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.