Category Archives: cycling

A Real Off Season

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Another Velo luncher on Wednesday, but this time, in shorts and sunshine.

It’s been too long. All of my writing has been focused on VN.com, and alas, this has fallen to the wayside.

Been taking some serious time away from the racing scene, namely the CX crowd. I don’t even plan to contemplate racing for a couple more months. Training has been loosely structured by design, a design that has me wanting to get on the bike every time I do. Once weather starts to take a turn I’ll be riding more and more.

This weekend, there’s no riding, at least not bikes. Skied Breckenridge all day yesterday with my friend from school, Joe. Was an awesome day on the mountain that found us enjoying the sun and beers on the lodge patio as much as the actual mountain, and it’s lackluster snow conditions.

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Tour de Grove

Its been a week since I got back from the Tour de Grove in STL. It was a long drive each way (about 14 hours) I think it was worth it, though. I raced the 2/3 race as I’m a lowly 2 and unable to get into the Pro/1 field, so I felt some pressure to get results as I knew I had some good form after that Nationals criterium.

Friday night was the Loop de Loop criterium. Its the old Gateway Cup-The Loop course, but ran backwards, which makes for a scary pot-hole-filled descent and then a sharp left hander into a narrow alley, quickly followed by another left onto the finish straight and there’s only 200m to go. I spent most of the race near the front, though never really doing any work. I just floated around waiting for someone of importance to get a gap that would be worth bridging to, which never happened. With 3 to go Jason got in a move, got a decent gap, and with 1 to go it had the chance to stick, though one Tulsa Tough rider reeled it all back with me right on his wheel. I got shuffled back on the outside side, but I jumped into the second to last turn and moved up to third wheel. I grabbed some brake before the last turn and then sprinted all the way through it, which had my exit speed about 3-5mph higher than the leaders and with 50m to go I already knew I was clear.

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Taking the win means more at a Twilight race, especially in STL.

It was insane to finally win something (kinda) big in St. Louis. It was a huge relief, though I knew it was going to make the rest of the weekend a bit frustrating for me. I typically feel like I have a target on my back when I race in STL. Probably because the few races I have won, have been from attacks with a lap or so to go, so it makes sense to sit on me. It’s easy to pick on the stupid kid that always goes really fast for one lap. Though, I’m not stupid anymore and not much of a kid either.

Its a shame they didn’t get a shot of me busting open the beer bottle cap on the top-step of the podium. Podium girls should really carry a bottle opener if they’re giving you a beer.

I played it conservative the rest of the weekend. Stayed upright. Made some bad calls in the last laps of the Tour de Grove and the Dutchtown circuits/crits, but ended up 5th on Saturday at the Grove and 4th on Sunday in Dutchtown.

I’m flying to Texas on Thursday and racing five times in five days. Which I couldn’t be happier about. The last couple of times I’ve raced Superweek and had this kind of form, I always got better as the series went on. After an “opener” at The Driveway Thursday night with Colton, I should be good to go for some more 2/3 races… maybe even upgrade to 1’s after this weekend.

I wouldn’t have thought I’d be saying THAT this season.

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Coll Road Nats

My last collegiate road nationals are over.

Post TTT we were in the hot seat for just a minute forty. Photo: Dean Warren

There’s a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. I have never stood on a podium before (let alone a National Championship podium) and been upset about it later on. We were fourth in the TTT. FOURTH, and yet we were only 20 seconds off of Fort Lewis’s time of 41:34. It’s a hard pill to swallow, as I know I will probably never stand on another Nationals podium again.

For me the worst part is not that we came so close, but that we did so and I won’t get another shot. I finally stayed healthy and kept my head on straight for the spring. Which was, no doubt, partially attributed to my selective racing, and my “work trip” to Sea Otter didn’t hurt either. I was worried about my fitness headed into this weekend, but I had it in my legs.

Four to go, right before Weston attacked for the MILLIONTH (and final) time. Photo: Dean Warren

I rode about 50% of the crit on the front, and chasing hard. Namely, Weston Luzadder (Marian) who was constantly on the attack. My dad said a bystander asked where Zack was about halfway through the race, and why they hadn’t seen him… I was doing my job fine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there in the last lap for him. With four-point-five to go we were swarmed and shuffled back. We moved up with three on the lap cards and Weston attacked again, I pulled my brains out. I was swerving all over the road and at two to go I blew sky-high. I rolled the last couple of laps alone and found out Zack had sprinted to third behind RMCCC champ Josh Yeaton (CU) and Shane Haga (Texas A&M). Another podium and I couldn’t be happier for him.

After standing on the podium… I’m ready to put my hands in the air this weekend at Tour de Grove. Racing the 2/3 race should be a nice change of pace.

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Riding

Yesterday I snuck out for a lunch ride on my own. A tricky thing to accomplish at the Velo office where every day there is a ride or two leaving the bicycle alley during the lunching hour.

Once I got my legs spinning, my eyes glanced down at my stem to find that I had left my Garmin on my desk. I had also left my headphones in my backpack. I was in such a rush to sneak out the side-door that I had forgotten the two things I ALWAYS take with me for a solo jaunt.

It was an awesome ride. I went up and came down the front side of Old Stage. Its probably my favorite (paved) climb right out of the box around Boulder. I even got in some short repeats over the top section.

It was a beautiful day, warm, and a bit humid as storms were brewing across the Flat Irons. It reminded me of riding like I did back in the day riding in Belleville and the surrounding small towns, without an iPod or a ticking computer. I talked to myself, a lot, like I did on all those two and three hour rides six years ago. I went slow and really fast, but never knowing what my power output or speed was. I polished it off with a sandwich to go from a little deli near the mall and rolled back to the office. Even took a detour through Valmont and shredded some “green” singletrack on my Venge. Nothing better than sliding through gravel on road tires. It was perfect.

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Filed under cycling, road, work

CX Nationals Preview

Bill and I remounting after the barriers

I got into Madison a couple of days ago after driving up here from the Chicago Cross Cup. I was doing some work down in Chi-City with the One 2 Go Start/Finish crew. It was a great weekend and was a great venue with just a short walk from the hotel to the starting grid.

Up here, its cold and humid. Not my ideal kind of weather, but its what we have and I can make the best of it. Rode the course yesterday with Bill. The ground was pretty much frozen solid with a thin layer of greasy mud on the surface. The course is still very very fast and it reminds me a lot of the Fort Collins course, but instead of climbing the hill twice we’re going up and down 3 times. Thanks to Podium InSight for the interview after my ride.

I’m a big fan of the course and I think that is suits me pretty well. I think that I start 2nd row on Sunday, so I just need to sit in the groups and make the splits happen. Going back to the course in a bit to do some more riding, lets hope that they actually have the power washer running today…

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USGP – Louisville

Well that was a quick little trip, with very little to show for the whole thing except some time with my team and family.

I flew into Louisville on Friday afternoon, went straight to the course, built my “B” bike and headed out for a couple of laps with Joseph. The course was ripping FAST! Lots of open straights to rev the throttle up, and lots of fun, twisty, pump-tracky sections too.

My race was early Saturday, and thanks to a lack of rain or bad weather I didn’t have to deal with the added stress of rebuilding everything on my bikes in a hotel room. I was able to get up Saturday morning and take my time getting ready as Behind the Barriers played in the background. The course was essentially the same as it was the day before. No change in the moisture levels or anything. I took the start in 3rd row, about 20 riders back in a 140 riderfield. I got a bad start and came off the pavement further back than where I started… Not how I usually roll. I started moving up a few riders at a time, but came to a complete stop at the bottom of the Stanley Fly-Over. Then I flew, passing several riders going through the sand as I used my bike as a wrecking ball. I jumped around 5 more guys in the stretch on the backside of the course, and was posed in 2nd. Then a rider attacked, I let him go, and he proceeded to ride away and take the win… DOH!

Mills and I tag-teaming it with 1 to go. Alder leading Colton in chase.

Meanwhile, I was in the first chase-group. 2nd through 6th place all throwing bows in every corner. I was firmly attached to the back, and still feeling confident in my sprint even though I’d been losing speed all day. Teammate Adam Mills was just a bit further up in the group and pushing the pace in a lot of spots on course. Going into the final run/ride up I rode full speed in hopes of dismounting at speed or making it over the top without dismounting at all. Instead, my front wheel hit the bottom of the incline, dug into a softer dirt spot, and I flipped over the bars landing squarely on my back. Alder Martz (Marian University) had been dangling in 7th and capitalized on my crash moving me out of the group chasing a podium spot and into 7th. Not a great end to the day.

Sunday should have been better, but after spending a ton of time trying to limber up after my race, my body was wrecked Sunday morning. My back had been spasm’ing all night, and I was debating what I was even thinking getting kitted up in the hotel room. Once I got on my bike and turned a couple of laps on the course, my back started to feel better and  began to think that I could stick it out for the 40 minute race. I got a great start, moved up 20+ spots in the 200m before the first turn, and was sitting in 2nd or 3rd for all of the first lap. Then hell broke loose. I had to dismount twice and get my chain back on, and my back locked up in the process. Pain was shooting down my legs, and I dropped anchor. I probably got passed by 30 people in the last 2 laps. Miserable.

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jumping off, or in?

The last week has been a blast of work from school. I didn’t get down to Colorado Springs for the USAC cross race on Sunday. Partially because my back wasn’t feeling awesome after a long ride with the CSU hoodlums Saturday and partially because I wanted to get some homework done and hang out with Dylan for his 21st b-day.

So, now I’m trying to get ahead on my HW before I head to Louisville, KY for the third round of the USGP of CX. This should be a great weekend. The weather is looking warm and dry for this weekend, a big change from my last race, which was 4 weeks ago here in Fort Collins. Training has been good, but with the racing here not really lining up with my school work and training I haven’t been able to take a start in a race. It isn’t an all badthing either since I will be spending much of the next 2 months living out of my suitcase and my double-bike-box.

After this weekend in KY, I’ll have 5 days in Fort Collins. Then home for family time and I’m doing a Bubba Memorial CX race, a race series that was formed as “the only cyclocross series in memorial of a not-yet-dead-dog.” After the Thanksgiving festivities I’m heading to Iowa City for the Jingle Cross races. Then back to Fort Collins for a few weeks of school and racing. I still need to make sure I get in a Collegiate CX race after Jingle Cross so that I am eligible for Nationals. Then wrapping up school, and flying back home.

Hopefully, I remember to take some good video from this weekend. Then over the Thanksgiving break I’ll get around to editing everything I took from Collegiate MTB Nats too and I’ll get some more entertaining material on here.

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Filed under cycling, cyclocross, travel