Sunday, June 29, 2008

Race Pictures

Race 1 (wearing my dad's helmet)

Race 2 (wearing Alexey's helmet)
Note: That isn't a grin; it's a grimace.

The Man, the legend, Taylor BirmannThe Man, the Legend, Alexey Vermeulen

Abby, learning what it means to suffer.

James M hammering out.

MI State TT Championships: Report

Pretend you are listening to the song "We are the Champions" by Queen. Normally, the song would go like this:
Weeeeee, are the champions, my friend
And we'll keep on fighting, until the end.

This time, the song goes like this:
I, Was the champion, of the race
But I got relegated to last place
I was the champion, I WAS THE CHAMPION
But now, I'm a loser
Alexey's the champion...of the world!
...or at least Michigan.
Here's what happened: last night the course was adjusted to eight miles for the juniors- BUT, Hines Park had dried off. The officials decided to make the race a twelve kilometer race...without telling me. Well actually, they told the juniors that...after I went off.
The only thing I recall John Sammut saying was "One lap only", so I was expecting to turn around at four miles. Well, I didn't find the turn-around point, so I kept on going for two more miles. At about 5.5 miles, I was sure that I had missed the turn-around, so I turn around. Little did I know that if I had continued on for .4 miles I would have reached the real turning point. Point four miles! I was so close! I hammered into the finish at 28:51, but my time didn't affect me, because I knew that I had grandly messed up my race. There was one positive thing. I had the best time! I was faster than Taylor, although I knew that the officials would DQ me. Alexey finished at 33:06: he also thought that he was turning around at four miles until one of the course marshalers told him that he was turning around at six miles.
Rem flatted but finished. Abby turned in a 47. James M.and Jeff Xu finished strong. Caleb didn't start. Spencer Virtue finished well at 43.
My dad convinced officials to let me race again at 10 AM. I had an hour to recover. I would be racing among the adults. By the time I had rolled up to the line(again), rain was starting to pour. Hines Park was very wet.I hammered out of the start, not feeling too horrible. Pretty soon, Ray Dybowski (the godfather of Michigan cycling)and Scott Claes passed me. After the turning point(which I FOUND this time) I caught an 02 rider. I watched my time. It was slipping away.27 minutes, 28,29,30. I was running out of time. I had reached 32!32:30, 32:31, 32:32, 32:33, 32:34. I came in at 32:48. I was livid, absolutely livid. But hey, I still had the best time for the 13-14 year olds.
I have to look at the positive things.
I suffered through two time trials with in two hours. I suffered well.
My dad WON.
My sister WON.
Alexey WON.
John Burrows made his goal time, despite crashing brutally.
The race succeeded.
I got to watch Graham Howard scorch the Pro 1/2 race.
Mathew Younkins, who I raced with at the STS "C" race, won the Cat 4 race, with Mac Brennan in second.

On the bad side...
Doug, Rem, and Zack flatted.
Other things happened that you already know about.

Here are the results:

The Really Bad News: Of course I was relegated to last place, and of course I was given a time penalty of TWENTY MINUTES, but I had to accept it. I can't get mad at the officials or Fred Nemenski. People make mistakes sometimes. You just have to accept the fact that sometimes innocent people get punished for mistakes that other people make.
I have to be kind...
Thank you Mr. Nemenski for not canceling the race. Thank you for finding a way for the race to continue, regardless of the flooding. Thank you Mr. Sammut and all the officials for running a smooth race.
Thank you everyone. And I forgive you too.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here's what they did

Good News and Bad News

There actually isn't much good news. It's more "okay" news. The bad news is that Hines Drive is flooded. At one point, a huge pond has formed around one of the bridges. Ducks and fish are already swimming around there. We had to take a huge detour around it; you can't ride a time trial through that.
The okay news is that the race won't be cancelled. The last time I heard, Fred Nemenski, the race director, has decided to adjust the race course. Thankfully, we will still have a race tomorrow. I don't know how I'll do. My legs felt absolutely horrible today. Something's wrong with them, something that has been wrong with them for a month. My legs feel like they have no jump, no speed, no nothing, just poop. I probably can average 23, but I'm unsure that I'll do 24.
I need encouragement right now, because I am really bumming.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Time to switch back to Racing Mode...

After surviving five days of chasing little kids around, I now have a day and a half to prepare for the TT. The junior team will be previewing the course tomorrow, so I'll have a chance to get to know all of Hines Park's new potholes and test out my disc wheel. Rem and Alexey still haven't gotten back from camp, and they won't get back until Saturday night. That absolutely stinks for them, even though they still get to do the time trial. Hmm...will that make a difference? Of course, my legs still feel like garbage...

Sign Up for the State Time Trial Today

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My tool kit from VeloNews arrived! Perhaps some of you remember that I sent a letter to VNews that was published in the magazine. Several months later, I have finally gotten the tool kit that they promised me.

SO Tired

I've been helping out with this kids' program at my Church, chasing around lots of little kids. It has me really worn out, but I have to do it for three more days. This is the reason for why I haven't been feeling great on the bike. I also haven't been hydrating well. My goal for today is to keep drinking water. I might even survive.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Video; Allen Park Masters 45+

Here we go again

Going into the State Time Trial Championship on Sunday, I am feeling a little lukewarm motivation-wise about being able to take the Gold medal. Alexey always has a tendency to pound me in the Time Trials. Since his time will determine whether he can go to Nationals or not, he's going to bring his "A" game. I've got to bring mine, in order to go under 30 minutes at an average of 24.8 MPH. Actually, 24.8 is ridiculously fast, so I'll try to go under 31 and then try to break 30 in August.
So I need motivation; give me some...please?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deep Thought...

My blog has changed so much, now that Summer has come around. Back when school was still going, my blog talked about my training, how much I couldn't wait to race, and how much I hated my grammar class. Now, all I talk about is how my races have gone. I kind of miss the old days, when I would have long debates about GCBC on my blog, but I have moved on. I wonder if I'll have a GCBC -like class in the Fall. That would be funny, horrible, yet funny.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Getting Better

Today, I did a three lap time trial at Willow. I averaged 23.3, which is much better than my 23.1 average at the official Willow Time Trial.
My time was 17:30 for a little over 10km (maybe 11km), but I can minus a few seconds from that, because our finishing line was further away from the official Willow TT finish line. I'm thinking that with a disc wheel, I might have gone under 17 minutes. That would have been awesome. Regardless, I'm still fine with today's time.
Kyle came out and did the TT also. He came in just behind me at 17:45, but he would have beaten me had he been using TT equipment. I predict that Kyle will win some Cat 5 races.
Due to the lack of Michigan racing in July, Dad and I are looking for some Ontario and Ohio races to do. We are considering going down to do the Troy Classic on the Square.
The Michigan racing season is almost halfway over.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Junior Race:

Cat 3:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Still no video...yet

Please be patient, because I've have been super busy today. This is the first time I've been able to sit down at a computer today. I was at the Detroit Historical Museum from 10 to 3, then I went to David's house until five, then the group ride at 6.
I finished producing all of the Allen Park videos yesterday, but I was unable to upload them to You-Tube because the internet died on me as I was uploading the videos. Hope to see the videos tomorrow, if I'm lucky. I have to upload three of them.
The group ride went well. Alexey and I didn't get dropped. In the last ten miles of the ride, the action really heated up. Blair Dudley initiated a series of attacks. Once the pack came together, Steve Christy went. I followed him. He tried to shake me up the hill, but hills are my domain. Alexey made the bridge and then attacked! I waited and then attacked up to him. We lasted a while, and once the pack was together again, we did the same thing again. After the attacks ceased, we settled into a very fast rhythm. I was happy to just stay with the pack. When we turned off of Huron River Drive, everyone just soft-pedaled their way back to Forsythe Middle School, where our cars were parked.
All in all, we had a fun ride.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Little Disapointed...

After a successful race on Saturday, I'm feeling a little frustrated. Missing the podium has me down in the dumps, even though my buddy got first. I just realized that I was the fourth best 13/14 junior. That doesn't look very good, but again, Alexey won the race. I have to keep telling myself that I got the team the win. Had Joe Toma been in the winning break, he would have taken the sprint. I am sure of that. At least Alexey's getting recognition that he has deserved but hadn't gotten in the past. Check out Joe's race report. I've already had my fifteen minutes of fame, now it's time for Alexey's. When he's a pro cyclist racing the Tour de France, I'll be able to say "Hey, I blocked for him at the Allen Park Criterium, back when we were juniors." I am definitely being way too selfish, but this thing is for sure: Alexey's working for me at Rockford.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tour de Kids returns!

After a four year hiatus, the Tour de Kids came back today! The last time it had occurred was in 2004. I raced with the nine year old boys and got 4th place. It's odd how there were around 60 nine year old boys doing that race back then, but I'm the only one of them that moved on to road racing. However, I think we recruited a TON of young bike racers today! We set up an Ann Arbor Velo Club tent and handed out brochures for our junior team. Several people actually talked to us about joining AAVC. The future looks very promising for junior racing in Michigan. I saw some strong kids racing their bikes today. There were actually quite a few strong girls out there. The 12 winner, the 11 year old winner, and the 10 year old co-winners were very strong. Yes, that's right, Abby and another girl were tied for first.
Although the chicks were strong, some of the boys were super fast. One of the 8 year olds was absolutely speeding through the streets of Ann Arbor. He crossed the line, giving a two-handed victory salute. Expect to see him racing a road bike soon. We also were reminded of Michigan's bright hope for Junior cycling: Vincent Vermeulen, AKA Maas. He won his heat, taking the win by over 30 seconds...on a course that's about 1.25 miles long.
I was helping lead and follow the racers during the races, along with Steve Christy, Abby, Dad, and one of our new junior recruits. Alexey (along with the rest of the Vermuelen clan) made a cameo appearance, even though he had just finished winning a triathlon.
We watched the Dad's Dash for Cash, where dads raced on tiny tricycles! It was pretty funny.
The little kids were pretty funny to watch because they would sprint out of the start, and then coast all the way to the finish. In one race, a kid was ahead and he had the win locked up, but he braked hard right before the finish line and ended up in second place. Little kids are so funny!
I had so much fun helping out. The smiles on the kids' faces really made everything worth it. Dawn Lovejoy and Rob Pulcipher put on a great race. They and the whole committee that organized the race deserve major kudos.
Man, that was a great weekend of cycling. I can't wait for more.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Allen Park '08: Wooh!

Much to my delight, the Juniors 10-14 race was made up of a very strong ten man field!!! Some of the big names were Rudy Peterson, Joe Toma, and Vince Pugliese. The Maple Leaf Cycling Club had one of the bigger teams in the race, with Joe, Vince, and Joey Fornatran. Although they were big, the Maple Leaf Cycling Club didn't get the showing that AAVC got! We had Abby, James M., Rem, Alexey and I. The plan for the race was that I would attack and soften the group up while Alexey sat back and waited for the sprint. Once we saw Joe, we realized that we would have to relay attack. The race started slow, with everyone looking at each other. Vince looked at me, as if to say "Well?". Then I attacked hard through the first corner. The race had started! Rudy was racing really smart. He was definitely marking me, so I never really got any good gaps on him. Joe was sitting at the back, conserving himself. I attacked several times on the first lap, and managed to thin the pack down to six riders: Rudy, Joe, Vince, Rem, Alexey, and I. It was a very strong group.

Several more laps passed with me relentlessly pounding the pack...and getting caught. Alexey threw in a few attacks as well, although he was still the designated sprinter.
With eight minutes elapsed, the pack was trying to catch a breather. Alexey was at the front, with me right behind him. I coasted for a while. Alexey's gap grew. He had a few bike lengths on the pack. He looked back, saying to the pack, "Come on!". It was then that an idea formed in my head. "Go Alexey!" I yelled. Alexey quickly snapped into action, accelerating down the road, with an already big gap. Rudy sprinted after him, but Joe yelled "Let him go," obviously not concerned with Alexey. I think he was more afraid of me, since I beat him at Ciocario. I don't think Joe realized how strong Alexey is. He does now.
Alexey and Rudy got a good gap, while I stayed back with Joe and Vince. Joe seemed unmotived to chase, and I often found myself leading the group. Of course, when I was leading the group, I was slowing the pace down so Alexey could get away with Rudy.A few minutes later, I was getting restless. I needed to drop Vince and Joe, or at least isolate Joe from Vince. I needed to bridge up to Alexey and Rudy. So I attacked! I dropped Vince immediately, and carried a good gap on Joe for two or three laps. After Joe caught me, I tried attacking a few more times, but I couldn't get any good gaps on him. Then he absolutely glued himself to my wheel. I couldn't shake him off. I didn't want to slow down, fearing that Vince would catch up, so I had to attack Joe. I attacked 2-3 times per lap, but was able to recover. I was realizing that I was capable of beating Joe, but I couldn't let him suck my wheel.As Joe and I were duking it out, Alexey and Rudy were working together brilliantly.They weren't fooling around, forming an alliance with each other until the last lap.
As they were finishing, Joe and I were still on the back stretch of the course. I could hear Mr. Lekovish doing his play-by-play of the sprint finish. I heard him say,"...and Alexey Vermeulen takes it on the line!" I gave a "Yeah!" and attacked Joe. It was clear that I was just giving Joe a lead out. I decided that I would try to gap Joe on the last corner and hold my advantage to the finish. I got my gap, but started my sprint too early. Joe came around me and took third place.
Missing the podium was disappointing but it didn't matter, because I had done my job. I had gotten AAVC the victory; I had gotten my buddy the win. Riding on a team means that you race differently than you would race as an individual. Sacrifices need to be made, but in the end, they're worth it. I certainly felt rewarded to see Alexey standing on the highest step on the podium.

other stuff: here's the photo finish. Rudy came very close, but he threw his bike too late, after they had crossed the finishing line.Kyle came to the race! He hopes to get into racing(sorry if I'm putting words in you mouth Kyle:-)!My dad WON the Masters 45+ race! He got himself into a four man breakaway and lapped the peleton! He outsprinted his breakaway compatriots. He also helped lead out Eric to a 5th place finish in the Cat 3 race.
My mom had a bake sale.
I helped out with the kids race.
There was a big crash in the Cat 3 race, involving Lupe Martinez and Doug Hedges.
Zack Mcbride had an awesome solo breakaway in the Pro 1/2 race.
Christy Keely won the Womens' 1/2/3 race.
The Tour de Kids is tomorrow, and I'll be helping out.

See ya'.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


My wounds are progressively getting smaller and are hurting less. I went out for a short ride with Abby today. I felt better than I felt during the last time I rode, but I'm still not feeling as great as I could possibly be. With lots of rest tomorrow, I think I'll be in good race shape at Allen Park.
Thus far, I'm registered for Juniors 10-14, but I want to do Juniors 15-18. I might also do the Cat 4 race, but it will depend on how I feel on race day.
In whatever I race, I will have fun. Abby will have a great race, but I'm a little worried that she will have problems with letting gaps open up. She's too afraid to ride another rider's wheel. She's going to have to get used to it. Also registered are James Moir and Levi Veltkamp. Levi is Noah's ten year old brother. James Moir is one of our newer juniors, just getting into racing this year. I would love to see him win the race.
I think the Vermuelen's are coming, but they didn't pre-register, although they said they were coming. They'll probably do day-of-registration, like a LOT of other people.
I am ready for a fun race!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I tried to blur Doug's face or change the pitch of his voice in the video, but Windows Movie Maker is too primitive for me to be able to do that. For some reason, Doug doesn't want to be shown. We think he's hiding from the police.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Camera Man

I went to crit practice, but I only limped around taking pictures and video. I got a very brief interview of Doug. It was a very fun night! I will post the videos soon (within the week).

I now have a Facebook!!!

When I was at Barak's house on Sunday, with Josh Mccammon and Barak, Barak dragged me into getting a Facebook, and now I see the appeal.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cripple Boy

That's what Barak affectionately dubbed me. Cripple Boy is feeling very bad. He walks like a cripple. He walks hunched over, because if he straightens out his right side, he will experience agonizing pain. He has to put bandages on his wounds, and the bandages stick to the wounds. Then Cripple Boy has to rip the bandages off his skin. It hurts him like the dickens. Cripple Boy hurts when he's in the shower. The water makes his wounds sting. Cripple Boy makes a lot of noise in the shower, and he says "Pizza!" a lot, because he's in pain. Cripple Boy has to rest, because he's overtrained, and he has his biggest race of the season on Saturday. Cripple Boy has to bring his "A" game to Allen Park. Regardless of his wounds and tired legs, Cripple must give his all, in order to secure a victory for his team.
Enough wallowing in self pity; let's race our bikes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

*Not For the Faint of Heart*

Disclaimer: If you easily get nauseous, hate seeing my mangled body, or don't want to see my wounds, don't look at the following pictures.

The pictures are courtesy of Coach Lucas. I knew you guys would want pictures.
BTW, I survived the shower, although it was agonizingly excruciating.

Well, I crashed

so here I am, sitting in the Dexter High School Parking lot, hurting. The reason: I crashed, in the warmup. Alexey and I were going fairly fast when I went into a corner and lost traction, due to the gravel. I slid on my right side and slowed to a halt. Ow. I managed to scrape myself off the pavement. My whole right side was burning, and gravel was embedded in my flesh, but I had to laugh it off. Then came the painful part: cleaning the wounds. I had taken a monster chunk out of my pinkey finger. I have a huge gash on my right hip, but that's not all. There are countless other cuts and wounds. Dad cleaned all my wounds out with hydrogen peroxide, AKA Stinging Spray. Goodness gracious me, that peroxide stung. My dad was considering getting my finger stitched but finally decided not to, much to my relief.I ripped up my whole kit, but thankfully I brought shorts. The pain is mostly gone now, but showering is going to be a real pain.

Bittersweet Day

Yesterday, I finished homeschooling...forever. By finishing my math exam, I brought eighth grade to a close. Now I can train more, and have more fun, but I've completely finished an area of my life. I'm going to become a school person now.
Speaking of depressing, I still haven't been feeling well on the bike. Yesterday, I tried to ride outside, but I felt weak and the wind wasn't helping me at all. My dad thinks I might still be burned out from the MS 150 (or 185), or else I'm just dehydrated. It might just be something psychological, and if it is, I'm going to fix that problem at the junior ride today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oh Goodness

On Wednesday night, I was really feeling the need to just lie down and recover. Unfortunately, I was scheduled for "The Pyramid".
I was supposed to ride 4 minutes at 200 watts, then 7 minutes at 190 watts, then 10 at 180, then 12 at 170, then back up the pyramid. I didn't have a very good ride. I was usually averaging 10 watts less than what I was supposed to average. I completed the first half of the workout, but called it quits, seeing that I needed to recover.
I got in plenty of time off the bike yesterday, because my sister was hosting a LORD OF THE RINGS MARATHON!!! It was sweet.
As some of you know, I love the "The Lord of the Rings", and I used to be a total nerd about it.
A lot of WCA came over, and all of them were soccer players, so in between movies we played soccer. I had a really good time.
I'm now getting this huge craving to play more soccer. I've got to play more!
Regarding soccer, I'm a little upset. WCA team camp is on the same day as the Rockford Crit. I was torn, but I realized that there's no way I can miss Rockford. I've been looking forward to climbing that hill, as odd as that seems. Oh well, there are sacrifices you have to make.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Didn't Go to Crit Practice

Because rain was pouring down at a furious rate, Crit Practice was unanimously canceled.
Instead, I scrimmaged with the WCA Varsity team from 4 to 6. There were only six of us, but we had fun doing 3 v 3s. The best part of it is that I wasn't the youngest person there!!! There was a seventh grader, who I actually kinda' know. For a seventh grader, he's pretty good, as good as I am, or better (of course, I'm probably below the standard for thirteen year old soccer players).
I actually was able to compete with the big guys and score a few goals. I felt much more competitive than when I first played that indoor game with WCA.
The upperclassmen are all pretty kind to me, especially Jesse Pipe and Mason. They also happen to be the best players on the team. The fall season is going to be good.


My calves are screaming at me. Walking hurts. I'm really tired. After those 185 miles on the weekend, I did a lot of running around outside on Monday. Then I stayed up until 1 in the morning watching the Wings lose a heart breaker in three overtimes. We'll get them (and the cup) next time.
I have to mow the lawn now. Crit Practice is at 6. Be there.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

MS Bike Tour...FINISHED!!!

I woke up at 6 in the morning, thinking to myself, "There is no way I can do 100 miles, let alone getting out of bed". I dragged myself out, moaning. I was absolutely spent from riding 110 miles the day before. Once we started riding at around 8 AM, I was feeling a little better. There wasn't much wind today, so we went much faster than yesterday. Yesterday, we averaged 18.5 MPH, and today we averaged almost 20. There were some parts of the ride where I was suffering like a dog, but I managed to hang on via mental toughness...and my dad pushing me :-). We did the 75 mile route, and were one of the first people to finish. Of course, Zack and Giff needed to make a competition out of it. They attacked coming into the finishing straight, but Dad blew them away in the sprint! I simply soft-pedaled in, blowing kisses to the fans (I'm practicing, maybe I can use it at Allen Park :-). Speaking of Allen Park, I couldn't help but think about it during my ride. I can't understand why I get so excited about races! What I've been about for Allen Park is a topic for another post, so I will stick to my main topic.
I liked the MS Bike Tour's atmosphere. The people there were friendly and always striking up a conversation with me. Being the youngest rider at the event was pretty cool. Everyone was pretty amazed that I rode 185 miles in two days, but training does that for you. Anyone can ride that long as long as they ride at an easy pace. A great example of that is Kevin. Kevin has Cerebral Palsy. He can only use the left side of his body. He's been riding the MS Bike Tours for longer than I've been alive. He does it on a tricycle and always does the century loop. He rode longer than I did, even though it took him about 12 hours. He honestly is my hero and the hero of everyone else. Determination will get you quite a long way. Check out the Detroit Free Press Article on him.
The some fun parts of the MS Bike Tour were going to the Velo City Bike Shop, Coldstone Creamery on Friday night, and watching the Red Wing game on Saturday night in the lounge. The Wings are leading the Stanley Cup Finals 3-1. We're one game away from Lord Stanley's Cup!!!
When we went to the bike shop they were having a drawing. We entered our names, and lo and behold, I won a waterbottle, a cycling cap, and some extra large socks, which I gave to Giff :-).