Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ROCHESTER TWILIGHT
and
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
Breeze On

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another successful 650 miles traveled. Next up in a few hours is a short 400 mile drive up to Rochester, NY. At least I wont be driving and I can hopefully sprawl out in a back seat somewhere. The trip yesterday went by rather fast even though I left a bit later after having a what I thought was a good morning. First I woke up, went for a ride, had Katie cut my hair, I made us some pancakes and finished packing.


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,
Breeze On

Thursday, June 14, 2007

PHILLY!

The big dance as far as one day races in the US goes. There is nothing like being on the start line staring down the Ben Franklin Parkway with the national anthem playing getting ready to race 250km's, with the best racers in the US along with some of the best racers in the world. Specators were filling in the grand stands and starting to line the streets as Europe's "The Final Countdown" began to play under the cloudy and cool conditions of this years edition.

Ready, Set, Go! and we were off first to do 3 "parade" laps around 30mph before tackling the bulk of the races distance that consisted of a 10 lap loop which contained the Manyunk Wall. From what I saw it seemed the race was a bit less aggressive during the parade laps, and once entering the long loops, from the two previous years that I have done it. But like most races the attacks soon came, and once again unlike the previous years I have done would not stop till the very end.

The days first major break came after the second time up the wall. I had myself in decent position and found myself just behind the break in a group of 7 but in front of the main field. I tried following a few riders attempting to bridge, but not wanting to make the effort this early on in the race as it was the plan of the day, the rest of my group sat up and the group of 16 was up the road and the field was back together.

Now this is where the early break usually goes and the field sits up for a few laps before a team decides it has been long enough and its time to race, but this years edition was different, and I believe the next step in the race may have changed the course of events. The Rite Aid team went to front to start to bring back the break. We went to the front and were able to keep the gap at or under a minute before the next time up the wall. As we were climbing I felt my front tire going flat, darn. So I sat down and kept pressure off the front end and rode it to the top before getting a new wheel. So I chase back on and get back without to much problems, but as soon as I made contact, BAM! another front flat. What luck? And a rough morning as cycling news put it. So I chase and get back as Navigators had hit the front and decided they would bring back the break.

I moved up quickly as the pace had really picked up by the Navigators putting the pressure on to real in the early break before the 4th time up the Wall. You always know how far along the race is by the crowd and the smells. First of all the crowd gets bigger and bigger as the race goes on. Then the smell of alcohol and other substences fill the air as the crowd begins to get a bit wilder and wilder, but it seems like just before the final lap that its a bit quiter as they see a bit tired. Its pretty cool. Anyways not that the ealry break was back, it was once again time for another break.

Riders began to attack back and forth till more breaks would go, but teams who missed the breaks would quickly get to the front to bring it back. I followed a few moves then, and the following lap Stephen was up there doing a good job of following moves for a while. Clayton wtih a badly injured wrisk followed a move or two as well. We were putting in a good team effort today. More attacks went and on the 6th lap two Navigators got off the front on their own.

Then on the seventh time over the wall I found myself in a bit of a split and just like most laps before it more attacks went. Then I attacked and ended up opening up a bit of a gap as the field was closing. As soon as I got the gap was there the field sat up a bit and I was in pursuit of the two leaders heading into the 8th lap. I caught one of the Navigators rider who must have put in an earlier effort to help is teammate and after the 8th time over the wall only one rider was in front of me. As I was coming into the Strawberry Mansion area a small group had caught me and now I was working 5 others.

We hit the 9th lap not to far behind the lone leader, but on the other side not that far in front of the peloton. We were caught shortly after the feed zone and once again the counters went. I followed the first one, but that wasn't the one that went. Now a group of 11 was going up the rode with the race winding down. Slipstream didn't like the move and they quickly went to the front for the remainder of the lap and the following lap till bringing it back on the wall the 10th and final time.

This is where my race report will basically end. I didnt have good position going into the wall the last time most likely because I was to tired at this point to hold or get position, and there was a split in the field that never came back. I then rode around in the second group till the finish. Our guy for the day Alejandro of course made the front group and sprinted out for a tough fought 4th place. So all the work on the day put in by everyone had payed off. We had a solid team effort and probably the best of the year.

Thanks for reading,
Breeze On

Friday, June 08, 2007

Reading

While I really dont have much to say about this race because personally it didn't go as well as I hoped or it could have. So Im sorta of bummed. I wasn't feeling all that great on the day. The race really started on the first acent up Mt. Penn. I got caught behind a crash 2km before the climb and was near the back before the first time up. I was never able to make it back towards the front on the following or last time time up and was just behind the main group after the final climb up. Maybe next time. Although it didn't go well for myself Alejandro once again proved to be one of the top racers in the country this year with a solid 2nd place, even with crashing earlier on. What a champ.

On a brighter note this year preforming at the Bay City Pig Gig will be the Bay City Rollers and Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx. So I am pretty excited about that. Hopefully I will have that weekend off of racing so I can relax to some sweet sounds.

Speaking of sweet sounds check out this video of me playing the drums. This is the first time I've actually posted me playing because Im starting to get the hang of it, but still have plenty of room for improvement. But I have really only banging on them for 8 months now. Once I stop wasting my time pedalling around, maybe I'll have more time for this.



Thanks for reading/watching
Breeze On

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lancaster

So now it is my third go around at Commerce Bank Triple Crown, and I believe I have my best fitness ever which I help will result in some well good results. Up first is the infamous Lancaster course. It's a pretty sweet course that basically winds through town and a park with a few corners and some rollers. Its a challenging course that keeps you on your toes.

So for this years edition it was held under raining conditions which before the start had me feeling a bit more nervous. I guess it didn't help when race officials would come up to you and tell you how slippery it was and to be carefully. Oh great huh. Surprisingly to myself once we started I felt a lot less nervous about the rain and I believe it really didn't affect the way I raced, which is the way it should be.

Well as the for the race a break got up the road on the second lap and for us we had Geronimo in it, so that was a huge plus. He put in a great effort to stay up in the break to the very end, while some others dropped off. Then it felt like we just rolled around for a while and CSC got on the front to keep the break close and eventually so close that it was caught with 4 laps to go. I had good position just before and after the catch ready to make a move that might go, but nothing was doing until a lap later when the winning move had went and of course I had found myself slipping to far back. I can't do that if I expect to get a result. Alejandro like he has done in a few races now recogonized the urgency of the group going off the front and bridged across before 2 to go.

As the field everyone seemed content enough or just to run down to do anything about it and basically sat up as the race went up the road. Alejandro finished off 7th which is hell of a result at this race, but Im sure he was dissappointed and expects nothing less then winning, which is a good attitude to have if you want to win bike races.

So up next is the new course of the 3 race series in Reading with it only be the second year of the race. But this year they did change it up a bit by adding an additional 2 trips up Mt. Penn instead of just the one we made last year. I can't wait to race again and am really ready to put in that special effort it takes to score a big result. Wish me luck, its some tough competition out there.

Thanks for reading
Breeze On
Lancaster

This race's powerfile is very interesting. Doing a big race like Lancaster brings into account two factors how easy can you go when its going easy? and How hard do you have to go when its going hard? Here is the basic data:

Entire workout (248 watts):
Duration: 3:17:58
Work: 2945 kJ
TSS: 267.6 (intensity factor 0.901)
Norm Power: 333
VI: 1.34
Distance: 133.247 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1050 248 watts
Heart rate: 67 186 147 bpm
Cadence: 29 126 83 rpm
Speed: 0 69.4 40.4 kph
Pace 0:52 0:00 1:29 min/km
Crank Torque: 0 108.7 27.5 N-m

At first glance of this I noticed that the Norm Power was fairly high for an event over 3hrs long, or at least that has been my experience so far since this has been really my first year with power. But after breaking down how much time I spent in each zone I soon found out why.

I spent 1hr 39min in Level 1 (<205watts) 49% of the race with 44min's (22%) of that not pedaling! Not to shabby.

The part that makes racing hard is being able to make the efforts later on in the race and that is easier to do if you can conserve the energy you will need later. I tried going with some moves as soon as the early break was brought back, but the move went a lap later and I had already slipped to far back to make the break. So what makes the racing hard before the splits? Its all the hard efforts to make it to the important finally of the races. As shown when I looked at the amount of time I spent in Level 6 (>450 watts)

40mins (20%) of the race I spent at or above level 6. I found that to be a fair amount. Thats why races like this are tough because after a while it is hard to make these high substanable efforts. They surely will break up a race.

Thanks for analyzing,
Breeze On