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.