Saturday, May 30, 2009

West Branch Classic 2009: Report

Dad and I hitched a ride with Mr. Vermeulen and Alexey up to West Branch. It was a fun car ride there, just playing with Alexey's iTouch and texting Zack. Doing that kind of stuff adds a lot to the team aspect. We only stopped to take one natural break (Alexey was just dying), and before long, we were entering the quaint little town of West Branch, Michigan. We made our stay at the Quality Inn and imediately decided to go swimming. We went down to the pool and found Joe. We talked up some race plans and took a dip. Alexey and I both joined our fathers at the bar-thingee, and ate some quesadillas.
We retired a little bit before 11pm. Before long, it was 5:30am, and I was lying in bed trying not to wake anyone up. At 6am, everyone was up and moving. I ate some eggs and toast.
Then we packed everything up, and Joe carpooled with us to the race. Speaking of the race, it was BEAUTIFUL! The 22 mile course's most prominent feature was a brutal half mile (or more) climb. It wasn't incredibly steep, but it was just unending and sure to be a deciding factor.
The Cat 4/5 race (of 56 riders) went off at 9:15, (in technicality it was 9:17, but small details). Those first ten or so miles were easy. I was riding top 15 without a problem. A little bit of aggression started forming when there was some gaps opening up in the front of the group. As a result, a Tri-City guy had a nice gap. I didn't like that, so I brought the whole pack up to him. One match burnt. I recovered a tad bit, then found myself moving up again, getting ready for the monster climb. Moving to the front, I saw Doug in a spot of bother, so I helped close down the gap that was opening up. Less than a mile later, it was hammer time up the climb. From the start of it, Tom Behan (The guy who won Wilow and ToKV) gunned it. Alexey was right on his wheel, and I was a couple spots back. There were five of us: Alexey, Behan, Colin Hubert, another BT&F guy, and an O2 guy (I think). I knew that we had absolutely shattered the pack to pieces. I was hanging on by a thread, no a fragment of a thread. I averaged 293 watts for those two minutes...aka I suffered like a dog. Once we reached the top, everyone except for Alexey was to tired to work, so a bunch of people caught up to us, making it a 35 man group. I was near the front until I decided to recover and take a bite or two from my power bar. I ended up in the middle of the peleton, and that was when the first incident occured. I was riding on the right side of the road, just minding my own business, when this rider from Team Leadout decides to swerve right at me, TAKE MY SPOT, AND RUN ME OFF THE ROAD AND INTO THE GRAVEL. Nicely done. Fortunately (and thanks to divine intervention), I stayed upright and was able to hammer back onto the back of the peleton. From then on, the suffering got worse and worse. Those little sprinter hills were sparking accelerations and major pain. I had to spin like crazy on the downhills, but at least I'm not getting gapped like I was last year. Eric Jacuzzi and I were hanging out at the back. I was fighting just to hang on. I knew that if I just held on until the hill, my power/weight ratio would take over from there. I survived...until 2 miles left when the next traumatic event happened. I was fighting to move up to the front. I saw an opportunity when Noah Veltkamp went up the left side. I was on his wheel immediately, just inches away from the yellow line. Big mistake. I had forgotten that in the last 2 miles, traffic cones start to appear on the yellow line. You could imagine how surprised I was when I ran right into one!!! Somehow, some way, by some crazy act of God's mercy, I came out unscathed, I managed to right my bike. Sadly, as I was pulling out of that dangerous position, the pack just took off on me. Bad luck, I guess. I had no chance, and I was hurting any way. I went up that hill for the last time and hurt. I gutted out 29th place. Alexey had charged up the hill to take 4th. Rudy's race ended badly when he suffered a mechanical while going up the hill. He had to settle for 25th. That stinks.
I suffered badly and didn't finish with the pack, but I think that I proved myself. That was a HARD race! There were times where I just wanted to pull out, but I stuck with it. I'm still just happy that I made the final selection. I'm pleased that I didn't crash. Had this happened a year ago, I would have been lying in the MIDDLE of an OPEN road. It could have been really bad.
Dad was doing great in the Masters 45+ race when he was hit with some unpleasant cramps. He had the legs, but those persistent cramps forced him to stop.
Mac Brennan won the Cat 3 race, with Adam York in second. Alan Antonuk put on the performance of the day, taking off with Sheldon Deeny and putting about SEVEN MINUTES on the field. Great stuff!
I napped for most of the ride home. Then we got my dad's laptop and watched some race videos on You-Tube. We arrived at my house, unloaded our stuff, and played a little soccer.
I'm going to miss that kid.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Freshman Year Completed

Today was my last day at Washtenaw Christian Academy, a very bittersweet day. Lots of hugs and goodbyes. I'm going to miss these people terribly. They accepted me at the beginning of the school year, and we've had the best of times ever since. One of my really good friends, JP, took me over to his locker and gave me a card plus a gift. It was tough keeping tears from welling up in my eyes.
JP's vacationing to California on Monday, so I won't see him again.
Anyway, five of my friends and I headed out to Joyful House for some Chinese Buffet. We had a great time just talking.
So I feel that I've had enough closure on the school year.
Big race tomorrow. West Branch Classic. 45 miles, and full of hills. Mr. V and Alexey are picking me and dad up in about ten minutes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Dad is the Man

Today I came home to find out 2 exciting things.
1. We're both registered for West Branch!
2. We're both going to be racing for WASTE MANAGEMENT IN ARIZONA!!!!!!!
Check out its site . I am so exhilarated about this. Just think about it, I now have access to a PRO TEAM!!! I won't have to attract any other teams, only MY team which will be able to see me as I go through the junior ranks. For us, this was a tough decision. There are so many great times out in Arizona, but I think this works out just great for the WHOLE Anderson race team.

So, I'd just like to say thanks to my dad and apologize for my impatience.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crit Practice

It's great to be back with all my cycling buddies. They're some of the coolest people I've ever met. I got in a total of 41 miles for the day. My power was fantastic, in fact I upped my max power to 745.
I tried a bunch of breakaways, but most of them never stuck or had any effect. I suffered a lot and frequently paid for my aggressiveness. It was fun anyway.

Caleb is FAMOUS!!!

There was a decent write-up on the race on Mlive: http://www.mlive.com/sports/saginaw/index.ssf/2009/05/tour_de_frankenmuth_was_a_memo.html
Unfortunately they spelled his name wrong.

Yes I'm a Cycling Nerd

But man, when are they going to post some results from the race??? When is that fancy photography company going to post some pictures??? The suspense is killing me!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Alexey and I

Here is a video I have been working on for the past few months. I made it to thank Alexey for many things, and just celebrate our friendship.



Speaking of Alexey, he and Tony are kicking butt at Iowa races this weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Das Tour De Frankenmuth: Report


I love this race. I love the open country roads, the lack of corners, and the course in general. I wanted to do very well today, remembering how I was dropped last year and how I wished to amend that. Today was my chance.
Once the race got underway, I quickly settled my nerves and started reading the race. Dad advised me to not concern myself with getting to the front early, and Zack more or less said the same thing. I hung out in the middle of the peleton for most of the first 15.5 mile lap (out of three). Moving up seemed to take a while with such a HUGE pack of FIFTY-NINE riders, but I got the job done. It was fun, really fun just to be tucked away in that big peleton and cruising away. The speed was definitely more consistent than last year's edition. Less attacks came, and whenever they did, the Fusion shut everything down. I knew that I wanted to go for the breakaway, but I didn't know when. On the second lap, I made my move. As we hit a headwind section, I followed Ricardo Cotto's wheel all the way to the front of the pack. Then I waited for an attack to come. It came. A rider from team Leadout shot of the front. "Perfect," I though, this guy was strong too. I bridged up, bringing three other riders with me. He was tired by the time I had reached him. I gave a hard pull, but by then the short lived breakaway was over, sadly. I hadn't accerated very well, in effect, basically pulling the whole peleton up, besides a small gap. I need to work on that.
So I dropped back, and recovered. By lap number 3, I was ready to go again. It was a constant battle to stay at the front. Everyone wanted to get to the front. With five miles left in the race, it was a mad free-for-all. Things were going to get chaotic. And they did. Very chaotic.
With two miles to go, I was still struggling to move up, stuck in the middle of the peleton. Then, it happened; a crash. The crash took up the whole left side of the road, knocking out at least five riders and slowing half the pack down, creating a split. Thanks be to God, I was hugging the right side of the road when that happened. The crash caused the peleton to split in half, and I was on the better half. We hammered into town at 35 MPH, the whole pack strung out. I was pedaling to fast to stand up, but at least I passed a few people. I went from about 30th to 24th. Yay!
Especially considered that I was dropped in this race last year, I've made a big improvement.
Caleb won the juniors race in dramatic fashion. Abby came in 7th. I'm happy for her. She finally has some other little girls to race against.
Dad was a superb soigneur for me, and Mommy came and took pictures. Thanks parents!
The results are not posted yet, so here's everything that I know:
Dennis Hamel whupped up on the Cat 5s, taking the field sprint for his 2nd win of the year.
Mac Brennan won Cat3s in a two man breakaway. Ben Penner took fifth.
I'm pretty sure Cruise Bogeding won the pro 1/2 race. I'm probably wrong though. I don't know any details...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday Night Worlds

With Dad and Mom's early morning arrival, we made the most of it and headed out to Waterford for some racing. We battled severe traffic to make it to the race 10 minutes before start (all-time record). Fortunately, my dad was able to rush to registration, register me (for free), find a place to plug in the air compressor, pump up tires, and pin my bib number on, as I struggled to get my bike out for a warmup.The race started out just great. I knew it would be a fast B race field, but they started out really slow. My coach/dad assured me that there would be a field split, and I agreed with him. Thus, I simply wanted to ride at the front. I did...for the first 10 minutes of the 60 minute race. I started off 2nd wheel, doing some major wheelsucking, then getting forced to the front and pulling for like 10 seconds...not overkill, but just enough to keep people from getting mad at me. After that whole ten minute segment of hammering at the front, I had to drop back to recover. From then on, I was in a continual struggle to move up. I hammer up the hill, get all the way to the front of the pack, and then I would just get slaughtered on the downhill. Riding at the back is no fun at all. Gaps open up, and you have close them. On a prime lap 30 minutes into the race, I was feeling good. I figured that we'd hammer through this lap, and then we'd slow. WRONG! There's another page to my book "Bad Racing Tactics" (featured in this book are the chapters "Don't Let a Wheelsucker suck your wheel all race long", "Don't Attack on the First Hill", "Try Not Crashing", "Attacking on the Last Lap Doesn't Work", and "Attacking on the First Lap Doesn't Work Either").
Well anyway, I found myself at the absolute butt of the peleton. More and more attacks started forcing me into a state of difficulty. Then disaster happened. The two guys in front of me got gapped. They gave chase, but then the front rider gave up and started soft pedaling. The second rider also tried for a little while, and then decided to give up, leaving me with a pretty huge gap to close on a charging peleton. No chance. Goodbye.
It was a good race, regardless. I still need to work on my cornering. I got yelled at a couple times for not holding my line. After the race, Dad gave me some tips on cornering. I think I'm good now.
I'm not going to say that the race was bad, because there were some major positives. I raced smarter than usual. On the first lap of the race, I found myself leading the pack. In fact I had a gap. I considered attacking and going for it, but then I remembered my booke "Bad Racing Tactics" ( the "Attacking on the First Lap Doesn't Work Either" chapter to be specific).
I also met some cool riders, two WSC riders in particular. Those Wolverines are a quality bunch.

check out pictures. The Racing Greyhounds take great pics!

Now it's onto Frankenmuth, for a 47 mile slugfest with 59 competitors. Oh baby!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Team Kit

I'll be cruising in A2 High Gear's apparel on Saturday for sure, and possibly Thursday. No guarantees, though. That's life these days.
Mom is in AZ with Dad. They've bought a house, so hopefully this chaos will end soon. They return tomorrow morning, and with their return comes absolute freedom. No more obligations, no more school, my family, happiness. Yay.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Now

The play went awesome. People laughed at it and then bawled at it. They said it was great. I really enjoyed myself. My character provided all of the play's comic relief. I had fun making people laugh. It might possibly have been worth missing TOKV. The play was very special to me because in it were many seniors who have finished up school. I won't seem them much in the future and I am happy I got to hang out with them so much.
On the other hand, I missed an epic race. To be expected of course, since I wasn't there, but whatever. I'm not going to dwell on what's happened, just what's going to happen. DAS TOUR OF FRANKENMUTH, BABY!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Day of the Play

There's a reason why I have been so absent from the blog scene as of late. Everyday, I've been spending an extra five hours at school working on our play. It's been probably the most exhausting weeks I've ever faced. Our first performance is tonight at 7, then we have two tomorrow (2 pm and 7pm), and on Sunday we have a 4 pm performance. It's going to get so exhausting. That's why I can't do TOKV. I just wouldn't have enough time. I hate the fact that I can't race, but that's okay. I guess I just can't stand the fact that I would be able to do fairly decently, but I never get the chance to try. But that is a pretty bad mindset to have, I guess. Right now, I'm trying to focus on the play.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Powertap-Less

To add to the stress, my powertap wheel tire pinch flatted. Lovely!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

So Busy

With the school play and exams next week, free time is a hot commodity that's scarce these days. I finally got back on the bike yesterday. It feels great. Because of this school play, I'll be missing TOKV, unless if I can race 60 in the morning, recover, and then get back for the play at two in the afternoon. Not likely. That leaves me with Frankenmuth as my next race.
The whole deal with not being able to race really irks me, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I can tell that there's been this pattern happening that hasn't just occured by chance. It's all happened for a reason.
So I will wait for Frankenmuth.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sweet TT Pics!!!

Check out Dennis Hammel's pictures of the Willow Time Trial. They're good!