Sunday, March 23, 2008

Camp, Newsweek International, and kickin' butt in Cali!

First off, way to kill it out in Cali, boys!!!  Check out the results.  And while you're at it, check out our team's awesome website!

I just got back from a great week in the mountains of North and South Carolina . . . I flew down on Thursday, March 13th and drove with Erik Saunders and my teammate Eric Barlevav (A.K.A. "Barbeque" and "blah-BLAH-blah") to our sick cabin in the woods near Brevard, NC (THANKS JAMIE BENNETTE & PARENTS!).  Now this cabin is at 3300 feet of elevation, and the entrance from the main road, about 17 miles away, is under 2000 feet . . . yeah, LOTS of climbing and suffering to be had out here!

We got in late, crashed on some air mattresses with all 12 racers and Erik and Pat in one house (!!!), and then woke up early to go to the Hincapie Sports headquarters to pick up our sweet new duds and have the team photo shoot.  The clothing is amazing, and I made sure to stick out like an awkward, gigantic, sore thumb in every photo because of my stars-'n-bars jersey for the U23 TT.  I got a lot of crap, but my self-deprecation probably accounted for much of it!  The team gets along great, and we definitely hammed it up during the photos and afterwards.

So this one is almost as close to "serious" as we got . . .

. . . then Jon felt that we just weren't working it enough, so he showed us how it's done.

Adam showed why he is a captain . . .

. . . and I gave some tips on stretching for time trials and just looking like a doofus in general.

Saturday consisted of a crazy circuit race--excellent 6.6 mile course with some good hills, total of 60 miles--that was held during a rain and HAIL storm, and subsequently shortened to a total of 13 miles.  INSANE--BUT WE WON IT!  Mike Stoop continued his string of blazing performances, and Jackie and Tom both came in with the front group of around 8.  Dan Ramsey and Jon Hamblen and I were all in the second split after doing some serious and ill-timed efforts (and being completely closed up after a big block of training and then no riding for over two days!).  It was a crazy experience, and we were happy to come away with a victory after losing another day of training and racing.

Sunday the other half of the team raced in the Food Lion criterium, with Daniel taking a great win and Adam Myerson leading home the chase group for 3rd and Barbeque taking the field sprint for 9th.

The race actually didn't go well in the first half, with our team missing the major break of 6 top guys including England and the King brothers.  However, the captains demonstrated why they are captains and Dan soloed up to the break before jumping them in the final laps and taking the W.

Back at the cabin, Guttenplan (A.K.A. "The Gut") and I went for what I am sure was one of my best training rides this season, a 5 hour adventure down to Paris Mountain to scout much of the USPRO RR course.

We did some serious efforts, especially up Paris and Caesar's Head, the monster 35 minute climb back to the cabin.  I shattered many of my old numbers, but the one I was most proud of is my new, 398 watt 10 minute number up Paris!  We went about 95%, but I know that if I had really killed it and known where the top of the climb was, I could have easily broken 400.  I am guessing that an all out 10 minute TT will net me closer to 410 watts.

Monday and Tuesday I did some more big rides, but unfortunately no one wanted to ride with me on the second half of Monday's ride or Tuesday because of imperfect weather :-(  The training is amazing down there, and I really tried to make the most out of it.

We had a little shindig for Saint Patty's Day, including dinner and some nice Guiness on tap at an "Irish" Pub in Brevard, Jamie's treat (THANKS AGAIN!).  Wednesday we cleaned the house early and shoved off for Winston-Salem and crashed at Erik's house after a short spin in a monsoon!

Then things got "interesting" or, more accurately, TERRIBLE . . . 

We woke up at 3:15 AM to drive to the Greensboro Airport and get the guys on their super-early flight to Cali.  3 hours of sleep is never a good thing, but then I had to kill another 6 hours at the airport since my flight was not until 11:30 AM.  The time finally passed and then I was in Charlotte, NC and rushing to my 1:15 flight to Newark--until it was delayed and then canceled due to high winds in the NYC area.  Oh, and that means you go BACK OUT to the front of the airport and claim your bags only to stand in line with literally HUNDREDS of other NYC-area travelers to get tickets for flights later in the day.  Well, that is if you even HAVE all your bags--turns out one of my bags made it to Newark, while my bike was stuck in Charlotte.  Oh, and then I find out that the best flight I can do is at 10:15 PM TO JFK AIRPORT!  Then a series of trains (AirTrain to Long Island Rail Road to New Jersey Transit to AirTrain (Newark Airport) back to New Jersey Transit and then Princeton).  Oh, but the trains don't actually run at those times--SO I SLEPT IN PENN STATION ON TOP OF MY BAGS WITH BUMS ROAMING THE CORRIDORS.  Then I took the 4:40 AM train to Newark, located my duffel bag, and arrived in Princeton at 7:15 AM.

For those of you counting, that is a total of 28 hours of traveling with a total of around 5 hours of very fitful sleep while carrying 5 bags totaling well over 100 pounds.  WOW.

After sleeping for a few hours, I got out and enjoyed some amazing weather for a wonderful 4 hour ride to Frenchtown that Friday afternoon.  

The legs are definitely coming around, as I am resting a bit more and then when I am riding, I have been putting in some huge sub-1-minute efforts.  Notice there were 24 intervals of over 500 watts, most of them averaging over 600 watts for around 30-45 seconds!  Definitely the kind of stuff I need to work on.  I think the 1-minute-to-5-minute range is going to have some serious work over the next few weeks as well . . . exactly six weeks until my first BIG race with Time Pro Cycling, the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic around the Pentagon in D.C.!!!

Saturday morning I got up pretty early and took the train BACK UP TO NYC (I was shaking with fear as I passed through the doors) with Will Watts to meet with a reporter for Newsweek International, Lily Huang, about Sol Cycles.  It turns out she is an '06 Harvard grad and raced in the ECCC in '05 and '06!  Pretty cool . . . she is super into our company and our ideas, and we will be appearing in an article on innovators in the blossoming bamboo industry in the coming weeks.  Will and I took advantage of some spectacular weather to fly through the streets of NYC on our bikes, riding through three separate protests (one for the Beijing Olympics due to child labor or something, the other two for Bush, one more war-centric), before heading to the NYC Auto Show!

The Auto Show was SICK.  I would definitely like to take home at least 20 of the cars there, but I have to give the nod (as most of us did, including Will's two homies Carlo and Armoral and his dad) to the new Nissan GTR.  Anything faster than a Porsche Turbo for under $70k is just insane.

After having some fine Red Truck wine ;-) we crashed at Will's girlfriend Mary's sweet NYC apartment on 47th and 2nd Ave (barely East Side, THANKS!).  Her couch is more comfortable than my normal bed.

Finally I took advantage of another great day in Princeton to do some good miles and efforts on our little mole hills.  I guess it is time for the last 6 weeks of classes for Junior Year to start tomorrow!  Lots of work in a condensed period, but then RACING SEASON!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Great camp, but first thing's first:

Barrack Obama is going to be the best president we have had in a very long time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

5 reasons why I love the Charlotte airport . . .

1) the wireless at the airport is FREE!

2) the people are SUPER nice and happy

3) the airport is lined with quaint, white rocking chairs in an atrium with sunlight pouring in and real trees growing inside

4) the airport has many Jamba Juices and Fresh Stands for great fruit smoothies

5) uh, THE WEATHER!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sol Cycles blog!

We are hard at work getting a cool website up, but until then I will post all of the news and information about Sol Cycles on the new Sol Cycles blog at!

Now I have to go to bed so I can catch a 5:00 AM train to Newark and be in Charlotte, NC by 10 for our trip to Hincapie Sportswear headquarters for team photos!!!  We are racing this Saturday in a nice road race, I will have updates.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sol Cycles splash, racing/training, and a friendly USADA visit!

First of all, check out the new Sol Cycles splash page--Mr. Thomas Cocuzza with Wells Ideas, Inc. is hard at work getting a sweet website up and running, but in the mean time you can salivate over a few pictures on my blog :-)

So this weekend went very well, with the Princeton A team time trial masters taking first in a joint Atlantic and Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference weekend at Upenn (that means twice as much competition, folks!).  Not to make anyone feel bad, but Austin was wearing a *WINDBREAKER*, none of us had discs or aero wheels, and I was breathing through my nose and shouting "Let's ramp it up!" most of the time.  Great things are soon to come . . .

As for the rest of the races, our team had a short leash, to make the understatement of the century.  I felt great and got in plenty of good training (Saturday race was changed to a crit after a monsoon flooded what would have been a sweet road course with serious climbing, so I rode the rollers for 3 hours watching the other races) and racing (TTT Sunday morning, then a cool circuit race [unfortunately only 31 miles] in the afternoon with a couple good hills each lap).  I set some new record power numbers that I am very pleased with, and I can feel that my legs are reacting very well to the intensity of some race efforts.  I am planning on really coming into form over the next couple of months, in time for mid-May to late June, my first big peak.

My mom came in for a long weekend because it was my 21st birthday on Sunday (no craziness, just great champagne and filet mignon with one of my favorite people in the world!) and also Amanda Scott (Vanerbilt varsity XC runner and chemical engineer who interned this summer in Boulder where we met through Nicole) came up to visit us and she and Nicole came to the race weekend!  Great times, including a not-very-fancy-but-huge-portions Italian dinner near Tom Yersak's house outside Philly.  Speaking of Tom, he is reputedly a "monster" on the bike and was shelling the Princeton B TTT team as well as the whole field in the criterium where he *initiated* and then *attacked* the break to come in a stellar 4th, as well as staying away from a charging field for over a whole lap of the circuit race only to be caught with less than a kilometer to the finish.

Now I have been training a ton Monday and today, and now am studying for midterms tomorrow before heading out to team camp Thursday morning.  I got in just over 10 hours, 200 miles, and 9700kj in the span of 26 hours on Monday and Tuesday!  Pretty good after a full weekend of racing.  Then I was greeted by the USADA OOC (Out Of Competition) testers at 5:00PM today and thankfully had some left in me to give a sample.  It is very encouraging that they actually go after ALL the OOC people, not just the big fish like Levi or George.

Well, that is all for now . . . I will have a ton of great posts during and after team camp when I have more free time!!!

P.S. here are some pro-quality pics from the Rutgers Criterium and Circuit Race, thanks to our great alumnus and former prez Chris Wynnyk!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sol Cycles comes through with flying colors!

This past weekend was the first collegiate race of the season, aptly named the Rutgers Season Opener, with a short prologue and criterium Saturday and a short circuit race Sunday.  I raced on the first Sol Cycles road model, and it attracted such incredible crowds of people that I could barely warm up for my races!  We are working on a professional company logo, website, and color brochures, so that should help a lot!

The races went very well, with Princeton placing in the top 10 in every single race.  I personally had great sensations and am clearly the strongest in the field, but I have nothing past about 80% of race pace!  This is perfect because my first big TIME Pro Cycling team objective is the Tour of Virginia starting 9 weeks from today.  In the next 9 weeks I will really build up my intensity and I should be flying through May and June, when all of my first big races are (Philly week, Nature Valley, Tour of PA, Fitchburg).

As far as the bike goes, it is AMAZING!  I am so proud of it!  It is incredibly stiff and lively, almost like a steel bike ride with the snap of an aluminum bike, but it is very comfortable over rough pavement like carbon.  Bamboo is just an amazing material because nature has found a way to optimize stiffness, strength, durability, and pliability over millions of years of evolution.  The bike fits like a gem and I am very happy to ride it over the next 8 weeks of collegiate racing.