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.