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.