Race Day

Last night at the Technical Meeting we found out the start order and had the chance to meet with the other athletes. The main thing is that I’m starting in the middle of the day and the under the blazing heat. 3:03 EST will be when I head off for my 20 kilometers of pain and suffering. This is how I discribe bike racing and this is something that I voluntarily do. But when fit and and well trained, the sensation of digging into that fitness is very rewarding.

The rest of the meeting were things that I knew specifically or general statements of how the race will be run. The other benefit of attending the meeting was to see the fresh faces and possible new competition. Not to brag that much but I look at the packed conference room and saw only a small handful of guys that are going to challenge me. Everyone of them are my buddies and existing teammates. The members of the National Team are a tight knit group who have traveled and raced with eachother across many continents. We know eachother well and we help eachother out any moment – except for today. Looking around the room, I noticed a few strong looking guys that may suprise me. There is always the possibility of when around a hundred plus athletes you can become anxious and second guess your abilities. I took notice but left that meeting knowing that I am one of the best and have been for nearly a decade. If anything, they are eyeing me.
Sounds arrogrant? After years of doing this I Deserve to be confident. I certainly don’t discount the possibility of having a bad day and being out contention. I also believe in my teammates and know that they are some of the best athletes in the world. An athlete looking to be the best has to believe that they are the best. It’s just being confident.
In a few hours I’ll be heading to the course to go throughthe warm-up process, bike check and mental preparation before heading to the start house.
Next post will have the results.

Two Days till

I got the first look at the Time Trial Course today. First impression, hot and fast. The course is an Out n’ Back on a rolling country Road that crosses over a Lake Via the Strum Thurman Dam Bridge. Total distance – 20kms – which from my caculation is more uphill on the way out and a descending coming back to the finish. This means that the first 10kms are critical and will require a very solid warm-up. But hey, we are in Georgia and warming up involves walking outside. Getting to the turn around quickly will be a strong indicator to how the overall time will be.

We race on Thursday and I just found out at Race Registration that I’ll be starting at 3:03pm. The whole event will take 25 minutes. I’ll be chasing and chased by the athletes that may take the title from me. Hopefully I don’t see anyone in the rearview yet and will breeze by a few of the riders. 

Tomorrow will be a midday training ride with a few strong digs to say hi to my legs and open up my system. I’ll be riding with a few teammates who will disect the course to find the best lines and ways to manage the efforts. After that we will be having a group meal followed by a race meeting and bed. “Rest and hydrate” will be tomorrow’s mantra

A week out from “Trials”

It is now less than a week to go before our last selection event for the 2012 London Games.
The Trials for the cycling team will actualy be our US National Championship Time Trial. For those who are unfamiliar, The Time Trial is a individual timed race before point A to Point B. The fastest time wins. This race is where you’ll see the crazy areo bikes,teardrop helmets and the funky solid wheels.
A few of the team members have been prequalified by their preformances in past World Championships, the rest
of us meet next week in Augusta GA to properly square off.
This week is a combination of keeping the body open and primed through a small amount of high end efforts but also maximizing rest. Of course the days running up to the event includes travel, meetings, scouting courses which all break the routine and can cause stress. But, I’m not a rookie anymore.
Am I ready? That has been the question I hear from others and is the question I must answer myself. The answer is YES. At least when I’m on the bike it feels that way. Looking back on the spring racing, I feel that I raced a good amount and trained fairly well even after having a winter of track racing in my legs.These last days are important to remain calm and trust the preparation.
I’ll keep writing as long as people keep reading.

Training with the team.

This past weekend, I was able to get on the bike with my teammates who are in town for a final prep camp. Everyone appeared to be riding rather well but this should be the case because next week is our final selection event for the London Games.
Saturday found us east of town in the exposed flat lands of Colorado. The workout was a series of sprint intervals. The intervals alone are terribly painful but we had the added bonus of riding in 90 plus degree temps. I must have been dehydrated after the first set. My teammate mentioned the white ring around my lips. That’s a great sign. There goes any salts and electrolytes that I may have had in my system. As always, I felt good about the workout after some food, water and a little rest.
Sunday was a different story in terms of weather and workout. We rode into the hills and found a sheltered and secluded stretch of rode to hammer out a bunch of climbing intervals. The days mission was high power but maintained and repeated. As always I hit the first couple rather hard and felt the effects in the next few. I rolled into the final few determined to maintain the effort I put out in the first couple. Every training effort hurts but what makes them effective is when your mind takes a back seat and you allow your body to do the work.
The intervals were followed by another hour of riding through the west side of Colorado Springs. It was just a good time riding with the team up and down hills that I normally do alone. Yes, I cheated and drafted off an SUV down a hill to catch my faster teammates. OK, I delibrately ignored my coach when he asked me not to take off on a stretch of road that begs to be raced on. Around the lunch table at the Training Center, I offered a half ass apology but then retracted it knowing that I wasn’t sorry for having fun out on the bike.
Next week, I’ll be heading to Augusta GA to race in three National Championship events. The Time Trial will be used as our final selection event for London. I would say that I feel fast and ready but the issue is that I know my teammates can honestly say the exact same thing.

A proper recovery day

It just happens that the rest day at camp falls on Superbowl Sunday. It just happens that my hometown team is playing in the biggest game of the year. If I’m searching for motivation, I will not have to look to far ahead than tonight. Boston Vs. New York. This rivalry crosses sports and the fans on both regions take it to heart.I cannot wait.

Yes, I am with my team out here in LA getting ready for this week’s Para-Cycling World Championships but today is the Superbowl. A rest day is for recovery for both the body and mind. I plan on going out for a spin with the team this morning. The weather is beautiful and comparing with snow infested Colorado, this is perfect. The afternoon will be about the game.

What a way to relax and recovery before the last push towards the event.

Go Pats!!

Racing, weeks away!!

I cannot wait to begin racing for my new team, Natural Grocers Cycling. There is just one thing that I must do before that happens. That is to join my fellow National Team members and throw down at the 2012 Para-Cycling Track World Championships next month in LA.

Yes, we are hosting Track Worlds and I’m more than a little excited to race in front of a home crowd. For the past 7 years, I have travelled all over the globe racing in front of foreign crowds and on unfamiliar tracks. There is no doubt that travelling the world is alot of fun and a great experience but I want that USA Chant to rock the Home Depot Center.

The team has been busting their ass in preparation for next month’s event. The racing will start on Feb. 8th and run till the 11th. My first event is on the 9th and will continue through the 11th. With this being the final major international event until the London Summer Games, I have no doubt that everyone will be on form and racing to earn their way to “The Games”.

From now till the event, my schedule is overwhelming with Altitude training here in Colorado and then off to two seperate training camps at the LA Velodrome. Each workout is critical as well as managing proper rest, nutrition and every day stressors. These are the days where I’m thankful for CTS Coach Tom Murphy.

As I approach race day, I’ll be updating this from my home in Colorado Springs as well as from California. Pictures, news updates, links and schedules will be posted as we get closer.

The season is here.

Natural Grocers for 2012

I am pleased to announce that I’ll be riding for the Colorado Based,Natural Grocers Cycling Team in 2012. Check out the team website at: http://naturalgrocerscycling.com/
Natural Grocers Cycling is one of the premier Road Cycling Teams in the region. The teams continued goal is to be the top ranked amateur cycling team in the region. I have come to know the team from racing the Colorado scene for the past several years. Coming aboard a team which has high goals and a strong support structure motivates me as I enter the Olympic year.
The team is supported by Title Sponsor – Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage.
Natural Grocers is a food market specializing in top quality products located throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Utah.
Industry Partners include the following;
Blue Competition Cycles, Giordana, Rudy Project, Rol Wheels, Peloton photo, Specialized, Training Peaks and Vecchio’s Bicicletteria
Additionally the Team is supported by XP Companies, NOW Foods and Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
2012 Racing begins with the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in LA – February 2012

The Road Race

The Para-PanAmerican Games is wrapping up and for the US Cycling Team it ended today with the Road Race. After a strong showing in the 3km pursuit, I felt that I had the speed to challenge for the win on the road.
Similiar to the track, I focused on the mental game to block out any doubt and distraction that has limited me in the past.
The Race started off quick. After the first lap, my group past the group that started two minutes ahead. The pace did steady itself after maybe 15kms. The sun was beating down and the downtown course took a toll due to the rough road surfaces.
Throughout the next 3 laps, myself and the Colombian Rider, who won pursuit, attacked to test the field and to wear a few people down. My Teammate, Greta, set the pace for a good portion of the race. On the final lap I nodded to the Colombian that we would ave a go AS we came out of a hard 360 turn. As we were the Brazillian rider took a bad line and his bike was swept out from beneath him. I nearly went down with him. That forced me to chase and eventually counterattack to cause the main break.
As we came to 2 km to go, the Colombian ramped it up and for a minute or two, it was just he and I. The 4 chasers caught me with 350 meters to go.
As they rolled up to my left, I had a surge of aggressiveness that typically I only show on the track. With 200 meters to go, I jumped from the right chasing hard hoping to catch the Colombian but also to seperate from the advancing group of 4. I crossed the Line solo in second with a bike length to spare in front and behind me.

Leaving the Games with two medals out of 4 events brings a degree of motivation to me as I look ahead to the World Track Championships this upcoming February.
The racing was a blast and the event was greater than I was ever anticipating.
Now it’s time to grab a few hours of sleep before the 2am shuttle to the airport. The great things is that I should be with my wife for lunch tomorrow.