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!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm here in Georgia with the Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team for our very first training camp. The riders that I am here with are Gavin Mannion from Massachutes, Nathan Brown from Tennessee, Ian Boswell from Oregon, Stuart Wight from Canada, Anders Newbury from Vermont, and Ben Gabardi from Mississippi. Yesterday, I flew into Charlotte, North Carolina to meet up with Toby for the three hour drive down to Tiger, Georgia. That night we received all of our new equipment including all of our clothing and our brand new Cervelo R3 SL's with Sram Red and Mavic Carbone SL's. We then proceeded to eat dinner before assembling our bikes. After everyone was finished putting the finishing touches on their bikes we played our luck in a game of Texas Hold 'Em. I ended up taking third and left the game without any money. Ian and Gavin went one, two respectively and split up the pot. Today, we woke up at around 9:00 for breakfast and a ride at 11:00. For the ride we did a 20 mile loop before riding about 40 miles out to a town called Helen for some sandwiches. We then rode about another five miles to a huge 10 mile mountain. The group whittled down to Anders, Nate, and I until about three miles into the climb. My legs then exploded and I was then passed by Stuart and Gavin. I then just tried to ride at a pace higher than four mph (seriously!). With about 3/4's mile of a straight wall Ian and I decided to call it quits and jump into the van. We then proceeded to turn around and drive until we found Ben to pick him up as well. After picking up Ben, we drove to the top of the mountain to find the rest of the team waiting up there. They then got into the van and we drove back to the house that we are staying at. We ended the day with around 75 miles and a little less than 4 hours. Tomorrow we plan on riding up the Brasstown Bald which should be oh so much fun! I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A few more photos

These photos came from an amatuer photographer in Belgium by the name of Jos Aerden. His website is


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some more pictures

Off to Georgia, near the Brasstown Bald area, with Hot Tubes for our very first training camp tomorrow. The camp is a week long and should be an awesome trip! Here are pictures of me racing from Belgium. Enjoy! Finish Stage 1
Stage 1

Stage 1

On the front-Stage 1

Stage 1

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lesson Learned

After one extremely stressful drive home from the airport I learned an extremely important lesson: never leave your bag on top of your bike box in an airport. As I was walking out of the George Bush Intercontinental Airport to meet my parents, my gear bag was snatched off the top of my bike box. In that bag was my passport, all of my Euros, helmet, pedals, and three pairs of glasses. We then filed a police report for the stolen bag and let the "po-po" handle the situation. Upon returning home and eating dinner, we received a call saying that the bag had been found in the restroom. My mom then proceeded to pick the bag up to find that all the money and the sunglasses had been stolen out of the bag. Fortunately, the most important thing in the bag was still there, my passport. If that had been stolen as well, it would of caused mass chaos as I am traveling back over to Europe with Hot Tubes in about two weeks. I learned a huge lesson to always keep an eye on my luggage and to always carry my passport with me, like in a pouch around your neck.

Everyone at the house
Photo Shoot


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Sorry it's been a while since I last updated. I've been constantly traveling, and haven't had the time to sit down and blog it up. Just to recap the stage on Easter Sunday; after a long and stressful day working for Adam, we somehow managed to keep the yellow jersey by one second over one of the Belgium National Track team guys. He and another Belgian escaped with three laps to go (about 30 km) and finished eight seconds up on the pack. The fourth and final stage on Monday was easily the hardest with five King of the Mountain sprints, four of them happening within 20 kilometers of each other. The stage itself was about 120 km (80 miles). The team's main goal was to hold onto the yellow jersey and maintain our lead in the Team Classification. In the beginning kilometers of the stage, a group of five got up the road and built of a lead of about a minute by the time we hit the base of the first KOM. This climb was a little over a kilometer with pitches as steep as 15-20%. One of the Belgians attacked at the base of the climb, and I jumped onto his wheel. About 100 meters later, another 2-3 guys bridged up to us with the gap at around 5-10 seconds. I then proceeded to get dropped like a hot potato and rode at my own pace until the peloton swallowed me up. I then tried to stay near the front until the top of the climb. At the top, the white jersey rider and one other jumped across the gap to the group that I was in. That group then bridged up to the leading group to make it about 10 riders. The following three KOM's where all about the same as the one we just climbed, and by the end of them all, the lead group had a gap of about 1:15 seconds. The peleton then just rode at a steady pace until we hit the 10 kilometer finishing circuits and the gap had gone up to about two minutes. With about 40 kilometers left, Team USA got to the front to try and reel in the break. The whole team was working extremely hard with some help from one or two other Belgian teams. With one lap to go the gap was still around a minute, but everyone was still working as hard as they could. Unfortunately, we weren't able to pull the break back and they ended up finishing 23 seconds up on us. This moved one of the riders in the break into the lead to take the overall win. Adam ended up finishing third overall with myself in 14th. Team USA lost the lead in the Team Classification to a team from the Netherlands, but we managed to hold onto second. We all drove back to Izegem to pack up for the trip home the next day. After going to bed late and waking up early for the trip to the airport we all said our goodbye's, and headed off to our flight gates. Here are some photos from the trip... Prologue Shot
Pro Team Bus


Future Quick Step Pros

I'll post more photos soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ster van Zuid-Limburg

I'm going to try and keep this post short as I'm getting ready to pack up for the race. The team worked REALLY hard to keep the yellow jersey, which we were able to do. I crashed on the day and hit my knee pretty hard. I'm currently icing it up, and it is starting to feel a little better. I'm planning on starting today and hopefully I'll be able to fight through the pain. The stage was 112 kilometers. The course went out 84 kilometers before we started five laps around some town. When we got onto the local laps, Jacob and Nate got into a group of about ten that opened up a gap of 30-40 seconds. I was sure the break was going to stick, but it was reeled in with about two to go. With about four kilometers to go, the guy in second place on GC put in an attack. Jacob, Nate, and I worked extremely hard to pull him in, and after about a kilometer and a half we finally succeded. I then drifted back into the pack and finished there in the sprint finish. Some French guy won the stage, and we kept the yellow jersey. I moved up into 10th overall, and 4th in the young rider classifacation.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ben Swift

Before I head out on my morning ride, just thought I let everyone know who the next big person in cycling is going to be: Ben Swift. When I traveled to Europe when I was 13 for a track competition with the Northwest Cycling Club, Swift completely dominated the entire race single-handely. Both Alan and I we left with only a memory of him when we came back to the states, but when he emerged as a staigare for Barloworld two years ago, he immediatly became our favorite pro. He is currently on Team Katusha and is doing amazing in his first year as a pro. He has many top five placings in some big races such as the Criterium International. He is currently in the points jersey in the Vuelta Pais Vasco with three top five placings (where he won the field sprint in those three stages). Just remember, you heard it from me first.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ster van Zuid-Limburg Prologue

As I'm not sure about all the final results after today's 5.3 kilometer time trial, I am sure that fellow teammate, Adam Leibovitz, dominated the day and took the win with a time of 6:21. Despite being such a short time trial, the course was extremely tough and demanding. It started out with about a 400 meter climb out of town before leveling out in the middle of these wide open fields. The course traveled on that road for about another kilometer until you take a left hand turn. After the turn there is a small hill that you climb before it levels back out. After riding on this part for about a kilometer and a half we took a steep and turny downhill back into town. At the base of that hill we took a sharp left with about a kilometer and a half to go. After that we had a pretty big head-wind all the home. The first US rider off was Jacob at around 5:00 PM. Jacob put in a fast time of 6:28 that most likely put him in the top 10. Next off was Connor at around 5:30 with another fast time of 6:48. Leibo then set off to put in the fastest time of the day with myself starting about thirty minutes after him at around 6:30. I made sure not to kill myself on the very first climb so that I would still be able to push the pace for the next 4.5 kilometers. I was feeling pretty good, but could never really find my rhythm and ended up with a time of 6:34 which I'm hoping is good enough for a top 15 finish. Nate set out after me and put in time similar to mine (not sure of the exact time). Alex went off last at around 7:30 and put in a time around 6:40-6:45. As I just finished this I found a website with the results up: its Go to Uitslagen on the side and when that pops out click on Weg - Piste - Velde. Tomorrow is around a 120 km road race where most of the team will be up at the front slaving away for Adam so that he can maintain his lead. I'll update more on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do smell that up dog?

Nothing much. Besides having some sort of a photo shoot with VeloNews and USA Cycling on yesterday, and having my very first massage today, not much has been going around in Izegem. Yesterday, a couple of guys from VeloNews and USA Cycling stopped by the house to take headshots of all the American U23, Junior, and Women cyclists staying here in Izegem. After all the pictures had been taken. Everyone set out on a ride so that the same people could video tape us. This took a little over an hour until Ben sent the Juniors back to the house while everyone else stayed to finish up the video. When we got back we all pretty much chilled until it was about time for some lunch. Today, we decided to eat downtown at this small sandwhich shop on Izegem's main street. I had a classic Chicken Barbaque that was suprisingly delicious. Not much happened after we finished eating lunch and made our way back to the house. We just hung around the house watching music videos on the TV, played some poker, and I kept eating away at the huge stack of homework that needs to be completed upon arrival.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Belgian Racing

With the first races of many races this weekend, I began my first Junior racing on European soil (last year I was considered a Newiulgen ??). The US Junior National Team raced in two kermesses (circuit races) in Waarschoot and Beernem. As expected, the racing was both fast and hard with only two of the five Americans finishing in Waarschoot, and only four of the six Americans finished in Beernem (Adam was still getting over his bronchitis and decided to skip racing on Saturday).

Kermesse Waarschoot

With no wind and hills, the difficulty of the course was deceiving. The kermesse was 90km long (about 54 miles) with about 9 or 10 laps. The race started on a wide open road before turning onto a 200 meter cobbled section that transformed into what helps make Belgium famous, skinny roads. The race then stayed on the 7 feet wide roads before turning back onto the finish line straight. Unfortunately, Nate and I had a absolutely horrible starting position in almost last place behind almost all 210 other starters (that's right, 212 starters). The race started extremely fast and it took me a total of 30 km to just get up to the front. Right when I got to the front I went on an attack and quickly opened up about a 10-15 seconds gap before being brought back about a half a lap later. Nate then went on the counter-attack to quickly open up a 20+ second gap. I tried to stay close to the front to try and act like a teammate, and that is pretty much where I stayed for the next 45 km. I pretty much just followed wheels and tried to disrupt any pace making by the others. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that Nate had crashed the same lap he went off the front and dropped out of the race, so I pretty much did all that work for nothing. I then started to drift towards the back of the shrunken field until there was a crash in front of me that completely did me in. I then dropped off the back and finished the rest of the lap before I was pulled by the follow car. All in all, it was an extremely tough race with my 60 minute average power at 300 watts. Jacob was our top finisher in 18th with Alex finishing in the main group.

Kermesse Beernem

This course was definitely not deceiving; it looked fast and hard, and it was fast and hard. This kermesse was 78 km with about 7 or 8 km laps. The course was full of road furniture on the sides of the road. Like the other kermesse, the race started on a wide open road with an overpass before taking a sharp right hand turn onto an extremely skinny road with trees on both sides. After traveling down this road you turned back onto the road the race finishes on, but it is still like 3 km away. During that 3 km you travel over another overpass that helped decide the outcome of the race. After yesterday's race, I didn't want to waste so much energy up at the front, so I tried do a lot more sitting in. Once again, Nate and I found ourselves on the very back row. Fortunately, there wasn't as much people as yesterday ("only" about 140-150 today) and we were able to move up WAY quicker. I just kind of chilled near the front and put in a few attacks. With about two laps to go Jacob and Nate both got off the front with a Belgian kid and opened a pretty big gap. Thinking that was going to stick, I was planning on just chilling in the pack, so that I could have something for the finish. I was then surprised to see the break being caught right at one to go. A group of three then countered the move and opened up a huge gap of about 10-15 seconds really quickly. We then turned onto the skinny farm road at a leisurely pace. I then put in an attack to try and lift the pace up and was surprised to see that only one other guy had reacted with the pack about 7 or so seconds back. The two of us were working hard and were soon caught by about three or four more. With the break so big, many of the riders were content to just sitting on the back to let the others do the work. This caused some panic which brought the pace down which allowed two or three more to bridge back up. This brought the group up to 10 with the three barely hanging off the front. Going over the overpass a few gaps opened up and I was stupid enough to be the one to try and close them. This pretty much blew my legs, and I ended up fighting as hard as I could to just hang on to the back of the break. By the time the sprint opened up I was completely toast and finished about 15 meters behind the group to finish in 13th. Jacob and Connor both finished in the pack with Nate a little bit behind the pack. Adam's was having some trouble breathing during the race and decided to pull out about 45 minutes into it. Unfortunately, Alex laid his bike down in the early stages of the race (he's fine) and pulled out as well.

That's pretty much it for now, and it's getting kind of late so I’m about to go ahead and hit the hay. Good night (for me)!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Just Chilling

Hey guys! I'm just chilling here at the house after an extremely intense game of poker won by none other than Downtown Nate Brown. Not really much happened today. We woke up at the usual time of about 8:00 for some breakfast. We all decided that we should depart ride at around 11:00. After meeting outside with Ben Sharp, our team director, we all had to go back in for our money and food if we forgot them. The ride wasn't all that hard. Most of us were still getting used to the huge time zone jump so we decided not to go out and ride 3 hours all out. During the ride we just rode two abreast and traded 2-5 minutes until we arrived in Roselare, about 17 kilometers (around 10 miles for you americans) out of Izegem. We then stopped at a local cafe to get some coffee or hot chocolate. After burning some time out there we made the trek back to the U23 house. The rest of the day we rode to downtown on the beater bikes before heading back to the house to hang out and do some homework (blah!). At the usual six 0'clock, we ate an incredible dinner made by Els that consisted of pasta, chicken, and salad. After dinner we sat around for the U23 team meeting for their stage race that was happening the following day. When that concluded Ben, Alex, Nate, and I started an intense game of Texas Hold 'Em that saw Alex go down in the early hands. Ben, Nate, and I kept up in intense game until I finally took out Ben with a legendary full house. With only Nate and I still in it was a game full of ridiculing and taunting eachother. The game ended when Nate took me out with a full house over my straight, and took the pot of six euros with two going to me. That puts it to now, and I'm fixing on going to bed for my first race 17-18 European race tomorrow. Good night!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


After a day full of traveling, I finally have the chance to sit down and relax. I am currently at the USA National Team House in Izegem, Belgium with the Junior National Team, consisting of Nathan Brown, Jacob Rathe, Adam Leibovitz, Conor O'Leary, Alex Battles-Wood, and myself. With such a huge time difference from Houston to Belgium, I started waking up and going to bed 30 minutes earlier each day for the week before the trip. This/yesterday morning I woke up at 4:00 Houston time and just chilled around the house before heading off to the airport at 7:30 for my flight to Newark at 10:30. My parents and I arrived at the airport on time and they were both able to follow me to my gate to see me off before the two week adventure across the "pond." When the time had gone I said my goodbyes and made my way onto the plane. Thankfully, the plane was full of entertainment with TVs on the back of every seat where you could choose between music, movies, or even games. I spent the three hour flight messing around with the system, and before I knew the plane was touching down on the ground in Newark, New York. I then made my way over to my next gate to meet with Nate Brown to get some food before we seperated for different flights out of there. We found a Chinese place and got some good ol' American Chinese food to chow down on. With my flight leaving a couple of minutes before his, we said our goodbyes for now until we would meet back up at the house. The plane was the same model as the previous one, but I wasn't able to enjoy most of the luxeries because I was in dire need of some sleep. I slept most of the journey to Brussels and was able to get through customs without any problems. My directions for when I got out of Customs was to wait for the remainder of the team excluding Nate, and team director, Benjamin Sharp. Alex found me soon after I sat down and we were later joined by the Jacob, Adam, and Conor. We were then escorted to the house in one of the huge USA Cycling vans where we saw a few pro team vehicles, like Rabobank, Lampre, and Liquigas. One thing that we saw made up for the entire day of traveling was a small kid, around the age of four or five shooting us the middle finger in the back of a car. Of course, we all got a good kick out of this becuase it was one of those things that you would see on the internet. By the time everyone had calmed down, we had made it to the house, and it was time to settle in and unpack. After moving into our rooms we decided it was time to set up our bikes so that we could get out and spin the legs. Their was a slight problem when Adam snapped his unique rear derailleur, and had to wait until one of the mechanics came in to find a new one and fix it. After everyone had finished setting up their bikes, except Adam, we set out on a one hour ride where we ran into two miniture Tom Boonens, Quick-Step kits and all, at about 10 years old, and rode with them for a little bit. Upon finishing an hour, we arrived back at the house to shower up and then eat a wonderful dinner cooked by Els, one of the directors at the house. This pretty much leaves me at now where I am about to hit the hay. One last thing though, with one of the biggest U23 road races of the year, the U23 Tour of Flanders, coming up some of the nations top U23 cyclists here as well, including recently crowned World Pursuit Champion, Taylor Phinney. Anyways, thanks for reading, and I'll try to keep everyone posted as often as possible!