Saturday, March 28, 2009

Little 500 Quals and a Recovery Week

This morning I got up way earlier than a normal non-racing Saturday. In Bloomington, today is Little 500 quals day. My girls team drew the time of 8:45am for their crack at quals. We got up early and to the track in time to get them a good warm us and an ear full of my sorry excuse for a pep talk. They performed well, but not great. Quals are still going on and we're sliding down the list a little bit, but it's really not too much of a concern. The real test comes on the 24th of April.

After quals I met up with John Meyers and Mike, just in time to ride in the rain that was rolling into town. I'm wrapping up a rest week, a real one this time. I tried to have a rest week last week but I failed. I don't know how, but I got sucked into doing wednesday worlds and 2 races and before I knew it, my "rest week" wasn't so restful. So I'm about to start kicking it back up again for a few up coming races and then ultimately for Joe Martin at the start of May. In the mean time, I'd like to have a good showing for Hillsboro-Roubaix this year. I've never done it, but it seems to be a race that might not be too bad for a guy like me.

Speaking of guys not like me, Phil the Pro got himself a nice little P-R-O result last week in San Dimas. Congrats to him on that man-sized W.

This week I've been keeping tabs on Redlands as well. Pictures from that damn prologue don't do it justice, that thing is vicious. It's tough to watch this year and wonder how I would have done if I could have gotten back out there this year. I've played sports my entire life and that is by far the greatest sporting dissapointment of my life. Similar to "Into the Wild" when Chris McCandless kills the moose and the maggots get to the meat before he can skin it. Yep, thats about how it was.

On that note, off to watch some E3 Prijs on See you at Hillsboro.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Racing for Training

So this weekend I traveled to my first two races of the season. I races in Louisville KY on Saturday and Cincinnati, OH on Sunday. I've been putting in some good hours on the bike this spring, but haven't done much to get myself in race shape yet. It jump is slow and the numbers for my short intervals are pretty low. So this weekend I just wanted to go out and get in some hard efforts and test out the legs a bit. I have trouble racing for training and not caring about the result, but I know I can push myself harder when there's something riding on it, so I gotta wrap my head around it.

Saturday I got near Louisville and was greeted with a pretty steady rain shower and temps in the mid 40's. The course was a nice rolling circuit of just under 2 miles with nice smooth pavement. I was the only Panther/RGF guy in attendance (they were off winning in Ohio), and there happened to be 10 Texas Roadhouse guys that showed up. I knew how the race was going to go once I saw the turnout, but I couldn't get myself into that damn break. I raced as hard as I could trying to follow everything and cover the barrage of attacks from Roadhouse, but it wasn't to be. A group of 3 got away about midway through the race and the field pretty much shut down until the last 3 laps or so. The Roadhouse was getting greedy and rying to get more guys up the road. So I burnt my last few matches trying to keep them from getting the whole squad off the front and when the sprint came, I rolled in mid-pack. No result what so ever, but I got a good hour of self abuse and also set a new PR for 10 minute power at the start of the race, trying to make that inevitable break. I did feel better about the "pack finish" once I saw I had done some decent numbers and my fitness was ok considering the time of year.

Pre-race with Chartier, Renkema, and the Nuvo crew

Awesome picture of Chartier's late race whack

Sunday was a similar sized field of 30-35 guys, but the course was a flat, 10 mile loop with 4 corners and long straights. It wasn't really windy, but you could definitely feel it on some of those exposed roads. We did 6 laps of the circuit and I determined to make this a bike race and not a group ride. With no selective sections to be found, the stronger guys had to just keep attacking until the wheat and chaff were separated. It took a couple laps, but we finally got a nice split with pretty much all the guys that I would have hand picked for the break even before the start of the race, plus a few others I didn't know. They were all pulling through, so they're welcome to come along too. After we got the break established, like really, established. Like we-took-a-pee-break, established. It was time to figure out who was going to win this thing. I didn't like my odds in the 9 man group, with Aaron Hubbel of Nuvo(plus 2 teammates) and Ben Renkema of Kenda Pro Cycling. I knew both of those guys can pop off some pretty good sprints, so I would have rather gotten a split without them, but they did a good job keeping it together. I threw the kitchen sink at them for a while, hoping something would materialize, but no dice. Former teammate and host for the weekend Chris Chartier took off on a nice solo move with 1 to go, that he almost stuck thanks to some disorganized riding from all of us in the group. He came back with about a a mile and a half left to go and the cat and mouse started. I though we might completely stop and start the sprint with one foot down. Luckily someone jumped and it was on. I was trying to watch the guys I knew could sprint and was able to stay out of the wind and take the sprint for my first (although small) win of 2009. I'm not going to post a picture of the victory salute because it was so windy that I almost got blown over when I put my hands up. I look more like I'm about do the Y-M-C-A than I just won a bike race.

Me about to unleash my goofy looking victory salute

So this weekend was fun and a nice test, but I've still got a long way to go until I'm ready for the real stuff to start. I've got a pretty solid week of training in front of me, and my first ever bachelor "party" this weekend. Also, congrats to my teammate Jeremy Grimm for taking home his second win of this season this weekend. Thanks for reading.

Photos courtesy of Jeffery Jakucyk

Monday, March 9, 2009

Windy Weekend

What would you do with your windy weekend? Try saying that 5 times fast. Well, what we did with our windy weekend was: suffer, or at least I did, anyway. Late last week I got word that Bennet Van Der Genugten was gonna be in Bloomington for some riding. We tried to gather the troops, but because of the collegiate races at Depauw, some of the local horsepower was out of town. Saturday it was: BVDG (PRO), Fred Rose (undroppable workin-man), Tom Cox (Man-Beast), Wes Luzadder (17-18 National Crit Champ), and myself (dainty wanna-be). With the wind pounding us pretty hard, we decided to do an out and back at a good tempo, nothing too crazy, just keepin' the pace up. So about that suffering thing... This weekend marked the last few days of the seemingly never-ending block of training I've been working on for about the last 3 weeks. I've been going at it pretty hard in an attempt to have some fitness before the end of May for once, so I had one foot firmly planted inside the hurt locker before the rides of this weekend. Anyway, that ride didn't kill me really, but it sure didn't help me get my legs ready for when the testosterone doubled on Sunday with the addition of two of the strongest dudes around: Ryan Shannahan and John Meyers.

Sunday it was the same wind, maybe a bit tougher, but we decided on a rolling route that would give us a tail wind coming home. It was on before we even got out of town. It started with two lines, with the two on the front pulling with (against) each other. Once that collapsed because off all the "measuring" going on, we rode in single file taking our turns putting in good pulls, making sure the others sitting on weren't getting too much rest. We continued throttling each other for a few hours until we too a quick break for some fuel. We finally hit the tailwind section and rolled it breakaway style all the way to town. The last few turns before we got to town, everyone was emptying the tank on every pull. A few times I thought I might be getting popped off the back, but I was able to survive and take all my turns at the front. It was nice to get in a good solid, fast effort since I haven't been able to race yet. It was also nice to get some hurting in, knowing that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I'm taking it easy for a few days before I get crackin' on the next round of punishment.

It was nice to catch up with Bennet and hear about the big things he's got going on in his racing life right now. Also, he was lookin P-R-O skinny, with the 15 pounds he said he had shed. Also, with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, Wednesday Worlds are back on in Bloomington, so hopefully the threat of embarrassment by my peers will be enough to get me rolling pretty well for the racing coming up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I had no idea...

Horner used to rock a bit of a mud flap. Bravo, Chris.

Picture from PezCyclingnews