Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Excuse me, Sven.

So if you scour the internet like I do, then you've probably already seen the news. If you have a life, then I guess you can find out here... I've been selected to go to Belgium with Euro Cross Camp and the US National Team Director, Geoff Proctor. I'm going to BELGIUM TO RACE CYCLOCROSS! SORRY FOR YELLING, I'M JUST EXCITED!

I'm leaving on December 15th and coming home on January 2nd. While I'm there I'll be living in Izegem, Belgium at the National Team house. There are 8 potential races while I'm there, including 2 World Cups (Kalmthout and Zolder), a Superprestige in Diegem, a GVA Trophey race in Loenhout, and the GP Sven Nys in Sven's home town of Baal. Serious stuff. I'm excited, motivated, and a little scared, but the good kind of scared (if there is such a thing).

Knowing that this was on the horizon has made this last block of training so much easier, it's unbelievable. Thinking about cutting that last interval short? Better not. If you do , Sven and his pal Zdenek will lap you in 20 minutes. Not a difficult decision to put in the effort.

I know that this will be a humbling experience as well as one that can teach me so much, so quickly. I'm not going into this with any individual goals, but more the goal to go over and race as hard as I can, be as mentally tough as I can when I'm in these difficult environments, and gain every possible bit of knowledge that I can from these 3 weeks. Oh, and have fun. I think that this will be a life changing experience and hopefully give me lots of knowledge to take away.

As you can imagine, a three week trip to Belgium isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm working on raising some money to help offset the cost of my trip. We're guessing it's going to cost somewhere around $3,500- $4,000 to make this happen, so any little bit helps. I'm going to put a PayPal button up so that anyone who's interested in helping can make a donation. If you don't have a PayPal account, shoot me an email at knapprd@gmail and we can figure something out.

I should be able to update this thing quite a bit while I'm over there, so check back for updates during the Holiday season. And also before then, because I've still got some racing to do stateside first.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me along my journey so far. I really appreciate it. I know that I wouldn't even be in this position if it weren't for so many of you helping me over the last 3 years.

As you know, Cross Nationals and the USGP Finals, and some other important races are just around the corner for me. I'm nearing the end of my final training block for the year and just got back from Iowa this weekend. Before I can give you the short and not so sweet low-down on Iowa, I need to report on my racing in North Carolina the previous weekend.

My dad decided to make the trip to NC with me and it was nice to get some time with him rather that karokeing in the car by myself during the drive to and fro. We got in late Friday night and I decided to ride the trainer for a little while to see if it really did any good for my legs the next morning. Well even though I had put in some pretty hard training days that week, a little trainer riding and foam rollering had my legs feeling pretty nice for Saturdays race. I guess I'm gonna be one of those trainer riding guys from now on.

Saturdays and Sundays courses and races were nearly identical in all aspects. The front group was pretty big because there were long open sections in between the technical sections and that would always allow things to come back together to some degree. Although the groups were a bit bigger, there were really only a few guys showing their face at the front and "racing". It became pretty tactical and a lot about positioning for the last lap of the race. Luckily there were a few harder sections at the end of the lap that allowed the race to be sorted out and didn't result in a big, road style, bunch kick.

I felt good through the entirety of both days, but think I wasn't quite strong enough to match Matter and Fratinni at the end. I also think I should have raced more aggressive in the finale both days as well. I ended with two 3rd places, but I was nearly as pleased that I had good legs after such a hard week of training. I really believe that taking care of them better after my rides and the drive down played a bit part in still being able to race at a decent level in the midst of a training block. Learning is FUNdemental. And good for UCI points.

I don't have much time, and don't really want to, so I'm not going to say much about Jingle Cross. Crashes, rolled tubulars, bad legs, bad bike handling, and who knows what else. I'm glad that weekend is behind me and I can focus on the bigger things coming down the pipe.

My crash as a result of a rolled tire on an off-camber. If I had known how the rest of the weekend was going to go, I'd have just kept rolling down that hill, all the way back to Bloomington...

You win some and you lose some. I'm still feeling pretty good about the way things are going. See you in Portland.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kenny Tarmac

"Hey, Guy, I just landed! Yeah, IND to BDL!" Sorry if you don't get the reference. What I'm trying to say is that I've been on airplanes too much recently. Those things just fall out of the sky for no reason, ya know?

I've racel a lot lately and some have gone well and others haven't. I really raced poorly at the USGP in Louisville, then I went to New Jersey and raced a lot better, but still not great, and finally, I was in Northampton, MA last weekend and didn't really ride very well either. Kinda bummed about it, but I feel like I'm going the right direction since I shit my pants (not literally... ahem, collegiate nats RR 07) at the USGP. I was happy to get a "real" podium at Beacon Cross, but besides that, I feel like I've just been a bit off from where I need to be, should be and would like to be.

New Jersey was an experience all together. I flew with two bikes in two giant hard cases and took the train to John Minturn's place in Manayunk for the weekend. I aint from the city, so that was a bit of an experience, especially with the two giant boxes. John was an great host for the weekend and staying with him/ carpooling to the races saved me millions of dollars and actually probably made the rest of my cross season possible. Because I got dinged 350 big ones by the effing Delta bitches, I was looking for a way to avoid flying my bikes home and then right back to MA the next weekend. Adam Myerson and Lyne Lamoureux from Podium Insight each came through for me and each took a bike from New Jersey to races in Massachusetts. That potentially saved me 700 bones. So thankful that bike racing isn't like golf. Many less dousches. John Minturn even fedex'd the empty boxes home for me. Nice people are awesome. Not to mention all the nice people with the C3 team from Baltimore who were trying to help me out with my bikes situation too. Sorry to make this so sappy, but I've really just been amazed with all the great people going out of there way to make shit happen for me.

Northampton, MA was my next destination for Adam Myerson's Cycle-Smart International races. I got home from NJ on Monday night and was back at the airport again on Friday morning at 6 AM, a bit too short of a turn around for my liking, but then again, I'm going to race my bike, so I really have nothing to complain about.

Massachusetts was perfect. I don't know why I like that area so much, but I've been looking forward to going back since Fitchburg last season. I stayed with Steve Roszko, the owner/ founder of BikeReg.com. He lives right on a bike path that runs directly into the park where the CSI races were held. Rough set up, I know. Steve and his wife took care of all my meals and I had a nice bed to sleep in thanks to their 7 year old son, Oscar, lending his out to me. I was able to do the 10-15 minutes spin to and from the course every day and it couldn't have worked out any better. I almost forgot, I got off the plane and Steve was waiting by the curb with the BikeReg team car and my bike already picked up from Myerson, waiting for me in the back. Unbelievable. I felt like Burt Reynolds or somethin'.

I'm glad that I've refrained from giving you guys the boring details/ excuses about these recent races,I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. I've been thinking about how I just wanted to do a post about all the people who have been helping make this last block of travel and racing possible. Thanks to all of you who have been going out of your way to let me play the bike game this year. It's fun. I'm not really traveling to race this weekend, so I'm actually going to do some hard training and sleep in my own bed. I've gotta put some serious efforts in the bank during these next few weeks, because Nationals and the USGP finals are just around the corner.

Anyone around Bloomington want to motorpace me soon?

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I decided not to post any pictures with this entry, even though there are lots of good ones from Podium Insight, because I'm sick of seeing the stupid face I'm always making when I'm racing cross.

P.P.S Jonny Sundt is a nice dude. We've been talking a good bit at these races recently and he might be the nicest bike racer I know. I told him I used to hate him because he yelled at me. He didn't remeber, but didn't doubt it.