Thursday, January 31, 2008

Like it promised the Rite Aid Pro Cycling Team website is up and running in January 2008. I know it is January 31st, but technically still January and for your nay sayers it was actually up yesterday as well so there. Check it out. It's definitely improved and hopefully stays that way.

Off to the Bahamas tomorrow, that is as long as I don't get snowed in. Boy that would be a kicker, getting ready for some nice 80 degree weather and be snowed in for the weekend instead. Hopefully I get there without to much hassle and can have a nice weekend of racing with the team. Maybe I should start driving to Charlotte where my connection is out of. I guess I have to ask my self one question do I feel luckier driving my van to Charlotte or waiting to see if the storm develops and delays/cancels my flight?

Breeze On

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Since I'm a coach now and all the best coaches have a training video of some sort, I thought I should start my own. Now remember I never like to make things easy.

Now you kids don't try this at home without your parents permission.

Breeze On

PS Tru Trainer Rollers are the best for winter training indoors.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well I can check off another item off my list to becoming an official Indiana Hoosier. Last night I went to the IU vs. Iowa basketball game at assembly hall in Bloomington with Katie's cousin's husband Jeff. It was pretty sweet. After fallen behind 4 to 0 in the first few minutes we stormed back to take the lead and never look back. It was pretty awesome. We even sat in the front row, of course that was in the balcony, but still front row. Also I wasn't the only celebrity in the crowd, John Mellencamp was also there enjoying the game.

Breeze On

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Team Mini Camp

Once again it was time to take a drive to the DC area for two days of team togetherness. And team togetherness we had. I think the pictures and video will tell it all.

First we took team photos and for the first time got to see in person our new team bikes and meet the guy who was providing us with them Eugene. There pretty sweet looking and I can't wait to get on them and put plenty of miles on them.

*note our build ups will be a bit different on the bikes.

Then we did the normal first days together as a team with team building activities. We did some that were routine, and some that were not so routine. The ones that weren't so routine were of course the fun ones.

The first one was about being close and together. Kind of like getting use to a new saddle, if you were the saddle. You had to keep in contact with the person next to you at all times, either through touching (holding) or touching something else they were touching at the time, while walking on a cable. The obstacle was to get from one side to the other of course without fallen off.

Then we took to the high ropes, and by we I mean everyone but me. Fear of heights. Anyways it looked like fun, well for the first few to go, as those were the ones who were able to go up and not be worried about being blasted by snowballs. No exceptions to that rule as even Jon our director was feeling the heat.

Don't worry the foreman was on site.

Later that evening we went to the ABRT kick off dinner at Sonoma Restaurant. Drinks, orders, and conversations were on the menu. Here's something. What do you get when two past winners of Fitchburg walk into a bar.

A good picture for a blog and some great memories. Bobby Phillips though won it as a Junior, and if I raced it as a junior, who knows what would have happened, but winning it would not been reasonable possible.

The next day was just the normal cyclist day on the east coast with a nice healthy breakfast at the Nautilus Diner.

Followed by a bone chilling ride after with some or the ABRT members. Spirits were high though even though temperatures were not.

I'd like to thank the Shaw's for letting me stay with them, feeding me, and entertaining me. Good times.

Breeze On

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I fought the law and the law won.

I was out cruising doing a long interval out in the middle of the country and take a right rolling through a stop sign and a minute or two later there was cop pulling me over asking for my license and registration. A slight chuckle and I get the cop with an attitude problem and before I know it he is ripping me off a ticket and asking me if I want another one. What a complete joke.

Let's see the fellas from Marian our finally back and it was good to meet up with them for part of my ride today. Getting out while the gettings good. This weekend there is suppose to be a bitter chill. Luckily I'm heading east and hopefully it won't be as chilly so it's still ridable. Who knows.

Breeze On

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nice article in the hometown paper about me. Thanks Mike Spencer and the Bay City Times.

It's full speed ahead for local cyclist

Friday, January 11, 2008
By Mike Spencer | 895-3541

Paul Rytlewski thought his son Jake would enjoy cycling, maybe even continue riding as a hobby for years.

The Bay City father had no idea his son would put the pedal to the metal and be good enough ride with a national racing team.

''I knew he'd probably ride and continue to ride and enjoy it,'' said Jake's father recalling the early days on a bike. ''I just didn't think he'd take it this far.

''Probably in the back of his mind, he wanted to do something like this. But when he was real young, he didn't train a lot and when he rode, he didn't have any great results.''

Jake Rytlewski, a 25-year-old Bay City All Saints grad, is gearing up for his third pro racing season and second with Rite Aid Pro Cycling. And he's coming off a successful season that includes one national win and a local victory.

Jake won the 48th Fitchburg Logsjo Classic, Mass., on July 4. Other Fitchburg champs of note for the longest running stage race in the U.S. are Davis Phinney (American with most career wins), Tyler Hamilton (2004 Olympic gold medal winner) and Lance Armstrong (seven-time Tour de France champ).

''I was so pumped to get my first stage race victory,'' said Jake. ''I had been dreaming of this for a while. I'm just so glad to have been surrounded by people who have supported and encouraged me along the way and who have helped make this possible. Hopefully there will be plenty more along the way.''

Locally, Jake also won the Tour of Frankenmuth last May.

''I like warm and mountains. Frankenmuth was flat, windy, raining and 40 degrees,'' said Rytlewski of the 80-mile race. ''It was hard work.''

Rytlewski came from behind in the final kilometer and beat Ben Whitehead of Priority Health Cycling in the final 300 meters.

Jake also took second at the Cone Azaila, fourth at the Tour of the Bahamas Road Race, ninth at the USPRO Criterium Championships and 10th at the Tour of Virginia. He also finished 17th in the USPRO Road Race among 105 starters.

''Our schedule is pretty much the same,'' said Jake, a four-time Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference champ. ''There won't be any surprises. I will know exactly what to expect.

''Hopefully I can improve on the results I got last year.''

Jake, who lives in Avon, Ind., recently got married and re-signed with the Rite Aid team.

''It took sometime and some thought, but I feel Rite Aid will be giving me the best opportunity and best chance to have a very successful and exciting season,'' said Jake, who is waiting for his new wheels (a carbon fiber Vellum) to replace the Merlin CR 3/2.5 Titanium Works he used in 2007.

Rite Aid provides Jake with two bikes, helmets, riding shoes and apparel along with race entry fees, lodging at events and travel costs. He also gets a salary and prize money won at races is split among the team members.

''I get anything and everything that I need,'' said Jake.

Jake, an assistant cycling coach at Marian College where he competed, puts in countless hours on the road. He also rides his bike indoors when the weather is bad.

''When I'm out riding I usually have a plan and goals on every training ride,'' said Jake, who trains six hours a day during the peak training season. ''So I think a lot about the intervals I have to do and how hard I am riding

''But then I also think about previous races and upcoming races and think about how I'm going to win them or image winning them. When you're out for five or six hours there is plenty to think about.''

Jake is used to riding alone, although at least once a week he rides with a group from Marian College.

''You are usually better off riding on your own because everyone's training is different,'' said Jake. ''But I will ride with the riders from Marian and there is a group ride/race that leaves a few miles from my house and I like to join up with them at the end of my rides.''

Jake doesn't remember the first time he rode a bike or much of his early races, but he does recall that his first real bike (a Fuji Odessa) was stolen.

In high school, Jake played baseball, tennis, bowling and football in high school.

It was in high school that Jake's cycling career was really launched. He won a Category 3 race at Kensington Metro Park, his father says.

''That spurred him on to riding a lot more,'' said Jake's father. ''And he's really making some big gains.''

Jeff Bisel, All Saints athletic director, recalls Jake riding his bike from Bay City to Kingston before a district boys baseball game.

''Jake is doing fantastic,'' said Bisel. ''I remember him being just 125 pounds, but he always gave 100 percent all the time.''

Jake is gearing up for his first race Feb. 2 and 3, the Tour of the Bahamas.

But his longterm goal is riding in the Tour de France.

''Hopefully in three or four years, I'll be at that level,'' said Jake.

''Jake has goals and he's living his dream,'' said Paul Rytlewski. ''He's still very young as pro cyclists go. Physically he's not going to see a peak until 30-35 years of age.

''If Jake has the gumption to keep with it and keeps plugging away, he'll get somewhere.''

Breeze On

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I've been trying to keep this blog thing rolling before I loose everyone's interest and they never come back, like the many so far. However I regret to inform you there is little information to pass on at this time... But here is a bit for those who would like to know.

1. I have another team mini camp this winter in two weeks. Most of the team will get together and meet up with new sponsors, the ABRT club team for a nice ride, and do a few other activities.

2. First race this year again will be Tour of Bahamas, February 2nd-3rd. I can't believe I have to go to the Bahamas again. Hopefully it stays under 80. Gosh.

I can't wait to see the guys. I almost miss them so much I wish they were still living with me. Almost.

Breeze On

Friday, January 04, 2008

What would I be doing if I wasn't a cyclist? Well this is what I wanted to do.

This picture was brought to you by request. If I can take jabs at others, its only fair that I take one or two. But to make things even, here is my faithful reader who brought up this request.

Anyone else got anything?

Breeze On

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

An Ode to 2007:

A new team, with new faces and a shiny new bike
oh how I couldn't wait to get it off the ice.
To the Bahamas we went for some sun,
and maybe even some fun.
Camp was full of riding with lots of food,
which put us all in a good mood.
US Open was almost snowed out,
but someone named Alejandro blew them all out.
Racing around Virginia, up and down,
we were there to pound.
Off to Philly for the third year,
no longer a fear.
Fitchburg would be next with the gang,
and it went out with a bang.
A team time trial opened Toona,
with the US Championships Looming.
The team lived with me before Downers,
where the race left many drowning.
Only Americans would be heading to the south,
Paris mountain would be the route.
Then a special invite to Missouri,
luckily for me there wasn't to much misery.
A season with some success,
next year there will be no less.

Bring on 2008

Breeze On.