Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our Piece of the Pie

Tomorrow kicks off the race with, if not the most, prize money in the US for a bike race. The Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove is a 3 day race taking part all in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove.

I think this is the only race I do where I think about the amount of prize money before the race begins. Other then when I figure if going to a local race will be worth the expendatures. 99% of the time I just want to win and the prize money is an after thought after the results have come in. But it's hard to ignore the $120,000 that is available to win.

Tomorrow evening is a short 8km time trial, Saturday is a 155km circuit race through the burbs, and Sunday is the longest criterium I do at 115kms.

Kenda Pro Cycling PB GearGrinder is bringing an 8 rider hit squad including Weiss, Hartley, Sundt, Stemper, Birdman, Bush, Luca (who just flew back from his mother land), and myself. We are out for victory and our piece of the pie. Things won't be easy and never are. There will be plenty of competition with a solid mix of time trialers and strong men for the overall and sprinters for the circuit race and criterium.

Other then that training has been going good. Other then Saturday when I was lucky I found a bathroom when I did. That's a story in itself. On Tuesday I got to meet up with a few of my old pals and did a ride with them. That was fun and I'm looking forward to be able to do that a few more times coming up.

After having just a weekend off of racing I'm really ready to get back at it.

Breeze On

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A close one

I don't talk much about races I'm not in, but what a tour. Came down to the very end. I'm sure there will be much debate till next years Tour about the chain debacle. Everyone has there two cents and here is mine.

I don't think there is anything wrong with not waiting. Andy had the mishap, he should deal with it. The part that doesn't sit right with me is seeing Alberto attacking and squeaking by on Andy's left side as he's come to a stop because of a mechanical. You do have to ride and stay with leaders. Everyone did wait as Andy and a slew of others crashed in stage 3 on the decent, so that sort of evens out.

Does anybody remember the cobble stone race. Do you think Cancellara would have slowed down with Andy in tow if Contador punctured as he was behind? I'm thinking no. But like I said before it wouldn't have been like they went attacking around again with a mechanical.

Oh well. There are so many what if's in life and the best thing to do is not think about them and live in the present. Learn from your mistakes, and live with what you have.

How bout Brent Bookwalter. The best man in my wedding. One day to go till he finishes his first tour, 2nd grand tour of the year, and his career. Good work Brent. Have an awesome ride tomorrow.

Breeze On

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Riders On The Storm

We've been stuck in a weather pattern that has been hazy, hot, and humid with storms usually in the afternoon.

Most of the area where I can ride is pretty flat and you can see for miles. This means two things. You bake in the sun with no shade and you can see storms forming and where they are very easy. Today I took advantage of being able to see the storms as I dodged a few for the first 3hrs of my ride before I felt I was plenty hot and need to cool down. I took a turn and jumped into mother nature's sprinkler. It felt great! As soon as I thought I was good I took another turn, as there are many roads to choose from, and headed for the dry.

After 30 minutes of baking in the sun some more I was wishing I was back in the rain. It's the only time of the year I enjoy riding in the rain. The next few days looks like it will continue to the be much of the same.

Breeze On

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finally!

Friday morning I headed out for a good training ride. I ran into a good friend of mine Scott Moon who was on a tandem. It was nice to be able to catch up with him. It's been a while since I've been able to ride with posse out here in Avon since I've been on the road so much over the past couple of months. For that reason I had no intentions on racing till Elk Grove. I was just planning on staying home, spending time with family, and training without worrying about the racing.

All changed when I got a phone call from Birdman on Friday afternoon asking if I was going to go racing. I said no that I didn't really feel like it, and he continued to try to talk me into. He said he would even train with me on Sunday. So I kinda of knew right then he must have really wanted me to go with him. It's not so much the racing I didn't mind doing, it's everything that goes into it. The packing, traveling, and paying $50 entries for a 75 minute race. I ended up calling him a few minutes later and asked him what time WE were leaving.

We had a good team at the race with Birdman, Marco, Bush, Baldesare, Gamm, and myself. With two, arguably three of the strongest finishers in the race, having the race come down to a sprint finish was no worry to us. We really didn't want a break to go without one of the sprinters. We were in it to win it. The race was fairly aggressive, mostly by NUVO, but mostly the bigger teams marked each other out. There were few breaks/splits, but nobody really worked hard enough to stay away more then a lap or two. Our team was on everything. It's getting to the point where I'm saying to myself I want to be in that one, but my teammate is there. Dang. Everyone is riding so well.

At one point a group of 5 or so got away for a lap with Birdman in it when things picked up to bring it back and as soon as it came back Jonathan Jacobs for NUVO went and I jumped across with a guy on my wheel. We had a decent gap and I worked with him. The other guy just sat on saying he couldn't work. I worked hard to quickly build up a gap as a strong group of 4 guys were trying to chase on. We managed to stay away. I knew I had to win for the team so I took the right steps to make sure I did. I was worried about the guy who sat on the whole time, but I was able to take the sprint finish for my first victory in a while. It wasn't the biggest race, but it still felt good to win.

How'd our sprint finishers do? Well they took 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the field sprint. Marco ended up 3rd in the State of Ohio Criterium Championships. Congratulations on your bronze. You can put it next to your silver medals.

The best part of the whole thing was the confidence my teammates had in me in finishing the race off. Birdman was pretty sure I finished 3rd, and the look on the guys faces when I said I won was priceless. It was the same look a kid gives when he gets the one Christmas gift he really wanted.

So come Sunday Birdman held up his promise of training with me, sort of. He pulled off a bit early and we started an hour later as he decided to sleep in, which really ended up sucking as the last 45 minutes of the ride was in the pouring rain and wind. The pressure dropped so much that my Gramin thinks I climbed a 2 mile climb at 5%, at the same time the storm started. In reality that point in the ride couldn't be much flatter.

Also on Sunday one my athletes that I coach, Adam Rodkey won the cat 3 time trial state championships. He has been ripping it up this year, and put in a PR in the 40km a few weeks ago. Nationals is coming up for him in a couple of weeks.

For myself another week of training coming up. No racing this weekend, maybe.

Breeze On

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot and Sweaty

This past month has been filled with tons of racing, including 4 crits and two stage races. So there hasn't been much need for training between with that much racing jammed in. But now that the next race, Elk Grove, is a few weeks away it's back to training.

It really feels like it's been a while since I've trained in this kind of heat. The last time that comes to mind is August of 2007. It just so happened that my Rite Aid teammates where staying with me. That was a lot of dudes in a small place. Good times though.

In winter and spring I've gone on rides and only had 2 bottles for a 4hr (not a good thing), but I've done it. On yesterdays 4hr ride I had 8, and still felt like I rationing it. I always like to plan my rides around areas I know I'll be able to stop if needed for water. Being dehydrated can take a lot out of you. Some like to ride during the morning while it's cool. I like to ride in the heat of the day just like races. Not really, but the last few days it's just the way it's worked out in my schedule.

I met up with Chad again yesterday afternoon and we headed to a group ride on the north side of town. Kind of hard to do a group ride you've never done before with not knowing which way your going, as on one occasion on the front I went right by a turn. I wish Chad and I could have headed back together, but as soon as I turned my back for water Chad was gone. I called and asked where he went and he said he was almost home!?! So I sweated to my oldies and headed for home on my own.

Breeze On

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Triathlete

Did some triathlete practice last night with Birdman. Well without the running and swimming. Although yesterday may have been a better day for swimming then riding as the summer heat has returned. We were both saddled up on our Masi TT bikes for the day. Andy our coach had us doing some 5km TT efforts, short and sweet, for now.

The best part of the day was meeting up with the real Triathlete training group ride. Never knew it existed or happened. But it was a group of 8-10 riders out on TT bikes. I'm not sure, but they may have ran or swam, or were going to. Our TT practice soon added another T to make it TTT practice. Wish I had taken a picture, but I was to busy running into wheels and weaving in the paceline. I looked like a Cat 5 Triathlete. Good thing they don't see me run, otherwise they may fall over in laughter.

Can't wait for next week tri practice.

Breeze On

Monday, July 12, 2010

Almost Over

The first week of the Tour de France has only just finished, and yet it seems like my season is coming to end. How can that be? With races being canceled left and right, what seems like the majority of races early in the season and two big stage races out west it doesn't leave much to do over here.

On tap is Elk Grove late July/Early August, criterium nationals in mid August, and road nationals in the middle of September. I might do Univest in early September, but that is still in the air. There will be a local race or two thrown in, but basically I'm counting down with one hand.

What am I going to do for competition. Well I think I'll be taking part in this. If you want to ride with Kenda next year as do I, we have to join this. If you think your good enough, join up and if you happen to be good enough you'll get a contract.

How has the racing been going so far? Well result wise for myself not that great. I've been riding good, being aggressive, and for the most part been trying to help the team succeed, which hasn't landed any personal results. I'm ok with that as long as it pays off and helps the team. My day will come, whether it being a break sticking or being in a situation where I can win. A few guys have had some good rides lately, Stemper and Hartly going 1-2 in the omnium in Dairlyland and Birdman and Bush getting on the podium in the early races at Superweek. Everyone is riding good and I expect a lot more good results to come over the last part of the season.

Breeze On

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Life on the Road

There are so many upsides to being a pro cyclist, and some downsides, but we won't talk about those. In the last few days I've experienced quite a few of them and would like to share.

First of all it's all the great people you get to meet. I've been fortunate to be surrounded by some incredible people. I think that is one of the most important things on a team is who are you racing for and with. Because you will be spending a lot of close time together. This week I got to travel with my dad, Will, and Todd. A great crew and we've had a bit of fun on our travels out here. Here they are enjoying the evening after a day of driving while I was out working.



These guys are great and they only harass me a little. Mostly deserved and mostly correct observations but most wouldn't mention. That is what makes them great. They did going riding with me yesterday and that made me feel better.

Next is the food. When you're burning a few extra calories as we are, eating a pancake or two that is slightly oversized is no biggie. Not only that but adding chocolate chips and peanut butter just means you have to ride an extra 10 minutes, which is a bonus because we all love to ride more then we enjoyed the chocolate chips and peanut butter.



Next is the travel to foreign areas. It's a great experience to ride places you don't get to ride. I have a hard time trying not to ride to much as I want to explore the area and enjoy all the nice roads. I have a bad habit of trying to pick out climbs to ride. Normally not a big deal, but when it's before a stage race it may not be the smartest thing. I guess if I lived in an area with a climb over a half mile I wouldn't have that obsession. I found this beauty in southern New Hampshire. That's right New Hampshire. I even rode to a different state to find one.



Couldn't realize why it was so hard to get a straight picture till I looked down at my Garmin and saw I was climbing at 13%.



Doing my best Will impression with taking pictures of myself with the timer. If you ever read his blog, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Another bonus is the equipment. Who doesn't love new cycling equipment? Check out these sweet TT rigs that we will be using for the first time this week. It looks fast. We will be looking to making them go fast on Sunday.



Of course Mercury 85's and disc wheels (clearly not shown) will make it even better.

The best part hasn't even started yet and that's the racing. Starts tomorrow at 3:30. I've won this race one time, seems like a very long time ago, maybe I'll be able to again, or at least help one of my teammates do it.

Breeze On