Sunday, August 31, 2008

An Angry Mob of Juniors

Yes, there was an angry mob of juniors at the Debaets-Devos, but the most upset junior wasn't upset with the race officials- this junior was angry at himself. Let's just face it- I had a horrible day of racing. I was quickly shucked off thr back of the Cat 4 peleton, only to watch Alexey win a prime and finish with the pack.
I was so upset that I went OTF in the junior race, exploding out of the starting line. Rudy bridged up to me and then gapped me on the corner. By the time we got to the hill, Alexey, Joe, Vince, Joey, Rem, and Eddie had returned to the lead group. Maybe two minutes later, Alexey and Rudy went on the attack. I started to pull the peleton back, thought better of it, and gestured for Joe to come through, saying "Be my guest". Joe, remembering Allen Park, led the chase. I made the dumb mistake of going to the back of the pack, so when Joe dropped majority of the pelton, I was in big trouble. Joe bridged up to Alexey and Rudy, while I just couldn't close the gap. Eddie and Rem bridged up to me, and I pulledthem around for the next fifteen minutes until Eddie attacked me savagely. What the pizza?!?!? Why is my own teammate attacking me??? Rem was unbelievable. Even when I cranked it up to 300 watts, Rem stayed glued to my wheel.
It was just Rem and me, and we were going for fifth place. There was some major confusion on the last lap. We were really on the second to last lap, but the officials didn't know that. Thus Rem and I both weren't sprinting on what was "actually" the last lap. Rem was ahead of me when we crossed the line, so he got fifth and I got sixth. You can only imagine how livid I was. I seriously considered throwing my bike in grass, but thought better of it. I was SO ticked off. All I had wanted was something positive, something to make my racing season something to be proud of, something to remember fondly when I'm looking back on the 2008 racing season. I wanted to end the season on a good note, but guess what, I failed miserably. I cannot express how upset I am right now.

Sorry

I've been typing up a rather long post that should be done by Tuesday. So just be patient.
As I was mowing the lawn yesterday, I couldn't help but ask this question: how the heck am I going to beat Joe Toma AND Rudy Peterson at Debaets-Devos? I:m stronger than Rudy, but not stronger than Joe, and I'm smarter than Joe, but not smarter than Rudy.
Then I realized that I have the secret weapon that might give me the edge: Alexey.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Start of a New Era

Last night, I watched a video made by Mason Duling. It was a video about the 2006 WCA Boys Varsity team. In 2006, the Wildcats had a dream season, going 15-3-1. Much was expected of the Wildcats in 2007, but the loss of star player Jim Hughes and an inability to win destroyed the their chances of having a successful season. Their unsuccessfulness was unbelievable, considered that they had a considerable amount of talent. WCA may never see its boys' soccer team win fifteen games again.
Two years after their dream season, the Wildcats have an unbelievable chance to rise back to power. We will find out tonight if that hope materializes, as we play an apparently powerful HACH Homeschool team.
The pretenders will be separated from the contenders tonight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hey Alexey

How do you feel about me interviewing you? I would just e-mail you ten questions that you will answer. Please comment on this blog or e-mail me (or call me on my cell phone), telling me if you're willing or not.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Victory

Let's just say...it wasn't even close. We scored eight or seven goals before the first half had ended, mercying our opponents. I was fairly comfortable, given that it was my first official game as a WCA Wildcat. It was actually very fun. Thursday's game should prove to be more intense. Ironically, we'll be playing the HACH homeschool team. Let's just put it this way: I'll be playing all of my homeschool buddies that I played soccer with last year. I'm going to bring my "A" game!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fun Stuff

Let's review what I've done in Michigan since I've gotten back. There was much discussion as to whether I could go to the junior ride at Kensington Metropark on Saturday morning. My mom eventually agreed, but she told me that we probably wouldn't get to the ride on time because all of us were still on Seattle time. We got to the ride pretty late, but that didn't matter, because even though the junior ride was over with, the South Lyon Cycle ride was just starting. Almost the whole SLC team plus Alexey, Coach Lucas, and some of our other juniors were there.
The SLC team was pre-riding the short 2.5 mile Trophee des Grimpeurs course. This course is absolutely brutal, with two very tough, steep climbs. I did very well on the climbs, while doing horrendously on the descents. I started out really strong on the climbs, actually going toe-to-toe with Zack up the 8% slopes of the Cote de Trois, but after that, I faded slightly and climbed all the hills in mid-pack position. I think I did fairly well, considering that I wasn't badly dropped, and also considering that I hadn't ridden my road bike in well over a week. Alexey did pretty well too. He's going to win the Trophee junior race, as sure as he's going to get interviewed by me some time this week.
After I was done riding, I headed over to the Miruzzi family picnic, which happened to be conveniently located in Kensington Metropark. My mom's mom (AKA my grandma) is a Miruzzi.
There were lots of Maltese people socializing at this picnic. LOTS of Maltese people.

On Sunday I went back to Knox Church. I missed it last week because I was in Seattle. It was nice to be back. After the service, I helped out with the elementary kids activities. We played volleyball, and I was dominant. All that beach volleyball-watching paid off.
Today, I hung out with my buddy David Rock. I played video games with him and walked around our neighborhood, having a very very deep debate that was odd because David and I are normally just goof balls around each other.

At five, I was at soccer practice, preparing for tomorrow's game. Near the end of practice, Coach Ross (his first name is Ross) announced the starting line up. I could barely believe it when he said that I'll be starting at right midfield tomorrow!!! I am psyched!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

*Reader Participation Required

Today at the ride with SLC, Mr. Vermeulen pointed out a glaringly obvious fact that I have been trying to ignore: my blog has been really boring lately. In light of that reality, I am now trying to resurrect this blog back it's former self. To do so, I am embarking on a project. The problem is that I haven't decided on what the project is. I do know that I will be making a video, but I don't know what it will be about. I have narrowed my choices down to two:

Choice 1. A tribute to Ray Dybowski (Big Ray). If I make this video, I will need YOU, my loyal readers, to film yourselves talking about Ray, what he's like, what is your favorite memory of him, when did you first meet him or find out about him, etc. If this project is chosen, I AM DEPENDING ON YOU GUYS! E-mail you your videos at boy_on_bike@yahoo.com.

Choice 2. One on One with Alexey Vermeulen. If this choice is chosen, I will introduce the Michigan Scene to Alexey Vermeulen, one of the most successful racers in the Midwest. I will interview Alexey (much to his chagrin) about how he got started on bike racing, his greatest cycling moment, his opinion on junior cycling, and all that stuff. Alexey is not a very outspoken rider, so I would be very pleased to get him this publicity.

I will put a poll up for this debate. PLEAVE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!!! WITHOUT MY LOYAL READERS' OPINIONS, I AM LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. Here is the Ada junior race video.


Just so you know, the volume is muted at one point because someone swore...it wasn't I.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Missing Michigan

It's not that I don't like Seattle; it's I just love Michigan and the things I do there. Back in Michigan, my soccer team won its first game. When I get back home, I won't be able to ride with my team because my dad will be gone. I feel kind of disconnected. I'm fortunately going to do the Debaets-Devos crits. The good part is that if I finish the Debaets-Devos junior race, I will automatically win the Michigan Points Challenge Series!
I thank my mom in advance!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sweatfest

I did 3 LT intervals on the stationary bike tonight. It was pretty easy, but very sticky. Since there isn't a fan in the exercise room, and we're pretty much supposed to keep our shirts on, I was practically bathing in my sweat.
For these fifteen minute intervals, I found myself averaging around 220 instead of my LT of 185-ish. I have a feeling that the stationary bike was messed up- either that or I've improved a lot. Let's hope it's the latter.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bike Boy's Obsession with Pizza

This week's ramblings will be composed of a deep discussion about Bike Boy himself. If you are a loyal reader of Bike. Boy's blog, you probably know these things about Bike Boy:
1. He's a boy.
2. He races and trains on his bike...a lot.
3. He likes pizza...a lot.

My endless mumblings about pizza, and interjections of "Oh pizza!" communicate to my readers that I'm absolutely obsessed with this food. The truth is, that I'm not totally pizza. Yes, I do think that pizzas are delicious, but I do not LOVE pizza.
The truth is, I find pizza to be a very cool sounding word that represents a very good tasting food, if you ever hear me call you a "Killer of a pizza!" Don't think I'm crazy...please.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More Trivia

I like the way my trivia sparked reader participation. So here's some more trivia:
What are the FULL names of the Vermeulen boys in AGE ORDER?
Answer away. The first to answer correctly will receive a virtual (non-existent pizza).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going Away...for a While

Tomorrow, we leave for Seattle. We'll get back in one week. I will probably have internet access, a stationary bike to ride on, and absolutely no brutal soccer practices!
To encourage reader participation, I will leave with a trivia. The first person to answer this question gets a virtual (non-existent) pizza.
Here is the question:
What is my middle name?

Answer away.

My Apologies

I didn't realized that the results for the BTR Park Criterium were posted a long time ago on usacycling.org.
Kudos to the Kalamazoo Bike Club for posting the results quickly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Suffer

Let me first give you the context of this post: my team is standing in a straight, horizontal line. Coach Ross stands in front of us. "Pushup position," he orders and we obey. "Down," he says and we all do a push-up."Down...down...down." the speed increases, "Down, down, down, down." The push-ups continue until we reach about 40 of them. "Stand up," says Ross. "Arms straight out."
So my right arm is held straight out to my right and my left is held straight out to my left. After a minute, Ross says, "20 forward". We move our arms in little circles 20 times. After another set of circles, Ross tells us the purpose of this drill- as we're still holding our arms up.
"One of the purposes of this, is to teach you how to shut your mind off. Everyone feels pain, but you can either ignore it or give into it. You have to get into that mindset that will let you shut off the pain. I would expect and athlete like James Anderson to be good at this. In cycling, after the first mile you're already hurting..." he continued on with his speech, while I was lost in my own thought. How do I suffer? I don't shut the pain off. What do I do? I came to the conclusion that when I'm really suffering, I tell myself that pain is temporary and it will go away eventually. When the suffering does end, I'll be so happy, but if I give up, I'll be kicking myself for a long time.
It's a lot like Lance Armstrong's quote:
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."

So we suffered on into the evening. We kept on with that pushup/arms out torture for about twenty more minutes. After a short water break, we did several sprints to midfield and back. When I say "several", I probably should say "7 or 8". It was pretty tough, but for the most part, I was almost always the third or fourth best finisher. Right now I am really happy that I actually trained for the soccer season, because the people who didn't train are struggling right now.
It was an intense practice, but it will make me stronger.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trying to Balance Two Sports

Right now I'm really struggling with where my priorities are: cycling or soccer. We're basically at the end of he cycling season so I want to end it on a good not...but at the same time soccer practices are starting and I want to secure a starting position.
Here's the way I'm rolling with it: I do a workout in the morning/early afternoon, nap for an hour, and go to soccer practice from 5-7. I'm not sure how long I can keep it up. Regardless, I'm sore right now, and practice is going to be brutal tonight.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hines Park TT: Report

Going into the time trial, I knew I was going to suffer. I've been battling sore throat since Friday, and I would be starting 30 seconds in front of Alexey. Great, just great.
I averaged around 26 MPH on the 6 mile stretch of tailwind, and then turned around into a wall of headwind. I averaged 20-21 on this brutal headwind.
I hammered in at 31:34, with an average speed of 23.7. Alexey won with a time of 30:36. Jeff Xu got a 38, James M. got a 47, Abby got a 46, and my new teammate Eddie Kelley got a 32:50!
My dad got third, thanks to a smoking fast time of 27:03.
I later did the Team Time Trial with Doug. He was tired but I felt good. Doug broke a spoke and stopped fix it, costing us probably a minute. We managed to limit our lossed, finishing In a respectable 32:30.
After the TTT, my chest was really burning. The pain didn't go away until 20 minutes had passed.

I'm fairly content with my result. I basically got the same time that Tony got when he was fourteen. My time was good but I'm fairly ticked off at Alexey :-).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Update

My right knee is starting to feel better. I'll be in good racing condition for Hines Park. I'll be doing the individual TT and the Team TT with Doug Gatto! That should be fun, even if Doug has to pull more and I have to do less pulling.
Alexey got 15th in the Crit yesterday. He got into a very promising break with Jon Funk and Drew Bercaw, but it didn't work out. Drew ended up getting third, with Funk winning.
Today is the road race, which will favor Alexey. He's going to get on the podium.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Not Good

Running has caused some inflammation in my right knee. I'm icing it right now and praying that it'll get better before Hines!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

BOOYAH!!!

Guess who got 5th place at Nationals??? My man, ALEXEY VERMEULEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another Year

It is now time for my yearly rant about Nationals. As most of you should know, I'm not going to Nationals this year, because tutition for my new school is super expensive. I'm really sad now, because this is the best chance I would ever have of getting on the podium at Nationals. Next year I'll be racing age 15 and going up against huge 16 year olds...but regardless, I still want to go.
The question is...how do I get 3,000 bucks? I have a few options:
1. Write a book that gets published by Velopress.
2. Start a fundraiser that benefits myself. I would simply ask everyone to donate 15 bucks. Seriously, if 100 people donated 15 bucks, I would have 1,500 dollars!
3. Get some sort of a scholarship from USA Cycling.
4. Write a petition against Nationals being in California.
5. Get a job. Babysit or something.
6. Get on a team like Tony's that would sponsor me.
7. All of the above.

What do you guys think of my ideas?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Goodbye Party/News and Notes from Ada

The hindsight of Saturday's race was still lingering in my head as we prepared our house for Dmo and Eric's goodbye party. I still can't believe that everyone else just gave up on first place!
Anyway, soon Dmo (David Morrissey) will be moving to Boston, and Eric will be moving to Boise at the end of the year. We're all sad about that but we'll be keeping in touch.
Regarding Ada, I left a lot of things out of my race report:
1. There was this pine tree on the back stretch of the course that helped crash out Andrew Florian and almost crash out Rudy and me.
2. Dad got 6th in the Master's race, and then cramped up in the Cat 3 race.
3. SLC did a great job in the Cat 3 race, with everyone on the team taking part in controlling the pace, chasing down breaks, and forming breaks. Chris took seventh and Giff took tenth.
4. Derek Graham won the 1/2 race. Vince Roberge and big Ray were all well represented with top 7 finishes.

I'll be at Cedar Point tomorrow, so bye.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ada Crit: Report

We drove up to the Hampton Inn last night. I slept like a baby. I normally go through a sleepless night of worry, but last night I fell asleep immediately, in a sleeping bag.
I woke up with an exited: exhilerated to possibly be the State Champion and afraid of being dropped in the 4/5 race. Combining the 4s with the 5s was a bad idea. There were 75 riders and half of them didn't know how to race a bike. Racers were wildly weaving across the road, right in front of me. Within the first two laps, a large crash occured at the front of the peleton. Needless to say, I wasn't so enthusiastic to race with these guys.
I ended up getting pinched out on the chicane along with Doug, and getting pulled fifteen minutes but I was glad to be out of that nightmare. Joe was also pulled. Only thity or so riders finished the race. It wasn't very fun, but Paul from Trail's Edge Cycling got fifth and Ben got tenth (?), so I was very happy for them because they're nice guys.

The juniors' race was going to be quite interesting, although I knew that Andrew Florian, Mac Brennan, and Noah Veltkamp would break away. They did just that on the first lap, and I was left with Stephen Barnes, Rudy Peterson, and of course, Joe. For about five laps, we kept them at a 15 second gap, and we began to gain. I realized that catching the lead group would require the help of everyone in my group. Any attacks would disrupt the race. Some spectators yelled to us, "They're sitting up! They're sitting up!", meaning that Noah and the Priority Health boys were watching one another. I yelled at my fellow riders to pick up the pace and we gained a little more. Unfortunately, Noah and the Priority Health boys realized that we were gaining so they picked up the pace. Everyone else in my group started slowing down when pulling. Attacks started to come. I realized this: they had given up on 1st place; they were now racing for 4th.
I couldn't believe it. How can you just give up that early on in a race so you can try to be the "best of the rest" instead of risking blowing yourself up in order to actually be "the best".
I still kept the pace high when I was pulling, but frequent attacks from Rudy and Stephen (Little Caeser's racing) completely disrupted the chase. I let them know that several times but they didn't seem to mind. Every once in a while, Joe would make a go for it, but he'd be pulled back. From the beginning I had known that Joe was waiting for the sprint because he never pulled very hard. Once the lead group had around forty seconds on us, I figured What the heck, I might as well put the hurt on these guys, considered that they've already ruined the race for me. So I threw in a couple attacks, but they never made any effect, because I never got a quick enough jump.
The race for fourth place came to an end as Rudy made one final attack on the final hill. He shot up the inside, and I followed him, getting thrown off of my momentum as I barely avoided the curb. The same happened to Rudy. As a result, Joe and Stephen sprinted away from us to take fourth and fifth place. I began my sprint to early. Rudy gained on me, got onto my wheel, and went by me. I had to be content with seventh place, but hey, that's what you get for not giving up on winning the race. I don't want to seem harsh (think of this as me kindly rebuking) but the disrupting of the chase was totally on Little Caeser's racing. They had two riders in the race, which means that they could have sacrificed one rider in order to catch the lead group.
Oh well, that's bike racing I guess. Bike racing is just like that. One day you're having a great day and the next day your having a horrible day and crashing all the time.
I'm getting the feeling that God just doesn't want me to win. Maybe I'm getting too arrogant. I'll work on it...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bike Boy is Back

This week, I had one of my greatest weeks ever. I went to Detroit with my youth group on a mission trip. We were there help out with VBS (Vacation Bible School), so we spent a lot of time with younger kids. I feel so bad for these kids, because quite a few of them come home to abusive parents and meager food to eat. I realized how lucky I am to have the parents that I have and to not be living in Detroit.
I also found out for myself that the many of these kids are angry and rebellious. There is so much hate engraved into the culture of Detroit that it affects these kids. On the first two days, these kids were an absolute nightmare. On Wednesday, they finally settled down. By Thursday, three of them were clinging to me. I love when little kids do that.
Every day, after VBS ended at around 3 P.M., we did work projects around the church. I helped to repaint the windows.
After all of that work, we all went to bed in the gym at 11:00. The lights went out at 11:30 and that's when the fun started.
Five or six years ago, a senior invented this thing known as the "hump fest". This thing consist of all the seniors piling on top of an unfortunate freshman.
This year, the hump fest was renamed to the "Honky Tonk Parade". Every night from Sunday to Wednesday, there were many Honky Tonk Parades. There were usually three to four of them every night.
On Sunday night, they got Barak, Andrew Burke, David Wolf, and Scott Wyatt. Oddly enough, Andrew Burke is a sophomore, David Wolf is a junior, and Scott Wyatt is graduated from college and married! Barak was the only freshman.
On Monday night, I was expecting to get Honky-Tonked. Instead, Barak, David, and Mark Vladuchick were all victims.
Tuesday night began with the Honkey-Tonking of Ian Blaauw, a freshman. I realized that the only remaining freshmen were James Lamine and I. I knew that I was getting Honkey-Tonked.
I was sure of my impending doom, when Evan Clark (an incoming senior) got up out of his sleeping bag, and say to everyone in the room, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please welcome the Honky Tonk parade...ON JAMES ANDERSON!"
The seniors leaped out of their sleeping bags and surrounded my sleeping bag. Fortunately for me, I was being so quiet and laying so still that the seniors weren't sure it was I. They eventually asked me, and I said yes. Then the pileup started, with Evan right on top of me. There were about eight grown men on top of me, but it felt like they were ten elephants.
There was so much pressure on my body that I felt like my head was going to pop off. After ten seconds of brutal agony, they clambered off me. It was great to get that off my chest, pun intended. We all expected James Lamine to be the next victim, but he hid until everyone was close to being asleep.
Wednesday was the last possible night for Honky-Tonking so we knew that it was going to be interesting. We also knew that James Lamine was going to get absolutely crushed by the seniors in a Honkey Tonk Parade. We also knew that the lowerclassmen were forming a plan. We decided that we would Honky Tonk Evan Clark! We asked Brandon Van't Land (an incoming Junior) if he was interested. He told Jake Ray (an outgoing senior) about our plan. Jake came up to us and told us that the seniors were already planning to Honkey Tonk Evan, but the lowerclassmen were welcome to join in.
James Lamine was first person to be Honky Tonked that night. This time, He took it like a man.
After that, every male in the room piled on top of Evan.
We lowerclassmen failed to do what he had hoped to do...but we still didn't give up hope.
On Thursday night, as everyone sat in the Charter bus, waiting to be taken back home, David whispered to me, "Do you want to do it?" My immediate answer was yes. All of the freshman would be avenged. The lowerclassmen would strike back. I quickly informed all of the other lowerclassmen and then loudly announced to everyone in the bus, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the Honky Tonk parade of vengance, ON EVAN CLARK!"
Then we charged. We charged for glory and for vengance. We also charged straight into Adam Driscoll. I was knocked onto an empty seat. I leapt back up, seeing Danny Wiland and David charging the seniors. I followed them but Adam grabbed me again. We were severely routed, and I landed on an armrest, bottom first. My bottom still hurts...but the pain was worth it.
SO, let's move on to more enlightening topics. As some of you (should) know, everyone was put on a team. My team was awesome. We made some awesome meals for everyone and we had some awesome discussions. I will miss everybody on my team.
I will also miss the graduated seniors who are just about done with High School. On Thursday night, before we left, we honored the graduated seniors. It was very sad to realize that many of my friends are leaving us. Almost everyone there was crying. My eyes were fairly wet by the time I hugged my senior friend Rob Armbruster. His sobbing expressed such a deep sorrow. I sobbed with him, and didn't stop until about ten minutes later. I know that may sound weird, but wouldn't you cry if several of your friends moved away? As I said, almost everyone (90 people) were all sobbing like babies...except for James Lamine and Danny Kasten.
So, it was an incredible bonding experience. I look forward to next year's edition.

I have returned to Saline, and I'm ready for the State Criterium Championships at Ada tomorrow. It should be awesome because I'll be racing Joe Toma in the 4/5 race and the Junior race. We should have an intense battle for Gold! It should be fun!