Friday, May 30, 2008

Review and Philly Week

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last 10 days but it has been hell keeping up with work, training, racing, marriage and a two and a half year old. After my last post I did a few NRC criteriums including Willmington, Kelly Cup and Sommerville. Sometimes I think I'm a good crit rider (usually on a climb) and sometimes I think I'm a good climber (usually in a crit). I'm starting to think that I really do suck at both. Willmington would have been a disaster if it wasn't for Scott Zwizanski winning. And it was a beautiful win. He gets into a break of 12 guys with 4 Colavita guys and with two laps to go slips away and wins it.
Now it wasn't pretty since Scottie you may remember pedals with a goofy foot but man was it special. My race sucked. I was in oxygen deprivation from the first lap (need to remember to warm up properly) after driving 3 hours to get there and once the break stuck and I saw the race was done I pulled the plug. Not a good idea since I should have finished and tried to get some NRC points for the team.

Kelly Cup went better. Well sort of. I was a little pissed at how Wilmington went so I drove to Baltimore the night before. Made sure I did an hour of spinning in the morning and an OK warm up. My legs were great in the race. I felt good and nothing was getting away without me trying to be in it. With about 12 laps to go a dangerous move goes up the road and I bridge up with a few guys but then the counter went and I had nothing in the thank to be in there. So I start setting up the sprint for Sven when with two laps to go as were hitting the front somebody goes down and I can't avoid him since I have barriers to my left and a field to my right. I t bone the guy break my frame and by the time I get up I'm the only guy left behind. Obviously I was a little pissed and ended up borrowing a bike from SRAM so that I could get to my car. Damm it. I really wanted to do well at Kelly.

Sommerville is a special race for me since it was my first race in the US back in 1987 and my first win in the US in the 9-11 category. I still remember beating Yanni Felman who at the time was the hot kid on the block until I showed up that is. I stuck on his wheel the whole race not taking one pull and then I beat him in the sprint. I was under orders from my father not to pull. After that for a few years Yanni and I would end up alone in each race and I would either drop him or out sprint him. Poor guy. Anyways. Sommerville is a great race. Fast, easy and usually a sprint so I wanted to make sure that we were in good shape until the end and then see if I can sneak into the Colavita train with Sven since I was pretty sure Haedo was the guy to beat. I spun my legs the entire day in an easy gear and was pretty fresh in the end. But so were a lot of people and there were way too many people trying to jockey for position that had no business being there. It was crash mania. There must have been 5 crashes in the last lap. I managed to avoid them all but Sven and Scottie weren't so lucky and they both went down hard. I managed to stay upright and was on the Colavita train
until the last lap when I got boxed out and just rolled accross the line in 23rd place.

The last crit I did was also the hardest. The Ricola Twilight Criterium is a local race in Baskin Ridge that usually gets a great field because of a $10,000 prize list. Last year I lasted 22 minutes and average 330 Watts for those 22 minutes. That's real Watts not normalized power folks. I'm sure that's nothing for a lot of guys but for me its a lot. This year again I suffered like a dog and tought many times I was going to get dropped but I survived and finished 16th. The average power for the same 22 minutes was 300 Watts this year but the speed was the same so I am either a lot leaner or getting more efficient.

This weekend I have the CSC classic another NRC race in Arlington, VA. Its the first time that I do a 100 Km criterium since I raced in Europe and its suppose to be a hard one so I am hoping to have good legs for it. Especially since my college roommate will be there with his family and the last time he watched me race at Kelly I went down. That was also the first time he watched me race. So I'm hoping not to go down this time. Then it's Philly week and that will be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to doing the Allentown race in front of the Rodale folks as well as Philly itself since the last time I did it was 1995. I've been preparing hard for these races and am hoping to be on good days so that I can help the team.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey You People Aren't so Cheap After All

So I have gotten some nice surprises in the last week including three donations for a total of $800 to Camp Twin Lakes. The first wishes to remain anonymous but thank you for getting us started. Mike Sundet a former client and now friend also added to the pot and I really appreciate that. Keep the beer coming Mike. People buy Anheuser-Bush beer. And yesterday Kirsten Budden who is a killer thriatlete who schools her husband on a regular basis out on the course (check out Chris Budden's Blog) made a donation as well. Thank you all for your help and thoughtfulness. As we swing into summer these donations really help the kids get the most out of the outdoors so keep em comin and no amount is too small.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Joe Martin

Today was day 3 of Joe Martin and I finally had a good day...sort of. The team had a great day with my boy Teddy King popping a flyer with one K to go and sticking it. Here is a play by play of that. Way to go Teddy T. We'll have to have a glass of celebratory bubly this evening.

The first day of Joe Martin was a 2.5 Km uphill Time Trial. I didn't do so well. I rode it as hard as I could but I just couldn't get into a hard rhythm. Of course having Alejandro Borajo start 30 seconds behind me helped me keep moving. He never caught me. But he came close.

The second stage was 110 Miles with one major climb of 9 miles and a few minor climbs. The climb wasn't too steep but it stung the legs. From the base there were attacks and I managed to hang in there getting dropped once and then working my way back up on Dan Zmolick's wheel. The New York boys try to stick together. It's almost like a park race here. Lohner is here with Zmolick, Eugene and Nick from Mengoni. Of course we will miss Bear Mountain this Sunday which sucks but that's the price you pay. Anyways back on the ranch. Once over the climb the race stayed fast and after taking Teddy into one of the last corners I popped the shoot and rolled in the last K with Emile Abraham from Team Type 1. Somehow I lost 2seconds to Emile eventhough we were together.

Today's stage was 92 miles with 3 circuits and some more climbing. Nothing too long but up and down with two stingers in there. I felt good from the beginning and followed a few moves in the beginning and then once the break stuck just settled in and spun to keep the legs good for the sprint. The team told me this morning that I could do what I wanted today since it was a good finish for me so I tried to conserve. Here is our team director Mark coming up with that important decision. Anytime anything dangerous split I tried to be in it and in the last lap it went balistic for a moment. Right after I had covered a move from Colavita the climbs were coming and luckily for me Teddy King was there with a helping hand (literarly) at just the right moment. Coming into the sprint I got on the right wheel then Teddy popped it so I think that eventhough I was in the Top 20 or so I already had my hands raised well before the line celebrating Teddy's win.

And then it happened. In my haste I went up to Teddy and was about to give the guy a big kiss when my handlebars got tangled on his and I went down hard. I lost consicousness for a few seconds but when I came to I was more embarassed than anything. I am OK but now have two large bruises on my face, both hands and knees. Anyways tomorrow is a killer crit so let's see if we can repeat and stay on the bike both before and after the line. Thank you Tweetie for the great shots and for keeping my bike sort of clean.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Come on donate you cheap bastards

OK so I have raised $1,000 dollars to date in prize money for Camp Twin lakes (see side bar) and a month or so ago I called upon my friends and supporters to try and do some matching so that we can help more kids with serious illnesses enjoy the outdoors and experience the joy of childhood. To date nothing. Bubkas. Now I know there are folks reading this blog - about 200 per day to be exact and some of you may even have jobs. So break out those check books and make some tax deductible donations before I come to your house on saturday morning looking for a check. You can donate here or if you prefer to do it by mail or phone you can find information here Don't forget to e-mail me so that I can add to the taly and give you your proper credit.

Here is more information on what Camp Twin Lakes is and what they do.
And what they do is make an increcible difference in the lives of kids.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stop the Presses

Before you all read it in the sports section of the New York Times tomorrow, or a major news organization like I wanted my fan base to know it from me first. Yes the NRC rankings are now updated after this weekends races and I am ranked officialy. Wait for it, wait for it. Yes 100th position with 5 points. That is only 287 points away from Burke Swindelhurst the original Kazee Soza from Bissel who is leading the series in front of Santiago Botero some guy from Colombia. Now I am still going to be the same person don't worry, I won't let the success get to my head. If my name only started with an A I'd be in 97th place. Instead I have Jonhy Clarke, Fabio Calabria and Jorge Alvarado in front of me. I am especially upset about Johny since I bought that little bastard dinner a few weeks ago. Of course I have eight of my bissell teammates in front of me but Jeremy and Scottie are only 5 and 11 points in front and I have them in my sights. That's right boys watch your asses because its going to get rough out there.

This weekend was Sunny King Criterum and Roswell. Saturday at Sunny King I was pretty much useless to the team. Richard "but I love Kate" England (recent Tour of Georgia stage winner), Scott "goofy left foot" Zwizanski, Garret "I get as much ass as any man can" Peltonen and Ted "I'm tall and I can climb" King and I were representing Bissell. They responded to attacks left and right and I just prayed to the virgin marry and asked Karl "God Damm Saddist" Menzies to please stop making it hurt so much. Alas a break got away with Scottie and Richard in it the pace became civilized and then in the end in an effort to help Richie... and I say effort because I think that I actually cost him a few places ... managed to stay up there and finish in 18th place (hence the 5 NRC points)

The next day at Roswell things went a little better for me personaly. My legs felt better and I was at least able to respond to some moves. And when I say respond I mean jump on the wheels and stay there. I think once I went with a dude from Health Net and you could tell that he saw a Bissell guy come up and just decided to wait since two is better than one and then I got up to him and kind of pulled through like a little girl and he was very confused. Hey buddy, not all of us are full time "pro" bike racers. So a break finally gets away with Teddy King in it and it laps the field so the race wasn't so bad. In the end I let a gap open on the backside as Toyota was leading it out and rolled accross the line in 24th place. Teddy was 4th so that was good but we didn't win.

For a moment there I was kidding myself thinking that I was a good crit rider but the reality of it is that I can just get myself in the right position most of the time and this weekend it wasn't one of those times. I am hoping that taking a week off might have hurt my supless (as the french say) a little bit and that Joe Martin will be different. I mean Bill Elliston beat me on Sunday for christ's sake. Is there nothing sacred anymore.

Now I am working hard three days of sales calls back with my man Jason. Hi Steve I miss you too (inside joke).

Another update with pictures soon. Thanks for reading the blabbing but its late and I need to go to sleep.