Monday, March 31, 2008
Study hall was nice and quiet, and when it was over I entered the Girl ________ Grammar Class. It actually went well, amazingly. We were doing peer review on everyone's short stories. Everyone's problem with mine is my story's villain's obsession with pizza. Mrs. K said I looked different, probably because of my missing mustache.
I never told you guys that Mr. Alman gave us "Roadie: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer" by Jamie Smith. I had been wanting this book SO BAD!!!
You non-racers should all read this book. It's perfect for explaining this amazing sport.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
My chances at winning seemed slim since there were many sandbaggers there including Steve Lininger, who won the "C" race a bunch of times last year. I wanted to stay on his wheel, because if he attacked no one would catch him. I think he was just using the C race as his warmup for the "B" race, and thus he didn't attack. The race started relatively fast for a C race. Jordan Ludlow was riding aggressively at the front but after the first lap I never saw him again, except for when we lapped him twice. On the backstretch, a lot of attacks would come and I think after the second lap there were two attacks and a two man group got a good gap. I realized that the whole pack had slowed and I had gap on the field. Alexey bridged up and I hammered up to the front pack. The pace slowed and we just crawled up the hill. At the top of the hill the attacks came again. This was a very recurring pattern. I was at the front for most of the time, riding third or fourth wheel. Then one guy went and was out of sight. I took a short pull up the hill then tried to pull off but the guy behind me obviously didn't want to pull through. We lapped a guy and I thought that that guy was the guy who had broken away. By then the group was shredded. Two laps left. Pretty soon Alexey and I would have to attempt to break away. I looked behind me and saw that Alexey was yo-yoing off the back. I tried to go to the front and slow that pace but the gap was already too large. I was going to have to wait for the last lap, and then I'd go for it! Up the hill we went. Then to the top where I attacked! I had had two bike lengths on Don who was looking strong. I kept chugging and my gap increased to maybe five bike lengths. I went through the first corner alone but it looked like Don was gaining. He was and before the final corner he had passed me and I was on his wheel. We had a perilously close gap to the pack. Coming up to the final corner two guys bridged up. We went up the hill and I was dead! The guy in front of me gave up and I sprinted like crazy and screamed in agony as I crossed the line a wheel length behind him. I got sixth in the field sprint so I got seventh overall. I was the best placed junior and of course Alexey was the second best placed junior so in that sense we dominated!
Dad said the race was one of the most exciting C races he had ever seen. It was very fast, but I felt pretty comfortable. I was pleased with my result and I'm sure Alexey and I will be back again to fight it out next week!
Now I have to do my homework.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Abby, Dad and I went up to Runway Plaza for the junior workout. We were the only juniors there. The Vermeulens didn't know there was a ride, and I don't know about our other riders. Mr. Lovejoy and Rich were there though, and we had a fun time just talking as we rode laps around the kilometer long course. Mr. Lovejoy and I were talking about the cycling program that we're trying to start at Slauson Middle School. Apparently a lot of kids are interested, 56 to be exact. We just haven't really started the program yet, mostly because not all of our coaches are free in the late afternoon to help out with the rides.
Then Rich picked up the pace to help me practice going through corners. On the corner coming up to the hill my back wheel locked up because of the dirt. I survived though and I'll much more careful at tomorrow's race. Since it's the "C" race, a lot of first-time racer adults will do it and that spells a crash waiting to happen. There will probably be at least one sandbagger in the race and I'm going to have to watch him carefully, outsmart him and tire him out. Then Alexey and I will try to ride away.
I'm ready to dish out some pain! Let the suffer fest begin! I've been waiting SEVEN months for my road racing season to start and that day is finally here. I still have to remember that this race is a training race. If I win it, all I win are bragging rights, but it would be cool to win in front of all of those people that I've always looked up to.
I'll try to keep my expectations low, yet stay confident. I'm mentally prepared for this race. I'm drinking a good amount of water and soon I'll be eating pasta. After the ride I went to help an elderly lady move to a new apartment, so I got a good workout in, carry boxes. Afterwords, Dad and I were going to Panera Bread to eat something when instead we entered Bella Italia. I couldn't resist the pepperoni pizza. We ordered two.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Road Racing vs. Cyclocross
After a distressingly long winter, my exhilaration abounds when April arrives. April means something to me: road racing. From April to September, my dad, my little sister, and I compete on our road bikes in road races until we (or at least my dad) get sick of it. At the end of September we begin a long off-season. Not every other cyclist does that though. For those racers who can’t stand inactivity, there is cyclocross.
At the mention of cyclocross, my dad will roll his eyes slightly and say, “Those guys are nuts,” referring to the hardcore riders who compete in the freezing cold, off-road, nature-defying sport known as cyclocross. Cyclocross races generally go across grass, sand, dirt, mud, puddles, snow, gravel and occasionally road. Because of the unforgiving terrain, the racers race with slightly larger and rougher tires than road bikes. Racing a cyclocross race requires strength, focus, and an uncanny ability to suffer. In addition to harsh terrain, cyclocross racers must also leap off of their bikes in mid-race to pick up their bikes, leap over two small barriers and then continue their effort.
The rough race courses inhibit the racers from going at their fastest possible speed. To some, the slow speeds are uninteresting to watch, but other spectators will be delighted to see the racers (or victims) ascending a grassy hill, silently screaming, and trying to keep traction with the ground.
Tactically un-savvy racers may find this extreme sport easy because cyclocross requires absolutely no strategy; the strongest rider wins. Because of the slow speeds, the wind doesn’t play a very large factor in the outcome of the race. Consequently, the racers don’t need to worry about “drafting”, which is a strategy in which one rider rides behind another rider and benefits because the rider in front blocks the wind.
Road racing seems like a walk in the park compared to cyclocross. Road racing, as its name states, happens on a road. You can participate in many types of road racing. You can race a time trial where you compete alone, attempting to finish the course in the best time. You can race a criterium, where you complete many laps on a short, usually kilometer-long course in a large pack of riders known as “the peleton.” You can also race a “road race,” a long, usually point-to-point race and sometimes as hilly as a person with a bipolar disorder.
For spectators, road racing is more exciting and convenient than cyclocross. Watching a peleton of road racers come flying through a corner at sometimes thirty miles per hour delights the crowd. In addition, many criteriums take place in downtown cities, so spectators can watch races while eating lunch,
All road racing incorporates not only strength but also strategy. Because road racing goes at such a fast pace, drafting acts as a major factor. The racer who goes to the front of the peleton and absolutely hammers will tire himself out quickly. The riders behind him do not need to work as hard. The strongest racer can be beaten by a weak rider who uses clever tactics.
All things considered, I would rather stick to road racing. I can’t understand how squelching through mud at sixteen miles per hour could be better than sprinting through freshly paved asphalt, tucked safely inside a large peleton, and cruising at twenty-six miles an hour. When October arrives, I’ll be riding my road bike indoors, training and longing for April.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Besides school the other things are youth group and riding. I'm on a rest and recovery week so I'm taking it really easy, and absolutely DYING for the Spring Training Series to start. I can't wait for it, and it will be really cool because Barak's hopefully coming watch it! I hope Alexey and I can get the win!
Alright, enough posting, time to work on my short story!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I'm a little bummed that the junior race will be ALL Juniors 10-18. However, they will give payouts to 10-12 winners, 13-14 winners, etc.
Honestly this race is gonna be, as Mr. Lekovish would say, huge!
The 10-14 race will be HUGE for a Michigan Junior race. I'm hoping that Drew and Rob will race it, and I sent an email to Coach Aldo of the Maple Leaf Cycling Club Junior team. I expect that Joe Toma and Vince Pugliese along with their posse will come down from Ontario and race it. I also hope that Chaise Harris, the pride of Team Venom Cycling will also race. Also expect an invasion from Ann Arbor Velo Club! Rem, Alexey, Jakob, Adam, Joe, Caleb, and I can ALL be expected to race it!!!
So let's count the possible 10-14 starters: Drew, Rob, Joe Toma, Vince Pugliese, Chaise Harris, Rem, Alexey, Jakob, Adam, Joe Wendorf, and ME!
That's eleven people, which for Michigan, is HUGE!
It's gonna be a mini-Tour de France!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
For my non-cyclist readers, in a graded excercise test I start at 100 watts. After a minute I'll move up to 120. Then 140. I'll do that until I can't hold the pace. The last time I did it, I made it to 260. I'm confident that I'll make 280 this time. I wouldn't count on 300.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Our biggest worry is that a racer who doesn't belong in the "C" race and should be in the "B" race(AKA, a sandbagger) will show up at the "C" race. If he does we should play it cool and try to force hi, to the front and make him work hard. He may be stronger than us, but we're smaller and therefore he can't get much draft from us. If someone breaks away, we should wait until five laps have passed and if he's still away we should try to attack and bridge up to him. Our advantage is not in the sprint, but in an attack. If we attack, they'll probably let us go because they don't think we're fast enough or they don't want to hurt our feelings. If there aren't any sandbaggers and the field is mainly composed of 15-18 aged juniors like Jordan Ludlow, we should do our relay attacking that we did so well at the Tour de Ciociaro. It would be really cool if Alexey and I both broke away together and both did a victory salute as we crossed the line, sharing the win. That would be sweet!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
At that point I noticed Barak in the stands. His brother is on the team, but unfortunately Barak isn't going to WCA in the Fall, so Barak wasn't playing.
On my next shift I was on defense. Being on defense made me a little nervous. The ball was cleared into our zone and I had to run to it. I heard one of my teammates yell "Man-on" which meant that there was an opponent behind me. I turned around and banked the ball off the boards, away from the opponent. Thankfully, the bad guys didn't score that time. I had never played competitive soccer against public school high schoolers. I heard one swear pretty badly. They were really rough.
On my third shift I did much better. I was on offense and I played very aggressively, forchecking as you would call it in hockey. The goalie was outside of his box with the ball and I charged him. He gave a bad pass across to his defender, who I went charging at. I blocked his clearing attempt and tried to center the ball to one of my teammates but it didn't work out.
With about ten minutes left, the referee decided to forfeit the game because our opponents were being "jerks" as he put it. So we won the game.
It was a day riddled with exercise. Since our outdoor workout was canceled we were going to have an indoor ride at our house. Therefore we had to shovel a lot of snow. Then I played football in the snow with my neighbors/friends. Two hours later, Alexey came and we rode for an hour. Then we worked on "The 2008 Michigan Road Racing Preview", which will be coming very soon.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The ride started off easy, but I knew that it woudn't stay easy. Going through another stretch of cobbles, I lost another water bottle. PIZZA!
The loss of my water bottle definitely hurt me in the long run, because when the pace picked up I had no water! I managed to survive until one of the red lights. Then I was able to recover. Dad was doing four five minute intervals at about 340-350 watts. I didn't know that, so when he went to the front with me on his wheel I figured that he was just pulling. I turned my self inside-out trying to keep his pace and just when I was dead, I managed to find something deep inside me and hang on. I didn't want to drop off and make someone else have to hammer just to catch up with Dad. Finally Dad's interval ended, and right then I was really dead. Then someone else picked up the pace and I was done. Rich stayed with me and Alex drifted back. They're really nice, and pretty humble to stay back with me instead of hammering at the front of the group. We eventually bridged up to the front group. From then on I was determined to not get dropped. And I didn't. We turned back and headed back the way that we came. Once the intervals started I'd just cruise with Alex and Chris. Alex was recovering from a hard ride as was Chris, so they were content to just cruise and chat. On the way back we had an awesome tailwind and we were speeding through between 25-30 MPH.
Then the intervals started again. I had a nice ride with Alex and Chris. I've always kind of looked up to Alex because he's only nineteen and already a Cat 2(which is good). When I joined the junior team I was ten and he was sixteen. He started riding at around the same time as I did, so I feel that I can really relate to him.
When we were about four miles away from Barton Dam we went over a very cobbled (cobbly?) bridge. There was a lot of noise near my back wheel and for a second I thought that it was coming off! I rolled to stop to see that I was a flat. Alex put a new tube in but wasn't able to pump it up. We needed a pump. Chris was about to ride away to get Dad and James when James called Alex.
Eventually Dad came, followed by James's car. We got my bike back in shape and rode back to Barton Dam with an escort from James. By then it had gotten pretty dark and without James's car's lights the cobbles would have been a nightmare.
We were absolutely flying and it felt really good. We finished the ride after a half an hour delay. Mom would not be happy. Thanks to many nice riders we managed to get home in time.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Then after that I talked to Mason Duling, a sophomore at WCA. He's one of the soccer team's star players and he knows that I play soccer. Let's just say that the whole boys soccer team knows about me. Anyway, he wants me to join their indoor soccer team, which plays on Saturday evenings. I'm really excited! This will be a really good way to get some experience with the team. My only fear is that I'll have a nervous breakdown and play terribly. My goal is to not let Mason down, because he's sticking his neck out for me.
My training's going well, but not fun. As if three twenty minute intervals could even be fun. I'm looking forward to riding with the AAVC junior team on Saturday. I'll also be doing the group ride tonight.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In this race Tony asserted his dominance and his determination. At that time he was still only thirteen (racing age 14) and racing against eighteen year-olds. His breakaway showed why he is one of the most admired cycling figures in Michigan.
Monday, March 17, 2008
First Hour-Logic: It was quiet. We made opposing viewpoints charts and then played UNO.
Second Hour-Destination Imagination: It went pretty well. We made structures, did skits, and ate doughnuts.
Third Hour-Drama: John Henri reminded me that the day was Saint Patrick's day, so I should have been wearing green. I had forgotten about the holiday, but in all honesty, that holiday has been turned into an excuse to drink a lot of beer. It really is a significant holiday, but some people who don't know anything about Saint Patrick could care less who he was.
Anyway, our regular teacher wasn't there, so the high school teacher was in charge. She is a REALLY good actress, and therefore has a lot suggestions for us when we're acting. We continued working on the fight scene.
Lunch: I ate pizza.
Fourth Hour-Soccer: I was on a very balanced team but we were playing a team with two of the best players, a good player and Barak (who is good, trust me), and a few other unexperienced players. I played goalie in the first half and played like a fish out of water. I was giving up rebounds, making terrible punts, and finally the bad guys capitalized. The shot was kicked very hard, and it went the opposite direction that I was going. I got one hand on it, but it wasn't enough.
I played forward in the second half, and we scored two goals. The score ended up 2-2. I featured in goal again in the next game, blanking my opponents, but my teammates couldn't muster any more goals. We tied 1-1.
Fifth Hour-Study Hall: Since I had already done my homework for GCBC, I read the chapter that was due in two weeks. Then I stared at the wall, and waited. Waiting for you know what.
Sixth Hour- Girl-_______ Grammar Class: We reviewed prepositional phrases, appositives and verbals. We also did a quiz.
So there's my obligatory Monday report, and I hoped you enjoyed it.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Curling is a really confusing sport but I think I'm close to understanding it.
I think I will wear shorts to Homeschool Connection tomorrow considered that the weather is getting very warm. I had very little homework to do over the week. I don't know if I'll be so fortunate this week.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Mostly everyone went out on their group ride afterwards, but dad, Steven Christy and I went home because I had already ridden three BRUTAL eighteen minute intervals.
I was saddened that Doug was not at the meeting. I took some pictures with Zack's camera, and guess what, I used flash!
Friday, March 14, 2008
My normalized average power: 157 watts, which is ridiculous for me. Instead of doing a zone three tempo ride, I ended up doing a zone four tempo ride.
There was also quite a bit of water on the road. I got a lot of dirt sprayed up into my face, and I looked pretty gnarly. I tried to get a picture of it but there was so much flash that you couldn't even see all the dirt on my face because of the brightness. See Doug, that's the problem with having too much lights!!!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Discrimination Against Cyclists
Cyclists go places; car drivers go places. The only difference between cyclists and car drivers is that cyclists ride bikes and car drivers drive cars. Does this one difference mean that cyclists should endure the physical and verbal harassment of motorists and ordinary people? When you go out for any kind of a bike ride, do you want to live in mortal fear of cars?
The fact that cyclists are discriminated against cannot be avoided. Many car drivers obviously think that cyclists don’t belong out on the road and should be riding on the sidewalk. This discrimination leads to a lack of respect by car drivers when confronting cyclists on the road. When I ride on Huron River Drive with my dad, we are never surprised to see a car come speeding up from behind us, narrowly missing us by only feet. This kind of disrespect leads to an alarming rate of biking crashes involving cars, which translates to roughly two killed cyclists per day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Center for Statistics and Analysis (Darlington 63)
Is this discrimination lawful? No! Cyclists have the same road rights as motorists. The State of Michigan Legislature states that
Each person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating a low-speed vehicle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to the provisions of this chapter which by their nature do not have application
In other words, cyclists are bound to the same rules that car drivers are bound to. Cyclists have a right to ride on the road, but since drivers don’t know the law, they continue their verbal and physical abuse of cyclists.
Maybe cyclists are actually in a position to discriminate against drivers. After all, what has a car ever done to help the environment? Sure, Honda can sell a new Hybrid that will apparently “help” the environment, but it merely limits the damage that its fumes produce. All cars are powered by engines which produce fumes that damage the environment. All bicycles are powered by a person’s legs, and do they produce fumes? No. Therefore biking is better for the environment than cars and provides quality exercise for people of all ages, without the loud and sometimes dangerous attributes of cars. Biking provides a positive way to travel, exercise or compete, which is by far better than sitting in the middle of a traffic jam with people angrily honking their horns at you.
Why would a person look upon a cyclist with disrespect and contempt? One reason might be the image of racing in general. The pro racers who compete in Europe undergo severe pressure to take performance enhancing drugs, EPO in particular, a drug producing red blood cells. To a professional cyclist, resisting performance enhancing drugs could mean the end of his or her career. Frankie Andreu, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong stated,
You had riders who shouldn’t have been in the front group leading up the climbs and riders who should have been there who weren’t. It was probably a division between EPO users and non-EPO users. It seemed like more and more were starting to join the [doping] program so that they could actually compete in races, instead of just hanging on (Walsh 60)
It is a common belief among all hardcore cyclists that Lance Armstrong has doped, although Armstrong never tested positive for taking performance enhancing drugs. Countless pieces of evidence have proven his guilt and if American public finds out, it will be a dark day. It seems that Lance Armstrong is cycling’s ambassador, famous for his amazing comeback against cancer and his seven victories in the Tour de France. If the media reveals that the only racer that the average person knows about was a miracle of drugs, all cyclists will be looked down upon. If only the media exposed all the good things in professional cycling! At least in cycling many of the dopers are caught! Other sports like baseball don’t seek to punish steroid abusers.
Many outward things that people notice about cyclists communicate that cyclists are freaks, cheaters and eccentrics. For, in what other popular sport do competitors wear spandex, and even shave their legs? Since people only see cyclists’ outward appearance, they may figure that cyclists’ inward appearance is as extreme as their outward appearance.
Finally drivers may dislike cyclists on the road simply because of they’re in the way. Long time racer and author Jamie Smith, sums it up:
We train on the roads. Not on the sidewalk, not in a field behind the school, not in a gym, not in a lake, not in a bowling alley, but right there on the road where people can see us, and worse: people have to go around us, and even worse: sometimes they have to slow down for us. There's the conflict. That's what separates silent wonder from verbal scorn
Perhaps we cyclists have contributed to our own poor image. There may be rude drivers, but there are certainly rude cyclists as well. Last summer, I was riding with some of my dad’s teammates, when a car came by us and didn’t give us much room. One of my dad’s teammates “dropped” one of his water bottles, which “accidentally” hit one of the car’s tires. I thought to myself If we don’t want drivers to think we’re rude, then why do that? The person who was driving that car may generalize all cyclists now, simply because of one man’s actions. These rude cyclists poorly represent the sport of cycling to the world. If we want to show people that cycling is a positive sport we must show them courteous cycling.
Many people have seen the good in cyclists, for there are cities in the USA that protect and support them. Cities like Portland, Oregon and New York City have made more room for bikes on the shoulder and protected cyclists from “right hooks” at intersections by setting up “bike boxes” that let cyclists wait in front of cars while waiting for a green light (Yardly The New York Times; Neuman The New York Times). It is wonderful to know that cyclists can safely ride on the roads in Portland and New York City, but I don’t want to move to one of those places just to ride safely. In fact, I’d prefer to ride safely in my own state.
I believe there is something inhibiting us from making the entire USA a biking-friendly place: we cyclists need to change our image. We need a successful, non-doping pro-bike racer, whom the American public can identify with. On a personal level, we need to refrain from yelling at mean drivers, we need to quietly suffer when they harass us, knowing that it will help the sport in the long run. We need to make a stand as ambassadors of this sport that teaches discipline led and brings together many wonderful people.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
While riding, I watched the Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. The Wings are still first place in the NHL with eight points over the Dallas Stars, who we're playing on Thursday.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Somewhere in my basement Teddy weeps.
Today is a rest day, so I have no ride scheduled, but don't worry, I'll be plenty occupied tomorrow with three eighteen minute intervals.
My exercising today was my soccer class. My team played very well, considered that we only had one other really experienced player, and we were playing a team with three very experienced players. We got one goal and I added a breakaway tally and at half-time we were leading 2-0. In the second half the bad guys took over, scoring four unanswered goals.
Speaking of sports, it looks like the Red Wings are back on track with three straight wins. They're set to make another bid for Lord Stanley's Cup.
Readers, stay tuned, the next time Alexey comes over to ride at my house we will probably finish making one of my latest projects: The 2008 Road Racing Preview. It's gonna go on You-Tube once we've finished filming it.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Do you know why he got testicular cancer? Well, when he first got his cancer, the doctors ran some tests on him and found out that he had an abnormally large amount human growth hormones in his body. Also, the time it took for him to get cancer was only one month. Testicular cancer takes much longer than that to develop. The reason he got testicular cancer: he took Human Growth Hormone.
The drugs that he took nearly killed him.
At least he survived it and has done something to support the fight against cancer.
Today I'll be riding all alone. My dad is still flying and Alexey's parents are out of town. I'll be doing three fifteen minute intervals and I won't be enjoying them but they will pay off when the races begin, starting March 29. It's March 8 and we're only three weeks away. It's a great feeling.
I also must mention that yesterday my mom talked to the counselor at Washtenaw Christian Academy. The counselor said that the four other eighth grade boys would love to have another boy. So I guess I might be going to school in the fall. Training is going to get harder to do, but I'll manage.
Friday, March 7, 2008
When we were done we went into a room and played "shuffle your buns" which was fun.
Then I had to leave.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
1. boyonbike.blogspot.com-18 visits
2. Colton Liberacki-8 visits
3. cycling phrases-3 visits
4. grammar boot camp-3 visits
5. goofy pizza-2 visits
6. sweaty underwear-2 visits
7. training zones-2 visits
8. Zach Maino- 2 visits
9. "ada criterium" 2008-1 visit
10. "bike boy" by Zack-1 visit
11. "chris uberti"-1 visit
12. "the other side of me" site: blogspot.com-1 visit
13. "wolverine sports club-1 visits
14. 2008 junior cycling nationals-1 visits
There were many others too, one hundred and two of them in total.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
So I guess I'll give you a brief report. In soccer we had two other good players but one bad goalie. By halftime the score was something like 4-0 bad guys. In the second half we switched goalies, and the goalie we put in was one of our good players, actually probably one of the best in the class. I got a sweet turnaround goal, and my teamate (who is one of the good players, and also in my drama class) netted one too, but by the end of the game the score must have been at least 7-2. I wasn't counting though.
The grammar class was hardly girl-infested this time, it was three girls and one boy(me), which is much better than what the class was at the beginning of the school year: six girls and one boy(me).
The class was really quiet too, I felt like I was doing just as much talking as they [the girls] were doing, and that felt weird. I think that they're slowly starting to realize that I'm not all shy. Especially the teacher's daughter, who went to my youth group a few weeks ago. I'm not shy at my youth group...