Monday, April 30, 2007

TOUR OF VIRGINIA

So that was a long one, and tough one.

The weekend started a bit rough for myself. How many of you out there have crashed during a time trial? As bad as that sounds, its not as bad as crashing the day before the time trial like I did. Now isn't that just ridiculous? I was pre riding the tt course, on the part of the course that was actually later taken out when I went to stand out of the saddle and my front wheel just turned into a rut on the side of the rode and bam I went down. Luckily just some scrapes and the biggest loss on the day were my shorts and humility.

I really wish we had Internet where we were staying, but we were basically staying in the middle of no where in a farm house that looked like it belonged in a horror film. So I dont really feel like giving stage by stage details, but I try to highlight a few things.

After a bit of work on my short efforts this off season I was able to improve on my prologue time trialing and was able to finish in 8th place only 8 seconds back. Hopefully this trend will continue. There still is room for improvement, but this is a step in the right direction. It sucks to be out contention in stage race after only a few miles of time trialling. Our "Golden Goose" or "Golden Ticket" as we like to refer to him finished in 17th only 16 seconds back on the lead and would later in the criterium that night move himself 10 seconds closer after winning and getting the time bonus.

The next day was very difficult not only because of the Cat 1 climb after 90 miles of racing, but because of the aggressive racing. Our boys Stephen, Norton, and Dewald did a great job cover the moves and Norton found himself in the break of the day that a few miles later would turn into the split of the day after only 50 miles of racing. Luckily our boy Alejandro made the split that was around 20 guys and was able to take the sprint for second place. I was a bit disappointed for not making that split, because that pretty much ended my chance at a high GC finish. I was still able to recover a bit on the climb and catch some of the guys who fell off the break and finish 1:45 down on the group after being 4 minutes down at the bottom of the climb.

The 4th stage or "queen stage" as it was referred to started of a bit easier and the race leaders team Caico took over after a break of three or so went up the road. The action really didnt start till we hit the first Cat 1 climb of the day after 60 miles of racing. We went up it pretty hard and by the top it was down to 3 Caico guys bowman and myself. There was a lot of regrouping after 13 mile decent and the field was basically back together with a group of 5 who had attacked up the rode. Caico started to chase and we even threw Stephen up there to help bring it back so then either Norton or Ian could set me up to attack up the climb as I was climbing quite well. But unfortunately that plan went by the way side as I stood on the side of the rode a few miles of the climb with a flat tire. Stephen pulled over gave me his wheel, but i have a drop out issue and it took some time to get in, but once we did Ian helped pace me back on for a while, then I was able to get in the caravan just at the base of the climb. I worked my way up before it got steep and just jumped for the front of the group. Being pretty tired at this time I didn't attack, as I was a bit worried about the effort I had just put in and being able to go over the top. But the whole time we were climbing I was thinking it would have to get harder and they would go faster, but it never happened and was again I found myself going over the leaders and right with me was the Golden Goose. 8 of us came off the climb together and started working towards the finish. Unfortunately another group caught us 10km out. There was an attack and I reeled it back in wanting to keep it together for Alejandro and as soon as I brought it back the field sat up and "sense the fear in the legs" as Alejandro said he attacked with 7km to go and never looked back. Caico was chasing with what they had, but were no match for Alejandro and his break away partner. Alejandro took the win and the time bonus and now was within 20 some seconds of the overall.

Now the game plan had switched a bit with all the big climbs of the tour done and we needed time bonuses to set up Alejandro for the overall victory. Well sure enough a break went on the third day and it was up to us to bring it back because we needed time bonus and Caico didnt want us to have the chance at them. Almost everyone else was basically going for stage wins at this time due to the fact of the big time gaps. 50 miles into this stage found Stephen, Norton, and myself on the front trying to bring the break back. It was just over 2 minutes and with 20 or so miles to go we had it right around 1 minute, right where we wanted. We didn't want to catch it and have to deal with counter, but with only 12 miles to go and the break within a minute the attacks went anyways. I covered the first few and that was about it. The field was staying together, but still moving at a high rate of speed. We repositioned ourselves at the front for the lead out and nail back the last few hundred meters of the gap. Norton got it real close, Stephen was there, and I took Alejandro around the last corner right up to the back of the break and he took off. He ended up second, but he was on a neutral support bike with Sram and was in to big of a gear for the uphill sprint. But still the gap now was only 12 seconds..

The crit the follow day had one time bonus sprint with 7 laps to go and of course one on the finish. Once again it was up to Stephen, Norton and myself to keep the race together so Alejandro could get the time bonuses. We did a god job keeping the race together and there were no break aways for either sprint. Caico boxed out Alejandro on the time bonus sprint with 4 of there guys and then he finished 3rd on the stage. Now only 8 seconds separated us from the overall, and the first place time bonus the next day would be 10 seconds.

This race did everything, but go to plan. A break went within 20 miles of the start that contained the race leader, Bowman (who was sitting 3rd) and the 4th place rider on GC. Radio communication between Com 1 and everyone else was down during this time and before we knew it they had 2 minutes and 20 seconds and 10 guys. We gave it all we had, even Alejandro was up there helping, and the Harley team to nail back the break, but we couldn't get it. We gave it everything and ended up short. It was kind of a disappointed after all that work and being so close. That is what makes stage racing so tough, everything has to go perfectly right to win. Im sure we will get a few in the next few months of racing. Are team is strong, and we will continue to turn some heads this year. I can't wait till the next time.

Thanks for reading
Breeze On

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

6 days till the Tour of Virginia.

So Katie and I have decided that we have outgrown our one bedroom apartment, more or less just I have to much crap, and we have decided to move into a two bedroom apartment. So now I am going to have a bike room/office/studio. Im pretty excited about this. Not only that but now we will have water front property.

So it appears that winter may be finally over after the past few days of freezing conditions and even some snow showers. Hopefully that will cover it. Now the April showers can bring the May flowers. And of course we all know what May flowers bring dont we?? Pilgrims, of course. (thanks for that insight dad)

How bout the Tour of Virginia being less then a week away. This is going to be one grueling stage race. Check out the course at tourofvirginia.com There is not one flat rode on any of the courses. After another stellar performance put in by the team in an NRC race in Florida I think we are once again going to be ready to put on some great performances. Hopefully this time it will be with us on the top rung of the podium.

For fun here is the profile for stage 4


Here is a photo I snapped of the Jons (better known as Royal and Swain) this past weekend at the collegiate race on Marian's Campus.

And it pretty much sums up the race for Marian. Hope you heal up quickly Swain. (A sequence of shots can be found here.)

Thanks for reading,
Breeze On

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Back to good ole Indiana before the Tour of Virginia. Of course like much of this part of the country after being 70's and 80's the weather has decided that a few more days of winter wouldn't hurt. After having a good day on Tuesday, yesterday was flawned with rain, and even an actual tornado just a few miles away, and today as I write this Im watching the snow fly. Talk about your ultimate demotivator to ride. All I have to say is that Guy and Swain better be at our meeting spot today for our ride, and on time.

So now is your chance to own some great stuff. I am selling off a few things and for those who are interested let me know. Here is a list of things that I am selling.

Priority Health Cycling Team Short Sleeve Jersey Size Small $25
Priority Health Cycling Team Wind Vest Size Medium $20
Priority Health Cycling Team Wind Jacket Size Medium $30
Priority Health Cycling Team Arm Warmers Size Small $15
Priority Health Cycling Team Long Sleeve Jersey Size Small $40

Priority Health Cycling Team Helmet Bell Size S/M $30
Axely Sun Glasses (different styles) $20

Easton Tempest II Aluminum Clincher Wheelset $300
Eddy Merckx Team SC Frameset $250
***Rear dropouts were torn up a bit by a wheel seizing up in it. Still can get it in straight, and I rode it, but its not perfect.

I can send pictures to anyone intersted in any of these products. If your from Michigan I will be doing Cone Azailia so you can see the products in person there if you are interested.

Thanks for buying
Breeze On
Decided to renew breezer.org so it is back up and running. Updates will go there first, but will make it this way. So be sure to check out BREEZER.ORG for the most up to date info and schedules, results, photos, and more.

Thanks for your patience
Breeze On

Monday, April 09, 2007

WET, WILD, AND CRAZY

Who would have imagined that the US Open in Virginia would be 40 degrees colder and wetter then the Tour of Flanders held a day later in Belgium. The race which began in Williamsburg, Virginia had caught many riders by surprise when they awoke to snowy and sub freezing conditions. The weather along with the fact that they couldn't get the television helicopter in the air caused the race to start on an hour delay. With the extra hour to prepare riders were able to shamble together ways to stay warm. Some of these include wearing latex or dish washing gloves, plastic bags over feet, knee warmers on your head, but luckily enough for us our supplies of Sports Balm came in which kept us plenty warm in the cold and wet conditions.

After a few early morning crashes where riders t-boned into each other, on two separate occasions before the race began and a rider or two running into the back of the official car during the neutral start after it had slammed on the breaks after missing the first corner, the race ran fairly smoothly.

The first 100km's to Richmond saw many attack attempts, but nothing that got more then 30seconds. Even with the headwind and crosswind the field was moving to fast for a group to exscape. There were a few hard crosswind sections, and the field strung out which did catch a few riders off guard, but they weren't anything that would decimate the field, that would come in the final closing circuits.

Right from the first out of 9 times up the cobble climb of Libby Hill the field was basically full gas. After the climb there was a flat section before doing a quick decent back into town before basically a 1km climb to the finishing line. Once you got to the top of climb you had to deal with a few corners and a lot of wind before doing a decent, partly on cobbles, before making your way back up Libby Hill.

There were many attacks on the circuits and once again 30 seconds seemed to the largest advantage for most of the day. After a stellar performance put in by the our guys who were watching the early moves, and a few misfortunes it was down to Alejandro and I do what we could to finish off the deal. After Alejandro got a quick bike change I quickly took him back up into the field, and tried to keep him as close to the front as I could, and just stay around him if he needed help. And I'll be honest here, he didn't need much of that.

As the laps ticked down more and more riders where finding there way out of the race, and there were more and more attacks going off the front. With two laps to go is when Alejandro took over. With the two guys up the road and a group of 7 chasers the field began to attack. A few more riders got a gap and began to close the gap on the 7 chasers. I went to the front to try bring it closer so Alejandro could make the jump. I wasn't able to give it as much as I would like, but Alejandro was able to take matters in his own hands and took off on the cobble climb to bridge up to the front groups which had formed into one. For myself I was just behind that group and couldn't get up to it on the final lap.

Alejandro the beast that he is followed the final attack up to the finish and was able to take the field sprint which just came in biting at the heals of McCarty who was in the winning break of 2. This was an awesome performance for the Rite Aid team. We were able to take a spot on the podium at our first NRC race which also happened to be a UCI race.

Next up for me is the Tour of Virginia. After finishing this race last year I have been really looking forward to it. The whole team is going into this one very excited and really looking forward to it, especially after riding some of the courses during camp. We will be looking for another result and hopefully this time we can be standing on the top step of the podium.

Thanks for reading
Breeze On

Friday, April 06, 2007

ONE SLEEP

That's Aussie talk for one day. One day till the US Open Cycling Championships begin in what should be a frosty Williamsburg, Virginia. The next time I will be riding my bike will be in front of a nationally televised audience, all be it on a slight time delay, and with a 183 others which could make noticing me a bit difficult, but nevertheless I will be there.

The race will begin in Williamsburg where temperatures are forcasted to be in the mid 30's with a chance of some precipitation and will head northwest into the wind as it makes the 60mile trek into Richmond. Once arriving in Richmond racers and race fans will be entertained with 8 5.5mile circuits which will include a cobble climb up Libby Hill, a cobbled decent through the Shockoe Slip, some construction, rough rodes, and some nice views of historic Richmond. The finish will be in front of the Virginia Library and expected to be sometime around noon. Television coverage starts the same day at 2:30 on NBC. As long as they actually show racing on this television coverage instead of other things, it should be a great race to watch.

So the rest of the team shall be arriving soon which means dinner is just right around the corner. Then a snooze till 5 in the morning and it will be time to head on down to the start of the US Cycling Open Championships. Be sure to cheer on myself and the rest of the Rite Aid team, and if your lucky maybe you will see me. Of course it would be hard not to see the winner. Ha

Thanks for reading
Breeze On

Word on the street is that I am number 143.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Rite Aid Pro Cycling Takes Another Victory and Goes One Better
Tyson’s Corner Circuit Race - Tyson’s Corner, VA

Many of the Rite Aid pros took advantage of the local racing scene to help sharpen their legs for the upcoming US Open Cycling Championships in Richmond, Virginia on April 7th. The Tyson’s Corner Circuit Race was a short aggressive race that allowed the 6 Rite Aid riders the opportunity to ride aggressive and work on some leg speed. The event started with a break of 7 riders slipping away early. Sebastian Alexander had the break covered and could have won the race out of the break, but the team didn’t like the 1 out of 7 representation. Ian Ayers, Jake Rytlewski, Mike Norton, Guido Palma and Alejandro Barrajo kept the pressure on the riders by covering any attacks and putting in a few of their own. The last 10 laps were probably the fastest of the race. During those last laps Rite Aid saw Alejandro away solo, Ian away with one rider and a nicely timed moved from the 20 year old Guido. He made his final move coming into 1 lap remaining and Guido was caught with 400 meters left in the race. The team had Guido’s back covered as Sebastian started the final leadout. The well-timed train saw only Alejandro come by Sebastian giving Rite Aid the first two places, one step up from last weeks 1st and 3rd.

Tyson’s Corner Circuit Race
75 Minutes, Tyson’s Corner, VA
1st Place: Alejandro Borrajo (Rite Aid Pro Cycling)
2rd Place: Sebastian Alexander (Rite Aid Pro Cycling)

After two weeks of claiming victories in the local racing scene, the boys are confident and ready for big events coming up in April. US Open Cycling Championships – April 7th. Tour of Virginia – April 24th – 29th. US South East Criterium Series – April 28th – May 6th