Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
To bad for all those people who were dreaming of a white Christmas because our healthy snowfall we received last week is quickly disappearing. They do have one more chance though because as great as Saturday is suppose to be there is a chance of snow early on and into the day on Sunday with a forecast high of 33. Brrrrrr.
Santa Countdown: 5 days
Anyone up for a Christmas Eve Ride?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The road is out there somewhere. The funny thing about the situation is when they don't plow Lucy really doesn't know where the grass is or even care as she peed on the sidewalk and left an early Christmas present in the middle of the parking lot.
For anyone who this would bother, don't worry I picked up after my dog. Don't freak out.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Who would think that this guy could ever do something illegal? Just goes to show you that you can't judge a book by its cover. Or can you? Does any of this sound familiar to you all. About time people start talking about other sports having high drug problems other then cycling. I hope they throw the book at them and give them a one of baseball's biggest suspensions of 15 games. That will show them. HA! What a joke.
Remember kids DON'T DO DRUGS!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Worst possible weather. Ok well maybe not, but this picture was taking before the misery began. It all started off nice with mild temps in the 40's before the sprinkles came and then the down fall of the rain and temp hovering just above freezing. Soaked in 10 minutes with an aquarium in your shoes, just another beautiful day in a cyclists life. The good news on the day though was that we did get a nice ride in, we got an awesome home cooked meal from Bennett's family, one less day spent on the rollers and whats better then hanging with the boys.
Anyone interested in going fast? I've started coaching some of the riders at Marian and would like to extend the coaching onto other riders. I'd love to help anyone at any level out. So if your interested just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we can work something out.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
No shifting after a half hour as all gears, chainrings and cables were frozen.
Us northerns know all to well about this experience. Paddy's helmet was even frozen to his hat. Poor, Poor Aussie going through his first true winter and it's only the first of December. And for all of those who may not know, or may have forgotting.... BRIDGES FREEZE BEFORE ROAD WAY! Those signs aren't just there for decoration. Be careful out there.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Rite Aid as also signed a few more new riders along with returning five of it's aces. It should make for a very successful year. We are going to have our first get together in January just like last year. Also our training camp will be in March with our first national race being the US Open (if it happens)
Our schedule will be pretty much exactly the same, so their won't be any surprises and I will know what exactly to expect. Hopefully I can improve on the results I got last year and will be able to defend my win at Fitchburg. Either way stay tuned to see how everything goes. Thanks for the support.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
What a day! Football and lots and lots of food, oh yeah and of course spending time with family. And isn't that what it is truly all about?
Ok you shouldn't be reading this and I shouldn't be writing this as you and I should be spending time with the ones we love, not playing on the computer. Come on now. HI Mom and Dad.
Hopefully the Lions don't loose so I don't have to pissed off for sometime after the game.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Ok maybe this time winter maybe coming, after the last few really nice days we have had. I think it worked out that I'm not going to be able to make it up to Michigan this year as they could be getting a bit of the white stuff. Luckily I made it up two weeks ago, before the snow.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Pretty impressive. Here is my mate Paddy. He's Australian. Until 3 years ago I had never met someone from Australia, now it seems like there around every corner.
Just having a stellar time on the ciba route. Afterwards we went out with David to El Rodeo and got some Fajitas, and demolished the free chips and salsa that everyone enjoys at Mexican restaurants.
Today the weather was unbelievable. Check out the temperature on the lower right hand corner.
That's right, 64. The nice weather though brought out all kinds of things. Such as 5 dogs I have never seen before chasing me on my standard route, one of which had only 3 legs and was probably the fastest. Then there was the fox and the deer. Also playing hooky where a few of my Avon riding buddies also out enjoying the nice weather.
I think I now know what I am officially doing next season. More on that next time.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Suppose to be some good weather yet again coming up with temperatures approaching 70 on Tuesday! I remember it doing the same thing last year and winter staying around till almost May. Hopefully that don't happen.
So Lucy has been sick the past week. Nothing like cleaning up some fresh diarrhea in the morning. Time to get the crate out again. At least we know who she likes now as she went on Katie's side of the bed to make sure I wouldn't step in it. But how Katie didn't step in it will be a serious mystery. It was perfectly placed.
Damn Lions. Seriously. They better win on Thursday or I'm not going to be to pleasant to be around on a day where your suppose to be pleasant. At least there will be plenty of food to make me happy happy.
Ok time to go grocery shopping with the wife so we don't starve before Thursday.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I can't be to hard on him, at least he was out there doing it unlike the guy taking the photo...me.
But it won't be long before he looks like this driving up, or actually probably down as he will be living his dream by being retired and living in the U.P.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Im one lucky guy, who has a wonderful wife. Thanks to all those who were able to come to the wedding and to those who sent there best wishes and gifts. We both appreciate it. We are looking forward to many happy years together. I'll post more photos when I get them and most likely use my flickr account for that. So more to come.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Nothing like tossing back a cold one, while riding the rollers. Remember kids safety first, always wear your helmet while drinking and riding the rollers.
Here is our buddy Will trying to put out some mega watts like in the USPRO road race which we were all watching.
I don't know whether it was the shirt or the bike that was about 3 sizes too small for him that held him back from reaching his peak potential. Maybe it was the alcohol , which of course warranted the use of the helmet. It's not just for speed.
The new route will travel over this old covered bridge that was built in 1880 for a cost of around $1200. A little history this year.
The updated graph. The first little hill is cut out because of a mistake in the route map. And just for fun here is the graph from last years ride.
So there are a few more hills, and a touch less flats.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Take note of all the other riders on route. It's like one super long paceline for the entire 50 miles of the route. It's pretty unbelievable.
For first timers to this ride there are surprisingly some very nice and scenic roads, that do in fact have a few hills. This is pretty much the only tour that is not a race that I do all year. I like to think of this particular weekend as the weekend when I start focusing on the upcoming season.
Here is the Hilly Hundred's profile for the Sunday ride.
Some of you may wonder why all this info on this particular ride and why do you seem so pumped for it. Well you have to do it to really understand why. Also it always comes after my break from riding my bike, so after a couple of weeks of that there is no better ride around to get back on the bike.
In a few years though I would love to see my ride grow. Last year we had a total of 3 and I hope to improve on that number. The more the merrier. Nobody "should" be left behind on my ride, as it is a ride and not a race. Let's have some fun.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Well the Tour of Missouri is over and so is my season. What a way to finish off a year! Racing consecutively days longer then I ever have, and against some of the best competition. It was quite the experience. Here are some photos.
This is the way everyday started off. Trying to get ready for a long day of racing, but first trying to sign around a hundred autographs for people that didn't know who you are while you got dressed, then on the way to sign in to sign in and sign some poster, then on the way back and even till the last moments before the race started. It got pretty crazy and my signature turned into a scribble. I guess with a last name of Rytlewski, it doesn't really matter because they wouldn't know what it was even if they could see ever letter.
Here is a start of one of the three races over 200km's. It's a different feeling waken up the morning and getting ready to do over 200km's of racing for consecutive days. Don't worry though the mushy pasta we were served in the morning got us through the day. Pasta in the morning is an experience in itself.
Just flying around Missouri. This just happens to be the last day in the streets of Missouri. It was good to see the Arch, it may not have been the Arch of Triumph in Paris, but it didn't represent the same thing to the race, the finish.
Another picture from the race. This of course would be the time trial. It just so happens this stage had the biggest climbs. It was an awesome course though, and a great crowd for a time trial.
Racing up one of the many long uphill drags. Great crowd though for a time trial. The other way though was much faster coming down that on ramp.
This was a pretty cool safety feature. The best barriers I've ever seen used. Just line the road with a few heavy duty construction vehicles, and away you go. There was such great support for this race in Missouri and I believe a lot of the people loved it, which made the race even better. A guy can really get use to do races of this caliber. Maybe next year. Also just so you know, no matter what you read or hear this race was not, I repeat was NOT mostly flat. Sure the hills weren't mountains, but there was plenty of down shifting for many of the continuous rollers that sometimes seemed never ending. They added up, and made for great courses, of course with the wind as well. Just watch out for the armadillos.
Thanks for reading
On a side note: The True Breezer Hilly Hundred is upon us now. Look for information coming on that ride later today or hopefully by tomorrow. It will be October 13th. Everyone is welcomed. It of course is on the same weekend of the "Hilly Hundred", and will join that event on the second day. I want a lot of people on my ride this year. It is an awesome ride. More to come later.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The first two days started fast with lots of attacks. The break came back the first day to set up a field and the second day the break didn't even come close to coming back. I was following some moves the second day as things were splitting a bit in the cross winds, but as many of you know it seems like the one you dont go with is the one that goes. Once the elastic broke on the break it was gone and the field sat up and we cruised for a while. We did get on the front for a while and set tempo and practiced a lead out for one of teammates, which was more fun then just sitting there coasting.
Yesterday was the hardest and longest time trial I have ever done. It basically shows how many time trials I do. It was a demanding course with plenty of long uphill drags, and a few fast descents. I was doing good on the uphills, maybe to good as I was having a harder time keeping it rolling on the flat to rolling sections. Just wasn't keeping the speed up after the downhills good enough. Oh well. Had an ok time, but wish I was 30 seconds to a minute faster. Oh well, it is what it is.
Other then that I have been eating a crap load of food. Big buffets for breakfast and dinner. To bad the food today and last night was basically crap. At least it was free though. I just couldn't force myself to eat mushy pasta this morning.
So today is a nice 215km (133mile) race through the middle of Missouri. It's suppose to be mostly a head wind as well. So it's going to be a long day. Hopefully the team and I can dig up a good result today. If I don't I think I'm going to leave these plushy hotels and go camping with my dad like I did back at Fitcburg. I've been having it to nice in a bed and all.
With all this going on I will be getting married in 8 days.
Thanks for reading
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Here is the start of the race. It was a fairly stacked field with the criterium champion being there along with Pipp and Menzies, three Jittery Joe riders and of course a full squad from Priority Health. Notice the sweet bricks on this section of the course.
The start of the race with me taking off with Obee who happens to be wearing the jersey I'll be taking next year at Downers Grove. That is along as it rains again and there are about two more crashes before the finish and should be just about the only one left.
Well if any of you know the Howard brothers who ride for Priority Health you know as well as I do that they love to attack right from the get go of races. Well so they were in my head before the start of the race so much that I fumbled a bit to get clipped in just because I figured they would be shooting around the first corner as the announcer was still saying go. But much to my surprise and I'm sure a few others it was a rather relaxed starting pace.
Riding on the second sector of bricks on the 1.2km course. Pretty fun course that wound through downtown Grand Rapids.
Soon enough things got going and the attacks went. Personally being the only one on my team at the race I knew I was going to be a bit outnumbered so my plan was just to be aggressive and get a good workout in. So I just took off at one point in the race and stretched out the field and kept going to a gap opened up. Eventually I got what I thought was a good group going around.
The first break I was in, but it didn't pan out.
Well as my father was there watching and I told him how I was going to race aggressive, I thought I better get on it quickly other I'd have to hear about. Our group was not working to well and about to be caught so I took off again for a few solo laps. Eventually another group of 7 caught up and it made the break of the day.
After those efforts I was gasping a bit as the others were going for the sprint points that were awarded in the first 25 laps of the 90 minute race. But I got a settled after a few laps and was feeling good again. It was a good break with 3 Priority Health, Tim Henry from Jitteyr Joes, Pipp and Obee from Health Net and the strong rider from Marco polo. Unfortunately my bike wasn't feeling good and it was puking out the crankset. Some how the bolt came loose and the crank was falling out. This was all going as my waterbottle cage was rattling out as well and was flopping between my feet.
Of course all this doesn't get you a free lap, but as the crank began to move around so much that it was hitting the chainstays I had to stop and get it fixed in the pits. The officials seemed to be more concerned about telling how I was not going to get free lap then getting my bike fixed. So after what seemed like forever of them continuing to repeat themselves over and over again I politely asked if they could just fix it and I'll jump back in the field before they get by. Oh yeah good idea! So the sram guy is tighten my crank and notices the bottle cage and goes you have bigger problems then this and ripps off the bottle cage. I thought the crankset was of bigger concern, but hey it was a bit warm and only having one bottle cage was a bit of an issue.
Well I get in with the field and wanted to continue to get a workout in and went right to the front for a while to keep the break from lapping the field and to see what would happen. I was going for a while before my crankest finally just gave way again and is shot and needs to go in for repair. So it was an early and disappointing excite for myself. Even more disappointing is after having been able to get back in the field and thinking you weren't going to be in the break of the day, but watching it as it all came back anyways for a sprint finish, and getting out the break didn't matter. Unbelievable.
So Menzies won the race, go figure and Pipp is lucky to be in one piece as an early chip in his fork got worse throughout the day as it was growing all the way through the fork blade and didn't notice till he was so worn out from his wheel rubbing the break all day and not knowing. Pretty scary stuff.
Well other then that my dad and I started the drive down to Missouri. We made it rather far only having 150 miles left to drive this morning. I have to meet the team at 2pm. There isn't much on the road after it get out of Illinois and into Iowa/Missouri, so it should be another rather boring trip to finish up the drive. Maybe I wont sleep to much this time to keep my dad company. I'm not promising anything though.
Hopefully I'll be able to keep you all updated, so keep looking back for the insider info at Missouri.
Thanks for reading
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Here we go another round of looking back at some of the numbers from this past weekends championship event. I am missing some data because my speed sensor is no longer working so after not pedaling for so long on one of the decents it would turn off and stop recording data, but the good news is I did get most of the race and all the ascents up Paris Mountain.
Of course the big challenge of the day was making it over the climb and that is where most of the efforts and selections took place. So here we go.
Entire workout (257 watts):
Work: 3287 kJ
TSS: 257.2 (intensity factor 0.85)
Norm Power: 315
Distance: 0 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 984 257 watts
Heart rate: 0 189 138 bpm
Cadence: 29 132 86 rpm
Speed: 0 0 0.0 kph
Pace 0:00 0:00 0:00 min/km
Crank Torque: 0 102.1 27.9 N-m4th Ascent:
First time up the climb wasn't bad. Devine of Discovery set much of the pace up the climb. I felt good and real comfortable sitting in the top 5. Duration of climbs aren't going to match up correctly because I can't match up the distances without the speed working.
Work: 215 kJ
TSS: 17.4 (intensity factor 1.073)
Norm Power: 397
Distance: 0 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 182 590 396 watts
Heart rate: 162 179 172 bpm
Cadence: 62 105 88 rpm
Speed: 0 0 0.0 kph
Pace 0:00 0:00 0:00 min/km
Crank Torque: 22.8 80.5 43.8 N-m
The second time up got abit harder as Cruz took the bottom of the climb and Devine being coached by Levi took the second half of the climb and he wanted some what of selection to be made. He talked to him the whole way up. It was harder, but a comfortable hard, if there is such a thing. Once again I sat in the top 5 after being pulled to the front by teammate Clayton.
Work: 246 kJ
TSS: 20.9 (intensity factor 1.121)
Norm Power: 415
Distance: 0 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 230 678 411 watts
Heart rate: 143 181 173 bpm
Cadence: 64 112 87 rpm
Speed: 0 0 0.0 kph
Pace 0:00 0:00 0:00 min/km
Crank Torque: 24.1 76.6 45.9 N-m
The third time is when things got interested. It started much like the second climb only harder with Devine taking the first few minutes of the climb and Levi showing most of us why he's a pro tour rider and a top 3 finisher in the Tour De France. Here are the stats from the third ascent, but the one thing that I looked at more where the first 5 minutes before Levi attacked. I was averaging 430 watts for the first 5 minutes of the climb before Levi took off. This is also the ascent that he broke the record by 25 seconds. I was definitely at my max going up this time. Once again Clayton put me right where I had to be at the beginning of it and ready to make the big selection.
Work: 252 kJ
TSS: 21.9 (intensity factor 1.142)
Norm Power: 422
Distance: 0 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 135 667 417 watts
Heart rate: 150 186 176 bpm
Cadence: 65 102 84 rpm
Speed: 0 0 0.0 kph
Pace 0:00 0:00 0:00 min/km
Crank Torque: 15.5 85 47.7 N-m
The fourth and final time wasn't to bad till the second half when a few riders started making the pace harder towards the top and over the climb.
Work: 241 kJ
TSS: 19.9 (intensity factor 1.082)
Norm Power: 401
Distance: 0 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 100 601 393 watts
Heart rate: 147 188 175 bpm
Cadence: 55 111 82 rpm
Speed: 0 0 0.0 kph
Pace 0:00 0:00 0:00 min/km
Crank Torque: 11.2 83.1 46.2 N-m
After making it over the top the race was far from over. The closing circuits led to some last minute attacks and chances to escape. I was feeling the effects of the long race at this time and wasn't feeling as spunking as some of the others. I also had to get a wheel change with 10km's to go, and it was around this time when the group split and I was in the back split. Not that it would have made a difference, but it couldn't help. Anyways it was still a good finish and I was excited with the way it turned out.
Thanks for analyzing
Monday, September 03, 2007
For most Labor day weekend marks the end of the summer, the last chance to go on a trip with the family and kick back and relax. For us American cyclist it lets us know that the end of the road racing season is upon us, but of course not without one of the toughest races to decided who is just the best American road racer.
Last year was the first year that the USPRO road champion was crowned somewhere else other then Philly in many years with the race taken place in Greenville, South Carolina on course that included 5 ascents up Paris Mountain. Not only was it at a different venue it was now closed to foreigners and only open to American citizens changing the dynamics completely.
This year there was a bit of change to the course which included 3 small circuits at the start on and only 4 ascents up Paris Mountain, not to mention the start list was bit shorter with only 108 riders deciding to partake in the grueling challenge.
Right from the beginning the race was fast and attacks were going. The field was stretched out on the twisting and tight open circuits and some small gaps even formed before the eventual early break went up the road. You can read about most of the details on cycling news who break it up pretty good, but here is what I saw.
The first, second, and third time I was in great position, thanks to my teammate Clayton who basically lead me out to climb and I was in the top 5 all three times. There is nobody in the peloton better to ride behind, and I made a few riders jealous of my teammate. The second time heading towards the climb Im sitting on Clayton's wheel and Baldwin looks over at me and goes "He's like a semi-truck, I wish he was on my team." Haha, he's on my team. Thanks Clayton.
It felt good riding right behind Levi those times, well of course that was till the third time when he attacked and you know what hit the fan.
We had a decent pace going as was and then like a motorcycle trying to get out of the way and up the road Levi took off with Baldwin on his wheel and I never saw him again. My jaw just dropped as he took off, of course it didn't drop that far as it was already basically on the stem. From there the pace of the race picked up and hardly let up.
The last ascent up Paris Mountain wasn't killer at the beginning, but picked up towards the end and once again another selection was being made as guys from the early break and those who had bridged up to Levi where all coming back one by one as the rest of us where trying to go forward. It soon enough came all back together, of course without Levi and it was a very nerve racking last few miles. Guys were attacking, some would bridge, some tried to catch the easy ride because fatigue was setting in. It was tough, and to be honest I wasn't feeling that great. With two finishing circuits to go my fate became apparent when I got tangled up with someone and broke some spokes in my rear wheel and had to get a change. I managed to get back up with the second group, but wouldn't have a chance or be able to see the front group again. I guess I'm just lucky I was able to get back up to that group, but the adrenaline was flowing and I actually felt like I got a second wind in after the wheel change. I ended up sprinting in for 17th.
I can't complain at all with my result, but once you get that close to an even better position you really want more. So some more hard work and another season of racing before next year and hopefully I can improve on it.
So just some riding and back to helping out the Marian College team as they prepare for Track Nationals. They all have been working very hard. I seen them basically kill themselves as they competed against each other in a 15 lap scratch race the other day. Also I heard some of them killed it the other day in some timed events. It must be all the coaching I've been doing. Racing wise next will be the Priority Health Crit in Grand Rapids followed by the Tour of Missouri with the National Team. So as quickly as the season is almost over there is still plenty of hard racing to come.
Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
What a weekend! The weather was completely different then it has been over the past three weeks. From 90's and sunny to 60's and rain.
Not having raced since Toona I was a bit concerned about how my crit legs would be, especially compared to those who have been racing top notch criteriums since Toona ended. The good thing about the weekend is that the pro-am the day before is only half the distance of the main event the following day.
So anyways the pro-am went really well for me and for most of my teammates who also were able to stay upright and out of trouble. Unfortunately Dewald wasn't so lucky and hit the deck hard under 10 laps to go. I got a great starting position at the back and once we got going and everything strung right out I was 35 seconds from the front of the field. I was so far back I couldn't even see the front for the first few laps. I thought I was going to have an early dinner. Luckily enough I was able to move right to the front, while avoiding splits and crashes and finished the race unscathed and with a bit of confidence heading into the National Championships.
Well conditions were a bit worse the following with a heavy rain the whole day and a steady rain during the event itself. Just like yesterday things immediately strung right out and I quickly went to the front before it got to late. I made it close enough to the front as things got going. Many were not so lucky, and many would not be very lucky on this day. The race was marred with crashes. I just tried to keep it safe for most of the race while holding good position. After all the attacks and hard racing Kelly took over with 10 laps to go and it was just down to fighting for position as they were leading it out and bringing back late race escapes. I was looking and trying to hold Alejandro's wheel towards the end, but that guy moves through the peloton in ways that nobody could follow. Not even a snake. Under 3 laps to go I just couldn't believe I was still in their with a chance of a good finish, but with Jon in the radio and my parents in the crowd yelling I was very motivated to get a top finish. After all the crashes and taking a good inside line in the last corner avoiding the last crash of the day I sprinted in for 9th. It was one of my better crit rides and luck was for sure on my side. It was good to get some good racing like that in before road nationals and hopefully I can put in another top performance there as well. Time will tell.
Thanks for reading
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
So I've started my duties as the ASSistant coach at Marian College and so far everything as gone quite well. We had a good first couple of days getting on a schedule and getting all the track equipment in place, which took some time, but is basically all dialed in now. A few seemed to be not quite sure of the fit on the track bikes, but I made sure to point out that it was a track a bike and its suppose to feel that way. They did a few hard efforts and a points race type workout over the pass few days, and for a few brief moments I did miss being out there throwing down on the track. Maybe I'll have to break out the clown bike, or I'll just have to get it all out tomorrow when we do a "spirited" group ride with a few hard sustained efforts. I hope their ready. I hope I'm ready. No more just standing there telling them to go faster.
Marian Cycling 2007 (a few riders are missing)
I don't know what looks more like a clown the bike, or the rider?
On top of all this my teammates on Rite Aid are still all at my house. So there is very little floor space to walk around on and the food in the fridge seems to just disappear. At least the food reappears at times, to bad about the floor though, maybe one day. Its not to bad, I like being able to hang out with them. Although I wonder how the neighbors are going to take to Alejandro sitting on the curb out front looking at Adult content on his laptop? Well actually I really haven't been able to as the last two days they have been sleeping till noon when I've been gone and stay up to wee hours of the morning as I am crashing by 10. Those night crits threw them all off.
Thanks for reading
Thursday, July 19, 2007
So Tour de Toona starts on Monday with an event that should be interesting, the team time trial. I wonder how many teams practice this. I've done a few in the past with the collegiate team and actually one in Europe with the national team and other then being quite hard they are pretty awesome. Tuesday is a new course as well which always leads to more suspense as you really wont know what is going to happen as in all the other courses which I believe remain the same.
Other then that there isn't much to report I guess other then this little dutch boy trying to paint the house. I think he's going to need a bigger brush.
Thanks for reading
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Here it is like promised a little more info on Fitchburg.
The first day was the time trial that was held on mostly an uphill drag for the first 8km followed by a quick downhill section for the final 2km's. I started out a bit quick catching my 30 second man within the first 1km or 2. I was doing pretty good until the end when I could tell I wasn't pouring it on as hard as I should have coming into the finish, but I was still able to manage 5th. Are team was in good position with three riders inside the top 20.
The second day was the circuit race. The team put in a phenaminal effort in on this one. Our guys started to attack half way into the race which led to Dewald and Norton in two separate breaks, and Norton being able to grab the green sprinters jersey in his late race escape that got caught on the final lap. I threw out an attack on the final lap, but I didn't get very far and more or less everyone was ready and setting up for the sprint finish. Luckily are sprinter Alejandro was ready to go and came across the line first. I came across the line safely in 9th place and still holding my GC placing heading into the road race.
The third day was the big day with the ride up Wachussette Mountain. Once again our team did a terrific job following some moves and we were marking the key riders that we felt would affect the GC. Eventually 2 groups of 4 riders escaped up the road and joined together to make the break of the day. We played it very cool, almost to cool as I was getting a bit worried before we started to help reel back in the break. With 3 laps to go they had built up a gap of 5 minutes and soon enough the gap started to slide in our favor. On the following lap the gap was down to 3 1/2 minutes. Going up the feed zone climb going into the last lap a few riders attacked and Alejandro and I made a group of 8 going into the last lap down by 2 1/2 minutes with the ascent up the finishing climb coming.
Alejandro kept the pace on one of the stair step climbs just before the feed zone climb and I was on his wheel as we opened a gap. We hit hard from there on as the race was still up the road. We actually were able to catch 6 of the 8 riders in the final 2km's. From there I was on my own chasing down the two leaders. I was able to ride across the line with Cam Evans, but was unable to close the 15 second gap to Page. In the process though I had opened up a big enough gap over everyone else and had grabbed the lead in the overall classification. Alejandro put in a strong effort as well and was able to move into 3rd place overall. I was super excited and with the effort the team put in it was well deserved and earned.
The final day was the criterium and us holding onto a lead of 19 seconds and two riders on the podium for the GC we wanted to keep that safe. We were more then happy to see a break go in the criterium that contained no dangerous riders and we could ride on the front to keep in close with VMG. The laps couldn't click by fast enough, but soon enough we were under 10 and the break was coming back, and the attacks started again. I followed Evans around (who was in 2nd) like he was my best friend as he was trying some last mintue attacks. Soon enough we were on the final lap and the field sprint was about to begin. Alejandro and I crossed the line safely and it was first and 3rd for us on the final GC.
I was so pumped to get my first stage race victory and I have been dreaming of this for a while. Im just so glad to have been surronded by people who have supported and encouraged me along the way and who have helped make this possible. Hopefully there will be plenty more along the way.
Thanks for everything,
Monday, July 02, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
CRIT IN RHODE ISLAND
The Rite Aid team packed up the van in PA and headed to Rochester Friday afternoon. Once we arrived in Rochester we had just enough time to unpack our things, bring them to our room and get down to the official sponsors dinner in the giant canvas tent. After a few encouraging words, some thank yous and remembering a few fellow cyclist who have been involved in tragedies it was time to eat. Dinner was good and even better then dinner was the dinner company of Ryan Dewald. He always has a few rippen good yarns and makes a good observation or two such as how he wouldn't mind getting a house made out of canvas. Then some of the directors talked, which included Bill trying to get Beaman to sing, which could have made some good entertainment and something exciting to blog about, but it didn't happen. This was all followed by some sponsors talking and people experiences of the race, blah, blah, blah, and then bed.
We went for a cruise in the morning on the local bike path that was very hard to following because of the many turn offs and directions to head. Of course we ended up the anal trail, guess who picked that one out? We rode that for a while then we ended up cruising around trying to find some biscuits. Guess who's idea that was? We ended up riding into town a bit and things started to get a bit exotic and all but one of us turned around and headed back to the hotel to rest up for the race. Guess who stayed behind a bit? Hint: Answer to all three are the same.
After a long afternoon of relaxing and trying to kill time before the 8:30 start we were finally in the holding pen getting ready to start while they called up anyone with a result. They had a little ramp that the riders who got called up could roll over like you sometimes see at time trials and I'd like to point out how Bobby Lea was the only one who didn't do it. While we finally got started and to my surprise it didn't seem to terribly fast from the get go, but soon enough riders got going and the attacks started. We were doing a good job covering things, first with Dewald, then Bill, and then myself all in the first 10 minutes of the 120 minute race.
After covering a few moves I drifted back a bit and another went and of course don't you know its the one that sticks and the one we have nobody in. I tried following some riders attempting to bridge and go at it myself, but never got it. Guido tried to bridge, but once that break had gone everyone was covering every move going and the bigger teams were all represented so they didn't want to bring it back. Bill and myself tried to make some big efforts to get the field closer, but we were to disorganized and by the time our whole team got organized it was a bit to late and we could never close the gap. Up the rode was Clark and Wamsley from Navigators, Walters and Rollin from Kodak, Jones for Nerac, and a symmatics guy, so it was a pretty stacked break. Coincidently all those riders were called to the line.
Anyways they were gone in the first 15 minutes of the race and we chased for an hour with a little help, but not much and with little success that group was able to come around. We hesitated to much at the beginning and that was all they needed to get the better of us. Nothing to exciting happened the rest of the race as we just went around and had a sprint finish with 2 laps to go for the field which was chaos and on top of that the camera wasn't working so they have no idea how anyone did. Nice.
I've never done a twilight criterium before and it was a blast, other then the fact we didn't do well. It is a sweet experience. You just have to get use to all the shadows that makes it feel like riders are coming around you every second. In the beginning I was throwing out elbows to shadows. Also you never want to look directly into the crowd because there is a good chance you could be blinded by a flash.
So we got cleaned up after the race and went to the local BBQ place dinner which was excellent. We ended getting to bed around 2am and that was without staying out and partying. So it was a late night, which made for a long day on Sunday.
We headed out of Rochester around 10am and headed to Rhode Island for a race at 6pm. So after getting lunch, gas, and making it through a traffic jam we finally arrived at 5:15 which was just enough time to get ready and hall over to the start line.
The race started off aggressive, so aggressive that I remember looking up and seeing Geronimo covering an attack and I wasn't even clipped in yet. I'm sure that felt extra good after being in the van for 7 hours. We definitely didn't want to miss any moves today and that was apparent by everyone of us riding at the front and covering moves including Alejandro. I got into a break for two or so laps with a few Nerac riders and Sakkonet riders, but didnt want to work just because I was out numbered and figured we could maybe get a better shuffle. We got caught and more attacks went, which ended up splitting the field with a group of 10-15 riders going clear. Luckily Alejandro was up there, but I didn't think that was good enough. Everyone was covering moves trying to go across, and I tried attacking to get across, but I was told not to do that because we wanted them to lap. I know it was Alejandro up there and he could win out of 50 by himself, but I thought maybe we could have better odds then that.
Well anyways I think the group up front was to big and must not have been working great together because there gap would hover between 35-60 seconds. Never getting that really big gap to lap on the 1 mile course. Wouldn't you know that in the final 10 laps it was dropping below 20 seconds and they were once again in site. Alejandro had flown the coupe with Jones from Nerac before we caught the group which once again was good for us. I was working my way to the very front again with less then 5 laps to go and there was a crash in front of me. Crap. Back to around 50th. So I tried again to get up to Geronimo and Guido who were right up front and with two laps to go but there was another crash. Blast. Finally on the last lap I rode out in the wind along side everyone trying to get as close to front as possible and back in the money which I did, but I wasn't able to help out Geronimo with the sprint. Alejandro did his thing and won just in front of the field and Geronimo manged 6th. So two in the top 10 with the victory, thats a pretty good day.
To finish off a splendid weekend of driving we piled back into the van and made the 6hr drive back to PA and finally made it to bed around 4am. Talk about being wrecked the following day. I woke up around noon and Geronimo got up a little after 2 in the afternoon. Even getting up that late the only thing I really felt like doing all day was napping. I'm trying to take a nap right now, but I wanted to throw up a quick update, which so far hasn't worked to my advantage. Man its rough being a bike racer. Hopefully your not trying to read this before you doing something else because I'm sure its taking to long to read. So I'll end it.
Thanks for reading
Friday, June 22, 2007
Just me along with a lot of my crap rolling down the rode in my sweet Astro. She's running nice right now. Hopefully she'll get me home. Oh yeah and doesn't my hair just look totally rad.
Not to many exciting things happened on the trip. Of course there was the person sporting a licsence plate that said "UNICRN", which was odd, and there was the pet monkey at the rest stop, but this is what made the drive most interesting.
It definelty made for some wild driving as the wind kicked up and the water was coming down in buckets. Well I have to unpack and repack for Rochesterd and Providence. Maybe it will be more exciting with a few others along on the trip.
Thanks for reading,