Friday, July 31, 2009

Crit Season

Crit racing is in full swing now. I've done criteriums for the past two weekends and have 4 more weekends of crit racing to go.

Currently I'm in host housing here in Elk Grove, IL a suburb of Chicago waiting on the boys to go for an early morning cruise before the TT. Elk Grove is a pretty sweet race because of the boat load of cash available to win and the support the town seems to put out. I wouldn't rate the course's as the best or even on par, but I know they are trying. Basically you race on the same roads that are used for the tt, curcuit race and criterium. The tt has 3 u-turns and an additional 2 corners, the circuit race has 26 corners per 15km lap, and the criterium actually has been down graded from two u-turns to just one, but at a length of 110km still very challenging.

A quick run down of the past two weeks. First I did the Indiana State Championship Criterium in Bloomington. It was a tough trying to get away and in the end it was field sprint that I wasn't excited about getting aggressive in. Two of the more exciting parts of the race were Ryan Knapp getting taken out as he was trying to pull through and Jason Follwer rolling a tubular. Everyone seemed to be ok which was good. The followind day I met up with the boys in Ohio for the Ohio State Championships. It was kind of painful to look over this flat course and look over the river to see a wall, and wishing we went over that. It was ok though as we had a handfull a super sprinters in Marco, Chad, and Ben. We had a plan that was working perfectly and had everything ready to take the win till we had a mishaps in the leadout with 500 meters to go and 4 guys on the front. Oh well it was only Tour de Burg and nobody was hurt to bad.

This past weekend was the Chicago Criterium. There was a huge field at this even with 170 some starters taking to the line. It's a pretty wide open course so easy to move around in. If it had been a tight course it would have been wicked. We were just trying to be in every move in case anything went away, but again another field sprint. I did my thing where I help position the sprinters up front and take them as close to the line as I can and get out of the way. It worked out pretty well as Chad was 5th. We were pretty happy with that and ready to improve on it. We seem to be getting better and more organized every weekend.

That brings us to this weekend at Elk Grove. Hopefully we continue to improve.

Breeze On.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HA Swan

After coming back from up north my father and I got to spend a couple of days with Will, who is recently retired. Will hasn't changed much from before retirement, but now instead of having no time to do anything, he has all the time to do anything, but less money. I'm starting to think being a pro cyclist is a lot like being retired. You get to travel, ride your bike, go places that aren't busy because everyone else is at work, but of course you don't have much money to do it.

But of course you can still have fun. We went for a little cruise on the bikes on Monday morning.



(Note: Not the first attempt at getting this priceless image. It only took us three tries)

After that we went out for Margaritas. I held off till later that night when I realized I wouldn't be making the drive home that night.



(Note: Will is NOT enlarged to show texture)

Later that night the bonding continued in the bike shop in the basement as Will worked on a couple of bikes.





(Note: Photos are not from this week. However things haven't changed much and this is a well representation of the night.)

Happy Retirement Will!

Breeze On

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fitchburg-Longsjo

Finally starting to get settled down from my trip out to Fitchburg to compete in my 6th Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic. It's hard to believe that I have raced it 6 times in the Pro 1,2 category since 2002, starting at a sprightly 20 years of age.

This year was the 50th anniversary of the race that is run in honor of the Fitchburg native Arther Longsjo who was a dual sport Olympian in speed skating and cycling. The promoter made a celebration out this long run event and recognized past champions of the race throughout the race and with a special dinner Saturday night. As a past champion this was very awesome and it brought me back to my glory days in 2007.

The racing itself was pretty much the same as it always has been on the streets of Fitchburg fast, furious, and challenging. Racing kicked off with yet another new time trial course. A 15km out and back course that gently rolled along and even over a lake in the country side. I had a good ride on the way out, but unfortunately not as good ride on the way back.

Friday was the circuit race. This circuit race and I have never gotten along. I've done it 6 times and one year I had flat, another year I had a snapped cable, and this year two guys went down in front of me and ended up over the handlebars in the grass. On this course that mostly equals getting yourself a lap behind. So as I said I crashed with 8 laps to go, luckily my collarbone held up this time, but after getting off the ground and a wheel change I was completely off. I just rode hard to finish just in front of the field 8 minutes down.

Saturday was the usual road race with a different twist. With not being able to use the road up to the summit of Mt Wachusette the finish this year would be at Princeton Center, which is near the feed zone. I wanted to be aggressive in this race as I was so far behind in the overall. I did find myself off the front a few laps in with a couple of others, but it was only for a lap before being reabsorbed. I spent the rest of the race riding the Bissell train as there were trying to protect Zirbel's overall lead, and watched as the field was shrinking with each time up to the feed zone. I didn't hit the finishing hill near the front, so I didn't finish near the front.

Sunday was the downtown criterium. I would have loved to be more aggressive in this race, but I really didn't start coming around till halfway through and was out of position at the end. Our young guest rider Adam did get off the front at the start, and Winstead was just to the break of the day before fallen back. They gave it a go for Team Kenda and that was good.

Directly after the race we started our long drive back. We stopped at Midnight for the night and started back up the following day at 9am arriving to Indy at 9pm. So some quick unpacking, laundry and repacking I was in bed by 1am and up by 7:30 driving up to Michigan for a bit of a vacation that starts today. I hoping to get some sweet riding in the UP of Michigan.

Breeze On