Friday, August 6, 2010

Super Update

It has been a good while since I've posted anything of worth, or anything at all for that matter. I believe my last post was a wrap up of my collegiate career. This summer has been a monster training affair for me. I did a few races in June to get myself back in shape then July was a nothing but training for me. Over the past few seasons I would race non stop through June/July and wind up being burned out by early August leaving nothing in the tank for the last few big races in the month. This time I took a break from racing in July and caught on my first love of soccer and enjoyed the world cup action all while maintaining a good training plan. The result is that now I feel strong and ready to tackle the last few races of the season with some great form.

My big goal for the year is the NJ State Crit Championships, which is a few weeks away and I'm feeling great for it. Legs are feeling good, confidence is high, and the racing will pick up on Sunday at Prospect Park where a good result will net me my long awaited cat 3 upgrade. However I have already decided I will finish my season as a 4 to race with my teammates here at Montclair. On a side note, several teammates at my current club have asked if I'm staying here next season. The truth is, I am tempted to go off join the other Montclair club as I am good friends with all the guys there and they are looking to add a sprinter to their roster. However I will stay with my current club for the 2011 season, beyond that who knows. Where does my personal life stand, well this summer I have been working several contract jobs to beef up my resume before I start grad school. Hanging out and drinking beer with new co-workers and friends, all in all I really can't complain about anything.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Life so far...

It's been a while since my last post; since life has been pretty busy. My last post I ranted about having my first crash of the year. Well as luck should have I crashed again the following week at Prospect Park in the cup series. This time I went down in the field sprint; massive pile up where about ten guys went down. I busted up another rear wheel and had bruised up jaw. Couldn't eat solid food for about week. Plus the bruises and cuts took longer than expected to heel, forcing me off the bike for about a week. I walked away relatively one guy needed a CT scan for a nasty concussion and several bike did not survive.

Even better we had senior design day here at Stevens. So that took a few all nighters and countless cups of coffee to have a well received project. I was happy as my group won the website competition at the ASME competition at Drexel a few weeks ago. So naturally my training took a back seat to school. As far as racing goes, yesterday I drove down to Marlton, NJ to to BLP Grand Prix crit to try to race myself back in shape. The best part was this is where the NJ state crit championships are held, so it gives me a chance to preview the course a few times before the big goal of my season this year. I nabbed a top 15, for not having raced in a month or trained seriously I'm pretty happy with that. I'm definitely not in top form, but a few weeks of training and some races coming up I should be back in top form in no time.

Graduation is a week and half away here at Stevens, post grad plans are grad school for me. So I will be back next spring in the ECCC once again wearing Stevens colors. Still unemployed for the summer, but hopefully that will change shortly as a few research positions have opened up here. So only time will tell...

Monday, April 12, 2010

First crash of 2010 out of the way

So this past weekend, I finally got my first crash of the year out the way. Honestly it sucked, I crashed two laps into a ten lap race. I was in a good position, until some butthead(yeah I said it) decided to grab a handful of brake and ride sideways straight into me. Went down hard, tore my newish jersey, busted up my rear wheel, and killed my now that my rant is out of the way. Yeah, I haven't crashed in a race in about a year so I pretty much was due one.

This was the Cherry Blossom challenge which is the first big race of the year for the NJBA crowd. It sucked going out so early, I really wanted to do well and my team had the numbers to do make it happen. Oh well, such is bike racing with my track record I will crash again very soon or crash sometime next year. Hopefully it's the latter. Lately my weeks have consisted of splitting time in the lab working on my senior design project which I will post pictures of at some point and practice/training sessions with my awesome stevens teammates. This season has been bittersweet for me. I haven't done nearly enough of the ECCC races I would have liked, but I knew it would happen as my job, schoolwork, and my project basically run my life at this point. Luckily the team hangs out all the time, so I see them plenty and most are old enough to legally get a drink. So during the week after practice we usually head over and grab a few drinks and share some laughs. Again bittersweet, more so because I'm graduating. Good thing grad school is right around the corner so I can keep being a poor college bike racer :)

Next on tap for me is the prospect parks Cup series in two weeks; which has been the focus for me for the last few months. Hopefully everything goes to plan and I can get a few stevens guys out there with me representing the collegiate contingent. For now here's the aftermath of my crash, you can guess how from the pic how much road rash I have

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's spring? When did that happen?

As you can tell by looking out the window, spring has finally arrived. It only took a month of biblical rain and flooding that was March for it to arrive. This past weekend, saw some excellent racing weather where yours truly finally raced with no extra layers. This weeks, forecast is looking just as good with nothing but sunshine for the foreseeable future. This past weekend, me and my teammate Nick raced in the Prospect park spring series in the 3/4 race, this would be my last chance to get a tune up race in before the Cup Series at the end of the month.

The race went relatively well, me and Nick stayed in the top 20 most of the race. I tried to get in a break early but it went no where. With 3 laps to go I hear I nice loud pop, yup my my rear flatted so there goes my race. I was disappointed w/ flatting out, but at least I got in a workout and was able to mix it up w/ some higher* cat guys. Nick finished in the field, in what he felt was a pretty good race.

Being easter weekend, everyone at Stevens bagged the races at Bucknell for what I am going to assume was something church related, but I digress. Last week, Stevens co-hosted the Princeton/Stevens race. All in all, it was a good race with little complaints. Both teams interacted well to put on a good race.

I leave you with some videos of this yesterday central park sprints, unfortunately I was in church yesterday and could not participate :(

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This is what happens when I sprint

Yup, I'm just that strong that I took the crank off mid sprint on the trainer :)

In reality the crank was just a bit loose and I didn't realize it. Plus the crit workout I was doing didn't help matters so it was inevitable for the crank to come off. It has been adjusted, re tightened, and ready to go for this coming weekend's races. Racing twice on Saturday with my Montclair Teammates at Branchbrook Park, then on Sunday heading over to Princeton for some collegiate action with my awesome Stevens teammates.

Other than this little incident my week has been pretty typical, work, school, train, sleep. I'm sure I can find some time in there for some beers w/ the boys before the week is over :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Season off to a great start

So my season started I have been pretty busy with training, schoolwork, etc etc. As far as academics go, my senior design project has pretty much taken over my week days with countless hours in the lab trying to get everything to work while not burning down the building. So many hours in the lab means much less time to finish up homework or even go to work to pay for all my cycling related purchases. Training wise, everything has been going very smoothly. Last week I raced my first 3/4 race; all in all I was satisfied with how I race. I hung in a tough field of mostly A racers at the Stevens Duck Country circuit. Tactical mistake that left me pulling the field for a lap and burning a huge match in the process saw me off the back with one lap to go. Despite that terrible lapse in judgment. I was able to mark wheels, get in breaks, and match the top racers in the ECCC for about 35mintues. That race left me zapped for the C race where I bagged it half way through and got back in the car where a warm change clothes awaited me.

This morning I raced twice in the 4/5s at Branchbrook park; this would be my first race w/ my new teammates at the Montclair Bikery. The promoter decided to run two 4/5 races in the days to make up for canceling last week due the furious stormed that left rivers in the streets of Hoboken. In the first race, I did my best to help my teammates most of whom were racing only for the second time ever learn the basics and mechanics that are involved in racing. I was able to set up both my teammates for break away attempts. The breaks were reeled in quick, but the experience they gained was valuable. Flash forward to the last lap of the race; I being a sprinter weaseled my way into the top 10 going into the final K of the race. Those of you who are familiar with Branchbrook, we did the short course which mean the final K was an uphill drag race. Coming up the small rise, there was a touch of handle bars that send two guys down right in front of me. Thankfully I've been through much worse crashes through my tenure at Prospect Park so I was able to swerve around it and sprint for 5th. The crash left a huge gap that allowed a few guys to sprint uncontested, at least a stayed rubber side down and nabbed my first top 5 finish in a year and my first upgrade points.

I decided earlier in the morning to race the second race 'just for miles' as it only cost an extra 15bucks. That said, as I'm pinning my numbers, I hear a whistle meaning the second race started without me. Luckily I was able to jump in the field the next lap while the promoter wasn't looking. The second race was a bit more mellow to start as half the field raced in the first race. The first couple of laps saw different guys taking pulls at the front in what seemed to be a friendly paceline. Once the lap cards read 5 to go, the real race started and the pace picked up to what is a normal 4/5 race of 24-27mph. This time I had one more teammate from Chris Sulivan , thankfully he's a cat4, 45+ sandbagger who knows how to race. I stayed on my his wheel until one to go. There I was joined by my sprinting brethen Mark Collins, a former trackie who is making his return to racing after about 5 years away from the NJBA. The last lap was much slower than the first race as most guys already had a race in their legs. I told my teammate at this pace, the sprint would be a drag race amongst the high power sprinters like myself(sorry I had to brag a little). As expected the final was 2file paceline with the sprinters and their leadout men jockying for position. My teammate Mark Collins found a hole on the outside and got the jump on everyone to take the win; which is the first for the Montclair Bikery this season. I was able to sprint for a second 5th place finish. Which meant a few more upgrade points, and a second race in my legs.

So far I have 7 races in the legs for 2010, all in all I'm very happy with how each one went. The season continues next weekend with races once again at Branchbrook, and at the Princeton/Stevens race. The plan for the week is to attempt to get on the road w/ some of the Stevens guys to enjoy some long awaited Spring weather; and then hopefully get some schoolwork done so I don't fail out with two months to go. Compared to last season where I had a disastrous spring and a mediocre summer, 2010 has so far been nothing short of amazing. I'm feeling good, and definitely racing well, and it looks like I will be in top form for my first A race of the year at Prospect Park on April 25.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Race Weekend of 2010 in the books

So we can officially say that the 2010 racing season has begun. Many congrats to Rutgers U for putting on some great races this past weekend. Mother Nature even cooperated by giving us some awesome spring weather. The turnout was awesome, and I'm glad that what will most likely be my last collegiate season had a great start.

The TT went so so; definitely not a time trialist so I don't put much weight into them. Long story short I went out to hard, and put up a rather crappy time. The rest of my team did relatively well in the time trial; they were all happy with their performances. The crit started as usual relatively fast pace; small crash on the second lap. I took a hit on my front wheel which knocked out of true, luckily I did not go down. I got back in the pack and stayed in the top 10-15 the whole time. There were a few sketchy moments were several riders nearly hit the cones coming out of the last turn. The same turn saw a few minor crashes in the B field later in the day; in the end I ended up 16th finished with the front pack as the field wound up being split about halfway through the race. After day 1, I was feeling pretty good and did very well compared to my 2009 collegiate season that saw a string of DNFs and terrible finishes. Our guys in the D field did pretty well with everyone finishing safely in the pack including a top 20finish. My buddy Ray had his first B race as he finally got his cat 3 upgrade. Unfortunately he's been sick w/ an upper respiratory infection which didn't help his race at all. He cramped up and pulled out with a few laps to go. Everyone was very satisifed with how day 1 went, so off we were back to the house for some food and relaxation.

Day 2 saw the circuit race go off in what was once again some great weather. Our guys in the D field rode strongly the whole race, but got caught up in crash on the last lap. Thankfully nothing more than road rash was acquired. They will be back next week ready to race, albeit with a little less skin. In the C race me and teammate rode well always staying near the front marking wheels and staying safe. There was a minor crash early on, simply put some riders touched wheels over reacted and crashed. Maybe they should try going back to down D, but I digress. The was a two man break up the road, the pack chased hard. So hard we caught the C1 field on the last lap, unfortunately for some unknown reason a cop car decided to park at the apex of the last turn. So naturally everyone in the top 10 lost all position including me and my teammate Nick. We burned some matches to get back to the front, being that we caught the tail end of the C1 field, we were sprint through countless guys sitting up. We thought had two top 10s, according the results sheet I had 17th and my guy Nick had 10th. I find that weird b/c I passed Nick well before crossing the finish line. Results aside, I am very satisfied with the first races of 2010. Stevens as a whole is doing well so far, everyone was very happy with how they did despite the crashes. This season is off to a good start, hopefully this is a sign for the bike gods that I'm track for a good season.

This weekend has the always fun Grants Tomb Crit and the all new Stevens Circuit Race at FDR Park. I will be racing on Saturday w/ my club team at Branchbrook Park in the 4/5s, there I will be racing with about 7 teammates as opposed to just 1. We have some strong guys at Montclair, so we should be able to grab a good result. Sunday I'm back to Stevens for some more collegiate action. I'm definitely in much better shape than last year, and I feel strong. Now to carry only if i can carry this form all the way to September then maybe i can upgrade to the 3s. With all the training and racing I'll be doing in the coming weeks, may grades just might plummet. Well I'm graduating in two months, so maybe my professors will have some pity on me :)

I can't end without some pictures, so thanks Dave Hooper for being our unofficial photographer this weekend.