Thursday, June 30, 2011

Le Tour de France 2011: Prediction

Hey everybody, my list is out finally. I spent a good month compiling a scaled ranking system to figure out the most balanced rider in this race. What I got pretty much matched up with what my gut told me, then I threw a bit of stuff out the window and changed some stuff around right before I published this. I have always been set on the top 5. My heart has been sure of the podium's exact order. Wiggins, Cunego, Roche, and Hesjedal are enigmas to me. That's where I suspect I will stumble. I picked Levi to be the leader of Radioshack for a couple reasons. Brajkovic is the youngest. Kloden is too humble. I consider Horner to be peaked out. Levi seems most consistent. Then again, Kloden did very well at Basque Country and Paris-Nice, and those are the races I consider most indicative of a future Tour performance. Okay, so I just completely swapped Leipheimer, Kloden, and Horner around. Curse you, Radioshack. And I just dropped Frank Schleck from 6th to 11th. So much for the ranking system.


1. A. Schleck
2. Evans
3. Contador
4. S. Sanchez
5. Van den Broeck
6. Kloden
7. Gesink
8. Leipheimer
9. Wiggins
10. F. Schleck
11. Basso
12. Hesjedal
13. Horner
14. Roche
15. Cunego
16. Mollema
17. Taaramae
18. Danielson
19. Vande Velde
20. Brajkovic
21. S. Chavanel
22. Van Garderen
23. Vinokourov
24. Peraud
25. T. Martin

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

National Road Race: Report

This guy was 58 miles and about 90 degrees. 143 riders lined up, meaning it would probably be a crash-filled day. 'Twas. The crashes made the race much more than the rollers did. There were 6-7 crashes, most of them being right in front of me. I was near the back most of the race (here's some advice; if you have a deathwish, ride at the back), so I was dodging crashes quite frequently. It was really a nightmare. I was trying to stay on the right side of the road so I could take my feeds on laps 2 and 3. Kids were attacking on the feed zone climb, and I was slowing down looking for my dad. Let's just say I screwed up the whole feed zone thing. I missed both my feeds- and it would come back to haunt me later. Before we hit the lap 2 feed zone, a big crash happened right in front of me. Everyone blocked the road, so I had to dart off into the woods and come back through the grass. I chased for a good bit, caught back on for the feedzone, couldn't find my dad, missed my hand-off, and then the field split atop the next hill (as I was moving up). I chased even harder and managed to make the junction. From there, the race was pretty easy, and I got to the front. I was right at the front with 10km to go. It looked like a small break was up the road. I followed the wheel of Thomas Wrona (Hot Tubes), and noticed that he wasn't attacking. That meant he probably had a teammate in the break. I felt really good, sitting top 20. Danny crashed...for the second time. With 5km to go, I was still there, and the peleton was just sucking me along. It was pretty sketchy (these riders are fast, faster than I am- but they need to go to development camp and learn how to handle their bikes). We hit the feedzone climb- 1km to go. I heard a parent yell "ALEXEY IS WINNING", and thought woah. There was a sketchy moment with riders getting pushed every which way by a sudden swerve. Then I cramped, big time. Both my quads seized up, and it was all over. At least 20 riders flew by me to the finish. I took 38th, with nothing left. Alexey V, was the national champ, winning out of a two-man breakaway with Colin Joyce of Hot Tubes.

I was disappointed. 38th place is good, I know; the problem is that I know I could have done much better. I just didn't take care of my body...and that bugs me.

So to summarize, I learned a lot in Augusta. I think it has made me a better bike racer and given me confidence to ride in a big pack filled with strong riders. I get a rest day tomorrow, and then start training for Abitibi!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

National Criterium: Report

Oh pizza.
My race was at 4:30 pm. Dad and I arrived in Downtown Augusta at 2 to watch the elite men race. I was hanging ice-filled pantyhose on my neck, keeping things cool. All 125 of us piled into the staging area for 2o minutes. We all were using different strategies to keep cool. I lined up with my Abitibi teammates Tj and Owen. Then Alexey rolled up next to me; it was just like old times.
I drank so much in the staging area, I completely wet my pants on the start line. That was good though. I started the race in about 40th position. The race was really really fast, and it really never let up. The heat really took it out of me. I was getting the chills half way through, as well as a stitch in my stomach. However, the pain kinda faded away because it was such an epic venue. With 8 laps to go, I ran out of water. I found myself at the back at that point, but started to move up. I probably moved up 20-30 spots on the last lap to finish 46th. It was very satisfying because the race was so fast. Almost 40 riders abandoned. Definitely I am thankful to God for how he kept me in the race. And no crashes...for me at least! The road race is tomorrow...I'm excited!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

National Time Trial: Report

I figure all the stress is out of the way now that I've finished the TT. Wednesday evening turned out to be super hectic. Dad and I went to the Sheraton to register. They told us I needed to bring my TT bike for UCI measurements. After going through a long line, I put my bike on the measuring jig...and failed. My saddle was too far forward apparently. The officials told me that I could get a morphological exemption if I sat on the bike with my bike shoes and proved that I needed things to be a certain way. Dad ran back to the car again and grabbed the shoes. I didn't get the morphological exemption- they were content with my saddle going as far back as possible. I was pretty ticked off, but it was my fault, I guess.
Then we tried to get some dinner. After two unsuccessful tries, we walked up to Carrabas and saw, lo and behold, Alexey and his dad! We talked for a while and then got some dinner. In bed by 10:10.

I started the time trial at 8:48. It was not very fun. I got passed by a lot of people. 45:23 for 90th. However, I think I rode strong, and the things that slowed me down were out of my control. My TT bike didn't fit me today, to be quite honest. Of course, that does come back to me because I pretty much dedicated my June training to regional camp. So I'm content with the way things went, and I know the next two races should be more fun.
Thanks for reading. I will update Friday night probably.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trip East

Hey guys, I'm travelling to Augusta, Georgia tomorrow. It's gonna be a 2:30 AM wakeup!
p.s. The startlist for the time trial is up.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Southwest Regional Development Camp: Report

It was a journey, folks.
I guess I'll start off with Day 1:
I checked into Mountain View dorm at 11. Dad and Maria took me to Safeway for some bagels and bottled water. After eating lunch, I said goodbye to my family. My roommates were Beau Boggs (from Indiana), Donovan Caputo (El Grupo), and Logan Boyd (El Grupo). They were great to be around. I was already pretty good friends with Donovan, and Beau/Logan were uber cool.
I met up with pretty much everybody and got kitted up for a 2 hour ride. Flats dominated the ride (I was the second casualty out of four). I didn't enjoy the ride, feeling uncomfortably warm and sweaty. After the ride and before evening lectures, I had a lot of fun hanging out in Jake/Taylor's room, philosophizing with the gang. At lectures, I received info for Tour de L'Abiti, which is a Nation's Cup stage race for 17-18 age juniors (in Quebec). Six riders from our camp would be placed on team to compete in that. Panic set in when I started to think I was sick. My core body temperature just didn't seem right. I was about to go to bed and sleep my anxiety off when I realized that I didn't have contact solution. I asked just about everybody in the camp, and it turns out that everyone else had really good eyesight. Chris Aten saved my butt by driving over and delivering some solution. Thanks Chris!!! Everything resolved itself as I realized that I was not sick; my mind was just playing games.

Day 2
I ate breakfast with the gang and prepped for our 9AM ride. We rode 2.5 hours easy, scouting out the Mars Hill time trial course. To be honest, I really just wanted to do the field test because I had already previewed it.
We ate lunch, and it was pretty fun. I didn't have much variety with the cafeteria food all week long, but that helped me.
Our afternoon ride was a skills workout. The group split up; my group included returning 17-18 campers. We practiced tight pacelines and then played bike soccer. Let it be known that Donovan Caputo is a man at bike soccer, as is Corey Steinbrecher (one of our staff).
We did an intense stretching session. Lots of groaning and agonized screaming (I thought Jake was going to pull his leg out). I had a nice afternoon, eating dinner and hanging with my cycling friends. Kathy Zawadski lectured us on cleaning up our diets nutritionally speaking. Barney gave us instructions for the 3 time trial repeats we would perform on Mars Hill, and we departed for bed. I was eager to get climbing.

Day 3
Let's skip the small talk and get right to the TT. We did 3 time trials up Mars Hill. It starts off steep, gets incredibly steep, and flattens out for the last 30 seconds. I hit the steep part HARD and gave whatever I had left on the flat. I came in at 2:30 on the first one, which made me really happy. Last year, only two people went under 2:30. What a taxing interval it was. Everyone’s lungs burned ferociously. Nathan Franklin barfed.

My second interval was 2:37, and my lungs felt a lot better. I hit the last repeat with no regrets and finished in 2:35. It was tough for everybody. Ethan Fedor snapped his chain 10 feet away from the finish line. Nathan Franklin barfed on his leg. We rode home.

We did some cool skills drills in the afternoon. We practiced stuffing ourselves with waterbottles and learned how to pee on the bike. Very cool stuff.

The results came out at 7PM. I was sitting in 7th place overall. TJ Eisenhart destroyed it, and Danny Eaton was 2nd. Teal Buchi was 3rd (he is U23). Chris Putt from Utah was in 4th, Geoffrey Curran was in 5th (he is 15-16) and Owen Graves was 2 seconds ahead of me. Directly behind me were Marcus Smith, Erik Volotzky, and Michael Dziedzic. I was happy with the result, but I knew I needed to get myself ahead of Owen.

Day 4

So I’m 5th place for 17-18s. I’m 2 seconds down on Owen, Marcus Smith is 8 seconds down on me, and the Snowbowl TT is looming above us. Snowbowl is a little under 3 miles and about 6%. I was wary about blowing up; I hit the wall on Snowbowl last year and finished WAAAAAAY back. When you blowup at 8,000 feet, there’s no recovery.

I didn’t start the time trial off that fast. I looked back to see Owen pulling back space on me. Oh pizza I thought. I accelerated and glanced far up the road for Marcus. There he was. I could see that he was suffering. I was suffering too, but I think he was really suffering. Owen wasn’t close to me anymore. I was going fast, and I liked it. I knew God was making me fast and giving me an opportunity. I caught Marcus with over a mile left. We pushed each other to the finish (not literally) catching Michael in the process. It was tough, but I enjoyed it. We all suffered. It was difficult to ride up to where everybody was recovering- very tiring. Nathan dry-heaved.

We played Garbage Ball in the afternoon. I didn’t do that well, but my team did well. The mentors (Ron, Jake, Connor, and Corey) played us and pretty much destroyed us. That’s okay though.

I got the results for the TT. I tied for 6th with Chris. I put some time into Owen, Marcus, and Erik, and moved into 4th for 17-18s. TJ and Danny were in a league of their own, but TJ pulled ahead again (let it be known that TJ is a little guy and Danny is a big guy).

Day 5

5k Repeats. Three of them. Flat as all get out. Given that I was one of the smallest riders, I feared this. I could only lose 37 seconds to Marcus, 47 seconds to Erik, 71 seconds on Nathan, and 73 seconds to Owen. I was ready for the ride 35 minutes early. I sat down in the hall way and rose frequently to use the restroom. I asked the coaches for advice. Right before we departed, my dad called me. He told me he was proud of all I had done, he would pray for me, and he knew I would do my very best. I got the chills; I got this feeling that I could do it. I gave it all I had, finishing 14th on the day. Erik put a minute into me and moved up, but he was the only one. Somehow I held the rest off.

During my exit interview, Barney told me that I was “in” for the Abitibi team. Woah.

A dream come true? Not really. I never dreamed that big. I can only thank God for the opportunity. I have never had a race where everything lined up so perfectly, except for maybe the State TT.

This is all the report I can give. You can ask me about all the little details. I enjoyed myself so much. I made friends, and that was cool, considered just about everyone rejected me last year.

So for now the team looks like TJ, Danny, Erik, Chris, Owen, and myself. We go to Quebec in the middle of July. The next stop in between is Nationals. Thanks for checking in- God bless.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bye


This week consisted of afternoon rides with my pop and Taylor Skinner. I scouted out the climbs and got a feel for them. With the exception of necessary bouts into Zone 3 in steep grades and crosswinds, I have taken it easy. Camp starts tomorrow, so this blog will not be updated for a while. You might see an occasional facebook update, but that's all. Cheers.

Monday, June 6, 2011

6,900'

I have begun the June odyssey. The first stop is Flagstaff. We are there.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Be Careful

There was an incident out on Apache Trail today. My teammate got hit by a motorcycle that wasn't going the speed limit. Riders, please be careful, especially on the ride out to Tortilla Flats. My teammate is totally fine, but it just goes to show that it's a dangerous world out there. Be wary.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hello June

Summer came up on me quickly yet timely. I am itching to get started on a month of big competition. The highs and lows of racing locally have been put into perspective.
I know what my woes were at Regional Camp last year, and they are for the most part, a thing of the past. I look forward to growing as a cyclist and being competitive. Nationals will be a new experience for me, but I hope it will change me as a cyclist. I hope to go back into the Arizona racing scene with a new-found confidence. That's what I'm praying for, anyways.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Armstrong is obviously right!

C'mon guys, Tyler Hamilton was OBVIOUSLY lying!
The UCI has denied covering up that positive test by Lance Armstrong in the 2001 Tour de Suisse. So now, CBS definitely deserves to owe up to their mistake.

(striking the sarcasm):
So the UCI didn't do this because the UCI said it didn't do it. Okay. I think it's fascinating how people are considered to be telling the truth, simply because they say they are.