Monday, April 28, 2008

Sorry Bout It

OK, So I know my blogging has come to a screeching halt in the last few weeks, so I'm sorry for allowing my blog to get any worse than it already was. I'm about to make my second straight picture-less blog entry, another thing I don't really like to do, but after this, I promise the blog will be back on the up-swing. Enough of that mushy stuff, on to some racing updates.

Contrary to previously blogged information, I decided not to do the ridiculous road race through the Brown County State Park, instead I opted for the Tour of St. Louis. It was a 2 day 3 race weekend. Saturday was a Crit and a TT, and Sunday was just another Crit. The pre-reg list wasn't anything super special, as far as turn out goes, but come race day there were a pretty decent number of guys (maybe 60 dudes or so), with a few strongmen to boot. The circuit was 3/4 of a mile or so, but it was through a park area, so there were no real turns and almost no touching the brakes. As usual we took turns going with the early moves until something got a gap. I ended up in a move of 12 with a bunch of guys with 2 or 3 teammates in the break. This didn't make for a very good dynamic. We got a pretty large gap for a while, but the break was never steady, just non stop attacking and chasing each other down. Brad Huff was actually in the break, and his pro-ness didn't help much either. He would just bolt off the front and make everyone chase and then everyone would just look for the next flyer. Soon those attacks split the break and 4 guys got away and the rest of us came back to the field, after an hour off the front. So with 10 min left in the crit I tried to rest for the sprint, but ended up sucking and rolled in 14th.

The TT was 9 miles of super flat road "down by the river." I had the road bike all TT'd out again. This time I even had a disk for it, but Isaac's disk was leaking air 5 min before the start, and being the good teammate that I am, I gave him mine. He rolled it pretty good and ended up 7th. I continued the trend of going slow in TT's and ended up 24th. That's all we'll say about that.

The Sunday Crit was another not technical, no braking, drag race. The field was on their toes for most of the race, keeping all attacks on a short leash. 58 minutes in a small group went off and got a gap, naturally, we missed it, and so did Brett Stewart and Jeff Schroetlin from ABD/ Gear Grinder. Me, Isaac and those two did some work, but THF did a good job of breaking up our chase effort. The group of 5 stayed away although we were sprinting into the last guys from the break at the end of the race, but just didn't get close enough. I ended up 11th on the day, another perfectly worthless result. I'm feeling good though, I just need to put it all together and win something. This weekend is our sponsors race in Warsaw, IN, it's also the first race that we'll have all 6 of our guys there. The Fat and Skinny Tire Fest is always a good time, with some decent money too.

Another side note- My little bro Aaron got his upgrade to a Cat 2 this last friday. He celebrated his cat 2-ness by crashing out of the crit in STL and getting a concussion. Luck hasn't been on his side this year, but he's getting it rolling ok.

One last thing that I wanted to bring to peoples attention, was a race I came across on Cyclingnews. It's called the Tro Bro Leon, in France. I don't know much about it seems to be pretty classic-ish, but it doesn't get any face time for being so epic. See for yourself... (So much for no pictures)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some Bike Racing

This weekend was my first chance to race me bike since coming back from Cali. My bike finally got here on Wednesday, so I got to have my power meter back. I didn't think that had become one of those people who can't ride without power, but it turns out that I'm pretty close. I felt naked on my rides and didn't ever know how hard to go. I can't believe it has gotten to this point, I gotta work on distancing myself from my SRM.

Since I've been home, the training hasn't really been where it needs to be. With Little 5, and the post race functions, I have maybe been slacking, but I guess it was probably a good mental break. Anyway, about that bike racing. Saturday was a Crit/ Circuit race in Columbus, with a pretty cool loop and a slight roller to the finish line. My type of finish. There was a pretty good turn out with a decent number of quick guys from the area. I went with the early attacks hoping to find the right combo, and about 10 min in we found the right mix of 8 and got a gap. It grew pretty steadily up to about a minute and we had enough time to do the "late race everyone look at everyone else" thing. Brett Stewart put in a good move with 3 to go, but we were able to claw back up to him and set up for the finish. I jumped a bit early for the sprint and started to fade going up the hill and had to settle for 2nd. Maybe I'll learn from that, maybe not.

Today was another similar track, with another longer up-slope to the line. Something I haven't mentioned was that there is a team at these races with about 10 dudes, about 3 times what anyone else had. Today I went with with a good number of moves early, and missed one with Jake Rytelewski in it. It didn't have a member of the 10 man team, so I wasn't that worried, assuming that they would maybe actually ride the front and try to bring it back. I was wrong. I tried to start/ get in some secondary breaks, but for some reason they would let 1st and 2nd go up the road, but wouldn't let anything else go. Whatever, I'm over it. I started to try to set up for the sprint for 3rd, and came to the bottom of the hill 2nd wheel and was forced to go a bit earlier than I wanted. So I lead it out and got passed by a large handful of dudes and ended up 10th. I felt like my legs were ok this weekend, but I didn't play the sprints too well. Oh well, more racing to come.

next weekend is going to be a crazy hard road race in the Brown County State Park, on the loop that they had the 87 Pan Am games RR. It has a stupid amount of climbing and we do the lap 12 times. It's gonna hurt. Sorry for the update-less week, I promise I'll do better this week. Check ya later.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Recap

Well my first Little 5 as an Alum is now in the books, and it was definitely one to remember. I've mentioned a few times on here about my women's team that I coach. This was my first real coaching endeavor, and if turned out pretty well. My girls got a gap late in the race and were able to solo the last 3 laps or so to their first Little 500 victory. Being in the pits and coaching the team to the win was probably the best moment of my sporting career. I know that may be hard for some people to believe, and maybe even hard for me to believe, but there is just something about seeing people do well and knowing you played a role in it. Those of you outside of Bloomington probably don't realize how hard it is to win that race, but so many times the strongest team doesn't win, so for us to pull it off was unbelievable. Also, thanks to everyone who gave me congratulatory shout-outs throughout the weekend. I'll end this one with a few pictures from Cyclingnews, in case you missed them.

Sometimes I break things...

I was pretty excited about it...

Couldn't get it as a rider, but I'll take it as a coach.

So now I get a big ring and some stuff. I might be the only coach to ever have a win percentage of 1.000... I'm so awesome, just ask me. Back to the reality now, and back to getting myself in better race shape. Got a couple races coming up on the schedule this weekend, so we'll see if I can get moving again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back In The Groove

I'm finally starting to get my midwest life back in order, and nothing makes me feel at home like some Wednesday Worlds. Wed. Worlds is the training race in Bloomington. It normally starts out with a pretty big group, but it gets whittled down fast. The small size always makes for a tough ride. This week was no different. Good to be back with all the local dudes, racing for bragging rights. It was nice to actually see the front of a "race" for the first time in a while.

Even though I'm not racing Little 500 anymore, this is still the best week to be a cyclist in Bloomington. Parties are spilling out into every street in town, and if you're on a bike you gets lots of love from the drunk Fratsters and Sorostitutes. It's quite a change from the middle fingers and "fag" yells you get the other 51 weeks a year. The women's race is tomorrow, I'm actually a little nervous since it's my first race in the pits as a coach and not a rider. All the old Alums are in town, which normally means they try to cram a years worth of missed partying into 2 nights, its rough.

I'll be taking a weekend off from racing this weekend, then its back to business for pretty much every weekend for the next 8 months. I'll leave you guys with a picture of some pretty serious bike bling.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

From The Camera

I'm back in the midwest, and have finally had some time to download a few of the pictures.

My Buddy Cosmo

The feed where I lofted the bottle to

Me and the Host Fam in the Feed Zone

Hanging Out



The Bean Team... Roughing It

Phil likes boys

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Last Transmission

This will be my last blog update from the great state of California. My mental state is a lot better now too after my epicly epic ride yesterday. I was obviously a little distraught after the way this race ended for me, so I mapped out a ride that took me as high into the mountains around Redlands as I could go. It turns out, that's pretty high. The first climb I did went into the San Bernadino State Park. I was guessing it was going to take about an hour, but it ended up being 1:35 min of climbing from the outskirts of Redlands. Once at the top I turned around and descended for another half hour. Once I was back at lower, warmer elevation, I turned around and climbed Oak Glen Road, from the west. I wasn't sure how long this one would take, but I was already feeling a little tired, but felt like punishing myself anyway. Oak Glen took about 50 minutes. It really sucked. I was climbing through mist and fog and clouds the whole time. After that is was another 15 minute descent back to somewhat flat ground. I rolled through the foothills for another hour or so on the way back home. I was seriously glad to see home, because I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew. 2:15 minutes of climbing in a 4:30 minute ride. And according to Google Earth, about 8,000 ft of climbing... wicked gnar gnar.

I went down yesterday afternoon to watch the crit that I should have been racing. Once again, that sucked. I was tough to just be a spectator, but I found myself getting into it towards the end. Toyota United was pretty fun to watch. They took over the front of the race with about 7 to go, and ended up getting Ivan Dominguez the win in the bunch kick. There was a group of 4 off the front, 2 of which crashed out on the last lap, and Jeff Louder of BMC won from the half sized 2 man break.

Today I'll be in the feed zone for the rest of my teammates, passing bottles and screaming at Rock Racing. P.S. Did you guys know that there is no Doping Control at Redlands? Unbelievable.

Sorry no pictures this time. I've got a bunch of them in my camera waiting for when I get home. Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sent from my iPhone

Redlands Cycling Classic- Circuit Race

Today we were supposed to do 5 laps of a 17 mile circuit with a good bit of climbimg each time through. We rolled out at a pretty good clip, but it wasnt hard to sit in. The field was pretty sketchy for most of the first lap. Lots of people rubbing wheels, locking up tires, just generally not smooth riding. The first lap was pretty uneventful, a few attacks, I just chilled out. The climb was tough, but nothing that was going to really rip your legs off.

Just after we came through the start/ finish, I got up to sprint out of a corner and I could feel something loose in my right pedal/crank/shoe region. I kept riding and messing with it whenever possible to try and diagnose the problem. There was enough of a lull in the racing to pull my leg up and rest it on the top tube to check my cleat. It was wicked loose. I tried to baby it for a while as I weighed my options. I wasn't sure if I could chase back on if I had to stop to fix it. I went back to talk to the Mavic Neutral Support car to see what they could do. I tried to have them fix it while I hung onto the car, but that was too scary, so we stopped and tightened some stuff and I was back chasing through the cars. I got back on just before the climb and suffered over the top at the tail end of the field. The problem is that the "fix" from the Mavic car didn't fix my problem. You see, Speedplay cleats require an adapter that goes under the actual cleat, and that's what was loose. There was no way to get to those bolts without taking off 4 other bolts that hold on the cleat.

I tried to put as little stress on the cleat as possible, but I could tell it was getting worse every time I had to stand and crank hard, which was a lot. I made it through the start finish and over the top of the climb once more before I had to pack it in. Yeah it really suck to have to pull out of this race because of something like this, but I guess it's better than ripping the cleat off the bottom of the shoe and crashing myself and half of the field out too. So there you have it, my Redlands is done. I would say this is the most disapointing moment of my sporting carear. Not because I though I was going to win or anything, but because this is the lamest way to go out, and I hardly got a chance to really dig deep. I seriously doubt I would have made the front group today, but the way the race shattered, I know I could have gotten into one of the many chase groups and made it inside the time cut.

Although this trip out west has been one of the worst bike racing trips of my life, I feel like I learned a lot, and got some good experience, but damn is it disappointing to come out here and have it end like this...

Thanks for everyone's support. Sorry I couldn't do better for you guys back home, but I guarantee I'll be back out here to Redlands again to give it another go.

Since I'm out here for another few days, I'm going to take advantage of the sweet riding around here and go crush myself on some of these mountains.

Thanks for reading. Sorry for the lame excuses.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Redlands Cycling Classic- Prologue

12:57.30 was my start time today, so I rolled out to the course at around 11 to make sure I had enough time to warm up and get my bike through the UCI inspections. I got a pretty good warm up in, but I still got smashed. The plan was to hold back as much as possible through the first half of the TT, and try to save it for the climb up to the finish. I did a good job watching my SRM and holding back, but I think I left a
bit too much in the tank, but hey you learn something every time. I set new power records for that amount of time, but obviously there are some strong dudes here. Once again, I think some aero gear would have been helpful, but it wasn't the difference between my time and a good time. This TT was the thing I was most scared of out here, and it's over with now, so I can focus on riding a smart race tomorrow and seeing what that does for me.

Sweet Jersey...

After the TT, I spun around with Jackson and the BMC boys. It was nice to actually get to chat it up with Jackson in person for once, instead of on the phone or email. I was a little out of my element, so wasn't being very outgoing, but Scott Nydam introduced himself and was actually a really nice dude.

We set up our camp in the parking lot with the rest of the teams. Rock Racing's Rolls Royce had nothing on our Toyota Matrix. I'm not going to lie, I was a little star-struck racing with some of these guys, but I'm over it and ready to throw down tomorrow. I still think I have good legs, even if the TT today didn't show it. Thanks to all of you who have been supportive, it helps. I'll try my best to represent well tomorrow!

Sorry this post is a little jumbled, my head is kind of all over the place...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Redlands CA, Prologue Preview

We got up to our host house in Redlands last night, it turned out to be super nice. Some people say that they're all nice, but I've also heard horror stories. Our host family is great, they have lost of candy around the house, and a super-sweet backyard.

This area is crazy, with the massive mountains on every side. The thing is, you can't really see the mountains that well because the smog is too thick. This morning we ventured out into those mountains to find the Prologue course. It's just 5k, so how bad can it hurt? Well I'll answer that tomorrow, but it looks like it might hurt a little bit. The "flat" sections aren't flat at all, and the uphill sections are pretty seriously steep. For those of you Bloomington readers, think of doing Sample backwards, the climb just as you turn left off of Old 37 onto Sample Rd. That pitch, for about 4 times as long.... yeah. That's how the TT ends. There is also a steep kicker about like that in the first half mile of the TT, just to try to get you to blow up early. I think it's going to be all about who hits the steep slopes with the most left in the tank.

When we were out preriding, so was everyone else, Slipstream, Toyota, BMC. The funny thing about seeing all of the good guys out on the course this morning, was how emphatically they wave. They are all super-fast, yet one of the biggest, goofiest waves I got was from Toyota's Henk Vogels. He has been around the scene forever, and has a nice list of accomplishments, but you don't see him acting too sweet to wave. Take that as a lesson to any of you Bloomington kids who think you're too fast/sweet to wave at another cyclist when you see them on the road, you aren't. Neither is Henk Vogels. We passed the Toyota guys an awkwardly high number of times while preriding, and they still gave nice big waves every time. That's PRO.

My road rash isn't healing up as quickly as I would like, but there is just too much to keep it all covered. Luckily the place that it feels the best is on the bike. I think I should be able to suffer through a few minutes on the bike tomorrow, and hopefully it will improve before the 146k stage on Friday.

I took a few pics of stuff over the last few days, so here ya go:

Phil's New Fiordifrutta SuperSix to be built with Red and R-Sys

My bike rebuilt and reglued

Reynolds Assaults @ The Bike Haus... (Maybe they do exist)

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From My Cubicle

I'm writing this update from the backseat of Phil Gaimon's car, with the foot of a bike pump resting on the back of my head and a Mavic disk hovering over my head. To my right is a wall of backpacks and luggage stacked to the roof of the car. There is enough of a hole in the wall of luggage that I can look across and see Baumann in his cubicle. It's going to be a long trip to Redlands by way of San Diego.

I had planned on updating everyday, but yesterday was a bit too busy fixing all of the stuff wrong with my bike. So we got an early start, with a trip to Chic-fil-a to get Phil his daily Sweet Tea. Then it was off to the local shop called Bike Haüse. Probably the nicest shop I've ever been to. They hooked me up real nice with big bag full of stuff to get the bike rolling again. So I spent the whole day working on the bike and finding more things wrong with the bike. Bent big ring, broken speedplay cleat, more shoe problems. Luckilly the guy @ Bike Haüse banged the big ring back straight with a hammer, because the chainring is SRM specific. I spent the evening gluing tubies, with the help of Baumann since I only have like 7.5 functioning fingers.
ok I'm back. We just had to make another stop at Chic-fil-a. Anyway, I got all my bike stuff done in time to get an 1.5 hour spin in down some pretty cool bike paths in Scottsdale.

The start list for Redlands came out yesterday on the Redlands website. There are a bunch of no names showing up though. You know, guys like Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero, Oscar Sevilla, Tom Danielson. Those boys got nothin' on the boys from U25 Devo Composite team. I'm so jacked up I may just bust out of my cubicle! Ok that is all for now. I may update again today if I feel the urge.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me or offered to help my get all my stuff back together after this crash.