Sunday, November 25, 2007

Time Pro Cycling

First off--HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  I had a great time at my aunt and uncle's house just 40 miles from Princeton (yes, I rode there) and ate enough stuffing and apple pie to kill a small donkey.

The best part of the past week was definitely Tuesday when I flew down to Charlotte, North Carolina to meet my new teammates and do a ropes course.  After my flight was canceled the night before, and I was scrambling to prevent an overnight in Newark, an earlier flight was so delayed that I ended up getting a spot on it and got into Charlotte 30 minutes ahead of schedule!

I woke up early Tuesday morning and met the guys at breakfast before packing into the team van and some vehicles and going to the ropes course at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (with a quick stop at FourBucks).  We were immediately thrown in to challenging situations, both mentally and physically, not to mention the fact that the 14 of us didn't know each others' names!  I could not believe how well we did on the obstacles, and the team's progress was evident as the morning became afternoon.

Initially, we didn't have strong leadership, and everyone was either goofing around or trying to lead by talking louder.  After a couple tasks were completed, and our performance as a team was discussed, we realized who the natural team leaders were and began to develop our strategies before attacking the obstacle--brilliant idea, I know!  Overall, it was an excellent way to learn who everyone is, what they are like in demanding situations, and just get a feel for the group dynamics.

After an excellent lunch at the Whitewater Center's restaurant, we all stacked out spots in the conference room for the next 5 hours and discussed everything a team can possibly discuss: anti-doping, sponsorship (Dedicated Athlete's Jon Gamble gave an excellent nutrition discussion), rider expectations, lessons learned in 2007, team's roll in the sport of cycling, mission statement development, contract details, and so on.  The team is composed of a manager (Erik Saunders), a director (Pat Raines), three road captains (Adam Myerson, Daniel Ramsey, and Jon Hamblen), and the developing riders (9 of us from 19 years old to 25 years old).  The road captains are not necessary the designated "winners" but rather they are the experienced leaders who will direct call the shots on the road and also help us along throughout the season by divulging their wealth of knowledge.

It is an excellent team of guys and an excellent program.  Its goals are to develop us into top professional riders and role models in the community, which is exactly what I am looking for.  I think next summer will be like an internship, just like this summer with Ball, and I will learn a lot and see how I feel about going down the road to becoming a top professional cyclist.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


So I broke my old record today . . .

What an awesome ride!!!  I headed out with my good buddy Austin from the Princeton Cycling Team and did the Frenchtown-Califon loop . . . it is now officially my favorite ride in NJ.  The legs felt fantastic, and I was still able to cruise at 300+ after 5 hours of good tempo.  I give much of the credit to Panera's excellent dutch apple & raisin bagels.

Then I hurried through brunch and rode 15k to the Mercer Cup USGP 'Cross race--WHAT A BLAST!!!  I saw Toby Stanton and Sherri L. (Toby's awesome gf and our old team soigneur and mom), and also ran into Nate Buyon (my old teammate from HART cycling in Boulder) and Larry Kaufman (a very fast master and supporter of the Princeton team).  It was a great time, and I got to see Trebon and Wicks just kill everyone.  Tim Johnson made a huge effort 3/4 of the way through to bridge an enormous gap, but to no avail.  We were staked out in the bleachers at the HUGE sand pit and got to see some pretty interesting riding (and crashing/flipping!).

I am hoping to ride into Philly tomorrow in time to cheer on one of my good friends, Nicole Clark, as she runs the Philly Marathon.  Then I am cruising back to the Mercer County Park to see the end of the women's pro race and the whole men's race.  Monday afternoon I am flying out to Charlotte to meet the dudes with whom I'll be racing in 2008, and discuss calendars and stuff.  Then Thanksgiving . . . SICK!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I know it sounds like all I do is ride my bike . . . and this post is not going to convince you otherwise!

I just got another 5MJ ride under my belt on Sunday. The weather was beautiful, and I had a nice breakfast with my younger cousin Hyland--she is a sophomore in high school at Lawrenceville which is literally 6 miles down the road from me. It was very good to see her, although I had just eaten with her and my uncle a couple weeks ago, and I am going to their place for Thanksgiving, so she hadn't grown or anything.

I am really looking forward to 7 days from now--no, not Thanksgiving, although I am looking forward to that as well . . . I am going to be flying down to Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday to meet my new teammates on the Time Factory Racing Team! Erik Saunders is the DS of this recently-upgraded UCI Continental team, and I am anxious to sit down with everyone and get to talk about our goals (both individual and team) for next season. We are going to be doing some team-building activities and the like, and then I am staying Tuesday night and flying back Wednesday morning in time for my FIRST CLASS OF THE DAY at 3PM (now you know my secret of getting in massive hours on the bike!).

I am really going to focus on stage racing next season because it makes use of my time-trialing and climbing abilities . . . I have also learned that I get stronger after a few long days of hard riding, and I am pretty smart on the bike, so I think GC riding really suits me. Here is my [ideal] schedule for next season:

Hopefully Erik has the same things in mind for me!  I will let you guys know how the team meeting goes, and hopefully they don't kick me out of school before that . . . actually, it is time to go to bed so I can get up early and be productive with me 8-pager that is due Friday . . . UGH!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cornel West teaches here!

Bill Maher for president


9 days without class

40 hours riding time

737.893 miles ridden

32,708 kJ work done

228 watts average power

2244.6 Training Stress points accumulated

I didn't think I would make it, but it has been a great time this week--what else is a college kid supposed to do when he has no classes and all of his friends fly home for break?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

So today was one of my best days on the bike to date . . . I have really been taking advantage of our Fall Break after midterms, and I decided (yes, arbitrarily) that I was going to try to get in 40 hours of actual riding time in those 9 days. Well, there have been a few days where I thought it was going to be impossible, but it looks like I am going to do it! I am even one hour ahead of the schedule I had set out. The ride today is one of the reasons I am going to make it:

This ride I decided not to look at the SRM very much and instead just enjoy the MASSIVE amount of time I had to go ride up north. I rode up to Frenchtown along the Delaware River on the PA side [making sure to cross at the PEDESTRIAN bridge after the dude guarding Washington's Crossing literally tried to tackle me for riding across with traffic!], then northeast to Califon and the highest point in Hunterdon County (found an AMAZING 15-minute-climb on the way, just beautiful, steady, and NO cars), and then south to the Reservior and back home. It was the longest ride I have probably ever done in one "sitting" and it was beautiful. I REALLY like not having class!!! Below is the actual SRM graph:

In other, non-cycling news, my best friend Will Watts and I went up to Sarah Lawrence (Bronxville, New York just north of Manhattan) for Halloween. Will's good friend from high school, Carlo, is a senior and is a very fun, creative guy who is the life of the party--he has shown us a great time up there on more than a few occasions, and this trip was no exception. It was a BLAST! I dress up as Julius Caesar after being inspired while looking for cycling-related Halloween costumes.

Now I have two more full days off, and then a couple more weeks of school before Thanksgiving. I am going to be having lots of turkey and sweet potatoes at my aunt and uncle's house, like I have my freshman and sophomore years at Princeton, and it is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I am also going to be flying down to Charlotte, North Carolina for a day to meet with my new team (directed by Erik Saunders, was the Time Factory Development team this year and is a UCI Continental Team next season) for some introductions and team-building activities. PSYCHED!!!

Well, time to go chow down and try to replace my 7,000+ calories for the day :-) Any sport that allows you to eat pints of Haagen-Dazs and large anchovy pizzas while getting in better shape is my kind of activity!!!