Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tough road race in a skin sut

Yesterday's Fond du Lac road race did not go as well as we had hoped. It was extremely hot (95 and very humid) and a little bit windy on a pretty easy course with a few short hills. The race started off well with Greg making the early break of 8 that got a 4+ minute gap after 2 laps of 8. After 4 laps I decided that I wasn't feeling very good and that I should probably save my energy for the last crit so I packed it in to hand out water bottles. The race started to explode on the next lap and everyone but Vince and Dan dropped out. Most of the field dropped out of the race. Today's course is again in Fond du Lac but it is a 1km 4 corner crit. I hope we can pull off a good ride on our final day of Dairyland.
Also to make the day much harder and funnier I forgot my jersey and had to wear a skin suit in the race!!! I put 2 water bottles down my back and they slid around my back, bounced all over the place and generally made me look like an idiot. I learned my lesson and don't plan to forget my clothes again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top 10 Finally!

Yesterday was a big step forward for the team at the TOAD. We were racing in Manitowoc which is on Lake Michigan just south of Green Bay on a flat 4 corner 1km course. It was a pretty good set up for me because the last corner was close to the finish line. We raced aggressively and had Chris in a promising break for a while. Greg and Chris both scored $40 primes for the team and with 5 laps to go Dan let me to the front of the pack and I told him to attack. He bridged up to another rider and they eventually had a group of 5 with a 10 second gap but got caught with 1 lap to go. Greg led me to the front of the field and I jumped on Pat Lemieux of TX roadhouse wheel. On the back stretch I was in 4th behind Bergman and 2 bissell guys. Bergman jumped before the second to last corner and I tried to jump on his wheel but couldn't quite make it. I was in third going into the last corner with 200m to go but my sprint didn't hold off the people who passed me including Ryan but I held on for 9th which I was happy with. Ryan placed 8th. We were all really stoked to finally produce a few top 10 results and score a little bit of money. I definitely need to work on my sprint though! Today is a rest day and Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to race a RR and then a criterium in Fond Du Lac, WI before heading home to rest for a few days before Hyde park and Grandview.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grafton Twighlight Criterium

Last night was the third stage of Tour of America's Dairyland it it was definitely the fastest so far. It was a crit in Grafton north of Milwaukee and the pace never let up I think we avereaged around 29mph with several laps much faster than that. A break of 7 got away early and we missed it but with around 10 laps to go it appeared that we would catch it. We kept moving towards the front but no one from the team could hold their position up there for more than 1 or 2 laps before being sucked back into the middle of the pack. It came down to the last lap and I launched my self onto third wheel in the pack which i held until about 1km to go when we caught the break and I got swarmed and didn't have the legs to react. Our best result was Chris in 20th. We were all pretty disappointed and realized that we needed to work harder to be at the front and stay there closer to the end of the race. It is definitely a tougher field up here than we would have faced at Tour of Ohio. Today's race is in Manitowoc just south of Green Bay and hopefully we will finally land a guy or 2 in the top 10 at least. I was definitely disappointed in my legs but hopefully these races will help me improve my speed for the end of races.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Waterloo Criterium (TOAD day 2)

Yesterday was the second day of Tour of America's Dairyland and it was a crit near the Trek factory in Waterloo, WI. The course was a 1.6 mile loop with some tight corners and a small hill and a long finishing straight. The race was fast and furious the whole time with a lot of attacks and a 29mph average speed. With about 30 minutes left to race the skies opened up and the course got slickened with rain causing a few crashes. There was a 2 man break up the road and Dan went to the front and reeled it in then Greg, Dan and I went into the last lap well positioned near the front. Chris moved up and then crashed in the second corner but Greg, Dan and I were still in the top 10 going into the hill. Greg attacked but got caught before the finishing straight he was the best finisher in 11th. I blew up in the sprint and got 20th and Dan was 19th. Andy and Vince were right behind us in 21 and 22. Ryan K arrived today and we are hoping we can put together a really good team race. We were on the cusp of it yesterday but should have communicated more in the last few laps. Today is the Grafton Criterium and looks like a good course and good weather. We had a great recovery spin along the Milwaukee lake front today. We watched some volley ball and saw some huge sailboats come in and out of the harbor. Our host Mark has also been awesome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tour of America's Dairyland (TOAD) Day 1

Today was the very hilly road race held on the course that they hope to use for the 2016 Chicago Olympics. After preriding on Wednesday I knew it was gonna be a tough day for me and everyone else. It started off with a very fast downhils section for a few miles and then hit some pretty steep rollers. After more descending we hit the first big climb and I was able to barely hang on to the back of the pack. I actually chased back on with 2 other guys right as Chris and Greg crashed. We all caught back up to the back which had slowed significantly on the flat sections of the course. We began the climb up to complete the first lap of 4 and I was feeling OK but not great. While climbing I realized that I could push it hard and make it over with the main group of 30-4o riders but I also realized that i would probably get dropped hard on the next lap. So I conserved a bit and checked out my position at the top and after riding about 1 mile of the next lap decided to call it a day with Andy M. We gave water to Greg and Vince who finished 13th and 11th which was awesome. It turns out there were only 26 finishers! Hopefully I was right to conserve my energy for the rest of the weeks races! Today is a criterium in Waterloo, Wisconsin where Trek bikes are made. I am hoping Panther can pull off some good results against this tough field.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Le Tour (of Mt. Pleasant, MI)

Mt. Pleasant, Michigan put on a great show of racing this weekend. These were some of the best organized first races I have ever participated in. The whole town seemed excited and enthusiastic about us being there to race our bikes and all along our 105 mile road race on Sunday there were big groups of spectators cheering making the race a lot more fun.
This was a really great race weekend and our first racing with the full team plus Paul Martin. The first day was a flat crit with 6 turns and a long finishing straight. I am normally a pretty good crit rider but not as much with long sprints. We decided to be aggressive the whole race attacking and following moves. Chris attacked at one point and got reeled in and then I attacked but was covered in about half a lap and then Greg launched and got a 15 second gap. We blocked well for Greg but he ultimately got caught with 1lap to go. Heading into the last lap Chris, Moskal and I were sitting around 20th position when Moskal told me chris was on my wheel. so I drilled it all the way up to the front and Chris took 2nd in the spint while I blew up and rolled in for around 20th.The next days road race was my first 100 mile plus race of the year. The plan was for me to go for the first points sprint which was 4 miles in. Andy and Vince gave me a great lead out but I didn't quite have the kick I needed and finished just outside the points. After a flurry of attacks and counter attacks a break with Greg and Dan established itself. I knew it would be the winning move because it had all of the big teams represented except Jet Fuel from Canada which kept trying to chase in vain. We continued to go with moves and block as their gap grew. Coming into the sprint I worked my way to the front with PM and Chris on my wheel and I drilled it on the front of the pack from about 1km to go to 500m to go. Then Paul took off and I blew up again. Chris took the field sprint which is exactly what we wanted. I was very pleased how well we raced as a team this weekend and despite not getting any results for myself I had a blast this weekend helping my teammates score some good results. Next up is the first 6 races of Tour of America's Dairy Land followed by the Hyde Park Blast and Tour de Grandview! I hope our team can keep up our great momentum. Also I have been job hunting it up and should finally have something to write about on that front in the next week or 2 so keep checking back.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Refreshing Trip!

I just got back from visiting my good friend Aaron at his place near Bedford, IN.  He lives in the huge hill country of southern Indiana and has 9 miles of mountain bike trails at his house.  Will came down too and we went for 2 laps of his super technical and fun trails.  Then his mom made us stir fry with vegetables from her garden and this fungus protein stuff called Quarn that I thought was chicken.  We had homemade corn muffins and pie too!  It was amazing.  Yesterday we went hiking around some state parks and climbed around a bunch of slippery rocks to look in a cave that had water pouring out of it.  Southern Indiana is pretty sweet!!  Then we did a super hilly 25 mile road ride and had more organic food for dinner again!!!  Overall it was a great trip and I definitely hope to go back for some more awesome riding before the summer is over!

Monday, June 8, 2009

ABR Crit Weekend

This past weekend we raced in Winfield, IL. This is the third time I have done these races and did very well last year with a 2nd place. I knew that Chris was on good form after getting creamed by him in some sprints on Wednesday afternoon. With that in mind we decided that Chris should be the designated sprinter for the weekend. We were in every break on Saturday evening and worked well to set Chris up to take several primes. Greg did a huge lead out the last time up the climb for Chris and he placed 2nd. I felt OK but not great and couldn't get in a good position for the final sprint. I finished 20th place.
Sunday was another good race for the team. There were a few small attacks at the beginning and after about 10 laps of 40 Chris got in a break with Mike Sherer and Josh Carter which I knew was gonna be the winning break because it contained some of the best riders from the best teams in the race. Greg and I patrolled the front jumping on any move that went. Chris' group got about a minute gap at the most and the race got more and more aggressive as it wore on. Coming into 5 laps to go I knew it would be a field sprint. On the last lap I jumped on Ben Renkema's (a teammate of mine from last year) and went for it down the last straight for 8th place with Ryan placing 5th. The race was a text book example of teamwork in action. More of that is sure to come this weekend when we assemble the full team in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

more riding!

After a brief hiatus from riding due to a huge storm on Monday I rode 3 hrs on tuesday and 3.5 on wednesday.  Today I did a nice 2 hour recovery ride.  All of these rides have gone on at least one road that I have never ridden meaning they made teh ride that much more epic and passion filled for me!  I hope all of this training pays off over the next few weeks.  This weekend I will be in Winfield for the crits.  My research project writing is coming along nicely too!  I am making good progress toward my goal of having it ready to submit to a journal on June 15!  I am also job hunting but I am not gonna post anything about it until I actually have a job.  Keep checking though I hope to get it figured out in the next month or so.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

Training Week!

I have ridden a lot in the past week.  I got 2 hours in Tuesday, 4 Wednesday, 3 Thursday 4 friday, 3 Saturday (plus we helped my friend Whitney move into her sweet new apartment for like 4 hours) and a century on Sunday!  Sunday's ride was by far teh most epic.  I decided I would ride my bike to Zionsville where my parents were because they are visiting the US for a few weeks.  It is only 55 miles on the highway but due to the fact that I wanted to take country roads it would take me about 60-65 miles.  I made it all the way to Lebanon on my intuition meaning I went only south or east and a lot of it was on 1 lane dirt roads!!! Then after grabbing a snack in lebanon I rolled out of town heading what I thought was straight east.  It ended up being north and I ended up back on State road 47 which was about 5 miles north of the town!  Oops.  So I found a dirt road back and finally ended up at my parents house after 75 miles.  My mom made me some awesome food for a snack and then my dad and I headed out and rode 25 hilly miles around the north west part of Indianapolis.  It was a great day of riding with even nicer weather.  This week I plan to continue to put in some long miles on the bike to prep for Tour of mt. Pleasant and the America's Dairyland Races.  I will also work hard with my writing on my research project!!