Monday, March 31, 2014

Work. On a Weekend!?!

Well I did get a team camp this year. This past weekend we had a special camp for FasCat Athletes only. We did threshold test, bike fits, had presentations, power analysis, and of course some fantastic riding.

Friday we did a ride in the early afternoon. The first two hours were easy and relatively flat. Some had just flew in and did a threshold test so it was a nice way to ease into it. Then for the few brave souls who wanted me more, we did more. We headed straight up Old Stage over to Lefthand and back up and over Lee Hill. This third hour wasn't so nice and the campers got an appetizer of climbing. Everyone seemed to stretch the legs out a bit.











Rolling the Flats outside of Boulder


















Coach Tucker and I excited after the first days ride. 














Dinner the first night at 4580 next to FasCat. Steak and Frites. So Euro!

Saturday we headed out as a group back to Lefthand Canyon. This time we headed all the way up the nearly 4,000 foot climb to Ward. Clothes were stripped off immediately at the bottom. Then they were immediately put back on at the top as the temperature was a good 20 degrees colder and the wind was blowing. But the ride from there is almost all downhill back to Lyons. Once in Lyons we had Cokes and treats as we regrouped. Then we headed back to FasCat the long way. It was nearly a 4 hour adventure. Some even didn't get enough and rode out to Sunshine and did 4 more miles of climb.















On the Peak to Peak Highway above Ward. Yeah it's a little colder and winder up there this time of year.

Sunday we rolled easy for a good 20 mile warm up before tackling one of Boulders most famous climbs, Flagstaff. Everyone put what they had left into the climb and emptied the tank. There are some extremely fast FasCat athletes. I took a bit of short cut so I could meet them on the climb and snap some pictures so they could remember the moment. Most of them even had energy to smile!













My coworkers and I on Flagstaff. Matti is missing as he had to go find an athlete who missed the turn off and did SuperFlag.

I can't believe I get paid to do this.

Breeze On

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Year Ago

What a difference a year makes? A year ago today I was in a van driving to Redlands, California with Matt Green and Andy Buntz. We didn't exactly start from Indianapolis as the previous weekend we were in southern Florida which we had driven to the week before. But anyways...

We ended up stopping here in Boulder, Colorado for some mountain training and take a few days rest from the drive. At that time I had no idea I would be living there in a year. I could have dreamed it, but could never really imagine it being a possibility.

We also picked up Erik Hamilton in Boulder who was guess riding for us at Redlands. Now he is our mechanic. We will now have the fastest mechanic.

Andy checking on the route. Yup still a long way to go!

Matt and Andy watching a movie to help pass some of the 30 +hours

Obligatory picture of the arch heading west. 

Riding i n Boulder. Lefthand canyon. One of the best roads.
But with the recent huge floods half the road has been washed away
and is mostly dirt in a few mile section. The people up here
have went through a lot with the destruction. 


Riding up Lee Hill. Just over my shoulder is where
I work. I've now done this climb numerous times

Stopping for pictures on the drive.





















Now instead of leaving a week before Redlands I am flying out hours before the start. I will be flying out Tuesday night and racing Wednesday early afternoon. This last weekend in Boulder will be busy. My wife is flying in with her father and we are looking at places to live, daycare, doctors, schools, and etc. I also have the FasCat Athlete Training Camp Friday thru Sunday. Then I want to finish off some work on Monday and be ready to go straight back to Indianapolis after Redlands and prepare for the birth of my second child.

Breeze On

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Last Weekend

This past weekend was my last quiet weekend. From here on in it will be good times. My roommate Tucker went away for Spring Break so I had the place to myself. It was the weekend of Jake. It sort of reminded me of an old Seinfeld episode, "The Summer of George" (watch from 1 minute in)

 

I could walk around naked, watch what I wanted on TV, eat Oreos and not be judged, and drink milk straight from the carton. Of course the only one of those things I did was eat Oreos. 

I dropped Tucker off at the airport on Wednesday and had his car to get back and forth to work while he was gone. I was able to rock out to some sweet music. This is still one of my favorites. 


On that day my new kits came in. I love getting new clothes. They look pretty similar to last year but at least this year we did get tall socks. Thanks Matt for getting that correct this year! Got to hide those kankles. Thanks to Pactimo again for providing us with stellar kits. 


So what did I exactly do for my free weekend. Well Saturday the weather wasn't conducive to training. I was able to sneak out early before the snow and do a quick hour. Well I didn't beat the snow as the last 20 minutes it had started, but I did beat getting wet and that is all that really matters. After the ride I couldn't think of a better lunch to have then one of my favorites growing up, grilled cheese and tomato soup. 


I think I was in bed by 8 pm just watching TV. The ride and lunch were the exciting part of my day, neither of which were really exciting.  

Sunday I was able to get out for a longer ride which was nice. It got pretty warm. I was going to ride to Boulder do a climb or two and then check out the local criterium. Well I got on Lefthand Canyon, one of the long climbs and just decided to go all the way to the top. Once on the top I could cut across on the Peak to Peak Highway to Coal Creek which would take me downhill 25 miles to home. 

Once up  on the Peak to Peak  at 9,000 feet the temperature was quite a bit colder but luckily I had the proper clothes with me. Again I was riding in snow, but it was just from the blowing so not to bad. I stopped in Nederland for some drinks and a Snickers. When I unclipped this happend. 


My Speedplay cleat had ripped out of the plastic piece that holds it to the shoe. Uh now what? I'm kind of far from everything and everybody. Even though I was 18 miles from Boulder, it was 18 miles downhill. I knew Jason was racing the criterium and it was a late start, so I figured if I could get there he'd be able to give me ride. So I headed down the canyon. I could get my cleat to hold a bit in my show if I didn't move to much. But I couldn't stop pedaling. Every time my foot came off the pedal I would tell myself to stop pedaling you dueche. But then I would continue pedaling. This went the whole way down. 

Eventually I was able to make it to the race and Jason gave me a ride home. After showering and making chicken tacos the weekend was over. The last weekend of nothing was basically that. I can't wait for the next few weekends. FasCat athlete camp, Redlands, home, Winston Salem, maybe Joe Martin or Gila, New Baby! and that takes me to the first weekend of May. Lots to come

Breeze On 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Successful Failure

Sunday turned out to be a much better day. I had a great ride out to Boulder and enjoyed over 9000 ft of climbing. The best part of the ride was that as it went on clothes kept coming off. Unlike the previous day where we ended it snow, Sunday we ended in shorts and jersey. 

Post Sunday's ride recovery drinks. A proud Michigander as you can see. 

Monday's attire included my St. Patrick's Day Shirt. To bad I wasn't around for the festivities at Coonan's Irish Pub back in Bay City. 

The last 12 hours have been a bit of a successful failure. I've kitted up twice to go for a ride but haven't completed one. Yesterday I felt completely exhausted but still managed to get dressed. I asked Tucker if he was riding and after waffling he said no. So I said alright either am I, let's head home. I was in bed by 7:30. But before bed I Facetimed with Madelyn and she was confused why I was in bed, yet it was light out the window? But after waking up this morning and feeling 100% better then all day yesterday I knew I made the right decision. 

Then today Tucker is flying out for spring break so he wanted to get one last ride in. So I got dressed to ride in the morning as well. But once we got to Boulder it was only 25 so again I backed down and decided I should have plenty of time to ride after dropping him off at the airport this afternoon when it is in the 50's. Wish me luck. 

Breeze On

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Bike

My new team bike finally arrived after a few hold ups. I still get so excited about a new bike. I mean who wouldn't be. There is nothing wrong with my current bike at all. It is a top of the line Fuji frame with Ultegra Di2, but it's almost a year old so time to move on.

Besides with the Astellas Cycling Team we have a new 3 year sponsor with Litespeed. It has been a great partnership so far and I look forward to working with them and racing on their bikes. I had planned on racing on their T5 titanium road bike, but with them being out of stock I went with the L1R. After my first ride around the block I realized I am going to be very happy with this bike. Check them out here. Litespeed is known for their Titanium bikes but they have stepped into the carbon market with some great technology. It even includes helping with making the Mars Rover. So I think it should be just fine here on Earth.



Last night I went out for a ride after work with Tucker for the maiden voyage. It was a nice easy ride but was good to get a feel for the bike. Tucker was worried about riding with me on a new bike and thinking I'd be constantly stopping and making adjustments. Clearly he doesn't know me at all. Anytime anyone made adjustments for me starting with my Dad they asked how it feels and I would 99% of the time say, "Good."  I made my measurements as I set it up and it would be good to go. Well I was wrong. I did make an adjustment to lower the saddle a bit, but I made that after the ride.



Today we went out and it was bit cooler. We went up Coal Creek which may have not been the best option with the potential of some weather moving in. I was closing in on the Peak to Peak Highway and a bit of flurry action got a bit heavier. Instead of being some kind of nut job I flipped it. I saw blue sky so knew I made the right decision. After the small hill up to the big decent off Coal Creek I saw that the clouds looked like they were moving in. Soon enough it was snowing. Then the roads were beginning to be covered in snow. I knew it would be warmer at the bottom, but I had to get there. I also knew the mile marker at the bottom was 11 but I was at 17. Oh crap 6 miles of this! Luckily it's a fairly straight forward decent and around mile marker 13 it was just wet and by 11 it was dry roads. With cold and wet feet the only option was to head straight for home. It did continue to flurry and the wind was picking up so it was good time to stop.

In bigger news just found out my roomate doesn't read blogs. What's the point of writing a blog if one of my biggest fans doesn't even read the blog. He was pretty happy to point out that he is now a published writer as his Training Tip made it onto Training Peaks. I informed him I've been a published writer for years now with my blog. 

In the biggest news my teammates have been doing pretty well racing in Arizona. Last weekend they got a 4th place finish in the Old Pueblo Crtierium and then today they had two in the top 10 and one moved up to 4th overall in the Tucson Bicycle Classic. Hopefully they finish of the stage race strong tomorrow and get on that podium. 

Breeze On

Thursday, March 13, 2014

TBT: Team Camp 2005 Advantage Benefits Endeavour

This week has been the Astellas Cycling Team camp that I have been unable to attend. Thought I'd throw it back today to the first pro team camp I ever did. It was with the Advantage Benefits Endeavour Cycling Team. 

The team was a merger between to elite cycling clubs, one out of Michigan (Advantage Benefits) and one out of Wisconsin (Endeavour). A good friend of mine Brian Sheedy saw potential in me and saw me making improvements which led me to getting a spot on the team. I don't think I realized how lucky I was to get that opportunity at the time, but seeing it now I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for that opportunity. 

We had our first half team gathering in the Chicago area as most of our team was from Michigan and Wisconsin. We met up with our director Robbie Ventura and the team manager Tom Schuler. It was only a quick night and the one thing I remember is how giddy Brent Bookwalter and myself were to get started and about the powertap wheels we were giving for training. 

Our team camp was in central California as our first two weekends of racing would be close by. The team had rented a cottage about halfway up to the Sierras in a little town called Mi Wuk Village. It was on the Sonora Pass. 


There were two ways to ride durinng camp. Either start straight uphill and finish downhill, or go downhill and finish uphill. 

The view from going up wasn't so bad. I remember sending this picture to my then girlfriend Katie saying don't worry there is snow in California as well. 

First on our agenda was the Merced Cycling classic, it was the first time we all met up out there. 


Here we are getting ready for our first big pro event. We didn't have a team vehicle yet, team bikes, or clothes! It looked like just a bunch of friends heading to the races together. Frank Pipp is giving everyone a pep talk. 


My opponent Nick Reistead during the collegiate racing became my teammate during the pro season. There was also Garrett Peltonen who rode for Wisconsin as well. The Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference was well represented. 

This camp had one of the most epic rides I've ever been on. Frank Pipp mapped it out but I don't think he even realized how hard it would be. We would start in the valley near Merced and head up into the foothills of the Sierra do some climbing before finally heading up for the cabin. 

Everything was going well in the flats and guys were even sprinting for signs. One rider was doing some Low cadence work as we rolled up to the hills. The first climb finally approached after 40 or 50 miles of riding and it was a nice 25 minute or so climb. It put a sting in the legs but everyone was good. We had a fast and long decent followed by another longer climb. We rolled at a good pace and soon guys started to get tired. 70 miles into and another decent on a very narrow road followed by another long climb. By this time guys were all over the road and we hadn't even started the final accent up to the cabin. Soon it was just Karl and myself. 10 miles to go and mostly uphill Karl looks at me and says, "Snake you are going to have to ahead with out me." I pushed on making back to an empty cabin. 10 minutes went by soon 15 and nobody yet. Finally Karl came and I asked how he was and he said he was fine after the Snickers and Coke he stopped for. Riders trickled in all with stories to tell. Two even ended up hitch hiking home after some issues. It was a great bonding moment. 

Our team kits and bikes finally arrived and we started looking really pro. 


It wasn't long after that, when we started racing like a pro team. It was our first stage race in San Dimas we worked hard to get our man Karl Menzies into a top 3 overall. With a good time trial result I was also able to place in the top 10 overall in my first pro stage race. But it really was amazing how quickly we raced together as a team and took on the top team in the country at the time in Health Net. The whole year the team really raced well together. It was quite amazing looking back on it. 


Breeze On



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Time maybe....

Not quite sure what season it is in Boulder. It seems to be some type of hybrid that I've never encountered before. Well at least repeatedly in a pattern. One day it is 20's and snowing and the next it is 60. Heck you could wake up to 30's and snow on the ground and by evening it will be dry and 60's.

Two examples. Friday it snowed all day and into the night (luckily not much stuck to the pavement) by mid day Saturday it was dry and 50's and on Sunday everyone was getting sun burnt in the 70 degree weather.

This morning I rode and it was almost 50 and as I write this blog at noon it is 35 and snowing. Crazy. No complaints though as there have been only a few days on the trainer recently instead of weeks / months.

Riding on Sunday and Monday in shorts and a jersey. So comfortable and enjoyable.



There was suppose to be criterium race this past weekend but it was cancelled due to the snow from the day / night before. Almost everyone knew it would be cancelled as there was no way it would be cleared up by 7:30 am (start of first race), but Tucker went ahead and made his bike race ready. I just took pictures and ate a peanut butter and jelly while he wasted his time. But like I said by the afternoon the weather was great and it turned out to be a great day for a bike ride.


After Sunday's ride Tucker and met up with some of my old college friends and their significant others, Swain and Royal. Man that was a great time. The Swains were in town on vacation while the Royals moved to Denver years ago. It was great catching up and talking a bit about the past. Tucker got to hear about how great Marian College was and the education we received. I think once he heard about the rock test he knew we went to a quality institution. 


Just a nice picture of the sun shining and the snow capped mountains. 


The Astellas boys are down at team camp in Arizona and I'm missing out. I like seeing all the updates and pictures and feel like I'm missing out. Looks like they are having a good time. Only a few more weeks till Redlands and I get to meet up with them. 

The good news is my new Litespeed bike is on the way. The bad news is for some reason it was sent to Wyoming, Michigan first by accident and had to return to Chicago before heading out this way. It should be here Thursday. Pictures and review to follow. 

Breeze On

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Time for Change

Like I've said I've had some bad luck that even continued. I got back from an athlete ride yesterday and had a soft rear tire flat. I rode 2 hours and just as I got close it was going low. Dang it! 

This morning I decided I would switch the rear tire as I had a brand new one. So I grabbed my bike to change the tire and tube and low and behold the front is now also low and going flat. How the hell did that all happen. The puncture is never in the same spot, and the tires still have a lot tread. 

That was the last straw. So I patched the front tube, changed the rear tube and headed to Pro Peloton where our team mechanic Erik Hamilton works and got new tires. I threw the others out. 


I changed out my tires and headed out for a FasCat lunch ride up Sunshine Canyon. After 5 or 6 miles the climb turns to dirt. I've never got that far yet and I've been missing out. It is the best part! 


Another panoramic photo. 


Yup the dirt road in the picture is the one I just went up. It's pretty awesome! 


All smiles after being able to ride without a flat, even with dirt roads! Score. 

Wish me luck with these tires. 

Breeze On


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Frustration

I've been having a bit bad luck with the flat tire department. Can't even blame the tire or wheel as they have happen on two different sets.

It all started two weeks ago when I was going to go for an easy ride. Well I grabbed my bike and it had a rear flat. No worries, it happens so I fixed it and headed out. Well I flatted the front wheel about halfway into my ride. So it wasn't my day. The next day I headed out for a long ride and flatted again. It wasn't my weekend.

Then I went a week and had no issues and that was until the weekend. I was riding the rollers and flatted. How does that even happen? It was an hour into it. Oh well. So I changed it. Again these were different tires and wheels.

Yesterday I flatted a front wheel after an hour of riding. I pumped up the tire with a new hand pump I got and it felt good. I compared it to the rear and the rear felt low. Huh. So I thought I'd put a little air in the rear. My new fancy pump threads on to the valve and when I unscrewed it the valve core came with it. Not it was completely flat. I screwed it back in and pumped it up. Good to go!

So I rolled to the climb where I was going to do some intervals and after the first 3 minute effort I noticed my rear felt low. I stopped and sure enough it had a slow leak. As hard headed as I can be sometimes I figured I'd finish my set of intervals and then re pump. So I continued on with 2 more efforts and then re pumped. Of course the valve core came out again, but then worked the second time.

I went down and really wanted one more set so I flipped it and headed back up. After the first one I noticed it was quite a bit flatter so I should pump up and just head back to work. Again valve core came out after first pump. A guy I knew rolled by and asked if I needed anything. I yelled a tube. He said that is the only thing he didn't have. Ugh. So pump, pump, pump.

I got off the hill and headed for work and again being hard headed decided to do another effort. I couldn't get quite to 3 minutes before my rim was bouncing off pot holes and bumps. Pump, pump, pump, valve core out, and re pump. I went through that one more time just to finish of the final 3 miles of the ride, but made it back.

Soon enough I should get my new team bike, wheels, tires and tubes and hopefully this all ends. Hopefully I get there without to many more issues. I am putting my road morph back on my bike. Best frame pump ever.

Breeze On

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Down Weekend

Not much going on this weekend. The only activity I really did was drive in with Tucker to FasCat Saturday morning for the Indoor Class. I rode with the class. 


It was a full house. Normally on Saturdays there are 4 riders, but because of the snow that morning and the nice weather during the week I think some took advantage of the ability to make up on Saturday morning. Being in the back of the pack is usually easy because you are out of the wind but indoors it makes it hard because you are out of the wind. I quickly built up a sweat doing some Threshold. 

Tucker rode after the class and I would have ridden with him, but I knew he wouldn't want to ride as long as I did. He has little tolerance for the trainer now a days. I gave him a hard time about this on the way up, and of course since I did he rode longer then planned, which he even admitted. He did that to spite me. It was still shorter then I wanted so it all worked out. 

Afterwards went to Panera for lunch and ever since have not left the apartment. We did spice up last night by watching a movie and sharing the cookie I bought at lunch. We watched Taken 2. Our theory was that if Chuck Norris was Liam Neeson's partner the movie would be a lot shorter, and there actually probably would have never been a sequel to Taken.

Recovery week of riding is now over and I have 1 month till my first pro race of the season at Redlands. 

Breeze On