Thursday, March 29, 2012

Comeback Year in Review (Next Installment)

By now I had been hitting the group rides pretty consistently and I was finally starting to help increase the pain factor of the rides. I was also doubling up regularly in the races.

Crystal Cup, Cat 3: 6th
I was really amped to try and win this race and certainly had been training hard leading up to it. The team worked like a well oiled machine but things just didn't pan out. Still managed to get 3 guys in the money. Won some nice Tifosi glasses that would get destroyed in my first cross race. Damn cross bike doesn't corner like a road bike.

Cat 3/4 ToWC Kickoff Crit
Tour of Washington County Kick Off Crit, Cat 3/4: 1st
Yeah baby, counter Todd Bickling on second lap, breakaway establishes, almost lap the field and come away with a 5 bike length sprint victory. Only issue was that I couldn't find any photogs that had captured the victory salute.

Tour of Washington County Stage Race, Cat 3/4: Prologue - crap, RR - I was a crappy teammate, TT - crap, Crit - 1st
Learned my time trialing sucked arse despite being set up with some decent aero equipment. Road race went okay but I was late to the game to set Rist up but he still managed a top 10. The other time trial was another abysmal failure. The crit was another story. It was father's day and my wife surprised me by showing up to the race with my two boys. Wow, will that ever re-energize a proud father. We ran a pretty aggressive race, I was not feeling great and was ready to call it a day with 2 to go but then Doc Bickling rolled up to my side and gave me the look and I knew what to do. Todd worked his way through the field with me in tow and had us perfectly position in 4th spot around the final corner. He gave it a great kick and I punched it with 150 meters to go and we came away with the 1, 2 Bike Doctor victory!!
Bickling and I going 1,2 in final crit of ToWC

Church Creek TT, Cat 3: 3rd
Rist was a very generous man and let me borrow his insanely sweet Cannondale Slice with a Zipp 606 set up! I managed to just break 56 minutes which I was pretty psyched about because I hadn't really done any TT specific training all season.

Reston Towne Center GP, Cat 3/4: 7th
We were really gunning for this one and we thought we could make a move with 3 to go and it might be able to slip away if the right group got away. Well we got caught on the final lap because Haymarket wasn't represented and they did some digs to bring us back. Hey, that's bike racing. I mustered up enough energy to get into decent position for the sprint but some chaos in the last couple corners caused me to lose some positions and finish up 7th.

Reston Towne Center GP, 35+ Open: 2nd
Planned to sit in and just trade off covering significant moves with Rist. With 10 to go I found some extra gas in the tank and felt the pack was getting warn out and I attacked. One guy bridged up and we had a good gap for 4-5 laps. A group of 4 more caught us and we stayed away. I managed to get 2nd in the sprint to Chip Hoover who was a monster in the sprint.

Toona crit finish
Tour de Toona, Cat 3: RR - 5th, Crit - 2nd, Overall - 2nd
Flew solo on this one. Sunny Gill was rocking the cat 2 race. Well the road race was brutal. I have done this before and the climb up Blue Knob is never easy. This is also where I was introduced to the grit and determination of my future GamJams rival, Dan Netzer. Dan attacked from the gun of a 70 mile mountainous race because his teammate, Frank Cundiff triple dog dared him. Well I never saw Dan again. Some reshuffling would occur with the guys that initially went with him and the guys that separated themselves from the group going up Blue Knob. At the finish there were 4 guys spread out in front of the "peleton" (about 10 guys). Luckily the peleton included me (although severely cramping as my longest training ride was 45 miles). Fortunately I had scouted out the finishing stretch ahead of time and knew when to give a kick. I managed to win the field sprint. For the crit, I just sat in and made sure the GC guys didn't sneak away. One non-GC guy did sneak away with about 3 to go when the pack just decided to give up. A last lap charge started to claw him back and I was hoping it would be just enough for me to catch him if I timed my sprint just right. Well with 2 corners to go I was sitting perfectly on 3rd wheel and came into the last corner with the solo rider in my sights. I stud on it for the 250 meter uphill sprint and was closing fast but I didn't have enough real estate to nab him. Missed it by about a half a bike length. Oh well, 2nd place in the crit managed to move me up to 2nd overall. Not bad and the pay out was "advertised" to be pretty sweet. (Note: As of this date 3/21/2012, I haven't seen a payout check from Tour de Toona!!).

... to be continued.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Black Hills 2012 Photos

The team I ride for, Bike Doctor, put on a race this weekend at the Black Hill Regional Park. While I was manning a corner and parking lot, I figured I would snap off a few hundred pictures of the event. I used a buddies 50mm f1.8 and my newly acquired 70-200mm f2.8 from eBay to capture the action. I was able to get pictures of the Cat 5, Juniors, Cat 4/5, 35+ Open, Womens and Cat 3/4. Check it out.

Samples are below:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Comeback Year in Review (Next Installment)

At this point I had been on the bike for a month (doing 2 group rides during the week and racing on weekends, for a total of 6-8 hrs/week) and I was just beginning to see signs of training starting to kick in but I knew it would be another solid month of training before the old legs started to come back a little. 

Leonardtown, 35+ Open: 13th
Starting to feel a little spunky! What's this a first lap flier, what am I thinking, I know this is a crit of attrition. Alright settle down Sjoberg. Covered moves to the best of my abilities. I didn't animate but my teammates certainly did. I had all I could do to hold onto some of the accelerations that were being laid down. Well with only a handful of laps to go Scott Giles was coming back from a break that he didn't burn all his matches in and he latched onto a solo flier attack from Rist. The two worked flawlessly together and crossed the line one-two!! Yeah baby!

Bike Jam - 2 to go flyer
Bike Jam, 35+ Open: 11th
This was going to be a field sprint from the start so I just sat in and conserved matches. With 2 to go, I found our good ole sprinter, Jim Weinstein and he latched onto my wheel for some good ole lead out fun. Gosh, I hope I remember how to do this. Well with one lap to go we came through the finish and I started to move up and that is when I heard the sound of psst, psst, psst along with some expletives. I was hoping it wasn't Jim but then I got confirmation. Well I just got promoted to sprinter, I gave it my all. Not great but the legs were definitely starting to come around.

Bike Jam, Cat 3: 8th
Time to double up. Only one match burned in the previous race so what the heck, I need the training. Same mindset, just sit in and maybe try something with 2 to go. Well I did just that, I lit my match with 2 to go up the finish stretch, I got a little daylight but I was quickly brought back with 1 to go. Ohh crap, what now, I'm done. Ohh look there is my bottle rocket teammate, Doc Bickling! New found energy for me, hey Todd, why don't you grab my wheel and I will see if I can deliver you to the finish line. That mostly worked, I pegged it out of the round about from 6-7 spots back and Todd was able to secure the final podium spot. Another week, another podium for the team, I could get used to this.

Ride Sally Ride, Cat 3: 10th
Man was this like drafting a school bus, can you say "sittin on the sofa". Well Sunny hooks me up with 1.5 laps to go but what am I thinking trying to do a solo flier on this course, lesson learned. Still managed to sneak into the top 10.

Ride Sally Ride, 35+ open: 7th
Doubled up for some training. More sofa time and tried to hold my own in the sprint. Not bad!

Ride Sally Ride, 1/2/3: DNF
Triple up time! Racin' is the best training. This race was all about burying myself. I was able to hang onto moves by Nima and Hutch and even pull through but with 10 to go my matches were all burned up and I called it a day. This will pay off soon.

Tour of Mt. Nebo, Cat 3/4: 8th
First race on the new Cannondale Super 6!! I was headed back from a wedding in PA and this race just happened to be on the way home. Sweet, although it had a ton of climbing and I still had some winter weight to shed and no teammates. I stuck it out, spun like a mad man throughout the race and managed to grab the last money spot with a final kick around a rider with 25 meters to go. Imagine a full on sprint in your 39x21!!

... to be continued.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Comeback Year in Review (First Installment)

What a YEAR for the team and myself!! Hey, if Brittany Spears can comeback, so can I.

Here is the somewhat abbreviated play by play. I tried to keep it short but this took on a life of its own. There will be a few installments. :-)

Early January I began contemplating a come back to the road cycling scene but kept denying my trusty steed some actual mileage until the temperatures reached levels my Florida blood could handle. Well this meant me not being on the road until sometime in April. Not to worry I was pushing around lots of weights and jumping on boxes and sometimes joining a spin class to remind my legs what I would be asking them to do again soon.

Couple weeks prior to my first race I was able to participate in a few group rides where I was able to sufficiently punish myself (and barely affect anyone else) to the point of severe droppage. Thankfully none of it was caught on YouGotDropped. So the comeback begins and I definitely wanted to show the DC local group rides that I could contribute something to the suffer meter for everyone's benefit.

First race: Chantilly Crit 35+ Open: Pack Filler
Wow, 40 other guys suited up and clipped in for a wet, windy and willy shrinking race around a non-technical course. Oh, look I got a teammate (Peter Warner) up the road. Well, let's see if I remember how to block a bunch of rabid cyclist bent on catching a breakaway. Something worked because I was cooked and my teammate stayed away and got 3rd. At this point my max effort was right at the level of being a good teammate and setting pace just fast enough that the pack wouldn't chase and the breakaway would slowly pull away.

Carl Dolan Circuit Race 35+ Open: 50th or so
Much nicer day, weather wise. Not much to do in this race except wait for a sprint but I was here to get some training in. So I covered moves and made a pathetic one or two myself.

Giles solo victory in 35+ Open!
Bunny Hop, 35+ Open: Pack Filler, Team WON!!
Team Bike Doctor was extremely animated in this race except for one individual who I knew should be up here trading blows with the powerhouse Harley squad. That one individual, Scott Giles, where the heck are you man. With the laps heading into the single digits I pick a good time to go after Peter Warner had just been reeled back and the pack was tired of chasing, I make a solo flier move that everyone in the peleton probably laughed at. As I was getting drug back I see a very blurry object moving up the right hand side of the road and it's my teammate Scott Giles moving at the speed of light. Well the pack was done chasing and he went on to take a very sweet victory for the team!!

Ft Richie, 35+ 3/4: 3rd, Team WON!
Holy crap what am I doing in a 4 man break with another one of my Bike Doctor brethren with 15 laps left, I am going to die! Well thanks to Brian Rist powering the break and a cadre of teammates shutting things down we stayed away. I had to dig real deep just to hang on and occasionally pull through. I lost contact with Brian with 2 laps to go. He won the race and I slumped in for 3rd. Sweet my first podium and a teammate victory!! Things were definitely improving.

... to be continued.