Saturday, March 30, 2013

From Florida to Indianapolis to Boulder and onto Redlands (California).

I ended up not racing the NCC criterium in Delray Beach. I had a saddle sore develop the week of Florida and come Saturday morning I could not even sit on chair without discomfort let alone a bike seat. It felt like I had a marble down there. It tried an early spin the morning, but after 10mins of standing and not being able to sit turned around. I did the same thing 1.5hr before the race, but again couldn't come close to sitting down.

Luckily I started treatment right away to help get rid of it. After many baths a day cleaning, baby rash cream, bag balm, and etc the swollen had gone down and I was able to ride again.

Andy likes to use his trusty Atlas to see where we are at and going. I haven't seen one since the 90's

We started our drive back home on Sunday morning and skipped the racing as I was unable to race, we had one rider with a broken collarbone who had to catch a flight, and the van needed a check up so it would get us home. Also on the way home I promised Andy we would stop at a Hooters as he wanted it all week, and it was something Matt needed to experience. We scarfed down an embarrassing amount of wings and fries. It took a couple of days to recover from that one as well.

Our new shorts. They just felt so nice. 

Once we arrived back in Indy on Monday we did have nice surprise, our new team kit had arrived. I don't remember a time when putting on a new pair of shorts ever felt so good. Of course with the cold winter that will net let go it also included putting just about everything on as well. Thanks to Pactimo for the great clothing.

While I drove the other two climbed in the back to watch movies. 

While they drove, I got out and rode. Just head west. 

We had a few good training days there in the cold before doing another long drive out to Boulder. So now I'm sitting in yet another amazing hotel room waiting for Andy and Matt to wake up so we can head to breakfast and then a sweet ride in the mountains. We will be leaving on Monday for Redlands.

A quick couple hour ride checking out the scene. Pretty awesome actually.

Breeze On

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Team training camp took to part two in Clermont, Florida. Luckily this was a short drive after the races on the weekend. Just a mere 90minutes in the car after fueling up on Olive Garden. 

What? HIills in Florida? Who knew? If I hadn't already been here for Kenda training camp I wouldn't have believed it. 

We got settled in nicely to our new hotel quickly. The accommodation once again were outstanding and the staff was terrific. They had hot water and coffee all day/night and they would even hook us up with some hot chocolate, which I really like. 

Part of the French Bakery display case. Full of everything you could every want. 

Monday we went for a recovery spin one of the many bike paths. We rode to a nearby town, and ended up at a French Bakery. Not quite the place I'd like to be while trying to give up sweets for lent. It was like a sweet tooth's dream. I made it out with a croissant, which reminded me of my days in Belgium. 

Tuesday it was back to work as we rolled out some miles. With the small amount of climbing around here and a steady pace we were able to cover a lot of km's in a small amount of time. We would average around 36km (22mph) for our 3 long days. The other thing we were introduced to was the heat. Tuesday was over 85 degrees and the northern boys from Canada, Ireland, and England were roasting. My ghostly white roomate Ryan got a slight burn even after layer with sunblock. 

Stopping at a watering hole to fill up some bottles. Easy to drink when it's nearly 90

Wednesday we rolled out together again. This time Anthony was going to roll on his TT bike for while which Andy fixed up for him the previous day and said he was, "Good to go." Well we didn't get 500 meters before he pulled the rear wheel out of the drop out. Then we hit a downhill that was less then a mile for the hotel and it wouldn't go into the big ring. A few miles later he realized that the wheel then was rubbing the frame. As we stopped for him to look over, Andy realized that his rear wheel was out of whack from the crash and the hub was completely loose. "Good to go." Right. So Anthony, Andy, and Matt turned around just leaving Ryan and I. 

Ryan and I out for a ride. 

Well I ended up doing a Jake ride, including some intervals and when Ryan got back he fell to the floor and said, "Screw you guys" to the others referring to how we was left alone with me. It really reminded me of the good days with Birdman. He just needs to do what Chad did the other day and take me out for a sprint workout for a little pay back. 

Thursday we did a more chill endurance ride which I believe everyone was up for. He ended up on an awesome railtrail that goes for miles uninterrupted by crossroads, turns, or even the slightest elevation. The only two things to slow us up were the huge snake and the middle of the path, and the even bigger alligator. 

Out on the bike path that goes on for miles. Pretty sweet for parts of  it. 

Finishing up the last long ride on Thursday. After a bit of an easier day the guys were in good spirits. Also who wouldn't enjoy the weather and view knowing it was or going to be snowing back at home. 

Friday I went out super early solo to do a recovery ride so I could get back in time to watch the Semi Classic, do some laundry and pack up for our noon departure. The others slept in a bit and went out late. I questioned whether or not they would be ready to go for a noon depature, but they weren't that late. We were on the road maybe 15minutes late. I was surprised as they rolled out for a ride around 10:15. 

Once loaded up we headed to take our talents to south beach. Well not quite, just to Delray Beach where we will be doing two more crits before driving back up to what should be the great white north when we arrive. Yuck.

Breeze On

Monday, March 18, 2013

I thought this past week was intense. This weekend just added to it.

Friday we did a recovery ride early in the morning before packing up the van and heading to Florida for the races and training camp part 2. We spent a solid 9hrs in the van before unpacking and getting to bed around midnight.

Last night in Greenville we had a team dinner. Celebrated the hard training with two very large pizzas.

That morning we went for an easy spin in Florida. I had planned on doing my normal 1hr morning ride. Some of the others wanted to do slightly less, 40mins. So after 20mins of riding they flipped it. I continued on with Ryan and Cortlan. I tend to not to put a chamois for a bike ride that is less then 60min. So we continued on our loop and started to head back. We went out the same road that we were returning on. The three of us saw three riders with matching neon green/yellow Rudy Project helmets like ours turning off the road in a different direction. Could those be our teammates? The same ones that wanted to ride less? Did they change their minds? Looking for coffee? Or just lost? I want with the latter and they showed up a minute after us. Cortlan mentioned they said they were lucky we saw them, I said they were lucky they saw us.

So we got back, rested up, packed up and headed to downtown for the race. We left early enough get a quick small pre race meal and checked out the course. We had plenty of time to get ready, try to warm up in traffic and watch the finish of the amateur race. Nerves were high for everyone with this being everyones first race of the season. Even after doing these for years you really never know what to expect for the first one.

Guys pinning up numbers in anticipation of the first race of the year. Also enjoying the warmth. 

I was fortunate to get a call up for the race, which always feels kind of cool. Especially in front of a decent crowd. I did however inform the guys that I would probably be next to them in no time as I have a hard time sprinting and getting going the first lap or two of a crit. As expected it started off fast and furious. We hit the first corner and that was just a surreal feeling going flying around the corner in a big group for the first time in months. I just completely forgot about that feeling, but by the second corner it felt like I've been doing this forever.

There really isn't much to say about this race or my performance. It was super aggressive, but unfortinetly was marred more by crashes then tactics  The move of the day went clear after a crash. Not to say that those weren't strong guys, as they had to be to be in that position in the first place, but it was pretty chaotic. With the short laps they were easily halfway around in not time and lapping us under 10 to go. Then the United train did there thing while everyone scrambled, followed by one more crash and then the finish. It felt like the top 10 guys were good, then there was a scrum of guys around 11th-30th place, and the everyone else behind lined out. Quite the scene.

As a team we came out of it batter and bruised. We had a guy crash early and end up with a broken hanger, shifter, pedal, and even a rear skewer. Another guy had a broken hanger and rear deralleiur after crashing twice, and a third rider crashed in the closing laps, but mostly getting away unscathed. What a experience for the foreigners for their first American Criterium. I did tell them that most of them are not quite this way, but there are a few.

So onto another great American racing experience, trying to find dinner after a night time criterium. First up was Olive Garden, but for some reason there was 1.5hr wait at nearly 10pm. Then it was on to Moes where we gimp in, bruised, dirty, and bleeding as they were closing. They were very friendly, served us, and it was a nice dinner.

After getting to bed around midnight my first really tough director gig kicked in, taking a rider to the airport at 6am. I wasn't planning on going back to bed when I returned, but I was in no position to turn down an extra hour of sleep. I got back up, had breakfast, packed the van, watched Milan San Remo thinking about how much worse it could be and then headed off to the second race of the weekend.

Pinellas Park circuit race wasn't nearly as big as the night before, but a few of the quality elite teams showed up making it a good event. Things were much calmer from a chaotic standpoint, but just as aggressive. It took half of the 100km race before a break of 12 went. I was the lucky one from the team to make it as we were covering or attacking to make every move. Even with just 3 we did a good job. After doing a lot of work, refusing to sit on, and messing around in the end I ended up 5th. On to the next one. It was enough money to buy dinner at Olive Garden for everyone after the race, this time we beat the rush.

The Irishman on our team, Anthony forgot his ID for the bar so he was unable to get a drink on St. Patricks Day. According to him it was the first time since he was 10. No luck of he Irish here, especially with being all banged up from two crashes. 

Breeze On

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What a great first week.

My sweet new bike. Going to be awesome when I get my MadFiber wheels. It's a Fuji Altamira 2.2 I'm really enjoying the Ultegra Di2

Saturday we loaded up the van and drove down to Greenville, South Carolina and met half the team for the first of two training camps. As we headed south it just got nicer and nicer. We picked up the pace a bit to get there in time to go a for a ride. As Ryan, Anthony, Matt and I had all come from cold weather climates we just had to get out and enjoy the 60's. We even made a quick trip up to Paris Mtn. before returning as darkness was setting.

Will Swan and my Dad getting the bikes dialed in the first day. Pretty cool set up with the tool chest on the back of the pickup truck. 

The next day guys got dialed up on their new bikes and we headed out to a Paris Mtn then onto Caesars Head, and made a finale trip up Paris. It was a solid day.

Out for one of many great rides. Check out our sweet Rudy Project Gear. Hard to miss. 

The following day we just chilled after the hard day of riding and the travelling down as the next few days would be hard.

We spent the next three days getting to know the roads of northern Greenville very well. Even when you don't hit any big climbs you get well over 6000 feet of climbing. Everyone on the team is super motivated and riding well as there has never been any other team training camp where I thought we should actually slow down. I would average at least 240 watts or higher and that includes drafting! So that shows how hard the guys at the front rode.

A flat tire for Anthony. It's good to have teammates willing to help. 

One day we did loose a couple of riders on the ride. First Matt sent his chain into his cassette require us to leave him behind as he waited for a ride in the middle of the woods. Then an hour later the same thing happened to Andy. Good thing we had my dad and ace mechanic Will Swan out there to help us resolve these issues. The few extra stops helped the guys slam a few more Poptarts. Every time we stopped I swore someone was cracking into one.

Making some minor adjustments in the room following a days ride. Nice to see the Jacks Bicycle Shop Tshirts. Just like growing up. 

The best story of our training rides was when we stopped at this back country store. The old guy sitting on his stool told us to take of our shoes before going in. Then he went on to ask a million questions, with the other guys joining in. Such as if we had an election up where I live because they didn't down there and if we voted for Obama. Then he found out Matt was from England and really went after him. Asking about he King/Queen and even if he wanted to buy a $5000 knife. We quickly hit the road and with the advice of my dad and Will watched the movie Deliverance.

The help did get out for a ride or two. As we slammed chocolate milk and GU chocolate Recovery mix after returning from our rides they slammed a few cold ones. 

On to Florida for the next 9 days. While down there we will be competing in 4 races. The Euro's don't even know what to expect from the NCC criteriums so it should be fun to see them race and hear about it. Heck Matt just had BBQ, Chiptole, and Subway for the first time in the last week. It's always great to give guys new experiences.

Nobody thought I could get all the gear packed in the van and they wanted to get a rental car. I showed them how to pack. They enjoyed there cousy quarters with snacks and movies on the 9hr drive to Florida.

Wish us luck

Breeze On

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Things are coming together fast and furious. Hopefully I'm ready for the season to start because whether or  not here it comes. 

Monday thru Wednesday I still was not feeling that great. I was waking up in the morning with, well let's just say even the wife was uncomfortable around me. I had to take some more time off the bike, but finally as of last night and all of today I feel normal. Just in time to head off to camp and do a huge block of training.

Monday a huge shipment of GU showed up at my apartment. Thanks to my good friend Adam who also wen to Marian helped us get set up with GU which makes an excellent range of energy products. We are so happy to be working with them this year. I spent that night and the next sorting through the boxes, packing things for camp, and sorting some out for Redlands. They have really hooked us up. I'm really looking forward to the Peanut Butter GU.

Tuesday night another delivery came. This one I did not order or want. We got 4-5inches of the white stuff. The only good thing about being sick was that I wasn't forced to ride out there or on the rollers. It's March and I've had enough. My family however had fun out in the snow. I enjoyed it from the inside.

Wednesday I picked up the team van that I had dropped off to be wrapped. Last year it was just plain white, but this year we are going to be rolling in style. I don't know what Madelyn will call the van any more as she would always refer to it as the white car.

As soon as it finished I picked it up and drove straight to Chicago. I had to go pick up some team bikes and a teammate. Our bikes this year are Fujis. More on that later. I also had to pick up my teammate Matt Green who flew in from England. He will be staying with us this season. More on that later.

Today I spent much of the day figure out my new bike and trying to get things dialed in. I even got to take it for a spin when I finally got it set up. To bad that was inside on the rollers. More details on the bike to come after I get to take it for a proper ride. Good thing about riding it indoors was that I could make some quick adjustments to the fit. I think I have it down now.

Leaving for camp in Greenville on Saturday morning at 6am. I'm getting really excited.

Breeze On

Monday, March 04, 2013

Well I finally started feeling better later Friday afternoon. Not much though. It was still a struggle to eat with out feeling bloated. I was trying to get Chad to do a race in Ohio with me before getting sick and on Friday  night he said he was going. So I said sure I'll be good  to go on Sunday. 

On Saturday I went for a couple hour ride and felt pretty decent, so I decided that I would go on with the race. I still wasn't eating much and only ate dinner that night. That night I also packed up and got my trusted steed ready to race. After all the bikes I have had over the past 8 years (maybe 16ish) this is the only bike I currently own. Our new team bikes are on the way, but I really have no complaints about riding/racing the Breezer. 

Sunday morning I got up, packed a breakfast to go and headed out to pick up some of the guys on the way to the race. We loaded up and headed out, after Chad stopped at McDonalds for breakfast. I stuck with my Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich and Banana as I still wasn't up to eating much. As we drove conditions seemed to get worse and Chad was getting calls about snow on the course. Did anyone check the weather? Well it turns out there just so happened to be one little snow squall and it was sitting over the area where the race was held. Well about halfway there we got official word that the race was being cancelled. Bummer. We quickly flipped it and head back to sunny Indianapolis. Now what? Chad had ate 2 Egg Mcmuffins and I wanted to ride. 

So we got back to the Fitness Lab in Broad Ripple, kitted up and headed out for a training ride. I am usually completely against riding in the city as it can suck, but knew if I drove home and went inside I would never go out. Chad decided he and Puffer would take Alex, Whitney and myself out to his cementary training loop.  Only good thing about riding out there is that it is pretty dead, compared to the rest of the city. Apparenlty Chad was either really ready to race or wanted to work off those Egg Mcmuffins because he had us doing these horrible hill sprint workouts. 

First one was a minute loop with a 20-30sec and 6-10sec uphill on it. We did that for 15minutes. Of course for a while I would keep the pace up on the dowhill and short flat before Chad would hit the uphill. Chad said we would just go steady, but on the uphill we were easily 600-700watts every time. Easy for someone with a max over 1200, not easy for someone like myself with a max of 1000 (on a good day in a race). After doing that once we rested and he said let's do it again. I was hesitant and he said we could do the longer loop which was 2 minutes and one climb of roughly a minute. We did 10 laps of that. About halfway through I had enough and was going to let up, but just couldn't let them ride way, so I sat beind 20meters for a lap or two before rejoining and picking the pace up again. 

At least my helmet and glasses are new, unlike my bike and jacket. 

Chad wasn't done yet, again 2 Mcmuffins, on the way home he got us doing a paceline. Of course those start nicely, but soon enough pulls at the front go from Tempo, flying by threshold, up into anaerobic capacity. After that I was pretty sure he would be all done. I just got on the front did some jakerpacing to take us home, but just as we are getting close to home Chad, who apparently was really ready to race, attacks us and rides away. He took the last turn on the city group ride towards their finish and was jumping into cars draft to aid in his solo attempt at an unofficial and unannounced race finish for victory. "There goes my hero, watch him as he.." 

Breeze On

Friday, March 01, 2013

Racing season is upon us. Time to get this blog rolling again. I've falling off the wagon way to many times this offseason. I'm honestly hoping to get at least weekly updates out. It's going to be a really exciting this year for myself and for the Astellas Oncology Cycling Team.

As I've said before this year I am not only racing, but also I'm officially part of team management. I'm looking forward to taking on the new role of really being there to help the whole team.

Team training camp is only 8 days away, starting March 9th in Greenville, South Carolina. I am really looking forward to some nicer days for training. It's been a so so winter year and the training has been going ok. I might be a bit behind from where I'd like, but with a month on the road coming up I should be able to come around fairly quickly. I am also really looking forward to meeting, riding and racing with the new guys on the team.

The team has also been invited to two international stage races. First up will be the An Post Ras in Ireland in May and then the Tour de Beauce in Canada in June. These are added to a already huge and exciting schedule. The Tour de Beauce was one of my favorite stages I've ever done, and I've done lots of stages races including the Tour of California. So I'm really looking forward to getting back. I am also really exciting about going back to Europe as I haven't raced there since 2004 when I was at the Cycling Center.

One last note for the day. Madelyn came down with the flu over the weekend and soon enough Katie and I got it as well. The timing on mine wasn't great as I was in Chicago and had to drive home. It was the longest drive every. I had to stop several times for the bathroom and a couple of times just to sleep for an hour or two. A 3.5hr drive took nearly 8. Good news is that I am feeling a bit better today.

Thanks to my dad for this grooving reflective vest. Comes in handy in the short winter days.

Just another Indiana ice storm. Luckily this one wasn't as bad as the one two years ago which hung around for a week. This was all melted in day.

I rolled out to Heritage Lake one day for training. I've done a couple of collegiate races out there, so it was pretty cool to remember the fun times.  There is actually a collegiate race out there again tomorrow and if I'm feeling better I hope to roll out there again and check out some of the action.

Breeze On