Thursday, October 8, 2009

2009 u23 Nationals

After I finished up with Cascade, I had just 3 days before my big target for the year; the u23 nationals road race. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't get enough recovery time, but considering most of the main contenders I would be facing also did Cascade, I couldn't use that as a legitimate excuse. Lucky for me, nationals was in the same town as Cascade, so I didn't have to do any more traveling. Ashley and switched housing to stay with our coach, Christian Williams, and the GS Tenzing crew. As a Tenzing alumni, it was cool to get to hang out with the younger guys and share some insight with them as well as goof around and play ping pong.
For the most part my recovery consisted of lots of time in the coffee shop and a few easy spins. On one day, Ashley, Gonzo, Kyle and I rode up the tt course to a huge waterfall that was part of the local state park. It was a pretty cool view and well worth the 3 miles of gravel road to get to.

Before the race, I thought long and hard about what would give me the best chance for success. I figured I had some success in the past by being in the early move to limit the surges. I decided that would be my plan of attack. Luckily, my instincts paid off. As it does almost every year, regardless of the course, the early move stayed away. And I was in it. We got rolling about half through the first lap of 6. Originally, there were about 22 of us, with only a handful of amateurs. I was fortunate to have the company of 2 Kelly Benefit riders, 3 Garmin, and 3 Trek-Livestrong. I knew I was in the right move. On lap 5, Ben King of Trek- Livestrong gave a little fake attack before the first climb and it forced Alex Howes and Peter Stetina of Garmin to hit the gas and close the gap. In doing so, half the break got shelled! I was close to being one of them, but clawed back on through the feed zone. Now there were 9 of us. Still the 3 Garmin riders, 3 Trek- Livestrong, Scott Stewart of Waste Management, and Will Dugan for Team Type 1. Going into the second and steeper of the 2 climbs of the lap, another Garmin attack put me into difficulty. At the top of the climb, I put my head down and fought hard to catch back on. After a couple miles, I managed to latch on to the back on the group, but so did Kirk Carlson of Garmin, who had bridged up solo out of the chase group. Now there were 4 Garmin guys in the top 10! By the time I caught back on, the decisive move was gone, and with just a lap remaining, they weren't coming back. 4 guys snuck off the front and consisted of Alex Howes (eventual winner) and Peter Salon, both from Garmin, then Ben King and Scott Stewart. I was back in the first chase group with Peter Stetina and Kirk Carlson (Garmin), Guy East and Bjorn Sealander (Trek-Livestrong), and another guy. At this point in the race I was about cashed. The pace was pretty blistering and the course was so difficult, that only about 40 people got scored and about 25 crossed the line. I finished up 10th. Last out of the remaining guys in the original break away. Several minutes behind Alex Howes. By far the biggest dig I had at a national race in my career. At the end of the day, I was just no match. I like to think that the European program of the other guys was the difference maker, but they were just on a whole other level. Alex deserved the win and I was pretty content with my 10th. Next year.
The time trial was not exactly my strongest event, but I ended up surprising myself a little bit. My goal was to top 20, but I knew I had to put in a good effort for that. There were about 60 starters in the u23 time trial. My 30 second man was Kolt Bates, a good yet catchable rabbit. Behind me was Alex Howes and Julian Kyer, both very strong time trialists. I thought I would get passed eventually by both of them but I had to stay on the gas. About half way up the steady ascent before the turn around, I caught Kolt. I was in a good rythem and felt pretty good. Almost too good, I felt like I could go harder. But with close to 25k left I thought I should save some gas. Just before the turn around, Alex passed me as expected. With the next 10k being primarily downhill, I stayed on the gas. It wasn't long before Julian Kyer blew by my. At this point I am just angry. I start to pedal faster and catch up with Alex and pass him back. I was feeling a bit more confident now, but with the final 8k being technical and anything but flat I was half way expecting my catostrophic meltdown. I could still see Julian ahead of me, and I had passed 2 other guys along the way. I never caught Julian back and when I finished, I was sitting in 9th. I felt pretty tired but was thinking back and wondering where I could have made up time on the course. I had gave it my all, and by the time everyone was in, I finished 23rd. Exceeded my expectations, but I was bummed. I wanted top 20. Peter Stetina repeated and Julian Kyer finished in 5th. Hard to complain, but still a lot of work left to be done.

With the crit being the final event of the week, I was whooped! I had done more races in the past 2 weeks than the entire month prior! I had very high expectations for the crit. I wanted to be on the podium and improve on my 7th place from last year in California. I had a very hard time getting ready the morning of the race. I was sluggish getting dressed and had a hard time pounding my pre race coffee like I usually do. The nerves were getting to me. I knew I had a very good shot at winning and really wanted to deliver. I got a pre race call up to the line with Jake Keough and Justin Williams. I was motivated to more damage than I have ever done. Unfortunately my legs were not. I could stay toward the front of the field and float back without much difficulty. But I couldn't fight... or sprint. I was tired! 3 guys got away early, Alex Howes, Bjorn Sealander and Bobby Sweeting. The big teams dropped the ball in bringing them back. Kelly and Mt. Khakis couldn't get organized to bring the trio back. They were at a manageable distance to jump across, but it wasn't happening, not today. I wanted to bring them back by myself, but i had no one back there that could have benefitted from my work. So I sat, like I always do. I finished 16th and the break stayed away. I was disappointed to say the least. I wanted the jersey so bad I could taste it, but at the end of the day, I simply could not deliver. Next year.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just because it's awesome!

From Rouge Roubaix this year. Christian and I going 1-2.

Christian won the final Texas Premier Cup race in Denton today. Attacked going into the final lap and held a 5 second gap all the way to the line. What made his win even more impressive was that he had gone the entire week leading up to the race without riding at all, and in fact was on his feet at Interbike most of the time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Boise Twilight and Cascade

After Superweek and a little family visit, our next stop was Boise, Idaho for the Boise twilight criterium. Along the way we decided to stop for a couple of days in Laramie, Wyoming, for a little altitude riding. It was a nice little college town with a coffee shop on every street corner. Since I have acquired a love for the taste of coffee, I was in heaven! The town is surrounded by mountains on every side but it sure is windy. It made riding in the Dallas suburbs seem easy. After a few days at 7,500 ft, we drove to Boise where it was 5,000 ft. We stayed a couple days before the race and rode some of their surrounding mountains as well. I had never been to this part of the country so I was excited to see all the new sites. Laramie, Boise, and Bend have all become one of my favorite little towns. I highly recommend visiting sometime. The day of the race, Ashley and I did an early morning spin to the Boise State football stadium to experience the famous blue turf first hand.

The race was pretty fun, with all of downtown lining the streets. I felt pretty good the whole race, but only managed 13th after losing my positioning on the last lap. Ken Hanson from Team Type 1 took the win with his teammate getting 2nd. Once again, I was able to make some much needed money! Life on the road was getting tough. Between the 3 days I was at Superweek and the Boise twilight crit, I was able to offset my expenses, so that's always nice.
Just 3 1/2 hours away was Bend, Oregon, site of the Cascade Cycling Classic and US Nationals. This race leading into nationals was at the top of my priority list. I new I wasn't going to be a contender, but since I had never done this race before I really wanted to get the experience racing a week long stage race with the best pro teams in the country. Not to mention Rock had their entire European squad racing, which included Tour de France stage winners. My main objective throughout the race was to finish, and to minimize my losses. The first day went well, a group of 20 stayed away to the finish and I was safely in the field. Not too difficult. The next day however, I had some bad luck. With 10k to go in the stage, all of which was uphill, I got taken down from behind and broke my frame and fork. I was sitting top 15 at the time, so the entire field barreled on top of me. I stayed pretty calm and got a neutral bike from Shimano. I finished the stage 7 minutes back with Stefan Rothe, who also got tangled up in the mess. Luckily the tt was the next day so I had time to get BH to overnight me a brand new Connect. Thanks guys! After a less than stellar performance in the tt I got my bike built. It ended up being a tad heavier than the G4, but overall the Connect was way better. Stiffer, stronger and more responsive. My first ride on the new beast was the Mt. Bachelor stage. The stage was pretty flat to rolling with 2 10 mile climbs that book ended the stage. I ended up 2 minutes back from the leader, but overall I was satisfied. Next was a normal 4 corner 90 minute crit. Rock controlled the race for Oscar Sevilla and I finished around 30th. The final stage was the most important part for me since it was the exact same circuit course that was going to be used for nationals. It gave me an extra chance to race the course before the throw down just a couple of days later. Right from the start I felt horrible and tired. I just wanted to salvage something. I was so happy just to finish the stage and the entire race. The course had 2 little climbs on it, one leading in to the feed zone that was a couple kilometers long and then the next one just a couple miles later. The second climb stepped up a little bit and was much steeper. On the last lap, going into the finish, I got separated from the front group and ended up back in the second group. Again, I was 2 minutes back. I finished 71st overall, which is quite awful, but when I think about the race I am not too bummed about my performance. It was a good learning experience for me and I had never done a race that hard before. I think with a little bit more hard work and a bit better luck, and I can finish in the top 20-30.
Now I just had a 2 days before the u23 nationals road race to rest and recover.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Whew, where to begin? Last I checked in, I was making a car change in Boston after the Fitchburg-Lonsjo Classic. After staying a few extra nights in the hotel in Fitchburg, we packed up and headed west. Next stop, Superweek. The plan was to stop and do a few days of Superweek before heading to the west coast for Cascade and nationals.
I have been lucky enough to travel all over to race my bike, but rarely have I been able to see any of the sights this country has to offer. Since we were gone for so long, driving was the easiest way to get around, and after coast to coast and back again, I got to see a lot. On our way to Chicago for Superweek, we stopped and rode just outside of Buffalo along Lake Erie. 4th of July had just past and people were still partying it up. Along the way I stopped at my cousins house in Indiana and got in another good ride on roads I've never been on. it was good to see some of my family again. After we rode, we ate lunch with my 2 cousins, Dana and Cassidy and their children. I don't get up north too often to visit with them and I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity. We got to Chicago the day before the first race and stayed in Lombard, the same town I often stay in for Downers Grove.

This was my 3rd time doing the Superweek races, and I was hoping for better luck than in the years past. It was cool to see Carlos and the San Jose guys tearing it up as always. My expectations weren't really too high. My primary objective was to just use it as training and maybe get some leg speed in me. ANy money I won would have just been a bonus. The morning of the first race was pouring! I opted out of an easy spin and worked on my bike instead, not sure if I were going to race or not. With races like Cascade and nationals coming up, the last thing I wanted to do was wreck, which I have done the 2 years prior. By the time the race rolled around, the weather was all cleared up. I got ready to race and before i knew it, I was in a 15 rider break away with Jonathan Cantwell,Bernard Sulzberger, Hans Dekkers, half of Team MTN among others. About half way through the race, we had lapped the field and gone straight through the field. With about 10 laps to go, we were close to lapping the field again. I ended up getting 10th out of the break.
The next day was a flat, 4 corner crit, and for the first time in my Superweek career, I was getting a call up. I was feeling pretty good and able to be active most of the day and stay out of trouble. With 1 lap to go, a break got caught to set up the field sprint. I was in pretty good position with a half a lap to go. Coming around the last turn, I was on the outside passing people. Right as I began to open my sprint I got forced to the curb and had to sit down. By the time I got up to speed again, Josh Carter was raising his hands in victory. I was pumped for him to win it against such a good pro field. I finished 11th, but moved up to 7th in the overall.
The 3rd day of Superweek, was going to be my last. I had other races on my schedule that I had to get to and wanted plenty of time to get there. The 3rd stage was the Elgin Cycling Classic. Historically, it is also a u23 race that runs with the pro race, but recieves a bonus jersey as well as $500 to the winner. Since I had some success the first 2 days, my priorities had changed for this race. It was the first road race of the series on a hilly 6 mile circuit. I wanted to finish as high up overall as possible and hope that it was good enough to win the u23 prize. Half way through the race, a break got away through the feed zone, and though I was in perfect position to cover the acceleration from Carlos, I let it go. I thought it would come back on the down hill, but it never did. The gap quickly grew to 2 minutes and with Team MTN from South Africa setting the pace of the field, the gap went up to 4 minutes. Team MTN was a contintal team using Superweek as training. At least that's what they said. They ended up winning half of the race plus the overall and points classification. Once the break got established, I began to focus more on the u23 prize. All the espoirs were still back in the field, including a rider from MTN, Fly V Australia, and about 10 others. With a couple laps to go, the field size was down to about 30. Everyone else had dropped out. Finally after a few unsuccessful bridge attempts by some riders, the field began to set up for the sprint. Team MTN was on the front for their guy and I was about 15 riders back with 1k to go. I didn't want to take my chances in the sprint, so I launched out of the field and pinned it all the way to the line. It was almost like I was leading it out, but I was able to catch a lot of guys off guard and get a gap. Only Andreas Muller, Josh Carter and a Team Kenda Pro guy came around me. I ended up in 12th overall, but more importantly, I was the top u23. Team MTN went 1-2 followed by Hans Dekkers and then Carlos. It wasn't the biggest result I've ever had or the most prestigious, but being back on the podium was nice. Plus cashing a check for $500 always feels rewarding.

Once Ashley and I wrapped up our time in Chicago we got back in the car for more driving. We stayed at my uncles house in Omaha, Nebraska for the night where I recieved some pretty bad news that my grandmother had passed away. It was a pretty sad time for everyone, but my supporting family insisted that I carried on with my plans and try not to dwell on something that was out of my control. Needless to say I had a little extra motivation for the upcoming races.
Next stop, Laramie, Wyoming and then on to Bois, Idaho for the Boise Twilight criterium and some altitude training.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fitchburg report

A couple weeks ago, Ashley and I began our month + long road trip across the U.S. Our first destination: Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
The race started with a 14k time trial. Time trialing isn't really my strong point but I gave it an all out effort. My only real goal was to pass people, and not get passed. It is usually hard for me to stay focused during the individual efforts, but I managed to do it some how this time. It still wasn't my finest performance, but I did manage to pass my 30 second guy, and no one passed me. Good day.
Stage 2 was a very difficult 75 mile circuit. The roads were all beat to hell and the final 500 meters were straight up to the finish! As if the race itself weren't hard enough, about 30 minutes into the race it began to pour down rain! Usually, I get a little nervous in the rain in anything other than a road race; however, this time was different. It was actually fun! I did a good job at staying at the front and was able to go with moves, none of which stuck. By the time we finished, a group of 7 stayed away and I found myself cruising in around 30th. Only about 65 people finished in the front group, with everyone else finishing minutes behind.
The 3rd stage road race had changed a bit from previous years due to the crappy road conditions caused by the harsh winter they had. Instead of the finish going up Mt. Wachussette, it finished on the feed zone climb we went up each lap. The course was pretty fast and relatively easy, except for the final 5k, which averaged about 9%. The race went pretty well for me overall. Going into the final and decisive lap, I had the feeling I was cracking and ended up popping out of the front group. Unfortunately for me, that feeling only lasted about 5 min. By the time I was good to go again, the race was over. I was left in the groupetto on the final lap with everyone content with rolling in 5 minutes behind. I still finished 35th but I couldn't help but think it should have been better. Next time.
Going into the crit, I was kinda tired. I didn't really have any objective for the race other than don't suck. I pretty much just followed wheels and a little before the half way mark, I found myself up the road with Mike Friedman, Tony Cruz and about 8 other guys from Kelley Benefits and Mt. Khakis. Just my luck, they weren't really interested in anything other than sprint points and primes. For the rest of the race I just sat in and tried to stay at the front. Again, a break of 7 or so stayed off the front, and I just followed wheels into the finish around 30th. Nothing great, but again it was the front group after the field split up. During the crit one of my all time favorite cyclists, Tyler Hamilton, came to spectate. I think he is from the Boston area, so it was cool to see him there. During my race, Ashley took a picture of him and just by accident got me in the picture. How cool is that right!?

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my performance. Considering that was one of the biggest stage races I have done to date. I think more strong performances will follow. This only made me stronger and prepared me more for nationals.

Check back soon for more updates from my journey. I have a ton of photos that I plan on uploading also.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back on the road.

So last week I began my summer long voyage cross country. My first stop is in good ole' Greenville, SC. Where I am presently. I love the riding here, and the weather is hard to beat. Especially compared to the heat and humidity of home. After a couple of weeks of training in the mountains, it will be off to Boston for the Fitchburg stage race. Since I haven't raced since Tulsa, I am well rested and have some good miles in my legs. I also recently started working with a sports psychologist, Chris DuRoy, so my confidence is increasing as well.
After Fitchburg, it will be back in the car for more driving. This time, it's to the west coast. My race schedule will be Boise Twilight, Cascade and then u23 and elite road nationals. Luckily i have almost 2 weeks between Fitchburg and Cascade, so there is no big hurry to drive from coast to coast.
Before I left Dallas, I scored some Sugoi compression socks, courtesy of Bill Ball at Richardson Bike Mart. (Your one stop shop for all of your cycling needs, now offering the Retul fit. Ask for Mike or Gary.) ;-)
I already have some medical grade Jobst compression tights, but they tend to get a bit hot and sweaty. I think the socks will do just the trick in this summer time heat!

At the next few races you will also see me sporting a fresh pair of these....


I am a pretty big fan of the Radars and M-Frames, but these are definitely the most comfortably pair of glasses I have ridden with. It is basically the replacement to the old Racing Jackets, that George Hincapie made famous. The main difference is the lenses in the new Jawbones can me changed. In fact, all of the Jawbones (for the exception of the transition lens models) comes with an extra set of lenses as well as a case. They are a little bit more money than the radars, at $195, but for what you get, it is way worth it. The guys at Richardson Bike Mart already have them in stock if you want to check them out.

Anyways, I am pretty excited about my summer campaign and can't wait to kick it off in Fitchburg. Ashley and I are leaving around the 30th, and all the racing starts on July 1st.

Thanks again to all the readers who patiently wait for my posts. I plan on giving race updates while I am on the road. So check back at the first of the month.

Oh yeah, Metro isn't going anywhere. Just a small speedbump.
To quote the great Corey Ray, "Metrovolkswagenfightneverdies!!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time is flying by...

So the last time I posted on this thing, I was back in Mississippi and I had just read about Tyler Hamilton getting popped again. Sad day, whatever whatever.

Fast forward. Where have I been and what have I been doing since?

Well, racing mostly. The team went out and did the crit series in SC, followed by Joe Martin, or, as my brothers down south call it, Jose Martine. We also did the Matrix Challenge, Memorial weekend crits, and Tulsa Tough. The team overall raced well and was able to pick up a few results. I have had a sub par season of racing so far but am optimistic about things still come.I took a brief 2 week hiatus to Greenville, SC to train and stuff. It was much needed. I love the riding out there and the weather makes it hard not to enjoy a long day on the bike.  Christian is now running the team full time and he is trying to rebuild the whole program for next year. He is definitely the best guy for the job. I think it will all be ok.

As of now, my plans for the summer are as follows. Leave next week for Greenville, SC and train for another week or so. Then head up to the Boston area for the Fitchburg stage race. I haven't done that race since I was a junior in '06, but it's a good one. After Fitchburg, we will head cross country to Boise, Idaho for a crit and then up to Bend for Cascade and nationals. It is a ton of travel but luckily we aren't crunched for time.  This schedule I know for sure, after that I will iron out some details, but i have a good idea what will follow.

I turn 21 today. Not really sure what that means. Kind of a random number really. Just another day of training followed by the Tuesday Nighter.
Hope to see everyone out.

If I don't post for a while, send me an email and tell me to.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Sad day in cycling!

I didn't want to believe it at first. but unfortunately it is true. Tyler Hamilton got busted for doping (DHEA), and has since retired from the sport of cycling.

I personally am a huge fan of Tyler after watching solo a stage of the 2003 Tour with a broken collarbone. I just thought, doper or not, that is impressive. I was pumped when he beat the Slipstream army at USPRO last year to take the win at 37. Just like riders such as Vino, Horner, and Jens Voigt, I thought Tyler was the big badass.
Oh well, he got a second chance and that was it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday Night Crit

Since I have been out of town for the past few weeks, I have missed the start of the Tuesday night crit series. For me, this is a little more than just a training crit. I grew up doing these races, and will probably continue to do these races as long as I am physically capable of riding a bike. The turn out seems to be getting better and better every year. Last night there were probably 80ish guys that started. Pretty impressive for a week night local crit. 
Here is a video of the finish from last night's race. I took 1st and Austin finshed 4th.  

Monday, April 6, 2009

California trip + Redlands

A few days ago I got back from a 2 week trip to California. The initial reason for this trip was to race San Dimas and Redlands. One we got there, we got some bad news... we were still on the wait list and unless 6 people didn't show up, we weren't racing. Before the tt, we all waited at registration just to see if anyone was going to be a no show. Only one person didn't show, so only Christian got to race. I was especially bummed but knew there was nothing I could do about it. life goes on. So while Christian was racing, the rest of us did some training. 4 hrs with some climbing on one day, 4 hrs with 2 hrs of climbing the next. From 200 ft. to 6,500 feet. All the way up Mt. Badly. Huge thanks to Randy Williams for letting us crash at his place for the first week and getting us anything we needed. Before we headed out to Redlands, he took us surfing in Laguna. Whenever I get a free week I am going to get back out there and surf some more and ride down the famous Pacific Coast Highway.
Christian managed do a good job of hanging in the group during the race considering he was probably mentally not focused on the race.

Redlands was a bit different for us. We actually got to race for starters, that was a change. Plus for most of us, that was the biggest race we had ever done to date. All in all it was a good experience. I felt pretty okay, but could have been better. A lack of racing hurt me a little I believe. Not that I was going to win or anything, but it could have meant the difference between first or second group in the first stage. The Beaumont road race was pretty difficult with a ton of wind. Every lap, the field would break up into several groups, only to come back together in the head wind false flat toward the feed zone. The crit was a little more for me given my current fitness. I felt alright but had a difficult time moving up when it was single file. Duh, right? Christian, Benji and I did a good job of getting up in the top 20 and staying there for most of the race. The field had about 165 starters on the day so moving up and being at the front was quite a feat. With about 15 minutes left, I get caught u in a wreck with Andy Bajadali and Ben King. I almost saved it before getting blind sided by some Team Type 1 guy. Just a broken derailleur hanger, some road rash and a tweaked elbow. Not nearly as bad as Ben King's broken collarbone. As I roll into the Mavic neutral support, the dialogue with their head mechanic went as follows:
Me: I need a bike!
Mavic guy: what size?
Me: the smallest one you have.
Mavic guy: 54 it is. ( I ride a small)
Me: .....ok.
A couple laps went by as they put pedals on the bike and tried to get the seat height just right. They would have been faster if they just dropped the seat all the way. Oh well, I got an extra free lap, and I was out of water so I wasn't complaining. Once I got thrown back in, there were only 5 laps to go and moving back to the front seemed impossible.  Every spot I moved up, I gave up in the next corner. Eventually, I cut my losses and cruised in, in the top third of the field right behind Christian. Benji finished 19th. Not good, but not bad.
Definitely the hardest racing I have ever done, but not necessarily the fastest. I think it was good preparation for the races yet to come. I hate to use such a big race as training, but I had no choice. I was just along for the ride.  Good trip overall though. I love California.
Not 100% sure what is next on the schedule, but I think it looks something like MS Grand Prix, Matrix Challenge then the crit series. I am looking forward to being home for a couple of weeks, but can't wait to get traveling some more. 
More pics soon.

Greenville, SC

After Rouge, I headed over to South Carolina with Ashley for a week of training in a more mountainous region than the climbing metropolis of Dallas. Since Ashley is from there, we stayed at her place and her awesome family did everything for us! I didn't have to cook for myself, do my own laundry or even buy more than a couple of meals out. One of the best "training vacations" I have ever been on.  While we were there, we did some of Ashley's favorite rides. A couple long 5-6 hr rides with sustained climbing for miles. If you are ever in the area and want to know a good route, head out to Caesar's Head state park. It is about an 8 mile climb from top to bottom with a dozen switch backs along the way. The view at the top is pretty rad and well worth the ass kicking on the way up. 
Other than riding a bit different terrain everyday, I also spent a lot of time relaxing and checking out some of the sights of the area, like the Hincapie headquarters and the famous Paris Mountain. It is by far one of the coolest towns I have ever visited and am now kinda looking forward to doing the crit series at the end of the month.  I am hoping to make more frequent stops at the Coffee Underground in downtown Greenville. Best coffee and food and coolest atmosphere you can expect out of a coffee shop. A bit different than Starbucks.
To be honest, I was a little bummed to come back so soon. Im sure i will spend a bit more time there in the near future though. 
Pictures soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rouge Roubaix

Last weekend, the team headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for Rouge Roubaix. With Nathan back in Florida with his child, Andre took over DS duties for the weekend. We drove up on Friday afternoon and pre-rode some of the course. We rode some of the final dirt road section and after seeing the decisive points, I was thinking we were going to win the race. I knew that there weren't any riders that could challenge us in the technical sections. Saturday wasn't all good though. Mid way through the dirt section, Ashley broke her bike on an uphill. That meant she would be racing on the spare bike. Not good.
Sunday morning came far too early, especially with daylight savings. After a big breakfast and a brief team meeting, the race was underway. The race for Christian and I did not start until the final 30 miles. That meant being patient. I'm usually not that good at being patient but in this case, I did alright. From the gun, Mat Stephens took off and immediately opened a gap. A few miles before the first dirt section, Bryan Fawley attacked and took several riders with him including Corey. They worked there way up to a 3 minute gap, but after the first feed zone, we had them in sight. We had 2 guys up the road and we were just sitting back and following wheels. Life was good. Going into the 2nd dirt section, we had a front group of around 25 and one major player wasn't present. We had dropped Carlos Vargas in the first dirt section and he was forced to chase. With a $100 hilltop prime in the 2nd dirt section, we sent Benji and Peter up the road. We were hoping they could stay off long enough to grab the prime and keep rolling into the final dirt section. The plan didn't work quite like that, with other people chasing hard, Christian and I took a free ride up and over the hill with Christian grabbing the money. After the second dirt section and the second feed zone, there was a small group of Christian, Peter, myself, Travis Burandt and some other guy hanging on. We had probably a minute on the chasers which included Benji. With the other 2 guys outnumbered, we were forced to rotate through to maintain a gap. After a few miles of this, we sat up and let the chase group catch us. Now it was a group of 13 which included Benji, Peter, Christian and myself. Life was still good.  
Sometime before the final dirt section, Matt Davis rolled off the front and held a gap of about 30 seconds. With the numbers in our favor, people were looking at us to chase it down. We weren't too worried about it with the decisive part of the race yet to come. Just for good measure, Peter launched off the front in pursuit of the solo rider off the front. Going into the final 4 mile dirt section, Matt had a gap of 45 seconds. With this section being by far the most technical, Christian and I took over and did work! catching and dropping Matt halfway through and putting about a minute into him by the time we were done with all the dirt roads. Now all that was left was Christian and I team time trialing the final 20ish miles to the finish for a 1-2 finish. After we were off the front, I was so worried about building a bigger gap and crossing the line hand in hand, I forgot to eat more food. With about 2k to go I lost Christian's wheel. Rookie mistake. Christian waited for a bit but eventually had to keep going so we wouldn't lose it all. I pounded some food and limped in for 2nd. Still a good minute ahead of 3rd, Matt Davis. After that is the cool part. Peter and Benji were in the chase group picking up the pieces. Fawley took the sprint for 4th, but Peter and Benji took 5th and 7th. That's 4 riders in the top 10 and 3 in the top 5. It doesn't get too much better than that. The whole team rode awesome and it was an example of team work at its best. Mat, Corey and Gonzo killed themselves at the front patrolling stuff for us all day and it paid off! We also got 13th, 15th and 19th I believe. 
For the guys, it was our first win of the year, and I am sure it will not be our last. We made this one count.

Also, in the girls race; Casey won her second straight race after winning Pace Bend a few weeks ago. Ashley had a good ride, taking 2nd on the spare bike. She such a BAMF, she has more fight than anyone I have ever met. I think the girls also got 4th and 5th. Overall, Metro VW dominated the weekend. To be honest, had we not dominated, it would have been a sub par day of racing. Huge thanks to Andre and Joe's friend Chris for the support during the race. Next up on the schedule is San Dimas and Redlands in California.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Challenge!

While we were down in Austin, I came up with the brilliant idea to challenge Peter in an eating contest. Now those who know Peter, know he plans on being obese once he is done cycling. The boy can eat. Now I eat my fair share of cereal so I thought the only way I could beat him was to challenge him to a cereal eating dual. For some reason, Peter chose Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It sounded good at the time, but we later regretted it. Next time it will be a Chinese food buffet or something else with some variety. I might also be talked into a challenge with a more bland cereal, such as Kix.
The challenge was, 1 box of cereal each in 1 hr. First to finish their box or the person with the least amount of cereal left after the hr, won.
Peter started off at a blazing speed. He was half way done within the first 20 minutes. I think the pace he started caught up to him though because I was gaining on him. It could have also been the apple and yogurt he had mid way through. He popped hard and I was able to take the victory! 1 complete box and 2400 calories later and I was crowned the champion. I was relieved to win at my own challenge, but kind of sad it totally offset the 100+ mile ride we had done earlier in the day. It was worth it though I think. Cinnamon Toast Crunch will never be eaten by me again.

I accept any serious challenges for anyone who thinks they can hang.

Back to God's country.

After Pace Bend, Benji, Christian, Gonzo and myself stayed in Austin for the week to train a little bit. Peter and Whitney were kind enough to let us crash on their couches for a few days. I think some of their room mates hated us for being "loud", but whatever. It was pretty much just Chris Collins. The week was pretty entertaining for us. It was good to be back in the town I used to call home. Man I miss it!

While we were there, I wanted to show Benji all of the girls UT had to offer. He was a little skeptical after the freshman chemistry class we sat in produced little results. We had the brilliant idea of walking down to campus to hang out for a while. Peter gave us the room number for a "chemistry in context" course. He assured us there would be dumb people in there. I immediately thought, dumb freshman blonde's... Perfect! No luck. Instead we walked around campus a bit more and tried to just look a part.

Since we were in town, and we were having a hard time finding Benji a good looking girl we decided to go hang out on 6th street for a while. We went to the Iron Cactus, where a sorority mixer was going on. It was a good time, but I think Gonzo had the most fun. He even had a dude buy him a drink. How sweet. While we were sitting outside on the balcony, a lovely young lady came up and sat next to us. She proceeded to complain about all the "bitches" in the bar and how she was "over it". In the middle of her rant, Benji interrupts her by saying, "you have a chewing gum for me?" As she is digging in her purse for gum, she looks up at Benji and says. "how foreign are you?". She deserved to be thrown off the balcony. After our night was over, we tried getting on the bus back up to campus but the friendly driver wouldn't open the door for us. So instead we walked back. From 6th street all the way to 35thish. It was quite a hike.

The stay in Austin wasn't all pleasure. It was business first. We did some pretty good rides also. One day we rode all of the fun climbs off of 360. Courtyard, Beuford, City Park and few others crammed into a 3 hr ride. Christian is faster the steeper the climb gets. The next day we rode out to Johnson City with my good friend and former team mate, Tyler Jewell. This is by far one of my favorite rides ever. Mid way through the ride, we met up with Stefan Rothe and Heath Blackgrove. Just to cap off the ride with some good tempo. We were coming back up Hamilton Pool and I notice Heath in the dog pushing about 60 rpm. He is a man child if I've ever seen one.

Sometime during the week, we decided to stay and race the first day of Lago Vista and then head home. After last year, I was a little hesitant but later convinced by the coach. I heard Kelly Benefits was supposed to be out there but later found out they were only racing the second day, so I was rather bummed I missed that. The race was pretty hard as usual. I predicted the race pretty accurately. On the 2nd lap, a small break of 10 or so formed up the road with Steve Tilford and Heath Blackgrove both in it. Since only myself, Christian and Benji started the race, we didn't want to waste much energy on scrub breaks and chasing stuff down. Since none of us were in the group I thought I would be a good one to be a part of. I was right. i jumped across to it and it immediately split down to 5. Heath, Tilford, Alex Welch, Sol Frost and myself motored away for a few laps. Eventually Sol popped off the back and Alex started sitting on to wait for a bridging Stefan. I was feeling pretty good. and was able to hold my own. I never skipped a pull but never did more work that I had to. The legs were there. With 3 to go, however, it hit me. The bonk feeling was setting in and no matter how many clif bars I pounded, I was done. Heath and Tilford dropped me on the descent back toward the finish and I was left with Welch waiting for Stefan on the second to last lap. I was able to hang with Stefan for a while but as soon as they really started chasing the leaders I was running on empty. I dropped and got caught with the main field led by Christian just off the front going into the final lap. Good day gone bad. Heath stayed away and Tilford limped in for 2nd. Even more frustrating for me was that Christian got caught and Stefan and Welch stayed off for 3rd and 4th. Benji salvaged some money for us by finishing 13th.

After the race, it was back to Dallas for another week of training before our next race, Which is where I am now. Sitting in the hotel room the night before Rouge Roubaix, just outside Baton Rouge Louisiana. We rode some of the course today and it should be a fun one. After the race tomorrow, I am going to Greenville, SC with Ashley to ride a bit and check out the town a little.

Check back for updates and results from the race.

Thanks again to all the supporters for reading.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Been a while.

Since my last post, I have been fairly busy! I got my new sweet BH built. The G4 is by far the best bike I have ever ridden! I got a Retul bike fit courtesy of Gary Woolfolk at Richardson Bike Mart. It is a bit expensive and a little time consuming, but if you are having any fit issues, I highly recommend it! Source Endurance also does it now for all you Austin folks. A couple of days later, we headed out to the Phoenix area for Valley of the Sun. the race went pretty well overall. The highlight of the race was definitely Shannon winning the woman's crit. The guys rode well. We were where we needed to be at the finish of the road race and we certain to get 2-3 guys in the top 10. Within the final kilometer, the lead moto pulled up to us and said the finish would be neutral because of a wreck in the Cat 3 finish. oh well. The crit was pretty hard but it was a good test on the legs. The end result wasn't quite up to par, but I am satisfied overall with the weekend. Before we headed back home, we waited for our sweet new clothes to arrive at BH. They look pretty sweet!
Once we returned to our homeland, we had a short week to prepare ourselves for Pace Bend. The cat 2s headed down early to tackle Walburg, and most fared alright. Pace Bend was a little different. Not very hard if you were sitting in, but the finish is always a little tricky. The team rode very well. I think it is safe to say, we controlled the race. Early in the race, I found myself in a break that included Ian Dille, Mith Comardo, and Chad Cagle. Ian and Mitch were killing it in the break. Chad wasn't showing his full hand and Nathan instructed me to sit on. The break got up to 45 seconds but for the most part, just stayed around 20 seconds. We ended up getting caught with 4 laps to go. Lucky for me, by the time we got caught, I was still fresh. I was able to cover more attacks and go with stuff that looked threatening. On the last lap, Stefan was left off the front after attacking his breakaway companions, Peter and Bryan. With 3k left in the race, the pace slowed down and I saw an opportunity to attack. I jumped pretty hard and bridged up to Stefan and rolled through him. He was able to jump on my wheel, and after a couple of rotations and some miscommunication at the front of the field with the lead out. We were caught within the final kilometer. Bummer. Benji ended up 10th and overall, the team rode pretty strong. Just a few more kinks to be worked out. I am bummed we are having such a hard time sealing the deal. It will come. Probably when it matters most.
Awesome job to our woman's team again! Casey took the big win with a lot of team work back in the field by Whitney and Ashley. Shannon also wont the field sprint for 3rd. Very deserving.
It was good to see everyone again back at the race. It was a fun race and I am looking forward to Memorial Day for the next rendevous at the State Crit.
As soon as they are sent to me, I will post some pictures from Valley of the Sun and some other stuff.
Next is an off week from racing and then off to Baton Rouge for Rouge Roubaix.
Check back for updates.



Monday, February 2, 2009

Living Well

So last week during my off day, I had the chance to utilize one of the team's new sponsors for '09, Living Well Dallas. They are a company that specializes in healthy living of all aspects of life. They do all sorts of things, from massage to a life and organization coach. It's really quite handy. I went in for acupuncture and massage. I have had a ton of massages before but never acupuncture. I was really just trying it for the experience. Basically, acupuncture is like going to a chiropractor. However, instead of applying pressure to different trigger points to activate your muscles and cells, you insert needles in said trigger points. The needles are a couple of inches long and unlike hypodermic needles, these are completely solid. Once the needles are placed in the desired location, you just lay back for 20-30 min and let the needles do their job. It really is pretty cool, and surprisingly pain free. I am pretty excited to make another appointment at Living Well. They seem to be pretty knowledgeable about their respected field and are very helpful and supportive for athletes. For those interested in either massage, acupuncture, life coach or nutritionist; Please go to the Living Well website and make an appointment with Ty. Tell them Andrew, from the Metro VW cycling team sent you. They should be able to get you right in.

On another note. I got my BH time trial bike the other day. The thing is pretty sweet! FSA hooked us up with their Vision aero equipment and chain rings. I have never used a 54t chain ring before so I am pretty excited about that. I was able to ride it a couple of times last week. Once for 4 hrs and then again for 2 hrs. I am getting used to the larger chain rings and the position is awesome. Comfortable yet aero. Hopefully I can get good at this whole time trialing thing. The bike will definitely help! I am still waiting for my road bike to come in, but it shouldn't be too much longer. Only 2 more weeks until our first race at Valley of the Sun in Phoenix, Arizona. I will post pictures of my new bikes as soon as I get them both together.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 25, 2009

What is a Pro?

Every once in a while, when I'm bored, I will check out some of the bike racing forums. Usually, the likes of TXBRA for race results and things of that nature. I don't really agree with the format of their forum. People can post anonymously, saying basically whatever they want, without anyone knowing exactly who it is. Now I don't really follow the smack talk of all the haters on forums. That is, until people start to take personal shots at me. For no reason, no less. As I tell myself when faced with any adversity, it is what it is.
A few months back, I won a race and was interviewed by the local newspaper. In the interview, I was asked if I go to school, where I was from and other questions like that. I remember telling the interviewer, that I was not in school and I just raced full time. Not once did I tell him I was a professional. It was automatically assumed. When people read the paper, they started ripping into me, claiming I wasn't a "pro". Some even questioned my education background. As if it has anything to do with bike racing. Just for the record. YES, I dropped out of high school and YES, I got a GED and NO, I have no desire to go to college. Right now. As if it's any ones business. No one likes to be talked about in a negative way, why should I be any different? About once a month I have a bad day on the bike and think to myself, "is this worth it"? I am giving up my life to achieve a dream that is scrutinized by basically everyone. Then I read ignorant shit like that and I remember, it's people and comments like that, that motivate me to keep going. All this began an on going debate, what exactly is a "pro"? The topic came up again a week or so ago when results for Copperas Cove were posted. Josh Carter won the race (as if there was any doubt). Those who know Josh, knows he is one of the nicest guys around and we are lucky to have him racing in Texas (he's from Illinois). He moved to Wichita Falls when his wife started coaching the MSU cycling team. He has a whole litter of children, thus a whole lot of responsibility. However, he doesn't have an everyday full-time job. All he does is ride, yet he is on an elite amateur team. He used to ride professionally for Subway a few years back, doing every big race in the U.S. Is he still a pro? I think yes.
Regardless of what the dictionary may say for "professional", you do not have to get paid to be considered "pro". A good amount of racers on continental teams do not get paid a dime. You have to remember, that cycling is not a glamorous sport like baseball or basketball or football. The base level salary in any one of those sports is around $500k a yr. There are only a handful of cyclists that get paid that much. On the other end of the spectrum, there are quite a few racers on teams considered "elite amateur", that get paid a salary. Are they considered less of a pro because they are on a team without a license? There are several teams that could buy the continental license but choose not to. The only bonus to having the license, is the opportunity to do races such as Tour of California, and even then, there is not a 100% chance you will be invited.
Cycling is arguably the hardest sport to succeed in. Many of the issues the normal pro has to face are so stressful as well as mentally and physically taxing, riders often call it quits before they reach their prime. Unlike the sports mentioned above, salary is not guaranteed. Forcing many riders on pro teams to get a real job.
Not many kids have the dream to become a professional cyclist. I know I didn't. My dream was to become an option quarterback at the University of Nebraska, where my dad went, and then play in the NFL. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had a good idea that my football days were numbered. Cycling was a hobby for me, and a time to bond with my dad. The more I raced, the better I got, and the more I wanted to win. Eventually, there was only one step left and I wanted to be with the best. Someone does not wake up and choose to be a professional cyclist. Cycling chooses you, and not many have the pedigree to stick it out. Riding 15-30 hrs a week and limit your spare time with friends is hard to do for a 21 yr old. True professionals have to make sacrifices. Kiss a personal life goodbye. At least until you establish yourself.
White shoe covers do not make you a pro. I retired mine with my old team. Diamond earrings do not make you pro. I keep mine on my dresser, and only put them in when I feel like standing out. Carrying only water and no food on a 5 hr training ride does not make you pro either. I do that to teach my body to run off of as little as possible. It's my theory and it works for me. You never know if you are going to miss your feed. Even then, its usually just water. You can believe as soon as I stop on a ride, I buy a coke and usually pop tarts and some sort of bar. The same as I start a race with. I eat pretty healthy but I could be better. I do what works for me. I don't count calories or follow a diet. I have guidelines. I know what is filling and what by body can handle best. I do not eat fast food unless it's my only option. I try to limit my junk food intake, but I am only human, and 20. You may think racing/ riding with no gloves and helmet is "pro", it's not. You will learn that as soon as you shred off your palm in a crit going 40mph, or have a wreck where your helmet is in pieces. Trust me on that. I learned both first hand.
In my opinion, a pro is someone who travels around to races with a team that pays for the expenses. If you are paying for registration and hotels all yourself and drive alone to these races and are out of pocket for these expenses, you are not pro. But that is just my opinion. You are a pro if you have a license that says so, i.e. road, mountain, bmx.. whatever. Bryan Fawley, myself, Tristan Uhl, and Tyler Jewell all have those, FYI. You are at least a cat 1. If your not, you can't race with the pro teams at most races anyways. If you were at some point in time, on a professional team, or have had a professional license. You are a pro in my book. Once a pro always a pro. That means you have a good idea of what it takes to make it.
Living the dream is a job, you must treat it like one. Do not judge us by the paths we have chosen, it was our decision.

Hopefully people that read this will have a little better understanding on what exactly a pro is. To any haters out there that think professional cycling is a joke. Do you really want your negativity and unnecessary comments be the reason a junior quits cycling at 17? No one wants to be "that guy".

Thanks once again, to all the supporters out there. The silent sponsors that throw money at junior programs or development teams or aspiring pro teams. It is because of you, we can ride our bikes full time and follow our aspirations.



Friday, January 16, 2009

Training Update

The past few weeks of training, following team camp, have been pretty consistant. Each week has been around 25 hrs. Give or take an hr. Lately I have been driving to Grapevine to ride with Andrew a little bit. It beats riding by my house in the city, and its fun riding with people some time. Most of the time we have ridden to Denton and back. Its about 70 miles roundtrip, so about 4 hrs. That's if we don't do a little extra around the house afterward.
Other than rides in the Grapevine/ Flowermound area, The bulk of my riding has been either laps around White Rock lake or a group ride somewhere with time tacked on at the end. Good riding in the Dallas area is very hard to come by. I have also continued my track sessions on Wednesday nights with Christian. I feel like its helping out with my leg speed and sprint. It could just be mental though. But isn't that all cycling really is anyways? Hopefully next week I will be able to go down to Austin for the week and do some rides I used to do when I lived there. I miss them. A coke and a personal pizza from the Mobil gas station in Johnson City would hit the spot right about now.
Only a couple more weeks until Valley of the Sun. This isn't really my favorite race, but I am actually pretty exciting to go and start the season. I am feeling pretty confidant about my fitness at the time and I am finally at or below my target weight of 63 Kg (138 lbs.) Perfect timing. It all seems to be coming together. I think training on a 19 lb. cyclocross bike all winter will have done me well too once we finally get our newly designed BH connect. I might actually feel fast! Maybe not though.

The other day I went to ride with Andrew at Nathan's house. After the ride, him and Shannon had to go to the grocery store and since I didn't want to drive home during rush hour traffic, I tagged along with them. While we were in the line waiting to checkout I was checking out the impulse buys and stumbled across this little gem. Whoever came up with this is clearly a genius.
After 5 hr Energy and 6 Hr Power, this blows it way out of the water.

I want to know how they came up with an 80 hr energy supplement. What a random number. According to the advertisement, it's used by bike riders. With something that lasts that long, I can train for RAAM! Has anyone ever used any of the long lasting energy shots? If so, do they actually work? I don't think I would actually try them but I'm curious. I'll stick to water and Nutella sandwiches.

Ashley is in town now. She always gives me evil looks and death threats. I'm scared for my life. I think she could be like a hit man or something, and she is smart enough to get away with it.

Out for now.
Ride, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Top 10 continued

A few posts down, I posted my Top 5 hottest celebrities. This is the second installment of the previous countdown. This is the bike racer list. When I say bike racer, I mean bike racers that a majority of cyclists have actually heard of. There will not be an honorable mention with this list because frankly, bike racers aren't that hot.
It was hard to come up with 5, but I did it! I think everyone will be impressed. Enjoy :)

5. Katerina Nash- This beauty from the Czech Republic is probably the most accomplished on the list. Pretty boss mountain biker racing for Luna. She has been to 3 Olympic Games dating back to Sydney. It must be the dark hair and tan skin.

4. April Lawyer- To be honest, I don't think she is very well known as a cyclist. I believe she was a downhiller. Now she is running a clothing company in Oregon. She is also married to Chris Sheppard. Lucky Canadian bastard.

3. Willow Koerber- Pretty attractive. OK bike racer. She's good for a few podiums at the nationals. Does anyone really care how she does in races?

2. Lizzie Armitstead- She is the only non- mountain biker on the list. She has a few World Cup medals on the track for the UK. She is also only 20. Secretly I hope to meet her and have her fall in love with me. I don't think that will happen though.

1. Niki Gudex- If she isn't at the top of every one's list then you have no taste. She sure knows how to market herself. I'd invest in that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Team camp wrap up

Well, camp is over and done with now. It was pretty hard but nothing too difficult. We spent most of he time doing pace line and lead out work on Robson Ranch. It took us a little while but we figured it out and did a pretty good job considering we were missing 2 of our strongest riders in Christian and Benji. I can't wait for them to get back in town for the year. I think they will be here just in time for Valley of the Sun. Them being back should help all of us both racing and training. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say we will be the most talented and dominating amateur team. Bank on that.
We spent a couple of days up in Talihina riding some good "mountains" in the Ouchita forest. Of course, we weren't just riding. In fact, we hardly had any down time on the bike while we were there. We were either doing individual time trials uphill or pace lining for miles and miles. It was awesome training and it was easy to tell who was riding well. There was no faking it. Pater and Corey both have a new coach and they are riding very strong. I am starting to up my volume for January so we should all compliment each other well.
When we got back to town, we wrapped things up by having our team presentation and dinner. It was an opportunity to meet and greet all of the Metro sponsors and supporters. After all the hand shaking, we went to Main Event to hit up some laser tag and bowling. Sounds childish... but it was as much fun as a group of cyclists can have together.
While we were in our hotel, we had frequent visits from the folks at Living Well Dallas. They talked to us a bit about nutrition and setting goals and getting life straight all around. They also provided us with massages and acupuncture. it's about time I make my appointments for follow ups this month. Check them out at
While at camp, we also got our race schedule for the first half of the year. it is going to be a whole new animal for me. Finally getting the shot to race out of Texas at some premier NRC races throughout the country. Starting with Valley of the Sun for the sponsors then hopefully staying in So Cal up until San Dimas and Redlands. Races like Cascade, Gila and Tour de Toona are also on the schedule depending on where nationals is located this year.
Look for the team's updates on our blogs as well as the monthly write up in The Racing Post.

Here are just a few pictures taken from camp.