Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back at It

Well I survived my week off the bike and it was actually pretty nice because it gave me a chance to catch up with some friends who were around for the holidays and do a whole lot of nothing. I am definitely above my fighting weight at the moment, but not too bad considering the disgusting eating habits I've been displaying recently.

Christmas was good, I wasn't really sure If I would get anything since I couldn't come up with anything that I really wanted. But as usual, the parents came through and found some quality gifts. I'd have to say a couple of the favorites would be my new GPS for the car, and Joe Parkin's new book A Dog in a Hat. The book is awesome, I've only got a couple chapters left, but its shaping up to be one of the best cycling reads I've managed to finish. It's really just about the good, bad, and the ugly of trying to make it racing in Europe.

I've got my first week of training in the books and it's going a good bit better than last year. The knee is cooperating nicely and the weather has been tolerable enough to actually put in the majority of the miles outside. I did 3 hours today and found some really good, long sections of gravel with some good climbing too. My bike is a wreck though, it's almost 70 degrees out, so I may just give it a nice cleaning outside.

I've been watching to see how the group of Americans crossers are doing over in Euro-land and no one has really kidded it yet, but Jamey Driscoll had another solid ride, with a 26th in the World Cup in Zolder. That dude could be the next big thing from the US. Tonight I'm having a little dinner meeting with Toby Cole to talk 2009 schedule and how to finance it. I even made an Excel spreadsheet yesterday. I was really hoping to stay away from Excel forever. I was rusty so say the least. Alright, I've got lots to do before I go, so I'll check ya later.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Slow Saturday

Well with no races to report on for a while I guess I need to fire up some creativity so that I can keep this blog running during the off season. Today I'm just gonna be taking it easy around the crib, watching some good college basketball on the tube. Last night I finished building up the training bike for the next little bit until the team Felts come in. I got an older S-Works aluminum frame on ebay for really cheap and slapped on some parts I had layin around. because of the annodized frame, the letters in the decals are really fragile and have been rubbed off in some spots, so that why it was so cheap. I don't really care too much, it fits what I was looking for nicely.

I've been doing this whole Twitter thing recently and I was a little worried that it might take away from the blog, but I'm not gonna let that happen. I'll try to keep some fresh stuff poppin' up on here in addition to the hour by hour updates from Twitter. I'm sure you're all so concerned about the fact that I burnt my pancakes today...

In other news, my bromance with Fabian has been raging out of control recently. I was youtube'n around yesterday and naturally stalked Fabian for a bit and came up with a pretty solid "Best Of" video. It's pretty good, but the music isn't up to snuff. The Fabian deserves better, maybe like some Benny Benassi perhaps. Either way, his stage 3 win in Yellow at the Tour in 07 still gives me chills to watch. The bro is a freak.

Watching all these highlight videos isn't making my time off any easier. I've already got cabin fever and I've got to make it 2 more days.

Ok I'm off to dominate my legs with the foam roller. Hopefully I don't cry that loud.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

Well I'm back in Bloomington and the dust has settled after my final race of the season, 'cross Nats. If you're reading this you probably already know, I got my ass kicked. Love, Ryan. I don't really know what happened. I got out there plenty early, did some good laps on Saturday, got a good warm up on Sunday, got a good start, and rode a good first half of the race. Then my legs decided that they couldn't wait another 30 minutes to end the race season, so they were going to clock out now.

My 1 UCI point got me number 52. Not great, but middle of the pack. The start went pretty well and I avoided carnage and moved up when I saw openings. I ended up riding in the high 20's, with some pretty solid guys after a few laps,Adam Myerson, Brandon Dwight, Molly Cameron. I was even with Jon Baker and Erik Tonkin for a while. Sure, I was hurting, but I really didn't foresee this massive explosion.

The face says it all

The course had a pretty long hard climb in the first half of the lap and it was beating everyone up. The ground was like cookie dough. It was really soft, but not really like mud. It just zapped any momentum and speed you had anytime you weren't thrashing the pedals. After a good while to reflect on my race and why I just didn't have it, I'm not really sure why. I knew I didn't feel great on the warm up laps, but thought I could ride through it and find some legs. I really don't think it was a great idea to skip the bigger races at the end of the year in favor of winning the overall in the OVCX, because I never really had to go UCI hard. I was just riding kinda hard for an hour. Then I get here and it's literally all out from jump street. My body didn't know what to do. I guess it makes sense though. The last time that I really had to dig really deep and give it full gas for more than 30 seconds was back at the end of October at the USGP. Lesson learned. I don't really know what I was thinking. I would have never tried to prepare for Crit Nats by doing a bunch of local races, it just doesn't translate. And this isn't me bashing the OVCX either, that series is awesome and I love racing with that group of guys, but realistically it isn't the best training to prepare to go fight the likes of Trebon and Page (and apparently Driscoll).

We'll thanks to all of you who were so supportive throughout the season and even yesterday when you saw my stellar performance pop up on cyclingnews. It was a great year for me and I feel like I learned a lot and met some awesome people along the way. Last night I spent 2 hours on the phone planning big things for 09. After a week or so off the bike, I'll be getting the ball rolling towards a new set of goals. See ya on the road.

P.S. I've just gotta attempt to clear my name a bit: When it says "2 laps down" in the results, it doesn't mean I was lapped twice. I means I got lapped when I had 2 laps to go. Just throwin' that out there.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Indiana State Cross Championships

Sunday was the Indiana State CX Champs and the last race in the OVCX series. Over the weekend we started getting our first measurable snow fall of the year, and the forecast for Sunday was showing a high of 25 degrees. I like racing in the snow, but was hoping for a bit more warmth. I was struggling to get my head right on the drive up because I kept thinking about ways to not lose the overall, rather than just taking the same approach I've had for the last few months and just going out there to win the bike race. I still wasn't feeling too confident when I rolled up to the start line, but soon enough the gun went off and we were racin'.

Early in the first lap

I hadn't really given strategy much thought before the race, but when I hit the grass at the top of the first hill in second wheel, I followed Andy Messer for a couple corners and then decided to give it a whack. I wasn't really keen on watching other people attack, so I decided to play my cards right away and see how that went over. I had about 5+ seconds or so going through the start finish the first time. I was in the hurt box pretty good, and thought about waiting for Isaac to get up to me to work with him for a bit. I decided against it, and put my head down to try to stretch the gap. There were a surprising number of fans out to support, considering the temps were so low. I had quite a few people giving me splits around the course, and was able to keep the gap going in my favor for the rest of the race. I actually flatted on the last lap and nearly ate it as I leaned in to take a corner off of the pavement. Luckily the conditions called for low pressure and I was able to limp it in for another victory and the series win on top of that.

Hurting on the road section

There was a nice double staircase run up in the middle of the lap with TONS of spectators waiting at the top. I kid you not, that little section of the course was like a throwback to Cross Vegas. Those guys up there were going nuts. They had Geraint Parry and John Gatch doing the announcing, throwing those two guys into the mix made for a pretty cool atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who came out to support. The 'cross scene in the Midwest is alive and kickin'. Also gotta say thanks to Fowler for bringing me some champagne to celebrate with. I had to wait until I got home to pop the bottle, but it was a good thing I did. When I got home I was going to open it inside, but wasn't sure how the cork was going to react, even without shaking. So I opened the back door and pointed it outside just to be safe. Good thing I did. When I shot the cork off, it went 50 feet out the back door and was still 15 feet off the ground when it disappeared into the night. I hope I didn't put any ones eye out.

In other news, I recently had my eyes opened to Twitter, or Twittering. Not really sure on all the terminology yet. For what seemed like a week, everyone I talked to was either twittering for themselves or following someone else on Twitter. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start one for myself. I don't really know exactly what I'm supposed to do with it. Kinda seems a lot like Facebook status, but I've convinced myself that it's way better.

Photos courtesy of Harry Clark

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Gaggle?

So this morning as I was going through my rotation of sites that I frequent, and I came to Truesport and found a section of a recent article that was posted pretty interesting. Let me give you an excerpt.

"What I really want to know, is will Ryan Knapp have the gaggle of girls that I've heard referred to as his "roadies" there to cheer him on the podium. You know you've hit the big time in cyclocross when you have a bunch of young girls yelling your name at races every week. You are the man Ryan."

I promise I am not the Masked Prognosticator. I guess Lauren constitues a gaggle? Either way, I'll take it.

The rest of the article can be found HERE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Squeeky Cross

After the last week of cross riding my bikes are in serious need of attention. I think I may have power washed them everyday for the last 3 or 4 days now, that may be more times than I've washed myself... it's close. Nothing a little WD-40 can't take care of. Turkey Cross and Hoosier Cross were awesome considering I never get to ride with anyone, a group of 20 people on cx bikes was a real novelty. We has some celebrity in attendance as well.

Real P-R-O Jake Rytlewski

And Jr National TT champ Adam Leibovitz

The course was solid with a nice mix of roadie sections, technical stuff, and a huge semi-rideable hill to put you nicely into the red. I wish I could make it out to these more often.

After some Hoosier cross tune ups, I went south an hour to Louisville to the KY state Championships. The venue was where they had the USGP a month or so ago, but we used a slightly modified version. That place and I have a love hate relationship, mostly hate though. This trip to Louisville I did avoid hurting myself in the sand pit that usually gets me in trouble though, moral victory there for sure.

The conditions were pretty cyclocrossy, with some low temps and rain/wind for most of the day. I did my usual preriding and started out with about 25 psi in the tires and by the time the race rolled around I had decided on running 18 psi front and rear. That's the lowest I think I've run since the mud fest at Nationals last year. We'll it turned out to be a decent number because I was able to keep it upright all day and ride a "clean" race to pull out another victory. Luckily there was no sprint to botch this week, but I got some new cleats courtesy of Andy Messer, just in case.

As you can see, people came out in waves to see the spectacle...

Well next week is The Indiana State Championships and the final race in the OVCX series. I've got a nice lead going into the race, but I still need to put in a solid ride to wrap up the overall. I'm starting to back down the training load in order to be nice and rested for Nationals in KC in just under 2 weeks. Hopefully I can kick this sickness that has just attacked me in the last few days and put together a nice end to the year.