Friday, December 30, 2011
It was fun to talk to him and hear stories from his trip to Tuscon and the shenanigans that took place. It made me think of two things. One, I'll be hearing stories like this all year racing on team full of college students. And two, my life has changed quite a bit as my shenanigans was throwing a two year a birthday party and deciding whether or not to eat another cookie, or if the calories from drinking a root beer were going to be ok. I wouldn't change it for the world, but it's still fun to think about.
Well the ride itself went pretty well. We battled a nice heawind for half the ride as we headed towards Bunker Hill. Once we arrived back in the B-burg we hit up Starbucks and chatted a bit before going our separate ways. We plan on doing the same tomorrow and are trying to get Birdman out, but he has already called and said he has to wash is hair and it will be wet and if the temperature is under 40 his head will get cold, and blah, blah, blah, so we will see.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Last night was one of our family Christmas parties and it was a good time, well the last hour of it was a bit nerve racking as I was watching the Lions do one of their fall behind and catch up by the end routines. Not cool guys. Most had left before the end and told me maybe next time. I had made some fun phone calls/texts after that. It's going to be a fun week of family get togethers as that is the best part of the holidays. Plus with Madelyn now being older she loves open gifts. It was fun watching her put a stocking on her foot like a sock, is she so smart or not smart enough? Also her birthday is just two days after Christmas. It's going to be a busy week.
So count another 6 day riding week in the books and everything still feels pretty good. This week I'm going to start with some light intervals and see how it goes. I can't believe how much that surgery helped. Now I just have to continue my build processes slowly.
Ok I probably should start shopping.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Out with the fellas.
Look closely at the picture and you can see two bald eagles in the trees. Not quite two turtle doves. It's pretty awesome seeing these birds in the wild. There are a few pairs in the area.
Out by the Saginaw Bay. Sometimes you don't realize how nice the area you lived in is until you go away. It may not have mountains or be warm, but there is plenty to see and do.
My dad and I gripped it and ripped it around the marsh for fun. He did pretty well for an old guy who doesn't ride and I felt pretty good for a guy who use to walk around like an old guy and hasn't ridden in a while.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Everyone has that one bike shop that they always go to, and once my dad got into cycling Jack's Bicycle Shop was the one we visited. Jack's was like no other bike shop.
First of all it is located in a renovated garage behind his house. So needless to say it is quite small, but there were plenty of goodies located inside. When ever you needed that random part chances are he had it stuffed in a drawer somewhere. It could have been the most random thing in a completely obscure place, but if you described something you needed he would know exactly where to look. Our mechanic from the past two years Will, who lived in the area, loved the shop and Jack, he would always rearrange one thing when Jack wasn't looking and of course he would spot it right out. Our number holders over the past two years came from Jack's as they were made from reflectors that came on the bikes in the shop. It was no problem as they were just sitting in a drawer.
Secondly there was pretty much one employ, Jack. Of course his two grandsons Nick and Chad would step in now and again and in the past few years helped out quite a bit more. It made it easy to grow a relationship with over the years. You knew just about everything about him and he knew just as much about you and your family. Whenever you went you had to make sure you had time to talk because you weren't just going to run in and run out. Some of the time spent was just waiting on the UPS man to bring the package of the day. It was fun to also peek on what everyone else was getting.
Like I said he was one of my biggest supporters and would always ask me or my dad what races I was doing and how I was doing. He also hung newspaper clippings of me on the walls and has one of my Marian national championships jerseys framed hanging on a wall. You want to know how good the relationship was. Well my dad has purchased 37 bikes from him. You don't buy that many bikes from one person if you don't like them.
Thirdly I always got a kick out of the business hours sign. It just basically boiled down to if I'm here or home it's open, if not, then we are closed. You could basically go any time on any day and if he wasn't sitting in the shop or outside on the picnic table a quick knock on the door would do the job. Mostly his wife Betty would answer as Jack was back listening to some music as he loved to do. Going to Jack's was sort of our coffee shop ride. We would ride over if we needed something and when it was nice just sit outside at the picnic table and chat.
Lastly he was always there to give you a deal. Just because something had a price on it doesn't exactly mean that is what it would cost. I could go there and pick up two items that cost $9.99 each and he would say just give me $15 and we will call it good. It's really helpful when you don't have much money, but there are so many things you need to buy.
Another thing I'll remember is doing the Jack's Halfway to St. Patrick's day Ride from Bay City to Clare, with a stop in Stanford for lunch/ice cream. It was the first long rides I did. Everyone who would do it would ride together the whole 60miles and get a room at the hotel. That afternoon and night everyone would hang out down in the bar/restaurant, drink, eat, and cha just about everything. Like I said you knew Jack well, but also all the other customers. It was a giant family. Then the next day you would all ride back. I probably was hardly 14 the first time, and I remember how cool I thought I was for riding that long. Great times.
There is one more thing I have to say and I really didn't want to put this at the end because it is much more then a footnote. Jack along with my Grandpa David Flaherty and Papa Eugene Rytlewski were part of what I easily consider the greatest generation as they fought in WWII. Jack was in the Navy and was a member of the US Army's 149th Special Combat Engineers on the June 6th, 1944, participating in the D-Day Invasion at Omaha Beach, Normandy. I think it is very important to remember all those who served during this time. Thanks!
Hanging out at the shop with Jack, his grandson Nick, my Dad, and Forrest.
The Rite Aid Pro Team on sponsored Fuji bikes, which Jack sold, and Jack with his original Fuji road bike out front by the sign.
Thanks for everything Jack! You will be missed.
I got back to the parking lot of the school, got the bike out of the car, and got dressed. I had just about everything on including my helmet when I wen to throw on my gloves. Blast no gloves and the temp was barley above freezing. No way could I got without them. They'd be ice cubes in less then 10min. So I cleaned up, changed clothes and got ready to teach. I thought I'd just hop on the rollers when Katie finally got home, but by the time we all arrived home it was 7:30 and no way it was happening. I was wiped out and fell asleep in my chair in less then 5mins from closing my eyes at 8:30. I woke back up at 2:30 in the morning and felt well rested. I went back to bed though as there isn't much to do at that time, unless your my dad who is just in the middle of his work day.
On a side note I just so happened to be subbing for my wife who had meetings in the afternoon. So I spent 3.5hrs in her shoes. Those are not easy shoes to fit in.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
As for my body this week as been the best I've felt in the whole year. Except for the day after therapy on Friday, my side muscles and shoulders were sore from the core work I did with a medicine ball on a exercise ball. Boy my upper body is week and the injury had nothing to do with that. All I had to is look into a mirror to figure that one out. This year I think I will focus more on doing upper body strength, core strength, and stretching. Something that everyone should do all year for overall health and injury prevention. Now I just need to find some balls.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Last night we had a team meeting over the phone with everyone. I've never had a phone conversation with more then two others. Luckily nobody sounds a like. Of course it didn't help out as I only met two of them before so I really didn't have any idea who was talking without them saying who they were first. I can't wait till we can actually get together.
We set up our first half of the season, or got it close. I'm pretty excited and it will be a fun year. More on this later.
Another event I'm looking forward to doing this upcoming year is the RAGBRAI. It's the ride across Iowa. My dad did it last year and he said it was absolutely huge. They ride between 60-80 miles a day and there are basically little parties in every town, some with good food to stop and eat. Sounds like my kind of ride. I think our great friend Will will be joining us as well. Did I mention you camp in a tent every night. Good times ahead.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I think I'm going to go head out to the trails tomorrow morning in Avon. Can't wait.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I've been taking some time off to recover from a long season of which I hadn't taken any good rest from and have been trying to resolve an injury I've had since February.
Some of the most enjoyable rides of the year have come in the last two weeks. Non of which were epic or much to write a blog about, but they really speak about how enjoyable riding a bike in the simplest form can be. Non of these rides have been much longer then an hour. Powermeters and racing egos were left at home.
I don't think anyone could be happier about that then this guy.
It was fun being on a ride with the old man when we were both able to talk on the ride. We cruised on the rail trails around Bay City.
Last week I quickly hit up some local trails on my cross bike after subbing before Katie got done teaching. I didn't have much time, maybe an hour, and I wasn't even close to wanting to call it a day. I was having way to much fun. I'm itching to get back out there. I'm going to take out the mountain bike with some others who go out there.
Then came yesterday after a weekend of not riding, I headed out on an old friend. It was raining and I don't get caught riding in the rain often, let alone in the off season. After about 2 minutes, again I was loving life on the bike. No plan, no powermeter, no ipod, and no speedometer. I had a smile on my face from ear to ear the whole ride in the rain. Just the simple joy of self-propelling.
No I'm not cheating on my Masi, but it's always nice to catch up with an old friend.
Of course after reading race write ups and watching the World Championships I'm already giddy about racing again and getting to some serious hard training, even though it's months away. It is what I truly love to do. But it always nice to get out and enjoy a bike like a kid. I hope to do the Breezer True Hilly Hundred soon and I would love some company. It's going to be a total relaxed affair this time. Who's in?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The following weekend was the Indiana State Criterium Championships with the Mass Ave Criterium. I knew by looking at the radar before the start of the race it was going to be touch and go. So did the officials who went over every scenario of what could happen, but even they weren't prepared. You could see the clouds roll in as the race was winding down. We went down to 10 laps to go early as the wind picked up. Some lightning flashed and soon we had 5 laps to go before the wind really whipped things up including trash cans and fencing which made their way onto the course. Next lap would be the bell as it was pitch black, winds gusting over 50mph and just about everything blowing onto the course. Luckily I made it to the car before the rain, and nobody was injured. This was the same storm that sadly cost concert goers their lives at the Indiana State fair a few miles up the road.
Next up was the USPRO Criterium Championships in Grand Rapids. Once again I saw rain on the radar and was hoping we would squeeze the 80km race in before rain would soak the course. Well we got to about 23 laps to go before the mayhem would begin. It started to drizzle. It was just enough to make the course slick and riders would go down. As the rain picked up the race was dropped quickly to 10 to go. Racers were everywhere as the rain, lightning and wind quickly picked up. Soon with 4 to go the wind came at an incredible rate again causing fencing down again and riders into the curbs. They called it with 3 to go. This time we would get a restart and a new 30 lap race as soon as the rain let up an hour later. No fun.
This weekend is the last race of the year for me in Binghamton, NY with Chris Thater. The long range forecast isn't looking to promising with a 70% change of rain. Well I guess just finish off the month like it started.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I tried to keep it pretty light on the way down, but those that ride with me probably have a sense of how that went. My wife met me down there and graciously bought me a Sprite and chocolate chip cookie as I pinned my number on. Just sitting there relaxing in the chair eating and drinking before the race was quite relaxing.
The race itself was pretty good. There were a few teams well represented and I knew I couldn't miss a break with all of them. I tried early, missed a great one in the middle as I was in the pit, but helped bring it back and a field sprint would ensue. I just didn't get in a good position before the final laps as they were short and fairly quick.
The big question I had on the day was, "Why is everyone floating out to the 2ft high curb out of corner 3?" I never got close or had to. I think I saw 3 or 4 crashes there.
The night festivities continued as my wife and I went out to eat with Swain, Julie, and JoKo. Talking to Swain about old times reminded me of the song "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen. We had so many great experiences racing together in college that my long time readers will know about. It was some of my favorite moments and Kaite and Julie were surprised by the amount of detail we could recall. Luckily it wasn't the speediest of services as we were able to catch up on present times and plan our next get together.
Sunday we had an opportunity to head up north to Lake Schaffer where we met up with Krista and Wade. Once again a geat opportunity presented itself as it just so happens to be 80 miles away, a perfect bike ride. We had plans to leave later in the afternoon which meant for a hot ride. The stops for water got closer together. First 90 minutes, then 60, then 40 which was a stretch before the final 2o minutes.
This weekend is a crit in downtown Indy. I'll probably ride to that one as well, but it's only 20 miles away.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
On the start line at Espoir Nationals 10 years ago in Texas. You might be able to guess just by looking at the photo that I probably didn't podium this one. This was part of one of my biggest road trips and most fun. It was just my father and myself traveling from bike race to bike race. We left from Bay City, MI to Fitchburg, MA then onto Houston, then to Elgin, IL before finally returning home. I was pro before I was even pro and I didn't even know it.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
My Dad and I took a lazae start to our day on Friday and before we knew it, it was rather late and time to start the 3hr drive. We arrived to our hotel around 10pm and spent an hour flipping through the channels on the television.
The time trial was an early start so we woke up, tossed some oatmeal into a cup of yogurt, and then headed out to the start. After getting numbers and kitted up we both did our own thing to warm up. Everything went without a hitch other then the whole winning thing, and after I did the podium we headed back up to Bay City.
It wasn't more then 10mins into our drive back we started to think that our master plan of enjoying the evening festivities in Bay City and coming back with the family the next day for the crit and road race wasn't such a great idea.
We had a few stops to make before we got home one of which was to get Madelyn a pool. This was easier said then done as either the car was to small or the pool was to big. After we tied it up with the rope we bought we realized we had yet another dilemma, we tied the doors shut.
We finally arrived home after having to drive the final miles under 20 around mid afternoon. Just in time to shower and start the grill for dinner. After dinner I reluctantly headed to the fair with Katie and Madelyn. I was feeling pretty tired, but glad I went and had a great time watching Madelyn enjoy herself.
By the time we got back it was time to pack and get ready to head to the fireworks. The whole reason we drove back from Grand Rapids. But of course they don't start till after 10 and last 45 minutes, so by the time we got back and into bed it was 11:30.
I thought my stage race as over and I hadn't even crawled out of bed yet. I was almost certain I wasn't about to get out bed at 6am and make yet another 3hr drive. Luckily someone was very motivated to go, and it wasn't my dad who stayed in bed holding his pee so I didn't think he was up and going. It was Katie. She dragged me out of bed with her words. So I packed up the car and checked to see if my dad was still going. As soon as he felt guilty enough for not going we were both on our way.
Not to long into the drive we both felt much better and were ready to race. The races went ok for the both of us. My dad hung in with no problems and drafted himself into a 15th place. I had a few shadows, picked up a bunch of Gatorade primes, and finished 2nd, but after the guy behind me picked up a time prime I slipped into 3rd overall. I even had a special visited from ace mechanic Will Swan who was in the area vacationing.
We grabbed Chipotle for lunch, watched the tour, glued some tires, headed to dinner, and finally bed.
Once again it was rough morning. Even though we had no long drive, it was early and the motivation was rather low. My dad and I headed to Ihop for breakfast as the girls slept in. We discussed what the heck we were doing over breakfast and were thinking how much more fun BBQing all day would be. If the start line to the race wasn't on the way home who knows if we would have stopped.
Well once we started racing we both had fun. I spent much of the time with Sheedy feathering breakaways as it was to hard for us to get away from the guys that mattered. As we brought back the last one with under 15 miles to go a few attacks started. One guy hung out as the rest of us started to throw some blows and the race had finally felt like a real race. We ran out of race though and the one guy hung out and won. I didn't get a time bonus on the finish and had to settle for 3rd overall. Still not bad and made some money.
The best part of the day and the previous is that it was the first time I got to enjoy the podium with the most important person in my life.
So we hopped back in the car and headed back to my parents. The road race started and finished early enough that we still had time to BBQ. Madelyn even had some more time to enjoy her pool.
Even though the long weekend was way busier then it ever should have been I had a blast and wouldn't change a thing. Well maybe win a race, but that is it. It's nice to some low key racing with the family after doing some pretty big races.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This last weekend I went to Madeira and Hyde Park Criteriums in Ohio. Madeira is a tight and short course with 2 180's and it was after the second lap I realized I couldn't remember the last crit I did. What a sprint workout! It was so different then everything I have done over the past 2 months. Not only was there the sprinting, cornering, racing at night, but also the extra aggressiveness of everyone with bumping and elbowing. Luca said speedweek may not have been great prep for California, but it would have made awesome preparation for this.
I was hoping Hyde Park the second night would be slightly better as it only had one 180, but it only took the first time through 200 meters into the race before I found myself going over someone who fell in the corner. Bruising my bottom is not the way I'd like to start a race.
This weekend is a 3 day race in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It starts with a 9mile Time trial, then an hour criterium (oh boy), then a 90 mile road race. I'll be traveling up to my parents house with the family and spending the holiday weekend up there between heading to the races with my dad. My dad is even taking the bull by the horns and is going to be pinning the number on for the weekend. Watch out for Rytlewski domination! Ha.
Maybe after this I will take a break, but then again winter is not to far off and it usually snows forcing me off the bike.
Monday, June 27, 2011
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Thursday, June 02, 2011
I've done the USPRO road championships straight for the past 7 years, which included a year they were still in Philadelphia. In 2006 they were moved to Greenville, South Carolina home of one of Americas great cyclist George Hincapie. Big changes were made including having the time trial at the same time, a move to late summer, a course that included a true climb and more importantly with the growing of American cycling it was now open only to US citizens. Some changes have been made since the first event such as the placement and course of the time trial, cutting the road race from 5 times up Paris Mountain to only 4, and placing the even back to late spring.
This year the time trial was pushed back from the day before the road race to two days out in hopes to attract more racers into competing in the event. It worked as the turnout more then doubled. I was even cornered into doing the event by my director Frankie Andreu who thought it would be a good opener. There are far fewer variables in a time trial as opposed to a road race, which makes it harder to win. There are no tactics. It's just you, a bike and a clock. With the time trial being a circuit done 3 times it is easy to judge how you are doing so you know whether to pick it up or ease up as it may not be your day. By the third lap I was just cruising.
The road race has panned out many ways, but for the most part it is all about the 3.5km accent up Paris Mountain. While not particularly steep, the climb takes roughly 9-10 minute, but it's enough to take it's toll on the peloton when the pace is high.
Last year everyone knows the story of how Ben King attacked in the first few km's and stayed away till the end to win. One thing was certain going into this year and that was no team is going to want to miss the early move, which means the racing will be fast in the opening miles.
The temperature were almost as hot as the racing was in the beginning. Soon enough temperatures soared into the 90's as we climbed Paris Mountain repeatedly. Just as expected the racing was fast with attacks, covers, and counters. Our Kenda 5hour Energy p/b GearGrinder team was in full participation of the action. As expected it took nearly 40km's for a move to go just before the first accent up Paris Mountain. BMC wasn't happy with this move as Brent Bookwalter set a fast pace up the climb which shatter the field, brought back the break, and led to the formation of the main break of the day at the bottom. We were well represented with Phil Gaimon.
The rest of the race was led by United, Bissell, and Jelly Belly as they had missed the move and had hopes of bringing it back. Everyone else sat back, drank a ton of bottles and even put ice stockings on their backs to help keep cool. The break hovered around 2-3 minutes till the fourth accent where the fireworks were lit. Tejay Van Garderen, George Hincapie, and Matt Busche showed why they are some of the best in the world as everyone else was clinging for wheels. I was caught with my pants down at the back and gaps opened up that could never be closed. From my position I could see many interesting things that many will never see or know about such as water bottle slings, guys grabbing onto car racks, and even a bit of motorpacing by over the top. The things that go on at and off the back could make quite a book. Nothing I like to be a part of however.
There is no time to relax after the last accent as there still is 30km's of hard racing. The race can be lost on the climb, but for the most part it is won on the run into town and on the closing circuits. Matt Busche finished off a late race breakaway by edging out George Hincapie for the win.
I was caught in no mans land as we entered the finishing circuits I was a good 2 minutes back with a good size group a minute back. I sat up as there was no point of riding around 3 circuits alone for minor placing. I was really bummed the whole way around just thinking of how I screwed up and how things could have gone better. Hopefully the event returns to Greenville as I really love the course and I get a chance to go as I'd love another shot.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Day 1. Getting ready to race in 20 degree weather, wind, and snow. Everyone is dressed early, ready and giddy to go. It's cold and wet, but we know when we go it will warm up with the racing. Unfortunately the race was canceled. What do you do with all this energy? We go ride anyways. We headed out where the weather was slightly better till we topped a pass and we jumped into the car before having to bomb a decent in horrid conditions.
Day 2. We have to drive 2hrs to the start as conditions over and down Donners Pass we not conducive to racing. Stemper was dressed before we entered the RV. The rest of us dressed the second we parked and were off to sign in quickly.
Day 3. The only person dressed before leaving was Day, but that is because he didn't want 7 other guys naked butts in his face as was the case the day before. Everyone in the RV seemed to be moving slower, not quite Roman pace yet.
Day 4 and 5. Things are definitely slowing down in the RV. Some get ready before others, most are trying to relax as long as possible. It's a little cold out in the mornings so nobody wants to hang outside. It must have being only in the 50's. There is no sense of urgency. We may all be dressed 30minutes before start, head straight to sign in, and quickly back to the RV to sit and relax the last few minutes. One guy did ask if we were going to warm up. I smiled at him and said no worries there is a 5km neutral section.
Day 6. It's the TT day. Stemper, Day, and myself have later starts so we leave an hour later then everyone else. I was pretty excited for that extra down time. Time was wisely spent on the bed watching tv.
Day 7. Once again guys are dressed about 30minutes out, but only because we figured we should roll around before the start as it is 10 miles straight up out of the gate. Even we know when we should warm up. Luca said it would help hurt less during the race. I don't think I could have hurt anymore. I wonder how it worked out for him?
Day 8. We get to the start area in plenty of time. The RV parked and nobody even moved. We hassle Phil about how we may have just passed a Chick-fa-la but since it is Sunday it is closed. The kid loves his sweet tea. 30 minutes to go and nobody flinches. We are all working at Roman pace. We finally get dressed roll out of the RV ask an official where the sign in is at, as it is not visible. He informs us it's at the start which is by the stage like everyday. Clearly, but where would that be? He points it out and tells us we better hurry. I started thinking oh man we are pushing it this time. I signed in and noticed that only one other team had signed in as well and Andy Schleck. However I don't think it was really Andy who signed in unless he signs in as HOMO. I could be wrong.
The other thing I noticed is that as the race went on the neutral sections seemed to be shorter, not only that but also quite a bit slower. Although when the flag dropped the racing always began right away.
On stage 7 up Mt. Baldy Frankie told us after that as soon as we finish a race we should move to the RV right away. We informed him that we did that, but on the 15 mile decent to the RV we were in no way going to pedal at all.
The most important thing during a stage race is to stay as relaxed as possible. We could have probably all saved on 2-3 spots on GC if we went in with the same demeanor as we had in stage 8. Don't move until completely necessary.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So what did the meals consist of. Well many of the same things day after day. Before you think I am ungrateful for the meals we were provided I am very glad the organization plans these out. I couldn't imagine trying to do the hassle of going out, or cooking.
The morning consisted of fruit, oatmeal, some type of egg substitute, a breakfast meat, bread, pasta, and red sauce. Bonuses at a few included granola, french toast, and a toaster.
For after the races we had box lunches provided from deli's/sub shops. These consisted of a sandwich, chips, apple, and a cookie. For some reason our team seemed to get only 2 turkey sandwiches and a bunch of ham and roast beef. Either that or I didn't get to them soon enough to choose.
Dinners had salad, bread, pasta with red or white sauce, rice, a meat, and of course dessert also sometimes referred to as the DNF bar. Some bonus were the day they had turkey and stuffing, the occasional beef and mashed potatoes, and ice cream.
After 2 days our doctor Jason Brayley was so kind to provide us with a 'breakfast' box. Basically a box full of food that we could eat at any time. This included cereals, rice cakes, peanut butter, bananas, nutella, and such. I brought my own personal peanut butter that my dad sent me from back home. It's natural peanut butter made right there in Michigan. Also my wonderful wife put in my bag my nightly snack of dark chocolate.
On the final night the team treated the all the riders and staff to a huge dinner at a local brewery. It was awesome to sit back, relax, and reflex on the weeks worth of work. Oh and the clams, burger, beer (root for myself) and fries weren't bad either.
The first day in the mountains with the cancellation of stage 1 and half of stage 2. The only good thing about today was the later start because of the shorter distance on the stage. But the shorter distance came at a cost of 9,000+ft of climbing.
My job along with two other teammates was to get into the early break. More specific I was to go right at km 0, and that is what I did. Unfortunately that didn't work like it had the previous day. I was soon back in the field waiting for my turn to cover the next. It came quick as Roman flatted. Now it was up to Jim and I to cover moves. After swapping off turns for a while and thinking I didn't know if I was going to be able to get the next one, Jim ended up in the move. Things settled for a while before the first short KOM a few miles away.
From that point on the race was on and up. As we crested the KOM the pace never settled and Radioshack kept the pace high and the field lined out. After two small KOM's we came up to the first big climb of the day, Mt Hamilton. The field strung out and those that could followed and those that couldn't settled into their own pace or that of the groupetto. Over the top I was in the second group on the road. We bombed the decent as some Type 1 riders were full throttle down it. It's been a while since I've bombed a decent that took 20+minutes. It's easy to loose focus for a second and freak out a bit. It was a lot of fun though as the descending basically took us to the bottom of Sierra Rd., the uphill finish.
Our group just rode it to the top, some a little harder, and some easier. The crowds on it were amazing. I could only imagine what it would be like to be some of the first riders up, as the crowd had died a bit 8 minutes later as we rolled up. Still it was pretty amazing.
Then came the scariest scenario I ever imaged. Imagine yourself descending a 4mile mountain that averaged around 10% with race vehicles, riders, 100's of spectators walking, riding on mountain bikes and cruisers, and tour buses coming up. If I only had a GoPro camera for that decent. That would have been the best footage taken all week. To bad one spectator was out of control and smashed into the Sram car around a corner. Word is he was critical, but ok. Please people be safe, you are not impressing anyone with your descending skills or lack there of through a crowd.
From there it was off to the hotel for food, shower, massage, food, and sleep.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Yesterday was a tough decision to make. Going into the evening we knew there were two options.
1. Race the full race at scheduled start of 10:15.
2. Race only 50miles a delayed start of 1:15 in hopes that the road conditions would improve if the bad weather came to be.
Well we did wake up to snowy conditions and walking out to the cars to head to breakfast the staff was hard at work brushing and scraping the snow/ice off the vehicles. It's been a while since I've seen that. We still hadn't heard the official word on the race. But as soon as we finished breakfast we received meal tickets for the Casio buffet 3hrs before the new start time of 1:15.
The snow would come to end and the sun would make a brief appearance. But before you knew it again another squal would move in. Like this one on the way to the brunch, which so happened to be 2hrs after a solid breakfast.
It was hard to believe a race would actually happened. We ended up eating just a little bit more to prepare for the race that was suppose to start. We got word an hour before that the race was a go so we prepared to race in the sub freezing temperatures.
I headed to the line at the last possible moment as it was freezing and another squall had moved through, but the streets in town were dry so I figured it was going to be a go. We had 3minutes to go as the national anthem was being sung. 1 minute to go was called out. With about 30sec to go Levi came over the PA to announce there wasn't going to be a race as conditions out on course were dangerous and the safety of the riders was a huge priority. The crowed was receptive of the news and applauded. It was awesome that they came out in the freezing conditions to cheer us on.
As a rider I was ready to race, and felt bad for the spectators at the start, on the course and at the finish ready to see us. But we have to be safe and the course was to dangerous to race. 6 race motorcycles ended up crashing on the course. Luckily all were ok.
We headed out the other way on the other side of the lake which was a bit better shape to spin the legs. As soon as we started heading up the weather conditions worsened again and we were riding in a good snow burst. As we crested the climb we pulled over and jumped into the cars so we wouldn't have to take the decent in the bad conditions. The temperature in the car said 23. Brrrr.
Well we drove to the condos we were staying at in Northstar and headed to dinner. We ate some more, slept, and then headed to breakfast before driving to the start shortened stage 2.
1. Team missed the break. Major no, no for us.
2. Shaun Milne was 10th which is good, but it would be great if we could improve.
Today was a shortened stage due to the wintery conditions. It's unfortunate because on the drive into the new start 60miles down the road the scenery and roads were phenomenal. On the other side after driving in we could see why we weren't riding it.
Nevada City was a great little city and a nice host for the start. We got an awesome send off. The first 40km were mostly downhill and the last 40km before the circuits were a head wind. The circuits were done almost as fast as you could ride. Would have been faster if it wasn't for the bit of rain and wet roads on some of the corners. I also became acquainted to my 53x11.
The crowds for this race is unbelievable. I expected big crowds with this being a big race and all, but it is crazy.
Scott of 5hour Energy came out for the past few days to see the racing. It's to bad yesterday had to be canceled and today was the only day of racing he got to see before heading back. Thanks again for the great support and product!
Here is today's race on Strava.
6 more days of great racing to go.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I wasn't the only one shocked. I received an email from Chad Burdzilauskas ( I think he rides for Logan Steakhouse Cycling Team) with a quick edit to the article with an addition. This is straight from him, and I thought I should share.
Jake Rytlewski (Kenda 8 hour energy)
Watch out bitznaches! Jake “The Snake” Rytlewski has been hiding in Brownsburg the last few years and is coming out to the big time again. He has been specializing in 5 second down hill sprints and training with “The Light You Up” specialist, Chad Burdzilauskas. Jake 2010 victories were Troy Classic, which at the finish someone threw a rock at him and he still won. What a tough tough tough dude! He also finished a close third place to Chad and Greg Strock in the Wilbur hill climb, watch out LEVI.
Those are just a few accomplishments, he also can finish an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies while not even putting Madelyn down, multitasking specialist. He can also chase down the entire radioschack team, just as long as you tell him that the birdman is up the road.
Bring it TOC 2011 !"
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I head out Friday morning and fly to Reno, NV. From there we will drive to our first hotel in Lake Tahoe. The scenery up there is phenomenal, and from what I've heard, signs of winter are lingering around. They might even linger into the race start as the forecast is for 30's and snow. So as I pack my bag tomorrow I'll be loading it with all my warm Hincapie gear. Speaking of Hincapie gear be sure to be on the look out for our new team kits sporting the 5hour energy log.
The last few days have been anything but cold around here in Indiana. Today was right around 90. I stopped 3 times for water in 4hrs and drank 8bottles. Yet it still wasn't enough. I felt like I was in a huge oven as I rode around farm fields with no shade anywhere. It almost feels like there are two cycling seasons. 1-Complain that it's to cold. 2-Complain that it's to warm. Pretty sure my wife has had enough of both.
That's it for now. I'm hoping that we have good internet throughout California to give those interested a low down on my accounts. If you want to know how the end of the race goes you might want to check out Versus daily live coverage at 5pm (EST) (expect saturday 8pm EST). That way you don't have to count on my view of chasing Levi and etc up Baldy and Sierra Rd. It might be a tough view from my position, but you never know. As Birdman would say "I'll light them up!"
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Once we made it to our awesome accommodations at the Baptist Church's gymnasium we kitted up and headed out for a spin. The local's greeted us with horns and one finger up which I don't believe meant #1 in this case. Once we cooled down with a few laps in the gym, a little hot for one particular rider, we showered up and headed to dinner an the grocery.
Stemper who was having just an awesome day which included a broken bike from the airline, not a very welcoming committy on the ride, and a mishap with a slippery gym floor would be victim again at dinner. He ordered steamed veggies, which the waitress forgot about. They finally came out but were no where near the description of steamed veggies and best of yet he was charged $6 when the menu said $4. All the waitress could say about that was, "What would you like me to do about that?" Seriously!
Today we reconned the last 80 miles of the Gila Monster stage. We started in the valley and headed to the hills battling a sweet wind.
Behind climbing specialist Phil. Look at that form.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It felt great getting back in there and mixing things up. I'm really starting to like night time crits. There seems to be a special ora, more excitement, and it just feels like a big time sporting event. Of course as it was the first crit for the year for me I had to get use to the whole corning fast and with it being night time seeing shadows all around.
The whole team just went out to be aggressive, and we did that. Not missing any important moves or splits. We weren't going to be caught out. Our only mishap was our sprinter being moved off the leadout mans wheel. Things happen.
So after collecting prize money, rolling back to the host house, eating dinner and showering we were in bed my midnight. Not a huge deal other then the fact we had to be up by 5am to get to the start of the road race at 8am.
It was a fast night and a quick morning. We grabbed our complimentary breakfast at the race site which consisted of a bagel with cream cheese and a Trix yogurt. Good thing the race wasn't any longer.
We were back and racing on our bikes less then 12hrs after finishing the previous night. Once again we didn't want to be caught out with guys who weren't motivated and miss a move from some of the riders who were motivated. Once again we did a good team effort and Jonny ended up in the move. Real cyclist did much of the chasing as their guy got dropped from it. Jonny came unhitched as we closed in on the finale climb.
That left it to us to close the final 30 seconds of the now 4 leaders. We took to the front and I took a really hard dig with 4km to go and had it all together with 3km to go. That left it up to Hartley, Luca, and Isaac to once again try to finish it off. They had it set up perfectly other then the fact the finish was 800meters from the last corner not 400meters like they had planned out. Whoops.
I'm really impressed with the team this year in how strong everyone is riding. Guys were all over the front of the races and in position to win, like they have already this year. A few more races and we should be banging out the wins.
Next up is the Tour of the Gila and the end of the month.
Friday, April 08, 2011
I did a race last weekend in Tennessee, the Hell of the South. It was a pretty awesome road race that was 96miles long, with some small rollers and a narley dirt section. It wasn't much different then a training ride, but it was nice to get out with some guys and hammer. I'll probably try to get out and do it again next year if I'm not doing anything else.
Well here's to hoping I'm ready for this weekend. The first one is always a little nerve racking. Especially when your director calls and says it's going to be hard and the speed will be a shock to the system. As if I needed to hear that. I'm more then ready though.
I have to thank Joe Kukola for transporting my Masi in his mini van. Delta now charges $200 each way for a bike. I'm sure my team will appreciate it as well when they don't receive $400 worth of receipts to transport a bike for a weekend. That's more then then the ticket itself.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Since nobody else is around I have to ride with this guy.
I don't see him much as he's a mere shadow, like Birdman.
The fun and the sun comes to an end tomorrow as it's suppose to rain and we are going to start our trip back to the great north. We'll probably make a quick stop in Berlin, TN for the Hell of the South bike race. Never heard of it or heard anything about, but was trying to look for a bike race on the way back and this was the one.
Monday, March 28, 2011
So far we have spent a bit of time by the pool, at the beach, eating good food, and heck even been riding a bit. Madelyn has been the show for the vacation and everything we do and everywhere we go she is putting on a show. She knows it and gets a laugh from everyone. I'm really glad she is enjoying herself.
Tomorrow it's back to the beach. Hopefully a little riding before and a little ice cream after. And by a little I mean quite a bit, maybe on both accounts. I could get use to this vacation thing. Although I do have to say I'm a bit sad I wasn't out with my boys racing San Dimas and winning the whole thing. Awesome work guys! Clearly they did just fine without me. I'm looking for them to do the same this weekend in Redlands. Go Kenda 5 Hour Energy p/b GearGrinder Pro Cycling team. I can't wait to get out their racing with everyone.
I do plan on doing a race as of right now on the way back in Tennessee. It's called the Hell of the South. A 95 mile road race with some dirt. Should be good times.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I did enjoy a solid 3 days in a row in the 70's. It made me think of summer, and of what is to come. I took full advantage of the nice weather as I spent a good amount of time on the bike, and in the evenings took Madelyn to the park. She get's around pretty good now which is good and bad. It's good as she can have more fun, but it's bad as she's at the age where I'm glued to her side. Another year or two and I'll be cemented to a bench after the long rides.
So this cold spell came at a good time as I am off with the family and dad for a little vacation in Florida at my Aunt Denise's and Uncle Roger's. They let us stay with them last February as well. It's not quite the training mecca there but a perfectly timed recovery week will be executed. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bummed about not racing in California the next two weeks, but there will be plenty of races to come. Watch for the Kenda 5hour Energy p/b GearGrinder lads.
Here is a ride I did last weekend in Nashville with Chad, Jeff Rhodes and riders from Team Nebo Ridge. The roads down there are amazing for riding. Well other then the biting dogs. Just don't be the slowest.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
For those not familiar with Nashville, IN it is a very small tourist town. There are many shops and restaurants right on and around main street. There are even more fudge/ice cream/candy shops! Also the area is know for it's riding with many small roads and hills. It's a great place to train.
We broke off into 3 or so groups today and the guys in my group rode very well. Two in particular who where younger. They always went till they blew and rode most hills as hard as they could. You have to love that spirit. It was also great to have Chad on the ride as he kept his eye on my rear wheel.
For a club team Nebo Ridge is having a pretty pro camp. Great riding is followed by great food (homestyle restaurants on every corner) and every evening there is a get together with a guest speaker and drinks are provided.
Tomorrow we head home and Chad and I are planning on riding back. He's excited it's only 45miles, but riding behind me it's going to be closer to 100. No reason to go straight back.
By the way be sure to continue to check out GearGrinder great clothes and accessories. Even better yet is if you use KPC30 code you will receive 30% off! Thanks to Paul Weaver and the rest of GearGrinder.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Be sure to check out their belt and wallet which is made out of old inner tubes. Probably not Kenda however as those never wear out.
And how about this. Just because you read this blog you can get 30% off. Just use the code KPC30. Get shopping now.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Climbing the biggest Mountain in Florida, Surgarloaf Mountain. They basically made a mountain out of a mole hill.
TT practice, next to one of the few who can make me look big. Scottie was also my roomate for the week.
The Mercury Trident TT bikes are pretty sweet. They will even feel faster with the Mercury Disc and 90 wheels. Won't be loosing because of the equipment.
At camp I got my early season schedule and it looks like my first race will be the Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, AL on April 10th and then it will be off to the Tour of the Gila at the end of the month. It's a bit of later start, but from that point there could be a lot of big races jammed in a short time (if selected) including Tour of California, USPRO road race, Philly, and Nature Valley.
Monday, February 28, 2011
There were many cool things that happened through out camp, but the busiest day as a rider were the first two. Getting new bikes, equipment, clothes, sponsor products, and bike fits took a bit of time.
A bag full of new clothes, shoes, helmets, and etc.
TT bike fit session.
New race bike all built up and sized up.
The other days were quite routine. We would basically get up, have breakfast, ride, eat lunch, relax for an hour or so, have a team meeting, and then head out to dinner. The rides consisted of lots of time in the saddle, a bit of leadout practice, photo opts, and even a tt day.
Couldn't decide what shoe color to wear. Black goes good with left side of jersey and white goes well with right side.
The staff on the other hand had their hands full taken care of 18 'children'. The mechanics Will, helper Eric, and my dad were able to whip out over 50 bikes during camp working from 8am to 6pm daily. The new Masi's are pretty awesome, and the Mercury Trident makes me excited to race a TT again. The sponsors are all amazing as well. Mario Mazza worked his tail off all of camp and asks for nothing. He even bought the guys drinks at dinner on occasion. We also had some pro media at camp including Brandon and Iain. They took some amazing pictures and videos. I will share when I can .
Who needs bottle cages when you can use a perfectly good magnet. Check out the new Vincero Design bottles and bottle docks.
I roomed with Scottie for camp. I think they stuck us together so we wouldn't bore others with pictures and stories of our 1year olds. We're both very excited about our kids.
We are going to have a great year as everyone on this team is strong and so motivated. I think this is the strongest team I've ever been on and I can not be more excited. I'm really looking forward to being a part of a team that wins many races and is expected to.
Look for Kenda in 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Like I previously said Jeff Rhodes (trutrainers) and I headed south for a few days of some much needed outdoor riding.
At the top of Caesars Head in South Carolina which happens to be my favorite climb in the area.
I traveled home to an area hit by an ice storm followed by a solid 5" the day after my arrival. Along with a cold spell that led to many more indoor hours. Boring.
That's right -12.
Family time is always great.
Who doesn't enjoy a good game of peekaboo? She still enjoys it even though the box is see through.
I received the best package in while from the good ole UPS guy a few days back. Inside was my brand new Mercury TT bike. My father came down a few days before camp to help put it together before he makes the drive with team mechanic Will Swan down to camp in Florida. At the minimum that means 1 less out of the 50 or so to build at camp.
I got out for Tri practice with it today. To bad Birdman wasn't able to join me this time. Maybe once daylights savings time comes back we'll be able to get together so I can light him up.
Although for some reason I think we forgot to do something last night as we were building the bike. I can't put my finger on it though.
Three more days and it's off to camp in hopefully sunny and warm Clermont, Florida. There has been so much news about the team over the last few weeks and I'll be blogging about it all. Tour of California and an even stronger roster. Also there will be new uniforms, equipment, bikes, and etc. The blogging season is about to begin.
Monday, January 31, 2011
If you don't talk to me often you probably have no clue what I have been up to as updating the blog has been put on the shelf. Not because I've been busy ride, but because I've been busy not riding. I really didn't want to blog the last two months about how the winter has been horrible and how riding inside is painful as it's been done before. Also it's been to frustrating to even think about.
I could have also blogged about the epically cold rides I've been on this season. Never before have I done riding in temperatures like I have this year, but I know all are in the same boat. A lot of riders ride in cold weather, but to train in cold weather is slightly different.
I've bailed on Indy winter for a few days as my wife told me to get out. Of course we left as a horrible storm is suppose to be hitting home, and we should probably be there, but.....So we packed up and headed out with my personal sponsor for the week Jeff Rhodes of TruTrainers. It's great having the sponsor along at a training camp. Also we both will get more riding in then Birdman which in part will make us faster. That's the whole reasoning behind this adventure.
Yesterday we loaded up his Vibe and headed to his nephews house in Greenville, SC. But first we had a stop at my coaches, Andy Applegate, in Asheville and did an awesome ride in near 70 degree weather.
This picture says it all. A perfect day.
Today was back to a normal winter day in the south. Just did a lighter couple of hours today with a trip up Paris Mountain for fun. Maybe a little rain tomorrow, some wind on Wednesday, and a little chill on Thursday is predicted, but you still won't here a complaint for either of us.
Enjoy your trainer Birdman.