Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Party

It was Thanksgiving last Thursday and just because I was in Korea didn't mean I didn't want to celebrate. I was lucky enough to get to do so twice in fact!  Last Thursday my friend Brad invited me to have Thanksgiving with him and some other guys in Songtan where a US airforce base is located.  We went to the local VFW for an awesome thanksgiving dinner with all of the best Thanksgiving foods.  They even had American style sweet potatoes.  Then on Saturday night my friend Chris(who also lives in Yangji) and I hosted a Thanksgiving party together.  We had over 20 people in Chris apartment and we did the best we could to make some great food.  We ordered a cooked turkey and Chris and I made mashed potatoes using both regular potatoes and Korean sweet potatoes.  Everyone who came to the party also brough something to share.  It was a lot of fun and I was thankful that none of Chris' neighbors complained about the noise! 
On Sunday my good friend Munju got married so I went to his wedding with a few other guys who know him.  His wedding similiar to most Korean weddings I've been too in that it was pretty quick but the food after was amazing!  Overall it was a great Thanksgiving week! I have a lot to be thankful for, especially everyone who has supported me and my racing over the years.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Season Recap

This last racing season was overall pretty good but it was full of setbacks and near wins. Starting last December my right knee began to hurt basically every time I rode. I kept taking time off to rest it but every time I started riding again it would hurt. It hurt in races but I was able to push through it and still managed to ride ok through out the spring. I think this hampered my training and my Tour de Korea. My spring goal was to win a stage at the Tour de Korea but my best results were 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Not bad but still not a stage win. I was hoping to figure out how to fix my knee problems over the summer.

Finally, in August I visited a traditional Korean medicine doctor and got acupuncture on the tendon that was bothering me. It got a lot better and eventually went away completely after 5 sessions! I really wish I would have gone to get acupuncture last winter! The fall went much better but I got a really terrible cold that lasted 6 weeks. This also hampered my training and I had to miss a race that was suited to me because I got a fever. Eventually I went to a big hospital and got antibiotics which finally cleared up the cold for good after the Changwon Criterium. The last few weeks I finally started riding well now that I put all of the health problems behind me!

I was really happy to ride strongly at the DMZ race and then get a solid win last weekend in my last race of the season. Hopefully, I can put all of the health problems from last season behind me and have a great 2012 season! My first goal will definitely be to win a stage at the Tour de Korea.

I was also really pleased with my team Cannondale RPM racing this year. Everyone on the team was super nice and easy to get along with. We had a great season overall as a team with numerous indivual and team wins. I was extremely proud to be a part of my team at every race we attended. We also got great support from our sponsors and with in the team everyone was willing to do a lot to help each other out. I'm looking forward to enjoying an even better season with my team!

Now I'm gonna take a bit of a break from bike training. I plan to ski a lot this winter and do some hiking then start mountain bikeing and weight lifting in December or January. Also I've applied to MBA programs and I will decide in January where I will be attending!

Monday, November 14, 2011

HongCheon Race Report: Finally a Win!

The last race of the season went basically perfectly for me! It was a 20 mile mountain bike race with 3 climbs on fire roads. There were over 700 starters in the race! The start was good and I moved into about 5th wheel before the first climb started which was on a forest road and was fairly smooth. My teammate Ji Haeng moved to the front and upped the pace a bit and before I knew it he and I were out front alone. Ji Haeng is a former pro mountain biker and a very strong climber so I was happy just to hold his wheel. For the rest of the race we rode together slowly building a bigger gap. The scoring was done only off age groups and not by overall and Ji Haeng was in the age group above mine and also being teammates we had no incentive to race each other. I would pull the flats and downhills and Ji Haeng would pull the climbs. The second climb was the toughest as it was full of rocks making it hard to find a smooth line but we stayed together comfortably. Coming into the finish line we crossed the line hands in the air together! It was the perfect way to finish off the season. I finally got my first win of the season in the last race. It was great crossing the line together with my teammate as well who is one of the nicest people I've met in Korea. For winning my age group I got a Hanoo (Korean beef) set. It included steaks and bulgogi. Pretty good prize if you ask me. Our team ended up placing 4th in the team competition after one of my teammates crashed and one had a not so good day but overall it was still a great race for our team. Its always great to get a clear win in front of everyone which I don't get to do very often since I usually win out of field sprints. There is one more race in 2 weeks but I will be attending a good friend of mine's wedding here. Next week I will write a recap of the season on here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2 flat tires and a 2nd place finish

Yesterday I had my final road race of the season. The DMZ race in Hwacheon and like the name says the race was held basically right next to the border between North and South Korea. It's a really beatiful and tough course and the race was split into 2 parts. The first part was basically a hill climb and the second part has a long steep climb and a lot of flat. They don't time the descent and the race is on net timing meaning when you cross the start line your time starts and when you crossed the finish line it stopped but there were 2 start and stop points so that the descent was basically neutralized. Not really an ideal or totally fair format for a bike race but the course is pretty hard so it usually doesn't change the results too much. I rode well and stayed with the lead group up the climb and on the second part of the course. I lost a few seconds to 2 guys from my age group on teh first climb and despite a few attacks couldn't shake the winner of my age group. My good friend Brad Williams won our group and I ended up getting second. The second climb was very steep and we dropped one of the guys who beat me up the first climb on it so I made up the initial few seconds I lost on him. The weather was pretty bad about 50 degrees and raining for most of the race but once you got going it wasn't so bad. My teammate Minseok let me borrow his rain jacket and it was definitely a life saver in the race.
I also got 2 flat tires over the weekend. At the end of my ride Saturday my front tire went flat (luckily it happened really close to my house) and on Sunday my tire was flat when I took it off the bike rack after the race. I must have gotten a slow leak somewhere on the course. I thought it felt a little soft during the race. I was really lucky it didn't go totally flat during the race! I got 30kg of rice for my second place and I'm happy with how the race went overall. The course is really beatiful too. I have one last race this weekend. A 20 mile mountain bike race about an hour north east of my house. I wish the season was a little bit longer actually. I'm feeling a lot better now that I've basically finished my MBA applications and no longer have a cold. I'll post about the race next week.