Monday, May 29, 2006

Soto Memorial Stage Race: stage 4

Yeah, so I figured if I can't win and get on the podium that way, I would make my own podium and pimp my way onto it.

Well, stage 4 was brutal, again in the mid 90s. The course was a rolling 77 miles that ended on a 3.5 mile climb. I felt really good on the loop and stayed out of trouble, but didn't get any points in either of the days two sprints. But it seemed like every time the pace was high or there was a cross wind, I would end up in the top 10 wheels, so I decided to stay conservative and take my chances on the days final climb. Turned out to be a bad decision. We hit the base 2:30 behind a five man break, I hung in well until there was a lead group of 6. Then, they started attacking each other about half way up and I was the first to fall off the pace and then quickly ran out of gas after I was riding by myself. A good number of people caught me and I ended up finishing just outside of the top 20. Defenitly a little dissapointing considering this should have been my day to rip it up. I ended up 25th on GC and 5th in the points competition. I am happy with how everything went all-in-all. I defenitly learned a lot, and got to experience some new situations in my first stage race. Hopefully all the hills this week will help get the climbing legs rolling finally.

Until next time it's all rest for me, I think the state championships road race is next weekend, then the road race in Dahlonega which has been one of my objectives since I got 6th there last. year.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Soto Memorial Stage Race: stage 3

Circuit Race: 55 miles

Well what a day. Started off like any other hot race. Then the rain started, then the lightening started, then the thunder started, then the sleet started. Long story short, the race was neutralized with 20 miles to go, and we got to go home early. After all the results, points and GC were posted last night, I sat 3rd in the points competition, and 22nd on GC. So before all the excitment in todays stage, we did two bonus sprints, both of which will still be scored. I took 3rd in the first, moving me into second in that competition. Then it was pouring for the second one and I didn't get myself into position to contest it, and I don't really know who took the 3 placings in that one. SO, the anxiety causing situation...the leader on GC, also leads the points competition. So, theoretically I could be sitting 2nd in the points comp depending largely on how the second sprint sorted out. Which would mean the green jersey would default to me for tomorrows stage, how fat would that be! I guess I'll find all that out later tonight or in the morning. Maybe I'll be decked out in a leaders jersey for tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Soto Memorial Stage Race: stage 2

Stage 2: 75 Minute Criterium

Today was somehow hotter than yesterday, mid 90s all the way. The course was flat and fast with six corners. One of those courses where its not really easy to sit in, but you can still manage okay in the back. I got a good starting position on the front row and rode in the top 5 for the first 10 or 15 laps. Theres bonus sprints every 5 laps, for time bonuses and sprint points. I won the first won pretty easilly actually, I was surprised. So I hung around in the front and managed second in the next one. Then dropped back a little but still got back up and had a go at the third, but wasn't far enough up, but didn't feel like I had the snap I had on the first two, so I decided to chill and not use up anymore energy on the rest. I sat mid-pack for the rest of the race, the pace wasn't so bad, but the heat was defenitly slowly taping into everyones reserves. At some point mid race a couple of guys got off the front and got a sizeable gap and held it to the end. With 4 laps to go I made my way back up into the top 10 wheels and decided I needed to have a go in the sprint to try and get some more time bonuses. I was sitting 8th wheel coming into the finishing straight which is fast and sort of dips down slightly and then gently rises to the line. I knew from the third bonus sprint that I would be hard to come around many people. But the pace was fast and I had a solid sprint and managed to get 5th in the field sprint, which I think will end up being 8th overall. So, as far as I can tell I secured 16 seconds in bonuses, which should move me into 24th or so overall, depending largely on how everyone else faired today. Hopefully I should be sitting top 5 in the points competition as well. So overall I am happy with how things went, it would have been nice to have contested a few more sprints but I think being conservative should pay off over the next two days. My LMC teammate, Preston Anderson got a bad starting position and the cat3's started really hard, and he got gapped off the back early getting caught behind some weaker guys and got pulled. But I think he should be ready to roll tomorrow for the circuit race.

In the Picture, I am third wheel fighting for position with Cesar Grajales going into the last few laps. He rode in the front the whole day, it was pretty amazing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Soto Memorial Stage Race: Stage 1

Stage 1: Time Trial 6.9miles

Well, finally got to get rolling today. It was a toasty 92 degrees and really humid. The course was rolling and rough pavement, with a couple of steep rises and sharpe corners. I opted for the deep carbon on the back instead of the disc. I didn't warm up for very long to try and hit the middle between being open and the risk of dehydration. I felt good from the gun and started fast. I rode pretty strong the whole time and just faded a little on the way back. My time was 17:00 which earned me 30th. I wasn't too stoked about that but mid pack is okay cause I got my worst event out of the way, so it can only get better. I start tomorrow 1:31 down to Cesar Grajales (Navigators), so I have some work to do to move up before the finish on monday. My LMC teammate Preston Anderson had a solid ride, and recorded a 16:55. So we both go into tomorrows criterium a little down on GC, but I think we can move up over the following stages.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday Group Ride

Ha I hit this at a county line sprint on the tuesday group ride yesterday. Joey Coddington led me out and I got a nice spring off of him. On the ride last week I did 1376, so the 14's are going down soon I hope. We averaged 237 watts for the ride, thats solid but its just about an hour and a half long. Theres also a sprint at the top of the "dump hill" which is like 2 km long at 4 percent. Last week, me and Mike Small dropped everyone only for Justin England to come flying by us in the last 50m, so I learned from that and stayed back with Justin this week, he said he rides comfortably to the middle section where it levels off then rails it to the top. So we get there maybe 15-17 seconds down on the guys that went from the bottom. Justin ramps it up, Joey is on his wheels, and I am on Joeys, as it kicks back up for the last 250m, Joey swing off and I scramble up to Justins wheel. As we are flying by the last couple of guys who are cussing and mumbling stuff, I start to slide off justins wheel and crest the top maybe 10m off. It was a weird feeling, like I thought about trying to sprint and felt like I could do it, but at the same time, I was losing the wheel, but regardless I was happy with the interval. I can't believe we can cruise to half way then kill it and catch everyone that guns it from the bottom.

This week has been awesome as far as riding goes, and after four days of racing this weekend I should be in top condition for the State Championships and the Georgia Cup weekend in Dahlonega. Then I should be able to rest some more and prepare for U23 nats.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

UHHH It's That Time

Well school is out for the summer, so not much to do other than ride. So its time to start upping the hours a bit. I did my first 5 hour day in quite a while today. It went really well, averaged 205 watts. And what's a ride in WNC without a little rain. I am defenitly pirating Panera Breads wireless from their parking lot, it's pretty rad. I am gonna try to do another solid traning ride tomorrow then I'll have to start resting up for the weekend. Me and Preston "Ptown" Anderson are heading to Brentwood TN for some good and hopefully hard racing. I've never done four straight days of racing before so I can't wait to see how it works out. I think the legs are good and the head is good, so we'll see.

There is a God

Here's a one in a million oppertunity. Brent Bookwalter is drinking Mountain Dew. I felt like I had to document it with a picture just so I would believe it myself.

Friday, May 19, 2006

some well deserved rest

Well theres no racing this weekend so I am pretty much just resting all this week. Next weekend is memorial day weekend and I am going to the Soto Memorial Stage Race in tennessee. It's four stages run from friday to monday. Its based on time and has GC comp and a points comp, so we'll see if the legs are good soon.

Collegiate Nationals Team Time Trial

Well Lawrence Kansas served up a interesting course, its more or less a huge highway, with a ripping tail/head wind that turns into a dramatic cross wind, and it's run with two turn arounds. The first third is really really flat, and then the middle is rolling with one solid climb and the end is basically downhill and fast. We warmed up for about an hour on the trainers, then I took one on-the-bike opener just to make sure the legs were ready. We got to start last because of our win the previous year. Only Brent was left from that team, with freshmen Went and Scott J, and myself having our first go at the nationals TTT. Going out to the first turnaround we had an almost direct tail wind so we tryed to keep it steady and fast but save ourselves for when we had to turn into the headwind. A pretty simple tactic of ride harder when it's harder that has worked for us in the past. We had some complications in the early going, Went had some troubles with the pace, but I think he just didn't warm up enough and was a little too excited about it, because he's proved countless times in TTT practice that he can handle and push any pace we do. But we made the turn into the wind and pushed on with three guys, the headwind was tough but it allowed for a fair bit of rest when you weren't pulling. Going through the start/finish on the opposite side of the road, which I figure was about 1/3 of the way, we got a time check, we sat third at +0:03. A little alarming but we knew the hardest part of the course lay ahead. We cruised up the first half of the main climb, then road really hard on the second half and thats where I got well into the read zone and had to start sitting on. Here the course turns a little and we had a crazy cross wind, at some points we were almost riding side-by-side across the road. We had no idea how we were going, and we came down the climb into the finish, and I am glad we had opted for the 55/44 chainrings because I was close to spinning out, I am not sure if I ever did but it was nice know I had another gear just in case. We spread out three wide across the finish line to the cheers of teammates and our coach on the side of the road. We coasted back to the tent and trailor and were informed that we smashed it, and took out the win by almost a minute, I think the gap ended up being 56 seconds. It's great to defend our win from last year with almost a completely different team. All four guys were great all season long, and put it together when it mattered, and I am glad to have had the oppertunity to race with them. I am already looking forward to the challenge of repeating again next year.

Conference Finals at Auburn

Conference finals turned out to be a really hard weekend. We woke up fairly early and were treated to a 84 mile road race, which turned out to be a good course, but we got rained on quite a bit, but that just made it more fun. After a long break from teammate Danny Marquardt, everything came together with about 7 miles to go and we decided to just set it up for a sprint and see how that turned out. We hadnt had a field sprint all year so I was interested to see what would happen. Some of our guys, Scott Stewart, Wentworth Knipe and Robert Jameson killed themselves on the front all the way to the line, in a awesome display of teamwork so that a couple of us could have a go in the finale. Everything worked out for LMC, with Wes Shirey taking out the win, Scott "Action" Jackson taking third and I managed to claim fifth on the line. I think some guys were really tired after this effort, and we still had a TTT to do in two hours. I pretty much sat on my butt for as long as I could with my feet up until it was time to start the TTT. We ran two teams, one consisting of Scott Stewart, then three sets of fresh legs, being Chris Saxton, Carson Worts, and Gonzalo Escobar; the other being Brent Bookwalter, Scott Jackson, Went Knipe, and myself. We screwed around for so long that we didn't get the priviledge of a proper warm-up. But wasn't a big deal since I was so open from the road race. We started off pretty steady and rode really hard in the middle and then survived the end. I wasn't able to pull as long as I'd wanted or thought I should but I didn't skip any pulls so I was content with that. Ohh yeah and I forgot to mention this was a 26 mile TTT, well longer than any other including nationals. We ended up smoking the course and beat Florida by almost 3 minutes, and the other LMC team had a great ride, and matched Florida on time. So, I think that totalled 115 miles for the day, which was a killer in the end.

Good thing the crit wasn't too early the next day. Yeah right, we woke up at like 7, maybe earlier I don't even know. But we had 65 minutes plus 2 laps. I was amazed at how good I felt after the taxing day yesterday. But long story short, our co-captain Luke Winger got into a three man break with 2 of the stronger guys in the race, then lapped the field with 3 laps to go, we'd pretty much waited for them to come around to us, so I was fairly fresh still and just went to the front and kept the pace high. Kept it going into the final lap when Wentworth took over and Wes prepared to lead Luke out for the Sprint. The race didn't end up in our favor with Luke taking third, but the teamwork overall was really good, and we got our leader in the move, so despite the finish being a little dissapointing everyone did their part.

More Pics from LMC Crit

Heres the sprint finish on the climb between me and Wes and what may very well be the best cooldown ever. That was a fun race for sure, I am glad I could get a good finish after sucking so bad in the ttt earlier that day.

Lee's McRae Criterium

As my first real post, I'll go back a month or so to our Criterium on our campus here at LMC. It was epic day, cold and rainy. Our home race is always a major goal for us, mainly because it's almost a matter of pride to hold-down-the-fort, so to speak. The race started off nice and fast but everyone was open from the ttt in the morning so everything was shut down. But you could tell when everyones legs started to fade, it was like night and day at abou t the 40 minute mark. A break went with our captain Brent Bookwalter and two other guys. Then the race blew apart and two other LMC riders got away in a group of four. Keeping with the trend of attacks, my teammate Carson Worts lit it up on the climb and got a nice gap. Everyone was truly hurting now, and on the next lap I jumped along with Brandon McKeever of App State, we caught Carson who was unable to follow and over the course of about two laps we bridged to the second group. The per his usual style, Scott "Action" Jackson bridged solo to join us. We had the power but lacked the time to bring back the two riders caught in between us and the flying Brent. Jackson gave me a awesome leadout and I was able to wrap up fourth in the sprint. Teammate Wes Shirey rounded out the top 5, making a true LMC domination at our home event.

This one is for Wentworth and Wentwroth alone

Well, I decided, mainly through Wents unrelenting requests, to join the world of pros with blogs. I guess I am not pro, but I hear having a blog makes you one, so here she is.