Thursday, April 3, 2014

Winter Update, Tucson, Barry Roubaix, and beyond

First off, I'd like to apologize for it taking me so long to post a blog update. I didn't even post an update about Addison Oaks State CX championship. Well there isn't much to tell. I crashed out on the first lap. Ok there's the update. This winter has been one of the most horrendous times of my entire life. My wife lost her job, and 2 other close family members had and still have some pretty big health issues, and the weather took its toll on my house causing my roof to leak. I'm happy to report however, many things are looking up. In fact, my wife started a new job and just received an offer for an even better opportunity, my work is going fantastic, and the health issues are improving.  I can't really go into the details on just how bad things were. It wouldn't be fair to those involved, but I can assure it was pretty bad.

So onto the training stuff. During all this time you might think that I was depressed and didn't feel like training. Well the opposite is actually the truth. I have been training all winter. Even though the weather wreaked havoc on my house, it also provided some of the best cross country skiing I've ever seen locally.  In fact, I skate skied at Independence Oaks just about everyday for 90-120 minutes a day. Thankfully I have a pretty flexible job that allowed me to move my hours around so that I could do that. The last time I skied all winter was in 2008/2009. That year I went on to be the best athletic year of my life. I did multiple IM's under 10 hours as well as some other half distance races. I ended up being an All American for USAT that year. Now that's some pretty big shoes to fill I know, but it's definitely a positive factor in my favor going into this season, especially after the disaster and embarassment most of 2013 was. I must say however, I learned a lot last season and I'm taking those lessons as well as new lesson into 2014.

I was fortunate to spend some time in Tucson last month.   I put in about 20 hours in the week I was there.  While I was out there it gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and see how I'm doing coming into spring.  I did nothing but base endurance rides and ski's all winter long with the exception of testing my FTP at the end of each base period.  Ironically I saw a pretty decent improvement and I wasn't doing any intervals.  I also spent more time on strength training which I feel did make a difference during that time.  Now that I am going into the build phase, I've stopped the strength training but I may reintroduce if I don't see continued gains for the next period. 

Racing has already started for the season.  Barry Roubaix was on the 22nd 2 days after returning from Tucson.  I was still pretty well blown out from the trip and my time trial up Mt Lemmon the Wednesday before  but I love the gravel races so I wasn't going to back out of it.  The race started off sort of slow and I was feeling pretty confident.  Unfortunately I was behind someone going into a mud hole and instead of plowing through it, he hit his breaks and forced me to stop and I lost front group.  I tried to catch them but I couldn't get anyone else to work with me so a gap formed and I couldn't cover it.  I didn't really have any top end.  I used everything I had going up Mt Lemmon a few days earlier not to mention the century I did 2 days before that.  I just focused on trying to keep myself consistent and hope all the base training would pay off and others that hadn't done the training would tire.  In the end, I was 5th in my age group so I went home with a cool medal and I was pleased with my result. 

This weekend is the Lowell 50, although now, it's a 57 mile race.  It's the longest gravel race I've done but it will also be a great gauge for my fitness.  The plan this year is to hit some key mountain bike races at locations I like or that sound interesting and road races.  On the road, I'm going to race masters and probably focus on road races and not so much crits.  Those are races I enjoy and being longer they cater to my fitness more than crits and being that I'll race them in Masters they are even longer.  I'm not ruling out crits, I just prefer road races.  I'll still do the Wednesday night Waterford races. 

So that's it until next time

First Endurance EFS Drink Review

As any endurance athlete is aware, there are many drink products out there that are designed replenish your nutritional needs. They all have their benefits and weaknesses. Generally speaking, most of the products out there are simple sugar for carbs and then some type of electrolyte formula that they feel meets the needs of the athlete.  Gatorade and Powerbar for example, contain only simple sugar and only sodium and potassium.   Other products such as Gu's Brew, provide a small amount of sugar and make up the rest of energy with maltodextrin.  The difference being that the simple sugars burn quick and the maltodextrin burns slower.  When your planning your race nutrition for a long distance event such as an Ironman or long cycling event, having the proper nutrition at the proper time is key to success.  If your starting to bonk, you don't want to be taking in maltodextrin based drinks and gels because they won't hit your muscles in time.  You need to take in a product that is going to provide you the proper amount of quick simple sugars but also set you up for the remainder of the race with the slow burning calories.  First Endurance EFS drink provides a more balanced mix of simple sugars and maltodextrin.  Per serving, there is a total 24g of carbohydrates.  16 grams of that is going to be in the form of sugars made of from sucrose and dextrose.  This is the quickly delivered sugars that you need immediately.  The remaining 8 grams, is in the form of maltodextrin which is the slower burning complex carbohydrates.  So while your taking in a serving of EFS, your body is using quick burning sugars now when you need them, but also you will be slowly breaking down the maltodextrin to be used later in the race. 

In addition to breakdown of carbohydrates, EFS drink also provides a full panel of electrolytes (1160g in total) not just sodium and potassium.  Sodium and potassium are most commonly known for controlling cramping in the muscles and heart rate.  Beyond that, EFS also provides magnesium and calcium.  Magnesium is beneficial to athletes for a few reasons.  It controls things like blood pressure and synthesis of proteins and fats.  All of which is needed to generate ATP.  Your probably aware that calcium is needed for strong bones, but what you might not know is that calcium also lowers stomach acids and can aid in reduce stomach distress.  This can be very helpful in racing and training when your taking in foreign foods on course that your stomach might not be used to. 

There are some manufactures that provide protein in their products for reducing muscle damage during an event.  First Endurance has taken a different approach by instead utilizing Free Form Amino Acids instead of the BCAA profile used by other manufactures.  2g of Free Form Amino acids has been shown to have equivalent affects on muscles to 9g of the typical BCAA protein found.  Now, unless you are doing a custom blend, there are not any manufactures on the market that provide 9g of protein.  The reason being that much protein will affect the glycemic index of the product.  It may also decrease the taste and possibly make the product harder to digest.  Also note the quality of the Amino's that First Endurance uses.  They AjiPure amino acids.  These acids hold a 99-100% purity rating so you are getting benefits of a quality product. 

The final unique ingredient in EFS drink is Malic Acid.  Malic acid stimulates oxygen uptake so more oxygen means better performance right?  Well it's not just that but it also helps in low oxygen conditions like upper altitudes in Colorado.

So what does all this mean to you?  It means that First Endurance has spent a lot of time researching not only the basic formula, but what else they can put into their product to uniquely separate them from the rest and provide the best dollar for dollar product on the market.  Yes, I am fully aware there are other products out there that allow you to customize the product to your needs, but do you even know what your needs are?  First Endurance has taken the guess work out products like that and at a retail price of about $.70 per serving and easy no wait availability, the value is real. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Iceman Cometh 2013 Race Report

It's 7:12am and I'm stopped on the side of the road about 4 miles from the start of the Iceman.  I have blinking red and blue lights in my rear view mirror.  I was pulled over for speeding, doing 72 in a 55.  I had been sick the day before so I missed the packet pickup and needed to get to the start early to pick it up.  I wasn't sure what to expect as far as a line for late pickup so I was hauling.  I explained to the officer that I was going to the race and that I was just overly excited and nervous.  He told me to calm down and have a good day.  He had no idea what a day I would have.

I was in wave 3 going off at 9:09.  I lined up with my team mate Tony B.  He looked at me and told me I was going to roast in what I had on.  I took my wind vest off but kept my arm warmers.  I gave my wind vest to my wife and rolled up to the line.  

I was about 4 rows back from the front but the start is so long it didn't matter.  I knew the main thing was just to start and I could move up when I wanted to. We took off at the whistle and headed down the road.  We made a left and that's when the elbow bumping started happening.  I was a little uncomfortable with my surroundings and didn't want a repeat of the Gaslight Crit so I immediately headed to the front.  As we went into the woods a few people missed the turn and I moved up into 2nd position.  The guy in front of me was just not pushing so I went I around him.  A couple other guys followed suit and then they passed me so I jumped in right behind them.  I knew my team mate Tony was behind me not far.  I thought this would be perfect to get Tony and I into a lead group and separate from the rest of the field.  Tony was one of the riders that missed the turn so he was catching up.  I just kept pushing with a couple of other guys.  After a few more miles Tony caught up to us.  My sunglasses were fogging up really bad so I just took them off and stashed them in my pocket.  I paid the price for that later.  We started to catch some of the guys from the 2 earlier waves and as we went into some singletrack, Tony had a little better position than I did and started to gap me.  His gap grew by the time we got out of the singletrack into another 2 track section.  I spent most of the next few miles bridging from group to group just trying to catch back up to my team mate.  At some point I finally caught back up to Tony.  Unfortunately my GPS device started to lose signal which then caused it to sleep so I don't know exact mileage.  From this point on, Tony and I just worked together flawlessly.  We traded pulls and just kept bridging.  The only issues we encountered were slower riders going into the singletrack sections.  Other than that, we had no issues.  As we came into the last couple KM's, we hit some traffic.  It all funneled down going under the fly over and someone dived in on me.  That allowed Tony to get some distance on me.  I ended up finishing in 1:58 flat and Tony a few seconds before that.  

As I came into the finishing chute I looked back to see I didn't have anyone behind me and no one in front of me that I could catch so I decided to be a little goofy.  If you look at the finish line footage on USAC's Youtube page you can see the video of it.  Remember how I pulled my sunglasses early in the race?  My eyes were fried after the race.  My vision was foggy until the next day.  Probably wasn't the smartest idea to take my sunglasses off but I needed clear vision.  

To my surprise, when the results were posted, I saw my name listed as 2nd.  I was pretty shocked and stoked.  I've had a horrible year with bad luck left and right.  I have some other personal family issues that have been affecting me quite a bit too.  So I was extremely happy.  The only thing that was strange was that I was ahead of 1st place by 2 minutes at both time checks but then he had somehow beat me by 2 minutes.  I didn't think much of it due to the excitement of the situation.

I waited around for the podium presentation.  I was called up for my 2nd place.  I stood there with my hands up although I'm told I have poor etiquette.  The next morning, John Osgood texts me to say that I was actually the winner, not 2nd.  I was obviously experiencing some mixed emotions.  I was happy that I was the actual winner, but a little upset that I wouldn't get to celebrate as the winner.  Sort of an Andy Schleck moment.  I immediately contacted Iceman.  After a couple of days I recieved confirmation of my victory.  I was the winner of my age group at Iceman.  A couple days after the confirmation email I received a jersey and an extra check for the difference in winnings.  The medal still says 2nd place but that's ok.  I know I won and I have the results and I can wear the jersey next year.  

Congrat's to all my boys at Iceman.  John Osgood, age group win,  Joe Seidl on winning singlespeed 39 and under, and Brad Lako for getting on the podium in 2nd and finishing in the top overall for age groups!  Very special thanks to Tony Barstuk for working with me.  Between Ore to Shore and Iceman, I've realized mountain biking is really where I belong racing bikes especially given all the bad luck I had on the road this year. For 2014 I'll be back full time on the dirt contesting for Tailwind series in Expert 30-39.  I'll still do some road races but mostly I'll be on the mountain bike.  Maybe a return to Lumberjack?  For now back to cross!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gaslight and CX so far

If were friends on Facebook or Twitter you probably already know about my crash at Gaslight.  On the last lap I was in good position and a guy from a certain team on the west side, that wears a like blue kit, and has 3 letters in their name, got nervous about riding over a pothole and took many of us out.  My Garmins last recorded speed was 27 so I hit the ground pretty hard on the high side and was then ran into from behind.  I was left with a nasty hematoma on my back and my hip was jacked up.  I'm still dealing with the hematoma and according to the doctor I will for a while.  The hip was a bigger issue and it was still sore going into Ithaca.  I wasn't able to get off my bike and hop barriers.  I took it easy though and by race day I was still sore but it was manageable.

Ithaca could have been epic.  Training wise I was feeling strong.  It was just a matter of how my hip would hold up.  The course was great as usual and it even rained a little bit.  With the new way they are doing the grouping I'm not having great luck with starts.  In the cat3 race I didn't go off well but I was moving up in decent position. On the 2nd from last lap my rear brake jammed with sand from the sand pit.  It basically stopped my wheel from.  I quickly jumped off and try to fix it but by the time I got moving again I was getting lapped by the leader.  I could only get the bike to roll a little bit so I pulled off the course because I still had most of a lap to go.  In hindsight I should have just ran the rest of the course but I had mentally lost.  Then I had signed up for masters so I was thinking maybe I'd still get a full race in.  In practice after cleaning my bike off I rolled a tubular.  I we back and forth about borrowing someone else's wheel and ended up taking someone's wheel.  The pressure was too high so I dropped the pressure.  I ended up lowering it too much and didnt have a great experience.  Crashed a couple times and bent my handlebars.  Decided it was probably safer for everyone to just call it quits. Not the day I had intended on. 

At Waterford this past week I only signed up for the 3's for both days.  Saturday I got my typical bad start but I was moving up pretty good.  About 2 laps in I rolled my rear tire.  I was pretty pissed but said screw it.  I'm not quitting for this.  I popped the tire back on and kept going.  I ended up rolling the tire again but kept going.  I finished the race 8th.  Just happy to finish really.  Sunday came but this time I ran file tread clinchers.  I got my usually start but started picking guys off and felt pretty good. I worked my way up behind a Specialized rider.  He made comments about my squeaky brakes.  He was actually in the next category back but he was between me and 3rd place in my category.  I wanted to pass him because I knew I was faster.  Eventually he crashed right in front of me but that let the guy behind me pass both of us.  I passed the Specialized rider and went after the other guy.  He was in another category too but I needed to pass him to get to 3rd.  I eventually got around him and got up to the 3rd place rider but I just couldn't reel him in the last 10 meters or so.  I tried on the pavement but it didn't happen.  I ended up 4th and that was enough to finally get a medal in Cyclocross.  I've desperately tried for a while now and I'm glad to finally achieve it.  I feel good about this season as long as I keep the mechanicals away.  I've been working my team mates and they've been providing me some excellent guidance that has worked for them. 

Next up Lower Huron, cat wait!!!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ore to Shore 2013

This past weekend I competed in my first Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic race. The race is one of the triple crown races that includes Iceman and Noquemanon mountain bike races.  It's a  48 mile point to point race that starts in Downtown Nequanee and ends at the Marquette YMCA in Marquette.  The course is a pretty fast course with the winners averaging over 19 miles an hour but that doesn't mean it's easy.  There are a few sections on the course such as Powerline and Misery Hill that really take a toll on you.  This year though, there was an unplanned obstacle that came in the form of a train.  The promoters of the race had worked with the train company to try to keep the interruption out of the race but apparently one slipped by.

The start of the race is a mass start.  I wasn't able to get a preferred start because I hadn't done the race previously so I was back in the general population about 4 row's back.  The race started off pretty fast.  It wound through the streets of Nequanee for a couple miles before dumping into a double track.  This is sort of where the selection process starts to take place.  People start jockeying for position.  I tried my best to get around as many people as I could before we started into a grassy climb.  I was doing ok, I had then passed Osgood going up the hill.  We started back into some double track and I was just starting to feel warmed up.  Then a rider slam on his brakes in front of me and that forced me into his rear wheel and I crashed.  Unfortunatly I was passed by quite a few riders including Osgood and I had damaged my Garmin Edge 500.

I picked my self up off the dirt and I was bleeding on my left leg but whatever, I was more upset about my Garmin because now I was worried my data wouldn't make to Strava and that's the most important thing here right?  Luckily the device did capture the data just fine so all is safe in Stravasphere.  

Shortly after the crash and I got going again, I started to pass other riders to get myself back up in the race.  Then we encountered the train.  This sucked bad for everyone because now it was like starting the race over again.  The train stopped and some riders started to jump over the train against what everyone was telling them.  There were threats from some of the other riders that they would turn in the numbers of anyone that jumped the train.  Then the train started to back up.  When the train backed up everyone realized we could go around the front of it.  Luckily the train didn't move forward while we were in front of it.  Here is a video of the train incident.  This isn't my video.

After we got around the train I was trying everything I could to get in front of the people I had already passed.  I tried taking an off camber line that eventually ran out so then I jumped into the middle of the tracks.  That didn't work so well either so I just wanted to get back into the main line.  Luckily I had a couple team mates, Joe and Todd, that allowed me back into the race line.  That's team work!!!  

On the way up powerline I talked to Shaun from Paint Creek.  He was telling a bit about the course and called this climb the death march.  For the most part everyone on the climb was still riding and not walking the climb, but it was a pretty challenging climb.  I spent quite a bit of time with Shaun during the middle third of the race.  He was giving his course knowledge along the way.  When we hit Misery Hill, it was so backed up with riders walking, that we spent a lot of time chatting about cross, his wedding, etc.  This is where being ahead of everyone would have paid off in terms of finish time.  Maybe that preferred start would have helped, maybe not.  The restart due to the train was the biggest issue I think.  The backside of Misery Hill was a nightmare for me.  It was downhill over rocks with some drop off's and I had my rigid fork on my bike for the race.  So while I could climb really fast, descending was a bit painful.  My hand's were pretty sore after the race.  Next year I'll run a suspension fork.

We eventually made our way to the road section about 25 miles in.  It was a good opportunity for me to use the road skills I've learned this year and also had the help of the rigid fork.  I started off with one group and I kept bridging from group to group to move myself up.  I never did any of the work, I was always sucking someone's wheels.  As we dropped back into the trails I continued with a group of about 5 guys.  There was a rider from Paint Creek and another rider from RBS, neither of which I know.  There were also a couple other guys but I wasn't familiar with their kits.  We all stayed in this group for the remainder of the race.  I continued to draft as much as possible.  With about 5 miles to go, one of the guys in the group had a mechanical and dropped off the group.  When we came out of the woods in Marquette everyone sort of had that look, like ok, who's going to do the work here.  I continued to bounce around till the last left turn before the finish.  That's when I made my move and took off in a sprint.  I crossed the line ahead of the riders in my group in 2:59.  

Overall I'm somewhat pleased with how this race turned out.  I wanted to come in around 2:55 which probably would have happened had we not got stuck by the train.  Races like this really make me love mountain biking.  I'm not sure I'll do the full USAC race calendar next year but you will definitely see me at this race again along with Iceman, Grampian, and maybe even Lumberjack.  

Well back to the road.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cherry Roubaix Report

This weekend I did my first stage race.  It consisted of a 13 mile TT Friday night, 30 minute crit Saturday, and a 46 mile road race Sunday.  I was the most excited for the TT.  I hadn't ridden my TT bike since 2011 and I am trying to justify its existence in my basement. 

The TT started off OK.  Adam Mcintyre was my minute man.  During the first half of the race it was windy and there was a good sized climbed.  Adam caught me and started to put some time on me.  On the way back to the finish, I started to catch Adam back.  I had just made the pass on him and we were coming into what I thought was a right turn.  I thought this because the flagger was pointing the flag to the right.  When your full out and seeing stars literally, you hope the flaggers know what they're doing.  Well I blew past her and a left hand turn around.  Whoops.  Adam passed me back and I couldn't catch back up.  I ended up 7th.

Saturday was the crit.  Right from the gun it was an instant hammer fest.  I was a bit tired from the TT the night before and didn't have anything for it.  I think I was 27th.  Huge thank you to Dave and Ellen for surprising me at the race.  It was great to hear you cheering me on.

Today was the road race.  The race started off pretty good.  The course is really hilly but I didn't get a chance to drive it first so I didn't know when to expect what.  I was on the front pulling coming into the end of the first lap.  We hit a huge climb and I had nothing for it.  I ended up falling off the back and not being able to get back on.  I ended up just taking it easy and using the 2nd lap as base miles.  I wish I would have driven the course the day before but it was 75 miles from where we were staying in Grayling.  This course is awesome.  Great roads and the terrain is fantastic.  There is a lot of climbing.  About 1400 ft a lap which is a lot for Michigan.

The biggest thing I learned this weekend was that I didn't do enough base miles early on in the season.  I was too busy doing intervals thinking that was OK and it did up my FTP a bit but I have no base which is hurting me badly.  I have been very busy with work so time hasn't been on my side.  I was sort of doing the time crunched athlete thing.  Didn't work obviously.  So now I'm going to start working on that base and I should have a solid one by cross season.  The season is still early so I should be able to catch up. 

Fun racing with Adam, Cody, Mark, and Mike.  See you soon!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Its been a while...

Its been a few months since I last posted.  I apologize to those 2 people who actually read my blog.  This season has been quite a rollercoaster both in my work life and my cycling life.  On the work side I've gone from almost getting fired to being the hero and now looking at a promotion to a position that I would absolutely love to have.  I won't go into the details but what I can tell you is that my job is very politically driven and it can cause a lot of stress.  This stress has carried over into my cycling and has affected my motivation for both racing and training.  Bottom line, my job has to come first.  Without it I can't afford to race so I had to sacrifice a little but its paying off.  Right now my racing legs are getting back into form and the job is going great.  So I'll briefly recap some of the racing thus far this year.  I've missed a couple of races and had some issues technically at others.  At one race I got my ass just totally handed to me.  At another race I got into a 4 man breakaway and hung on for 4th.

Starting with the misses.  I missed Barry Roubaix and the Yankee TT.  There were some issues with these 2 races that I won't get into.  I also missed the West Branch road race.  That was because I thought it was going to poor down rain and I just got a new bike and a new Quarq the day before that I didn't want to trash day 1.

Moving on to the ass kicking.  My wife and I planned a trip to Florida for her birthday.  I took my bike so I could get in some good training miles while we were there.  I noticed that there was a race going on that weekend so I figured I'd jump in and try my hand at these Florida guys.  The race was a crit and it was a 3/4 race.  I thought this is perfect, I've been doing 3/4 races all spring.  Well what I didn't know was that it was going to be packed with Slipstream and Katusha development riders.  The pace was very high.  Right off the bat we were pushing full out.  There was no speed up slow down.  It was just hammer hammer hammer.  Eventually the 3 and fast 4 guys took off and left the rest of us.  I was basically blown mentally at that point.  Here's a pic of smiling because I was getting my ass kicked so bad all I could do is laugh.  I ended up 13th at this race.  

A couple weeks after that race the MTB season kicked off at Pontiac.  Due to my lack of training around this time, I went into the race too rested.  My TSB was like a positive 20 which is way too high.  I didn't have much.  I went out pretty hard but blew up very early.  I just couldn't get my body to push.  My HR stayed low the whole time.  That was a bummer because I can ride Pontiac fast when I'm feeling good.  

Next  up was Cone Azaila road race.  I was really looking forward to this because it was a road race and it was a very unique course.  50% of the course is gravel road.  I set my bike up with some 25c wheels in prep for hitting any rocks or holes.  What I didn't prep for was my frame.  12 minutes into the race I was in the front group feeling very good when we turned into a gravel section and I felt my seat fall forward.  I felt under the seat to find that the seat mast topper had cracked.  So at this point only a DNF was possible.  I didn't want to risk the saddle falling off and injuring another rider in the field.  I pulled off and went home.  I contacted Wilier, Competitive Cyclist, and Ritchey for another mast topper.  Unfortunately Ritchey made a limited supply of the mast topper specifically for that bike and they didn't have anymore.  Ultimately I returned the bike to Competitive Cyclist and through KLM, I got a new Venge.  I'm very pleased with the Venge.  I'm looking forward to racing more on it.

After Cone was Island Lake MTB race.  I went into Island Lake at the beginning of my fitness coming back.  I felt pretty good overall, more like myself but the pace is so damn fast this year with Lako and Dub 9 putting a hurting on everyone in the field.  I just had nothing for them.  I ended up 5th so I was happy to at least take home some steel.

The Tour of Frankenmuth was the next up.  I was looking forward to this race after what happened at Cone.  I had a new bike, everything was great it was going to be awesome.  Well, not quite.  I had a problem with the saddle not being correctly tightened and it slipped when I hit a bump.  It was too low ride for another 20 or so miles so I pulled over to fix it.  I tried to catch but I never made it.  I came into the finish about a minute after the main group to find someone on the ground unconscious and medical pro's assisting him.  Turns out someone's tire blew in the sprint finish and took out the whole field.  When I came into the finish I was told the race was neutralized and to clear the course.  Well because they forced me off before the actual finish line I didn't even get counted as a finisher.  That really pissed me off too because I rode the whole last lap pushing my ass and then I didn't even counted for last place.  WTF!!!  There were other guys that finished 15 minutes later that got counted but by then the course was cleared and back on.  I guess I just had bad timing.

This past weekend was Addison Oaks MTB.  Now Addison is a home course for me.  I can hammer on that course and I was feeling pretty good about the race.  I had actually hit a 1 minute PR per lap a couple days before the race so that gave me some good confidence.  Unfortunately, the whole field again got faster. Brad Lako just made me look stupid.  He crashed, got up, and passed me and everyone else to take the win.  What a pro!  At the end of the race, I beat my time by 3 minutes compared to last year.  So I did what I could, it just wasn't enough.  I ended 5th in the race but I'm leaving that race feeling more like I should and more confident.  I've improved over last year but there is still work to be done.  

This weekend is my first stage race, the Cherry Roubaix.  I'm really looking forward to this event.  I wasn't sure that I would even get to do it.  It's a 3 day race that starts with a TT, then a Crit on Saturday, and a Road Race on Sunday.  I'm bringing my Cervelo out of the basement for TT.  I'll do a race report next week after that race with some details on what happened.