Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"You say Goodbye, I say Hello"

Today at 5:18 summer officially comes to an end, which brings in fall and soon enough winter.

Goodbye racing. Racing is now only a memory and a dream. You can sit and think about the races you did and then dream about doing better in them next year. Everything you do now is focused on the races to come, and they can't come soon enough. Group rides will have to surfice for now, but they are just not the same.

Goodbye to long summer days and not leaving for some rides till after 5pm. Riding with the working world becomes now tough as they tend not to get out of work till night fall. Also goodbye to those tag alongs. That random person or two you run across while riding that rides in your slipstream that appears has no particular place to go.

Goodbye to those fabulous tan lines. I'm not saying that I will miss them as they really are not that flattering, but there are two things I do appreciate about them. First of all I see them as sort of a battle scar of being constantly out training and riding my bike. I even get the helmet strap line which is like the top mark you can receive. Secondly anytime a pant leg rolls up or if you have the will power to walk around without a shirt they make for a great laugh for others.

Goodbye to my bike. Time to let the bike collect a bit of dust. Although this year I'm finding it harder to set it down as I just find myself out on it goofing off for an hour or two. It can be quite enjoyable to go out without much of a purpose or plan and just roll for fun not worrying about heartrate, power, speed, Kj's, blah, blah, blah.

Hello to my bike. It's been to long away from you. No matter how much time I take away from my bike I instantly begin to miss it. My day's just don't seem complete. I guess that is what happens when you've been consistently training on it for over 7 years.

Hello to clothes with these words, "warmer", "fleece", and "thermal". Anything that had a tan that is fading will soon be gone as it will be covered by one of these. That big heavy jacket in the back of the closet that has just been in the way is going to be making a regular appearance. Where it took you 5 minutes to get ready for a ride will not approach the twenty minute time frame with the abundance of clothes, hats, booties, and gloves you have to fit on.

Hello wind. Yes there is wind in the summer, but it is not even close to the same as it is in the winter. Any amount of vegatation such as bushes, trees, and corn fields are now bare and there is nothing to slow it down. You find yourself either riding 50kmh or 20kmh.

Hello to indoor work. The first thing this includes is rollers/trainers. You can put them off a long time, and trust me I do now. But soon enough the temperature will drop below 30 and when that happens rain freezes and turns into the precipitation known as snow. Snow makes if very difficult unsafe to ride on the roads. The second this includes is maintenance. The roads are constantly salty and usually wet and salty. You must stay on top of keeping your bike clean or it will never make it to spring working properly.

Hello to living the dream. Who would have guessed I would be able to race my bike for this long. This doesn't happen without a huge supporting cast. I'm very grateful that on most days the only thing I have to do is get up and ride my bike. There is nothing I'd rather be doing.

Breeze On

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Breezer True Hilly Hundred

It's that time of the year again. I'm not exactly sure on the date yet as I want to try to get the best date available for everyone. Last year I had a great turn out and appreciate those who came out. Once again this is not a race and we all stay together through the whole ride. Any suggestions on dates?

The follow dates don't work:

October 17-18th: I have a wedding to go to.
October 24th-25th: Hilly Hundred. (everyone including myself like doing this)
Novermber 7th-8th: Iceman

So either:
October 10th, October 31st, or November 14th.

I've been hearing alot this year about how Levi Leiphemer started his own ride. He has 3,500 people registered for his ride to show off his training grounds. I hope to get a percent of that for my ride to show of what surprises southern Indiana has to offer.

Breeze On

Monday, September 14, 2009

Univest Grand Prix

I've only competed at this race one other time during it's ten or so year span, but from what I know it is a very unique race. From my experiences it is a mix of a European classic with a splash of American flare. You are racing on curvy, twisty, hilly roads out in the country of eastern Pennsylvania against many foreigners for 100km, then you come into the town of Souderton and do a 5.5km circuit 11 times that is like a hard criterium.

This year's event was even more unique. They made the race into a stage race by adding a team time trial on the day before the road race in Allentown, PA. To even out the competition the use of any time trial equipment was not allowed, and you were only able to start with mass start legal equipment. I don't really think they need this event to make the road race exciting, as it seems that it works itself out, but I do believe that this stage was an awesome race in itself.

The time trial was held on a 7km circuit through town that we would do twice. It included a number of corners and a couple of short hills. With this being the first team time trial in a major event in the US over the past two years not many teams get to work on this skill. As our team rolled backwards to check out the course before our start we saw other teams having some of the same problems we would soon encounter. Of course the weather on the day was no help with rain showers, wind gust to 30mph, and temps at best just touching 60.

Teams were composed of 4-6 and the time would be taken on the 3rd rider across the line. We were a man short on the start and went out with 5 riders. It wasn't long before we started, not even 300 meters, before we were out of sink. Unfortunately for us we were never able to find the chemistry needed to put out a good result. We had a decent first lap split, but we were soon down to 3 riders and you're only as good as your 3rd rider on the day.

So Saturday came and the weather hadn't improved much other then the wind died down, but I wouldn't have mind a bit of wind. Most of the time this race is full on from the start and very aggressive with 3 sprints and 2 kom's in the first 50km's. The field usually finds itself in a few groups as it enters the circuits. This year was slightly different as there was a break of 4 followed by the peloton which was largely intact, other then a few stragglers and those, including myself who never made it through the neutral start.

That's right, I never made it through the 3km neutral start. As we were all bunched up rolling down a slight hill one guy goes down and just like dominoes 25 or so more guys are down. The rest of the race rolled to the real start and waited for those who could gather themselves off the pavement and get their equipment fixed. I rolled there and was in to much pain to continue. My day and season was done.

On that note it is onto 2010 where I'm hoping to grow on the end of the 2009 season. See you all on the road next year.

Breeze On

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Richmond Twilight

Last Saturday night was something you don't see everyday, a local twilight crit. There are a few staples in cycling in the Midwest during the Labor day weekend with the Gateway Cup in St Louis and the series in Michigan that includes Erie St. Crit in Canada eh. But with being away from home the past 5 weeks I decided a nice weekend at home would be nice and I could still get a race in.

I got a nice ride in the morning and spent much of the afternoon just waiting to leave while watching college football. Eventually the time did come to leave and Katie and I were off to the race in Richmond, IN. The course looked fairly tight, and word on the street was that it wasn't all that safe with pedestrians, dogs, and frisbees making there way onto the course throughout the day. I also noticed that lack of light fictures concerning me as I knew we would be racing in the night.

I sat on the side of the road as I watched the 5 women race growing tired and not feeling like warming up, but more like getting ready for bed. As there race ended I entered the course to take a lap or two, and not only noticed the ligths going up on the course, but the light going on in my head telling me I was ready and excited to race.

It was a smaller field as I'm sure the previous races mentioned took a bit away, but still there were plenty of quality riders. Jim and I just had to be with everything and see how things would unfold. He covered the first few Panther and Texas Roadhous attacks, and soon enough strong man Paul Martin took off. I knew it was my turn and one of us better get on it. So I went after it with Greg Strock and another rider on my wheel. We bridged up in a lap and soon our advantaged built up quickly.

Soon it was just Paul, Greg, and myself rolling around the course which was very fun to do, especially with just the three of us. The only thing that was giving us difficulty was the pace car getting in our way. Just over halfway through the race we did make it around and lapped what was left of the field.

From here Paul and I each took a couple of chances of attacking, but neither one of us really gave an inch. Some how with less then 6 laps to go I found myself alone with Paul and Greg who each had one teammate as what was left of the race was just in front now. The last few laps I spent thinking of how I could win the bike race. I haven't really won sprint latley so I thought this would be the time I'd try attacking. With a lap to go I took my chance opened up a slight gap, but Paul's teammate Greg, brought me back into the fold a half lap later and it would come down to a sprint that I would not be ready for. So I ended up 3rd. I took a chance, but this time it didn't work out, maybe it will next time.

So that leaves me with one road race weekend left which is this weekend in PA at the Univest Grand Prix. Friday is a team trial, Saturday is the famous road race, and Sunday is the Doylestown criterium. I can't wait for Sunday, crits are my thing.

Breeze On

Friday, September 04, 2009

Next Year

I'm happy to announce that I will be continuing to race with the Kenda Pro Cycling Team next year. The program is very much on the rise and I am happy that I will be able to be a part of it. I can not give out any more information then that, but as soon as the information comes out I will be sure to post it here as well. Thanks for another year of support and I'm going to need another.

As always,
Breeze On

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Not Quite Yet

My 5th year at the USPRO Road Race Championships finished up much like the last 4, slightly more then a bit off. This past weekend was my fourth race in Greenville and unlike the past two this year I didn't encounter any mechanicals (that hindered my result), but just didn't have the legs on this particular day.

The Kenda Pro Cycling team came prepared with a strong lineup of 10 riders only to be caught out with 5 as the first 30km's left half the team out with a crash, and a couple of mishaps. Then the five of us pressed on only to miss out on a silly split coming back into town after the first lap. Scottie, Matt, Chris and Ty backed myself and Justin up well as they took to the front to bring the split closer so the race would come back together. After 15kms of chasing, a trip over the mountain, and back down the 4 minute gap was wiped off and we were all back together.

After the 3rd ascent I was on my own in a much smaller group as the field had been fallen apart from the fast pace being set. Unfortunelty on the final ascent I didn't have the position, nor the legs to stay with the front elite group. After all was said and done I ended up in the third group on the road, attacked out of it coming into the circuits to try to get to the next group, only to be brought back with 2 circuits to go and finishing up 19th. Not what I had in mind going into, and not what I'm only capable of. Just didn't have the legs on this particular day and everyone else road strong. I had a great team to back me as well. Luckily for me I will have another shot at it next year as the race will remain in Greenville and I really believe this is a course that suits me very well.

Thanks for the support,
Breeze On