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.

To those who went to a new high school today

I salute you