Then on Saturday I went up to PA to do Fulton(not a real race) road race. This is not considered a real race because from what I understand no official will go near the promoter. To be honest I would not have gone if I notice it was him either. I know he had some big issues paying people, including me, last year. I did manage to get a check for my results at Euphrata last year.

When I get to the race I notice that there are only 20 to 30 riders in my field and it is not even worth upgrade points. So I said to myself " I guess results don't matter today". Well I mine as well make it pain full. I attacked at mile 3 of 50 and got a good gap solo, maybe around 30 seconds and stayed away for about 3 to 5 miles or so before a group of 3 bridged up. After one of the guys crashed himself out on the descent 3 more bridged up. This made the break 6 riders and from what some of the guys were saying, it was the 6 riders of the race. I tried several time to put in some digs but there was enough people skipping turns to stay rested and drag everyone up to me.

Because I am a jackass, I forgot my drink mix and was riding with only water. I do not do so well with only water and tend to cramp. Well Saturday was no different. I attacked on the last climb with around 3 miles to go and my left leg cramped up solid. As I watched 3 riders go by I was able to push through it and start chancing. I never caught them but I was able to hold off the other 2 that got popped on the climb and I was making good progress on catching the winning group. If you can count you would notice I got 4th, he paid cash that day so no worries there.

Sunday was what I would consider a good day. After spending the day with the girlfriends family at a state forest. We were celebrating not only memorial day but it also happened to be my 30th birthday. I talked her into going for a stroll in the woods. So as we are walking along through a very quiet and peaceful area I stopped and said something I don't remember because I was too nervous. But the general gist was that I asked her to marry me, luckily she said yes. I wanted to ask her my birthday but I was not going to pop the question in New Jersey.

Monday was spent in New Jersey racing Somerville. It was a nice crit with spectators close to most of the speed week races. I was joking around before the race after hearing the cat 3s get $50 premes that I was just going to preme hunt for the day. After 3 laps I put in a good effort wanting to start a break and found myself solo off the front with a good gap. Once I came around the start finish I heard the bell for a $50 preme plus merchandise so I figured I should just ride this out. I held off the peleton for the lap and picked up the preme. I settled into my threshold hoping someone would jump across. After another lap solo they rang the preme bell again but this time the pac was strung out and I really had to push it to hold them off, but I did and added another $20 to my pay out. I ended up with about 4 laps solo and merged back with the field. With 3 to go they rang the bell for another preme and I had just bridged to a break that quickly got shut down and ended up as first wheel. With about 500 or 600 meters to the line I put my head down and gassed it. I guess people didn't want to blow their wad before the finish and I opened up a huge gap easily taking the preme.

All in all I took home 3 of the 4 premes worth $120 plus a Tee shirt fit for an overweight spectator and a water bottle. I thought for sure at one of the oldest races in America the merchandise would have at least been a 19 mm tubular from 1970. I finished somewhere in the 60's but took home more money the most of the guys in the top ten. And I think I was the only one from the cat2 race that was asked to sigh autographs after the race. I had a small group of kid that started shouting my number every time I went by because of my time soloing off the front. After the race on the cool down they started yelling and asked if I would sing an autograph for them. I felt kinda cool to be honest.

So I guess it was a great weakened. And hopefully I can get my first W this weekend at church creek. I know I will need to be having a good day to beat some of those guys that are registered.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All is not lost!!!

Keeping with the season finally.

This weekend was an aformation to the fact the my season is not wasted. I, like many if not every racer had a time this year where I thought this season was gone beyond all hopes. Using my powermeter to track my threshold power around 50 or so watts below last year's had me wondering if I would still be racing after this season.

I thought Vint Hill was a fluke and it was all becuase Evan towed me to the line. I stopped using power, much to my coaches dismay, and just kept training. I started feeling faster but was I?

My trip down to speed week left me feeling confident that while I still might not be fast enough there wasn't anyone that was going to take the wheels that I was following. I came back ready to race.At Fort Ritchie I bridged to the break only to be left to be caught by the field.

I had a good day at Deep Blue besting my last years time by around 30 seconds. Then at the Carlisle 40k this weekend I posted a 51:35. To be fair this is a fast, or short, 40k but using Mr. Frick as the standard of what is too fast, I was only 30 seconds behind his winning time last year.

Why am I writing about my turn around in mentality? I have some friends, and not just one, that have had some set backs this season and are not where they would like to be. So hopefully they read this and realize not all is lost, it's only May.

This is something everyone goes through and it is the first thing forgotten when you climb up on the podium.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What is a picture worth?

This weekend was a mix of highs and lows. At Fort Richie, I made a huge effort (for me) to make it up to the break. Almost as soon as I got there I got gaped off the back and it was just Joe and Tim going up the rode. I thought cool, I'll just let them go. If someone wants to stay with them they will have to tow me up, first mistake. Nobody towed me up, they just attacked the little chase group leaving me me with plenty of room to ponder over my bad decision. I might have been able to cover the attaches if I had some time to recover but instead I spent two or so laps chasing before pulling the plug. I felt really bad about leaving Joe out number by Harley.

After rejoining the pack I slotted myself about fifth wheel with Ryan McKinney chasing. I think Ryan spent about five to ten laps at the front before his teamates joined him. Dc Velo brought the break to within 18 seconds or so before they gave up chasing.

After the chase stopped is when I decided to make up for the fact that I got popped out of the break. I was able to sit behind Bryan V. as he rode tempo. I was able to jump on every attemp to bridge. I know I pissed off Steve Wahl several times but he knew the deal. I did my final pull with one to go and rolled through happy in dead last.

Not much to talk about as far as Deep Blue goes. I don't know if you can make a TT sound interesting. It was the windiest I have even TTed in, at some points it seemed as though I was riding at a 45 degree angle. I did not feel like I did that well but the wind must have been on my side. I finished 2nd behind Mike Githens who absolutely crushed it.

All in all, a good weekend, I feel fast after speedweek and just hope it sticks around for a while. But now for the good part. I do not currently have a good banner photo for my blog so I am starting my own photo contest. A picture might be worth a thousand words but I'm sure someone would rather have two pounds of coffee from my friends at Pound coffee in DC. So if you see any good shots of me let the photographer know. I will give away two pounds of coffee and credit the photographer every time I change it, probably a once a month deal.

On the Pound Coffee note, they just opened the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) that connects from Union Station to New York ave, very close to the coffee shop which is located in the new ATF building in north Capitol Hill (right across the street from the New York Ave metro stop). Pound would like to let anyone know that they are one of a few places in the area that is cyclist friendly. They won't mind if you need to fill up some bottles, grab a coke or cliff bar. They also have really good ethnic food and the menu changes every day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'm a slacker

I know I just stopped writing on the rest day but it was for good reason. First, my energy reserves started to diminish quite rapidly as the days went on. Second, I also had to do finals for 2 online classes I was taking and one of them included a good size paper, so after all that writing I did not want to look at a keyboard.

Recap of the Week

I will have to say looking back at the week it was by far the coolest experiance I have ever had on a bike. The crowds are bigger than anthing I have seen at a bike race and being the one on the other side of the fenses was a cool feeling. At the end of the week I noticed some of the Pro squads coming around and being a little more friendly, guess they just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to crash them out first. It is also a cool feeling to have not racers at the events, they are very interested and will stop to ask questions about everything. I just wish the sport could be like that all the time.

It was also a huge learning experiance. I am sure I got faster from the 4,000 plus 30 second intervals I did out of every corner. But the real gains are going to be from the skill of how to ride a crit. I learn a lot from teamates and some friendly pros like Adam Myerson. I have heard a mix of coments about Adam but he is cool in my book. I found myself fighting to get around him several times only to end up right back behind him. That was before he said something like " Hey jackass! Just follow me and you will save a lot of energy.". Then after the race he commented about how he was not trying to be a dick but to just give me some pointers.

When racing for pure survival you learn to break down every section of the race and figure the most efficient path possible. I learned taking some risks at the right time can move you up 30 spots and don't waiste your energy fighting over one wheel. Granted some of the skill will not apply to MABRA crits, I still think I will be a better crit racer after that week.

If you have never done a race of that level you can not understand the speed. Even last year when I just upgraded and did my first 1/2/3 race I could get to the front if I wanted to. I only got to the front of the race once in the entire week and it lasted about 5 seconds. My best finish was on the last day at 34th and I was very prowd of it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rest Day

Today was a rest day, pretty relaxing. The host housing we have is extremely nice, not only the house but the family. Only 2 people per room, everyone has their own bed and they cooked us an amazing dinner.

We just hung out most of the day, did some laundry and went for a quick spin. My legs are the most sore they have been since I can remember so thats good, I'll be getting faster right?

I'm working on getting an interview of Chris uploaded so hopefully he can better explain Athens.

Oh yeah, a big thanks to the people a Mix 1. They make a nice protein shake, I recommend giving them a try.

Chris' Interview

Roswell update.

Monday morning, just had some breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Macon GA. My legs are a bit sore from yesterday at Roswell. I finish my first real race of my life and was supper stoked about it. I don't really care too much about where I finish but when I find out I will post it.

For me the race yesterday was just a series of small goals. I would see a Haymarket kit and try to get up to it. I could never quite make it to Jared or Chris but got very close a couple of times. Mostly it was just Steven and I playing leap frog. The entire team finish yesterday which was very cool considering half of them had raced earlier in the day.

The thing that impressed me the most was on the start finish area they had I radar station and it was usually showing low to mid 30's every lap. When we watched the cat 2's race I remember seeing the sign read 33mph, in our race I spotted 36 several times on random laps. The race was pretty much to sprints every lap. First up the hill on the back side of the course then out of the last corner into the long start finish straight.

If I get nothing out of this week except my pack confidence I will still be very happy. With my goal of just finishing these races I have found my self much more aggressive in defending my spot. I got into as much of a yelling match as you could at 35 with a Fly V racer after he tried to muscle me out of my spot then got pissed when I would not give it up. I realized he has much more to lose from going down than I do so F him, my spot.

Well I have to get going to for the next leg of the drive..

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Athens' Twilight

Its 5pm, I'm sitting in my hotel room and what I'm about to do just hit home. My hotel room is right across the hall from Ivan Dominguez and last night I had Mike Creed in my qualifying heat. Its like the movie Pro's reunion. The Red and Black new paper estimates the crowd to be at 40,000; the Nationals had 9,000 people the other night. To put that in personal perspective, the next biggest race I have done is probably the 3/4 Reston Gran Prix at about 1,000 people.

Everywhere you go people are talking about the race and asking if you are going to watch. Maybe for some of these guys that have done this thing 10 times it isn't even noticed but saying that I'll be racing not watching gives me a mix of pride and the overwhelming feeling that I am in way over my head. Next you can throw in the fact that it is raining like crazy and unlike other events people seem more excited to watch because it means more crashes.

I'll end this post with a clip from the qualifier finals last night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pretending to be Pro

This is just a quick post to let anyone who cares know that I will be blogging as much as possible next week. I will be down doing the speed week series and should have plenty of good stories from the back of the pack. My plan is to finish as many of the races as possible and see what it feels like to race like a pro (or as much as one) for a week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nice to be on a team.

So, I had a good time at Vint Hill. Got to watch Joe do a warm up ride and solo the 3/4 race with Andrew taking 2nd. Chip won the masters race, in a solo break?????? I guess he forgot he is a sprinter.

After paying my $5 to race ,thanks MABRA, I lined up with the team. The plan was to go from the gun and try to set up a break. Then some of our guys would bridge. Check. After we got an good gap from the field with two HH cycling guys, Joe somehow bridges across, it must have been a hard effort. After that I kept letting gaps open with Steve and Joe in 3 or 4 rider groups but it kept coming back together. After several laps of that, Steve attacked and stayed off the front for around a lap or so. Then Evan countered as soon as we made contact with Steve. It was my turn so I jumped onto Evans wheel and let him pull me for the last 3rd of the race. I knew I had two strong as hell guys behind me and was hoping one of them would bridge up or at least Evan would get tired. Well, Evan never got tired and attacked on the little hill before the finish, taking the win. Steve ended up trying to bridge and rolled through in 3rd, Jared 5th, Joe 8th. I won a prime of 2 pairs of Gam Jam socks. One pair is XL and the other womans small.

I now know who Evan is and will not ask him if he was a cat 3 last year again.. Its not my fault I don't know anyone in the 1/2/3 field. Hell this time last year I was still doing 4/5 races. I know the names of these people just not their faces, yet.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Raw Talent Ranch

Thanks to Jay for housing us at the Raw Talent Ranch. If you have not had the pleasure of making out the the barn I highly recommend. The riding is amazing and you do not have to worry about knowing the roads, the place comes with a tour guide.

Friday was a great ride and the final climb up to the barn on the dirt road was a killer. Not only was it extremely steep it was muddy, every time I would hit a soft spot I noticed my tire tripling in size and the bike doubling in weight.

Saturday was not that long as far a miles go but the climbing destroyed me. The last climb of the day I found myself hanging onto the team car for about a minute after I just could not turn the pedal over anymore. Then I finish the climb out with some other fat friends ( you know who your are).

The descent was my favorite part about the trip. There was a bit of gravel on the corner but other than that very fast.

More photos of the team at camp.