Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'M IN ARIZONA!!!!!!!!!

Man is it hot here!!! 110 degrees, and dry as heck!!! It will take me a long time to get used to it. I am happy regardless. My new house is pretty cool. But still, it's just not the same.

p.s. the next post will be a Tour de France preview. The next next post will be a video of the house.
p.s.s. I made a mistake of not removing pedals from the TT bike when I shipped it. Thus, I have no pedals, and I can't ride. Bummer. I'm really looking forward to riding. MOUNTAINS, BABY!!!

On The Plane

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Last Hurrah

We had a big family gathering at the pool today. I'm lost my voice while playing volleyball. Whenever I compete against my sister there is a lot of screaming\trash talk. Luke and I beat Maria and Sarah in a grueling best-of-5 series. Pretty intense stuff.
Jeez, my mom gets so teary. She was about ready to cry at the beginning of the party. I guess I'll just never understand women.
My thinking is that I am one phone call, one click, one road trip, one planeflight, and one wall post away. This blog will still be around (hopefully better than ever!) and I have no plans to take down my Facebook!!!
I will come back on holidays. It will be like nothing ever happened!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bike-Less

My last ride in Michigan was today. We just took the bike into Trails-Edge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's been a weird year for cycling. For my family, it's been a twisted path of inconvenient sacrifices leading to a longer withstanding peace in the end. Still, it really hasn't helped much with racing.
And yet, it's taught me so much. I had a really trashy ending to last year's season. I missed out on Nationals and then laid an egg at Debaets Devos. Meanwhile, Alexey was just flying, after gaining a lot of confidence from a podium at Natz.
In the winter, I hoped that I could turn things around. My dad getting a new job didn't really help. It meant no dad to take me to group rides, no dad to ride with me and coach me. It taught me responsibility. I had to take care of my bike on my own now.
My first race of 2009 was a disaster. As I floundered around in no man's land, Alexey went on to win.
I put that all behind me to finish 7th in my next race. Then I averaged 24 MPH in the TT, good enough for 5th in Cat 4.
On the last STS, my heroe, Paul Alman was giving a thank you speech. At one point he began to recognize all of the juniors. Vince Roberge, Alex Keomany, John Zaccone, Stephen Christy. Then, Alexey. Just Alexey. I participated in the STS since 2005, two years more than Alexey.
I tried to laugh it off, but it was tough.
I knew that God was challenging me. So often, I race just to get attention and have people praise me. That's not what bike racing's about. So God continued to test me.
It was tough. I'd compare it to being a team mate of Sydney Crosby (with Versus announcers).
Alexey IS an amazing bike racer, and a super awesome friend. When ever someone walks up and (after being set straight that I am not Alexey) he turns to Alexey and completely praises him. When the guy leaves, Alexey looks back at me, guilty. He's humble, and compationate. He'd gladly sacrifice his race to give me a leadout.
This year, I've learned in order to have fun, you don't have to be the best. You don't have to dominate every race. In order to enjoy cycling, you must learn to appreciate every various apple it throws at you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Bit of a Disaster

We went to Bicentennial Park to watch my cousin's softball game. After the victory was secured, we walked back to the car. I sat down in the front seat, eager to drive to Little Caesar's and get a pizza. I didn't realize why my mom panicked and walked back to get Uncle Tim. Back in the car, my sisters were freaking out. I looked back at them and asked them what the problem was. ''That!'' they both said, pointing at the windshield. I looked up, and basically screamed. The bottom of the windshield was indented, cracks running out if it like a spiderweb. We were the victims of a foul ball.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Simmering Down

I probably shouldn't have just ranted like that. My apologies. It's not my place to complain like that. Who wants a complainer?
The lost Time Trial is now a distant memory, fading away.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Complete Waste of Time

We get there at 6:40 to see Hines transformed into a lake. Helms Haven is completely submersed in water. The promoters (I will not mention any names) are desparately scrambling for a backup plan. (beginning of rant) Maybe if they had TAKEN A LOOK AT THE COURSE YESTERDAY, THEY MIGHT HAVE HAD MORE TIME! I understand though. People have lives. They were probably too busy to plan on a little race called THE STATE TIME TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
It's their responsibility to get to work in the problem MUCH EARLIER. At least notify people that the race is cancelled before they all drive down. Mark Bush drove all the way down from Kalamazoo, for this???
I am just disgusted by this race, bottomline. Last year was a wasted entry fee as well. After giving me false instructions and making me do two time trials, they relegated me!
It's time for a new location for the Time Trial Championship. I am sorry for the harshness, but I speak the truth. I do not mean to offend anyone.I am not meaning to say that the promoters of this race are incompetent. Every year, they do a SUPERB job of putting on the Willow TT. I'm trying to point out that there is a problem.
I am simply very sad that I couldn't do this race.
It was my last Michigan race.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Question

Should I use my Zipp 808 wheel in the front, or stick with Joe's wheel??? I need every second I can get, but a Zipp 808 won't help if it's taco'd.
I need some advice.

Friday, June 19, 2009

State TT

All is going well here in Livonia. The time trial bike is set up, and I am ready.
I will be racing Junior Men 15-16. The winner of my category gets 20 bucks, and the fastest overall 15-18 aged kid is awarded a scholarship. Registered in my Category is Nate Leininger. The big dog is Taylor Birmann, seventeen years old. He just won the Cat 3 race at Tour De Mont Pleasant. I will have to dig deep if I want to challenge his time.
The start list came out this evening. I go off at 8:03:00. Nate goes off at 8:03:30, and Taylor goes off at 8:04:00.
Pray for me. It's my last Michigan race. I would like to average 25 MPH. I will have to ride harder than I ever have. My last chance.
It will be fun.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Annoying

Bike Boy is very stressed. He found out this morning that in addition to destroying his front wheel, he also has received a puncture in his back tire, After a long journey to Saline, he and his dedicated mother will drive to the Trails Edge bike shop either get a new tire or find a back up plan.

No one is very happy right now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gma and Gpa's house

Things are going just fine. Good food, a pool, a pool table, lots of TV, and riding at Hines park are keeping me busy.
I was at Hines doing some six minute intervals when disaster struck. Going under one of those bridges, I became the victim of a MASSIVE pothole that seemed to span the whole road. I trashed my carbon Ritchey front wheel. Fabulous, considered that I didn't have a spare wheel.
Thankfully, Joe L kindly gave me one of his front wheels for me to train on.
My first job is to find a way to avoid that monstrous pothole. It's a daunting task. I now know how Doug must feel!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yay for Alexey!!!

My bro won the Cat 4 race at the Tour of Mont Pleasant road race!! Pretty cool! He seized the opportunity with five miles to go, countering his OWN attack!!!

P.S. His name is Alexey Vermeulen. Not Alexi, not Alexei, not Alexy.Not Vermeulian.
Alexey Vermeulen, A2 High Gear, TDMP Road Race Cat 4 winner.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saying Goodbye

This weekend has been so good, but so good that it's just awful. I've spent the whole time saying goodbye to everyone. On Saturday, I ate lunch with one of my youth group leaders. Saturday evening was a huge goodbye party. I said goodbye to all the kids I homeschooled with back in the day, and many others. Jeez, it is just depressing. I've known these guys since I was 7 or 8, and now they're gone from my life. Today meant saying goodbye to church friends, and it was depressing as well.
There are just so many thoughts going on in my head. I'm thinking about Arizona. I'm thinking about all the people I shall leave behind. I'm thinking about all the people that I didn't get to say goodbye to.
I'm thinking about the people I FORGOT to say goodbye to, or was just to shy or awkward to say goodbye to. There is no longer a "second chance". Dang it.
And in the midst of all this, I'm thinking about my last race, the State TT Championships. The grand finale.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

last weekend

The movers come tomorrow morning. We're scrambling to get everything packed to stay at Gma and Gpa's house for the next two weeks. If we don't pack it, it goes to Arizona. It is a stressful time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last Crit Practice...Until We meet Again

The title is fairly self explanatory. This was one of my last few opportunities to race hard and socialize with the bike people. I think I capitalized tonight.
3 Lap Race- I sat in for the first lap, waiting for a move to come. When I saw John Rigdon go off the front followed by Alex Lockie, I knew it was time to book it. I joined up with them, and it was pretty easy going. With one lap to go, the break was caught, and the pack was slowed. I countered!!! I got a good gap, but was just dying with half a lap left. I was caught before the final corner. Thankfully, I was able to hold on and finish 9th!!

5 Lap Race- Bad race. I found myself struggling at the back, getting behind slow riders and cornering poorly. I got dropped pretty quickly.

7 Lap Race- I decided to lay it on the line and take a flyer. On the first lap, I went solo and made a lot of space between me and the peleton. I looked back to see Giff, Doug, and another rider bridging up to me. We survived for maybe 4 laps. It was a good break.

10 Lap Race- This one saw Alexey going solo with five laps to go. Feeling good myself, I knew I had to help him out. I needed to disrupt the MCG train that was slowly pulling him back. Going up the hill, I eased in beside Craig Rice (who was leading the pack), and they all thought that I was going to pick up the pace. I did the opposite. Then Zack tried to bring the speed back. I locked onto his wheel and waited for him to pull off. He did pull off, and when I slowed slightly, people weren't too happy. I guess everyone thought that I had to actually pull hard. As far as I've been taught, when your teammate is on a breakaway, you DON'T drag the peleton back up to him. Instead, you slow the pack down, and that's what I was trying to do.
Sadly, after that little phase of disarray, the whole MCG train came to the front and hosed Alexey's brave move down, with 2 laps left. I held on to about 10th wheel fairly easily. I was feeling good, and my cornering was getting better and better. I sprinted in for 7th. Yay!

Miss 'n Out- 2 laps into it, Alexey floored it. The whole pack was strung out, not your traditional miss 'n out race where you simply sprint every lap and go easy everywhere else. Well, in the midst of all that chaos, I ended up fighting to avoid elimination. It was a sprint to beat Craig to the line, and he outkicked me. So I was out. I think I was in 6th or 7th, who knows,

All in all, a great workout, with much confidence gained.

Pumped

I hate to sound like a dissenter, but I am STOKED to race in Arizona. From February to May, there's a race every weekend, a little bit of racing over the summer, and then comes a grand finale of racing in September! Arizona's junior scene is HUGE! Several large teams show up at every race. Waste Management is probably the premiere team. It boasts several strong juniors. I really hope I will fit in.
As for goals, they are plentiful. AZ is so much different from MI, because of the huge climbs. There are four mountain races!!!
May 9 is the South Mountain TT, 5.5 miles.
June 28 is the Mount Lemmon TT, 12.5 miles!
September 20 is the Kitt Peak TT, 11.6 miles!
September 27 is the Hill Climbing Championship, 20 miles (I believe), and it is a mass start actually.
I want to race Cat 4 in these races, and muster up some good results in order to be a Cat 3 next year!!
Another target is the State TT, September 13. I want to break the record for 15-16 boys, either this year or next year. The record is 27:55, average speed of 26.6. Insane, I know, but I'm sure that I can smash it to pieces next year.

It's going to be a fun run, but I will still remember my Michigan racers. If you ever want to come down and do an AZ race, you're welcome to stay at our house.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend

Saturday Morning- It was tough, but I managed to work out a way to hitch a ride with Coach Lucas to the junior team practice at Kensington metropark. I had woken up early, frantically calling Alexey's cell phone (only to find out that he was sick). Long story short, I got to the ride, and that's what counts! Because of Alexey's illness, Eddie's stress fracture, Jeff's absence (as well as everyone else's), I was the only junior there. Of course that meant that I could get some great training in with such a strong rider like Lucas Wall all to myself. I was feeling pretty poor at the beginnning of the ride. My left knee was killing me, but I stretched it out, and I was fine.
Once we got settled back in again, Lucas took me up some cool hills outside of the metropark. The suffering started to kick in. We rode back to the metropark and went up those hills fast. It did hurt a lot, but what do you expect? I'm happy that each time I could hold onto Lucas's wheel to ther top of the climb.
All in all, it was a positive ride. I put in 30 miles, and got in some quality intensity.

Saturday Afternoon- Lucas headed out to go to the Velodrome at Bloomer. I waited for mommy to pick me up. It was a nice day, and I didn't mind sitting out in the sun.
Mom arrived, and we packed the bike into the van. We headed over to a grad party (my cousin 2 or 3 times removed).
I was dead tired by then, but two cans of Mountain Dew kept me alive.

Sunday Afternoon- My cousin's Grad party. It was a fun social gathering on my dad's side of the family. I had a pretty fun time playing with my cousins, particularly my nine year old cousin Nolan. We decided to take a plunge into the 60 degree pool. Chilly, but revitalizing. Two kids challenged us to a game of 2x2 pool basketball. It was so on. Nolan and I schooled them. Then we realized that we hadn't been keeping score. We started a new game, and fell behind quickly. We weren't focused, and quite soon we were down 8-12. As the game continued, it got more intense. I knew we couldn't lose this. I won every rebound, and Nolan drained every shot he took. It was all a matter of time. We were down 25-28, when they decided that we were playing to 30 points. Nolan and I were peeved, but it didn't matter. We scored four consecutive points to put the score deadlocked at 29-29. Game point. They had the ball. Nolan stuffed him. air ball. I got the rebound. Drove to the basket. Lifted the ball over the defender's head. swish. We won.
I enjoyed seeing their stunned faces.
I will miss all of my cousins, but I will see them almost every holiday. It's not like I'm going away forever (just for a very long time).
Today- A lovely little 2.5 hour solo ride. Average speed of 16-ish over 40 miles. I felt so good.
I'm looking forward to crit practice tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What is this?

As I have been spending a good bit of time working on a recent video project, I've seen several old racing pictures, pictures that just get me feeling nostalgic. I can't believe how FIVE YEARS have just flown by. Five years ago, I was this.

Five years later, here I am.
Five years ago, my dad was just getting into racing, a totally clueless cat 5.

Look at him now, Cat 2 and going up against the best riders in the state (not to mention beating them)

Four years ago, this scrappy seventeen year old showed up at a junior training ride. His name was Zack.I remember that day well. After the ride, we went to A&W with Zack. He hopped into our van and we watched the video of the 2004 Tour de France.

Look at him now, animating the Cat 3s and still containing that relentlessness of a wild boar! I am pretty sure he will be Cat 2 within a couple years. I'm happy to say that we were once juniors together. He's a great mentor, always helping me at crit practice. I'd like to take the time to thank him.


There's a whole lot more people I have to thank. I'll get to work on that.

Interesting Video

I found this today. http://www.vidscape.com/index.php?id=13. It's a chronicle of a guy's struggle to go pro.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crit Practice

Fun, fun, fun! I did much better this time, and tried to stay off the front! Most notable was a short lived cameo in a breakaway with Alexey and Andy Weir. After that, I hunkered down and made it my goal to just sit in and hang on! I did a good job of that in the next two 10 lap races. I feel that I'm improving, and I'm just one step away from fixing my cornering! Once again Alexey was on a tear. That kid has this ability to just kick it into another gear and hammer. He really animates the races. I'm proud of him (*sniff sniff*).
My mommy to me to crit practice and took some pictures. I posted them all on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30135612&id=1012966683#/album.php?aid=2025795&id=1316404539&ref=mf. That reminds me. GET A FACEBOOK!!!