Friday, August 20, 2010

Worlds

Whew, it's been a long time since I've updated my blog! A lot has happened since then! After Nationals, I stayed home for a few weeks before heading over to Europe for the Worlds trip. The team for this trip was Ryan Eastman, Paul Lynch, Nate Geoffrion, Eamon Lucas, Anders Newbury, and myself. We competed in a stage race in Belgium, Liege-La Gleize, the week before worlds to help bring back our racing form. The race didn't go exactly as planned as far as results go, but we all came out of it feeling good and ready for the World Championships in Offida, Italy. We got to Offida the Monday before the racing started with the Time Trial on Friday. I spent the next four days studying the 28 kilometer TT course with Jr National Team Director Ben Sharp along with my coach, David Wenger, and parents who had come to Italy to watch me race in my final Junior World Championships. The course was not a typical TT course and one that I felt didn't really suit me. It started out on a 1.5 kilometer climb before a technical descent. The next 8 km were basically flat with a false descent. At 12 km you started a monster 4 km climb and then at the top it flattens out for a little bit and then you get on rolling hills for the next 10 kilometers. With 4 km left you had a fast descent before turning onto the 1.5 km finishing climb. I started the TT as hard as I could on the uphill, and when I got to the flat part I just got as aero as I possibly could. I ended up going through the first time check at 12 km in the lead with about 12 seconds over second place. I then lost a little time on the climb and came over the top 19 seconds back on the leader. I just put the hammer down for the next 12 kilometers and ended up losing a little more time by the finish. Luxembourg's Bob Jungels ended up winning the event with 27 seconds over Germany's Jasha Sutterlin and I completed the podium with less than a second behind Sutterlin. At first I was slightly dissapointed in third place as I have had my eyes set on the Rainbow Jersey of World Champion ever since I finished second place in the same event last year, but it's the World Championships! It's pretty hard not to be happy with a podium place!

Sunday was the 122 kilometer road race. We did 8 laps of a 16 kilometer course. The course started out same as the time trial but turned earlier and went up an extremely hard 3 kilometer climb before turning back onto the TT course with 4 km to go. The weather the day of the race was extremely sunny and nice and toasty. This meant a lot of hydrating and ice-filled socks stuck down our jerseys. USA got a call up to the front before the race due to our 4th place in the UCI Nations Cup the previous year. The race started off pretty chill, but the heat was definitely taking its toll on riders, including me, right from the start. For the first five laps I was basically just floating the back thinking that this was not my day. I felt weak and was hurting at points where I should have been excelling. With three laps to go when the real race for the rainbow jersey was starting up, either the adrenaline was starting to kick in or I just started feeling better. By now the pack had gone from about 160 riders to only about 50, and by the time we hit the top of the climb it was down to about 30. The next lap I went to the front about half way up the climb and drilled it. At the top I looked back and saw that only about six guys were able to follow me. This had all the major countries represented, and I thought for sure that this was the move. Unfortunately, we were brought back by the TT winner, Jungels, a few kilometers later. Going into the climb on the last lap I was definitely feeling the fatigue from the last laps effort. A small group of about four had gotten off the front, and had about a minute going into the climb. The Russians killed it up the climb, and the entire time up it I was cramping. I fought through the pain and was able to come over the top in the lead group that was now about 20 guys. We caught all but one of the guys in the break and hit the base of the finishing climb about 15 seconds back. I rode up the climb in about 4th wheel, but right when the sprint started I was super-chopped and had to stop sprinting. My legs over-loaded when I started sprinting again, and started going backwards. I ended up finishing the day in 14th. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the race turned out. Of course, I was hoping for a better result, but I rode my own race and there were definitely people that were stronger than me in the race!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nationals

I'm here in Bolton, Massachusetts at my team directors house for the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic starting on Friday. I came here after an extremely successful trip to Bend, Oregon for the Junior National Championships. I won the 24 kilometer time trial by 2 minutes over Eamon Lucas of Specialized. I then went on to win the crit after multiple attacks and then spending the last 7 laps solo. For the road race a break of 7 got up the road early in the race. They got about 2 and a half minutes up the road and with about 20 miles to go I got off the front with Tanner Putt. We caught the break with about 5 miles left and on the next climb Tanner attacked. I then marked him and then countered it. I held about a 200 meter gap all the way to the finish and completed the trifecta.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Karlsberg and Next Few Weeks

I've already posted some pictures from the Junior Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg stage race in Germany, but I haven't written up an actual report from the race yet. Overall, I don't think that the race could have gone any better. The team (Ryan Eastman, Nate Geoffrion, Kristo Jorgenson, Benny Swedberg, and Anders Newbury) went in with good morale after we finished third place in the prestigious Pays de Vaud in Switzerland the weekend before. The team rode perfectly all weekend long and with their support and dedicated team work I was able to finish in the lead group of 20 on the first day, and then went on to win stage two after bridging up to a breakaway that already had Ryan and Anders in it late in the race. I then defended my lead in the time trial the next morning and increased my lead to 11 seconds over Bob Jungels of Luxembourg. The stage that followed that afternoon was pretty relaxed for me. The team just rode on the front all day long and kept me out of the wind. That stage ended up ending up in a field sprint with a Slovenian winning. The next day was the last stage. I still had an 11 second lead over Jungels, so our plan for the race was to have the team to stay low for the first half of the race and then after that to get on the front and bring back the break. After that I would take over and do my best to defend the yellow jersey and win the overall. The guys did a perfect job and dropped me off with about 10 km to go with the race all together. I then marked the other overall contenders and went into the last kilometer with one rider up the road by about 10 seconds. As he wasn't that far down on GC I went to the front and did my best to bring him back. He ended up staying away and won the stage by about 2 seconds over the pack that I was in which allowed me to take my first stage race victory in Europe. On Sunday, I'm leaving for Bend, Oregon for the Junior National Championships. I'll be doing the road race, time trial, and crit. After that I'll be heading over to stay at my team directors house for the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Stage Race. When that is done I'll drive up to Pennsylvania for the Junior Track National Championships. It's gonna be a fun next few weeks!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pays de Vaud






Right now I'm over in Germany after spending the last week in Switzerland. From last Thursday through Sunday the Junior National Team competed in the UCI 2.1 Pays de Vaud. This is one of the most challenging junior races on the calendar with the tough competition and the extremely challenging profiles up in the Swiss mountains. The race kicked off with a 2.5 kilometer prologue. I ended up taking the win over a Swiss rider and then Lasse Hansen of Denmark (bronze medalist at the world time trial championships last year). Stage one was 98 kilometers and wet and rainy throughout the stage. The team rode great together and we were able to bring back a two and a half minute gap to the break. Going into the sprint I was in great positioning, but my front wheel was taken out by the eventual winner. I nearly went down but somehow kept it up although I completely ruined my front wheel. Stage 2a was a tough stage with two extremely hard climbs in it. The plan for the team was have the break within a minute at the base of the climb with about 25 kilometers to go. We executed the plan to near perfection with Kristo Jorgenson, Ryan Eastman, Anders Newbury, Benny Swedberg, and Nate Geoffrion, pulling the break from a minute and a half to 50 seconds by the base of the climb. After the climb started only Anders and Ryan were left. They pulled hard for as long as they could and when they pulled off the break still had a minute on the pack. I then got to the front and started pulling. When I looked back a few minutes later I saw that only one rider was able to stay with me. I kept the tempo up and barely bridged to the break at the top of the climb. After a long descent and another 500 meter climb to the finish I ended up sprinting to third place and extended my lead in the GC. That afternoon was a 12 kilometer out and back time trial. I won the TT by 10 seconds over Hansen and grew my lead to 16 seconds over Hansen and 52 seconds to third. The third and final stage was definitely the hardest of them all. Including the dismal weather, cold and raining, it was set for an epic day. After an extremely hard climb about 40 kilometers into the 120 kilometers I was isolated from my teammates and was bridging up to the lead group of 10 that including second place on GC. Over the next 70 kilometers I made sure that none of the riders got a gap off the front of the group and kept an eye on all the riders that were still up there on GC. With about 15 km to go Hansen attacked. I quickly covered him along with the rider that was 3rd on GC and a few others. I was subjected to many more attacks over the next few kilometers and it wasn’t until about 5 km to go that I finally cracked. I ended up losing almost a minute on the stage and dropped down to third overall.

Overall, this race was a great success. The team proved that they were one of the strongest in the world and earned a great deal of respect from countries all over. We also ended up with two stage wins and a third place overall. This definitely boosts our confidence going into the UCI Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg here in Germany starting tomorrow and ending on Sunday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Houston Grand Crit



Photos courtesy of Peggy Keedy

Once again Bike Barn put on another Houston Grand Crit. Located in Downtown Houston, this race always offers a great atmosphere for riders and spectators along with some tough racing in the good ol' Houston heat. After spending the majority of the past month in Europe I was in no way ready to be out racing in 90+ degree weather, but as these conditions will be similar to those in Italy during the World Championships in August I sucked it up and sweated it right back out. The course is basically a huge drag race with about a half mile out on Allen Parkway before turning around and heading right back. This made for an extremely fast race with the pace going over 30 mph frequently. I mainly just sat in for the first 40 minutes or so, and only went with a few attacks. When Mark Purnell gave the pack six back-to-back primes the racing really started to heat up. With about three laps to go and after prime number five I got to the front and drilled it. When I looked back I was in a selective group of about eight including a past winner of the Houston Grand Crit, Kevin Kremke (Bike Barn), along with about all of the major teams in the race. Over the next lap Kremke and I were the main contributors to the pace and were able to create a decent gap over the field. With a few more people helping with the work load over the next lap and a half I was sure that the break would stick and started to position myself for the sprint. Knowing that Kremke would be the man to beat I fought my way onto his wheel and sat there as many last minute attempts to break away were foiled. With about 200 meters to go Kremke jumped and started the sprint. I attached myself to his wheel and with about 150 meters to go I started my own sprint. I was able to come around him and hold off a charging Brian Fawley (Parks Place Dealership) for the win!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Europe...again!

I'm back in Europe, but this time with my team out of Massachuttes, Hot Tubes. We got to Belgium last wednesday, and left the next day for a 3 stage Friday-Saturday Stage Race in Holland. Friday included a 5.6 km time trial early aftrnoon and then a 60 km crit (yea...a crit in Europe. Crazy, right?) later in the night. I ended up winning the TT by about a second and a half and another 7 seconds ahead of 3rd. Despite some great team work in the crit I lost the yellow jersey due to some time bonuses offered in the intermediate sprints. The next day was a little under a 100 km circuit race. I was in second overall and four seconds down. I was feeling good during the beginning of the rainy race, but crashed only 5 km in. By the time I had gotten back up and worked out the kinks in my sore body and bike (my handlebars were crooked and the shifter lever was turned all the way in) the pack was long gone, and without a caravan to help me get my way back up to the pack it would be near to impossible to catch back up. I ended up finishing the race early and watched the remainder from the sidelines. What sucks the most though is that my ENTIRE team dropped back once they saw that I went down, including Yannick Eckmann who was in 6th overall and in the white young riders jersey and Stuart Wight who was in 10th overall. When I got back up and realized that my bike was too messed up to ride on, and told them to go on without me it was too late for them to get back up to the lead group due to the fact the peleton had split in the strong crosswinds. They ended up chasing for the rest of the race, but never made it up. Yesterday we had sweet revenge on the European peleton in a kermesse in Vinkt. I ended up taking the win with Stuart getting 5th and Anders taking 11th. The team rode great the entire time and at one time had four guys in the eight man winning break. From that break I attacked with about 60 km to go and went solo for the next 45 km. I was caught by two others with about 15 km to go but one of them got dropped right away. The last 5 km was a game of cat and mouse, and I ended up leading the sprint out from about 200-250 meters to go and was able to hold on for my second win of the trip to put up a victory salute and an amazing victory cry! We go to France on Thursday for our last race in Europe, Morbihan. It's on Saturday and Sunday with a road race on Saturday and a TT and another road race on Sunday.
video

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paris-Roubaix Juniors






What an experience! Just to be competing in Paris-Roubaix is a dream to most people and until last Sunday it had always been one for me. Now it's a reality. I was able to not only race in Paris-Roubaix, but I was also one of the front runners. After about 90 kilometers out of the 125 I was one of the only ones that was able to stay with the World Champion, Jasper Stuyven, of Belgium along with Daniel Mclay of Great Britain. We were later joined by a Russian rider. We stayed away until the end of the race and fought it out for the win on the famous Roubaix velodrome. I was able to take third place in the sprint with Stuyven winning by about half a bike. It was incredibly close between me and Mclay, but he nipped me with a bike throw. For the podium we stood on the same podium that the pros stand on, and with the pro race being the same day there were tons of fans all around the stadium. It was definitely a moment I'll never ever ever forget! The team did an absolutely amazing job, and I honestly would not have been able to do what I did without them. About one kilometer from the first section of cobbles (one of the most crucial points in the race) I flatted, but one of my selfless teammates, David Kessler, stopped and gave me his wheel. I was then able to make it back up to the peleton with the help of Peter Taylor and Matt Libscomb who basically motorpaced me up to the pack. For the rest of the race Juan Carmona was an excellent teammate by helping me move throughout the pack and giving up his water for me and my other teammate, Ryan Eastman. It really was a team effort and a team podium place. Also, without the encouragement and advice from our team director, Ben Sharp, we couldn't have done it.

Photos of the race:
http://www.velofotopro.com/coureur;6873;1;CRADDOCK-Lawson.html#

Video of the finish on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/video/video.php?v=412383343178&ref=mf

Video of the finish and podium on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZW9T7KMdr0

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Limburg and Roubaix



The last two stages in Limburg went pretty well, or a lot better than the second stage at least! Stage three was definitely a race I would call epic with hail starting to come down from the skys about 40 km into the race. Being a true blood Texan and everything my first instinct was to attack. I rocketed off the front of the pack on the next KOM and brought 6 others with me including my teammate, Ryan Eastman. We worked well together and quickly built up a lead of about a minute. On the finishing circuits with about 12 km to go I blew HARD on the long, steep climb and ended up getting caught by the pack and then spit off the back of that. I ended up finished 8 minutes back...haha. The final stage was probably one of the best. I got into a 10 man break about 10 km into the 125 stage. A group of about 5 that had Eastman in it bridged up to us about 15-20 km later and we had about a minute. We all worked somewhat well together and stayed away until about 20 km to go. I looked back and saw the pack about 5 seconds back on the climb. I then attacked off the front of the break and three others came with me. Next thing we knew it was about 8 km left in the race and we had 45 seconds. Two others bridged up to us which made it 6 of us. We ended up staying away until the finish. I tried to suprise the break going around a turn with 250 meters to go and got a small gap, but I blew up with 50 meters to go and ended up finishing 5th on the stage. Still not bad at all. Tomorrow is the junior Paris-Roubaix and the for the first time in three years the Junior National Team will be lining up on the start line.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Belgium!

So, I definitely should have updated my blog a looong time ago, but I kept putting it off. I'm currently in the Limburg region of Belgium for the Ster van Zuid Limburg Stage Race. We have a few hours before we depart for the next stage, so I thought what better time than now to update my blog. The race started off pretty well when I won the 5 km prologue by 6 seconds over Danny van Poppel and 8 seconds over Mike de Bie (both riders have amazing racing blood). The team (Ryan Eastman from Cali, Juan Carmona from Conneticut, Peter Taylor from Cali, David Kessler from Colorado, Matt Libscomb from Georgia, and me) did really well with Eastman placing 7th and Kessler getting a solid 11th place. Stage 2 didnt really go too well and we ended up losing the yellow jersey due to a break going away on the finishing circuits, and we didn't have the horsepower to bring them back. Stage 3 starts in a couple hours and it looks like its gonna be another epic day. It's about 9 degrees celcius and raining, woohoo!! I'll keep ya'll updated on how it goes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Belterra, Driveway, Walburg, and Pace Bend



Belterra

Belterra was a fun race outside of Austin, and was another great event put on by Holland Racing and Andrew Willis. The course was about 3 km long with two small kickers that had U-turns at the top, one about halfway through the course and the other at the finish. I stayed calm for the first half of the race, but when there was a strong move with all the major teams represented I knew I had to be there. I made a solo bridge with about 40 minutes left in the race up to the now 6 man break. The 6 of us worked hard and held off the Team Hotel San Jose driven peleton to contest the win. I tried a late move with about a kilometer and a half and got a small gap but nothing more. I was caught a little after the turn with about 300 meters to go, and sat up to watch David Wenger of Super Squadra take the win over Andrew Dalheim of Metro Volkswagon.


Driveway

This was my first race out at the Driveway course, and I have to admit it was a great expreience! Once again I chilled for the first 45 minutes of the race. Right at the halfway mark I put in a hard attack and got a decent sized gap solo. I held onto this lead for about half a lap until the extremely fast backside of the course where junior gears could only help so much. Once I was caught I just went back to sitting in the pack and waited for the finish. Going into the last lap everyone was fighting for a spot at the front. Fortunately, P. J. Rabice helped bring me up to the front to a great position onto Squadra's Alan Ting. After an extremely hectic finale I ended up taking 5th on the day with THSJ's Josh Carter taking the win over Alan, with THSJ's Will Ross taking third.



Walburg

What a great way to spend the first half of my birthday! Walburg has been known for as one of the worst weather a race could possibly have, but this year it didn't really hold up to its expectations. It was pissing rain the entire race, but the freezing temperatures weren't there along with the huge winds. The winds are usually what shatters the race into little pieces, but at this year's edition the racing didn't really happen until halfway through the last lap. An early move went off, but was brought back and after the racing was nice and steady. With about half a lap to go a flurry of attacks went off. I tried getting away a few times, but nothing would stick. Finally with about 10 miles to go I settled in in the pack, and THSJ sent their entire team up to the front and started driving the pace. This was during the cross wind section and after a few miles the pack had blown up. There were only about 15-20 of us left in the front group with about 10 of those guys being a member of THSJ. I just sat at the back of the group waiting for the sprint. San Jose once again led out their super sprinter, Josh Carter, and he rocketed away from everyone with about 200 meters to go to take the win with a huge margin. I started the sprint pretty far back, but was able to come around everyone else to take 2nd place over Russ Walker.



Pace Bend

Pace Bend has always been an extremely hard race in the past and this year definitely did not disappoint. I started the race pretty aggressively and after about three of the 13 six mile laps I found myself in a strong break of about 15 people. All of the teams were in the move with a good majority of the strongest riders in Texas. We quickly got a big gap on the field, but the break wasn't working very well together and we were caught about half a lap later. I then just sat in at the back of the group until about 2 and a half laps to go. I got into another break with a bunch of other strong riders. After some confusion I found myself off the front with Matrix/RBM's Pat McCarty and THSJ's Stefan Rothe. The three of us stayed off for about half a lap until a few other riders bridged up to us. Going into one lap to go there was a group of about 10 off the front with THSJ well represented with four of them including Carter. They kept the pace up in the break, but we were caught about a half a lap later. I then put in another attack with McCarty which formed another break with a few of the same people. That group ended up holding off the field and contested for the win. Carter once again sprinted away from everyone to take his second win of the weekend over Matrix/RBM's and current P12 State Champion JT Cody. I once again started the sprint a little too far back, but wasn't able to make up as many places and ended the day in 7th.




These are two of my really good friends, Tracy on the left and Courtney on the right. They woke up early Sunday morning and drove over three hours to come watch my race after being at a dance competition all the day on Saturday which they won! Thanks a lot for coming!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tour of New Braunfels Road Race


Photo courtesy of Adrian Vlok

This past weekend was the first weekend of racing on the Texas racing scene. Saturday was a 64 mile road race in New Braunfels with Sunday holding a crit/circuit race. I opted out of Sunday's race just to be on the safe side as I don't want to put my season in jeopardy by joined 70+ testosterone filled men in an early season crit. The road race played out better than I could have hoped and I was able to take my first (but let's not hope last!) win of the year and my first mass start win in the P 1/2 category!! The course was about 16 miles, and fairly flat for most of the course. The winds definitely played a factor in the outcome of the race especially on the small country roads with cross winds. The race started out aggressive just as I expected in an early season race. I knew that the pace would be fast and hard for the first half lap or so before a small move would get off and the peleton would calm down. This is exactly what happened and 8 miles into the race Matrix/RBM's, Pat McCarty, got off the front with Robert Biard of Team Hotel San Jose. The pair gained about 20 seconds before Ian Dille of Super Squadra bridged up to the break. The gap swelled to about 45 seconds by the time the pack reached the end of the first lap. Unfortunately the race was stopped due to people making bad decisions and crossing over the yellow line, so that the officials could give us our second warning of the day. Going a little off topic here but seriously...is it going to take a car taking out half of Texas' top racers to learn that the yellow line rule is placed into effect for our safety? The rule isn't there to punish riders it's to help try and prevent accidents that could easily be avoided. I honestly believe 100% that the officials made the right call in stopping the race, and nothing disappoints me more or makes me madder than riders that are blatantly disregarding the rules and then getting mad at the officials when the fault is really there's. I have to admit that a few times I'll accidentaly drift across the yellow line, but I make a conscious effort to abide by the rules and stay on the right side of the road. As a junior racer I have many role models that I race with and against and if something were to happend to any of them I'm not sure what I would do. Maybe it's just me, but I would gladly be spit off the back than have a head on collision with a truck...Ok back to the race. The officials let us get back to racing, and by then the gap had gone up to about two and a half minutes. I honestly the break would stick so I basically threw all racing tactics to the wind and went on an all out attack. The next thing I knew I was dangling about 15 seconds off the front with Garmin Development rider, Thacker Reeves. The two of us worked hard for about five kilometers before being caught. For the next lap and a half I just sat in the pack to recover and save energy. Over that time frame Dille had dropped out of the break and Biard had flatted leaving McCarty off the front solo. About a quarter way into the lap McCarty was finally brought back. There were many counter attacks, but the only one that stuck was made by Lady Haga aka Chad Haga of Super Squadra. McCarty had jumped with him and the two started to slowly pull away from the field. Seeing this as a great move to be in I put in a hard attack and found myself chasing solo. I caught the pair about a mile and a half later and the three of us worked perfectly together. The next thing we knew we had about 30 seconds on the field going into the right hand turn about 6-700 meters before the finished. Haga was in the lead with me on his wheel and McCarty on mine. We had a head wind for the finish, so I knew that it would be tough to lead the sprint out and hold on for the win. With those thoughts running through my mind I don't really think any of them actually registered. I started my spring with about 2-300 meters out and was able to hold on for the win over a tired McCarty, who had been off the front for probably 55 of the 64 miles, with Haga rolling in right behind us. This was yet another excellent event put on my Rob Kane. The course was a great course and while the problems that the staff faced would have scared others away, the staff did an amazing job dealing with them. Props!


Next on the menu is the Belterra Circuit Race next Saturday and the Driveway Crit on Sunday.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting Started

It's 2010 and I'm ready for a new start. 2009 was the best year of my life without a doubt and I can only thank all of those who have made it possible. I've felt like I've been living a dream with the great times that I've had, the great success that I've had, and the great friends that I've made along the way (especially Courtney Kendall Loth and Tracy Chapell!). I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for me, but from the way it has started I have a feeling that it will do the impossible and top 2009. I know that I'll enjoy every step of the way, and I hope that you will enjoy it with me!