Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One Year

Well, we made it. July 2009 to July 2010 was the most unique, challenging time in my life. There were high points, and a ton of low points, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

When we arrived in our home in Mesa, June 30th, we were completely isolated in our comfy home. We knew Chris, Juanita, and Mrs. Aten, and the Proctor-Murphys, and that was all. We had no connections at all. So we went through new experience after new experience. We were the new new family, always explaining out story of how we came to AZ. Going to church was the first step, then joining the soccer team, and then going to school.

One of my few decisions that I consider to be "brave" was heading out to the first day of soccer camp. That was rough, but soccer turned out to be the quickest way to get to know people.

The first day of school was horrible, but luckily, things were working themselves out in the second week. It's really awesome when you realize that you're getting past first impressions and beginning to to genuinely like people. In a month, school went from miserable to as enjoyable as school can be.

Another big thing for me was getting involved in the cycling season. I first hooked up with Team DNA in November (the very same day that UM lost to OSU and I lost my hair). I was super nervous to show my abilities, but thankfully I had my coach/father with and trusty amigo Zack Maino watching my back. When we cruised up that first climb in the lead group, I couldn't help but smile. Team DNA worked out just great. It's a great group of cyclists to ride with and the foundation of a junior program.
I came into the race season unknown, and it definitely helped. I met so many nice riders, kids I'll be racing with for the rest of my life. Also, I got to measure myself at VOS and Camp against some of the best racers in the state. I was continually learning and gaining experience.

Maria graduated in May. Her graduation party was a highly attended affair. The house was crammed with people whose existence we knew nothing of 12 months before. Things worked out. We have no one to thank but God, for never forsaking us.
Maria moves on to Grand Canyon University, while I move on to Gilbert Christian High School, the same school on a new campus. I will be a junior. I look forward to being an empathetic upper classman and growing closer to my friends. At this point, I wouldn't mind if we moved again, because I would simply gain more friends. I haven't lost friends from Michigan; my list of longtime pals just grows and grows. God's always looking out for me.

It's an exciting time, to know what I can do with my life in the circumstances of a move. Very exciting and encouraging.

Bring it on 2010/2011.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The funnest suffering

One of the things I miss the most is Crit Practice. Starting after TOKV, we had 6 p.m. practice races every Tuesday. It was a laid-back festival of suffering and anaerobic torture. Your eyes rolling back as you taste a little blood in your throat. But it was a pain that you relished, almost a humorous affair, as you smiled grimly at your friends and teammates, whose pain was tantamount to yours. And then you saw the pole sticking out of the ground on the right side of the road, and whoever you were, off the front, sprinting for the win, or even a straggler off the back, you sprinted for all you were worth, because you knew that if you didn't drag it out all the way to the end, the vicious agony you endured was in vain. When the race ended, we would talk about it, how much we had punished each other, and how much fun it was.

I don't really remember the first time I went to crit practice. I think I was eleven, racing age twelve, still at the point where I couldn't even begin to think about keeping up. But as months went on, I would see improvement. Hanging on for 2 laps, then 3, then 4, etc.
I remember when I came so close to hanging on. It was in the July of 2007. I sat on Giff's wheel for about ten of 15 laps, then I fell off the pace. It was like the suffering just blended into the peripheral vision; I was focused on the rider in front of me. It was a beautiful suffering. A suffering where you did what it take to follow the wheel, and if following the wheel meant that it hurt, you just endured it.

I know that I suffer well still, crit practice taught me how to suffer. Now in Arizona, the mountains teach you how to suffer. For me, it is easier to suffer in Zone 6, so now I must continue to teach myself how to tear myself apart up Usery. The important thing to remember is that all of that stuff hurts, no matter how long or short; and when you finish, the pain will always turn to pleasure.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Nationals Results

Day 3
U23 Men
-David Williams 3rd

Junior Men 15-16 TT
-Alexey 5th
-Stephen 26th
-Max Cronyn (AZ) 38th
-Rudy 44th

Junior Men 10-12
-David Polley 27th

Junior Men 13-14 TT
-Tulio Weber 5th
-Zack Edwards 13th
-Kenny Polley 30th

Junior Women 13-14 TT
-Zoe 4th

Junior Men 17-18 TT
-Thomas Jondall (AZ) 3rd
-Robert Chorost (AZ) 23rd
-Michael Dziedzic (AZ) 53rd
-Taylor Birmann (MI) 56th

Day 4
Junior Men 15-16 Crit
-Rudy 16th
-Alexey 39th
-Max 46th

Junior Men 17-18 Crit
-Michael Dziedzic 11th
-Taylor Birmann 27th
-Robert Chorost 52nd

Day 5
Junior Men 15-16 RR
-Stephen 19th
-Alexey 29th
-Rudy 45th
-Max 55th

Friday, June 25, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

I am always quick to say that I am cursed when it comes to fantasy sports. I'm back of the pack at Fantasy Hockey, mediocre at College Basketball Brackets, and pizza-killing horrible at Fantasy Cycling. I went into the 2010 World Cup with minimal expectations, simply because I don't know a lick about international soccer. Perhaps ignorance is the key to success.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Notable Nationals Results

Day 1
13-14 Mens' Road Race:
-Kenny Polley (AZ) and Zach Edwards (AZ) Top 15
-Tulio Weber (AZ) 21st

10-12 Mens' RR:
-David Polley (AZ) 22nd

13-14 Womens' RR:
-Zoe Reeves (MI) 8th

Day 2
13-14 Womens' Crit
-Zoe Reeves 4th place. PODIUM!

Notable Nationals Results

Monday, June 21, 2010

Southwest Regional Development Camp: Report

Sorry if this post is a bit concise- I've explained in detail to many people what happened on each day.



We drove up to Flagstaff on Friday, so I could acclimate. On Saturday, Dad and I met up with Stephen for a 2.5 hour ride on St. Mary's Lake Road. Little did I know then that I would ride on St. Mary's Lake Road about four more times in the week to come...

Sunday

I got settled in at Gabaldon Hall (Northern Arizona University). I met my roommate, who happened to be Max Cronyn, a very nice Tucson native that I've raced with before. Max can put out some major power. At 1:30, we all went for a 3 hour group ride, all 29 of us. It was one of the largest camps on record, and also one of the strongest. Last year, there was a separate camp for Southern California kids, but they all headed up to Flagstaff this year.
We split into two groups: a 15-16 group, and a group with mostly 17-18s and a couple 15-16s. We rode easy, and socialized with each other the whole time.
We got back and had dinner. Dorm food. Presentations at 7. In bed by 9.


Monday

Mars Hill Repeats. .55 miles at just under 8% percent average. The slope kicked up to 10-15% 2/3s into it, and then flattened out at the top. We were time trialing up it 3 times.

I had a disaster time of it. I realized before the start of #1, that I had to use the bathroom.Sadly there was no toilet paper in the porta-potty, so it was a no-go. I started the first interval feeling gut pain. I didn't find a proper porta-potty until I had finished #2. #3 felt better than the first two, and my time was about the same. 2:51, 2:53, and 2:52. Oddly enough, my power on #1 was 295, but it was 308 on the other two. The power as you can tell is very low. I was still not completely over my sickness, and the altitude wasn't helping either.
We rode back to the dorm, showered, ate lunch, and got ready for skills drills. Skills are awesome! I miss the days when skills drills were a common occurrence with the AAVC Junior team. So much fun. We learned a lot about riding in a straight line, riding with others in close proximity, braking, bunny-hopping, and bottle hand offs.
We got 8 riders riding side-by-side with each rider putting his left hand on his fellow rider's shoulder. We navigated through corners quite masterfully. Overall, it was a blast!
Dinner was next, and then we were treated to a presentation by Kathy Zawadzki. We learned about nutrition, putting the right stuff in our engines.
We got the results from the morning's TT. I was unsatisfied to see myself closer to the back, 8th out of 17. Stephen KILLED it. 2nd overall behind Thomas Jondall, and 1st out of all 15-16s.


Tuesday

Snowbowl Mountain TT. I think Snowbowl is 6.5 miles in total, but we were racing half its distance. I figured that I desperately needed to redeem myself, and once again disappointed myself. I had told myself that I would start off at 240 and see if I could put in more watts as the end neared. After all, I had averaged 255 for 20 minutes at South Mountain, and this TT would be about 4 minutes shorter...

240 didn't work. I achieved it for the first 4 minutes, and saw that my wattage was beginning to magnet out to around 220. There was no way I could let myself average 220, that would be shameful. So I kept trying to push 240, and I blew up a minute later. Hit the wall. Ran out of gas. Whatever you like to call it, it wasn't good. It turned into a ride of shame up to the finish. It was rough. My average was 204, which is a wattage that I could produce when I was 12 (I'm 15). Obviously, I was two or three notches off.

Later in the afternoon, we did skills in the grass!!! That means bumping, riding side-by-side with another rider and essentially leaning on him as he leans his weight on you. It's a great skill for juniors who sometimes get pushed around in senior races because of their size.

After bumping, we played a game dubbed "Garbage Ball". A garbage can was placed in the center of a soccer field. Two teams of 5 or 6 attempted to place a small ball inside the Can. This game is epic, and I hear that it's being considered for an Olympic sport!
We learned about on-the-bike nutrition for Presentations. Gotta maintain those glycogen stores.



Wednesday

5k flat repeats. 3 of them. My times were 9:00, 8:08, and 8:46 (varying wind) and my power was around 230-240. I gave it all I had.

When the first 7 of us finished, we headed back to the dorms lead by Jon Parrish of Kenda Geargrinder. By the way, we had some stellar ride leaders/mentors. Stevie and Ben from Waste Management, Jake Rubelt and Ron Jensen from Rideclean, Jon, and Cory from Pista Palace. These guys have a ton of knowledge and advice. I had some nice conversations with them during group rides.
For the afternoon skills, we broke into groups of 7 and practiced pacelining. My group worked on echelons and rotating pacelines. I love a good rotating paceline.
At presentations, Kathy taught us the details of several recovery methods: stretching, sleep, massage, ice baths, rest, and compression tights. Barney (Barney King, the man who manages the whole camp) finished the night by beginning a lecture on racing strategy and tactics.



Thursday

Easy spin to begin the recovery process. Instead of riding in the afternoon, we had interviews with the coaches to assess our power files and overall experience at camp. My interview was with Steve Campo and Jake. They are super nice guys, full of encouragement and advice.
Presentations featured a Q&A, an announcement of the 17-18 riders that made the L'Abitibi team, and lots of shwag given out. We got some cool USA Cycling jerseys, and a ton of bars.


Friday

I got packed up, and waited for Dad to get me. I said goodbye to the coaches and any riders that were still there, and left for home!

As most of the juniors from camp are at Nationals now, I am taking a week or two off the bike. Once I am completely "back", I can start training hard again! Looking forward to it!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here We Go

The bike is on the car. The bike is cleaned. My bags are packed, and I might add that I did quite a pro job of packing them. We leave for Flagstaff very soon. I'll have 3 days to acclimate to the altitude before the first time trial on Monday.
I am ready for camp.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your Cycling Opinion Needed

Check out this post, and tell me what you think.