Saturday, June 17, 2006


Today Ulric Deyoung, Alexi Martinez, Chris Stockburger, Brandon McKeever, Scott Jackson, and I did an under 21 race called Renningelst. The race was 140k long. We did 2 large 20 k loops with 2 climbs. The first climb was about 1.5 k long that went up to 10% in the last 300 meters. The second climb was very gradual and not very noticeable. Then we did 10 x 10 k laps that had one 800 meter climb that wasn’t very steep. There were also a bunch of small roads we rode on, but the wind wasn’t so bad today. So those roads weren’t much of a factor. The crazy thing about today was the wining move went on the first climb, about five k into the race, nine guys got away. We had Chris in that move, so we just followed wheels for a while. Some of the Belgian kids got very mad at me for doing this. Two at different times grabbed my jersey, pulled on it, and yelled at me for sitting on. Then the race situation changed about halfway though. Chris dropped out because he had bronchitis for a while and couldn’t breathe. The break was about three minutes up the road at this point. Four riders also were off the front of the break going for the win. We all tried to follow wheels to get up the road but nothing got away. Eventually Scott got in a group that caught the group going for fifth. Then some riders surged on the side of him and he crashed. He dropped back to my group. Brandon and Alexi were in the third group on the road sprinting for 27th place. Brandon got 29th and Alexi was 33rd. Scott, Ulric, and I were in the last group on the road. I think I probably could have gotten up the road with another group if I didn’t follow so many moves at the beginning of the race. My next race is called Geluwe and is on Tuesday. Hopefully I will keep improving.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Renningelst Recon

Today Brandon McKeever, Scott Jackson, and I rode 40 kilometers to Renningelst with our director Christ to recon our course for Saturday's race. There is a 20k loop that we do twice and then we do 12 x 8k laps. The 20 k laps have one long 1.5 k hill and one short hill of about 400-500 meters. The 8k loop has a hill of about 500 meters also. All the hills aren't very steep. There are also some narrow roads that might make a selection on Saturday. It was a pretty sweet ride of a little over 3 hours and about 105k long. The weather was like weather I dream for back home, about 60 degrees and raining. The ride was also pretty epic because we got four flats. I got three front flats, and Scott got a rear flat. By the time I got a third flat we realized there was glass in my tire. One other thing that was pretty cool about our ride today was that we rode near the Kemmelburg climb used in Ghent- Wevelgem. However, we didn't get to ride it because it was raining, and the descent is pretty treacherous even in dry conditions. Hopefully this training will pay off on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wakken Kermesse

Today Scott Jackson and I rode 20 k to a kermesse in Wakken. The circuits were 7.3 kilometers long and we were to do 15 laps of them. There were a lot of turns as are common in kermises, and there wasn’t much wind today. Although, it was very hot out, around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. We both only had two bottles for the 110 k race. We got a good starting position on the front line. We spent the first five or so laps never leaving the top 15 and following all moves that appeared dangerous. However, we ended up missing the winning split of about ten riders because two people isn’t really enough to cover a lot of attacks. If we had one or two riders we probably would have had one person make that move. For the rest of the race I ended up conserving energy and following any moves that appeared like they would stick. I really focused on saving energy. I sat down out of corners, spinning, like Brian showed me. I also focussed on being relaxed in the pack riding on the hoods. John Devine told me I need to do that because I am too tense in the group. Scott did pretty much the same thing. 11 laps in they gave our group one lap to go. I just stayed in the top 3-5 the entire last lap biding my time. Scott got in a move of 3 with about three k to go. He ended up attacking that group with about 1k to go. I thought it was going to stick, and I was sitting in good position for the sprint. It appeared like we could get top 2 in our group for top 15 placings, but Scott got caught with about 300 meters to go. I started my sprint with about 250 meters to go and about ten guys passed me. It was weird for me because I am usually a good sprinter, but I guess it is different here because the racing is tougher. I am very satisfied with today. My form is progressing, and I got 90 k of race kilometers in today. Then we ended up riding the twenty kilometers home in the rain, which was much welcome. It was great. I should be rolling well on Saturday for the 19-20 year old Renningelst race.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

UCI 1.2 Cras Avernas

Today John Devine, John Murphy, Patrick McGlynn, Brandon McCeever, Scott Jackson, and I took part in the UCI 1.2 Cras Avernas in the Wallone region of Belgium. The race was 200 kilometers long. It had a long circuit of 168 kilometers with 5 categorized climbs of about 1-2 kilometers in length that weren’t very steep and 4 x 8k finishing circuits. There were a few pro continental teams present in, Chocolade Jacques, and Lambouwkredit Colnago. The first climb was sixty kilometers in. The job today was to help Murphy and Devine get a result. I felt good at the beginning of the race. I was happy with how I was riding because I rode smart. I didn’t move up to the front in the wind. I just moved through the group to get towards the front and didn’t waste any energy. I was also shooting gaps I wouldn’t normally shoot. About 15 kilometers before the first climb I was up in the top 20-30. Then the pace got really quick because riders were fighting to get to the foot of the climb near the front. I lost some position and couldn’t make it back up before the start of the climb. As a result I started the climb in a relatively bad position. I felt good on the climb and told myself I would just make sure to hold on to the wheel in front of me. Because the climb was only about two k long I was hoping I wouldn’t get off the back if I did this. I felt really good on the climb and passed a lot of people, but because of my bad positioning I ended up in a second group of twenty on the road. There were two Chocolade Jacques riders in my group, and Scott was also in my group. Brandon was off the back of us. Pat and the Johns made the front group. Originally I thought my group would work together and get back with the peloton, but riders started getting excited and attacking. So the two Chocolade Jacques riders ended up attacking and riding away from us. I am not sure if they got back on the peloton. My group ended up getting a little lost on the course, but we found our way eventually and got in a good 128 k training ride. John and Pat popped on the last climb, and Devine ended up finishing in the main field for a top 25. I am disappointed that my position on the first climb was bad. However, I am feeling very good with my form, and my comfort of moving through the large pelotons here in Europe is improving each race. I think I am going to do a local kermesse this Tuesday, and next Saturday there is a U 21 race I am doing. Hopefully I can position myself better and do something in it.