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!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nature Valley TT

Didn't go as fast as I hoped. 7 seconds slower than my goal of sub 14 mintues. I did a 14:07 for 41st overall and 6th amateur. I am going to keep fighting and try not to be anonymous. Here is a sweet picture, thanks to Cycleture.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Iowa Update (better late than never)

This last weekend was one of my favorite race weekends of the year, despite the fact that I have never had any success there. I was out to change that at this year's Memorial Day Weekend Bike Races in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois. I set the goal for myself of one podium performance in any of the 4 races. I thought (and kind of wished) that it would come in the second day, at the infamous Snake Alley Criterium. More on that in a second

The first day was the Burlington Road Race. The course was changed slightly from previous years in that it was extended to 102 miles. Little did I know how difficult those 102 miles would be. The team discussed the plan and we knew we had a couple sprinters who could potentially win in the Ryans--Knapp and Aitcheson. My job was to cover the early dangerous moves and if I found myself in a break then I would obviously try to win. I covered several moves that included the danger teams; Aerocat and Roadhouse. After about 30 miles of racing, John Grant very innocuously rolled off the front and I simply followed. We were quickly joined by Josh Carter from Aerocat. We immediately began working well together and the gap jumped up to almost 4 minutes at one point. We went through the turn around and got a good look at the field that was surprisingly moving at a good clip. I was surprised at the random assortment of those chasing, considering the three strongest teams were represented in the break. The moto informed me that I had a teammate chasing, so I immediately stopped working and sure enough Mac bridged in a monster effort bringing along one other.

As soon as he joined we were informed our gap had plummeted down to just over 2 minutes. We immediately started rotating as hard as we possibly could, dropping the rider who bridged with Mac. We only had a little over 1 minute with about 25 miles left. We were going as hard as we could, it was a full on team trial and a brutal effort. I wished I could have attacked about 5k out but with the pace and the small gap over the field it was too risky and I honestly did have the legs for a 3 mile effort at that pace. We hit the last hill that leads into the 600 meter downhill kick to the line and I attacked and was immediately caught. Mac then went to no avail and I countered one more time with absolutely everything I had. It unfortunately did not work and I tacked on to the sprint. Carter led it out with Grant on his wheel and myself in third. That is how we finished. I honestly thought I could win this race but ultimately could not pull it out. I was happy to be on the podium for Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist but would have loved to win.

The next day was the coveted Snake Alley Criterium and my legs were feeling the previous days effort. I started 41st which after call ups is closer to 50. I did not get the best start and was behind the lead group. Last year I went into the red too quickly and never caught the leaders. After not making the group as quickly as I would have liked I had no choice but to settle into TT mode and hope to reel in the leaders. I caught them with about 13 laps to go. When I arrived a break leapt off of the front and knowing that I didnt have the legs to win, I went to the front to bring it back for Ryan K and Ryan A. I got close enough for riders to start jumping across and the teammates were able to go with them WIth 2 to go I clung to the back desperately trying to stay in contact as the legs were dead. I got popped off at the top of the Snake the last time up and rolled in for 15th, a career best at Snake Alley but not what I had hoped for.

The rest of the weekend was a wash for me as I developed some knee pain and was not able to finish Melon City and did not line up for Quad Cities. I have gotten a lot of treatment in hopes to be at my best for Nature Valley and Nationals. I have lofty goals for both events and hopefully I can accomplish them. Hopefully I can look back at this adversity as something I overcame to still accomplish my goals. I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.