Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tryptique Mont et Chateux

Tryptique went pretty well for the team. We went in with a bunch of options due to the strong team we had with Nathan Brown, Gavin Mannion, Ian Boswell, Ryan Eastman, Rob Squire, Larry Warbasse, and myself. Saying that, we could have had a better first stage. The race was set along the border of Belgium and France which meant strong crosswinds on open roads. Just as they promised, the crosswinds split up the field and about 50 km into the stage a group of about 20 guys slipped off the front. We only had Eastman up there, but the gap opened up so quickly that there was no use in chasing. Eastman ended up finishing safely in that group with everyone else in the pack. I didn't contest the sprint and finished near the back of the group, so this meant I had an early start in the TT the next morning. The TT course was about 9 km of flat roads with a pretty strong cross wind. I put the hammer down from the start and came through the finish with the fastest time by about 20 seconds.

For the next two hours or so I sat in the hot seat and watched rider by rider fail to top my time. Fortunately for me, the wind started to pick up and I ended up taking my first win of the year!

Definitely an exciting moment for me, but the race wasn't over yet. Eastman was sitting in about 15th after the TT, and we knew we could get him higher up on GC. Later that day was stage 2B. It was about 120 km that finished with circuits that involved the Kuisberg (??). This was about an 800 meter climb with probably an average of 10% and pitches up to 15%. Going into the base of the climb the whole race was together. Trying to set something up for the team I hit the front with about 2.5 kms left and Eastman on my wheel. Next thing I knew we had a gap on the field. I just put my head down and went all out until we hit the base of the climb. I pulled off and just screamed 'GOO!!!'. Eastman took off and was able to hold off the majority of the field to finish fourth and move into 9th overall. Definitely a sucessful day for the team! The race ended up a 162 km queen stage that had about 10 KOM climbs. The team was pretty aggressive at the beginning and at about 50 kms in I was able to jump into a two man break. Oh boy, that was a great idea...NOT. The pack stopped chasing behind us and our gap balooned quickly. Before we knew it we had over 3 minutes. We rode tempo until we were caught about 60 kms later. We had been away for five of the KOMs and I had won all of them putting me into the KOM jersey at the moment. Shortly after we were caught we started our two 15 km local laps. Nate jumped into a two man break with the winner of the day before and opened up a decent gap. I was toast and when we hit the climbs on the lap I went backwards. I spent the last 25 km off the back just trying to survive. Nate ended up being caught with a mere 800 meters to go, but Gavin salvaged the day for a 6th place in the sprint finish. Eastman held onto his 9th overall, but I ended up losing the KOM jersey by one point. Ah! All in all, a great weekend of racing for us. Next up is the first nations cup of the year with Tour of Flanders on Saturday. We are getting out tomorrow to pre-ride the course. Hopefully Belgium continues to amaze us with solid weather. It's a weird change getting a glimpse of the Belgian sun...I swear it looks the same as the one back in the US though. Until next time!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tryptique Mont et Chateux

It's the morning of our first race in Belgium, Tryptique Mont et Chateux. It's a three day stage race with four stages that is for riders under 25 years old. It starts later today with a 170 km road race. The profile is flat but being a race in Belgium it will probably be harder than any other mountain stage. With cross winds and aggressive riders I'm sure the entire race will be a suffer fest in the gutter. This is a pretty big race in Belgium that a lot of good Development squads send some of their top riders too. I've kicked this bronchitis to the curb, and ready to race. Not really sure where my fitness is though, as I have been taken it pretty easy since Croatia. I guess that just means I'm super rested!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I love being sick...NOT. Ever since the last day of Croatia I've been fighting a head cold. This has basically kept me on the couch here in Lucca while everyone else is out enjoying the amazing weather. I've been hating it. I started feeling better yesterday, so I decided to head out with Ian, Nate, and Gavin for a few hours. I kept it pretty easy the entire day while the other guys did intervals and what not. We got back to the house after about two hours then I took my TT bike back out for another thirty minutes or so. I felt fine for the rest of the day, but this morning I woke up with a sore throat. I've been coughing a fair amount too. This definitely sucks as the plan was to go out for a solid 5 hours today. Something that I really wanted to do in this beautiful Tuscany region. Hopefully this thing will quit bugging me, and I can get on with my life! We head back to Belgium on Monday and then our next race starts on the border of Belgium and France next Friday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Istrian Spring Trophy

We're back in Lucca, Italy after finishing the Istrian Spring Trophy in Croatia. The race ended pretty successfuly with Larry Warbasse finishing in 7th. This was just a preparation race, so results weren't a big objective. The main goal was to just get as much out of the race as possible. That being said, we still worked hard to get a result and not look like dumb Americans! The first stage ended with a 500 meter cobbled climb. Turning onto the climb I was sitting about fourth wheel. Perfect position for a decent result. I followed to other guys, but made the mistake of trying to shift down into my small chainring. Due to the amount of power we were cranking out my chain slipped right off. There was nothing I could do, but get off the bike and yank it from in between the crank and frame. By the time I was able to do that the entire pack had passed, so I just rolled in and lost about a minute. Larry was able to slip in at 10th and move up a few spots in GC.
The next day was the longest stage of the race at about 160 kilometers. Ian Boswell and I tried hard to get into the early break but we just could'nt get into it. After three guys got away the entire team just chilled in the pack until about 15 km to go. With about 5 km to go we had a sharp turn onto a steep climb where the finish was at the top. Larry had great positioning starting the climb, and not wanted to leave him to fend for himself, I went all out to make it up to him. Three guys, including the yellow jersey, gapped themselves from everyone else, so I then went to the front and did an all out pull. I lasted about a minute and when I pulled off I looked back to see Larry and only three other guys still with me. I chilled for the rest of the climb and came in about two minutes down. Larry hit the cobbled section with about 400 meters to go in third wheel, but couldn't find a solid rhythm and ended up dropping down to 15th which put him into 7th overall.

The last stage looked like it the flattest on the course profile, but was filled with enourmas winds. The plan for the race was to just get someone in the early move, and then to try and lead Gavin Mannion out for a possible result in the sprint. I ended up being the guy that made it into the breakaway after about 45 all out kilometers. I got off with three other guys including Tadej Valjevec. The four of us worked really well together over the next 20 or so kms and built up a max gap of 3:30. About halfway through the stage there was about a constant 25 kilometers of climbing. It would be up for a few kilometers then barely back down again before we started climbing again. Valjevec basically pulled up every single hill at solid pace saying that he needed us for the last 50 kilometers of gradual downhill/flat with a killer tail wind. When we finally stopped climbing with 50 kms to go we had about a minute and a half gap. We basically went balls to the wall and when we had about 20 km to go the gap had gone down to 45 seconds. We continued to work well with eachother, but got caught with only 8 kms to go. We were all dead and drifted back into the destroyed peleton. The other guys were saying that over the climbs the Swiss National Team blew up the pack and when we were caught there were only about 60 guys left. I just sat at the back of the pack for the rest of the race. Gavin was on his own for the sprint and ended up finishing an impressive 9th place. Larry also held onto his 7th place overall. All in all, a sucessful race for the team. It was great preparation for our next few races.

We are all back in Italy now for about another week before heading back to the team house in Belgium. Our next race is the notorious Tryptique Mont et Chateux. A big race on the border of Belgium and France that usually attracts some of the top U23 riders. I've heard that a big part of the race is decided by the time trial, so hopefully it'll be a solid race for me. The only thing for me to do now is get rid of this cold that I'm fighting. I'm missing out on some great training in beautiful weather here in Lucca because of this thing. Hopefully I'll soon be better. Until next time!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This is my blog for the past two days. Didn't have internet yesterday to post it up.
For the past few days I’ve been experiencing a part of the world that I’ve never been to, Croatia. So far, it has had its ups and downs. The weather has been horrid, but the food more than makes up for it. It’s hard to swallow that I gave up Austin weather (75 and sunny) for Belgian weather (50 and sunny) for Italian weather (50 and raining) for Croatian weather (50, pouring rain, and windy). We went out to ride the prologue course and within 10 minutes of riding we were absolutely soaked to the bone. The TT course is 5.8 km starting with about a two kilometer descent. After bottoming out in the valley we do a two kilometer ascent, and then it starts to flatten out, but still gaining elevation, to the finish. The major decision to make was whether to use a time trial bike or not. I decided to use the TT bike. We finished out the day back at the hotel before another great dinner. The food here is probably the best I’ve ever had at a race hotel. It’s a massive buffet with an insane variety of foods. This might be one of those stage races that you gain weight throughout the weekend.
Today was the official start of the season for me. My first race in Europe and first pro race. The name is the Istrian Spring Trophy and is a UCI ranked 2.2, not the highest ranked race but there are a few big names here. For the prologue I was stuck in between Tadej Valjavec (top 10 in the Giro last year, but later was suspended due to blood levels) and Michael Rasmussen. Kind of intimidating… I started the TT pretty tough on the downhill, but didn’t take too many risks. By the time I hit the climb I was ready to hammer. I put in a decent effort on the early parts of the climb, and progressively went harder and harder. I was hurting pretty bad by the top, but I slipped it back into the big ring and hammered the rest of the way to the finish. I crossed the finish line with the new best time of 8:53. I was extremely happy with that time, and stayed at the finish to watch rider after rider fall short of my time. Finally, last year’s winner crossed the line with a stunning 8:27. A blazing fast time for that short of a course. I was still ecstatic with second place in my first pro race. I stepped up on to the podium and received a blue jersey for God knows what. The rest of the team did awesome. We don’t have any results yet, but off of Marcello’s times I feel like no one was below the top 30. Tomorrow is our first road race with about a 150 km stage. The profile looks pretty hilly, but we have a strong team here and a lot of options. I’ll check back in later!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yes....5 Minutes....BMW...Vanilla Mostly

Titles are probably the hardest thing about writing a blog. I've spent the majority of the past 10 minutes staring at the blank field at the top of the page. Nothing seems to be popping out at me, so for at least now I'm going to just title my blog the first PG-Rated thing that comes to my mind. Bare with me on this whole blogging thing. Although I've had this site for about four years I feel like it's a whole new world for me.

Todays day in Belgium wasn't too special. After everyone clambered out of bed we had breakfast and set out on a ride. We split into two different groups just because a few of us had seperate workouts. I ventured off with Nate, Nate, Nate (yes, there are three guys on this trip with the name Nate), Eamon, and Marshell. After a solid 3 hours of wandering around Belgium's country roads and canal we made it back home. Suprisingly, it was a decent day of weather here. Maybe a little chilly but at least the sun was out. Everyone pretty must just chilled for the rest of the day in front of the TV watching the crash-fest of what today's Paris-Nice was while our team director and mechanics set out for a long drive to Italy with all of our bikes and clothes. Tomorrow we will fly out of Eindhoven to Pisa before ending up in Lucca. We are all really looking foward to getting out to the Tuscany region where the training is absolutely amazing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Season Starting

Hmm, it's been an incredibly long time since I've updated my blog. For this, if any one still reads this thing, I apologize. I just started to get farther and farther behind, and next thing I knew there was just too much too write about. I'll do my best to sum it up though. Over the off season I signed for the Trek-Livestrong U23 Development Team and also moved up to Austin for school. The past few months have been amazing. I've had an incredible time with the team over our two team camps. It's going to be an awesome year, and I can't wait to get it started.

I'm actually in Belgium at the U23 house in Izegem with the National Team. It's the end of an extremely long day for us. Flying over from the US, you basically go two days with about two hours of sleep due to the difference of time zones. For the past three hours I've found myself nodding off to sleep at almost every moment. It's been awesome...NOT. Finally, it's about time for bed so I'll actually be able to stay asleep now. It's been a fun first day of the trip with hanging out with my teammates for the next few weeks. We also met our team director for the next year, Marcello Albasini. We had a quick meeting after dinner which really got us all excited for the up and coming year. On Sunday we head over to Italy for a quick training camp before our first race in Croatia the next weekend. I'll keep y'all updated!