Friday, November 13, 2009

Gbunblee vs Craddock

Recently at school I was challenged by one of the nation's top high school runners, Tim Gbunblee, for a race. I'm on a bike and he's on spikes (running). The race is 200 meters and I'm not sure of the specific date yet. It might be a while as I am waiting for my back to completely heal and I will need some fitness going into this. There is a facebook page made for this special occasion so head on over there and become a fan to voice your opinions. I think we are also gonna take some donations for breast cancer (just like a dollar). Thanks to everyone advance and stay posted for the date when this event is goin' down!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009

As I’m sitting back at home after finishing the 2009 Pro 1/2 State Championships, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing season that I’ve had this year. It all started out with going out on Saturday mornings on the adventurous Kirkwood group rides, and from there I could only imagine the amazing journey this year has become.
After spending the winter season doing a few local cyclocross races on my new team, Hot Tubes, and getting some long base miles assigned to me by my new coach, David Wenger, I kicked off the ’09 season with the Alsation Country Omnium. This was my first real test in the P 1/2 circuit and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I feel that was due to the fact that I had a bad case of food poisoning the weekend before. For about the next month I continued to race all across Texas and I was able to take my first win of the year, the Fayetteville Stage Race Time Trial.
During the first two weeks of April, I started my European campaign with the Junior National Team. Those two weeks were a huge learning experience for me where I competed in two local kermesses (each races had over 150 riders) and a UCI 2.14 stage race, Ster van Zuid Limberg. We won the opening prologue with current Time Trial National Champion, Adam Leibovitz. The rest of the team spent the next three road stages on the front and we able to keep the yellow jersey until the last day.
Upon returning home for a couple of days, I left for Georgia for the first trip of the year with Hot Tubes. We spent the next week getting to know each other in many ways such as epic four hour rides, bowling, late night poker games, movies, and white water rafting. I’m sure I speak for the rest of my teammates when I say that by the end of the week we were all extremely excited about spending the majority of the year together traveling and racing all around the year. When the training camp ended, the entire team besides went back to Toby’s house in Massachusetts where they would leave for Europe the following week. I had to go back home to take some Texas wide tests that I couldn’t miss. After taking my tests, I flew over to Europe alone to meet up the rest of the team. The day after I arrived in Belgium we competed in a Kermesse where we were able to dominate the race by sweeping the podium. This gave the team some added confidence going into the UCI 2.1 Trophee Centre Morbihan in France the following week. We went into the race as defending champions and everyone’s eyes watching us. I was able to make it into the winning break on the first stage, but flatted out with about 20 kilometers to go and wasn’t able to make it back into the group. We spent the next two stages trying to catch back up, but weren’t able to make up any ground with our top finisher in 14th.
After flying back to the US and spending a few weeks in school I found out that I had been selected for the June trip with the Junior National Team to compete in the UCI 2.1 Pays de Vaud stage race in Switzerland and the Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg in Germany the following week. This gave extra motivation and I spent the next couple of weeks training my butt off. The weekend before the trip was the Junior World Championships Qualifier in Tennessee. With the winner having an automatic spot to go to the Junior World Championships in Moscow, Russia we went into the race to win. We didn’t disappoint with me taking the Time Trial and Nate winning the Road Race. The next day, Nate, Gavin, and I packed up our bikes and jumped on a plane to Switzerland with the National Team. We had an amazing race at Pays de Vaud where we swept the podium, Nate over Adam and then me. I then won the stage three time trial before the team defended the yellow on the last stage to get Nate the overall win. The team had another amazing race at Trofeo Karlsberg where I was able to take fourth overall and Nate was able to grab fifth.
I spent the next couple of weeks chilling back home in Houston before flying out to Massachusetts to stay at Toby’s house for the next couple of weeks with the team. For the next couple of weeks we continued our domination on the US Junior Circuit by winning the overall, points jersey, and every single stage of the Longsjo Fitchburg Classic. After dominating at Fitchburg, we decided to do a weekend crit in Attleboro, Massachusetts. After spending the majority of the year together we had become extremely in tune with each other and were able to get four of us off by ourselves to lap the field. We then set tempo the race to help keep the race together and were able to deliver Nate over the line first for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finish.
The team then piled into the Hot Tubes van and drove about 12 hours down to Kentucky for the 1st edition of the UCI 2.1 Tour of the Red River Gorge. We immediately left our stamp of authority on the race by placing everyone in the top 20 for the one mile prologue before dominating the first road stage later that day by going 1, 2, 3 and taking over every jersey except for the KOM. The next day is when I realized that I was going to the World Championships to win the time trial by winning the 24 kilometer time trial by over 30 seconds. On stage four, the team was able to get into a position of three of us in a four man break, but somehow botched up the sprint and had to settle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th on the day. Our crit king, Gavin Mannion, kept up his domination on the crit series by winning the final stage, a twilight crit in downtown Franklin, KY. For the overall, we once again swept top four places along with the points jersey and the young riders jersey.
I then returned home to finish up my year long preparation for the World Championships. Due to our complete dominance in almost every single race we had competed in during the year, five out of the six Hot Tubes members were selected to be on the World Championships team. In the last week of July I left for Belgium where I would be staying for the next two weeks before flying over to Moscow. During our stay in Belgium, we competed in another UCI 2.1 stage race, Liege-La Gleize, where Boz was able to grab second overall, Nate won the KOM jersey, and I won the young rider jersey. The next week we set out for everyone’s biggest race of the season, the World Championships. With all the support of my family, friends, and fans I was able to win the silver medal in the time trial, and was only 2.2 seconds off the winners time over the 26 kilometer course. The road race didn’t go as planned and our top finisher was only in 17th.
After finishing the World Championships, we set back to Belgium for another two weeks to compete in a one day race and then another UCI 2.1 stage race in Germany before heading home. Nate was able to grab a podium place in the one day race in 3rd and we were also able to stack the majority of the top ten with riders. The stage race in Germany kicked off with Rathe winning the first stage out of a four man break to grab the first yellow jersey. We spent the next two days defending the jersey but lost it going into the last stage. We did our best to try and take it back, but everyone was extremely tired after a long successful season and weren’t able to do it.
Everyone then returned back to the homes to get ready to start thinking about the off season. This was put on hold when Toby had the whole team fly up to Vermont for the Green Mountain Stage Race. The race started with a 10 kilometer time trial that was won by Gavin before a 40 mile circuit race the next day. Nate and I were able to get clear of the field on the last lap and went 1-2 with about 40 seconds on the next group of four which put me into the yellow jersey for the first time in my career. The next stage was an epic 72 mile road race ending on App Gap, a four kilometer mountain with incredibly steep pitches all the way up. The team worked great together to bring back a 12 minute gap on a solo rider before the climb, but I just didn’t have the legs to seal the deal and cramped up extremely bad on App Gap and lost serious amounts of time. Nate was able to climb with the leaders to take the yellow jersey for the second year in a row. I won the crit the next day to take the points jersey home.
As somewhat as a gift to the team for an amazing year, Toby decided to take the team to beautiful Bermuda for the Bermuda Gran Prix. The results weren’t the greatest that we had had over the year with Gavin taking a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place to get 3rd overall, but the trip was one of the best that I’ve been on. We had an amazing time spending what would be our last journey together as members of the 2009 Hot Tubes.
When the rest of the team went back home and decided to call it quits for the season, I decided to keep on going and race the 84 mile Chappel Hill Road Race. I ended up taking my best P 1/2 road race finish of the year in 4th place. I spent the next two weeks taking it easy and four days before the State Championships road race I called up my coach, David Wenger, and asked to do the race. After some quick modifying of my training schedule I was set to give the 99 mile race a try. The race didn’t go nearly as well as I hoped when I cramped up really bad with about five kilometers to go and rolled in off the back of the pack.
Despite not doing as well as I had hoped in the State Championships I have still had an unforgettable year. I have made some lifelong friends and was able to open up doors that I thought were locked forever. I have been given amazing opportunities that I only dreamed of, and learned not only about cycling but about myself. I cannot wait until the start of the next season, so that I can start it all over again. I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me over the past seven years ever since I was a miniature junior who didn’t know the difference between a track bike and a road bike. Most importantly, I have got to thank God for this incredible gift that he has given me and the opportunities that he has made possible.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Compression Fracture

In case you haven't heard I recently had a jet skiing accident that resulted in me getting a compression fracture in my L2 and L3 vertebra. I'm not too sure about how it happened because it all happened so quickly. All I remember was a huge wave crashing into me which threw me off of the jet ski. I either hit the jet ski going into the water, or the wave carried it into me. As a result from all of this I am completely resting in my a back brace for the next 6 weeks. I've been to multiple doctors and they all say that I can ride on the trainer inside only if I am completely vertical the entire time and have my back brace on. My coach, David Wenger of Durata Training, suggested flipping my handlebars upside down so I wouldn't be bending over as far. After six weeks I'm planning on going back into the doctor's office for some more x-rays and CT scans to see if it is completely healed. Hopefully it will be and it shouldn't affect my performance next year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

State Championships RR

This past weekend was the P 1/2 State Championship Road Race. The race was three laps of 33 miles each to equal out at 99 miles. I only decided to do this race about four days before, and went into it with very little training. My advice from my coach, Dave Wenger at Durata Training was to sit in for the first three hours of the race, and then give it my best shot. An early break of about six got away right from the gun, and that was pretty much the last we saw of them. They got a maximum of about 5 and a half minutes before teams went to the front to try and bring it back. I was content to watch everyone else use their energy to try and pull back the break. Going into the last lap I talked to Dave to see what I should do, and he told me to take it easy for about another 8 miles before we hit the second and hardest climb of the race. Right at the base of the 750 climb, I jumped out of the pack and immediatly opened up a big gap. By the top, Pat McCarty (OUCH!-Maxxis) was the only one who bridged up to me. Unfortunately over the next two kilometers of downhill we were swallowed up by the pack. That was pretty much the only match I had left and I spent the rest of the race trying to keep up with the pack. It was up until about 5 kilometers to go when my legs cramped too much and I got shelled off of the back. JT Cody (Solar Eclipse) won the race out of the break over Christian Helmig (Metro VW) and Collin Davis (Matrix). Although I didn't do as well as I hoped, I have still had an incredible season and wouldn't change it for a single thing!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

David Wenger for USCF Athlete Trustee

Hey guys, just wanted to ask you all to vote for David Wenger in the USCF Athlete Trustee. The Athlete Trustee position works in a wide range of developing code; clarifying existing rules, adapting UCI rules for USCF competition, and arbitrating disciplinary actions. Knowing Dave as a coach, friend, and fellow cyclist I really think that he would be great at this position. To vote, you must be a USA Cycling license holder. Go to www.usacycling.org and go to your "My USA Cycling" page and vote from there. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bermuda Grand Prix




After an extremely successful year for the 2009 Hot Tubes Junior Development team Toby decided to fly Gavin, Boz, Nate, Stuee, and I over to Bermuda for the Bermuda Grand Prix as a last hurrah. The race started with a 50 km circuit race/crit on a 2km course in the middle of a forest. The race started off with a flurry of attacks by numerous riders. It wasn't until about five laps in until a group of about five got up the road including Gavin. Nate bridged up about a lap later and I soon followed him. Gavin then got away with four other riders right before Boz bridged up to us. The three of us just chilled in the group until Nate dropped out of the race due to a stomach bug. With about three laps to go I put in an attack and was caught with about one lap to go. I then sat in the group and was able to get 2nd in the sprint for 6th overall. Gavin was able to take 2nd and Boz grabbed 8th. The time trial the next morning was 7 miles out and back. It was absolutely pouring down rain and the course was extremely confusing. I ended up turning around too early and my time didn't count towards the results. Gavin was able to take 4th, Nate in 6th, Stueee in 11th, and Boz in 12th. That afternoon was an hour long crit on a 750 meter course with a steep 200 meter hill about half way through the lap. I was aggressive for the first half of the race and brought the race down to about seven of us. With one to go the group was still the same and I put in a hard attack up the climb to try and set up Gavin for the sprint and he was able to grab 3rd place while I came in in 4th, and Stueee in 5th and Gavin ended up 3rd overall.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chappell Hill

This past weekend was the Chappell Hill road race, an 86 mile race that has rolling hills almost the entire time. In the past, this has always been one of the hardest races of the year, but I've always had a good time at this amazing race put on by Northwest Cycling Club, one of the nation's top cycling clubs. Due to an early start at 7:30 and my parents volunteering at registration, I was unwillingly forced to wake up at 4:30 in the morning so that we could get there by 6:30. I then proceeded to fall asleep in the car, and when we got there my parents decided that they would let me rest for a couple more minutes while they were working. It wasn't until my dad yanked open the door at 7:13 and yelling at me to wake up or I would just go ahead and sleep through the race. Nonetheless, I was able to suit up, pin on my numbers, and get my bike ready in record time to get down to the start line with about five minutes to spare. The course goes out about 15 miles before we started on five 12 mile loops before heading back to town.All up until the start of the race it had been raining, so when we got out on the course the pavement was pretty slick. The race was pretty calm for about the first 30 miles, with Alan Ting and I shooting each other the "What Up?!" sign, until a group of five got up the road and quickly built up a lead of about two and a half minutes. For the next 20 miles or so there were a few attacks from the pack, but none were given any lee-way. With about a lap and a half to go a group of three got up the road and quickly got about 45 seconds. With one and a quarter lap to go, I put in an attack and brought Cody Foster with me. The both of us got a decent gap and we worked really well together until we caught the group of three ahead of us. We all then worked together and were able to bridge the rest of the gap to the five leaders with about half a lap to go. Once we caught the leaders the break became extremely disorganized with only about four of us actually working. When we got off of the laps there was an attack by one of the Mexicans that had come up to race. No one really wanted to chase him down, but with the many attacks from the group we caught him with about six miles to go. Immediately, his teammate countered that move and got a pretty big gap. He was dangling right off the front of the group and it wasn't until I put in an attack with about one kilometer to go that he was caught. I stayed away until about 500 meters to go, but I knew that I was going to die on the 150 meter wall with about 300 meters to go so I kept on the front. About half way up the hill the sprint started with one of the Mexicans taking the "win" with Steven "Underpants" Wheeler (Super Squadra) taking second place over Scott Henry (AT&T) and I was able to hold onto fifth place. After the race, both of the Mexicans were disqualified due to illegal feeding and littering, so this moved everyone up a place which put me in 4th. Next on the schedule is the Bermuda Gran Prix. I leave for Bermuda Thursday morning for racing on Saturday and Sunday. The races include a crit, a time trial, and a 75 mile road race on 2.5 mile circuits.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

GMSR Stage 3&4

I'm back from Vermont after an extremely successful race with the team. We came away from the Green Mountain Stage Race with three stage wins, the overall win, along with the points jersey. The road race didn't go as well as I hoped. After Stuee and Gavin rode their hearts out on the front for about 40 miles to bring back 4th place, Matteo Dal-Cin, who got a maximum gap of 6 minutes on the field. When it came to App Gap, I just didn't have the legs and cramped up with one and a half. I then preceded to nose-dive into the ditch and then lay there for about 10 minutes trying to work the cramps out. I ended up losing 8 minutes on the climb along with the yellow jersey. Nate put in a good ride up App Gap and took it over from me. For the 15 mile crit the next day, our plan was to keep the 20 second lead over second place, and also try and win the points jersey with either Nate or me. Right from the gun I was extremely active and attacked multiple times before the first prime with 15 of the 25 laps to go. I attacked right after the prime and immediately got about a 20 second gap with another rider. The two of us worked well together and I took the next two primes and hot spot sprints. Going into the sprint I was on the front, so I just decided to lead it out. I did just that and held him off for my first crit win this year. Next on the schedule for me is the Chappell Hill Road Race on Sunday put on by the team that I grew up with, NWCC.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

GMSR Stage 1 and 2

I ended up 4th yesterday in the TT, but Gavin won so it was all good. Stuee was 6th and Nate was 7th. It was pretty much 2 miles straight up at the beginning and I just wasn't feeling it. Today went a lot better for me. It was a 34 mile circuit race with 1 3/4 lap. After the first lap, Nate went on a solo attack and got about 30 seconds. On the KOM about half way through the lap I attacked and bridged up to him. We then put the hammer down and were able to open up a gap of 36 seconds by the end over a group of four including 2nd and 3rd place on GC and about another minute and a half on the pack. Nate took the win which put him into the points jersey and I was able to grab the yellow jersey. Unfortunately, Gavin went down in a 30 man pile-up and wasn't able to reconnect with the pack. Stueee was able to win the field sprint for 7th. Tomorrow is a 74 mile road race that finishes up App Gap, a 7 km climb which I've heard some pretty bad stuff about how hard it is.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green Mountain Stage

Hey guys, I made it safely up to Vermont for the Green Mountain Stage Race (my first time traveling this year without any problems!). The race kicks off tomorrow with a six mile time trial. No one is allowed to use any equipment that wouldn't be allowed in a mass start event, so I'll just be using my straight up road bike. Stage two is a 34 mile circuit followed by a 74 road race that ends up the dreaded App Gap, a 6 mile wall from what I've heard. The race concludes with a 40 minute crit on Labor Day. I'll keep you posted on what goes on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Worlds

Sorry it took so long to get this up!
This year has been an incredible journey and I really couldn’t ask for more. I guess I can’t really say that winning the Silver Medal at the Junior World Time Trial Championships came as a surprise to me because going into the TT I knew I could pull out an excellent ride. The course suited me perfectly; it was on wide open highways that were some of the smoothest roads I’ve ever ridden on. I was on amazing form, due to my amazing coach, David Wenger, and persistent co-coach/my dad. I wasn’t wasting any energy at all due to our perfect soigneur, Simone Trafelet. My confidence was high was from winning the Pays de Vaud and the Tour of the Red River Gorge Time Trials, as well as the White Jersey at the stage race Liege-La Gleize the previous week. It also doesn’t hurt when you so many amazing followers back home and knowing that they will be proud of you no matter what happens!
The time trial was 26 kilometers (two laps of 13 km each) on wide open and smooth roads. It starts out on a gradual descent for about two kilometers before turning around and going back up the hill. When you crest the top of the hill it goes back down for about another two kilometers for turning back around. About half way up the hill you take a right turn and head down a straight road for about two kilometers before turning back around. You then take another right turn before you get to the main road and complete a small loop. You then come turn back onto the main road and have about 500 meters until the finish.
The plan for the time trial was not to go all out on the first lap because the gradual hills were extremely deceiving and if you went all out up them you could easily blow and lose huge chunks of time. For the first lap I went about 95% and came through the finish line the first time in second place, 12 seconds back on Australian’s Luke Durbridge. I then started to go harder and harder and by the time I had about five kilometers to go I was told I was about six seconds down. I put my head down and hammered all the way to the line (puking twice on the way) and came into the finish for the last time in second place, 2.22 seconds back on Durbridge. I nearly collapsed onto the ground after turning off the course and when my teammates came up to me saying that I was in second, I dropped my head feeling dejected. I didn’t think that I was going to stay up on the podium with about 20 of the big hitters left to finish. I then made my way over to the Hot Seats for the top three times. Simone met me over there with fresh and warm clothes along with recovery shakes and other drinks. I then watched in disbelief as one by one all of the rest of the riders came through and none of them were able to jump ahead of me in the standings. When the last rider had come through, all I could do was stand and stare at the scoreboard to see my name listed in second. It took me a while to believe that I had just gotten second place at the World Championships. My body was acting automatically as I was giving all my teammates and friends hugs while my mind was whirling at about a thousand miles an hour. This has got to be a dream! Ever since I was 11 years old and seeing my best friend, Alan Ting, wearing a mock rainbow jersey out at the track, I’ve been fantasizing about someday winning one, and it was hard to believe that I was only two seconds out of wearing one!
The podium is one experience I will never forget. I was called up onto the podium along with Denmark’s Lasse Hansen and Durbridge and awarded the silver medal by a high official of the UCI along from the strangely dressed podium girls. The three of us then gathered onto the top step for pictures before the playing of the Australian National Anthem. After the podium I reported to doping control and then headed back to the hotel.
Once again, there is no way I could have gotten through this year without the support from my amazing parents. I’ve also got to thank Dave Wenger of Durata Training for all of those hours spent fixing up my workouts for the week; Ben Sharp along with the USA Cycling Development Foundation for helping make this journey possible for not only me, but all of the other riders as well; my teachers at school for helping me get through the school year last year; Dave “Flash” Brown for making the run to McDonalds the day before the TT just so that I could get a break from the horrible Russian food at the hotel; and last but not least all of my wonderful friends and supporters back at home!

The next thing on my schedule is the Green Mountain Stage Race up in Vermont with Hot Tubes. It'll be the first time I'm doing this race, so I'm not really sure what to expect! I'll make sure I update my blog more than once a month next time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moscow and Liege-La Gleize

The US Worlds Team, consisting of Gavin Mannion, Ian Boswell, Nathan Brown, Ryan Eastman, Jacob Rathe, Kendall Ryan, Coryn Rivera, Jessica Prinner, and myself, have all made it to Moscow, Russia with no problems. We arrived in Moscow on Monday after a successful race in Belgium. The race was a UCI 2.1 called Liege-La Gleize and was located in the hilly part of Belgium and tackles some of the same climbs that are used in the pro race Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It was a three day four stage race with the first day a 95 km road race, stage 2A was a 14 km TTT, stage 2B was a 90 km road race, and the last stage was the queen stage with 115 km road with seven KOM's in it. Stage one ended in a field sprint with our top finisher being Gavin in 11th. Nate got into the early move on the stage and won one of the KOM which made him tied for the lead. The team time trial the next day was one of our biggest goals of the race. He didn't really spend that much time practicing for it, but we had some of the strongest time trialists in the world and were confident going into the stage. Disaster hit about 5 km into the race when Nate was popped off the back. The remaining four of us became pretty disorganized for a little bit, but quickly found our rhythm to come into the first time check in first place. About 5 km later, Rathe blew leaving us with three riders, Boz, Gavin, and me. The three of us worked really hard for the last 4 km and lost enough time to put us into second place at the finish behind the French National Team by about 24 seconds. This put us into 6th, 7th, and 8th on GC, second in the team classification and me into the young riders jersey. Our goal for stage three was for Nate to grow his lead in the KOM classification and move up in front of some of the French in the Overall. Nate once again got into the early break and won all three KOM's which gave him a huge lead going into the last stage. With about 30 km to go Boz got into a group of about 15 that was quickly out of sight of the pack and later bridged up to the lead group. Gavin and I stayed in the pack until about 10 km to go when we jumped across a gap to a group of about 10 that was dangling off the front. I was hurting really bad at this point and it was all I could do to hold on. The stage ended with five guys getting off the front of the lead group and fighting it out for the win. Boz finished in the next group of about 20 which ended up around 1:20 down, which put him into 4th overall. I was dropped from the group that Gavin and I were in on a steep kicker about 400 meters to go and finished about 10 seconds off the back of that group meanwhile losing the white jersey to a Swiss guy. Stage four was definitely the hardest with seven categorized climbs. Our goal for the stage was for Nate to keep the KOM jersey and try and move Boz into a podium spot. We started the stage bundled up in layers of vests and jerseys to protect ourselves from the rain that was coming down in buckets. For the first portion of the race we just tried to keep safe and out of trouble on the treacherous descents. Nate got enough points in the first three KOMs to keep his jersey. With about two-thirds of the race down we started to get to the front and do some work. The yellow jersey was having a bad day and had abandoned along with the third place guy. This put Boz into 2nd place overall, so we just made sure no one got too far up the road. Despite our efforts, about 4-5 guys got off the front to never see the pack again. With about 12 km to go, I had a rear flat and thought that my day was done. When I jumped back on the bike I saw that Nate had dropped off the back to help me back up to the pack. I was having some trouble staying with him, but fought through the pain to stay on his wheel. He bridged about a minute gap to the pack to bring me back up and we finally caught back on with about a kilometer and a half to go. I was pretty much toast at this point, but barely managed to stay with the group up the final finish line hill. Boz ended up 2nd overall, Nate won the KOM, and somehow I managed to take back the white jersey. This race has given us a lot of confidence going into the World Championships later this week. The 28 km time trial is on Friday and the Road Race is on Sunday. Ben (our team director) has a twitter that he updates during our races to keep family and friends updated on how everything goes. His twitter is www.twitter.com/bensharp13

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Europe

I'm back here at the U23 National Team House for the next week or so until we leave for the Junior Road World Championships in Moscow, Russia. I finally had an uneventful trip on the way over here and after spinning the legs out today, I feel like I'm ready to compete with the best on August 7th (TT) and 9th (RR). The road race team consists of Jacob Rathe, Ryan Eastman, Gavin Mannion, Nathan Brown, Ian Boswell, and myself with Nathan and I doing the time trial. After doing a stage race in here in Belgium this weekend we will fly out to Moscow, and meet up with the women's team. I'll keep you updated on how everything turns out. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red River Gorge and Worlds by Ian Boswell


This past weekend team Hot Tubes and I traveled to western Kentucky for the UCI 2.1 stage race, The Tour of the Red River George. This year was the inaugural event; however there was a road race which took place there last year as the junior worlds qualifiers. After along but enjoyable car drive from Mass to Lexington, KY we were ready to race. The opening stage was a 1 mile prologue on an out and back course in downtown Irvine, KY. Such a short event is not my forte, I finished 21st six seconds behind the stage winner Charlie Avis. Our however did good, putting three riders in the top ten. The afternoon of the prologue was the first true test with a 100km road race. The heat and humidity only added to the hard and hilly stage. After 30km had elapsed the racing started to pick up. I soon found myself off the front with a few other riders, and it wasn’t long before both Nathan and Anders were by my side. With three Hot Tubes riders out of the ten or so in the group we began to drive hard towards the finish. We worked hard and opened the gap to 1minute and 30 seconds before I almost lost it all. On a fast down hill road I miss lead the group off course. The riders at the back were able to turn around quickly and keep it; however some riders kept on riding in the wrong direction. I then made the turnaround and began to chase the group I was just leading. Thankfully I had two honorable teammates up front who waited for my return. Some riders never returned, thus our group was down to six, and going over the final KOM (king of the mountains) the group was minimized yet again. After the final climb with only 5km remaining Anders made a very tactically smart attack and quickly opened a big gap on our lead group. Soon after Nathan jumped and rode up to Anders, so I was the lone hot tubes rider with two of my teammates off the front. With 1.5km till the finish I knew that Anders and Nathan would stay away, so I then tried an attack of my own. I finally got a gap in the final 800 meters of the race and hot tubes went 1, 2, 3 on the stage and took 1, 2, 3 on overall classification.The following day was the individual time trial, it went pretty straight forward. My teammate Lawson won, Nathan second, Gavin fourth, myself eighth, Anders ninth, and our Canadian teammate Stuee sixteenth. This moved our team into 1,2,3,4 on overall classification going into the queen stage.Stage 4 was a long 120km road race with over 8,000 ft of climbing, a hard race that would separate the players from the pretenders. The first few climb were uneventful other than Lawson getting a flat, then Nathan having to stop and dislodge his jammed chain, but both Stuee and Gavin where there to help them back to the pack. Once the rejoined Gavin ran into a front flat so dropped back to get it fixed, but just as Gavin reintegrated into the pack a crash took him and a good percentage of other riders off the road. He just cruised in after that. Each time the road when up, riders went back, and going into the final 30km of the race the lead pack including four of us hot tubes riders was under twenty riders in total. The final two climbs where were the players came to play, Nathan in his yellow jersey went to the front of the pack and turned the screws. Riders quickly fell of his pace and by the time we summated the final climb the group was down to seven riders, but four of those hot tubes. Once on top the hill the course consisted of short but steep rollers. We weren’t on top for long before the attacks started. Most of them came from our team and after some hard efforts; Lawson and Jacob Rathe from Portland Oregon were off the front and free to fly. After some cat and mouse play, I jumped the group in pursuit of the leaders. When I was ¾ the way across and starting to fade, Nathan came up to me to give me some help. Together we caught the leaders and had 3 out of the 4 riders in the lead group. With 10km remaining we began to drive towards the finish. Theoretically we should have had an easy stage win, but Jacob is a very smart and very strong. I jumped the group with 500 meters to go but Jacob caught up with Nathan on his wheel. Nathan has a great sprint but the downhill sprint was too fast for Nathan to overcome on junior gears. Jacob took a very big stage win and moved into 5th overall. Nathan finished 2nd me 3rd and Lawson 4th.The final stage of the Tour of the Red River George was a twilight crit in downtown Lexington. The goal was to stay safe and hold our GC placing. Both were accomplish and then added on by Gavin’s stage win. It was a great race for us as a team we won the overall plus 2-4, and the best young riders and the sprint jersey, but to show how well we rode as a team we won the team classification by over 16 minutes.Because of how well we and I rode, I earned a spot on the world championship team. So next week I will fly back over to Belgium and then on to Moscow for the Junior world championships, which was my year long goal.Thanks for reading and more posts soon.

Ian

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tour of the Red River Gorge Stages 1 & 2

Stage one and two are done with here at the Tour of the Red River Gorge and so far Hot Tubes has been extremely successful. Stage one was a 1 mile out and back time trial. Charlie Avis took the victory over Adam Leibovitz and Jacob Rathe. Nate was our top finisher in 4th with Gavin right behind him in 5th. I was able to take 7th on the stage and jump into the white young rider's jersey. Stueee took 11th, Boz was 21st, and Anders was just a few places behind him. We were way more dominant in the 99 km road race that afternoon to take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. About thirty kilometers into the race Boz, Nate, and Anders got into a 12 man break that got about 30 seconds up the road. Jacob Rathe put in attack to try and bridge and brought along the yellow jersey, Charlie Avis. I jumped onto that group and we got about 10 seconds on the field. Because I had three teammates up the road I just pulled through that group to make sure that they wouldn't try and attack me. Although I wasn't putting big efforts pulling it was still one of the hardest breaks I had ever been in. Rathe was an absolute animal and was doing the majority of the work. The pack was completely strung out behind us and even though we were going all out we only had a maximum of about 10 seconds and were caught about 10 kilometers later. I was pretty tired after that and spent the rest of the race just sitting in the pack on covering attacks. Up in the break, Anders attacked without 5 km to go and got a small gap. Nate then bridged up to him and the both of them crossed the line to take 1-2 (Anders over Nate) about 15 seconds ahead of Boz who lead the rest of the group across the line. I finished with the pack about 1:45 behind along with Gavin and Stueee. Later today we have a 24 km TT. My start time is at 12:24

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Attleborro Crit by Gavin Mannion

Today was the Attleboro Crit. Hot Tubes sent a full 7 man squad for this local Pro 1-2-3 Crit. The team used this race as a warm up for Red River Gorge UCI 2.1 Stage Race in KY next week. After about 10 laps into the 60 lap race Ian, Lawson, Stueee the Canadian, and myself found ourselves off the front alone. After settling into a team time trial for 15 or 20 laps we lapped the field. The rest of the team set tempo at the front of the pack keeping the race in control for the remaining laps, until we lead out Downtown who took the field sprint making it 1,2,3,4,5 for Hot Tubes. He claims he's the next Cav. Since I was the last leadout man I ended up taking the victory. My fourth crit win of the year, one of these days I'm gonna win a road race...By far the best part of the day was capitalizing on the excess food after the race. We left the race with 2 large pizzas, 2 footlong subs, and close to 100 bagels. Hopefully that will be enough to fuel our team on our long drive to Lexington, KY tomorrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Teammate's Blog

Hey everyone! If you want to keep up with one of my teammates, Gavin Mannion, he just joined the blogging family. His URL is www.gavin-mannion.blogspot.com Tomorrow we leave for Kentucky for the UCI 2.1 Tour of the Red River Gorge. The winner of the overall gets an automatic spot for the Junior World Road Race Championships and the winner of the TT earns a spot on the TT team. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
















I'm here up in Massachusetts after completing the 50th edition of the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic with the Hot Tubes Junior Development Team. The race is a four day four stage race which starts off with a 9 mile time trial. Stage two was 21 mile circuit race before the penultimate 44 mile road race the next day. The race ended with a 20 kilometer crit on Sunday. We dominated the entire race by winning every stage with a different rider and winning all of the jerseys, the overall and the points jersey. Nathan Brown took the time trial by 20 seconds over Charlie Avis and our own Gavin Mannion. Anders took 4th, Boz took 9th, Ben took 12th, and I got 36th. With all of my traveling delays (I ended up getting delayed a total of 26 hours and got to Boston about 10 hours before the race start) none of my baggage showed up including both of my bikes and my clothes. I ended up just riding one of the Sram neutral bikes that I got about 30 minutes before my start. Boz took the win on the stage two circuit race out of a four man break and took the green jersey for the day. Anders was also in the break and was able to take fourth on the day. I went on a last lap attack with Nate and worked really hard to get Nate a big gap. Going up the 500 meter finish line wall I blew up and was caught only by Gavin who won the field sprint. Nate took 5th on the day, Gavin got 6th, and I took home 7th. I won the road race out of an early breakaway with Nate and another rider, Nathan Wilson. Nate got to the front on the hardest climb on the first lap and hammered up it and only Wilson and I were able to stay with him. Gavin bridged up later that lap but had a mechanical and dropped out of the break. Nate and I attacked Wilson with about 3 km to go and were able to put in 40 seconds into him by the end. Boz was able to take 4th on the stage over Gavin and then Anders. This moved me up from 26th overall to 3rd. Right from the start of the crit I put in an all out attack and got a decent sized gap. I was caught the next lap right before a sprint. Right after the sprint I put in another attack and brought Charlie Avis with me. Anders bridged up about a lap later and the three of us got about a 15 second gap. I took all of the sprint out of the break and got enough points to take over the green jersey. With about four laps to go I saw Gavin trying to bridge up to us. I then dropped back to help Gavin bridge all the way up. We caught back up with about three laps remaining. Starting with one lap to go, Anders and I took turns attacking Charlie, but neither of us could get a gap. Gavin was able to take the sprint for our fourth victory of the weekend and I was able to 3rd on the day. Nate took the final overall and I was able to maintain my 3rd place and win the points jersey. Gavin took 4th overall, Anders got 6th, and Boz got 7th. Next Sunday we plan on driving down to Kentucky for the UCI 2.2 Tour of the Red River Gorge. The winner of that will automatically earn a spot on the World Championships team.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pays de Vaud (The Racing Post)

For The Racing Post this month I decided to right about my racing experience at the Tour du Pays de Vaud in Switzerland. I am currently in Massachusettes for the Fitchburg Longsjo Cycling Classic. I arrived here 20 hours after I was originally scheduled to due to delayed and missed flights. The racing kicks off tomorrow (July 2nd) with a 14 km time trial. Hopefully I'll be recovered from all of my traveling to put in a good time.

Pays du Vaud is a UCI Junior Class 2.1 four day race with five stages in Switzerland. It began with a three kilometer prologue starting pretty late at night by our Texas standards. USA completely dominated the stage by sweeping the podium with Nathan Brown taking the win over Adam Leibovitz and myself. We took every single jersey except one, Nathan in yellow (leader), Adam in green (points), and myself in the white (young rider).

Stage 2 the next day was the first mass start stage and was about 100 kilometers of rolling hills. The stage finished at the top of a four kilometer climb that was sure to split the pack by the top. The goal for the stage was to keep the yellow jersey in the team. Our job: make sure no break got too far up the road. By the time we reached the base of the climb, the peloton was together. Right at the bottom of the climb a Danish rider attacked and immediately opened up a 10 second gap. Nathan then put in an attack and brought with him along another Danish rider and a Dutch. The initial attack ended up staying away by about 15 seconds and Nathan was able to get fourth on the stage and USA kept the yellow by one second. The rest of the team rolled in and managed to remain within a minute of our leader.

Day three started with an 80 kilometer road race that was pancake flat for the first 75 kms and then climbed 600 meters in the last six kms. Our plan was to control the front with Adam, Jacob, Gavin, and me so that the race would be together at the base of the climb. Connor would then help Nathan as much as he could on the climb before pulling off and letting Nathan take over. Our plan worked flawlessly and Nathan grabbed third on the stage, but ended up losing the yellow by four seconds. The rest of the team took it easy up the mountain pass to save some energy for the time trial later that day.

After resting and refueling, USA challenged the eleven kilometer time trial that was completely flat for the first ten kilometers with a steep climb for the last km. I was able to take the win on the stage by four seconds over the Dutch National TT Champion and another 17 seconds to one of the Danish riders. Nathan put an extremely strong time trial to grab 5th on the stage and regain the yellow jersey by about 45 seconds. Once again, we were in the lead.

The next day was the last road race and final stage at 110 kilometers and climbing for a total of 1000 meters. It was by far the hardest stage of the race and by the time we reached the finish, the peleton was completely shattered. Early on in the race a break of about ten was attacked and got off the front. By about 30 kilometers into the stage the gap was almost three minutes with a rider in the break down in the GC by only 2:30. It was time to start chasing. I got to the front and over the next 25 kilometers and brought the gap down to 2:30. With about 50 kilometers to go, the rest of the team went up to the front and we brought the gap down to about a minute with 20 kilometers left in the race. Since the break was no longer a threat to take over the yellow, we let the Danish and the Dutch teams to get to the front to keep the break in check so that they wouldn't lose their podium spots. The break ended up staying away by about a minute with Christopher Jennings of South Africa taking the stage win. USA kept the yellow jersey and we took home the individual overall with Nathan and second place on Team Classification.

This win at Pays de Vaud gave USA Cycling Junior Developmental program extremely good hope for the rest of the season and junior cycling’s future. It has showed that USA is becoming extremely more competitive in not only time trials, but also road races and stage races abroad. Pays De Vaud, as a top ranking UCI Race was definitely a test of strength, endurance and teamwork. Racing in Europe with USA Cycling and my team Hot Tubes has taught me that when we race, we put our individual goals aside and ride our best for the team (something I’m still working on!).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Karlsberg Stage 3-5
















For the first time in a few weeks this is actual myself blogging instead of my dad. I arrived back into Houston on Monday and have been extremely busy with finishing my school. Here is an update on how Trofeo Karlsberg finished:

Stage 3A

Stage 3a was an 11 km tt. The course was somewhat rolling for about 6 km before a 500 meter monster cobbled climb. The course then descended for about 1 kilometer before a long 4 km haul all the way to the finish line. Nathan did an amazing time trial to take 2nd on the day while I grabbed 9th and Adam finished out the top 10. This moved me into 3rd overall and Nathan into 5th. I was also 2nd place in the young rider competition, but because the leader in that competition was also the GC leader I wore the young rider jersey.

Stage 3b

Stage 3b was probably the easiest stage. We rode about 50 km out to a circuit and did 5 laps of about 6 km each. I just chilled in the peleton the entire day to conserve energy for the queen stage the next day. With about 500 meters to go I was taken out by a Slovenian, but thankfully the UCI 3 km rule saved me and gave me the same time as the peleton. Gavin was able to take 6th place in the field sprint.

Stage 4

Stage 4 was definitely the hardest of them all. It was a whopping 140 km over 5 laps, and each lap had 2 monster climbs. I stayed in the pack for the majority of the race up until the last lap and a half. A group of about 10 had gotten away in the early part of the stage and got about 2 minutes on the field, and the Dutch weren't chasing (they had the leaders jersey). Starting with about one to go, Team USA got to the front and brought the gap down to about a minute with 15 km to go. The yellow jersey then put in an attack, and I immediately jumped onto his wheel. The two of us worked pretty hard and eventually bridged up to an Italian that had been dropped out of the lead group. Nathan then bridged up to us and was later followed by a Danish rider. This made five of us and I thought for sure that we were going to stay away, but the German that was in second place sent his team to the front and eventually brought us back. By the time we got to the base of the last climb the gap was hovering around 45 seconds. Nathan then went to the front and hammered up the climb and single-handely brought the gap down to about 20 seconds by the top. With about 5 km to go the gap had only gone down to about 15 seconds. The entire USA team along with the Germans led a frantic chase and we caught the break with about 500 meters to go. Unfortunately, a Danish rider had gotten away and took the win by about 15 seconds. He also took home the overall which bumped me off of the podium into 4th place.


I'd really like to thank my parents along with Source Endurance, USA Cycling, and everyone else that has supported me this year along with the rest of my cycling career. There is no way possible that I could be out there doing what I love with out the support that I am given. Thanks!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Trofeo Karlsberg Stage 2


Here's a translated summary of yesterdays stage -
Mark Barry is the first winner in the 22nd Trofeo Karlsberg. The price of the waterworks Bliestal he sprinted after 2:26,06 hours the finish line in Wittersheim the yellow jersey of the Karlsberg brewery. Five kilometers before the end had a group of five top 15 seconds ahead out there. The complete field of 21 teams from 20 nations chased the runaway, she is just 500 meters from the finish. In the mass sprint, the Portuguese had Daniel on Friday and the Russian Matvey Zubov beaten type. Best German was Niklas Arndt (Germany I) as a fifth. The 108 kilometer stage was started in Blieskastel been partially suffered torrential rains and strong gusts of wind. The 126 were mostly drivers together, Außreißversuche have already been nipped in the bud. The mountain jersey of Kunststoffwerke Marquardt secured the Americans Lawson Craddock, while Marco Haller from Austria, the green sprint jersey from the travel service Feibel & Tuillier and Luxairtours streak was over. First winner of the blue team jersey of Stadtwerke Bliestal and Enovos was currently in the rankings Gesamtnationencup leading Russians. The red jersey Rilchinger the mineral source of the best in the more recent vintage bears on the second stage, the price of saarVV, which concluded on Friday, 18.30 clock in Völklingen gestartetet is, the Italians Luca Wackermann. (Wolfgang Degott)
Stage 2 is 78km from Volklingen to Grosrosseln. With 3 kom and 3 sprints

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trofeo Karlsberg







Trofeo Karlsberg starts today with a 105k stage. There's 5 stages to the Nations Cup race.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tour du Pays de Vaud Photos







Tour du Pays de Vaud Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5






Lawson has limited Internet so I'll try and fill in the blanks ~ Tom

Stage 2 was 103k from Faoug to Blonay. The group stayed together until the tough 3k climb to the finish. The goal today was to protect Nate's yellow jersey. Jensen from Denmark attacked on the climb and finished 14 sec ahead of 4 man chase which included Nate. Lawson finished 15th 34 secs down. Nate held onto the jersey and Lawson is in 15th overall. Third in the Young Riders category.

Stage 3 - 84k Penthalaz - Corbeyrier. This was a flat stage for 78k and the last 6k was about 1400 feet of steep climbing. The plan was for Lawson, Gavin, Jacob and Adam to set tempo in the flats and for Connor and Nate to be ready for all comers once they hit the finish climb. Nate was able to go with the breaks and finished 3rd but lost the yellow jersey to Jenson by 5 seconds. Lawson had laid in on the line in the flats and gave up over 4 min by the finish. Lawson is 38th overall.
Stage 4 - 12k Individual Time Trial -Aigle - Yvorne. This stage started at the headquarters of the UCI and was pancake flat for 11k with a nasty 1k climb to the finish. For team strategy most of the riders were instructed to take it easy for the TT so save their legs for Sundays last stage. Nate and Lawson were given the nod to ride the stage all out. Nate plan was to take back the yellow and Lawson's plan was for a top finish. It was raining on and off throughout the stage and a few riders took some spills. Lawson continued exactly where he left off in Franklin TN and won the stage by 4 secs. This makes it two years in a row that an American has won the ITT at the Pays de Vaud, Taylor Phinney won it last year! Nate finished 5th 23sec off Lawson's pace and take back the yellow jersey with a 40 sec cushion over second place. Lawson moved up to 28th in the GC.

Stage 5 - 112k Villars-Sainte-Croix - Chavornay. The final stage was the the toughest of all the stages and everything was on the line to take home the yellow. The stage had three climbs totally 2900 of climbing. 13k's into the race a group of 7 got away and opened up a gap of 2 1/2 minutes. Team USA got to the front and drilled it taking the field down to about 60 riders. By the end of the stage the break away gap was less than 45 seconds and the yellow jersey was Nate's for good. Gavin and Jacob finished in the top ten for the stage

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tour du Pays de Vaud Prologue





























Tour du Pays de Vaud Prologue
by Tom Craddock
Due to lack of internet in I'm going to post for Lawson

The first stage of the Tour du Pays de Vaud was a 3k prologue and as Ben Sharp described it on his twitter, was 1k up 1k down and 1k flat
The race was held in Lausanne, along the north shore of Lac Geneva Switzerland, no doubt amongst architecture of medieval times and gothic cathedrals (too bad I don't have photos) There's 19 teams entered and 112 completed the first stage.
Team USA took the top three spotswith Nate Brown in 1st, Adam Leibovitz took 2nd (2 seconds down) and Lawson rounded out the podium in 3rd (4 seconds down).
Team USA has will be sporting the Leader Jersey (Brown), Points Jersey (Leibovitz) and the Polka Dot Jersey (Craddock) in tomorrow's 103k stage with 810 meters of climbing! Brown actually won the three jerseys but could only wear one so his teammates are helping him out. Lawson also won the Young Riders Jersey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

World Qualifiers and Airports




I'm going to have to cut this post short due to the fact that I'm about to lose internet and my computer is about to die. Just to recap the World Qualifiers; I won the 18 km TT over Charlie Avis and Adam Leibovitz, and qualified for the Junior World Time Trial Championships in Moscow, Russia this August. For the road race I just committed myself to the team to try and get another teammate to qualify. For the first lap and a half I sat on the front monitoring the breaks and making sure they didn't get too far up the road. During that time I dropped my chain twice on two different hills and was forced to chase hard for a couple of minutes to get back on. About halfway through the second lap, coming up the feed zone hill I got a front flat and by the time I had gotten it changed I was too far back to chase back on. I tried extremely hard for about 10 miles, but could never close the gap. Teammate, Nathan Brown, ended up taking the win to also qualify for the World Championships in Moscow.

I am currently sitting in the London airport after a trip full of problems. The US National Team (Nathan Brown, Gavin Mannion, Connor O'Leary, Adam Leibovitz, and myself) where scheduled to fly out of Nashville, TN on Monday for Chicago, but that flight was cancelled due to weather and we were rescheduled for a flight to Miami the next morning at 6:30. We stayed in Miami for about seven hours before flying out here to London. Unfortunately, that flight was delayed and we missed our final flight to Basel, Switzerland. This forced us to wait at the airport for the next flight out which was in about six hours.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dallas Crits


This past weekend was the Gary Glickman Memorial Crit and the GS Tenzing Crit up in Dallas, TX. They were both excellent races which provided a great warm-up for the State Championships on Monday. Because I am racing up in Tennessee next weekend for the Junior World Championship Qualifiers I decided to skip the State Championships so that I could rest up to be on peak form. The races went pretty good and I ended up with an 8th place finish at Glickman and a 6th place finish at the GS Tenzing crit.




Glickman


The course was about a mile long with 5 or 6 corners. With about 500-750 meters to go we did a sharp U-Turn and started a steady climb towards the finish. I wasn't too active in the early parts of the race because I was saving my energy for the last thirty minutes of so. I followed a few attacks but never put too much effort into any of them. With about 25 minutes or so to go I started to be way more aggressive. With about five laps to go there was a group of about 8 up the road with a lot of the strong men in the race in it. That group had probably about 10-12 seconds. I put in a hard attack and bridged up to it later that lap. The group became extremely disorganized and we were soon caught. I then attacked and went with attacks constantly for the next three laps and with a little over a lap to go I found myself in a five or so man break. We were caught right at one to go, and the pack sat back up. I then put in an attack and got a gap that hovered around about 7 seconds for half a lap. David Wenger (Super Squadra) then attacked out of the pack. Dave quickly caught me and flew right by me to take the win. I was then caught by the pack and was able to jump in at the front for a good position for the field sprint. I ended up taking 7th in the sprint for 8th on the day.


GS Tenzing Crit

Sunday was the excellent crit put on by GS Tenzing. The course was about a mile long with the back part pretty much a straight line with a long sweeping turn the rest of the race. This race was also 90 minutes and it was sure to be extremely tough. I was planning on being way more aggressive as I wasn't racing the State Championships the next day like most people and didn't have to save any energy. About two or three laps in I put in an attack and got about a maximum gap of about 15 seconds but was shut down about a lap later by Texas Tough. I was pretty aggressive for the rest of the race, but I had missed a strong group that rolled off the front with about 30 minutes to go that had about 10-15 seconds on the pack. I then put in a hard attack to bridge up to them and caught the break about a half a lap later. Right when I bridged up, the break sat up which allowed us to get caught by the peleton. Mitch Comrado (Bike Barn) then put in an attack and brought Ian "Un-Dillestructable" Dille (Super Squadra) and Heath Blackgrove (Team Hotel San Jose) with him. Because I had just used a lot of energy to bridge up to the break I didn't have the energy to go with them. No one else reacted from the pack and the gap quickly swelled up to about 20 seconds. The rest of the race I tried extremely hard to try and bridge up to them, but every time I attacked the pack would chase me down and then sit up when I was caught. When the lap cards came out with 5 laps to go I realized I was fighting a losing battle and decided just to sit in and save it for the field sprint. I positioned myself in the top five for the last lap and was able to get 3rd in the field sprint for 6th on the day. The last twenty seconds of the race were spent at 39.3 mph with the last ten over 40 mph. My heart rate was racing at 205 bpm and my avg cadence for the last 20 seconds was 136 rpms. Easily the fastest sprint I've ever been in.


I am currently in Franklin, Tennessee for the Edgar Soto Memorial Classic which is serving as the Jr. World Championship Qualifiers. Their is an 18 km TT tomorrow, Saturday, and about a 75 mile road race on Sunday. I then go to Switzerland with the Junior National Team for the Tour de Pays du Vaud on June 6th to June 8th, and Trofeo Karlsberg on June 11th through June 14th.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morbihan Wrap Up and the Houston Crits




Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been pretty busy with school and haven't had that much free time. I'll start where I left off with the last two stages of Morbihan. The second stage was a TT where I ended up 21st out of the 150+ man field. I ended up being the second highest place 17 year old with the highest place 17 year old one place and one second ahead of me. The third stage didn't go so well for me. I was pretty active in the early parts of the race and paid the price for it going into the final circuits. On the first lap my legs gave away and I ended up pulling out early to help Gabriella feed the rest of the team. Gavin was our top finisher that day in 12th after fruitless attempts by the rest of the team to try and get away.

Crits in Houston
This past weekend marked the first time that I had raced in the US in about a month. The races planned for the weekend were the Houston Metro Crit put on by SWCC and the Houston Grand Crit in Downtown Houston put on by Bike Barn. Both races were awesome events that were held very professionaly. The Metro Crit was in a parking lot meaning that it would be extremely technical. At the very beginning of the race, one of Texas' top crit racers, Kevin Kremke (Bike Barn), took off. I immediately jumped on his wheel and the two of us got about a 15 second gap pretty quickly. Later on, Sol Frost (Austin Bikes) bridged up to us, but later that lap Kremke slid out on a turn with me on his wheel. I slammed on the breaks and T-boned right into him sending me flying over my handlebars and landed right on my knees and chest. It took a little while to shake it off, but I decided to get back into the race. The officials put me back into the group that Kremke was in which happened to be the lead group. It was an eight man group consisting of Kremke and Mitch Comrado (both Bike Barn) , Carlos Vargas (Team Hotel San Jose), Josh Carter (ABD Cycle Club), Tyler Stanfield, Hector Rangel, and Ricardo Tapear. Mitch rode away from everyone with about 30 minutes to go to take an easy win. Later on, Kremke, Rangel, and Stanfield broke away from the rest of us to finish in that order. With my "mad" sprinting skills I finished last out of my group to take 8th on the day. Sunday was the Houston Grand Crit. Being a much older race, a lot more people showed up to race. The course was fairly simple with only three turns in it. Early on in the race a break including recent winner of the Athens Twilight Criterium, Heath Blackgrove (Team Hotel San Jose), Kremke, Rangel, Frost, Thacker Reeves (Matrix RBM), Carter, Steven Wheeler, and Phil Wikoff (Super Squadra). Because of the extreme horsepower in the break and I think everyone was working pretty evenly the group got about a 15 second gap that would never be closed. Both Wikoff and Wheeler dropped out of the break and Travis Burandt (Team Hotel San Jose) bridged up to it. I tried a lot in the early parts of the race to try and bridge, but I couldn't make it all the way up. About 30-40 minutes in, I decided to go ahead and conserve my energy for the field sprint or maybe even a flyer on the last lap. With a little less then two laps to go there was a massive crash taking out about 3/4's of the field. Fortunately, I was pretty far up at the front and missed the crash by about 5 meters. This left about 20 or so riders left in the main field. A few more had bridged up by the finish to make the size of the field at about 30. Going into the last lap I found myself in good position on Texas Premier Cup Leader, Phil Wikoff. Knowing that he was an extremely successfully and powerful sprinter I decided to try and keep his wheel. With about 500 meters to go I was bumped off of his wheel and found myself on the outskirts of the pack. I found myself being sucked along the outside of the pack and with 200 meters to go the sprint started. I just put my head down and spun as fast as I could and miraculously took second in the field sprint for my second 8th finish of the weekend. This up and coming weekend I am planning on driving up to Dallas for the Gary Glickman Memorial Crit and the GS Tenzing Crit. Because I have the world championship qualifiers the next weekend in Tennessee I have decided to skip the Category Based State Championship Crit, so that I can rest up to be on peak form.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trophee Centre-Morbihan Stage One

The stage definitely did go as well as I hoped. I started the race just covering a few moves, but mainly just tried to sit near the front as much as I could to conserve energy for the final 7 km circuits. An early brek went about 20 km into the 110 km race. About 50 km into the race I put in a hard attack to bridge up to a few guys off the front. I caught them pretty quickly, but the pack reeled us in shortly after. I continued to put in a hard pull and found myself with a gap on the pack. Quickly after, a Dutch and a French guy bridged up to me. The three of us worked well together and as we were entering the final circuits 35 km to go we finally made contact with the leaders with about a minute on the field. I stayed with the group until about 4 laps to go when I got a front flat. I quickly got another wheel, but by the time I had gotten back on the break was out of sight and there was no way for me to get back on. I chased for about another half a lap until I figured I was fighting an uphill battle and eased up to wait for the pack. The pack caught me about a little while later and I jumped into the top 20 or so. Since I had been chasing pretty hard for the last couple of kilometers I wasn't able to respond when the pack split with about 20 or so went up the road. A little while later I tried to bridge up to them, but I wasn't able to close the gap. I ended up placing around 60th at like 1:33 back. The group that I was with before I flatted ended up staying away at 36 seconds ahead of the second group that had Nate and Stuee in it. If I had stayed in that group I would of ended up in the top six and in the young riders jersey, which I'm pretty sure I could of as I was feeling incredibly strong at the moment. I was pretty mad about flatting, but hey, that's bike racing and I figured I might as well put in a good TT tomorrow then dwell on the past. The course tomrrow is 7 km and mostly flat execpt one semi-hard hill about half way in and the last 750 meters is a pretty big kicker. Hopefully I'll be able to recover well enough to put in a good time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

France

I’m currently sitting on the corner of some random road in Locmine, France trying to steal some internet due to the fact that there isn’t any at the hotel we are staying at. We arrived here a day later than planned because our van broke down about halfway here causing us to sit on the side of the road for about four hours until a tow truck came and rescued us. We were then brought to the closest town to find out that the van wouldn’t be able to be fixed until the day after. Due to Stuee’s ability to speak French we were able to rent a car for the remaining four hours. Toby decided to stop in Roen for the night because it took so long to get back on the road. We stayed the night at a pretty nice hotel where I slept on the rock hard floor due to the lack of beds to fit three people. We woke up pretty early the next morning to drive the remainder of the trip and we got here at around 1:30. After moving into our rooms we put on our clip-on time trial bars for an hour and a half ride. We ate dinner at around 7:30 where we met the race director. This morning we ate breakfast at around 9:00 and set out on our ride at around noon where we rode the 7 kilometer time trial course for Sunday morning. The course seems pretty challenging with two pretty big hills in it. We finished the ride at about an hour and a half and showered up for lunch at 1:30. Tonight we have the team presentation at around 8:00 which should be fun as we are coming back as the defending champions. Tomorrow is stage one at about 110 kilometers. I’m really feeling strong, so we’ll see how everything turns out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Traveling

After a few days staying here at the Hof ter Komman in Oudenaarde, we are planning to depart tomorrow for Brittany, France for the Trophee Centre-Morbihan. It's a UCI 2.1 stage race that brings in strong teams from all over the world. Nate Brown took home the win last year, so we are going into the race with targets over our backs. After our successful race on Sunday we took it somewhat easy on Monday for about an hour and a half semi-recovery ride before lounging around the hotel playing some basketball and occasionally some badminton. Today we woke up at the usual time of around 9 to eat a breakfast of champions of vanilla yogurt and corn flakes (yumm) before going on our different ways to ride. Stuart, Anders, and Gavin set out on a four hour ride with last year’s team member, Simon Lambert-Lemay. Nate and I chose to go our own way for a 2 and a half hour ride. We set out for the canal and traveled to what we thought was the end before turning off and somehow finding ourselves in Gent. When we found the town center we started to hunt for the closest frites place and upon arrival we left as soon as we stepped inside because Nate got the "eebie jeebies". After looking at a map, we decided to head over to Brakel, a town about ten kilometers outside of the town where the hotel is. We somehow got off course and found ourselves en route to Oudenaarde (our home town). We ended the ride at about 2:15 and waited around the house for the rest of the team to come home. When everyone had showered up we left the hotel to meet up with Cyclocross Pro, Jonathan Page, silver medalist at the 2007 Cyclocross World Championships, at an Italian restaurant in town. After dinner we got some Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream, which Anders was extremely excited about as Ben & Jerrys is made in his home town, before heading back home. Well, that’s it for now as I'm about to head off to bed. I'm not sure if I'll have internet at the hotel in France, but hopefully I do. If not I'll try and figure something out to keep everyone posted on how I do. Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Back in Belgium


I'm here back in Belgium, this time with the Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team. I arrived here yesterday after a 12 hour flight where I could only sleep about three hours. Despite lack of sleep, we woke up today ready for a kermesse in Vinkt. We completely dominated and took home first (Anders), second (Me), third (Nate), and sixth (Gavin). The course was about 8 kilometers long with completely flat on skinny roads in the middle of wide open farm fields. The race itself was 98 kilometers (13 laps) and had about 90 starters in it. About one kilometer into the race I put in an attack and stayed away for about a kilometer before a Belgian bridged up to me. We worked evenly until Nate bridged up to us going into the start/finish line that lap. The three of us worked steadily until Gavin and another Belgian bridged up to us about half way through that lap. This made it three Hot Tubers in a break of five with about a minute on an eight man group including Anders, and the pack over five minutes back with Stuee in it. Some would say that this was a near perfect situation. With about eight laps to go, the Anders group caught us and Anders went flying by us. I jumped on his wheel and we opened up about a 30 second lead. Nate bridged up to us about three laps later. We then proceeded to put in almost three minutes on the group of six behind us. We decided to let Anders take the win with myself over Nate. In the sprint behind us, Gavin took third in that group to take home sixth. By the end of the race I was pretty much cramping the entire time, but I wasn't really surprised as I had been in the lead group for all of the 100 kilometers of the race.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Teamwork

Here was my article for this month's article of The Racing Post:


One of the most important lesson’s that I learned while over in Europe was teamwork. At the U23 National Team house World Pursuit Chapion, Taylor Phinney, told me that “you may not notice it now, but when you get older the racing gets harder and longer.” It is extremely tough to perform well in races without having teammates. At the Ster van Zuid-Limburg, Adam (winner of the 5 kilometer prologue) would have lost the yellow jersey on stage one if Team USA hadn’t gone up to the front on the closing laps of the race to reel in the breakaways. Again on stage two. A group of two got away with two of the five 10 kilometer local laps left in the race. Team USA got to the front and brought the gap from about 45-60 seconds to eight seconds by the end, which allowed Adam to stay in the yellow jersey by a slender second. Unfortunately, the team was hurting too bad on the final stage and an early break, which got up to a two minute lead with about 40 kilometers to go, stayed away and finished 23 seconds up on the peleton. Without Team USA on the front during the three stages, Adam would have lost the yellow jersey long before he really did.
Before this year, I had raced for the Northwest Cycling Club for around six years. Northwest was an excellent team to grow up and mature in. The only thing was that we (the juniors) never really raced as a team. We would always just go out to these races and act like we knew what we were doing while having an awesome time. By the time I had moved up through the ranks and into the P-1/2’s I was at a huge disadvantage. I was a lone ranger in the middle of the 75+ person fields with multiple teams dominating the day with carefully thought out strategies and tactics. I was stuck in the middle of a war with only one pair of legs and a teenager’s brain to help me.
When I arrived in Belgium I was expecting to learn a lot, but I can’t describe the amount knowledge that I learned about teamwork. Phinney is not only an extremely strong cyclist, but an incredibly smart man. Loyal teammates are a necessity for a cyclist, and it’s next to impossible to be able to turn pro without them.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my view on teamwork. Later today, I am getting on a plane for Belgium where I will compete in a kermesse in Belgium and a stage race in France with my team, Hot Tubes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Georgia Training Camp Wrap-Up


I'm here back at home after a legendary time in Tiger, Georgia with the rest of the Hot Tubes team. When I last updated my blog we were planning on climbing Brasstown Bald the next day. The Brasstown Bald is the same decisive climb that was used in the Tour of Georgia. We did about a twenty mile ride to the base of the climb. One of the hardest things about Brasstown is the lead-in for the climb. For about 7 miles before the climb actually starts, there are a bunch of rolling hills that take a lot out of the legs. When we got to the base of the 2.5 mile climb with parts over a 20% grade, Stuart got to the front and set a steady tempo. The group stayed together until about one of the steepest section on the climb. Stuart rode ahead of everyone with Gavin behind him, and Anders and I behind Gavin. This part of the climb was so steep that if you only did about 10 seconds of really hard pedal strokes you could easily make up a ton of time. This is what I did and I found myself riding alongside Gavin. I did the same thing and was able to pull ahead of Gavin and got about 5-10 seconds behind Stuee. I then tried to ride at a steady pace and finished the climb in second place with a time of 17:17. We weren't able to climb to the very top of the mountain because the next mile was a walkway and is only accessible on foot. We then finished out the day with for about four hours at around 65-70 miles. The rest of the days were along the same pattern. On Wednesday, we went out on a 75 mile ride to figure out how to use the iBikes that we are going to be using this season. For the final miles of the ride, we did a mock race where some cheating was involved such as Stuee and Downtown Nate Brown drafting behind the team van and blowing by everyone else at 45+ mph. Later that night we went to the movie theater to see State of Play. The next day, Thursday, we were planning on riding three mountain passes, Hog Pen (the climb we did the first day), Brasstown, and Wolf Pen. Toby then decided to bag Brasstown thinking it would be too much. We all rode somewhat easy up Hog Pen where Ben took the sprint finish. The plan was to ride another 20ish miles to the base of Wolf Pen, but when we got to where we thought the base of the climb was we couldn't find it and decided to end the day at about 70 miles. That night we decided to go bowling where we saw Toby take the overall win over Downtown. I bowled the fastest ball at 23.6 mph and got a prize of a treat at Dairy Queen. On Friday, we rode about 20 miles to a white water rafting place where we spent about 5 hours on a raft flying down the Chatahoochee River. That night we all packed up all of our stuff for the departure Saturday morning. We left the house at around 8:15 the next morning so that Ben and I could be dropped off at the Charlotte airport. The rest of the team drove back to Toby's house in Mass. where they are staying until Tuesday when they leave for Europe. I needed to come back to Houston so that I could take the mandatory TAKS tests. After I finish my last test on Friday, I plan on traveling over to Belgium to meet up with the rest of the team where we will compete in a stage race in France. Special thanks to my school, Cypress Springs High School, and all of my awesome teachers for their cooperation. There would be no way for me to go on all of these trips if it weren't for my teachers working hard to prepare all of my lessons before I leave and working with my due dates while I'm gone. Thanks!!!