Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012


It is important to know that this post is not at all meant to be arrogant, it was only written for a sense of perspective. When I moved to Boulder, I began to look forward to the opportunity to better myself as a person, and a cyclist. I knew that there were plenty of dudes here that are capable of stuffing me in the hurt locker and throwing away the key. Today was like a slap in the face as to exactly how many guys here are capable of doing just that.

I ventured out to the weekly Saturday group ride, called the Gateway ride. There are several sprints, which I was not aware of but other than that the pace is kept high by a rotating paceline. There were probably 80 guys (and girls ) on the ride. Not all of them made it all the way but several did and there were plenty of opportunities to regroup, especially after the "race" to the top of Carter Lake. I was not aware when I rolled up to the ride that it was so fast and aggressive, but I am glad it was as it offered the first glimpse into how much work I have to do to be competitive out here. It is not at all similar to Wednesday Worlds back home where I could ride however I wanted to and still be there for the sprint. There were moments when I was afraid that I would be dropped.

The most telling moment of the ride was the race to the top of Carter Lake. I had unwisely taken several hard pulls leading up the climb and thus found myself at the back of the group when the climb ramped up. Actually slightly off of the black. We hit the climb and the group detonated. I found myself with no help and watching the group I thought I could ride with, going away from me. There were a couple who were a lot better than everyone else who rode away, but there was a group of 3 I should have been in. I went as hard as I could to try to catch them, while at the same time, not blowing up as it was a long climb. I kept them close and caught several people. I went really hard and it hit me that to do well out here I have to pay more attention to positioning and energy conservation, I cannot simply rely on being better than everyone else and thus riding like an idiot. In the long run this will be good for me. It was; however, very eye opening. As I said at the beginning this was not meant to be arrogant to any Bloomington riders. I love, and miss, that place. I am going to try to keep this updated.

I have some news but I want to confirm everything before I post. Thanks for reading.

Today's ride:

Friday, December 9, 2011


Sometimes, its the little victories. I am KOM of the second section of Lee Hill on Strava. Check it out. Lets see how fast I get once I am actually in shape. This Strava thing may be dangerous. I can't keep "competing" and get distracted from my training. Was nice to have some fun but need to stay focused on my goals. If you have not checked out Strava, you should. It is a fun way to keep track of your training.

Check it out!

Click on the upper Lee hill section link

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tale of Two Races

After I got married, Caitlin and I went to Traverse City for a week. I decided to race the Mass Avenue Criterium after not really touching the bike for a week. Needless to say it did not go well. I tried to cover some early moves to help out the teammates, but the efforts caught up with me. I was dropped like a brick at minute 55, which actually worked out as I was able to beat the rain and get back to my car. The race turned crazy with high winds that blew over race barriers and trash cans. I decided to get back after it so that I could do well at the Village Volkswagen River Gorge Omnium in Chattanooga, TN.

The race had a stellar field including Cesar Grajales of (with teammates Frank Trevieso and Oscar Clark), Phil Gaimon of Kenda p/b 5 Hour Energy, and Nate Brown of Trek Livestrong. Jonathan Jacob, the Elite National Time Trial Champion was also present. It was an excellent field for a non NRC event in rural Tennessee. The race started with an 8 mile time trial around a lake on top of Raccoon Mountain. I rode it in 7:54 which would have been good enough for 6th but for some reason 3 seconds were added to my time and I was officially 10th on the stage. I protested but to no avail. This would become the theme for that evening's criterium. The crit was fast, 30 mph average speed, and during the course of the race they offered a set of Zipp 404's for a field prime. There was a break up the road, someone in no man's land, and then the field. The rang the bell for us, and I led out Uberti who did an excellent sprint to take the win. They even announced that Panther had taken the prime. However, after the race they decided to give the wheels to the rider in no man's land. Turns out he was a local club rider. We protested and were given a very interesting explanation but ultimately did not change their mind. I was very frustrated and determined to do something in Sunday's road race.

Sunday's road race included two KOM climbs and a finishing climb of 3.5 miles up to the top of Raccoon Mountain. The race started out very fast and before I knew it there were about 15 riders up the road including most of the heavy hitters. Jonathan Jacob went to bridge and I followed to help with the chase. We caught the lead group and I thought we would sit up, JJ had other ideas and went right on through. I followed him and saw 1 km to the first KOM. I took it ahead of JJ and we kept on going. Frank Trevieso bridged and we stayed away until Sand Mountain, atop of which was the 2nd KOM. We were joined right before the climb by Cesar Grajales and Phil Gaimon. Phil set a hard tempo and I knew this KOM would not be easy. I couldn't believe it. It was like a dream come true. Racing up a mountain with great riders, including Phil Gaimon, Cesar Grajales (former winner on Brasstown Bald in the now defunct Tour of Georgia), and the current Elite National Time Trial Champion, Jonathan Jacob. I jumped with about 500 meters to go as hard as I could. I didn't look back and could not believe that I held them off and took the prize at the top. After the climb Cesar would not pull so we all took turns attacking him. This cat and mouse led to our lead group ballooning to 10-12 riders. After several attacks Oscar Clark and Phil got away. Cesar later joined them and the would contest the finale. The final climb was brutal. Jonathan left me pretty early and I struggled to the top to hold onto my top 5 finish. I was very happy with it. It was great being able to compete with such high caliber riders. Hopefully I can continue to improve so opportunities like this will come about more often.

Hopefully some pictures to follow.

Friday, July 29, 2011


ZIPP Super 9 Disc with both freehub and track axle. Tubular tire mounted and included. Asking $1800 OBO. Let me know. This wheel is ridiculously fast and has only been ridden twice. C'mon I have a wedding to pay for folks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tour of the Valley

I got the chance to race with the entire Panther crew this last weekend at the Tour of the Valley in Youngstown, Ohio. It was a great weekend with Andy Clarke being gracious enough to open up his house to 5 cyclist. The hospitality was great. Thank you Andy!

The race consisted of a 9 mile Time Trial, a 93 mile RR and a 90 minute Criterium. The race started off with the time trial on Friday evening. I wanted to win win this race, but could only manage 3rd behind Paul and Dave Wenger. I covered the 9 mile course in 18:36. I was satisfied with my ride and more importantly the team was in a great place with 1st and 3rd on GC going into Saturday's tough, hilly Road Race.

Photo courtesy of Mike Briggs

We went into the Road Race with the goal of winning the stage, but more importantly of holding onto our lead in the General Classification. The race consisted of a 2k climb with time bonuses available at the top. We put Ryan Knapp into an early move to take the bonuses off of the board and it worked perfectly. Half way into the first lap I found myself in a move with Knapp, Greg, and Ryan A. along with a couple RGF's and Damhoff of ABD among others. The group worked well together, but to my surprise was caught. I think it is because nobody really worked all that hard with 75 miles of racing to go. Once we got caught Kirk escaped with 2 others, including Housley of Chemstar who finished around 10th in the TT and thus became the leader on the road. We could not afford to let him get to far up the road, so Paul attacked the steep rollers after the KOM and all of the other GC guys reacted immediately. Benefiting from this I attacked when everyone sat up. I rolled away from the front of the field and immediately got a decent gap. I was hoping that someone would join me so that I did not have to go across 2 1/2 minutes solo. However, no one came so I put my head down and got to work bridging up to Kirk and Nick Housley. I got them after 15 miles of chasing. It was a big effort and I needed time to recover. Kirk rode like a champion, taking long pulls to maintain the gap while giving me a chance to catch my breath. Unfortunately, this work caught up with him and he lost contact on one of the many steep, leg-killing rollers that follow the KOM climb. I rode the last 15 or so miles with only Housley, knowing that if we could make it to the finish I would be the leader of the GC. I put in a ton of work, and he got me for the stage win. I wanted to the stage but the race lead was a more than suitable consolation prize. Paul managed to escape the rest of the field and he and Kirk came home 3rd and 4th with another gap back to the field. This meant that going into the Sunday's final criterium we had 1,3, and 4 in the general classification.

Sunday's Crit was the easiest race I have ever done thanks to the awesome teamwork by the rest of the guys. I simply sat in and followed Housley to make sure he did not sneak away since my lead was only 23 seconds. The team rode flawlessly with Paul and Ryan A. picking up the mid race time bonuses. Near the end Paul escaped with Tom Burke and won the race with Ryan A. taking home the field sprint (without throwing up his arms ;) ). I crossed in 10th and thus won the General Classification. Thanks to everyone on the team for the awesome support , there is no way I could have done it without you. It was my first victory in a stage race, and it is always a nice view from the top step of the podium. Hopefully we will continue to win bike races.

On a side note we learned a few things this weekend.
1) Ryan Knapp is pretty good at basketball, but only when he is allowed to use the girl's ball.
2)Andy is a hell of a crit racer with a broken hip.
3) Lisa could drive a team car in the pro peloton.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I finished up Nature Valley with a decent ride on the final day at the infamous Stillwater Criterium. I had the goal of finishing the entire race and perhaps improve my overall standing. I got popped off of the lead group with a little over a lap to go. I rode in, thus completing all 20 laps but only finished 37th on the day. Not as good as I had hoped for but I did improve overall. I finished my first ever Nature Valley Grand Prix in 34th overall, which is nothing to brag about but I was satisfied with it. I missed my main goal for the week. I set out to win the Green jersey for best amateur. I did not win the green jersey but I finished as the 5th best amateur. I am going back next year with the same goal in mind and hopefully I can accomplish it.

After Nature Valley things got hectic. Immediately after Stillwater I got in Mac's van and we drove the 12 hrs back to Bloomington, including traffic jams and detours through Gary, IN. We got home at 4 am. I woke up the next morning to fix my bike and then hopefully relax before driving the 11 hrs to Augusta the next day. Needless to say the repairs did not go well and my one day of relaxation became nothing but stress. I got the bike figured out and Mac and I got back into the van to begin the trek to Nationals. We stayed in Atlanta on Tuesday night and finished the drive to Augusta on Wednesday. We got to the TT course and did some pre-riding, unfortunately, my first ride in two days. The course was not as difficult as I would have hoped (this became the theme for this trip to Nationals) and was truly one for the specialist. I got the bike dialed and went home to rest before my 1 pm start the next day.

The morning of the TT went well. I was fortunate enough that Mac competed in the U23 event earlier, so I had a gauge as far as what it would take to do well. I set off right as Jonathan Jacob crossed the line and immediately knew what it would take, which would have been the ride of my life. I took off and felt terrible. I just couldn't find a rhythm and the legs were fighting me. I am not one for excuses but I would have loved to have had better legs. I am sure the travel didn't help but I rode as hard as I could and came home in 38 min 33 sec. At the end of the day I ended up 13th out of 70 something guys. I told myself going in that anything outside of the top 10 would be a failure and while 13th is not bad it is not what I set out to do. I know I am capable of riding better and it is disappointing that I didn't have the ride I know I am ultimately capable of. However, congrats must go to my friend and old teammate Jonathan Jacob. He is the world's nicest guy and to see him pull on the Stars and Bars as Elite National Champ was great. If I could not win I can not think of a person I would rather see get the gold. Congratulations Jonathan, awesome ride!

I then had 2 days before the road race so I rode around Augusta which is a terribly disappointing city. I thought with it being home of the Masters that there would be an interesting downtown or something, but there was nothing. The heat was absolutely brutal. I watched the U23 road race detonate and figured due to the heat that the attrition rate would be just as high among the 200 starters in the Elite race. I could not have been more wrong. with 28 miles to go there were still 100+ guys in the mix. I was baffled and angry. A selective race suits me, a bunch sprint does not. WIth about 20 miles to go I laid my cards on the table. I got into a minor split and then followed attacks and found myself in what I hoped would be the move. We came through with 1 lap (15 miles to go) and things went south. As I feared our group of 13 was a little too large, people started sitting on and the gap plummeted. Our break came apart and I attacked but was brought back. One guy from our break survived as a group of 5 formed with 4 miles to go and fought it out. I was disappointed but gave it my best shot and actually raced the bike race. Next year will be better I hope. Now onto the rest of the season. I have some good form after by far my most ambitious racing trip and am hoping it will pay dividends.

Here are some pictures from my soon to be wife of my TT (Wedding is August 6th!)