Sunday, January 31, 2010

U of A Criterium: Report

Today was a learning day but also a fun day. We spent the whole day in Tucson, watching all the races and doing a bit of racing ourselves. Jake raced the Cat 5 race and Juniors, Dad raced Masters 40+ and then Masters 30+, and I raced Juniors and Cat 3.

We got Jake all set up for the cat 5 race, a 10:20 start. Once he went down to the starting line, I started warming up for juniors. The Cat 5 race was a learning race for Jake. He lasted 10 minutes in a viciously fast field that happened to be his first senior race.
The junior race was crazy. Can you say "50 juniors"?????? The heavy hitters in this race were Max Cronyn (7th in the nation), Owen Graves, and Michael Dziedzic (probably going to upgrade to a 2 in the summer). Michael and Max drilled it from the getgo. I made a dumb move by sitting in sixth wheel, behind a kid who ended up getting popped. So I was chasing to bridge the gap between me and the two leaders. Owen managed to get up to the break, but I found myself stuck in no man's land. The fact that I still couldn't corner well help me lose more distance on them. Those first six minutes were spent in Zone 6, which is not a good combination. I got pulled back by a group of 10 riders, 4 from YBC, 2 from El Grupo, 2 from Tribe.
We couldn't pull back those 3 elite riders, but held the gap @30 seconds all race. It was a pretty brutal course for me. There were 6 corners that always had me sprinting hard, plus a biting 50 meter uphill section. Someone was always attacking there. Our group stayed intact despite dropping some kids. I hung on for 3rd in the field sprint, 6th place overall, and 3rd in 15-16. I broke my 20 minute power record. I'm still bummed that I didn't make the breakaway with Max, Michael, and Owen, but I'll get another chance.
Check out the video.


Dad then did two masters races in a row. He raced super aggressively in the first one, winning a prime and then taking 8th overall. He then hung on in the second race, taking 9th despite some cramps.
Soooooo...then I tried the Cat 3-4 race. It was a learning experience. My start wasn't all that great, so I started off near the back of a 50+ rider field. Again, I can't corner which again was my undoing. This inability to corner caused me to sprint hard after we came out of the corners, which in turn just wore me down. I didn't last very long. After I got popped I rode hard with another rider. This race was 20 minutes and only 7 watts less than the junior race. What good workout for the day. It's fine that I got dropped. I know that it was because of corners, not my strength. I'd say it's pretty easy to be thankful to God for a victory or podium finish. The question is what will you do when you get dropped like a sack of dirt. I am oober thankful God gave me the chance to do this race. It was a ton of fun.

We stuck around to watch Chris in the Pro 1-2 race. He was on the front ALL RACE lONG, slaving away for his team, Bicycle Haus. He borrowed my dad's Zipp 808's and looked painfully fast.
The rest of my pictures will be on facebook.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Avondale Crit #1: Report

We got the season rolling with a 7:30 junior race. The course was very short (.5 miles) and smooth.
24 juniors showed up, 10 of them being 15-16. All of the juniors raced together, but were scored separately. Jake and I represented Team DNA. There were 6 guys from Team Strada, 5 from Yuma Bike Club, and 3 from Tribe. Needless to say, we had a bit of work on our hands. Luckily, the size of our rival teams meant that THEY had to chase all the breakaways. Given the race was 20 minutes long, things got going quickly. From the gun, Strada and Yuma Bike Club sent pretty much all their riders to the front, sorta fighting over control of the pace. By the time things had settled down, we had a nice peleton of about 15-20 riders, because some of the young'ns had been shucked off the back. I stayed in good position, about 5 riders back every lap. I was itching to attack, but it was not the moment. Every acceleration was followed by the whole group accelerating. No one could get a gap. I started looking for a chance to counter-attack. I got my chance when Nick Thorpe from Strada leaped off the front. Ironically, his own team chased him down. When they reached him, I stepped on the accelerator. The Strada boys didn't want to accelerate this time. I spent half a lap solo, until Alejandro Vieyra from Yuma Bike Club bridged up to me. We rode hard, but he already gassed from bridging up to me, plus Strada had smelled blood and was riding full-out. They brought us back. I tried to attack again, but they weren't having any of it. This race was going to end in a sprint. The sprint didn't go so well for me. I had to sprint in the wind to get into sixth wheel, and I had nothing left to sprint with. Strada went 1-2-3-4, Marco Colex from Tribe took 5th, and I got 6th. Jake got 11th, good enough for SECOND overall in the 17-18 age group. 15-16 year olds took the first six spots.

Man, it is going to be a fun year. This race was very good for me. I didn't make the podium, but I raced fairly smart and aggressively. I rolled my dice, I played my cards. I went for the breakaway. It didn't stick, but I tried. It was exhilarating though. I gotta thank the Lord for keeping me safe out there. Thanks, God!

p.s. Tentatively, Saturday will take us to the U of A crit in Tucson. It's going to be fun. This season is going to be FUN! Jake, Stephen and I are going to have so much fun working out team tactics to hopefully befuddle the junior peleton. They say fun is what you make it: WIN OR LOSE!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Due for an Update

Things have been going well lately, aside from the crazy amount of rain we've been getting. Though the natives of Arizona rejoice because they see rain ten times per year, it really made for a disaster. A lot of flooding happened, in addition to a tornado in Scottsdale. As you could guess, the course for tomorrow's time trial course was suitable for a kayak race, so the race has been postponed.
I'm doing the Avondale crit early Sunday morning. I'm excited!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Check it

http://alexeyvermeulen.blogspot.com/

Weekend Recap

Practice Race-
This was a bit of a disappointment but also a good deal of encouragement for me. Chris (basically the team coach) put everyone in a ccategory (C, B, or A). I was disappointed to get put in the "B" field, mostly because on all the training rides I had been one of the last men standing. I don't think Chris had seen me ride though. The race course went down Bush highway, down to Saguaro Lake, and then turned around and finished up Usery Pass. The B race had probably 15 guys in it, and though there were apparently two different teams, everyone seemed to race for themselves. Good old Jake told me he would work for me and try to set me up at the bottom of Usery. I got the feeling that no one really wanted to attack and/or race. Everyone just wanted to ride a quick paceline until the final hill. I wasn't having any of that. Up the first small hill, I found myself bridging up to two other guys who had created a gap. I shouted at them to work with me, but they both sat up. I figured I'd just keep on pluggin' along. I soloed for 11 minutes until they brought me back. So I hopped right back into the paceline. From then on, there were no real attacks. Every now and then, gaps would open up, and I would try to turn them into breakaways, but no one else wanted to go. So it all came down to Usery. Right at the bottom, I ramped up the pace just a tiny little bit, and suddenly there was no one on my wheel. The climb lasted 13 minutes, and by the time I reached the top, I had gotten a 30 second lead. It's fun to say that I won a race, it really is. What made me even happier was seeing Jake take fifth!
In the A's, Dad did work for the team and set Stephen up for the win, taking third in the process. It was fun stuff, and I am looking forward to mixing it up with the A's next time!

Surgery-
Didn't happen. They forgot to schedule. They rescheduled for Monday morning.

Homecoming-
Was tiring. 3 straight hours of dancing like a fool. Pretty fun.

Church-
I was so tired that I had to fight to stay awake. Every now and then you have that battle. I won though.

Surgery-
They put me on laughing gas, which didn't do a lot for me. For the next few days, I'm on a liquid diet...aka smoothies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Game Plan

Friday
-Wake up at 5 and ride the trainer. It will be a fun tempo workout.
-I will go to school. Tomorrow is the last day of Spirit Week- Blackout Day. The sophomores are pretty much going to take the victory.
-Instead of going to first and second hour, we will have a pep rally to start the day.
-We get out of eighth hour to watch the JV Girls basketball game. This will commence a long evening of watching basketball. After the JV Girls, it goes JV Guys, Varsity Girls, then Varsity Guys. Maria's fancy ensemble singing for the latter game. I'm hoping to see all the games. It should be fun.

Saturday
-Group ride at 7 a.m.. I think it's a handicapped race. It will be pretty painful regardless.
-Periodontist at 1 p.m.. I need surgery for the receeding gumline on my kanine teeth. They're going to slice off some of the tissue on the roof of my mouth and put it where it is needed. I get to inhale laughing gas, so I am excited for the experience.
-Going to Homecoming at 8. It should be fun.

That's pretty much what's going on this weekend.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What did I do?

I was riding my bike down a rather steep hill today, when I endured a rather pleasant run-in with a car. Out of nowhere, this SUV floored right by me. A guy stuck his head out the window and yelled at the top of his lungs at me, as if to try to scare me or make me loose focus and crash. That's not so rare. Lots of kids in cars will try to surprise me as they pass me. It's a matter of entertainment for them, a funny little game: scare the tights off that "biker".

This guy was different. He sounded angry, legimately mad at ME. I guess I deserved it for riding on the shoulder. Then, again, I should feel so offended. It's a part of life. Hey, I could be one of those poor Californian cyclists that got murdered by a driver.
Here's the story behind all that: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/01/cyclist-sentenced.html
If only those foolish cyclists didn't act the way they did to keep on provoking him. We can't be cussing back at the drivers and giving them the finger. Drivers don't recognize different kits. As far as they're concerned, one roadie looks every other roadie. One rider will ruin it for all of us. Don't be that rider.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Middle

I live in a family of very school-oriented people. Maria has always had a 4.0, and Abi has a 4.0 in her first year of school ever. But as for me, I have a 3.75. Personally, I am content with that 3.75. I'll shoot for straight A's, but in the end, I am cool with a 3.75.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Striking Similarities

Team Sky


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