Thursday, October 07, 2010

Nocatee Stage Race

This past weekend was the Nocatee Stage Race in Ponte Vedra, FL. It consisted of a 60mile road race, 5 mile tt, an 70 minute crit. The road race was supposed to be 10x6 mile laps on a flat course. It rained hard from start to finish. About 2 miles into the race Shawn Gravois and Drew Miller got off the front. The group didn't really seem to care and we did not start to go fast for about 2 laps. I planned on sitting in early and waiting late for any moves. I did not go with this early move because I figured it would be brought back. They built a gap of 1.5 minutes and it seemed to stay there for a long time. When we came through with 6 to go they told us it was 4 to go. I started to panick a little then because with 1.5 minutes at four laps to go it seemed like Shawn and Drew had a good chance to stay away to the finish. For the last 2 laps we tried very hard to bring back Shawn and Drew. They managed to stay away by about 15 seconds to the finish. They rode very well together and congratulations to them for staying off the front. I came in 7th in the group for ninth place.

The next event was the tt. I felt ok for the tt because I did not do too much work in the road race. I got in a good long warm up and got to the start about 5 minutes before my start time. I thought I would do ok in this tt but thought it favored Grant Potter. I took off for the first mile pretty conservatively and felt decent. By the second mile I was rolling good and pushed hard. I felt really great and with a kilometer to go felt pretty tired. I pushed on to the line and got a time of 10:11. I beat Grant Potter by 2 seconds. I was very happy with this win because this is my first pro 1,2 time trial win. I was also first in the overall after the tt.

The crit was about a 1 mile course that was straight then there were 2 90 degree right turns, a left, a long straight, 2 more rights, then a right to the finish. It was also pretty windy for our race. The race was 70 minutes plus 2 laps. I wanted to attack a lot in the wind and force a break to happen. After about 10 minutes of racing it was pretty tough and a split of about 15 riders formed. Every time the race got hard I would attack. I felt good and was countering myself. By 30 minutes into the race it was clear that no one was going to let me go off the front, so I stopped attacking and waited for the end. A few times Shane Braley went off the front and another rider went off for a few laps. I wanted to attack into the third to last turn and hold it from there to the line. Shane attacked with 2 laps to go and no one wanted to chase him. He stayed away for the wind. I tried to attack where I wanted to but got slowed down in traffic and 5 riders past me. I kept this position to the line and held on for the overall win by .1 seconds over Grant Potter. I am pretty pleased with this weekend because it was my first tt win and first GC win. In a week and a half I race again in Brookesville.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tour de Tow

This past weekend I raced the Tour de Tow in Bartow, FL. The race consisted of two crits. Saturday night was a fast 4 turn crit and Sunday was a slower figure 8 course. I had Neal Shepherd as a teammate for both the races. It was his first weekend of racing pro 1,2 races, so he was pretty excited about these races. I felt very good on Saturday night and wanted to win. Since it was a fast course it was easy to move up or just sit in. It was very tough for a break to stick. At some points during the race it would get tough and I would attack and ride solo for 5 laps or so. At one point Jos Chalmers and I were off the front for about 10 or 15 laps. We were giving it our all but the field ended up bringing us back with about 10 minutes to go. Then another group looked promising with 5 laps to go but the field brought that one back as well. With 3 laps to go the bell was rung for a $100 prime. I attacked for that prime and ended up collecting it. I gave it my all in an effort to stay off the front for the end of the race. I was caught just before 1 lap to go. After I was caught the field past me. I was exhausted from my effort at the end and finished near the back of the race. I could have definitely gotten a better result if I sat in all day and waited for the sprint, but I had fun at this night race. Congratulations to Neal on finishing his first pro 1,2 race.

Sunday was a 60 minute race on a course shaped like a figure 8. I was a little less sharp on Sunday than I was on Saturday from all the attacks I did the night before. I told myself that I would be less aggressive than the night before. However, I told myself that if the race got dificult I would go in a break early in the race. After about 5 minutes of racing Derek Bennett went off the front. He had a gap of about 12'', so I attacked and bridged up to him. We quickly built up a gap of about 30''. We worked well together and the gap hovered around 30'' for most of the race. After about 45 or 50 minutes of racing the gap shot up to 50''. At this point it was obvious that our break would survive to the line. The sprint was long, uphill, and into a headwind, so I sat second wheel going into the last turn. Derek led out the sprint and I passed him with about 200 meters to go and held on for the win. It was very exciting to win a second race this year. Congratulations to Neal for finishing his second pro1,2 race. I would like to thank God for helping me to train well, stay healthy, and have the fitness to win races. I would like to thank my wife Sara for believing in me and giving me support. I would like to thank Coach Bob for believing in me and helping me to get proper training for my races. I would like to thank my parents for supporting me and driving me to races. I would also like to thank the Orlando Road Club for supporting me at races in Florida this year and also for the support I got from the club when I was younger.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dothan Cityfest Criterium

The city of Dothan, Alabama put on a wonderful nighttime criterium last night. The course was about .7 miles long and had 4 ninety degree corners. From the start/finish straight the course was uphill until turn two. Then it went downhill into a fast and open turn three and slightly downhill into a slightly off-camber turn 4. Team Ion- United Healthcare fielded two riders at the race: Brian Hill and myself. We wanted to race hard, get into a breakaway, and try to win the race. The race was 40 laps in duration and the attacks started from the gun. Andy Crater was very aggressive. Brian and I made sure that either of us were in every split that happened. I was feeling good on this course. My Blue AC 1 and Industry Nine wheels were tracking amazingly through the fast turns. Many of the early splits were brought back by the many teams present and everyone was fresh. After about 15 laps I got up the road with Andy Crater, John Atkins, and Brian Toone. We managed to work very well together and quickly got a gap of 40 seconds on the field. During this time I was hydrating well with my Ion Competition energy drink and staying as fresh as possible. Brian Hill, my teammate, was doing an awesome job covering attacks in the field while I was off the front. As we were off the front for more and more time it became apparent that Andy and I were stronger than Brian and John. Andy rode hard up the hill but we could not shake Brian and John. With about 5 laps to go we lapped the field. At this point people in the break quit working and started to play around. No one wanted to be at the front. With half a lap to go I went fast into the downhill turn three and sprinted to turn 4. Andy Crater got by me before turn 4 and managed to take the win. I held on for second and John Atkins finished 3rd ahead of Brian Toone. In another split my teammate Brian Hill was beaten to the line by Emile Abraham, so Brian ended up 6th. Overall we had a good race and were happy about it. First I would like to thank God for giving me the fitness to race well and stay safe. I'd also like to thank my wife, my mom, and my sister for driving me to the race. I'd also like to thank the city of Dothan, Alabama for putting on a great race and my teammate Brian Hill for helping me out to my second place finish.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

US 100k

The US 100k Classic is held every Labor Day morning in Atlanta, GA. The race does 11 laps over a 9k circuit and makes a turn off for the finish about a mile to go. It is a rolling course, but none of the hills are so big and it is held on highways. It usually favors a bunch sprint. For me it was my last opportunity this year to get a big result. A break went early in the race (only after a couple of miles) with 7 or 8 riders. The Ion United Healthcare Team had Spencer Gaddy in the move. Tiago Depaula (Depaula Racing), Oscar Clarke (Mountain Khakis), and a Hincapie rider were some of the other riders in the break. That break gained 3 or 4 minutes after a couple of laps and looked like it was going to stick for the race. Then George Hincapie (BMC), Craig Lewis (HTC-Columbia), and a Fly V rider went to the front and started to chase the break back. The gap did not really come down at all at the beginning. Eventually with 2.5 laps to go the break got brought back and there was a counter of about 15 guys. This move included my teammates Andy Baker and Bryan Hill. I was riding second wheel and a Litespeed BMW rider jumped and I got on his wheel. The group just let us ride off the front. The Litespeed guy got me halfway to the break and I jumped him and bridged the rest by myself. Shortly after I made contact Joey Rosskopf (Mountain Khakis) and Phil Gaimon (Kenda) attacked and I went with them. An Aerocat rider bridged to us and this made the winning move. Phil rode hard on one of the hills on the back side of the course and dropped the Aerocat rider, so I knew I would at least make the podium. I did not miss a turn on the front with Phil and Joey but did not work as hard as they did because I wanted to be able to respond to any attacks. We went into the final mile with over a minute gap. With about a kilometer to go Phil jumped and Joey was right on his wheel. I was a little slow to respond but was sitting last wheel in the downhill sprint. I made contact at about 300 meters to go but hesitated. At 200 meters to go I jumped but Joey had more of a jump and took the win. He really rode a perfect race. I took second and Phil third. Maybe I should have used the momentum I had at 300 meters to go but am not sure if I would have beaten Joey even if I did. He has a really good sprint and ran a really good race. I am very happy with my second place at this race. First of all I would like to thank God who helped me in my training and during the race. Secondly, I'd like to thank my wife Sara and coach Bob Tyler who believed in me all this time. I'd also like to thank Eric Murphy and the Ion-United Healthcare team for supporting me even though I was not performing well this season until recently. Also I would like to thank Spencer Gaddy for riding hard in the break all day long, so I did not have to do any work in the group.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Final Stage Joe Martin Stage Race

The final stage of the Joe Martin Stage race was a very, very tough criterium. It is the toughest most technical criterium I have ever seen. I has 12 turns, a false flat, followed by a 300 meter climb, then more false flat after the climb, and off camber turns with slippery-looking intersections, one coming after a 45 mph descent. The lap took about three minutes to complete and the men pro,1 race was supposed to be 90' in duration. I started the race in the middle of the group and it was flat out from the gun. On the first two laps there were 5-10 rider pile-ups in the second to last turn. That gapped me and the riders I was with off on both occasions and we had to chase hard on the hill. On the second or third lap on three occasions my handlebars were bumped hard three times by someone's butt fighting for around 100 or 120th place. By this point I was very anaerobic from the pace and my head was no longer in the game because of the crashes I saw and the getting bumped harder than a field sprint at the back of the field. I decided then to pull out, so I would not make the 18 hour drive home with either broken bones or road rash. My Ion- United Healthcare teammate Spencer Gaddy made it about 50-55 minutes into the race before his group was pulled but was not included in the final results. The rule was that you had to make it to the halfway point in the race in order to be included in the overall standings, so he should have been included. Now I am done with a long stint of racing and am healthy and safe. Hopefully with a week or two of rest my form will come along from the flogging I have taken from the last 3 weeks of racing with the big boys.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Joe Martin Stage Race Stage 3

Stage 3 of the Joe Martin Stage race was 92 miles. We rode 12 miles out to a loop of 23 miles. We did the 23 mile loop 3 times and rode the 13 miles back to Fayetteville for the finish. After we turned on to the loop there was about 2 miles of rolling uphill to the feed zone, then about 2 more miles of false flat after the feedzone. The loop was rolling with some downhill after the top of the false flat. I stayed hydrated and did not have any cramps today thanks to my Ion Competition drink mix. Each time up the feedzone climb I tried my best to stay with the group. The last time up the false flat with about 1 mile to go I was very anaerobic and came off the back of the
group. I tried to draft the caravan for that last mile and try to regain contact but over the top of the false flat the field was probably riding at about 60 kilometers per hour, so chasing back on once cracked was a near impossible task. I rode in to the finish as hard as I could and a Mountain Khakis rider caught me and towed me to the finish. Today I made the time cut. Tomorrow is a 90' technical crit with 12 turns. My Ion- United Healthcare teammate Spencer Gaddy made it over the climbs easily to finish in the main group today.

Joe Martin Stage Race Stage 2

Yesterday was the second stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race. It was about 110 miles and had 3 climbs. The final climb was 9 miles long but not too steep. There were also lots of rolling hills. During the beginning of the stage I made sure to hydrate well with my Ion Competition drink and eat a lot of food to prevent bonking. On each of the climbs my hamstrings would cramp because my lack of climbing fitness. I had to push just hard enough to not cramp. Up the first two climbs I managed to make it back on to the group. Over the last climb I made it over with a group of five and made it to the finish about 25 minutes down on the bunch and made the time cut. My Ion- United Healthcare teammate Spencer Gaddy made the front group to finish in 62 place. He thought the day was relatively easy. Hopefully I can hydrate and eat a lot today and feel better on this stage and Spencer can feel as good as he did yesterday. Today is a 92 mile road race with more hills.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Joe Martin Stage Race TT

Yesterday was the time trial for the Joe Martin Stage Race. The course was flat for about 300 to 500 meters and uphill at about 6% for the next 3.5 kilometers. I got in a good warm-up and hydrated well with my Ion Competition drink mix. I started off a bit too hard on the flat part and was anaerobic before the climb began. I tried to recover from going anaerobic but it just was not happening up the climb. I pushed hard to the top to finish with a time of 9:47 and 122 place. My Ion-United Healthcare teammate Spencer Gaddy did a little better than me with a time of 9:32 at 113th place. The time trial was won by my former teammate Andrew Talansky. He did a time of 7:54. He really lit up the course and did an awesome ride. Today is a 106 mile road race with rolling terrain and a 9 mile climb. Hopefully we can get someone in a breakaway today if we feel good.

Monday, March 01, 2010

February Races 2010

I have not posted on this blog in a very long time, but I am going to start posting again now. A lot has happened since I last posted. I have gotten married to the woman of my dreams Sara, have bought a house, and got a Pug named Soni. I'm still alive and racing and am going to start posting again. Here are all my races so far in 2010.

Deleon Springs Road Race:

The Deleon Springs Road Race was my first race of the year and it was exciting to see where my fitness was after a good offseason. The race was 9 laps on a flat 7 mile course in Deleon Springs. It was very windy and a large field with a good amount of pros showed up. I was very anxious to race because I had not raced in a long time. It was very windy out and the group kept splitting into groups of 10 to 20 riders. I was always able to make the front groups, which was very comforting. With about 4 laps to go I made the final selection of 12 riders. On the last lap people kept attacking and countering but nothing was able to stick. My legs were very cooked by the end. Phil Gaimon ended up leading out the sprint which was won by David Guttenplan. When I started my sprint my legs cramped up immediately and I just pedaled as hard as I could to the line for 11th. I was pretty pleased that I was able to race hard and make the front group.

Swamp Classic Criterium:

The Swamp Classic is a nice and fast 4 cornered crit course in downtown Gainesville. The first two turns are on bricks, but they are safe. Last year I got 5th and was looking to improve on that result. The race rarely finishes in a break, so my plan was to be somewhere between 3rd and 7th place out of the last turn for a good result. The race started out very hard. After a few laps it was clear to me that a move would maybe be able to go clear. I followed moves and ended up in an 9 man group that included Grant Potter, Oscar Henao, Yip Tsang (all Z-motion), Phil Gaimon (Kenda), Andy Crater(Aerocat), David Guttenplan(Mountain Khakis), Bobby Sweeting(Land Rover Orbea), Gavin Manion(Trek Livestrong), and myself. We had a pretty good gap, but the Z-Motion riders weren't working. After this move happened I thought the chance of all breaks making it were over. I was spent and decided to stay in the group for the rest of the race. Then Phil Gaimon attacked with Bobby Sweeting and Yip Tsang. Phil ended up leaving Bobby and Yip and riding the final 30 minutes of the race solo for the win. Z-Motion sat on the front but could not bring Phil back. I stuck to my plan and was about 5th wheel out of the last turn. I started my sprint at what I thought was a good point but got passed by a lot of people. I ended up finishing 11th yet again. It was a good race and I was completely done at the finish. At least I got in some hard training at that race.

Race for Humanity Roace Race:

The San Antonio road race is one of my favorites of the season. This year it was 4 laps on the 17 mile course for a total of 64 miles. The course has a lot of hills, and a break of about 10 usually goes up the road at this one late in the race, so that is what I was waiting for. A large group of about 10 I believe went clear on the first hill. I sat in for most of the first lap. Towards the end of the second lap there were a lot of attacks, so after it was tough I went hard to catch a group of 5. I caught them with another rider and we worked well together. I did not feel so great today but worked nonetheless thinking we would somehow catch the front group. At the start of the 3rd lap Bobby Sweeting (Landrover- Orbea), Joel Chavez, and Victor Lavinsky (Z-motion) bridged up to us. I was happy about this because it was more help and I was not feeling great on the hills. On one of the hills on the back side of the course Bobby launched an attack. I knew this one could take me to the front group and tried with all my might to catch on, but I could not catch Bobby. He was flying. He went clear with Joel and another rider. They ended up catching the front group and Bobby got the win. Meanwhile I kept going backwards and feeling worse. I think every group on the road ended up passing me because I popped hard. This was a fun race even though I felt bad. I found my limits and worked hard.

Race for Humanity Criterium:

Even though I felt bad the day before I felt awesome for one of my favorite crit courses in Florida. This course is 6 turns and runs in the shaped of an L. All the turns are 90 degrees and they go right, right, right, left, right right. There are bricks between turns one and two and it is not unlikely for people to ride on the sidewalk after turn 2. A break usually goes early on this course, so I made sure to get in a good warm-up to be ready to go from the gun. I got a good starting position on the front row as well. Attacks started from the gun, like I expected. After about 6 laps I bridged up to a move of 1 rider that looked like it would stick. Eventually we got brought back. I felt very strong and think I was one of the strongest riders in the race. After I went with that move I kept attacking, attacking, attacking. I would go by myself, with a move, and even sometimes counter myself. I have no idea what I was thinking. I guess I wasn't thinking because I was on a path to self destruction. After about 50 minutes of racing an Aerospace rider crashed and caused a split of about 8 guys to get off the front. If I sat in maybe I could have had the strength to bridge to that group. Even though I had nothing in the tank I tried to go for it. At that moment I popped myself and went to the back of the field, eventually dropping out of the race. The group of 8 stayed clear and the race was won by Andy Crater (Aerocat). I was disappointed at my result, but I was very pleased to feel fast and good for the first time this year. I think I raced, so stupidly because I had not felt that good for about 3 years and just wanted to go. After the race I realized I need to be more patient now that I felt strong.

Wintergarden Circuit Race:

This race was the Orlando Road Club race weekend and this was a new course. I wanted to represent my team well and go for the win. It was a 65 minute long race over a 2 mile circuit race course that had a hill up to the finish. It was very windy and probably favored a breakaway. However, none of the previous races had breakaways, so that worried me a little. Our race started with an attack from the gun, and for some strange reason I had a gut feeling that this move would go. I went with it and the group ended up having 10 riders in it with all the teams represented. In the group were Andy Crater (Aerocat), Alex Defreitas, Victor Herrera (both Z-Motion, Curtis Long, Ken Vita (Pro 1 Bikes) and some other riders who I don't know. Because all teams were represented the peloton sat up and let our group go clear. Our group worked hard together for most of the race. With 4 laps to go attacks started to come and games started to happen. With about 2.5 laps left they were coasting, so I jumped hard. I knew it was a long way out, but it just seemed like this move might work. I immediately got a good gap. The group would get close, then be further away, and it would get close. I just kept pushing with everything I had because if I made it I would win. However, I ended up getting caught with about a mile to go. I just sat on until the finish up the hill because I killed myself to try to get a solo win. I ended up coming across the line in 9th. Curtis Long won the race. I was happy today because I took a risk and almost brought it home. I felt good and was just happy with my race. I looked forward to another chance at the Lake Mary Crit the next day.

Lake Mary Criterium:

The Lake Mary Crit is a fast 70 minute long 3 turn crit, which almost always finishes together. I felt good and was ready to give it my all at the second race of the ORC Race Weekend. My plan was to sit in unless something promising went up the road. Then I planned to bridge to it. The race started off fast, and there were a lot of attacks that did not look promising. My teammate Bryan Lancaster helped me out a lot during the race, shielding me from the wind and bringing a lot of these attacks back. Mid-race a group got clear with David Guttenplan (Mountain Khakis), Andy Crater (Aerocat), and Grant Potter (Z-motion). If this move was not threatening I don't know what is. Curtis Long went off and started to bridge. He is a strong time trialist, and I knew if I could make it to him I could make the junction. I flew past him and had another rider on my wheel. He pulled for the back straight and I finished the effort on the front straight. When I made contact I was dead. It was a very hard effort. I did not pull hard, so I could get my energy back in order to work harder later and not blow myself up. There were still 30 minutes left to race. We worked together well but were caught after a few laps. I came to the conclusion that if this group could not stay off the front then no group could. We had all the strongest riders there and a lot of the teams were represented. I decided to sit in and wait for the sprint. During the last 5 laps I was too far back. I should have been sitting top 10 for the entire last 5 laps. As a result of sitting far back I needed to make a big surge in the last lap or 2 to be sitting about tenth wheel out of the last turn. This wasted a lot of energy I needed for the sprint. As a result a rode home for 11th which was an ok ride. I could have had a better race if I was further up during the entire last 5 laps and if I was maybe about 5th place in the last turn. Because I was 10th I started my sprint early and faded during the last 100 meters and was passed by 3 riders. If I did not make those two errors maybe I could have been top 5 or even on the podium. I raced hard this race, but I definitely need to learn from my mistakes.

Tallahassee Race Weekend:

The Tallahassee race weekend consisted of an 80 minute circuit race on a rolling course, a 2.5 mile time trial on the circuit race course, and a 70 mile road race on an 8 mile loop with 1.5 miles on dirt road. There was also a general classification race for the lowest accumulated time over the 3 events. There were about 40 riders at the race. The Team Type 1 amateur team had 4 or 5 riders there, Mountain Khakis had 3 riders, and other local teams were there.

At the start of the circuit race I did not think a breakaway would go, but after a few laps I realized the race was getting tough and moves were starting to stick. David Guttenplan (Mountain Khakis) was up the road with his teammate Jason Snow. People were trying to bridge and I noticed that they couldn't. Their gap was around 10 to 20 seconds and I thought I could make it up there. I waited for some people to put in some moves for the field to get tired, then I went and made it to the front group. After I made it to the front group we worked together well. Our advantage stayed around 20 seconds for a few laps, then it went up to about 40 seconds at one point. The lap finished up a 200 meter hill and David was riding very strong up it every lap. With about 3 laps to go Team Type 1 was on the front trying to bring us back and the gap was down to about 20 seconds. We were working hard all day, but it was crunch time when the advantage was decreasing. We ended up keeping the gap around 20 seconds for the finish. David sprinted by me at the bottom of the hill to win. I came in second place and was pretty happy with the ride. I worked hard all day and was tired at the end.

The time trial was immediately after the circuit race on the same course as the circuit race. It was pretty straightforward; just go all out for the 2.5 miles. I gave it my all, but did not have my best time trial ever. I finished about 25 seconds behind the winner Yip Tsang (z-motion). It was not a horrible time trial for me and put me 20 seconds behind David Guttenplan and tied on time with Yip going into the road race.

The road race was 9 laps on an 8 mile course for a total of 72 miles. It had a 1.5 mile section of dirt road in the middle of the course. There was a 90 degree turn onto and off of the dirt. Every lap I had fun with those turns sliding around in the dirt and getting a small gap. I wasn't attacking but was just saving energy by going fast through the turns than anyone else. There was also a hill in the middle of the dirt section. The course did not really seem to favor a breakaway. A Mountain Khakis rider and a Team Type 1 rider went away on the hill on the dirt on the first lap. At first their lead was about 30 seconds. The next lap I thought I would try my luck at bridging by going fast into the dirt and maybe catching them. I got a small gap but the field was on me rather quickly, and the two other guys were a bit too far up the road. After this effort I decided I would sit in for a while. They built a lead of about 2 minutes and it hovered around there for a while. I felt ok sitting in, keeping hydrated, eating, and just biding my time. The Mountain Khakis rider got a flat and did not have wheels in the truck I guess. That just left the Type 1 rider off the front with 4 or 5 laps to go. He eventually got swallowed up and the group was together again. We were just riding along and no one seemed to be putting in any solid attacks. The size of our field did dwindle down to about 20-25 riders at this point. I was still waiting for my moment to pounce. With 2.5 laps to go coming off of the dirt I got a rear flat. It took a while to change the flat, so it was gameover for me. I felt good but just never got my moment to go. It is unfortunate but I think some wins are in the near future. It is also unfortunate because the group split into 2 groups of 6 at the end, and I am very positive I could have made the front group. That would have made me the winner of the overall (if I made that group and was still in the race). But that's bike racing. I have been doing it long enough to know that wins are handed to no one, and you are never sure you won until you cross the line first. I will keep fighting to try to make that happen. I race again next weekend in Winter Haven, FL. Maybe my first win can come there?