Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AZ State Team Time Trial Championships: Report

Holy pizza, I had good legs! No joke, I felt incredible warming up. Normally my legs feel like dead-weights warming up on the trainer, but they felt incredible on Sunday.
Jake, Stephen, Goran, and I went off 2 minutes after El Grupo A.
Our goal was to start off with 30 second pulls and go from there. I felt way too good on the way out. I took my pulls at about 280w (threshold=256), but riding in the slipstream made me feel way too fresh. I started lengthening my pulls and asked Goran to shorten his pulls. Considered that the way out takes longer than the way back, we should have ridden harder in the first half. Sadly, we just didn't.
We hit the turn-around, and from there, our pace never went below 29. Goran fell off the pace soon after. Jake, Stephen, and I dug deep on our pulls. I'll reiterate again that I felt a bit frustrated. I was taking uber painful 3oow pulls for 40-50 seconds, but I didn't feel like anything had happened when I went to the back of the paceline. The 1km to go sign came up way sooner than I thought. I gave a hard pull, recovered, then sprinted to the line with my teammates. I have to admit, it felt pretty epic.

The results put us in 2nd place with a time of 28:29. As a side note, we broke the old record...but so did El Grupo. Logan, Donovan, Nathan, and Max showed that they were the fastest, and I give them my respect. Strada rocked a 29:36 with clip-on bars.
I have a boatload of respect for my teammates. They rode their organs out. Truly, it was an honor to race with them. I had so much fun racing my bike. Plus, God made my legs really good, so it was cool.

Next up...the individual time trial.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

TTT: Preview

As I sit here at the kitchen table, looking for a motivational theme for this post, I ponder the words of Aristotle. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts". The phrase has been circulated and cross-referenced so much over the years that people have forgotten its meaning (also, it has been so carelessly abused that there is much debate about "greater" vs. "more").

Let me try to dig deep into the definition. Mathematically, it would be arranged as:
D+C+B+A=X
but
X>D+C+B+A

The equation is a paradox. The entire concept is a paradox. It breaks the reflexive property, which says A=A. The reason is, therefore, that there is a deeper value to the idea that can't be expressed with figures. :

Perhaps chemistry explains it. Hydrogen bonding. Is it the density or even the complexity of the joining of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom that makes water do such a great job of resisting chemical change? I reckon not. It's the bond that keeps the water together.

Coming back to the race. We have 4 teams, 4 wholes, 4 bonds. For each team, there are 4 parts.

El Grupo #1: Donovan C, Nathan F, Logan B, Max C
Strada: Nick T, Connor B, Sean B, Don H
El Grupo #2: Ben K, Daniel K, Keenan D, Lucas M
DNA: Jake S (Big Dog), Stephen M (Cooch), Goran G (Frodo), and James A (Bike Boy/Socrates)

Certainly the other teams have nicknames as well, I just don't know them. Tomorrow we may well find out as we battle over 20 kilometers to determine the State Championship. The important question is, which team is wholier?

Monday, August 22, 2011

AZ State Road Race Championship: Report

I am thinking of a way to preface this race report. I had been looking forward to this race all season because it belongs to a pure climber. However, I had to make a tough decision before the race. On Friday, my senior class went up to Roosevelt lake for the day. I figured it would really tire me out for the race on sunday, but you only get one senior retreat in your entire life. So I went to Roosevelt, and despite my best efforts to not get a sunburn, I came home red as a tomato. It was a choice I made, and I certainly didn't feel happy about it, but I made the decision.

So...the state road race in Hillside, which is near Prescott. It was a fun-filled drive up to Prescott with Dad and Jake, and then a fun trip to dinner with the latter plus my mom and sisters. I got in some fairly decent sleep.

Fast forward to the start of my race. I had 3 teammates: the Marcucci's and Matt Duke. Trisports lined up with 4 riders, including the 800 pound gorilla Mike Radcliff. Carlos O'Brien's also had 4 riders, with Alan Brown as their climber. If you don't believe this race was custom-made for a climber, check out the profile.

Richard Hurst attacked from the start. Undoubtedly, he was trying to take the pressure of his teammate, Alex Strickland. My teammates helped set a tempo and bring Richard back, but he immediately attacked again with a Bikehaus rider and an Echelon rider. The pack was content to let them dangle about a minute in front for the next 30 miles. The first climb took 5-10 minutes. None of the climbers wanted to come out and play, and I didn't want to be the first. It was an easy climb for me, but a couple of people got popped as Team Colleen rode a steady tempo.

Matt Jones from U of A pulled a lot. Team Colleen set the pace. My teammates set some of the pace. No one from Carlos O'Briens did any work. Josh did work for Trisports. This one unattached guy did a lot of work. 30 miles into it, Stephen flatted. 5 miles later, we caught the breakaway going through a roller section. It was at this point that I knew I was going to run out of water. I had figured that 68 ounces of water/fuel would be sufficient. For that reason, I didn't plan on a feed, and therefore didn't get a feed. Perhaps I didn't count on the temperature to get into the 90s.

At mile 40, Matt Duke slid off the front. Stephen (who had caught the group after his flat) set a false tempo as the field chatted nonchalantly. Matt was out of sight in a minute. We were now racing for Matt. He had 10 miles of flat to go before ascending a 6-7 mile climb to the finish. If he had a 2 minute gap going into the mountains, he had a chance of holding off the climbers. Stephen and I policed the field, and then Stephen flatted again. I tagged myself onto some breakaway attempts on this long downhill stretch. It was pretty exhilarating.

Unfortunately, when we hit the climb with 10 miles left Matt was just dangling in front. Radcliff stood up to accelerate, but he flatted. That seemed providential at the time. Ironically, in Mike's absence, his teammate Christian Maldonado destroyed the field with an unbelievably hard pace up the climb. The field literally went from 25 to 7 in two minutes. This was an unbelievably painful suffering. I wanted to get dropped, I wanted to give up. It just hurt so bad. But then I realized that I actually didn't want to get dropped; I actually wanted to hang on and try to win the race. So I survived that climb. At the top, Mike caught on with his teammate Eric. And then there were 9. We hit the last climb, and I died a metaphorical death. Loren from Webop rode a steady tempo that made me want to whimper and cringe at his feet. I suffered a lot to stay in the group. Alex, Eric, and Alan both got popped at the base. Then I got popped. I got popped big time. Alan passed me and gave me a friendly push forward. I worked with him for a tiny bit, but couldn't keep up. Then Alex caught up to me; I tried to work with him, but I gapped him. Then Eric caught me, and the two of us were able to crawl to the top together. We were riding for 10th place. I didn't know we were on the last climb, so I didn't give a thought about making a last ditch effort to drop Eric. The next thing I knew we had 1 kilometer to go to the finish. I gave it a little bit of a surge and got zero separation. with 400 meters to go, we hit the part of the course I was least suited to: a downhill sprint. I really really didn't want to get beat. Eric lead it out. It was really fast, but I felt really determined. I started to pass on the left side, but Eric veered to the left. He moved to the right, and I tried again, but got the door shut on me again. The last thing I wanted to do was get relegated for crossing the yellow line. Eric took 10th place. I was slightly annoyed, but it wasn't a big deal. We were both too exhausted to think at that point.

I was satisfied in the fact that I hadn't expected place as high as 11th. The sunburn pretty much killed me, poor hydration didn't help either. I don't like the heat, but then again, who does?

It was an epic win for Mike Radcliff. I give you kudos, Mike.

My dad got massive massive cramps. Jake got popped. Phil Maxwell suffered a ridiculous rear derailleur malfunction. Goran, Kenny, and Taylor missed their start time by 7 minutes. It just goes to show you that you have to cope with disappointment. Quite honestly, the disappointment is much more common than the accomplishment. I am thankful I was able to race my bike yesterday. I'm thankful God kept me safe and let me ride much faster than I thought I would. I'm thankful to Brian, Stephen, and Matt for helping me so much. All in all, I'm very thankful and happy to be racing again. I love the community.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

La Vuelta A España

1. Rodriguez
2. Anton
3. Nibali
4. Van den Broeck
5. Scarponi
6. Kloden
7. Mosquera
8. D. Martin
9. Moncoutie
10. Wiggins

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rubber Bands

Rubber Bands on braces are an inconvenience. End of story.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Next up



Sunday is the Arizona state road race championship. I will be racing Cat 3s, and my dad will race Masters 45-49. A preview will come some time this week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

School

I started doing the whole school thing on Wednesday. It wasn't a challenging week, but it should pick up on Monday.

I am taking (in this order)

Bible
Calc 2
Yearbook/Journalism
Computers
Spanish 4
English 101/102
Lifeskills/College Prep

For once, I don't dislike any of my classes. The year is promising.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer 2011

Sometimes when people die, they say they've lived a "full life". I have lived a "full summer", to borrow the colloquialism.
It started with Devo Camp in Flagstaff. Thanks to my wonderful family, I was able to spend a week in Flag prior to the camp. The week that unfolded after was full of good stuff. I really enjoyed hanging out with the other campers and becoming good friends. Also, I did better in the testing than I expected. All in all, I felt that the entire experience was a huge blessing.
A week later, we hit nationals up. I spent quality time with my pop, and learned about bike racing. Surviving in the crit is something I'm very proud of, and getting 38th in the road race gives me confidence.
We did some fundraising this summer, and that included a charity ride from Mesa to Payson. Thank you to everyone who came out!

I went to Quebec for the Tour de L'abitibi in July. Certainly it was an eye-opener, and certainly I learned many valuable lessons. When life knocks you down, get up and keep going! I got the privilege of essentially being in the atmosphere of a pro team. I spent quality time with my teammates, director, and mechanic, and am glad to call them my friends. I felt that the whole trip forced me to grow a little, which is a good thing.

I have enjoyed the past two weeks immensely. I have spent it doing fun rides with cool people and being with my family. Tomorrow, my vacation ends, and school starts.
I embark on senior year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sick Humanity

The grabbing hands grab all they can
All for themselves - after all
The grabbing hands grab all they can
All for themselves - after all
It's a competitive world
Everything counts in large amounts
-
Depeche Mode


Certainly that song is taken from the perspective of a Costco sample seller. As I was waiting for the Philly Cheesesteak to come out of the microwave, the zoo-ishness of it all struck me. 8 people surrounded the sample lady, staring at her like zombies. I tried to give her some distance so she could do her job without any pressure. In an instant, she set 4 cheesesteak samples on the stand, and the people went nuts. Hands reached in from every direction. I missed out, but felt vindicated. If these guys wanted to be animals and hog all the food, they were allowed. I wasn't going to play their game. The crowd seemed to clear, and an actual line formed. This time, I was at the front, but an elderly man crept up on my right side. I started to shoulder him off, but realized I was stooping to their level. I let up, but still snagged a cheesesteak, proving that you don't have to be a barbarian to stay fed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Taken Advantage Of

Wednesday morning, I set out for the Brumby group ride, looking for some competition-induced overloading. At 5:30, we intersected paths. 3 of my teammates were there, and 3 riders from WebOp. It wasn't a very fast ride, because it was only a 10 rider group. When I pulled through in the pace line, Kyle Reedy attacked really hard, followed by my teammate Phil and two WebOp dudes. Kyle won the intermediate sprint ahead of Phil, but they sat up for Usery Pass. Very quickly the group whittled down to Loren (WebOp), Bryce (WebOp), and me. As you can see, Bryce and Loren are on the team, so they did their best to destroy me. They attacked me 5 times, and shook me off well reaching the top of Usery. Loren and Bryce are super good climbers, so I didn't feel too bad. However, if I get any say in things, I will be back out there next week.
There was a lot of pain. Plus I had this song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Pep-Talk

*Let it be known that I am IN NO WAY TRYING TO BASH ANYBODY WITH THIS BLOG POST.*


Let me set the scene. Tour de L'Abitibi Stage 7. Pre-stage, 1.5 hours til race start. Erik, Owen, Danny, Director Mark, Mechanic Andrew, and I are shading ourselves behind a hockey rink. Sitting next to us is Team Specialized.

The Specialized director walks up to his riders and begins to give them a talk.

"Have any of you guys seen the movie 'A Few Good Men'? Well in it, Tom Cruise plays a lawyer trying to convict Colonel Jessep of ordering a murder. He is considering putting the Colonel on the witness stand, but he doesn't have any evidence. Demi Moore, who is his partner lawyer, tells him that he's taking a big risk to put Jessep on the witness stand, because Tom Cruise could be courtmartialed. Tom Cruise doesn't care though, because he's willing to take a risk. That's what I feel today is like: we have a rider sitting 5th in GC, and we can race conservatively and keep that 5th place. Or we can take a risk. That's how I see it."

It was actually a pretty inspiring speech. None of us knew what to say, until our mechanic looked up from the ground and said to us:

"So guys, there's this movie called 'Caddyshack', and in it, Bill Murray plays the groundskeeper at a golf course. And there's this gopher that keeps on messing up the golf course. So Bill Murray rigs explosives to one of the greens and blows everything up."

I guess it just made sense to us.