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.

Monday, March 1, 2010

So it begins again....

We are a mere 5 days away from the start of the season at Rutgers this coming weekend. As a wise masters race one put it(I can't remember his name, but I'm sure he's out there somewhere) the season always comes 20watts and 15lbs too soon. Whether we are ready for the season to start is irrelevant, the fact is the season is here. Is my form, weight, mental capacity in any way,shape, or form ready for the season. Ehhh, I really don't know. I know I have put in the saddle time on the road and trainer alike, I've put in the time in the gym, and I've done my part to help my new teammates be ready for this Saturday. Simply put I'll put my cards on the table come Saturday and see if lady form is on my side.

As far as tire decisions go; I had my heart set on the Vittoria's. But due to some unforseen purchases(thanks senior design and a frugal engineering dept) I have had to put off this purchase for another week or two. Thankfully I have set of training tires ready to go for this weekend. Since my last post I have spent my Saturday mornings training in Branchbrook Park w/ my Montclair Bikery teammates. This season with some many new riders, my coach has names me cat4/5 emperor for the team. Meaning they leadout me, I sprint, we win....well sort of. I've mainly just been trying to organize our guys and trying to coordinate training and racing together, the best part is being a 22year old kid bossing around a bunch of hapless 30-40 year olds for 3hrs on Saturday mornings. Its been the highlight of my training so far.

Being on two teams means having to do the same job again and again, so naturally I'm sorta guiding the newbies during the week at Stevens. By guiding I mean, yelling cycling related acronyms such as FTP, VO2max, and ITT during intervals and recounting tales of being dropped while hungover. Hopefully they take my sage advice to heart during the ITT on Saturday morning.

In light of training new teammates and taking a que from Senor Kyle Bruley, I present a very articulate article on proper sprinting techniques and training. The author of a very well respected blogger and BFer(I swear this dude posts every 5min) and his posts have definitely helped me develop as a sprinter and racer alike.

On a completely unrelated note; what the hell is the deal with all this snow? Global warming, climate change, book of revelations, blah blah blah, whatever the reason is; I'm sure if some of the ECCC(eh em Joe K eh em) higher ups make some type of sacrifice to the cycling gods we can have some awesome spring weather come Saturday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Decisions Decisions...

With the season a mere 3 weeks away its time to start tuning up the machine that I will be racing on. Last season a acquired my trustie Tarmac 'Suzie' after my late trek madone had a losing argument with a car door. Alas, my humble steed Suzie did not disappoint in 2009; I have been very good keeping in top condition. Other than the regular upkeep which has pretty much been done already the only thing missing is some new tires to start the 2010 road season with.

Some racers are very anal when it comes to what tires they race and train on. Some have training and 'race only' tires, while others use the same for training and racing. Some train on one psi while race on a different psi, etc etc so on and so on. I typically use the same tires to train and race all year and replace them as necessary. For the last two season I have raced on maxxis detonators; personally I can't complain about this tire at all. Reasonable price at 35 bucks a pop, very grippy in the turns, great in the rain, and pretty durable(very rarely do I get a pinch flat). Once again I am considering racing again on them, but have considered different tires.

Aside from the detonators I have two other possible suitors. Vittoria Rubino and Michelin Pro Race 3s. I have heard nothing but good things about both tires, for both training and racing they are both great deals. Luckily I have found them to be relatively the same price; so I comes down to looking at the specs, aesthetics, and public opinion. So to all those reading this; give me some advice on which tires to race on for 2010. The right tire can make or break my season; or at least give me less flats while training. Whatever, the point is any sort of opinions and advice is appreciated. I plan to place my order to tires this week, so don't delay on suggestions. Also if suggest any other tires that are better let me know, so long as they are in my price range.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It may still be winter....

But the road season is just around the corner, the season starter at Rutgers is a mere 4 weeks away on March 6. In order to keep the brain from becoming fried from the mind numbing hum of the trainer and to remind of some nicer weather, I present the following video brought to you by a my very good friend herb of jvs.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Team Kit for 2010

Here it is:

For this season we went w/ Hincapie Sports rather than Champion Systems. Personally I've never used Hincapie before, but from what I've seen so far they look to be mighty comfy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Race schedule slowly coming together

After much waiting, the venerable Charlie Issendorf has finally released the title Sponsor for 2010 Prospect Park Series. For the past two years, Cadence Multisport has been the title sponsor for this racing series. This year Lucarelli & Castaldi will be the new title sponsor for 2010. Prospect Park racing has been the meat of my season for the last two years, and this year will be no different. Typically Prospect Park always has a races going Saturdays and Sundays, but it is always the "Cup Series" that draws the biggest, nastiest, hairiest fields.

It is in these races at Prospect that I have learned the most. This season I hope to go from the dark horse in the race to a marked man. Most of my races there last season, I was always a dark horse during the race with no one paying attention to anything I did. If I were a breakaway rider, that would be awesome...unfortunately that is not the case. No teamates = no leadout = not a good sprint position. Luckily I have several new teammates at Montclair and Stevens so I should have plenty of help this season, and with a little luck and planning I should be able to take a few sprints this season at one of my all time favorite venues.

As far as USAC and ECCC races; most of schedule is set. Unfortunately I won't be able to do all the ECCC races this season thanks to a heavy senior workload. Its bitter sweet, as this will be my last year racing in college. But such is life....
Less ECCC races means more NJ racing, which is great for me as it means less driving and not having to be up crazy early to get to races on time.

There has been lots going on at Stevens, especially since we are once again hosting our own race and co-hosting a race weekend with Princeton. Flyers for both will be out shortly, so keep your eyes open for those.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, New goals

So with 2010 finally here, I guess its only inevitable that I post my goals for the year. Last season had plenty of ups and downs. My spring was so so, results really weren't there but at least I had a blast racing in the ECCC. The USAC season also had its ups and downs from beginning to end. Rather than post my lack of results, I will post what I learned this season.

1. Booze before a race is never a good idea
1.a unless you're totally having a blast with awesome teammates and could care less about the race the next day

2. Recovery is arguably the most important aspect of training, if your legs are tired from a long week of workouts expect to do poorly.

3. In the 4s, pack position is way more important than being fitter than everyone else

2009 was definitely a learning experience for me. By the end of the season I was a completely different racer from the one I was back in February. I go into the 2010 season as much smarter, fitter and disciplined racer. I really did learn a lot other than what I said, and really look forward to putting that into action this season. I'm finishing up base training this month and the powertap has really helped me become more focused and disciplined over the last few months. At this point it can only help as I move forward into Build in a few weeks as well as the coming races. As for 2010 goals, here they go....

1. Win 3 field sprints
1.a I learned last season that I'm definitely a sprinter and can knock around with almost anyone with no fear of crashing.
1.b I finally better pack position in crits, so that should translate to better position going into the sprint

2. Not miss races due to oversleeping and not leaving early enough
2.a I missed both the state road race and crit last season due to oversleeping and not leaving early enough to get there in time. No way that's happening this year

3. Help out new teammates at Montclair/Stevens with racing, training, etc
3.a tons of teammates between my club team and collegiate team. I will definitely help them out with everything I've learned and hopefully we can help each other out as the season progresses

4. Have as much fun as possible within certain limits
4.a don't do #1 from above

2010 looks to be a good season with some awesome races anticipated from both the spectacular ECCC and the awesome guys at Kissena