Elite Track Nationals August 12-17th, 2014

Rock Hill, South Carolina    Giordana Velodrome (250 meter outdoor track)

Omnium

This is 6 events compiled together, with the winner being whoever accumulates the most points throughout.

I came in as a relative unknown to these nationals, giving me a slightly longer leash when it came down to attacking compared to the favorites. The first event was a 15km scratch race where I managed to slip away with around 25 laps to go, was joined by another rider, and took the sprint for the lead in the series. Pretty good way to start the week! Next up we had an individual pursuit where I placed 3rd with a time of 4:48. Relative to international competition I got smoked, but with only a month of specific track work in my legs, I had to be happy with that time. Lastly, to close out day 1 was the elimination where I pulled a rookie move and boxed myself in yet again for an 8th place finish. The second day my legs just wouldn’t cooperate, most likely due to a non-existent cool down the night before or because that night had me going to bed at 12:30. 8th in the kilo and 13th in the flying lap, not what I was hoping for after still being right at the top the first day. The only thing to do is keep your head up and try to maximize the time in-between races for recovery. That night was the final of 6 events, a 40km points race (points every 10 laps, 160 lap race…) where I felt about the same as that morning. My attacks just didn’t have that intensity needed to break away. Still I’d like to think I played a role in breaking apart the group. 6th place overall, my aim was the podium which I know could have been attainable were it not for that bad first night.

 Team Pursuit

My favorite of the week! You get the whole enchilada with this event. Teamwork, wicked fast speeds, and an effort that leaves you with a rush of endorphins at the end. We qualified first in the morning by a margin of 2 seconds and won the final that night by 2-tenths of a second, I guess we like to keep things interesting for the spectators (awesome crowds throughout the week!) and ourselves!

 Points  

Got a quick lap in the beginning quarter of the race, and afterwards was able to lap twice to get the win! To give a clue on how tough it got at the end, my calves started cramping at the end. I never usually cramp, especially after just 40 kilometers…

Madison

First one I’ve ever done, which takes quite a lot of finesse to get right! Messed up with a few double pulls, all in a learning curve. Ended up getting 5th in a tightly contested race at the top. Addicting race format with a teammate always pushing you on, and higher intensity when in the race.

Scratch

The race wasn’t very quick due to the fact that it was the last day of racing, and we’d done many many laps beforehand… I sprinted too late and came in on the inside, getting disqualified on what would have been a third place.

 

 

 

Volta ao Alentejo March 26-30th, 2014

It’s always exciting when you’re able to race in a new country and have such a great group of guys working so well together. We had an eight man roster with half of us from Bissell (Greg Daniel, Ryan Eastman, Tanner Putt, and myself). Capping it off we had TJ Eisenhart, Colin Joyce, Yannick Eckmann and Robin Carpenter. This five day UCI 2.2 ranked race was a great European season opener, with over 5,000 feet of climbing everyday. This fact, paired along with some lengthy stages (two over 195k) definitely will boost the form and hopefully kickstart a solid euro campaign. The team worked incredibly well together, with everyone assigned particular jobs throughout the stages, reducing stress over what to do when split-second decisions needed to be made. Our senior u23’s on the team showed up fit and ready to fight for podiums and jerseys. We missed the former by one spot but are bringing back the white jersey of best under 23 rider in GC! This race takes the cake by quite a margin for scariest/sketchiest finishes. We had it all in this race. Cobbled roundabouts in the rain to 10% downhills right in the last kilometers of racing. It was the perfect race coming back from sickness due to it’s length, climbing, and a whole lot of race speed thrown into the mix. The week ended up being a little over a thousand kilometers, not a bad seven days! Onwards and upwards.

Colorado Springs Grand Prix Omnium July 11-13th

Track racing! I had forgotten what a rush it is, as well as a mental game due to the shortness of the events along with an abundant amount of time in-between. We used the new Omnium format, same six events, with a twist at the end that is supposed to spice things up until the very last lap. Here is the order of events with a small explanation for those not familiar with the terms-

Day 1

15 kilometer scratch race– Just a race to the finish, nothing special in this one.

4 kilometer individual pursuit– This one is tough at altitude (about 6,000feet).

Elimination race– After one neutral lap the last rider across the finish line on every lap is pulled, slowly dwindling the pack down. Not a long race, though it more than makes up for it in intensity!

Day 2

1 Kilometer TT– Ow…

Flying Lap– You get a few laps to build up speed, staying at the topmost section of the track until the bell rings, then a smooth arc to the black line where depending on the track length is usually less than 20 seconds(for a 333meter track, sub 15 second for a 250meter).

40 Kilometer points race– Sprint every 10 laps with points running 4 deep (5,3,2,1). If you lap the field you get 20 points.

The new system has all of your points added up (40 for an event win going down by 2 points every placing) with the points race being a heavier decider because all of the points you accumulate in that race are just added on to your total tally. If there are some racers just shy of the leaders points it has the potential to be a very exciting race!

 

Now for how the race went… I placed 9th in the scratch race, I was in a great position heading into the final laps, unfortunately, I got boxed in on the bell lap unable to go due to not being aggressive enough.

   I ended the pursuit in 12th, not what I was hoping for. With all things considered (used training wheels, no skinsuit) it wasn’t too bad, while still acclimating to the altitude.

   In the Elimination race I had a dig off the front to stay away from the danger of being caught out, it worked for about two laps, where they swept me up and I dug myself a hole I couldn’t get out of by staying near the black line and being pinched out.

   Disappointing is a good word to describe how the Kilo TT went for me. After false starting on the first run and having a mechanical issue on my second try I was given a DNF and not able to gain any points whatsoever. As for the flying lap an improvement could have been made by staying closer to the walls at the top of the track, gaining more momentum when the sprint started. I did do one in training so I know how “fun” this event is.

40 kilometers on the track is quite a while, seeing as there is no way to get water or stop pedaling for the matter it is definitely a different animal compared to the sprints, and that is why the omnium is so great. It’s about balancing pure speed with endurance, right in-between a Mo Farah and Usain Bolt. My plan was to wait a sprint or two and go for a lap, which at one point was a possibility but the lungs and legs finally said no to the constant attacking. At altitude, if you go in the red, it’s damn hard to get out of and be able to keep pushing. This happened quite a few times after sprints and a couple of attacks, causing me to take it a little easier for a few laps. Other than that I felt relatively good and being able to attack with that pace was a great sign. 9th place overall in the omnium (not many people raced, but it was quality). I know can be greatly improved upon. Hopefully by Nationals in Early August! Thanks for the read.

 

 

Road racing somewhat explained

Hello all,
Many if my friends have been asking about racing, what “level” I’m currently on, and where I race.
First off, there is the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) based in Aigle, Switzerland which the IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognizes as the main organization for cycling. The UCI covers all competitive avenues of biking, ranging from Track to BMX (8 in total). This is about the road racing branch of the organization.  After that there are the national federations that have there own races, most are categorized differently. Road races are numerically categorized, the first number denoting if it’s a one-day or stage race (either 1 or 2), the next number is the status/prestige. To be a WT (WorldTour) you somewhat need to be grandfathered in, most of those races have been going on for 60+ years. Here is an example of a one day race (if it was a stage race, a 2 would be put for the first number) ranking from highest to lowest-

  • WT
  • 1.HC
  • 1.1
  • 1.2

Road cycling team ranks-

Amateur/Club- No ranking, riders on these teams can participate in their respective category (In America there are 5 categories, with 1 being the highest level before pro status).

UCI Continental– The first tier of professional racing, where teams can partake in every UCI races just below WT status (if invited). Currently 158 teams

UCI Pro-Continental– These teams can race in every UCI categorized event, even WorldTour if they get a wildcard invite. Currently 20 teams

UCI WorldTour– The pinnacle of the sport, these teams have a set WT racing calendar which they must all participate in, along with being able to do HC category races if invited. Currently 19 teams

The team I’m on, Bontrager Pro Cycling, is continental. We’ve been invited to HC category races (Tour of California and Colorado) for the past two years and have done a good bit of .1 ranked racing as well. This year, I raced for the USA Cycling team most of the time where we did racing from local to .1’s and Nations Cup races (another series exclusive to U23’s which decides how many riders you can take to the world championships at the tail-end of the season). Yeah, many things going on! This just scratches the surface of all the tours and points system’s that are in place. At the moment I’ve already been able to race in Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands! For another part of cycling, here is a link if you want to check out how much money these levels make- http://cyclingtips.com.au/2010/11/how-much-do-pro-cyclists-make/

5 things with Connor O’Leary

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Connor O’Leary

5 of your favorite bands (at the moment)-

Ben Howard / Ben Harper / Music of the Andes / Taylor Swift / Bon Iver

4 things you do daily-

-Cook oatmeal (generic bowl: dates, frozen fruit, almonds, and peaches)

-Ride my bike

-Prune my bonsai tree

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-Tend the garden

3 people you look up to- Lance Armstrong, Tanner Putt, my Dad

2 coolest races- Tour of Utah and Fleche du Sud

1 interesting fact- One testicle

10 Questions with TJ Eisenhart

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Taylor Jordan Eisenhart

Age-19

Hometown- Lehi, Utah

Team-BMC Devo

1.Crowning achievements-

“Signing with the BMC Development team.”

“Winning the white jersey at Thüringen-Rundfahrt.”

2. Superpower?

“Total immunity, never get sick and always clean.” or    “A man lion, that would be awesome.”

3. Favorite dish? 

“My Dad’s homemade muesli which has frozen blueberries with almond milk.”

4. Favorite tv show? 

Seinfeld

5. Woman crush of the week? 

Lana Del Rey

Photographer:  Nicole Nodland

6. Mental tips while in the box (suffering)?  

Positive reinforcement/thinking everyone else is suffering.

7. Froome or Wiggins?

“Froome, because he’s a better climber”.

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8. If you weren’t a rider, what would you be?

Probably an architect, or something in the design area(clothing, shoes, art).

9. Interesting fact about yourself?

Started a company last year, PANDA TRINITY

Favorite color is pink

10. What do you love most about cycling? 

The hard work and suffering you put in, paired with the reward you get afterwards.

10 Questions with Nathan Wilson

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Nathaniel James Wilson (not pretentious)

Age-22

Weight- 129-157 pounds

School- University of Colorado

Hometown- Arlington, Virginia

Team- Bontrager

1. Crowning achievements-

“2 years ago I did 385 watts for 20 minutes, it was my crowning achievement.”

“I graduated high school with a 3.85 GPA.” (editor’s note: Coincidence, I think not…)

“I Made the regional All-Star lacrosse team as a defender in 6th grade, it was a big deal.”

“Being teammates with Evan Huffman in 2011-12.”

2. Almond or peanut butter? Cashew butter

3. Mental tips while in the box? “I do nothing, I turn my head off.”

4. Funniest cyclist you know? “Not Huffman, I think Creed is pretty funny, but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of reading this. Boswell is funny too.”

5. Funniest looking cyclist? “Domenico Pozzovivo, I think he looks kind of weird.”Domenico-Pozzovivo_2218404b

6. Women crush of the week? Anne Hathaway

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7. Slytherin or Gryffindor? Gryffindor

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8. Favorite food? “Ice Cream, usually something with caramel or cookies n’ cream.”

9. Favorite song right now? Passenger- Let Her Go

10. Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Trader Joe’s

A Day on the Plate

This is a short picture post of my gourmand lifestyle , just on this particular day. I try to remain consistent with granola/muesli for breakfast along with a piece of fruit, then whatever the Sittard staff dish up for lunch and dinner. In upcoming news, we are flying out to Poland later today, then a semi-quick transfer into the Czech Republic for the two day Course de la Paix U23(Peace Race)! Exciting times coming up, thanks for the read!

Breakfast- Yogurt, corn flakes, pear, and a bowl of granola(CHOCOLATE!) with milk.

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Lunch- Raisin bread sandwich compiled of swiss cheese,ham, and spinach. Then another

piece of bread with peanut butter, banana, and some honey. Also, a small salad and tangerine.

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Snacks- Viggo (our soigneur) bought these addicting-ly good “fruit biscuits” which I had twice in-between meal times.

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Dinner- As usual here we start off with a soup (minestrone) with a baguette piece or two

then straight onto the main course of rice, steamed vegetables, and mystery meat (no, it wasn’t beef).

Another small salad and then a freckin’ delicious slice of apple pie.

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That’s a day on the plate!

Ronde van Overijssel-14th

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4:52:51 moving time   4,170 kJ    http://app.strava.com/activities/52313517
209 kilometers (129.5 miles) in total, this race was a UCI 1.2 in northeastern Holland. It had some big teams, not too much wind, and a mainly flat course. Nevertheless, it still was split apart due to the riders and distance. I tried to stay in the top 30 racers the whole day, just so I didn’t have to deal with crashes (most happen in the middle-back portion)and just in case the crosswinds were strong enough to crack the peloton. I was able to do this, and get in a couple moves in the last 30k. Some zig-zag roads (we got a full sampling of all wind directions) ripped the pack apart, with a group of around 30 of us barreling towards the finish after that section. At this moment (directly after the zigging roads), 200 meters after a left hand turn when we were guttered due to the wind, I smacked a side-view mirror. Actually, I shoulder checked it, ripping that plastic piece from his home. I got a nice adrenaline rush from that, along with some swelling a couple minutes later. This is just one of the many dangers racing here in Europe, along with road furniture (our 6k neutral was a war-zone because of these objects) and small concrete paths. Another point I’d like to make about these races is they just get faster and faster towards the final 50k or so, never relenting until you cross that line. Back to the race, most riders in the front group had another teammate, and some were sprinters, so they were keen on turning it into a bunch sprint. There were some small attacks though nothing was given more than 10 seconds at most. I was about 15th wheel coming into the final 500 meters, too far back yet all I could really muster. The sprint turned out to be an 800 meter drag race, not my strong point for finishing, so I just went as hard as possible, but the others were just stronger. It was a good learning experience, and hopefully a condition booster for the coming stage race block! Thanks!
Alex

Runde um Düren April 21, 2013

2nd-    http://app.strava.com/activities/49946364
82 miles   5,000 ft elevation gain   2,800 kilojoules
   It was another big loop/small loop course as the day before, with a decent amount of climbing on the larger laps. On the smaller circuits there wasn’t much elevation gain, but the numerous tight turns more than made up for it. A group was able to drift off the front the first time up the climb including Greg “literally in every break” Daniel along with Daniel Eaton. They were able to get 2.5 minutes at one point, but the course didn’t favor a breakaway at the end of the day, due to some headwind sections and overall pace of the field. We caught them going into three laps to go (of five 6 kilometer circuits) where the sprinter team’s took the front. A constant circular flow ensued between the front twenty racers, making for a hectic and very nervous final. The finish was roughly 250 meters after a fairly sharp left turn. It was a headwind sprint, so I thought about third to fifth wheel would be perfect. I came in fourth(and a half) but hesitated. Bad choice. When I kicked the two riders in front created a nice barrage, where I had to squeeze in-between them sitting down(not able to fully open up my sprint). The guy on my right was in full sprint mode, head down throwing his bike around on the tarmac. He hit my hip with his bar after I’d passed and couldn’t control it from there. I’m hoping he has a speedy recovery after a fast and violent crash. I passed the second fading rider but the at that point the soon to be winner had already amassed too much of a gap. Again, the racing in Europe is so much more than legs. Here, full team’s had lead out trains attempting to get their one man across the line, positioning being so so important. A tough pill to swallow but there is so much more racing still to come! Thanks for the read!
Alex
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