Monday, December 24, 2007

Winter Formals, Christmas dinner, and getting my fingers pricked

WOW it has been a while since I last posted!  I have been to Winter Formals with Nicole (she was gracious enough to pay me back for going to her Semi-Formals--VERY fun time!  I am really lucky to have an awesome friend who I can take to stuff like this [and impress all of the dudes]).

I also went to a fancy Christmas dinner at the Institute for Advanced Study (Einstein was a prof there . . . need I saw more?).  My great aunt and great uncle (Mr. and Mrs. Jaffin) are Friends of the Institute and have been kind enough to take me to a lot of these cool galas!

Then I got my first lactate threshold test with Bob Blaisdell--he took his show on the road and came up to the Princeton Bike Room to test the Men's A TTT team.  Very good to get a baseline in like this, at this point in the year, so that we can really see how the team's form is coming along in preparation for Nationals in May.

Marc Hollander gave me an awesome interview for CyclingUpdate, and you can read Part I and Part II.  Part III will be coming soon, just go to the main website every once in a while to check (don't go there just because of my interview--it is an excellent site!).

Enough talk, now pictures!  (By the way, the bamboo photos document our second trip to the Delaware River to gather bamboo for the SICK fixed gear we are creating . . . that story to follow in mid-January!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Register for the 6:00 class or the 7:30 class!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Well, I cannot complain about living in Princeton, New jersey . . . it is beautiful riding country, the weather is nice most of the time, and I have an elevator in my dorm building and all-you-can-eat dining halls just a few hundred meters away!

I don't know if those factors had anything to do with my new five-hour-record average power on my favorite loop, from Frenchtown, NJ to Califon, NJ (the highest point in Hunterdon County).  Maybe it was due to my nice rest week over Thanksgiving, and I am just now realizing the benefits of 130 hours in the saddle during the previous five weeks!  Whatever it was, I had a beautiful ride today.

I woke up to sun shining into my south window, and the coffee (yes, friends, I have a Rancilio Silvia machine in my room!) was especially tasty (I only made espresso because I didn't feel like taking a leak every 30 minutes on the ride!).  I read Erica Allar's new blog entry and laughed a lot, and I just knew it was going to be a great ride.

Enough gushing about roads in NJ . . . I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  Classes are done for the semester in exactly two weeks, and I am really looking forward to a great time back home with the parents, my old girlfriend, and (OF COURSE) my awesome riding buddies as we tough it in conditions that cause ones balls (balls are required on rides like these) to disappear . . . a good friend of mine once coined the term "sport-mode."  The Murphy (mom's side) family Christmas Eve is a great tradition of drunken debauchery and revelry, and I cannot wait to see everyone I haven't seen all year!!  Then my dad and I are driving out to Colorado for 4 spectacular days of skiing at Copper, Keystone, and Breckenridge.  We are meeting up with Nicole Clarke (who took me to the Charter Semi-formal) and her summer roommate and star Vanderbilt runner Amanda Scott for some skiing and dinner.  We are also going to chill with Shawn and Karl Heidgen of Pactimo, two of my best friends who I just met [ironically] on the Courage Classic charity ride for Denver Children's Hospital!

My dad and I will be back just in time for a fun New Year's Eve (hopefully with some old high school friends) and then I am going to the Iowa Democratic caucus on January 3rd . . . that should be very interesting as I have not attended them before and I also do not know for sure who I am supporting!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to have some more good stories during the holidays!

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!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some people swim in a pool . . .

I just ride my bike in New Jersey.  When it rains.  Over 3 inches in 24 hours.  I woke up this morning and saw that all of New Jersey was being flooded, so I decided to do what my iPod told me: "get on your bike and ride." For 5+ hours.

Then here are those Cokesbury hill repeats at a decent pace in sections:

Duration: 10:57 (11:04)
Work: 185 kJ
TSS: 15.1 (intensity factor 0.911)
Norm Power: 291
VI: 1.03
Distance: 2.154 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 394 282 watts
Heart rate: 138 167 153 bpm
Cadence: 72 109 89 rpm
Speed: 7.5 21.8 11.8 mph
Pace:  2:45 7:59 5:05 min/mi
Crank Torque: 0 417 270 lb-in

14:22 Rest

Duration: 10:38
Work: 176 kJ
TSS: 14.5 (intensity factor 0.904)
Norm Power: 289
VI: 1.05
Distance: 2.152 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 43 424 276 watts
Heart rate: 128 170 155 bpm
Cadence: 61 112 90 rpm
Speed: 9.4 23.4 12.1 mph
Pace:  2:34 6:24 4:56 min/mi
Crank Torque: 53 408 260 lb-in

21:43 Rest

Duration: 10:44
Work: 177 kJ
TSS: 14.4 (intensity factor 0.898)
Norm Power: 288
VI: 1.05
Distance: 2.153 mi
Min Max Avg
Power: 107 405 275 watts
Heart rate: 108 169 152 bpm
Cadence: 63 102 90 rpm
Speed: 8.0 23.9 12.0 mph
Pace: 2:31 7:33 4:59 min/mi
Crank Torque: 97 412 260 lb-in

It was actually a good ride, even though parts of it sucked (like my chamois-chaffing due to water+sand--I know, t.m.i.), and I did three repeats up Cokesbury, a good-sized hill that takes about 10 minutes to climb, with some sections at my FTP.  I think it is a good idea to do these once or twice a week just to remember what it feels like to actually go up a hill at more than "tempo" pace. I will probably feel the efforts in the morning!

In other news, I am thanking the higher power(s) that midterms week is over and now we have Fall Break for a week!   I am excited to not be stressed for a while and be able to ride a ton--my goal is to get in 40 hours in the next 9 days.

Also, on Thursday I went to a lecture at the Institute for Advanced Study (renowned as top scholarly institution in the world) with my great-aunt Mrs. Jaffin.   I didn't even know her or my great-uncle before going to school out here, but they have become my surrogate grandparents (Charly Jaffin is Princeton Class of 1944!).  The lecture was given by Charles Simonyi about his 14-day space-tourism experience with the Russian space program.  AWESOME!

On Friday my uncle Mike and my cousin Highland invited me to dinner at Mediterra, a really nice restaurant in Palmer Square right next to Princeton's campus.  It was great to see them--I can't remember the last time--and Highland is, of course, having a blast at school in Lawrenceville and kicking butt in squash, XC and track.

Oh yeah, I just found out some other great news . . . here is my finals schedule:

Don't hate, congratulate!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thank you Hilary Parker!

This is the article on Princeton's homepage:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back in the saddle again!

It is so nice to be back on the bike!  These past few weeks have been cool, partying and relaxing and being a normal college kid, but now it's down to business.  I meant to ease into things, but my first ride on Monday was a 4000kJ, 5hr solo hammerfest!  The weather was just too nice, and I missed a turn as well.

The legs feel completely fresh--Tuesday morning I felt like I hadn't even ridden the day before--even though I am pretty out of shape.  That is a good thing, something which I have not felt since December of 2005--that is 22 months!  The most time I took off during that period was 7 days to road trip to Mexico.  Definitely not something I recommend, as my legs sure felt tired at Worlds.

I am planning on doing a lot of hours this winter, basically 24-26 endurance/tempo hours in three-week blocks, with a "rest" week of 16-18.  This schedule should hold for the next five months, with a small break after Christmas to go skiing with the pops.  If my numbers add up correctly, that is a total of around 450 hours before my first collegiate race in early March!  I will need some good music . . .

Classes are going well, just working on getting my three engineering projects off the ground (first is a collapsable coffee mug design, second is the electric car over a two-year period, and the third is a sick integrated driveshaft design for a fixie!).  Having a blast still, although my time is definitely not open like it was the previous few weeks!

Thanks for reading, I'll try to get some cool pictures of something or other posted.

P.S. check out my new shades: Oakley Frogskins

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Time flies at school!

Wow, I have had a blast these past two weeks!  It has been weird not riding, but I have definitely made the most of it by enjoying my time at school, going out a lot to Cap and Gown (my eating club), and partying.  I went to the T-town swap meet with the team and stocked up on cheap winter gear, and I am going to be working on the bike a bit today (after homework) to get it in good riding condition.

I hop back onto the saddle tomorrow morning--SO EXCITED!  It has been a long time since Worlds, and I am definitely rested, out of shape, and motivated--the three main ingredients of a good multi-month block of winter training.  I have yet to finalize my team situation for next season (the neo-pro is always the last two know about his deal!), but I have a few different options that I am considering.  The options are not equal, but I would LOVE to do any of them, so I am not stressing.

I got an advisor for our independent work team for Mechanical Engineering.  My best friend Will Watts, Doug Wolf, and I are going to be building an electric car using batteries from a123 Systems and they charge in five minutes!  The goal of the project is to develop a fully-electric vehicle conversion that is very powerful (300 hp) and has adequate range for almost all driving conditions (150 miles).  Oh, did I mention that it is silent and zero-emissions?  And it has maximum torque at 0 rpm?  Yeah, it would be incredible, and it is a do-able project in the next two years.

The greatest thing about this past week was finding our advisor, Professor Soboyejo, who is one of a handful of great professors in the School of Engineering at Princeton.  He is hilarious--constantly providing anecdotes in his lectures and relating the classroom to the real world--and we are very lucky to have him on board.  Will, Doug, and I just met with him four days ago on Thursday and told him of the batteries and that they were VERY expensive, but that an MIT professor had created them and we were hoping to get in touch with him for some sponsorship.  Prof Sobo Googled a123 and then told us, "Oh, it's Chiang--I know him, I know all those MIT boys up there!"  Yeah, that is the Princeton Connection for you!

Now I have some work to do for the coming week, and I am trying to be productive on my final day off the bike so that I can really get down to business and not be stressed!

P.S. here are some pictures from my nights out the past two weeks . . .

Leaving for the Charter Club semi-formal with Nicole (very cool Chemical Engineer who I hung out with over the summer in Boulder)

At Cap and Gown Club with Liz and Alex (a boater on the crew team, a floater on the swim team)
Here is a really cool shot of my good friend Shawn with The Man, Cipo, at Interbike in Vegas!  She told me his shirt was the nicest she has ever seen, and that all of the rumors about his playboy-ways are true.  I wish I had been there!

Also, I found this picture from WAY back in the day--I figured some people back home might enjoy it!  I don't think I need to write a caption for it, the road is infamous.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A post to dwarf all other posts!

Yes, The Devil was at Worlds!!! He did not scare me into riding my bike very fast, though . . . my legs toast just 10 minutes into the race!

The past week has been a whirlwind, to put it mildly. I have had some of the most amazing experiences and memories of my life this past week, and only a few of them had to do with riding my bike! I will start from where my last post left off and try to recount (with liberal photography) everything I did . . . wish me luck:

How did I get to Stuttgart? Lots of hours on planes, trains, and automobiles! I was whacked by the time I arrived, and they even had the clairvoyance to leave my bike in London since I was not going to do its fast wheels and smooth aerobars justice :-)

I met Ken Whelpdale and his chicki Magda (from Mallorca, Spain) just outside baggage claim and we hit the road for a whole 7 minutes to our AMAZING Hotel Gloria.

Let me just say, this place was the coolest hotel I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The whole place was occupied by Team America and they catered to us hand and foot--just check out my sick first meal at the restaurant (all on Ken's tab, of course):

After doing my homework for the week while I was bored and hanging out in my room . . .

I had dinner with the team. The day after my ride with DZ (from my last post), the team went out to the course for some reconnaissance during the window of time that they opened the course to riders and close it to cars. The ride was really cool mostly because I got to meet Jason McCartney, a recent Vuelta stage winner and amazingly talented rider on Discovery. He is a fellow Iowan from a small town called Coralville, and is one of the friendliest and most approachable people I have ever met. He told me how great he thought it was that I am still going to school, that he went to Nols and then got back into cycling.

It is really amazing riding next to someone as accomplished and experienced as Jason, and I was blown away by one simple truth: he, like DZ and George Hincapie (also on the pre-ride to the course), is human and was where I am when they were young. It is just incredible to meet these people that I have thought are just inhuman, and it is the most encouraging experience I have ever had. I realize that with some incredible hard work and perseverance, I have the chance to go around the world and win some of the biggest races in the sport. That is my plan.

This pre-ride also included some big guns on the women's side, including the defending World Champion Kristin Armstrong. The photographers even found our camper!

The woman on the left is Kristin, and then Christine Thorburn is messing with her bike while Steve Johnson (CEO of USA Cycling) watches. This trip was just insane!

I think I am just going to start posting a lot of pictures and just put in a few words about each . . . hell, each one is 1k words, right?

Here is Dave talking with Alison Powers (current Pan-Am champ and all-round kick-ass girl from Boulder, CO) and Tejay Van Gerderen (my other U23 TT teammate and amazingly talented youngster--20th overall at l'Avenere is nothing to shake a stick at!). Dave is a very strange cat, and hilarious.

Here is the hill that I thought was going to be the killer--no, this one was easy compared to the finishing climb!

This is the crowd that was here for the PRE-RIDE the DAY BEFORE the race! This was just INSANE! I couldn't even hear myself think for half of the race.

My race face. Just before getting on the trainer and then hitting the road.

Here are my wonderful parents after I got changed and got my hair did!

I had a lot of wienerschnitzel and great beer after a long and successful season! SO TASTY!

Here we are after one of the most amazing dinners I have ever had (it should be for $250!) at a four-star hotel in Stuttgart on the town square. I love Champagne! I also love the U-bahn train system, SO much better than New Jersey Transit.

That is some nice stuff laying around our workshop in the basement of Hotel Gloria!

Here Mom and I are standing at the entrance to the Mercedes Museum--the coolest museum I have ever entered! There are too many car pictures to upload, I would probably crash Blogger, but I will cherry-pick the best! (Dad was with us, but he had to go find a parking spot--no mean feat at this place)

The first Mercedes SLR with a custom-built carrier that has the rear roof integrated to streamline the airflow of the truck/car. Think 186 miles per hour in the 1950s.

The Gullwing. Priceless.

It tried to eat him after its picture was taken.

This is an honest-to-God Formula One car from 2004--no pictures will do it justice, it was simply a tour-de-force of engineering and form-follows-function artistry.

Not your daddy's CLK! This aero is just incredible. Goes to show, surface area on tires truly IS important, no matter what pure physicists say about F = u * m * g and does not depend on anything but u and m.

Mom was a good sport and put up with Dad and my fantasies for a couple hours!


One of the original formula race cars, a Silver Arrow.

Another beautiful depiction of form following function. These are the fastest legs on earth! It was incredible to watch him come up this climb during the time trial on Thursday. It looked like he was on a motorcycle while everyone else (the other best riders in the world) were on tricycles.

This is one of the few pictures I could even take quickly enough to capture him!

After watching the men's race, my mom and I hoped the train to the airport and then went to Vienna for Friday and Saturday! It was amazing. I have some great pictures from that, but my camera was not used as much as my mom's, so that post will come in a few days (assuming I don't find out I am missing all of my school work!).

Thanks a lot for reading/looking--I hope I gave you a taste of my giant meal that was Worlds 2007! I plan on coming back next year and having some fast legs . . .