Monday, April 29, 2013

This season is flying by. Driving across the country week in and week out will do that.

So after spending a week or so in Indy, half of the time in which I was sick, I drove down to Anniston, Alabama with the team for another NCC criterium. The Sunny King Criterium is one of my favorites and I almost don't mind doing that crit. I'm not quite sure why. Well we raced fairly hard, had a few incidents in the closing laps, but at the end of the day had 3, including myself, in the top 20 which led to a decent pay day.

The following morning was the Foothills Road Race. A nice improvement on this years event was the fact that they pushed the start of the race an hour back. So after finishing the evenings criterium you had exactly 12hrs to eat dinner, clean up, sleep, eat breakfast, and make the hour drive. The race was pretty successful for us as Ryan made the winning move and finished in 2nd place. Our teams first podium.

So after finishing the race we indulged in the free lunch, loaded up the van and headed halfway across the country to Fayetteville, Arkansas. We did treat ourselves on the way over with Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis, TN. I just so happened to stumble across it looking for dinner options. A few of the other guys actually heard about it because it was on a Man vs Food episode. It was absolutely all it's cracked up to be. It was delicious. It has a hint of spiciness that really makes it pop. So after consuming 2 breast, a wing, a side of beans and fries each, we order a whole pecan pie. I'm sure you all reading this are a little less surprised then our waiter was when we ordered the WHOLE pie. He repeatedly asked 3-4times, the whole pie? It was gone before he could even bring us the bill.



We have a charity event in Memphis next weekend called Ride to Conquer Cancer and I feel there maybe a little more fried chicken in our future. Maybe not as much however. 

The past weekend was the Joe Martin Stage Race. I will save the blog update on that one for another day. It is time to head out of our hotel in St. Louis and meet the man behind Rokkit Wheels who has been helping us out this season giving us some sweet carbon wheels. We will do a little ride, a little lunch, and then finish off the drive back to good ole Brownsburg, Indiana. 

Breeze On

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From Redlands to Indy

I had to drop off my teammate off in Iowa and the mechanic off in Chicago which meant taking a northern route. This meant no trip to the Grand Canyon which I was bummed out about, but didn't want any extra time in the van. Then came the weather forecast.

Apparently winter is not over yet and the northern route included the mountains in Utah and Colorado which had Winter Weather Warnings. So we couldn't head the northern route in fear of hitting horrid driving conditions. So we took the long way, which did mean we would be close enough to stop by the Grand Canyon.

So we left sunny southern California and headed up the first pass a few miles into the ride. We were treated with heavy rain on the way up. Over the top it had cleared the temperature had dropped into the 40's and the wind had picked up to over 40mph. We hit I40 heading east with a solid tailwind which came along with getting 29 miles per gallon in the van.


We eventually made our way to the Grand Canyon and of course the day we show up it's cloudy, half of it is covered in clouds with snow falling. We were lucky enough that in did clear up a bit in spots. It is a spectacular view.

We hopped back in the van and continued the drive. That night we came across a nice snow squall. It was pretty intense and you really couldn't see much other then giant snow flakes flying at you.


We stopped late, but I managed to get early for a cold morning ride on route 66. For that brief hour it was a pretty nice ride. It made the drive that day feel just a bit better. For the drive my goal was to get all the way to Des Moines, Iowa. But it we fell short  by about an hour. We did run into a mass of thudnerstorms for the last 2-3hrs of the drive which slowed us down. Hydroplaning in the van isn't to much fun.

We woke up the next morning early again to get the drive finished up and try to make it to Indy before dinner. There was no riding in the morning. It was rather chilly and wet, not a good combo, especially when you are staring 8+hrs of driving in the face.

Luckily this turned out to be the smoothest part of the trip and we made it to Indy pretty much on schedule. We also were lucky enough just to miss the worst of the storms of the day. Hail damage on a car sucks. I'm fairly certain it would suck on a bike even more.

Being home is amazing. I love my wife and daughter so much. Again nothing is better then sitting at the dinner with them. It's the best part of the day to just sit there and talk. Madelyn sure has a lot to say sometimes. Mostly about nothing, but just about everything she says is interesting to me.

I started up the training again after a few easy days and all the travel, but then hit a snag. I was struck to the ground by some kind of virus. I spent a full day and half laying on the floor by the bathroom. I'm currently going on my 4th day of diaherrea. I tried training today, but just have no energy still. Must be the massive amount of fluids I'm loosing and the fact I haven't ate much in the last 4 days. I have an awesome race weight now, but with no power it really doesn't matter. Sunny King this weekend (maybe) then next week starts Joe Martin. I need to get better fast!!



Breeze On

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Redlands

Here is a quick run down on Redlands.

Stage 1. 12.9km Time Trial.

The race was held up at Big Bear. Luckily we spent a few days up at Boulder so we would know what to expect from the altitude as Big Bear is at nearly 7,000ft up. I had a great ride, felt great, held the power I wanted to, but had no Time Trial bike so placed where'd I'd expect, slightly better then half.
Coming down from Big Bear. Spectacular views. 

Stage 2. Road Race

Stage two was a long road race, 200km's. I actually hadn't had the opportunity to ride this long all year, but luckily I have plenty of experience at racing races this long or longer. The weather was bit tricky in the morning as we started off in a heavy cool fog. Not expecting it I hadn't packed anything other then bibs and a jersey. I was slightly cold on the start line, but 10 minutes later I was happy that I wasn't having to find a place to put my arm warmers and vest as I would have removed  them. 

We were lucky enough to score some sweet race wheels before Redlands. We were able to get some Rokkit Wheels. I used a set of 38mm full carbon clinchers for the race. They were pretty awesome. Check them out. 

I spent the first half of the race trying to get into the right move. I got in a nice one on the second of five laps, but it like many promising ones it came back. One eventually did go away for a lap, but was brought back. Everything came down to the last lap and I wasn't in the right position. I came across with the second group a minute back. 

Stage 3 Criterium 

Went for a spin in the morning to the coffee shop. Pretty much my least favorite activity on a bike, since more of the time seems to be sent sitting in a chamois drinking coffee then actual riding. I felt sore from the previous day, but the ride home from the coffee shop I felt much better. 

I felt ok in the criterium, but not special. I was pretty pedestrian in being able to move up so just basically did nothing the whole evening. Which is ok as I wanted to save most of my energy for the next days Sunset loop. 















Our secret weapon showed up on Friday afternoon. A few set's of MadFibers

Stage 4 Sunset Loop

The infamous Sunset Loop. The only time I did this race as my first year as a pro in 2005. I had crashed the previous day in the criterium so was pretty torn up. I hurt so bad in that race I never made it very far and ever since knew the pain this course could bring. I was nervous for this go around as I know it is a difficult race and has been every year. 

Getting ready for the race. Nobody really said anything as everyone knew what was to come. 

The legs though felt pretty good once we started rolling and as soon as we hit the climb on the loop I moved up fast passing riders being shot out the back. By the second time up the climb I was attacking and found myself off the front for a lap with a small group. I was even the one pushing pace as I was hoping the gap would open up. I was hoping we could get away and then eventually what ever was left of the race would probably catch up to us towards the end. 

Well it happend sooner then I thought as a lap later a elite group of 20 caught up to us. I was hoping that would be it, but noticed there was no Optomun Team so knew it would come back which it did the next lap. Then a bunch of laps went by and the field was shrinking. I was still feeling good as others were not. Unfortunalty a bit of bad luck hit with 3 circuits to go as our team GC rider flatted and I gave him my wheel. Then I got one from neutral but was never able to make it back. I wouldn't have been compelely bummed, but neither of us made it back. Now I really can't wait to get back next year. 

We followed the race up with some Five Guys, a 3hr round trip to the airport, and finally a 32ish hour drive back East to Indianapolis. 

Breeze On

Thursday, April 04, 2013

From Boulder Colorado to Redlands California.

What a great weekend in Boulder. The weather was a amazing, the riding was spectacular, and the amount of other riders out was insane. The only time I've seen more people out riding was during RAGBRAI. It was almost a constant flow of riders in both directions.

I had 3 great rides and two included pretty good mountain sized passes. These were no Paris Mountains either, these were both over 8 miles long at altitude. I could really feel it, especially at the top when I was over 9,000ft. The other thing you could feel is the temperature drop. But no big deal. I got to the top after an hour or so of riding and was at the bottom in around 15min.

After a few days of training it was time to finish of the drive to California. We hopped back on I70 in Golden Colorado and headed to Redlands. What a drive! I70 in Colorado/Utah has to be the most scenic road I've ever driven. I've never taken so many pictures on a drive. Unfortunetly not one of them could do the scenery justice.


Part of our drive. I could post endless amounts of photos, but this is just a sample of the scenery. 



We ended up stopping in Vegas for the night as the boys wanted to see it. They headed out and I headed to bed. I was surprised to see them stroll back in less then 2hours after being out. They pretty much had the same feeling as I did about Vegas. Unless you are seeing shows or going to a fancy restaurant there wasn't much to do other then drink/gamble. Nothing they were up for that night. Now I'm sure there are clubs and parties and what not, but you'd really have to be up for that.


Stopped on the drive to take some pictures as it was just a great backdrop. 

We made for the final push on Tuesday for California and finally made it early Tuesday afternoon. We got a solid ride in on the sunset loop which is a great ride. Then at 9pm at night I continued with my directors duty by driving another 2.5hrs for an late night airport pickup. By 12:30am we were all at the hotel as a team.

Yesterday we did our first big team ride together, all in matching kits and it finally felt like a team. Thanks to our sponsors, Astellas Oncology, Pactimo, GU, and Rudy Project North America. Also with our race wheels being delayed we are able to hook up with Rokkit Wheels. They were very generous in overnighting some sweet carbon wheels for us to race at Redlands. Can't wait to test them out this week.


The Astellas Oncology Cycling team out at Redlands. Got a pretty good team photo on Panoramic Point Rd. 

Breeze On