Monday, December 29, 2008

Reminiscing

I've spent the majority of my computer time reminiscing on the past and remembering all the great times I had with my cycling buddies and blogging buddies. '08 really was a great year, so much better than I thought it was.
One think that I always overlooked was how my blog rose incredibly in readership over the spring.
I had maybe 40 consistent readers, and several HARD CORE readers. My fondest memory of my readers is when we recorded an astonishing 113 COMMENTS on a seemingly boring post. The comments contained humor, drama, suspense, Doug's comedic genius, and a bitter confession. Good times.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last Chance

Today could be (and will most likely be) a historic day. The Detroit Lions, the pride of my existence and the bane of my existence, face off against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
If the Lions lose, they will drop to sixteen losses on the season (with no wins). Impressive.
Go Lions!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas '08

It's wonderful to not be in school! Unfortunately I have a video project for U.S. History and a project for Algebra II, so I'm not completely free of work. Regardless, I have plenty of time to ride my bike and play video games.
On Wednesday, I went over to church to play soccer in the gym with some other highschoolers. It was pretty fun. I got play with a bunch of graduated seniors that I haven't seen in a while.

We went over to our aunt's house in Grosse Ile on Wednesday evening for my dad's side of the family, and we went over to our aunt's house in Livonia for my mom's side.
All in all, the Christmas break has been pretty good to me so far.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A New Year's Resolution

We just got something sweet in the mail yesterday. It was brochure with tons of pictures of the AAVC Junior Team. It was made by Coach Lucas, with the pictures taken by Coach Christy. The brochure displayed mugshots of all our riders and sweet action shots. It had a couple cool pics of me at the Spring Training Series.
Something about it made me feel more a part of the team. As I read the brochure, I forgot about the negatives in the 2008 season and remembered the positives. I hardly knew that there were so many positives. All season long, I just focused on the negative things, mostly because I'm a natural pessimist. My goal for 2009 is that I change to an optimist. I will be building on the positives and burying the negatives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cyclocross Video

This is the video that Joe, Zack, Dad, and I made at the Veteran's Park cyclocross race.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Surprise!

Friday night was the surprise birthday party for my mom. 80 people had been invited, and my dad was determined to make it a night to remember.
Here's what happened:
noon- Dad leaves to drop mom off in Livonia for her to have lunch with Grandpa and her sisters.
2/3 pm- Dad comes back to help us with cleaning up the basement to make room for the party.
4:30-ish: Mom stays in Livonia to go over to Aunt Mary's house. Dad leaves our house to get mom.
5 pm- Dad picks up mom from Aunt Mary's house and takes her to dinner.
5:30 pm- Josh Freeling arrives at our house. He and I head over to my neighbor's house to get the beverages for the party. We end up getting 5 coolers of pop and beer that we haul downstairs.
6 pm- Aunt Mary shows up to help the girls with decorating the basement.
6:15 -guests start arriving. I'm on door duty.
6:35- The Conzelman kids and I are still taking care of the door. We aren't sure when to lock the front door and herd everyone into the basement.
6:45: Dad calls and says that he and mom are 15-20 minutes out. We make a decision to leave the front door open until 6:55.
6:56: Cousin Alex and Uncle Jim are escorted into the house. We hide all evidence of suspicious activity and get the heck into the basement.
7:00- I make a desperate attempt to make everyone downstairs shut up. It's hard to quiet 50 some people.
7:05- the basement is dark and silent. Maria is upstairs relaying information to us via cell phone. Still no mom and dad.
7:10- garage door opens. They're here.
7:15- Dad finally coaxes Mom to come downstairs. When she enters the basement, she is hit with a loud "Happy Birthday"!

It was an incredibly successful surprise b-day party, and one that I will remember for a long time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life Lately

This week has been a pretty interesting week.

1. Tuesday ended badly as I had a nasty incident in gym class. As Byron and I were both trying to catch the football, we got all tangled up and my ankle locked up. My right leg sort of twisted and Byron (who is about 6 feet tall) landed on me. Let's just say, I took a while to get up. Ethan eventually pulled me up and helped me limp off to the office, where I got some ice to put on my ankle. For the rest of the day, my ankle totally bothered me.
I'm very thankful that my ankle healed by the end of Wednesday, because I had to play twelve songs on the drums for my youth group later that night.
By Thursday morning I was able to walk without crutches and ready to give my persuasive
speech.

2. My persuasive speech was well received. I got 99% (I lost one point for being too enthusiastic).

3. Maria has been driving us both to school. Sitting in the front seat of the car as my sister drives (without a parent) is a little bit weird and nerve-racking but at the same time cool.

4. At the end of school on Friday, as I walked down the hallway looking for Maria, I saw a familiar face. Jim Hughes was talking to Mason and a couple other soccer players. Upon seeing me, Jim picked me up by my legs and shook me. That just about made my day because it reminded me of all the great times we had when he helped out at my youth group. What a cool guy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christian Vande Velde!!!

Last night, Dad, Giff, Zack, Joe L., Mark, Rich, Dominick, Doug, John R., Vince , and I went to the Dante Alighieri Society (an Italian cultural center) to listen to Christian Vande Velde, the second American cyclists to EVER lead the Giro d' Italia. We had a very interesting experience; we cyclists were most like the ONLY non-Italians there. Everyone else was kissing (like Italians) and talking in Italian accents.
I filmed Joe interviewing Christian on his strategy for the upcoming Giro. Also, we got a group picture with Christian, and we got to touch the Maglio Rosa (the pink jersey that is awarded to the leader of the Giro).

Holding a pink jersey may seem insignificant to non-cyclists, but it put me in a state of bliss. This was THE jersey, worn by Christian Vande Velde. This jersey is a historic jersey, only the second one to be worn by an American.

Vande Velde's interactive talk was very interesting. Basically all he did was answer questions, so I knew that I had to ask a really good question. I figured that I'd ask him a provocative question that determined if either he was clean rider or if he doped. I asked him, "As a clean rider (stressing the cleanness) that doesn't not take performance enhancing drugs, what is it like to race in a pro cycling peleton that is immersed in drugs."
The first thing in his response was questionable. He said, "Well firstly, pro cycling is not immersed in drugs." which is not true.
However everything else he said was on the up and up. He attacked dopers, and proved to me that he is currently a clean rider.

After that fun night, I had to get back up in the morning and face the real world again. I neglected to tell you guys that since Ford shut down its flight department, my dad is now out of a job. He's basically got nine months of severance pay left, but he's now spending all of his time working on his resume' and making contacts. I'm scared about all of this because there aren't many other job opportunities in Michigan. However, my dad has one really good shot at getting a job at my uncle's company. My uncle is going to try really really hard to get my dad in.
Anyway, everybody at school now knows that Maria and James might have to move. Sometimes, I catch myself talking about what the WCA soccer season is going to be like next year and I have to tell myself that I might not be here. This whole ordeal is very surreal and depressing. Just after achieving acceptance at school, I might have to leave. Man, that just stinks.
So please pray for me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Without Further Ado/Adieu/Delay

Here's the 2008 Michigan Road Racing Season Review:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Awful

A horrible thing happened to Bike Boy yesterday. I tried to open up "Bike Boy; My life as a 14 Year Old Cyclist" on my computer, and it wouldn't open. Apparently...it's messed up or something. It's on a pretty old computer so I should have expected it. I can't believe that I didn't back it up. The weird thing is that my computer would let me open other word processor projects, but of course it decided to not let me open the most important one.
Dad and I tried opening it on our other computers, but that didn't work either.
Doug, I think I might need some advice.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for...

Averaging just under 200 watts for two fifteen minute intervals! Yippee!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Contentment

As Michigan ended it's 3-9 season with an embarrassing loss against Ohio State, I was shocked. I was not shocked at how bad Michigan has become, but shocked at the high standard Michigan fans have set. EVERY year, we expect to see Michigan competing to win the Big Ten Conference. For DECADES, Michigan has satisfied us by going to a bowl game every year.
That tradition came to a close this year. Think about that. Michigan is not going to a bowl game this year. That is one of the oddest, abnormal thoughts to think.
Michigan fans have never taken for granted how lucky we were. Many teams have never ever gone to a bowl game.
Michigan has always been a good team, but we are never content with that and are always trying to raise the bar of standard.

Yes, as you could guess, this DOES pertain to cycling. I learned that I should have been content with what I was given. You can never really appreciate any thing until it's taken away.
Remember the first race you won. You were probably happy about your victory for the rest of week, but eventually, you realize that you need to win ANOTHER race to keep yourself happy. Let's say the next cycling season goes poorly for you. Don't you wish that you could go back to the time you won. You now know what it truly knows to lose, but by knowing what it truly means to lose, you learn what it truly means to win.

Be content.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Soccer Party

I never told you about the soccer party, which happened on the 15th. The WCA soccer party is hosted by the Dulings, and there we play Rock Band, Halo, Fifa, and other popular video games. At nine o'clock we went to the school. The reason was that we were going to play the Varsity Girls' Volleyball team in volleyball. We warmed up for about 45 minutes and then got in our places for the game. For the 10 of us not starting, it was the bench. We started the game off awfully, not taking it seriously, although no one really was. Maybe twenty serves into the game, Coach Ross sent me in (he has a huge sense of humor). I didn't disappoint, and I actually made a good play that set us up for a score. Then I messed up and got taken out.
Overall we had a lot of fun even though we lost.
When the girls all left, the socccer players played soccer in the gym. It was pretty neat to see all of our "bad" players (like the freshmen and the short guys who hadn't played soccer before until this season) compete with the "good" players (like Mason, Jesse, and Colin). We definitely have a lot to look forward to. Kevin and Justin are really good players, and they're only sophomores. Nathan Kichner is a good, tall, all-around player who also does goalie.
Man, it's going to be a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm Still Here...

I'm working on one big video project for the blog right now, so be patient.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wow

Since I had a lot of free time today, I opened up all my GCBC (Girl-Infested Grammar Class) folders. It brought back so many memories, some good, some bad. The more I think abou it, the more happy I become about WCA. The people at WCA are just so accepting, so kind, not that I'm dissing Homeschool Connection. I really feel like I'm a "part" of WCA, whereas at Homeschool Connection I was always kind of on the outside.
It's pretty obviously how God has worked in my life. Firstly, he got me involved with my youth group in eighth grade. This helped me get to know Mason, who of course is a legend at WCA soccer.
Mason got me connected into the soccer team, helping me to get to know a lot of guys before school even started.
Wow, I'm very fortunate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

not much going on

The first quarter of school ended. Although I've currently got a 3.4 GPA, all of my grades are slowly increasing. I've gone from a C- to a B in Biology (which is a HORRIBLE class), I've improved my Algebra 2 grade from a B- to a B, and I'm hoping to raise my U.S. History grade to an A!
All in all, school is finally slowing down and getting easier, academically speaking, and socially, I'm doing pretty well. It's a nice school that I hope to graduate from.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Great Night

Last night was the Fall Sports Banquet. All the sports teams were required to present their team and honor their players. The Varsity Soccer team's presentation thingee started with an eight minute video put on by coach Ross. The highlight reel included all the important moments we had this this year, like Mason's game winners against Plymouth Christian and Lutheran Westland, the first goal of the season, Tanner's stop on a penalty kick, several of our player's first goals ever (including mine), and a various assortment of Jesse heading the ball into the goal. It was a pretty sweet video, and it made us look pretty good. So then we went up on the stage, and Ross introduced all the players and gave awards. Since we were going by age order, I was first. The things he said about me were really nice and made me sound much better at soccer than I really am. He talked about how Mason recruited me, and my first indoor game with WCA. He made me feel more important than I really am. He said that WCA soccer has a great future.
I do believe that WCA soccer is going to be back where it was last year. We lost five really talented seniors this year, but we'll still have Mason for one more year, we'll have Matthais Donat (8th grader), and hopefully three seventh graders that are amazing at soccer. I'm going to try hard to recruit the freshmen, because although a bunch of them pretty decent at soccer, they're all to embarrassed to play because they think that soccer is "gay" and basketball is the way to go (I roll my eyes).
I'm sure that sophomore year is going to be awesome, but I really have to realize that I can't be the goofy little freshman any more. With my physical growth that is greatly needed for soccer, I need to expand my spiritual growth. Mason's pointed out on several occasions that I have a very sarcastic sense of humor that is not very helpful at times, and I agree with him, so I'm going to have to work on it.
Coach Ross then showed another video. This one was about the seniors. It was well made and almost made tears run down my cheeks, but I held it in. I'm going to miss these seniors terribly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I rode last night

Now I feel so much better about myself.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

B-Day

Today was a fun day. School was pretty easy, mostly because we had no school. During the morning, the middle schoolers and high schoolers were doing the "rake and run", a community service where we raked leaves for random people. Well, Maria informed Mason that today was my 14 birthday and insisted that he find some way to embarrass me. Well, Mason never lets you down.
So once everyone had gathered in the gym, the first announcement was that the day was my birthday. Then I had to stand up and listen to everyone sing the happy birthday song. It wasn't too bad. Rake and Run was fun.
This is the weird thing. I actually feel a year older, unlike most people who only feel a day older.

I just realized that in the time I spent blogging, I should have spent it riding. Dang it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vet's Park

The 'Cross race was awesome. Joe, Zack, Dad, and I were the best fans there. We wailed on our drum all day long, our beats soaring throughout the whole park. We ran side by side the racers, carrying the "Lion of Flanders" flag. I'm making a video of it right now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Funny Things

Here's the first funny thing: I did one fifteen minute zone five interval with the brake rubbing. Needless to say, I burned a lot of rubber and got a good workout in.
Here's the second funny thing; I saw five teenaged boys dressed up as teletubbies today! It made my day.

Tomorrow is going to SWEET. Dad and I are going to the cyclocross race at Vet's Park.Dad, Joe Lekovish, and I are going to be the best fans there. We're going to bring a drum, and Joe's bringing several banners! Come if you can, because it's going to be a fun time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Dumbest Holiday Ever

When people ask me if I'm going trick-or-treating, my response is always no. I grew up never really being that involved with Halloween. I bet that trick-or-treating would be fun, but the whole concept of Halloween just rubs me the wrong way. Why would we dedicate a whole day to glorifying death, witches, and various satanic things. In a sense, the disgusting-ness of Halloween is almost funny. People spend so much time decorating their houses and lawns with fake spiders, ghosts, tombstones, and other things symbolic of death. What about this stuff is good? How does it entertain you. Why would you want to remind yourself of the fact that one day you will die?
I think Halloween can be a decent holiday, if not abused. So don't abuse it, please.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Expectations

As you might guess, today's topic is about expectations, which have been playing an interesting role in my life as of late. You all heard about my famous pet peeve speech that become known throughout school. Thanks to that speech, everyone now expects me to deliver an A+ speech every time. Fortunately, I managed an A+ish demonstration speech. The long and short of it is, that eventually, I am going to have a lame speech, and when I do, people will be disappointed because they expected more of me. They had great expectations. In my opinion, you should always do your best and always try to get an A+, but you should never get the idea that you are better than anyone else. I ran into that problem this year. As all of you know, I had a great 2007 racing season. I trained well and raced well. I had great expectations going into the 2008 season. I trained even harder, but my mental attitude was completely off. I was far too cocky, telling myself the great things I would do. I told myself I would beat Taylor Birmann's time, place well in a Cat 4 race, and place on the podium at Nationals. Guess what, none of those things happened. In fact, almost the opposite happened. As I had a terrible season, Alexey had a great season because he was determined to train harder than anyone else. He came into the season with low expectations and went out with great results. That's what I want to do for next season.
I'm going to train diligently, and come to race with a mental attitude of "You know what, I might not win this race, I might even get dropped, but whatever I get, I'll be content with."
I highly expect to have low expectations.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Junior Team Preview

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time.
Now that the soccer season is over, I've had a lot of time to think about the upcoming cycling season. I've only been training once or twice per week, but I think Dad is going to write me a training plan pretty soon. I'm kind of worried about how I'm goin to ride 450 hours next year. It'll be tough, but fortunately my schoom generally doesn't assign a lot of homework. .
If I'm in good shape by the time the racing season comes around, my team probably should be pretty dominant. We're going to have a lot of returning strong riders like Alexey, myself, Jordan Sanford, and Eddie Kelley. I believe we'll have two new acquisitions. One us Jeff Knight,who just moved back to Michigan. From what I hear, he rides his bike a lot. Another addition might be this eighth grader from my school. He watches the Tour de France and shows a solid knowledge of cycling (although he pronounces Jan Ulrich's name wrong and doesn't think that Ulrich doped). He says that he rides 20-30 miles a day, so I believe him.

We've also got plenty if others on our team that are ready to step up. Rem definitely has some raw takent, and if he trains that talent, he'll br a stud. With training, Jeff Xu is going to get pretty fast, because at the last junior practice I coukd tell that he's got some decent form.
Of course Abby's going to have a fun season next year. She's going to have a battle royal with Riley Peterson in all the races.
I'm sure the season is going to be incredibly fun!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soccer Pics



Jesse (#5) tries to inspire a comeback against the homeschool team, but it just isn't good enough.Tanner makes sure the ball isn't going in during our first visit with Greenhills.

My first goal against Agape!
Tanner makes a sliding save as Justin shields his opponent from the ball, in the game against Hillsdale.


One of the late second half goals against Lutheran Westland.Mason nets the game winner!!!
YEAH!!!!!!!!


Good memories.

(pictures by Mrs. Pipe)

End of the Season

We lost to Greenhills in Districts, so the season is over now. That really annoys me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Slamball

While I was watching the Lions break my heart, I went to Versus to watch Cyclism Sunday. Cyclism Sunday wasn't on, but this thing called "Slamball" was. Slamball is basically an overly physical version of basketball, using trampolines. In my opinion, it was pretty interesting, and that's coming from a basketball-hater.
slamball.net

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Speech

The Dumbest Idea Ever

All classes at WCA have great teachers, and most classes at WCA have good student participation. However, there is a small minority of classes that contain students who would be willing to bury themselves in negligence, clothe themselves with disobedience, and rebel against school rules. These people all do one thing in common: text during class.

Texting in class is the dumbest idea ever. To begin with it’s risking getting caught and having your phone confiscated. If you continue to text in class, you will find yourself in DETENTION. You are depriving yourself of knowledge by focusing on your phone instead of listening to the teacher. Now that’s fine with me if you’re content with failing the class!

What I’m curious to know is what you text about. I get the feeling that these lawbreakers text in class not to discuss something with their friend, but to simply put an exclamation point on how they are breaking school rules. I picture a texter-in-class texting to his fellow texter-in-class, “Hey, I’m texting in class!” and his buddy responding, “Hey I’m texting in class too!

Let me give you an example of texting in class. Let’s pretend there’s this guy named Randy, and let’s pretend he’s in my Spanish class. Remember this is hypothetical. Let’s pretend that Randy has got his backpack on his desk, covering his cell phone. Randy has been texting in class for the past ten minutes. Suddenly, the teachers calls on him to answer a question. Dumbstruck, Randy has no idea what to say. With the help of his kind classmates, Randy manages a hesitant answer. I feel bad for Randy, because he’s going to struggle through this class.

Although I’m not allowed to text because it costs money, I turn my phone off anyway, and don’t bring it to class. Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

Use self-control. Don’t let temptation get in the way of setting a godly example in front of your classmates.

Wednesday and Thursday

On Wednesday was my pet peeve speech (in speech class). I had already volunteered to go first so I would have extra credit. In a pet peeve speech, you let out all your emotions as you talk about what really irritates you. You're supposed to be loud, and you're allowed to move about the room.
Let's just put it this way: I aced the pet peeve speech. I was loud and passionate, and my introduction was well written out. My classmates were all stunned as I talked about how I hate it when people text in class. I got an A+. But that wasn't all.
I'm in the first hour speech class, which is primarily with sophomores. Apparently in the third hour speech class (primarily freshmen), Mrs. Falk was talking about my speech. Thus, at lunch all the freshmen were asking me about my speech. It sounded like Mrs. Falk really liked it.
The next day, at the end of speech class, everybody wanted me to do my speech again, and I did just that. Mrs. Falk asked me to give my speech for the third hour speech class and I agreed.
So I did it for the third hour class and they LOVED it!
Because I was late for Algebra II, everyone wanted to know why. I said I was giving a speech. They asked me to tell it. So I told the speech to THEM! That was the fourth time I had given my speech. It was funny how everyone at school was talking about my speech.
After school ended, the soccer team drove to Westland where we took on the Huron Valley Lutheran Hawks in the last game of the regular season. We won 7-1. I almost had a sweet header goal, but Jesse bumped into me. All in all, I had a pretty good game. I made a couple nice passes that set my teammates up for breakaways. It was a fun game

I'm going to ride now. I can't wait for the AAVC Junior Team party tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soccer Update

After our domination of #6 ranked Lutheran Westland, we just kept on rolling. We rolled over Blissfield, mercying them in a scrimmage. Today we played Plymouth Christian, an honorable mention just like WCA. We beat Plymouth Christian 1-0. It was a sweet victory.
We have one more regular season game at Huron Valley Lutheran. It should be an easy win, but I'm going to play my guts out, because I want my second goal of the season.
We'll go into districts next week, starting against Greenhills, the team that beat us 6-2. I'm pretty sure that we can beat them because emotionally, we're just on fire.
So that's the soccer update.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Four Things

First thing: looking back on the racing season, I am so thankful. I thank my mom and my family, who took me to races even when Dad was gone. They were awesome.
I must also thank James Knight for giving me a Look 555 bike to ride in the 2008 season and has now loaned me another bike to ride until I get my 566. James gave me the first 555 bike for FREE! MUCHOS GRACIAS!
I also want to thank those who encouraged me when I was struggling. I thank those who said a kind word to me or left an uplifting comment on my blog. Thank you very much, your support helped.

Second thing: High School Retreat
It was an awesome time; hanging out, playing games, listening to a great speaker teaching us to be difference-makers, strengthening my faith. Since it's a pretty small School, I didn't meet anybody new, but I got to know people better.
On Wednesday, the day retreat ended, a certain event happened that assured me that WCA is going to be great. We had all packed up to leave, and we were walking towards the buses. Suddenly, everybody grabs Josh Workman. Now, Josh is about six feet tall and like 280. He's a really big man. Everybody grabs him, and tries to carry him down to the lake. Let me assure you this was all in fun, since Josh is one of the funniest and most beloved people at WCA. Eventually he wriggled free, and the guys carrying him decided on a new target. I heard someone say "Get someone smaller!" and someone suggests Nathan Turner, a freshman. Turner runs away, then someone else suggests, "Get James!" I just shrugged, grinning as six high school boys carried me above their heads. It was sweet...until I realized that they were carrying me to the dock.
"Are you guys serious???" I asked. no answer.
We were at the end of the dock. No one carrying me thought he was really going to heave me into the freezing cold lake...except for one, and all it takes is one. I went flying into the cold lake.
I climbed back on the dock to hear at least thirty people all yelling my name. The girls all said, "Poor James, what did they do to you?" and the guys all said, "We love you James, thanks for letting us throw you in!"
It was a pretty cool feeling, despite the fact that my clothes were wet. That didn't matter, because all the guys chipped in with giving me dry clothes for the bus ride home.
After I got dumped in the lake, the guys were looking for another freshman to submerse. Jacob Johnson volunteered, and they were about to dunk him in the lake when Mrs. Taylor came running, rather upset. Let's just say she wasn't too happy with the whole throwing freshmen into the lake concept.
I'm sure this tradition of throwing freshmen into the lake will last, and I will be proud to have been the first freshman EVER to be thrown in the lake at High School Retreat.

Third thing: I have gotten into a continual habit of hurting myself.
Let's start with Tuesday afternoon. We're swimming in the lake after the shaving cream war. A few of us guys are trying to tackle Jesse. We tackle him, and Jesse inadvertently clocks me in the front tooth with his elbow. So now my front tooth has a nice chip in it.
The second painful moment was Tuesday night, as we were playing capture the flag in the dark.
I was in enemy territory and going top speed. Suddenly the ground I was running on turned from grass to gravel(I was later informed that this was the out of bounds marker). So, I tripped. Then I got tagged. I retired from the game and sat down near the bonfire, where I watched my team win. I had a nasty cut on the back of my right hand and assorted cuts and bruises on my right hip that pretty much blended in with all my other scars.
My third injury was on Thursday at soccer practice. Tanner was juggling the ball and I was watching him, waiting for the ball to come to me. When the ball came, I inadvertently blasted it point-blank into my face. My lip and my nose were both bleeding. I looked pretty gnarly.
When I walked into the school to get cleaned off, everyone there was saying "James, you hurt yourself again?!?!?!"
I'll work on not hurting myself anymore.

Fourth thing: It feels great to be back on a bike. The feeling of charging down the road in the 30s, locked in my dad's slipstream, is a wonderful thing.
I'm in love with cycling again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Second Annual Bike Boy Awards Part Two

Best Breakaway: When Jimi Minnema went solo with fifteen miles left in the Tour de Frankenmuth and outrode the whole peleton for the win. That was an impressive show of brute strength.

Best Team Tactics:
The tactics of Ann Arbor Velo Club at the Allen Park Criterium. I hounded the pack with attacks in the first ten minutes, setting Alexey up for his attack, which only one other rider could follow. As Alexey and Rudy took off, I made good work of making sure that Joe Toma(the best sprinter) didn't make it up to the breakaway. Alexey won the race.

Best Lone Breakaway: The heroic effort of Zack Mcbride at the Allen Park Criterium. Mcbride went solo out of the lead group for almost ten laps. The nineteen year old got major kudos that day.

Most Disastrous Team Tactics: The tactics of Kalamazoo Bike Club/Little Caeser's at the Ada Criterium junior race. With a breakaway of three riders dangling only fifteen seconds up the road, the main group of four riders (containing Rudy Peterson, Stephen Barnes, Joe Toma, and myself) was gaining. That is, until Rudy Peterson and Stephen Barnes started relay attacking, totally disrupting the chase. It was possibly the dumbest display of team tactics I have ever seen.

The David and Goliath Award is awarded to Tony Wieczorek for breaking away with Danny Klein and Ray Dybowski to get third place at the Waterford Training Series.


The Award for the Biggest Sandbagger is awarded to Mike Jones. Gosh, need I say more?

The "Hope for Women's cycling" Award is awarded to the Debaets-Devos Junior Womens' race. Six girls were racing, a record.

The "Future of Michigan Cycling" Award is awarded to Mass Vermeulen and Levi Veltkamp. These guys are going to be awesome when they grow up.

Best Website: Tim Finkel's blog. Finkel is an awesome writer and his blog has great content.
http://www.timfinkel.blogspot.com/
Most Connected: ME! Okay, I'm not that connected, but once I get my book published I'll be famous!

The Second Annual Bike Boy Awards Part One

Juniors

Most Improved: Paul Jacobson
Paul went from being dropped in the junior races to competing for the win in Cat 4.

Most Consistent: Rudy Peterson
Rudy stayed strong from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, placing well in the juniors and Cat 5s.

Most Unfortunate: James Anderson
I don't think any one of you would disagree with me when I say that I had a large amount of bad luck this season. Crash, crash, crash, relegated for no reason, crash.

Best Team:
Priority Health
Brennan, Florian, Jacobson, and Warbasse were dominant this year.


Best Development Club:
Ann Arbor Velo Club
AAVC is still on top! It is the only true development team, and it is going to get even bigger with two key acquisitions.



Men Cat 4

Most Lethal:
Mike Jones
This guy schooled the Cat 4 field. In my opinion, he should have upgraded to Cat 3 in midseason.

Most Underrated:
Ginno Capasso
He did very well this year, despite never get any publicity.

Best Time Trialer: Mathew Younkins
Younkins won the last two time trials of the year, in dominant fashion.

Best Sprinter: Ben Penner
Ben's wicked fast sprint got him three podium finishes this year, including a win at the prestigious Cone-Azalia classic.

Most Consistent: Scott Fabijanski
Scott was consistently top fifteen, generally not top three, but high enough placed to secure sixth place in the MPCS.

Best Team: Kalamazoo Bicycle Club/Little Caeser's
Mark Bush and Mike Jones consistently hammered the Cat 4 field left and right. They DOMINATED.


Men Cat 3

Best Racer:
Jimi Minnema
Minnema placed top four in an astounding EIGHT RACES! The Cat 3 peleton had no answer for his solo breakaways.
Most Consistent: Scott Kroske
Kroske's best finish was a fifth place at Willow, but consistent top fifteen finishes gave him second place in the MPCS.

Best Team: South Lyon Cycle
SLC was by far superior to any other team in the Cat 3 ranks. No other team could compare.

Men Cat 1/2

Best Racer:
Derek Graham
He won races, and he consistently defended his lead in the Michigan Points Challenge Series.

Most Improved: Danny Klein
DK became famous for his attacks on the first lap.

Best Team: Bissell Masters/Elite
Jeff Koch and Derek Graham were a great duo.

Toughest: Tim Finkel
Finkel drove the winning break that lapped the peleton at Allen Park. Finkel showed great strength and an ability to suffer BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.

Women

Best Racer:
Christy Keely
Christy was unstoppable in a sprint. Protected by her Team Priority Health armada, she was in a league of her own.

Best Team: Team Priority Health
Priority Health had a countless list of weapons, featuring, Christy Keely, Laura Johnson, Jennifer Mitchell, Dawn Lovejoy, and many more!

Masters

Best Racer:
William Gilboe
The fifty-five year old won three races this year and showed speed that people his age don't normally show!

Most Consistent:
Dave Hietikko

Very Honorable Mention: Mark Cahn
Cahn was great, locking up his victory in the 45+ MPCS by 23 points.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tough Stretch

It seems like I'm experiencing the real ups and downs of life. In the summer, I thought I had it bad because I was struggling in races. Gosh, I didn't realize there were so many other things that could go bad. Although I know a lot of people at my school, I feel that I'm not really close to any one. The main reason for that is my class schedule.
First, I have Speech, which is primarily a 10th grade class.
Second hour is Biology, which is also a 10th grade class.
Third hour is Algebra II, which consists mostly of 11th graders.
Fourth hour is Bible. This happens to be an 11/12 class.
Fifth hour is U.S. History, finally a 9th grade class!
Sixth hour is Spanish 1, primarily 9th grade.
Seventh hour is gym, 90% 9th graders.

As you can see, I'm in classes with a variety of different grades, but I don't have a lot of classes with one particular grade.
In soccer, I've played terribly in the past two days. I absolutely laid an egg in the last game we played. We beat Lutheran Westland (#6 in the state) 5-4. It was a pretty sweet victory, but I just felt awful about it because I didn't contribute to the win in anyway.
With all of this stress going on in school and soccer, I'm a little bit sad. I'm constantly fearing that I'm losing fitness by not riding. Of course, I'd need a bike if I were going to ride.
Man, this time reminds me of the spring. Everything was going right for me. I was dominating the Spring Training Series and I was making lots of friends in my youth group and homeschool classes. Then I got cocky. Now, the situation seems to have been inverted.
The moral of the story is that God is testing my humility and patience right now, and he will bless me if it's his will.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ecstasy

I won't tell you the topic of this post quite yet, but hopefully as you read through the post, you'll know what's going to happen.
Let's start with Thursday's game against Huron Valley Lutheran. This was a horrible team. I had a horrible first half. The worst part was when the opposing goal gave up a rebound in the box. I pounced on the rebound, but failed to swing my hips around, thus sending the ball ten feet wide of the goal. From then on, hindsight irked me like crazy.
By the second half, I had improved. All of the really good players on the team were trying to get the inexperienced players goals. Near the end, I made a run down the right sideline, cut inside, and then dished a pass off into the middle of the box, where my friend Kevin Stout pounced on the rebound for his first goal of the season. That was pretty sweet.
We won the game by a score of 8-1.
Today, in my speech class, I was doing an introductory speech for my teammate Justin Troost. Part of the speech went like this: "He's an excellent leader. In yesterday's soccer game, he focused on passing the ball to Kevin Stout and myself, in order to give us opportunities to score our first goals of the season. Kevin got his goal, but don't worry- I'll get my goal today."
I wasn't trying to be arrogant, I was mearly displaying my trust in Justin's ability to set me up for a goal.
At today's game, I again started off with a fairly mediocre first half. As I sat on the bench with my teammates, I asked Mike Dumiter, "Okay- if the goalie gives up a rebound, and I get the ball- what should I do? Should I dribble past the goalie, or should I shoot it from there?"
Mike said to shoot it, and I said "Are you sure?" several times, whereupon he said "yes".
With about ten minutes left in the half, Jesse lobbed a beautiful ball over to me where I was standing outside of the box. I managed to tip the ball away from my opponents and form a breakaway. I (think I) mustered a left footed shot. The goalie collapsed to the ground and made the save...but he gave up a rebound! This was the primary thought going through my head: Shoot it AT THE GOAL!
I blasted the ball in to the top shelf of the net! I raised both hands in a victory salute, each finger pointing up to the sky. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I had scored my first varsity soccer goal ever! I owed it all to my teammates.
When Jesse asked me, "How does it feel to get your first varsity goal?" I responded, "My life is complete. I can die now."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ow

No, we didn't beat Green Hills, but we playeĆ° well. We were only down 1-0 at Halftime, but our defense collapsed in the second halfn, surrendering five more goals. We lost 6-2. I think I played pretty well. In the first half, I tried to head a ball in the air, as did my opponent. We collided heads, giving me a big goosebump on the back of my head and a headache. More pain ensued in the second half when I tried to head another ball. This time, a guy ran into me, kneeing me in the rear end. That hurt. I was really limping from then on. Coach Ross kept asking me if I needed a sub, but I said no. My teammates on the bench kept asking me, "Are you okay???" I would manage a thumbs up as I limped down the field. Ethan said I looked like I had a fake leg. Eventually I went to the bench. I stretched out on the bench and after about ten minutes I was ready to play. When I got back on the field, I did very well. I made one sweet play where I dribbled the ball from our side to Green Hill's side, faking out my opponents and eventually giving the ball to Chris.
Although it was a bad loss for the team, I was definitely able to draw some positives out of it. We'll have our chance for redemption tomorrow as we play Huron Valley Lutheran.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Game

We're playing Green Hills tomorrow. Green Hills is a pretty big private school that athletically is close to being on the same level as schools like Saline and Pioneer...at least that's what I've heard. Anyway, I don't think WCA has ever beaten Green Hills or even come close. Let's pray that we make history tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Off-Season

My bike is in the garage, cleaned up and looking the way it looked when James Knight first gave it to me. Since the pedals have been taken off of it, I can't ride it. I have no other bike, but even if I had another bike I couldn't ride because I have no time. Either way, I don't really need to train right now, since it's the off-season. I'm kinda afraid that my cycling fitness is dwindling. I don't like the cycling off-season.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bummer

The Dark Horse may be leaving soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Going to Grand Rapids

My dad will racing the Cat 2/3 race at the Priority Health Cycling Classic. Joe Lekovish will have a Jittery Joe's coffee booth set up, so I will be helping out there and probably be babysitting Bobby Lekovish. No, I won't be racing. The soccer season is in full swing, thus I'm not too keen on risking crashing on the cobbles. Secondly, I wouldn't be racing a junior race or a Cat 4 race; I would be racing a Cat 4/5 race. That's just dangerous.
I'm just going to have a fun time watching the race.
So my season is basically over, but it will start up once the soccer season is over. I'm going to train very well. This year was just not my year, but next year hopefully will.
My main goal is to go to Regional Development Camp and get selected for the Tour de L'Avenir. If that doesn't happen, I want to do more LAJORS races in Indiana and Ohio.

There's probably a lot of you readers that want to know how school is going for me. School is just fine. The problem is that I'm in a lot of classes with upperclassmen. Thus, I haven't really gotten to know the other freshmen.
On the soccer field, I'm in a lot of pain. I felt like I pulled a tendon in my left leg. Regardless of the pain, I was actually doing pretty well. On Thursday, Coach Ross said, "Okay, you have eight minutes to do five laps[around the field]" I somehow managed to stay with Mason all the way for second place. I was drafting. On Friday, we had to do eight laps in ten minutes. This time I followed J.P. All the way for second again. Near the end of the practice, Ross told me to sit down, because I was hobbling like an old man. I'm on the IR now, but a weekend of rest should heal me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Not much time at all

Since I'm getting ready for school at around 7:20-ish, being at school from 8-3:30, usually having soccer practice from 5-7, and then doing homework, I don't have much time to do anything else. Forgive me for the lack of posts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Positives

I checked my powerfiles from the race. I averaged 199 watts for thirty five minutes in the junior race! That's a big improvement!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Introducing...Alexey V.


I think it's about time that you guys meet Alexey. He's going to do great things in his cycling career, and you guys will be happy to have known him when he was a junior cyclist.
First let's clarify his name and his brothers' names. Alexey is the oldest, Nikolaas (Rem) is the middle child, and Vincent (Maas) is the youngest.
Alexey is going into eighth grade at Mill Creek. He plays soccer for Dexter's U14 "A" team. He runs a five minute mile and holds the pushup record for his school. His cousin is an olympian.
Let's just say that Alexey has quite a bit of natural talent.
His talent and his training helped him to place fifth at Junior Road Nationals.
Hopefully he can upgrade to Category 3 next year in order to go to age 15-16 Nationals.
I decided I'd ask Alexey a few questions.

At what point in your life did you decide that you wanted to be a bike racer? This year. I like running and ice hockey, but on a bike I feel limitless. I can go as far as the stars if I reach for the stars, then I will find a way to climb up and dominate the world of cycling.


What is your greatest cycling moment? About 60 seconds before I went down in at my Nationals Road Race… I had it. Everyone around me looked exhausted, and I felt scrappy and ready to take it up a notch and dominate this field. I don’t know, but I just had this feeling that said you’ve got it, go. That has to be the greatest moment of my career, even though I didn’t win it, I believe I would have and will try to do the same next year.


Why haven't you started a blog yet? James, I spend so much time on yours. I don’t know why I haven’t pulled the trigger; I hope to start one very soon, maybe even before this year is over.


When you began racing, what Michigan racer did you idolize the most? I started racing at the spring training series, but I met Frankie Andrea at the Saline Triathlon a year earlier. I had a picture of him giving me a medal and to see him slouched over his bike talking to Paul Alman made it real. He signed my hat, which I still wear at most races, even in the 100 degree heat at the Nationals road race. He was an inspirer, if that’s what you could call him. He brought me right into the racing scene, and I haven’t stepped out since.


When in your cycling career did you start to seriously train? This summer Coach Lucas has been very supportive. He helped me get ready for nationals and got me on track. I also started to get on my bike a little more each week after my terrible ending last year by losing the last three races of the season. This gave me will power to compete at a higher level and to dominate the cat 4s which I will do…soon.

You also play Soccer, Hockey, Triathlons, Cross-Country, and Track. How much more do you enjoy cycling? The more I ride, the more I love cycling. I must say I love being part of a good hockey or soccer team too. All of the cycling action seems to be in California and Kentucky. This is my first year playing division one soccer. I like it, but it doesn’t compare to riding 30 mph on a light bike. You know the feeling, not many people do though, and I wish there were more junior riders so we could get the team experience. That would be the perfect. I wish Michigan had a bigger racing scene.

What is your opinion of junior cycling in Michigan compared to other states? Michigan racing is not all what it is cut out to be. First, you have to cross your fingers that people will show up. Half the time at races, there are only me, my bro Rem and James. It’s not much fun racing at the junior level. Then some of these big races, like the Ann Arbor race that is coming up in September, does not have a junior race or cat 4. I think if we had some big junior teams, Michigan would expand and have more junior races. It’s just not cool when the race officials tell you the wrong race route (Wolverine State time trial) or Hines when the officials just said for the award ceremony, “ok if you won a medal come get it” (Out of a dang plastic box).


When you went to Nationals in 2007, how eye-popping was it? I went there thinking oh it will be harder then Michigan racing, but it was more than harder. It was outrageously fast, and I was not prepared. I think the coolest thing was seeing all the junior teams and equipment. It was like the pro teams in the tour. It really made me want to be on a team. You can tell it’s more like hockey and soccer. There is a game plan. I liked that.


Racing-wise, how have you matured? I have gone from a kid who just rode around to a very competitive junior cyclist who races the cat 4s. I also have gone to nationals where I raced juniors from all over the country.


How far do you think you can go with cycling? How much road is out there? I would like to race pro, but it all depends on how much I want it. You have to suffer to become a great cyclist. That’s the reason Cadal Evans did not win the tour de France because he had not suffered enough, yet I would like to lead an international team at the tour.


What are your cycling goals for 2008? I would like to race in Fitchburg and win juniors there. Also I want to become a national champion. Red river gorge is also on the race calendar.

Watch out Michigan, here he comes.