Friday, July 31, 2009

A Lovely Sampling of the Arizonan Wildlife


I saw this little guy as I was getting out of the pool today. fantastic...

Looking Back

As I zone in and out of concentration during my ride, my mind drifts back to Michigan. The continual spinning of my dad's legs seemed to become a repetitive part of my peripheral vision.
Ah, Michigan.
I try to find parallels between my old life in Michigan and what is soon to be.
How the heck am I going to get connected in to this school?
My friends are always telling me that making friends will be easy, that I have this great "personality" that makes it hard to avoid having friends. Sometimes I wonder though. I had things pretty much set up for me at WCA. They found out about me a couple months before school even started. They called me a prodigy, "The Chosen One" for the soccer team. More meant as a joke, I know, but you get the point. They all knew about me. I was Maria's little brother, so I ended up meeting a bunch of people quickly.
How can it be the same as WCA?
I think people will be friendly at this school. I just don't have any connections to this school. I have to start a fresh. Soccer camp is the beginning of that. There always has to come a time where you say "Bye Mom" and venture out into the big world. I got so lucky with joining the WCA soccer team. My first practice was lead by my youth pastor for Pete's sake.
What should I expect with this new team?
Division 1. WCA was Division 4 (though we were at the top of Division 4). Sadly, Gilbert Christian is a basketball school, and the soccer team is apparently "not the greatest". That doesn't bug me, in fact it means that I might get more playing time. Wouldn't it be awesome if I could turn the soccer program around?
If only I could fast forward my life to one month later.
Then all this stress would be over and I would hopefully have friends. But they will come, I think.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What do I do?

Soccer camp starts on monday. I'll be quite honest with you, the thought of playing soccer and giving up the rest of the cycling season is not appealing to me. Regardless, the social benefits of playing on a school soccer team are numerous.
Right now, I have to decide which is more important to me. What's your opinnion?

"Why are we doing this, again?"

Today featured another early morning wake-up for a ride. If you want to ride during the AZ summer, you have to wake up at around 5 AM and start riding well before 6. It's usually 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) by 6. You should be done by 8.
It's tough. I'm usually having a wonderful dream. A couple nights ago, I dreamed that I did a bike race (it was Debaets-Devos, and the junior race had like thirty kids. Florian and two other guys attacked and got up the road, but I won the field sprint). Then your world of happiness is smashed to pieces with the ringing of your phone at 5:15.
You then make the decision. Do you get up, or do you sleep. This week, the decision has become tougher, and tougher (more and more tough). I walked downstairs to see Dad equally unenthused.
"I'm really tired." He said.
"Me too."
"Why are we doing this, James? I wanna go back to sleep."
"Yeah."
We're on a rest week any way, so it's good to rest, right? Regardless, it made my day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hanging in There

I made a deal with my dad that I would look on the positives before I looked at the negatives. I will try not to complain, but deep down, I'm sorta just crying out that all this chaos will end.
Here's what's up.
-Getting back on the bike tomorrow. I think I will hurt myself on Usery Pass.
-The Tour ended. My fantasy team and my predictions were both a bust. But that's okay.
-Continuing a daily see-saw over whether I should do soccer or not.
-Playing a lot of Pro Cycling Manager (computer game).
-Catching up with my old youth group peeps to see how the Detroit mission trip went. It was really good last year, and it sounds like it was even better this year. Too bad I had to move.
-I hate most social interaction, especially with this red goatee on my chin. I feel like a puppy wearing the cone of shame.
-Happy that Alexey won the Cat 3 race at the Maillot Jaune road race.
-Wondering why my dad has to work on the weekends of all the races. Why I might not be racing in September.
But I know that God has a reason for keeping me from racing. Things will work out.


School starts in a week and a half.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Diary of Anne Frank

Here is the video of the school play back in May. I must say, it is fairly good. Maria starred as Anne Frank, and I was Mr. Dussel. Watch it.





















Friday, July 24, 2009

Goatee of Shame

One notable thing about the crash is that I was able to block the impetus of the fall...with my face.

The 8 Phases of a Crash

Phase 1- The Calm Before the Storm
You're riding down the road, a happy camper. You've just finished 4 hard efforts up Usery Pass. Happily, you reach down to grab your water bottle.

Phase 2- "Oh no, I'm going to crash."
Suddenly, there's swerving. You're going back and forth across the road, your bike beginning to bounce at 22 mph. Your dad says the word "woah!" progressively louder and louder. It all begins to spin. You know that it's about to happen. You're about to crash. It's going to hurt.

Phase 3- Smack
Your final swerve brings you flying into the ground. For what seems like an eternity, you soar in the air, praying to God that gravity has stopped working. Then "BANG!". Every side of your body seems to hurtle into the pavement. It happens quickly, but the feeling is so familiar. The pain. The shock.

Phase 4- "What Happened?"
Dazed and confused, you try to rouse your self from the ground as quickly as possible. A feeling of panic surges over you. You look around. Everything is on the ground. Scattered like a bomb just went off. Almost shivering with pain, you say to yourself "What did you just do to yourself???"

Phase 5- "Sorry Dad!!!"
You try to appear as if you're perfectly fine so your dad doesn't freak out. Express your sorrow, and that you didn't mean to crash. You explain everything.

Phase 6- "Well, wanna go home now."
The shock period is over with. Now it is just time to get the pain over with by getting home.

Phase 7- "Um, hi Mom."
The most awkward part of the crash. Your mother can't stand the thought of you crashing, so it's always best to just be direct. Instead of having your dad tell her that you crashed, just walk into the house and let her see the road rash.

Phase 8- Clean Up the Mess You've Made.
Time to pick rocks out, shower, scrub, and put bandages on. All you can do is move on.

Luckily for me, this was a rather slow speed crash. Hopefully, it won't take me out of riding for a very long time. Give me the end of the week and I'll be back into the swing of things.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

RECRUITING FRENZY!!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully, you have all seen my video, "Junior Cycling in Michigan".


Ever since I posted it, it has been slowly receiving comments from juniors all over America. They identify with my plight and let me know that Michigan junior cycling is better off than many other states.
ALSO, I have been contacted by two 15 year olds that live in Michigan and want to start cycling/racing!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have given them the links to the A2 Highgear website, along with plenty of advice.
I can't believe that by posting such a silly video would do such wonders. I feel good about myself!!!!

Planning

The paternal unit and I have been strategizing on what I'm going to do with cycling this school year.
Here's what my priorities are:
-Play Soccer for Gilbert Christian. That way I can really get connected into the school. As far as I know, the games start in September. Practice probably starts in August.
-Get in some out-of-state races in August. Looks like a lot of Southern California racing in the future!!!
-Figure out my racing team. Team Strada seems to really be pursuing me, but I seem to have committed to Waste Management. Waste Management seems to have the best benefits, but they haven't contacted us at all!!! Strada also seems to have a bigger arsenal of juniors. Who knows what I shall end up doing.

Alberto Contador

What's the point?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sorry this post is lame

It's so boring here. There's a lot of riding and computer time. I rode 60 miles yesterday. I feel really good about myself now.
The pool is cool. I wade into it after every ride.
Other than that, life in AZ is mediocre.

Monday, July 20, 2009

No stopping the A.V. train!

3rd in Cat 3 at Superweek!!! Took off on the hill and uncorked his breakaway companions like a bottle of champaign! Left Andrew Florian and Taylor Birmann dazed and confused, wondering what had just hit them!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

thought this might be entertaining

Maybe not to my cycling buddies, but to my non-cycling friends.

umm...wow

I just got the results.
No one in my category even started...
wow.
BUT
My time puts me in 3rd place for Cat 4s out of nine. 4th in Cat 3s out of seven.
interesting.
AND ANOTHER THING
My powertap says it was 17.5 miles. The results infer that it was 18.6. SO. it looks like I actualy averaged 23.17!!!!
Superb!

3 Bears TT #3: Report

That was uncalled for!!!
The next time I do a time trial, I will do some major reconnaissance of the course before the race!
I was the first of three 15-18 aged juniors to go off (the other two were 17 and 18). I felt certain that I could beat them. My biggest concern was Max Cronyn (the phenom). 14 years old, and really fast (fortunately, he wasn't in my category). I sprinted out and tried to settle into my usual rhythm of 24-25mph. That wasn't happening. 300 watts yielded only 23 mph (I can only do 300 watts for about 3 minutes). Then I realized that I was going uphill.
I settled down into a pace of 18-19. I saw that my average power was 212. That was a bit too high (I can only sustain 212 for a little over half an hour, and this was a 45 minute race). So I backed my power down. That was a mistake. Because this was an out'n'back course, the first 8 miles were all uphill (3% or 4% grade), and the next 8 were all downhill. I should have tried to average 205-ish on the uphill, because it is hard to find a really solid rhythm when you are going down hill.
By the time I was nearing the turn-around-point, I had passed all the juniors...except for Max. I timed the gap between us. It was looming at about a minute and a half. He had started a minute and a half in front of me. It was going to be a battle royale.
Sadly, I still am no good at descending. I average about 29mph on the last 8 miles, but my power was still rather erratic. It was very difficult to dial the average up to 200 on that section. Then the road started getting rather poor, and I started to bounce like crazy. With 2 or 3 miles left, my arms were hurting from the incessant jarring of my handlebars by the road. A feisty saddle sore had been torturing me for the whole duration of the ride. I was ready to finish this torture.
It came all too soon. I suddenly saw a tent in the distance. That meant the finishing line. Dang it.
I averaged 319 watts for those final 40 seconds. Decent considered that I had been working hard for 47 minutes.

Unofficial time: 48:10.
Unofficial speed: 21.8 (the 8 mile uphill might have affected this slightly...sorry for my pathetic excuses).
Normalized Wattage: 189
Unofficial Ranking: 1st (we never checked the results, but my competitors started 30 seconds and a minute behind me, and finished about 5 minutes behind me. so...)

All I can say, is that Max Cronyn is the stuff. I think he beat me by about 30 seconds. I talked to him afterwards. He's really nice and a great bike racer.

So whadya' know, Bike Boy won a race! The two year drought is over! Whatever. I'm a huge dork if I make a big deal about winning a race that only had three people in it.
Plus, I still don't know if I actually won.
(results are posted this evening)

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Mind Games

8.5 hours til the race starts. I'm not nervous for it. It's just a small TT series that no one ever shows up at, besides the hardcore TT-ers. Still, I am excited. I am going up against two riders from El Grupo. Their previous 30Km speeds are around 20-21. I hope to average 24-25.
My mind drifts into the future. "What if I win? Whom do I thank first? Whom do I call first? Alexey told me to call if I ever won a race, but so did Jacob and Kevin." Then I realize that a time trial is not about winning. It's about giving your all, leaving everything you have on the course and being content with that.
Speaking of Alexey, he and Rudy are heading out to Wisconsin for the legendary Superweek race series. It's amazing how the two of them have accumulated 20+ races since the beginning of June. My last race was May 30, and ever since I have been stuck in this purgatory. I am released from it tomorrow.

Game on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

AZ Pics









Cool




































They call it a desert for a reason.


















Pretty

A Couple Things

1. Sad
I think way too much. And I miss Michigan

2. Nervous
I don't know how I will fare in Saturday's race. I'm getting feeling that I am now quite accustomed to the heat. However, I have never done a 30 kilometer time trial. Right now, there are two other guys registered for Juniors 15-18. I think I'll be alright. It's just me versus the clock, and I don't need to make a big deal about it.

3. Cavendish
Wow. Mark Cavendish is unbeatable in the sprints. His form is perfect, and he makes everyone else look like complete Cat 5s! He's got a great team to back him up as well.

4. Choir
Yeah, that's right. My new school requires me to take either Strings or Choir. I chose Choir. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun

If you're a cycling geek like me, you might want to check this out. Pro Cycling Manager. It's basically a cycling computer game. I really enjoy it. You get to manage a pro cycling team (duh). Yesterday, I downloaded a thingee that let me make a custom team. It was fun. I created all of us Michigan riders!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

AZ Cycling: The Lowdown

(this is Zack's reward for commenting)

It's a whole new world. But as I research and research, I begin to realize subtle similarities between AZ cycling and MI cycling. A realization that once I get involved, I will be reminded of Michigan.

Riding
What I won't be reminded of, is the terrain. Forget the word "flat" when you're out riding. It doesn't exist. There's uphill and there's downhill. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...but it's pretty much true.

Racing
The season begins in the last week of January with the Swiss Crit. This begins the Crit Season
(duh). There's the Avondale Crit, the Sun Devil Crit, the San Tan Crit, the Hungry Dog Crit, the UofA Crit, the State Crit, the State Capitol Crit, and the Scottsdale Grand Prix.

The Stage Race Season begins on February 13, with the Valley of the Sun Stage Race. It's the biggest race in Arizona. It is a LAJORS race, meaning that it awards special prizes to juniors, which means that juniors from EVERYWHERE show up to race. The whole Southern California posse, Utah posse, Colorado posse, and New Mexico posse comes to kick some butt. It's national caliber competition.
Other stage races include the North End Classic, the Tucson Bicycle Classic, and the Colossal Cave Stage Race, and La Vuelta de Bisbee.
The Time Trial Season goes all season long, taking a break from March to April. It includes the Flapjack TT series, the Vulture Mine TT, Sonoita-Patagonia TT (all downhill), 3 Bears TT series, Thunder Road TT, Picacho TT series, and wraps up with the big State TT Championships.
The Road Race Season starts March 21 with the Superior Road Race. There's also the Tumacacori RRR, the Copper Valley RR, the State Championships, ending with the Skull Valley RR at the end of August.
The Mountain Season gets into full swing with the South Mountain Time Trial (May 9), and includes the Mount Lemmon TT, the Kitt Peak TT, and ends with the Mount Graham hill climb (mass start, not individual).

I have spent a lot of time checking out the Junior scene.
There are a lot of junior teams. WMCR, Strada Racing, El Grupo, Summit Velo, Yuma Bike Club, and how can we forget Waste Management.

I have discovered many strong riders. Here are the most notable.

Michael Dziedzic

Team:
Waste Management

Racing Age- 16

Category- 3

Notable Results:
Raced Fitchburg for Cat 3s. 2nd At the Stat Capitol Crit (Cat4). Won the Scottsdale GP(Cat 4).






Tyler Coplea



Team- WMRC


Racing Age- 15

Category- 4


Notable Results-
15th, Sun Devil Crit (Cat 4). 17th, Hungry Dog Crit (Cat 4).







Rodrigo Diaz



Team- Yuma bike Club

Racing Age- 15

Category- 5

Notable Results-
2nd, AZ State Crit (Jr. 15-16).
Leads AZ Overall Points Series (Jr. Men 15-16).






Stephen Marcucci


Team- DNA

Racing Age- 15

Category- 4

Notable Results-
1st, State Road Race (Jr. Men 15-16)











There are several others, such as Eric Yatko, Sean Biever, Nick Thorpe, Owen Graves, Drew Albert, Logan Boyd, and Max Cronyn (he's a phenom).


My first race is on the 18th. A 30 kilometer time trial. Let's get this party started.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I am trying

What can I post that will entertain you and tickle you enough to comment? The whole Trivia thing obviously wasn't ideal (all that mental stimulation). I am really bored here in Arizona, and I love making contact with my Michigan/Ohio peeps. This blog will always be here. I'm not dying.
But seriously, what do you want Bike Boy's blog to be about?

p.s. the holder of the record Arizona 20 km Time Trial, Junior men 15-16 is Nathan Mitchel.
p.p.s. Nicknames for Doug are, "The Cat", "Festus", "Pothole", and "Grandmaster B".

Friday, July 10, 2009

I owe DMO virtual pizza!

Thanks for recommending Tony Martin for my fantasy team! He did me proud today! So did Vandevelde, Vladimir Karpets and Andy Schleck!
p.s. post #800 (big milestone for me)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More of the Same

My rest days are done. Riding starts again tomorrow. Because Dad is taking Maria, Abby and Maria's friend Clarissa to the Grand Canyon, I will be riding solo (oh goodie).
The mountains start tomorrow in the Tour. Time for the big guns to come out and shine. Yee-haw.

I am a lightning rod of bad luck

As if losing Gesink wasn't enough, I got to watch in horror as Rogers and Farrar just crashed. Both are on my fantasy team. Phil keeps on saying that Roger's tour might be over. Lovely.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Huge Disaster

Robert Gesink abandoned the tour. He is on my Fantasy team. He's one of my best climbers. My roster is locked. I can't replace him. I'm going to get slaughtered.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Update

My ride today was fantastic. I did an LT interval up Usery Pass. I averaged 227 and passed a group of riders that started about a half mile in front of me. That was fun. I probably went too hard, because my next interval was 30 watts lower. That's still acceptable, because my FTP is around 205-215. I haven't tested in a while, and I don't know if I've lost or gained power.
Dad and I raced back into the neighborhood. I started it off with a hard acceleration. Dad hosed it down, and then couontered it, hoping to drop me. I hung on, and didn't crash through the last corner. Dad just tried to drag race me down the final stretch, but I came around him. That was fun.
Other than the whole riding thing, all I ever do is watch the Tour, read a tad bit, and spend a ton of time on the computer. There's barely anything to do.
I'm actually pretty upset. I just can't believe that I have to go to ANOTHER new school. Hopefully I will like it. They all say I will. So it must be good. I hope.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Church

We met a bunch of new people today. Everyone there's really friendly and outgoing. Still, it's hard.
It's not Knox Pres.
I had a nice ride with Dad today. We climbed Usery Pass (3.5 miles) and Dad put the hurt on me. He was doing an LT interval, so I did one too just hanging on to his wheel! Then up a much shorter, steeper hill, I put the hurt on my old man, so the pain was shared equally. We rode for an hour and forty-five minutes. Once again, I sort of bonked near the end. On Saturday, it happened after I ate a bar (about an hour into it). Today, it happened after I ate a bar (about an hour into it). Tomorrow, I will not eat a bar, but instead fuel myself with hammer gel.
I should get to bed now, so I can get in eight hours of sleep and then wake up at five!

Battle Won

Today was a good day for Fantasy cycling. I took first place out of my 15 man group, and 905th overal!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lance Rant

I will continue to insist that Lance Armstrong is the Sidney Crosby of cycling. Versus announcers praise him when he does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
If you've ever heard Frank Caliendo doing an impersonation of John Madden, you'd know what I'm talking about. John Madde loves Brett Farve. Versus loves Lance Armstrong. The Versus announcers might as well just say "Lance Armstrong is the best cyclist ever. If we just put him in Afghanistan, BOOM, he'd hit Osama Bin Laden. Lance Armstrong is just that good. Astana needs Lance Armstrong because Lance Armstrong is the Lance Armstrong of Lance Armstrongness! Without Lance Armstrong, they would have Lance Armstrong...and that's what that's all about!"

First AZ Ride

Dad and I met up with Chris somewhere in Arizona (it might have been Fountain Hills, actually it probably was). We rode for under two hours. Going through McDowell Mountain Park, Dad's powertap montitor fell off. It bounced and hit me in the left wrist. We stopped and eventually found it. Then Chris flatted. Once we got going again, we did some fun pacelining. We were pretty much going easy, although Dad would occasionally ramp up the speed and make me have to work to stay on.
When we turned around and headed back, I started hurting. Chris took a fast pull that had me in difficulty. I held on for a minute or two, but I knew that I couldn't hold it forever. I eventually had to yell "uncle". I felt a bit bad, but I wasn't supposed to just be fast immediately. I haven't ridden in a week. And this Arizona heat just kills. It will be a fairly long adjustment.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our House

Fantasy Team

It's a bit of a disaster. Too many expensive riders means that I am way over cap, so I will have to cut a lot of riders. It stinks.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Le Tour De France 2009

It is with a shaking hand that I type these words that will make or break me. Words that will prove me to be either an utter genius or an utter moron. I give you...my prediction.

1. Alberto Contador

2. Christian Vande Velde

3. Andy Schleck

4. Cadel Evans

5. Kim Kirchen

6. Levi Leipheimer

7. Carlos Sastre

8. Dennis Menchov

9. Michael Rogers

10. Roman Krueziger

11. Frank Schleck

12. Robert Gesink

13. Lance Armstrong

14. Oscar Pereiro

15. Remi Di Gregorio

16. Jose Luis Arrieta

17. Vicenzo Nibali

18. Linus Gerdemann

19. Mikel Astarloza

20. Vladimir Efimkin


Green Jersey

Oscar Freire


King of the Mountains

Remy Di Gregorio


I've heard so much garbage about how amazing Lance is and how he's going to take over team Astana. He's good, but he's lost fitness, and Contador has always been the leader. Lance isn't selfish. He will work for Contador, I believe. And what about Levi? The poor guy is always over shadowed. Odds are that the race will determine the team leader. This tour favours a good climber with a good team. There is now a Team Time Trial, and there's only 56 kilometers of individual time trialing. Add to that Mount Ventoux, and a grueling succesion of mountains, and you've got a recipe for pain.
It favors a good climber with a good team. I think that rules Cadel Evans out of the podium. I'm really taking a gamble with Vande Velde. He's a much better TTer than a climber, but Slipstream can definitely win the TTT. I really want Columbia-Highroad to do well. Kirchen can win stages, and I think he's ready to go for overall glory now.
For my fantasy team, I have picked the following riders:

1. Filippo Pozzato------------------------- Decent sprinter, and even better on transition stages with smaller mountains.

2. Roman Krueziger -----------------------Good climber/GC rider. Threat for White Jersey. Inexpensive.

3. Christian Vande Velde-----------------All out GC rider. Climbs well, and TT's like a rocket.

4. Andy Schleck------------------------------A fantastic climber that can go top 5. Threat for White Jersey.

5. Robert Gesink-----------------------------A rather unknown, young rider. Climbs beautifully and TTs decently enough.

6. Gerald Ciolek----------------------------- A young sprinter just leaving Cav's shadow, with a whole team built around him.

7. Frank Schleck------------------------------Peaking for this race with a lot of motivation to get out of his little bro's shadow.

8. Michael Rogers----------------------------Superb TTer with decent climbing abilities and an AWESOME TEAM!

9. Remy di Gregorio--------------------------A brave opportunist climber. Motivated to win for France.

10. Kim Kirchen-------------------------------A puncheur that can sprint, climb, and TT well. Explosive and dangerous.

11. Linus Gerdemann------------------------Young climber. Inexpensive, yet talented.

12. Romain Feillu-----------------------------A very consistent sprinter that can turn to opportunistic ways when he wants to.

13. Henrich Haussler------------------------A very quick sprinter from a good sprinters team. Better value than Hushovd.

14. Jimmy Casper-----------------------------Young, inexpensive, and fast! Plus, he's French!

15. Danniele Bennati------------------------A serious threat for the green jersey, and a passable climber.