Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So this new NCC series that USA Cycling created has been my nemesis. I am a big fat 0-2 on them. Not only have I not been able to get a result I haven't been able to get through half a race.

This past weekend was the Sunny King Criterium. As in my previous post I had a bit of spill on Wednesday night while out training.

I may have been out there having one of my best training rides of the year. I did 3 hard efforts on Bunker Hill and then followed that quickly with 3 hard efforts up Goat Hollow. Then I added a bonus loop to climb up into Wilbur twice. Then I was headed to the last climb up Gold Creek and on a quick decent and right hand turn onto the road I encounter a bit of gravel and sand and quickly smashed onto the pavement. I bounced up quickly as it seems I'm at least lucky enough to always do and noticed blood everywhere. It was mostly from the gash on the palm of my hand. Then I inspected the bike. Brake levers where both bent inwards, shifting was basically gone along with the bar tape. I called the wife and asked if she could meet me as I started to roll home. She was just happy my collarbone had held up on the impact. After 12miles of painful riding I was able to meet up with her.

So I was planning on leaving for Sunny King on Friday and break up the 10hr drive. The only thing is that my bike had a few broken pieces. The team stepped up nicely though and had everything overnighted to me and it would arrive sometime Friday. So I had the car packed up Friday morning, went for a ride on the Merckx and sat and watched tv as I waited for the parts as my bike was in pieces on the work stand. By 4pm the parts had finally arrived and I started to build. Internal cable routing is clean, and nice looking but a pain to thread in a hurry. The only good thing to come of all this is I got to see the family one last time before finally leaving a few hours beyond what I wanted.

I had a hotel in Tennessee to stay at which worked out nicely and finished the drive on Saturday. Once arriving I had to go the bike shop and get my derailleur hanger replaced. Only problem is that they didn't have the right hanger or the right screws. Luckily the guy we stayed with for host housing showed up at the shop with another rider from our team who had a bad derailleur hanger and he was able to jimmy rig something up. Then I met the team and went for a ride. I felt like crap.

We drove to the night race later that evening. I started my warmup and felt much better. The relaxing and easy spin must have really help. Only problem is that my shifting went horrible wrong as the start time closely approached. I made a mad dash for neutral support as the riders were being called to the line. They were scrambling. Time was ticking, the music was blasting and nerves filled the air. Time to grab a neutral bike and jump on to the group as they started. Only problem is that the saddle height wasn't adjusted. It was like 6 inches to short. No way was I going to race 90minutes like this! So I quickly pulled over, grabbed my bike and headed to the car more pissed off then ever. I was pretty much ready to quit cycling much like after the Tampa Criterium mishaps. The nerves calmed down over the night and I knew I had a race the following day.

Early the next morning we started the Foothills Road Race. More on that later.

Breeze On

Friday, April 20, 2012

I had my first official team race with the team this past weekend at the Tour of the Battenkill in upstate New York. When the team asked my opinion on doing the race all I could say is that you won't do any other race like this all year. And because of that 8 of us made the trip to almost the middle of nowhere to race on dirt, gravel and hills. Fortunately enough the weather for this time of year was very seasonable and temps were in the upper 60's to lower 70's for much of the weekend.

Here is a pic of someone the new guys as we were heading of a pre race spin. 

The few weeks leading up to the race I was debating on whether or not to participate in the Pro/Am the day before the UCI race. Normally I would never hesitate at this, but with other members on the team thinking it was to much and watching the pre reg list not add up I was thinking maybe I should skip it as well. My training wasn't as good as normal coming off the broken collar bone and I hadn't raced but 1 day so I thought maybe I should save everything for Sunday's 200km race. Then in the last day of registration I decided I needed the racing more then I didn't. I would also have a solid 24hrs of recovery.

So I lined up in the wee hours of Saturday morning for the 60 man Pro/Am race that would race practically the same roads we would the following day. I help back a lot as I knew I had the big race the following day. I made sure to stay near the front in what I thought were crucial moments. I thought I would make 1 good effort on one of the biggest hills leading into a long dirt roller section. I made the move and was off the front with 6 chasing an earlier break of 4. When all the dust had settled 1 rider stayed away and I came to the line with 1 other and finished 3rd. I was rather pleased and now a bit more excited for the bigger race the following day.

Here's the Pro/Am Podium. It was very exciting to get a jug of chocolate milk to help in the recovery process. Madelyn would have loved to be on this podium and share that big ole jug of chocolate milk.

Here is me and American cycling legend Greg Lemond. When I told him I was also racing on Sunday he even thought I was nuts! I took that as a compliment.

24hrs later I was back on the start line but this time with 160 riders and staring down the barrel of a 200km bike race. The race was fast from the get go and as expected even faster on the dirt sections. The last 40km of the lap is brutal with the number dirt roads and climbs. I told the guys if you are going to be up front at all make sure it is at this point. As expected things heated up for those 40km's and the field was shattered and 50 guys would come around for the 2nd together.

Well except for this one guys who found himself off the front waiting for a group to come across.

An awesome group of 6 came across, but it was missing a Kelly Optimun guy so they chased and countered and that was the race. I would finish in the second group, but I made my move and it just didn't work out.

Here I am coming back from 1 of 2 flats. I've done this race 4 times and I've flatted twice in 2 of them, 1 in another, and none in the one from the previous day (where I finished on podium, hmm)

So I got a good amount of racing like I wanted, and even sneaked away with a result. Sure I would have liked one in both or maybe even more in the UCI race, but it just didn't pan out that way. There will be plenty of more chances this year.

Now I'm just sitting at my chair waiting for some parts that got overnighted to me, as on Wednesday I had a bit of an accident. Here's a pic. More on this later.

Breeze On

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Got back two days ago from our annual family vacation to Florida where we travel with my dad and stay with my Aunt Denise and Uncle Roger. My dad however opted out of driving with us and chose to fly first class. So for the 20ish hr drive I had to drive 19hrs and 35mins. Katie took a pull while I quickly scarfed down lunch after a spin on the bike. She couldn't flick me through quick enough. Traffic on the way down sucked. It wasn't even because of construction. It felt like in every city we slowed to a crawl for an hour, except Atlanta which was a solid 2hrs.

I planned on racing the first NCC race of the year in Tamp and jump into the 30+race in the afternoon. We showed up in plenty of time, but unfortunately it started to rain just minutes before the 30+ race start so I decided not to risk the recovery process of my shoulder and hold off. (My doctor informed me on Monday after x-rays that was a smart decision). The Pro 1 race was going good until 20mins in my skewer had raddled loose on the brick course and I was left with two options. 1. Try to get free lap because my wheel is coming out of the dropouts, but that won't happen. 2. Crash because my wheel is no longer locked in and then earn the free lap. I chose option 1 and was eliminated. I was completely bummed after all the work to get there that I was 0-2 for the start of the season.

Luckily I found out about a race the following day and the family was ok for pushing the vacation back a day so I could try to redeem myself. It was completely last minute and I didn't even have time to eat breakfast, a cliff bar would have to do. I first did the Masters race which was 50km. I quickly found myself off the front after the first 3km with 1 other rider. We stayed away and I lost the sprint.

Felt good to get on the podium and even better was having Madelyn there again.

A couple of hours later the Pro 1,2 race started and it was a 100km race. My legs took awhile to get going. I just tried to follow moves with multiple riders. I ended up in the race winning move of 8 and finished 6th. Completely messed up the end of this one.

Finally Monday came and so did the vacation part. It started off with a bike ride with my dad. He did some Jakerpacing during the week.

He was smiling on this recovery spin, but on Tuesday during intervals there wasn't much smiling other then when I was laughing at him when he started to cramp while swimming at the beach after the ride. He does really well for someone who rides a bike 2-3 times a...month!

The great part about riding down there was finishing the rides at the beach. Cooling off in the Gulf and hiding under the umbrella is the way I rolled. I successfully kept my farmers tan and my shirt white skin.

Madelyn loved the water and called it a bath. Silly 2 year old.

On Thursday my dad treated us to Busch Gardens. That was a long day. There was so much to do. I even rode the rides.

Katie wanted me to do one with her, but anything that went over 10ft or faster then 10mph I was out. I just don't do roller coasters. I rode this thing that went up and around and also the train. Madelyn had a blast seeing Elmo, Big Bird, all the animals, and doing the rides.

Madelyn doesn't really care who or what you are, so she wanted the Lion to know who was in charge. I don't think it agreed.

Friday was a bit more of a chill day. I did a ride early in the morning, and in the afternoon we spent the day with my cousin and his new baby boy. They had so much fun together.

On Saturday we headed back home. I was going to do a race, but I pulled into park and got frustrated as it was crowed and I couldn't find a spot to park so I just took off and left. it was a crash field inbetween farm fields with a barn in the middle. It was probably better in the long run as I had such a long drive to get back. We made it back in time for me to ride the final 40 miles home and make it to the family Easter gathering on Sunday. I was pretty whipped out after the long week of vacation.

Up next I leave Thursday morning for the Tour of the Battenkill. After much debate I decided to do the Pro/Am race as well on Saturday. I need the racing and I've done the training so it shouldn't be that big of deal. It's not like I've never done two races back to back before. This way I give myself another opportunity to win.

Breeze On