Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So one of the few upsides to riding out in the farmlands of Indiana is that you can see any changes in weather. Most of the year my time is spent trying to avoid the weather, however today with continuation of sweltering 2012 I was trying to ride towards the rain clouds. I failed miserably and instead of rain I spent most of the day bathed in sunshine. The wife even called as she was driving and asked if I wanted her to pick me up as she was spotting lightning in the distance. I responded I don't see any, but wish I could get to the many rainy areas I could see.

One more ride out in Indiana and then it's off to Iowa for RAGBRAI. If I think there are some flat open areas here I can't wait to see what Iowa has. At least there will be over 8,000 other cyclist to keep things exciting. I'm pretty certain though that I will be more annoyed by the 5km mark then anything. I saw more riders then I have in long time riding around here on Sunday and I got really annoyed when I had to slow up around a corner for one and another one started drafting me. I'm certain non of that will happen all next week.

Hopefully there will be some good stories, pics, and videos to come from it. I'm pretty excited about spending the week with my Dad and Will. They will keep things interesting.

Here are some pics from the Indy Crit. Photo Credit goes to Jeff Liebovitz.

Breeze On

Monday, July 16, 2012

There are time outs in cycling just not because everyone is attacking and it's hard.

The last two stages of the Tour have found the big mighty Team Sky calling for a time out. Although there is really no such thing there are times to back off the pace.

First was yesterdays stage where many riders punctured because of tacs that were placed on the course. Not only was this a very dangerous situation as riders found themselves getting punctures on a fast decent, but it left may scrambling to find a spare wheel. Sky quickly gathered information on what was going on and called a 'timeout' to allow those who had the misfortune to puncture to no fault of their own to catch back on. This is great sportsmanship and what goes around comes around.

Today's stage was a different scenario. The race started off fast and many riders found themselves trying to get into the early breakaway. After the breaks have found some success over the past few days I'd imagine many teams saw this as their opportunity at a stage win. After the first hour of full on racing the break had yet to be established and the peloton was getting tired. Team Sky was starting to get upset as they wanted a break to go so they could just sit back, rest up and ride at a softer pace. Two Sky riders at separate occasions tried to call a timeout to let the breaks go, but nobody wanted to miss out so it would keep coming back. After nearly 2hrs of full on racing the break finally got away and for all their hard work were awarded the days top prizes.

I say good for those that kept attacking and for the teams that wouldn't stop till they got what they wanted as well. There is no reason to stop racing because the leaders team wants you to. They have a different objective in the race then the others and there is no reason to follow theirs. They have the yellow jersey, second overall, and already a couple of stage victories, some teams have nothing yet and saw this as an opportunity and took it.

I've been in races before with the same situation before. It really only happens in stage races with an overall leader and team wants the action to slow down, especially at big events like Tour of Missouri and California when the Pro Tour Teams want it to stop, but the smaller teams are fighting for just that little bit of glory. I remember a stage in Missouri where it went on and on and  Levi was getting angry. He actually swerved at someone trying to continue the action. Then in California I remember the big teams making fun and hollering at anyone trying to get across to the break when they decided it was over.

This is part of the reason I miss Belgium Kermesse racing. Everyone has teammates in the race, but you really wouldn't know by racing it. It is just full gas for 120+km's. Even if a teammate is up the road in a break everyone else is going to continue to try to get up there. In the US I find it that a break of 8-12 guys can get up the road and everyone, I mean everyone stops racing and is content on letting it get 10+minutes and then racing the last 2km's. Ok let the break get their time, but then race on. But of course as soon as you do that there will be those guys that start hollering and heckling.

Of course maybe it's just me or riders like me who like to shut their minds off and just ride hard. No tactics involved. I feel good I must ATTACK!

Breeze On

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back to work.

A couple of weeks ago I knew I wanted to do the Indy Crit and that I would be around for it. So I checked with the team to see if anyone else wanted to do a nice local criterium in downtown Indianapolis. Frey got those who were game for racing registered as the race grew near. It seemed like everyone else was getting registered as the race grew near. Quickly the small local crit registration was from a nice size field of 40 up to a quality size of 70. Oh but it wasn't done there as it grew to massive size as it went to 100+. The good news is that the course is wide open so it wouldn't be much of an issue, but the bad news was that some  teams would have 10 riders.

The week of training leading into the race went well and I was finally back on a schedule which felt great. I did some sweet spot on Tuesday, a short endurance ride on Wednesday, followed that up with a few Vo2 efforts on Thursday and did a light spin on Friday. Wednesday was the first day that I started to feel normal again as the heat this summer has been brutal. I did an easy morning spin the morning of the race and then later in the afternoon cruised to downtown for the race. I made perfect timing as the family arrived at the same time so I changed to my race wheels, got my number, pinned my number and removed my frame pump after my old Marian teammate Kristin reminded me. It wouldn't have been the first time I raced with one.

The race went fairly well. I started the race winning move by attacking and taking one Nuvo Bissell rider with me. It was Mac who is riding really well. He is a super strong and bigger guy which made for a good draft. A few laps later we were caught by a few riders and then a couple more. Soon there seemed to be quite a few Nuvo Bissell riders in the break and everyone stopped working. Soon it turned into covering moves to not miss a winning break. Luckily after doing that to many times Brandon appeared out of no where and said he'd get the next ones. I made my way to the back of the break to finally get an idea of who was there, how far back the break was, take a drink and a breather. As I thought all the strong guys made the move with 4-5 Nuvo Bissell guys, Birdman with a teammate, 3 RGF guys, Davo, Liebo, and a couple others.

It wasn't much later after I went to the back that Mac attacked for a prime and was riding solo. Everyone continued to goof off in the break and wait to see if someone else would pull them around so they could win. Quickly the officials showed us 5 laps to go after only 60 minutes of racing in the 75 minute event and the chase was on. I told Brandon to sit on with everyone else and I would try help chase down. I was up there with a Roadhouse guy, an RGF guy and with two to go Davo joined in. Davo took a monster pull into the bell lap and then I continued it into a half lap to go when Birdman jumped. Nobody responded quickly enough as he held on for second nipping at the wheels of the lone chaser and everyone else sprinted it out for 3rd. Brandon ended up finishing in 5th. I tried to get him in the position where he could have won the race. We got close, but need a bit more time or a little more help from the others just hoping someone else would do the work for them.

After the race we headed to a Bru Burger on Mass Ave. I've never been there before and can't wait to go back. It was delicious. I had a Pacific Rim Burger which has shrimp, pineapple and guacamole. I either thought it was a race or was really hunger as I had my burger finished off before I even noticed my wife hadn't received her dinner yet. Oops.

This morning Matt got up early to meet me for a ride, which also meant I had to get up early. We talked about doing 2hrs together but after 40mins of riding at the same average watts of his 45min race the previous day he said his feelings wouldn't be hurt if the ride came up short of 2hrs. We rolled back to my place and I filled up with water and headed back out for another boiling 90degree ride. I was lucky enough to get back just as the wife was so I was able to help carry the groceries up the stairs. In need of sweet relief Madelyn and I got our swim wear and floaties on and headed to the pool.

Next weekend starts the RAGBRAI. I am doing the ride with my dad and Will. We've been looking forward to this one ever since he finished the ride last year. It sounds like an 8 day Hilly Hundred that is 100 times bigger with much more going on.

Breeze On

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mid-Season Break

 We went to a carnival in town one night. Here we are on the carousel. By the end of the night my head was spinning from watching here and riding these rides that go around in small quick circles.
 On the morning of the 4th Brownsburg puts on a parade to celebrate the holiday. They also happen to throw out candy during the parade and Madelyn came home with a big Easter style basket full of candy, pamphlets, a couple of flags, and even a CD.
 That night we went to downtown to have dinner with some friends and their two boys. Then we found a spot on some grass to watch the fireworks. Madelyn loved them and they were nice, but nothing like the Bay City ones. Hopefully we can make it back up there for them next year.
 One day we headed to the waterpark. We did a bit everything including my favorite the lazy river. The name sums it up pretty well. You hop in a tube and let the current take you around. Anything that doesn't take any work I'm a fan of.
 Here we are the pool at the apartment. Madelyn is getting very good at swimming. She has no fear of the water and just goes out and floats on her floaties. I'm trying to teach her to kick and paddle.
Of course I couldn't stay away from the bike. I did a few easy days and even a nice 120km ride up to a birthday party north and east of town. I felt like I really needed to do that as it was one of two parties and I knew there would be plenty of cake consumed. This picture is from an evening cruise to and from the in-laws on evening. It's only a couple of miles away, but it was finally not 90 or more out so it felt great.

Breeze On
Finally a bit of down time. I think I've raced every weekend since late March in Florida up until two weeks ago in Ohio.

Two weeks ago was one of my favorite 3 criterium weekend, if there is such a thing,  with Madeira, Hyde Park, and Grandview.

Madeira is not the greatest course with it having two 180degree corners, you cross a set of railroad tracks twice, and it gets really dark on course by the time the finish rolls around, but I guess those are also all the things that make it exciting. Once again I found myself on the ground after running into a guy who slid out on one of the 180's and that was with 8 laps to go. By the time I got pushed back into the back there wasn't much time to move up.

Hyde Park is awesome because I really enjoy the course and the atmosphere. It has one wide 180, followed by a good length straight, a sharp left up a hill which is lined by spectators, a easy right and quick right back downhill into a fast right onto the home straight which is long and fast. I worked my way to the front after being called to the line at the back and tried to make a few moves, but once again it was the one after mine that went and was the break of the day.

Grandview is a challenging course with a long uphill drag and rolling downhill section. By the time I found myself at the front again I attacked. I ended up by myself hoping that some guys would come across. After 8 laps solo a group did come up, but it was quickly followed by the remaining field. Then things got really serious and again and a split went and after spending a few bullets I hadn't quit recovered enough to make it.

But the best part of the weekend was having my family there. Not only was my wife and daughter there but so were my in-laws, my dad and our friend Mr. Murphy who came down from Michigan with my dad. I love having a cheering sections at the race and good company like family and friends at dinner after the races.

After the weekend I took a quick mid-season break with a small amount of easy riding. Although with the heat sometimes it didn't feel as easy as it should have been. So glad the triple digits are finally gone. One nice thing about living in the apartment is the access to the pool for a quick dip after these hot rides.

Breeze On