Falling off the wagon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

8 days since I've been on a bike, 9 days since I've last blogged, 5 days in row I saw both 3's on the clock consecutively, I've fallen and fallen hard.

The cause, my senior design project VT Motorsports Formula SAE, which has consumed most of the last two years of my college career, and more than 100 hours in the last two weeks. Hopefully the end is near but unfortunately the damage has been done, my fitness and health for that matter are out the window. I've come down with a severe cold/ cough that left me sleeping 25 of 30 hours Wednesday into Thursday.

I also missed out on racing last weekend at WVU, a real shame but in order to graduate I have to do this project. My lack of fitness and health will make racing this weekend or not getting dropped near impossible.


Monday SAYG Ride - 85 and Sunny...and HAIL!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday's forecast was something along the lines of 85 and sunny with a subscript that said "Go Ride Your Bike!" Not really but if there was a subscript it would be something along those lines.

After a long race weekend, or for me not so long but certainly strenuous, SAYG (Slow As Your Grandmother) rides are typical for Monday's where we simply go out for a relaxing ride to get the blood flowing in the legs and hopefully assist in active recovery. This Monday was no exception with an original departure time of 4:15PM, I asked Andy the ride organizer this week to push it back an hour so I could make it, he kindly agreed and 5:15 it was...little did he know what that hour would mean. I was out running errands and heard on the radio "possible chances of afternoon showers" but didn't think much of it and headed back to my place to get ready for an afternoon ride. When I got out of my building I looked up and saw gray skies looming overhead but figured we would be fine.

I arrived at the chapel on campus where rides usually depart from to find Andy and Hayden (Andy's friend who's new to cycling), the three of us set out on the normal loop which consists of Toms Creek Rd., Glade, Prices Fork, Merimac, and return on the Huckleberry trail. The ride was pretty peaceful but we had lots of traffic leaving town as everyone was headed home and didn't seem to have much patience for cyclists on country roads. About halfway through our ride I saw lightning off in the distance and made a note of it to see if we should cut our ride short and head back towards town. We decided to push onward having not seen any more lightning and confident we could make it back before the skies opened up. When we got on the Huck the rain started and at first it felt refreshing and cool with large cold rain drops hammering down. About 2 miles from town the drops became so large that they began to hurt, after further examination we realized that the rain had turned into HAIL! Fortunatly where the hail began the Huckleberry trail goes under Rt. 460 and we decided to take cover under the bridge until the storm let up. As the storm seemed to ease up we made a break for it but only made it a few hundred yards before the hail began again this time larger.

The wind was so strong that it was carrying the hail 15 or so feet into the tunnel hitting us.

We passed a bunch of runners out on the trail who were not nearly as close to the underpass as us and were not as lucky.

I felt the moment was necessary to document so I sacrificed the BlackBerry, which isn't working today, for this exciting event. I managed to get a video before my phone quit cooperating all-together and some pictures:

The only video my phone would cooperate for. I sacrificed my phone for this footage.

It really started coming down, the grass looked like it was alive with all the hail bouncing and jumping around.

The aftermath.

The grass next to the trail was lined with hail.

Definitely bigger than pea size, probably about the size of marbles.

"And that kids is why you wear a helmet, not in case you fall off your bike but in case you get hailed on in 85 degree weather!"


Appalachian State - Day 2 - Criterium

Monday, April 5, 2010

Following an exhausting day at the Boone Roubaix - Hell of the High Country, Appalachian State held a collegiate race featuring a parking lot criterium at Boone Mall.

Although the race was held in a parking lot, it didn't differ too much from the previous days rough terrain. After a harsh winter in Boone, NASA may consider the Boone Mall parking lot for their next moon hoax, with potholes that more closely represented craters than parking spots. The App. State team did a great job creating an awesome course around the many obstacles and wound up having a fast course with 3 chicanes and a long sweeping front section.

We arrived just over an hour before my race and I quickly attended to my first priority, breakfast. Seeing as Sunday was Easter the mall was closed and although we were surrounded by every major fast food chain the average Americans frequents, nothing seemed overly appealing or Easterly enough. In the end I choose an egg and cheese biscuit from Bojangles (or as I like to pronounce it Boh-hong-glay-s), healthy diet and proper race fuel of course. After my nutritious breakfast I completed the usual pre-race routine. One part of the pre-race routine that I absolutely despise is pinning numbers, I've choosen to add some additional pins compared to the standard 4/number. Some may say its overkill but I've found that 3 on each side of a number, or 8 total/number is bests for keeping things "aero."

I strategically placed my trainer facing the course so I could watch the Men's D race. After my pyramid style warm-up that I've begun using this season, I rode headed over to the start line where Navy was already 8 across the line. Now when I mentioned the likely return of the "Navy Armada" this weekend, I thought they would be back, little did I know they would have most of their riders Cat. up which gave them 9 in our field. The race began quickly and I rode up front for most of the race, about 1o minutes into our 30 minute race, a Navy rider attacked with an App. rider on his wheel and the two went up the road, never to be seen again. This was made possible by the strong presence of both teams up front sitting up and allowing their teammates to put a considerable gap on the field. My teammate Nick attacked about 2/3 of the way through the race when I was feeling a little cooked and unfortunatley hit his pedal cause a wreck right in front of me. I managed to avoid it by locking up my rear wheel, check out the video below (I'm in orange sliding sideways and hit a cone, but keep rubber side down):

At the end of the race I sat up a bit and allowed riders to roll past me on the final lap, losing 3 or 4 positions finishing a measley 11th for the day. I think this is one of my worst races to date this season, simply because I didn't race a smart race.

Men's Collegiate C results, 11th for the crit. Full results Here.

PowerData for the crit including my warm-up.

Reid working the camera in a different way than usual, not modeling mullets that is of course.

As for the rest of the day, after a trip to both Cookout and Taco bell (did I mention we were surrounded by every fast food chain the average American frequents), in case you're keeping track that's three fast food meals in a day....although cookout was only a milkshake, I fulfilled my duty as photographer and watched the rest of the races behind a lens.

The Men's B field was ripped apart by none other than Virginia Tech's Matt Dockin's who lap after lap sat on the front punishing the field with a leg burning pace. In the end, only 7 riders remained in the field and Matt "THE CRUSH" Dockins setup a perfect lead out train for Jacob Aber and Mike Breitenback taking 1st and 2nd place respectively, Matt just barely edged off the podium for 4th.

Mike, Jacob, and Matt sprinting for the finish.

In the Men's A race attack after attack was covered, the field not letting anyone go too far up the road especially another John-Crow-walk-away lap-the-field-palooza. With a few laps to go a Duke rider got away from the field and was nearly caught at the finish but remained away for the win. Second place was capture from the field sprint by Justin Beard of Phifer University, followed by Reid Beloni rounding out the podium.

John Crow leading the field into one of the more technical turns on the course. The site of Nick's Accident above.

Notice the giant crater near the right edge of the picture, these things were the size of VW Bugs!

In the end Justin Beard took the field sprint, followed by Reid Beloni of VT.

Another very succesful weekend for Virginia Tech cycling.


Boone Roubaix - Even the Police Car Got A Flat!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The title says it all.

Saturday's Hell of the High Country - "Boone Roubaix" was a complicated sh*tshow of a race that had officials and even the race director himself scratching their heads trying to figure out. The course, which length and complexity varied depending on category, was comprised of paved and rugged gravel sections that ate tires all day, even forcing one of the police vehicles to change a front right wheel after a flat halfway throughout the day.

Andrew Stackhouse, the "race director" from Pirate Race Productions began the morning with a poor attempt at speaking French stating " I've taken six years of French and don't have much to show for it", welcomed feedback and criticism from participants, well Andrew, it's on like Donkey Kong.

The morning was supposed to begin at 9AM with the Pro, 1, 2, 3 field, instead the first field didn't leave until around 9:40AM due to the police arriving at the wrong location. Here's the first point of criticism, have a pen?

Dearest Andrew Stackhouse,

  1. If you intend to be a professional race promoter, then your races should be run flawlessly, I'd suggest not going the cheap route by hiring the police for when the race starts. Instead pay the local law enforcement for an extra hour prior to the start to prevent an instance just like this one; also make sure you give them the right location, that way if they sit for a half hour at the wrong place you give yourself a buffer to still start the race on time.
  2. Start the race on time. PERIOD.
  3. Make a course that doesn't take a degree in Topography (too big a word, I linked it if you don't understand) to decipher.
  4. Have adequate staff and volunteers to prevent half the field getting lost due to lack of directions. (Half of the Pro, 1, 2, 3 field went the wrong direction, missed turns, etc. because no one was at a turn or a detour sign).
  5. THE COURSE, back to the course. Stack, keep in mind that the few volunteers that you did have working the race were in fact..... volunteers, (I defined that one too in case you didn't know what that one means either). They can't tell if someone is a Pro,1,2,3 rider, or a collegiate A or B rider, how in the world are they supposed to know whether to tell someone to take a right or left on railroad grade road? Make a course that allows volunteers to be positive which way they're sending riders.
  7. Make one flier and then don't change it, not ten different ones that change every day prior to the race!

I'll stop there, basically for someone who's attempting to make a living being a "professional race director" you forgot the first rule, Keep It Simple Stupid!


Everyone who hated your race.

As for how the races played out? The Pro, 1, 2, 3 field was shattered, miss directed, confused, and left for the taking to those who didn't flat out; for the unfortunate many that did the 20 minute wait for the wheel truck took riders out of all contention. The race went to Mark Hekman of Team Mtn. Khaki's. Only 36 of the original 53 starters finished the race. The full Pro, 1, 2, 3 results can be found Here.

Men's Pro, 1, 2, 3, field patiently waiting for the police to arrive.

The Men's collegiate A and B fields departed 5 and 10 minutes after the Pro, 1, 2, 3 race respectively, for distances of 60 and 44 miles. Reid Beloni of Virginia Tech put a hurting on the Men's A field and finished alone for his first collegiate A victory of the season, Michael Niemi of Duke and Justin Beard of Phifer finished out the podium. For the full men's collegiate A results Click Here.

Men's Collegiate A: Justin, Justin, and Reid (left to right).

Tommy Brock. Nuff said.

Men's Collegiate A at the bottom of Carter Miller Rd., beginning of the first long climb.

The collegiate B race was blown apart, with 1 of 7 tech riders finish the race due to flats. The race went to Matthew Rinehart of Duke University, one of the 5 remaining B's in the field, 3 of which were Duke riders. Matt Dockins of Virginia Tech took 2nd and Davis Graham took 3rd. 13 of 23 starters finished, a measly 57% completion rate.

Men's Collegiate B. Matt Dockins nearest, 2nd for the day overall.

Men's Collegiate B on a narly switchback

The grueling climb continues...

The women's races consumed most of the mid-day with a notable finish from VT rider Lindsey McKeever for 6th place in the women's B field.

Following suit with the rest of the day, the Men's 4/5 race and men's collegiate C races were delayed at the line as the fields watched one of the police vehicles change a flat, enduring the same pain many riders experienced earlier in the day. The race finally got underway around 3:30PM, half an hour late, and before the field hit the start finish line had a crash from believe it or not the race winner, Appalachian State rider Andrew Murphy (correct me if I'm wrong here, but that's the word on the street). The field stayed together until the first gravel climb, Carter-Miller Rd. where the men were separated from the boys. Apparently I'm a boy, as I was 3rd wheel at the beginning of the climb and came out around the high teens. After the paved climb on 194 and a long sweeping decent down the back side, the field was shattered and riders found themselves out for a training ride or in small groups of 2's and 3's. I caught a Navy rider and we worked together reeling in stragglers from the 4/5 race and a few collegiate riders as well. After 34 miles a Duke rider, Chris from Navy, and myself were still together when we hit the last section of gravel on the course. Unfortunately the Navy rider got a flat and it was Duke and I, the Duke rider didn't even contest the sprint and I rolled across the line for 11th.

11th of 36 starters, 28 finished. Full results Here.

Overall I had a fairly mediocre day and performance but placed well simply by finishing and not flatting. I did keep the Garmin 310XT in my back pocket and recorded data for the race (cough..cough..training ride).

PowerData from ASU RR - Boone Roubaix

Last but not least, this pig decided to hang out with us all day...just a random ass pig walking around. Its name was Petunia and it ate an entire Clif bar from a Brian's backpack, wrapper included, and then spit back up the wrapper. Impressive and definitely deserving of the bar.

Petunia kick'n it.

More from Day 2 of ASU race weekend to come, not USCF Thank Goodness!


Friday Hell of High Country - Boone Roubaix Pre-ride

Friday, April 2, 2010

Today Reid, Matt, and I drove down to Boone, N.C. early to pre-ride Saturdays Hell of the High Country - Boone Roubaix course. We arrived in Boone around noon and made an essential stop first, at Stick Boy Bread Company of course and picked up my racing fuel, 4 cookies and a tomato-basil foccaia.

Stick Boy - Gotta have the Magic cookies!

Inside of Stick Boys.

Afterwards we made a necessary stop at Boone Bike where I had my bottom bracket looked at after realizing my cranks were loose when putting my bike on the rack this morning.

We made the drive out to the course and parked at river company and went and rode the first section of gravel. The section of gravel on the smaller loop is only around 1k or less and has a small left hand turn in it. The first climb on the big loop begins with a gravel section on Carter Miller Rd that will certainly splinter the field early in the race. After the lower section of the 1st climb there's another 2 miles or so of steady climb on 194 before a nice long sweeping decent.

A nice long downhill back to the car and threw the bikes on top to drive to the next section of gravel. The only way to describe Big Falls Church Rd. is Brutal, large gravel with crazy high grades is going to make the fields wonder why they ride bikes and a false peak teases riders with a technical decent before another steep gravel climb.

The Garmin Connect made a few updates Wednesday that allow activities to be embedded in blogs pretty awesome check it out:

PowerData from todays pre-ride.

Of course we worked up an appetite during the ride and had to fill our hunger with some amazing burritos from Black Cat.

Black Cat in DT Boone.

Tomorrow is going to be insane, I'm amped for the race but need a good night of sleep, so more tomorrow!


ACCC Weekend Preview - Appalachian State - Boone, N.C.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ACC teams will head south this weekend to Boone, N.C. for a weekend of racing at Appalachian State. The weekend will begin with the Hell of the High Country, or Boone-Roubaix including course descriptions like Petit, Moderee, Plus Moderee, and Grand Parcours with various distances of 18, 35, 44, and 69 miles respectively. The courses will vary based on category including number of climbs and distances from 1km to 8km of grueling unpaved gravel. Sunday will feature the Boone Mall Criterium, a 1km parking lot course with sweeping chicanes. Full race weekend flyer Here.

Boone-Roubaix description.

I'll be heading down early with Reid to pre-ride sections of Saturdays course and make a very necessary stop at Stick Boy Bread Company for delicious cookies, continuing my habit of proper race fuel prior to race weekends.

With the likely return of the Navy armada from their absence at VCU/UVA criterium, the fields will be full for what is sure to be a challenging and painful course. Tech will be traveling 17 Hokies strong with promising finishes in Men's A with Reid and Justin Crawford, and Matt Dockins and Mike Breitenbach in Men's B. More exciting is that the team will be unveiling the full team kit this weekend as we received an early shipment from Funkier of bibs.

Sneak peak!

The race director put together a nice video to preview the weekend:

In other news Wednesday Worlds, a local weekly race ride, happened again last night with more success than the previous week. I fared pretty well on the way out until double pulls in the pace line thanks to Mr. Reagan surging past the front of line did me in, I fell off the back but managed to bridge myself and another rider from Rogues Racing back before relaxing the last 3 miles until the turn around. On the return I did pretty well and finished up the hill around 8th or 9th, my best finish so far.

PowerData from Wednesday Worlds.

I'm stoked for the weekend an hopefully another good finish, more to come.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP