Saturday, May 12, 2012

Update of Sorts

I know its been awhile and sorry for the delay but I’m BACK. At least for today. Lot to catch up on but the short of it, I am living the dream. After a few classes at Austin Community College in the fall, a winter break, the addition of a few pounds and meeting an amazing girl (and not in that order) , it was time to get back to work. Winter training in Austin was great, several of my teammates resided in the south for the winter not to mention great training partners and mentors such as likes of Health Blackgrove, Christian Howes, Pat McCarty and none other than Lance Armstrong himself. The year started off with a crash at training camp in California and injuring my knee but a willing spirit to tackle the challenging 2012 race schedule and my second year in the U23 ranks.
2012 began with a 3rd place at the Panamerican championship time trials in Argentina, second to to my teammate Nate Brown. Then it was off to Europe for a series of races such as Tour of Normandie, Ronde van Vlaanderen & La Cote Picarde with the US National team and Liege-Bastogne with Bontrager Livestrong. My last race with BLS at the Zellik-Galmaarden ended with a sore knee and the inability to push through. While the finishes may not have been there for me this round, the experience, training and knowledge gained are invaluable. After 4 weeks of transcontinental travel, I left Belgium for Boulder to have my knee evaluated and acclimate myself to the challenges of altitude….I can’t breathe. Prognosis…scar tissue to be treated with STRETCHING and massage and yep still can’t breathe. Finally, after two and a half weeks of climbing at a snail’s pace, did I mention hard to breath, and the knee feeling better, the outlook for Tour of the Gila was looking better.
The Gila: WOW, what can I say. Our team was fantastic and the last day just clicked for all of us! Going into the race, we knew that our strengths could surface in the climbing with Joe and Ian, the time trial with Nate and myself and on any given day the rest of my teammates, Ryan, Gavin, Josh and James were every bit as capable in showing their strength with a strong finish or driving a break. But honestly, you never know what can happen in a bike race. Joe had a solid performance on first day with great team support and this helped launch him into position in capturing 3rd in the GC and best young rider. While I felt my strongest position would be in the time trial, I was able to secure a 5th place finish with Joe taking 3rd, and Gavin landing 13th…yet another great day for our team. On the final stage, our job, protect Joe and watch the breaks for a possible podium spot on the stage. We did just that. I managed to stay in the break for a good portion of the day nad Ian bridged up giving us great advantage when the break began to splinter. Chad jumped and I went with him. I guess training in the mountains and sucking air in Boulder was paying off. The two of us were pulling away when Ian surfaced yet again and I then knew our chances were pretty good for podium spots. With the one two on Chad, Ian jumped and I came around to go with and the gap was there. It’s hard to describe coming across the line for my first pro win and sharing it alongside my good friend and teammate Ian. The day didn’t stop there, our position in the stage, the overall strength of the team and Joe’s amazing performance launched us into to the overall team GC. PUMPED!! I started with WOW and ending with WOW!
The 2012 Amgen Tour of California begins for us tomorrow. We ar the youngest team there and the challenges we face are real but the opportunity for us to learn from the best is priceless. Anything can happen in a bike race and while we are realistic in our experience, we have much to gain and learn by riding amongst some of the best from where the real prize lies. I will do my best to keep you posted as the day’s progress. I seem to manage the discipline well on the bike but am lacking in it when it comes to keeping those who have supported me over the years informed. My thanks to all of you for the notes of encouragement, kudos, pats on the backs and especially to my sponsor Bontrager Livestrong, our amazing staff and my teammates. I know full well I am here because all of you! Cheers and talk soon…I hope!

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