Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to Racing, ye yaw!

This weekend included two local races including the Eagle Creek Fast Crit and the Zionsville GP, each of which have their special flare. Eagle Creek is a course that is basically a perfect circle. Then Zionsville has it's famous bricked street home stretch. I'm finally starting to feel a part of the Indiana racing scene as much as I feel a part of the Michigan scene. I'm starting to know more of the guys as I am making it to a few more races now then in the past. Basically a great group of guys. Well the racing went well and I was able to get in a couple of good days of riding with riding to and from the races. I love being able to do that.

Up next of course is Fitchburg. I'm feeling pretty good and I see that my teammates are posting some good results out east, so we are ready to go. Only a few more days.

So I have a bit of free time here and there and I one thing I do is spend sometime on ebay looking at different things. Well one interesting thing I found out with two auctions is that I have a headbadge and a saddle on the breezer that are worth more then the bike frame itself.

The headbadge that goes on the Breezer that I have went for $75. The white flite saddle that I have a few of went for $182. So if I ever were to sell it, which I never will, I would at least know to sell everything separate. Good to know.

Breeze On

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kids meal anyone?

Kids meal anyone?, originally uploaded by breezermerckx.

Went to a wedding this past weekend. We all were served a delicious chicken, mashed potato, and veggie dinner. Well that is everyone, but children under 12 and Vanessa's husband who opted for the chicken fingers and chips.

Do what taste right.

Breeze On

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I don't know how long it's been since I went somewhere which either 'A' it didn't include something to do with cycling or 'B' did I even bring my bike. Even though it only lasted one brief morning/afternoon it was a fun relaxing time, and I can't wait till the next time.

Katie, her sister and myself headed up this morning to northern Indiana for a fun time at her Aunt/Uncle's cabin on a lake. Once we arrived we jumped right onto the boat with them, her cousins and their kids and headed out to a local sand bar for some sand castle building, laying out in the sun and swimming. I even took my shirt off which of course prompted to some much anticipated and much deserved teasing and laughing at my farmers tan. Once the laughing came down to more of a dull roar I smartly had Katie help me lather up with the highest SPF I could find and help me put it on nice and thick.

After a few hours it was time to get down to business for some good ole tubing. First Jeff and I had to flex our muscles to get the boat off the sand. After the first heave which didn't move the boat an inch we waited for the laughter to stop before we could gain our composer and show them what we were made of on our second and successful attempt.

Check out the sweet air my wife and Krista got. Good grief. To bad we ran out of time before I could get out there.

Even though I didn't want to ride my bike up north some others wanted to.

After that it was time for a good up north barbecue lunch before we had to head back and get back to business. For me that included a ride with Paddy which actually was quite enjoyable, especially with the awesome lightning show off in the too close for comfort distance.

Let's see, Fitchburg is approaching a little to fast for me, but I feel like I'm as ready as I will ever be to defend. A few tune up races this weekend near by should get me back to a racing mindset. I know this is old news, but congrats to my teammate Bobby Lea who will be apart of the US Olympic team this August. Awesome!

Breeze On

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some habits are so hard to break!

Breeze On

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I think I'm going to try to conquer a feet that may just be to great for me, grow a mustache. I know your saying that I'm just trying to join a trend of some of the other great cyclist out there with mustaches right now, but no this is more of a personal thing.

I have never ever had very much facial hair, heck what does come in not only takes a long time, but it comes in patches. The last few weeks though I've started to notice that I am having to shave every other day as opposed to every 4th day. So as of today I figured I'll shave everything but my mustache and see what happens. I'll be sure to post pictures.

If I could only grow a mustache like I grow eyebrows I'd be all set, and even visa versa.

Breeze On

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Isn't that beautiful? And Katie ain't that bad looking either. For the first time Katie and I went on a bike ride. We rode out to her cousins house, and back for a grand total of 5 miles. I'm so proud of her. Although I have to teach her a thing or two about not coasting. Pedal, pedal, pedal, coasttttt............ Anyone who has ever ridden with me knows how much I'm against coasting. She's lucky I didn't have my powermeter on.

While we were there we were talking about their son Alex learning to use the bathroom and it reminded me of the last few weeks of trying to finally learn how to pee off the bike. His problem is one of the same problems I have which is, when its ok to go and let it out, you can't or don't. For myself I sit up, get my shorts down and just sit there saying to myself go. Come on you can do it. Apparently Alex does the same thing. It's tough.

But of course my problems don't end there. I have to worry about not peeing on my leg, my shoes, or anyone else. During Philly I finally got it perfect, almost, I got to cocky towards the end. So the race slowed I went to the right side of the peloton, pulled my shorts down, sat there for a moment or two telling myself to just and go, and finally I started. Miss the leg, check, miss my new shows, check, miss everyone else check. Ahh sweet relief. I glance up for a sec to check on the peloton and the road and look back down to find myself peeing on the ends of my handlebars. Good one dumbass! Ok well at least now I know to look out for that one next time.

Maybe I should go back to diapers as well just to be on the safe side.

Breeze On

Monday, June 09, 2008

Marathon Bike Race/Drive

Another 250km Philly is in the books. Our team rode fairly solid as Richard made the main break of the day and we had representation in most splits that were break away attempts early on. We didn't have much to loose but everything to gain and my hats off to Rich for riding hard up front for a long hot summer race. My boy G did good to bring me up to the front before the wall on a few of the later laps so our race was going perfect. That was until we hit the wall the 10th time when I just lost all energy and power. I was feeling pretty good, but I just didn't have that little extra humph to get over with pack. It's hard to do 6hr race without eating. I just couldn't stomach any of the race bars I had. Like the doc said I was one pancake short. HA.

As my routine I hopped in the car with Katie straight after the race, went to G's to pick up Lucy and made the trip back to Indianapolis. It is a little crazy sounding, but I just enjoy not having to spend that extra day of just driving. I now have a whole perfect day in front of me. Which I will spend much of it recovering. Besides I had a second driver to share a bit of the work load with as she took a solid 2hrs of the 10hr drive.

Well up next is some serious training to prepare for defending my title at Fitchburg. I have a bit of work ahead of me, but I feel pretty good about my chances. With the team riding better and better and now that we are in the full swing of race mode I personally feel much better.

Ok I think I'll have some breakfast, followed by a nap, and follow that up with some lunch. What a day!

Breeze On

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Personal Pan Pizza

My Personal Pan Pizza, originally uploaded by breezermerckx.

Hey Josh is this what you meant to order us the other week. Not the baby pizza you got.

Reading was fast just as expected. Once again I had bad positioning which led me to myself falling behind on the last accent. Of course had I been great I would have been in the position I needed. No excuses though, and I will move on to Philly.

Ummm nothing really exciting to comment on. Just went to the race, raced, and came back home and ate like I was never going to eat again. But just fueling up after the race and for the upcoming 250km race. Should be a doosy with temps rising into the mid 90's.

Breeze On

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June 4th 4 days till Philly

Ok so I missed a day. That is what happens when your race a fairly brutal race. Even though blogging takes no more work then just sitting on your butt and typing, it still takes energy I did not have the other night.

Anyways I have to say that the new course was a great course. Very smooth pavement, good scenery, and a more demanding course then anticipated. With a fairly stack field and attack after attack it was fast pace race. I did manage to get out front once even though it was short lived it was by far no easy task. I think I took a whole lap to recovery from that one. The finish did end up coming down to a sprint finish, though I viewed it more as a drag race then a perfectly executed and drilled lead out. Nothing spectacular, but hopefully we have more success in the up coming races.

One interesting thing though is when I looked at the powerfile I noticed that last year's Lancaster race and this years new Lehigh race were fairly close. On top that Reading is fairly similar as well. So these races are always tough. Here are the basic stats from the race.

Entire workout (248 watts):
Duration: 3:03:20 (4:26:00)
Work: 2731 kJ
TSS: 217.3 (intensity factor 0.843)
Norm Power: 316
VI: 1.27
Pw:HR: 3.62%
Pa:HR: -1.33%
Distance: 134.743 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1002 248 watts
Heart Rate: 0 240 154 bpm
Cadence: 29 223 88 rpm
Speed: 5.8 68.2 44.1 kph
Pace 0:53 10:21 1:22 min/km
Crank Torque: 0 107.4 25.5 N-m

Today was a good day as I finally scored myself a new pair of cycling shoes. No more safety pins and floppy velcro straps for me. They are the Shimano R300 and they are awesome.

After getting the shoes mid afternoon I decided to wait for Stephen to get home from work so we could ride together. Waiting for Stephen gave the rain enough time to move in so we had some showers to deal with on our cruise. It had to be one of the more enjoyable times I have had riding in the rain though. Something about it was peaceful.

So now I'm watching the hockey game with Stephen and I am trying not to get to excited in front of the Pennsylvania boy, as he is my host. Let's go Wings.

Ok time to rest up as tomorrow should be another fast 80 some mile race, with a decent climb on the last 3 laps up Mt. Penn. I remember the days of junior racing up there everytime I come back. I can't even believe how far I have come in racing. Just finishing races back then was a good goal. Now I'm racing against some of the best in the world and hoping for a top result. Never give up, huh?

Off the back in junior race up Mt. Penn. Actually though I stuck with it, caught back up and finished 5th or 6th on the day, one of better days as a junior. The placing will never been know for sure as Nathanael (friend of mine from Michigan) still go back and forth on who actually finished 5th.

Breeze On

Monday, June 02, 2008

June 2nd 6 days till Philly

Woke up early this morning to do some team/sponsor representation things in preparation of the Lehigh Valley Classic. Katie and myself drove up to T-town around 6:30 this morning to meet up with a few others for breakfast, a press conference, a school presentation, and we followed all that up with a ride on the course.

The press conference went well as Kyle Wamsley of Colavita and Bobby Lea of Rite Aid p/b Shebell & Shebell Pro Cycling Team fielded all the questions quite nicely. The best part of it all is while we were all standing around afterwards talking casually someone was talking our photos and Katie was in the background a good 10 feet away talking on the phone and the photographer walked over to her and asked her to move. I guess now she knows how much of a big deal I am.

Next Guido and I hoped on our bikes to head over to McKinley Elementary which was all over 3 blocks away while everyone else hoped in the van and had to take the 15 minute drive there because of all the one ways. The directions had you backtracking and over shooting the destination until we finally ended up a block away, but couldn't get there because it was a block down the wrong way of a one way. Anyways we ended up there and the show went flawless. The school was even presented a check from Commerce Bank in the amount of $5000. Good for the kids. It was to help go towards the money they had been raising.

Tomorrow we should have our own little cheering section. Thanks for all the signs and we are looking forward to you guys cheering us on!

After that it was off for a cruise on the course. Of course that didn't go smoothly as we really didn't know the course and by the time we managed to do a lap everyone else had enough. I needed to ride a bit more so I continued on down to T-town and met Katie at Panera for lunch. It turned out to be one of those not so ideal rides before a race, but with everything we accomplished in the morning I can be happy. Also I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon/evening relaxing and prepping for the race tomorrow.

So it's been nice to be able to spend so much time lately with my wife. Normally one of us is always working, of course my working is more playing, and she does more actually in the way of a real job, but it has been nice. One thing I've noticed since we are eating every meal together is that I am constantly thinking of food. I swear after every meal I am always asking her what she wants for the next meal, or dinner the following night. Her response is always can I please digest what I just ate before I think of eating again.

Tonight Stephen and I plan on watching the Prestige and I'll follow that up with an episode of Little Britain with Katie before bed. Can't wait for the racing to begin.

Breeze On

Sunday, June 01, 2008

New concept for this week. Ever wonder what the day to day life of rider on a continental team in the US is like during one of the biggest weeks of the season. Well if you read my blog you are going to find out. I'm going to try to update at least every day about the riding, racing, and other stuff that goes along with it. So sit back, relax and read a little bit about my life.

SUNDAY June 1st 7 Days till Philly

Only seven days till the biggest one day race in the US. Yesterday I loaded up the car with all my gear, my wife, and even my dog for the east coast. I think it will be nice being able to have the family along for this one. This will be Katie's first time at Philly, and I think it's something she needed to see. Anyways we arrived at our gracious hosts Geronimo, Jill, and Hunters (their dog) late last night after 650 miles of driving. Nothing too exciting happened except for the dogs trying to get used to each other and that was wild, and now 16hrs later has just finally settled down as they both have laid down for the first time.

Katie and I went to the grocery store this morning to get some food for the week. I think we spent our monthly budget on grocery's for a week. It's amazing how quickly it all adds up. The silly thing is I could have brought some things with me that I already have, such as when I bring these things home on top of what I brought home from the last trip I will now have 3 jars of Jelly, over 50 packets of instant oatmeal, 7 boxes of pasta, and 5 boxes of cereal. At least I won't have to do any grocery shopping for a while.

I then went for a 2hr ride. I'm always amazed at the riding in other places. Here by Geronimos it is a lot more up and down right out the door compared to where I live. The amount of shifting I feel I am doing is crazy. I truly get an understanding of the importance of STI shifting, and heck even a small chainring. Also it's fairly windy today and out riding here you really don't notice it or even have to think about. Back home it's all you think about as your heading down a straight flat road and you have been staring at your next corner for the past 15 minutes wondering if you'll ever get there.

Today is the well known CSC criterium. The boys should be finishing up as I write this. I've never had good luck racing that one, or even any race in the city of Arlington for that matter. When I had the opportunity to race it or not I gladly stepped aside and said one of my teammates could do it. It's a difficult race to do with just driving out the day before, and in the past I haven't had any racing to build into it so it's been tough. I just feel like I can't go into one of the hardest crits of the year without racing much before and on top of that spending the day or two before in a car. The only thing that race as done for me personally over the past three years is shot a bit of confidence I have had going into the 3 big races. Sometimes though it's just one of those things you have to do, not everyday is a glory day and you have to help those out you can do well in races that you can't. I hope it went well for them.

Well the house is quiet with Jill, Katie, Hunter and Lucy all taking naps and I feel that I should follow suite. I'm thinking for tonight I will make the docs famous Chicken Caccitorra.

Breeze On