Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bringing back some foggy memories

My friend Ben King brought this to my attention: Downers Grove Elite National Criterium Championship, 2007.

Goal for 2009: STAY OFF THE GROUND!

Also, from Cap & Gown Winter Formals:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baseline FTP test in aerobars on TT bike

After a few days of rest and easy pedaling (and a two-day hiatus from coffee!) I was ready for my baseline functional threshold power test. I've always done these about once ever 4-6 weeks to see how I'm progressing and where my form is at. Since I usually care most about these numbers for a time trial, I try to do them consistently on the TT bike and reduce as many variables as I can.

There's a great road for this that doesn't have bad traffic in the middle of the day and is quite flat with good wind protection. The road is a bit crappy in places and there are a couple of four-way-stops, but overall it's not too bad an option for threshold testing. After ripping off my derailleur hanger yesterday, the road bike is out of commission and I figured it would be a perfect time to go out and do a baseline. I knew it would feel pretty awkward going 100% in a super-low TT position on a bike I haven't ridden for three months, much less doing 100% threshold in early December when it's barely above freezing, but what's a college-kid-racer to do?

Here are my TrainingPeaks results:

Not too bad, all things considered! When I won Nationals in 2007, my average power for 30 minutes (not much difference between 20 and 30 minutes, just more of the same suffering) was 351 watts. I was a few kilos lighter at that point, so the power to weight was probably the same, but I know I've come a long way in 1.5 years. I just hope I can beat my baseline when the season starts! ;-)

Only five more days of class before I'm heading out to Colorado for some skiing at Copper Mountain with my dad!!! After three days on the slopes, I'm going to make the trek up to Ft. Collins to meet up with the Legacy Energy boys for some snowshoeing and yurt camping! It should be great to meet the guys I don't know, catch up with the ones I do, and just have some good old-fashioned team bonding up in the mountains.

I've also recently caught up with my old training buddy and sick triathlete JJ Bailey--we're going to be doing some good rides back in Iowa with the old group and braving the insanely terrible weather. If it's just too bad to ride, I'll probably spin inside a bit and just relax, do some off-roading in the Jeep, catch up with friends, etc. At this point, life is too short to go out in treacherous weather and get sick or depressed!

I'm already looking forward to toeing a start line, even though that is three months away! However, I'm more looking forward to Winter Formals this weekend--I had a blast last year, and it should be even better this time around!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008


ARGH, cold+rain+cycling=NOT COOL!

I'm somewhere between Philly and NYC, but it feels like Belgium.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The magical 30

It's been a long time since I got in a 30hr week, but I've skipped a few classes and started rides earlier to bump up the mileage. The weather has been relatively cooperative, so life is good! Yesterday I even ran into my friend Shawn from Penn State and then we had a great group ride with Shawn's former coach and even had Boulderite Carter Jones in town for Thanksgiving.

I had a great time this weekend at my aunt and uncle's place in Short Hills, NJ, an hour north of Princeton. I've made it an annual routine to come up with my great aunt and great uncle (Class of 1948!) and it's always fun to see them, eat good food, escape The Princeton Bubble, and get a change of scenery.

My Princeton Cycling teammate Gavin Daly came up for the holiday as well. He's a first year grad student in Civil Engineering, and he's from Ireland and doesn't have any family over here, so we were happy to take him up. Gavin's one of the most hilarious guys I've met in quite a while, and we had some excellent "discussions" (read: heated debates) with my conservative Uncle Mike!

I was just catching up on VeloNews and noticed Rock Racing is having a clothing "sale" (i.e. their short/jersey kit is ONLY $450 now) so I killed some time perusing their site . . . while I was checking out the USPRO RR pics ("Tyler's Redemption") I spotted myself in a couple!

This was after a CRAZY first small lap through Greenville--no one had any clue what the course was like, and there were some very technical, sketchy corners. I was happy to be alive at this point.

This is cool! Apparently Freddy can get a nice draft off of The Frey-Train.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Crappy weather has put a cramp in my style this week . . . I'm planning a bike block of training to take advantage of no classes and post-rest-week freshness. Things are going well, and I'm excited to be almost done with the semester!

Check out the BORING SRM file below, as well as the graphical depiction of my training since starting my training for 2009 about a month ago.

Monday, November 24, 2008

SICK new team ride!

Yours truly and all the boys on Team Legacy Energy are going to be riding the BMC Pro Machine SLC01 for the 2009 season! This has to be the sweetest, most unique bike in the peloton today. Just check out the review from Cyclingnews. These are the same bikes that the BMC team have used in 2008 with much success.

We're getting the hookup from The Cycologist, the best bike shop in Ft. Collins, probably even in Colorado. That's definitely saying a lot. If you're ever in the area, make SURE to stop in to the shop--even if you don't plan on buying anything, it's a sweet place to chill and you might walk away with one of their cool pairs of socks or a Legacy Energy jersey!

Drool over some more pics below.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to my blog! Mercer Cup pics below . . .

So I'd like to welcome all new readers (as well as current readers, since it's been a while since I last posted!) to my blog. I share race reports and pictures as well as what I'm doing for training. I have also begun to include whatever I think is interesting--stuff I'd normally forward to my close friends.

The other thing I plan to talk about a lot is my business, Sol Cycles. I'm still a senior at Princeton (mechanical engineering--I AM a masochist), but I graduate in LESS THAN SEVEN MONTHS and I'm moving out to the one-and-only Boulder, Colorado to race with Team Legacy Energy and build my business.

What is Sol Cycles??? Check it out here. Sol Cycles are bamboo bicycles. They are unique and beautiful, but the best part: they ride better than any other material on the market today. I've been on every type of bike imaginable, from my Dad's old Al Raleigh from the early 90s all the way to a $10k+ TIME VXRS Ulteam. Bamboo naturally dampens high-frequency vibrations (similar to the new Museeuw bike!) and thus it can be very stiff and light but also the most comfortable ride imaginable. This keeps you fresh after a long day in the saddle! I've raced on a prototype and done thousands of training miles--the difference is just incredible.

The only recent news in my life, aside from my single share of Apple plummeting $25 in the past two weeks, and the amazing landslide victory of an intelligent, articulate, reasoned black man in the presidential race, is the MERCER CUP! It's only six miles from my dorm, so I hopped on to my silver Vespa (parked in the bike rack outside my room!) and went to see some terribly pained racers slog through sticky mud at around five miles per hour. I also grabbed some great Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA!

My friend and former teammate, Adam Myerson, quite possibly the most experienced cross racer at the whole event (ok, maybe Tilford has been around a bit longer), was there fighting it out.

Toby (a.k.a. Bruce Willis) doing his thing

Jesse Anthony ripping it up in the USGP Leader's Jersey

Toby Stanton, my old team director from Hottubes back when I was a junior, was there manning the pits for Tim Johnson. I also yelled at Jesse Anthony, a former Hottubes racer just two years my senior. I'm sure he appreciated some dork in an argyle sweater drinking beer and yelling encouragement! I had a great time, and I have the racing itch BAD! If I weren't still in school I'd probably be taking a winter trip down to South America for one of their killer 7-14 day stage races!

Thanks for reading, and now that I'm on GamJams, I'm going to be posting much more frequently! However, QUALITY over QUANTITY will still apply.

And remember . . . just get on your bike and ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Recently, German rider Linus Gerdemann said that Armstrong's return may not be in the best interest for the sport's credibility. "He's right, I am older. I raced with Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain and Greg Lemond of all people. I have been around a long time and I don't know who the hell Linus Gerdemann is, but I know that when I rolled up in 1992, I started winning races. And when I roll up in 2009, I am gonna be winning races. He better hope he doesn't get in a breakaway with me because I can still ride hard," said the Texan.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

We need them riding boo

Below is the take-away message . . . I have some plans to do something about this!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful bamboo, joints and all!

These are two frames, one road, one track (check out the different dropouts) that are about 90% complete. The joints are yet to go through final sanding and epoxy clearcoat. We're also experimenting with different logos, as our current logo is entirely hand painted.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So close yet so far

I wish I could've been up in NYC to listen to this!

Monday, September 22, 2008

You have two options . . .

Option A: lead a teammate out for a top-5 finish while securing a top-12 for yourself in a stacked field of some of the best criterium racers from around the world, earning roughly $5k for the team in the process.

Option B: go down in an inescapable crash on the last lap while in the top-10, but make sure your teammate goes down with you so that you no longer have any shot of getting a rider in the $50k prize money to the top-25. Oh, and your teammate's bike is also totaled and your own body goes through the SIXTH crash of the season.

Well, I don't know about you all, but I definitely picked Option B! I could think of no more fitting way to close out my season than to crash out of the top-10 in the richest one-day race in the country after pegging it for much of the race and having one of the best field sprinters in country ready to launch off my wheel.

Ok, enough sarcasm for one post. Time Pro Cycling ran a more active race than any team there, including Garmin and Kelly Benefits (with EIGHT riders!), and we had a guy off the front for a total of probably 1/2 of the race! We won two $1,000 premes outright, the first when I attacked a break just as it was being swallowed up and rode a lap solo, the second came when Tom Soladay was solo off the front for almost 10 laps, and I even performed my trademark flying-lap to take second on the preme for $500! Jon Hamblen was super active at the front, as always, chasing down anything dangerous and just being an incredible workhorse, while Adam stayed safely tucked away in the field getting ready for the inevitable sprint.

The course was held on Pennsylvania avenue, just ten blocks away from the capital . . . beautiful! There were many spectators, an awesome kids race, and generally top-notch organization and funding. We were taken out to a very nice restaurant, Sonoma, and given free reign on their ultra-expensive menu, then slept in one of DC's longest-running hotels, the Hotel Harrington, again provided by the race organization. My hat is off to them!

After our excellent race, it was just heartbreaking to get taken out in the final lap. However, after venting to my dad, I realized that we were racing against Tour de France podium contenders and the winner of the Tour of Missouri, multiple USPRO national champions, Tour of California stage winners, etc. I am a full-time student at Princeton, starting a company in my spare time (I guess that's what you would call it?), and also racing my bike at the tender age of 21. I realized that, crash or not, it's pretty cool to be fighting for the win at the end of a long first professional season with riders who have been there, done that, and won that.

I'm just left of center . . . this 180-turnaround was actually less sketchy than I thought it would be, and made the course very interesting.

Adam and I were on Hilton's wheel with less than 1k to go . . .

Well, time to hang the bike up for a few weeks and kick back! I've been looking forward to this for a long time, but then I also know I'm going to miss racing SO much! I may have to figure something out to keep my sanity this winter. I do have my sweet Silver Ghost now (a Vespa GT200), and the Princeton team is going to take full advantage of having our own Craig Cook around to motorpace us!

Thanks for reading, and I *HOPE* to make an entry about the Espoir National Road Race ASAP, it was my strongest performance (again, without a top result!) this season. Now it's time to get those problem sets done!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Off to the nation's capital I go!

For the ING Direct Capital Criterium. $50,000 on the line with $10k to the winner, multiple $1k+ ING Orange savings account primes, Christian Vande Velde and a stacked Garmin squad as well as Bahati and Fast Freddy and Cando with a stacked Kelly team . . . need I go on?

85 kilometers around an INTERESTING course, right in the heart of Washington--WHO'S EXCITED?!

I'm getting ready to ride my bike with a backpack of stuff over to Doylestown, PA to hitch a ride with Jackie Simes and his pops, then we're shacked up at the swanky Hotel Harrington with swanny-support! We'll be racing our bikes tomorrow, just just sitting in, because I have a feeling that Garmin will continue to attack until it gets a couple guys in a five man break (so that they can get second place, of course!). We have excellent options for bike racing tomorrow with the ever-attacking Hamblen (who should be ripping it because 'cross season is coming up) as well as strong-man Tom Soladay.

However, we have a ringer: Adam Myerson. He is going very well (again, those 'cross guys can get MOTIVATED) and we'll try to give him a clear shot at the line on the last lap if it's all together.

Stay tuned, this should be interesting!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

SEASON IS OVER, back to school for one last year :-(

Well, it's official: no more big races for me in 2009. I have one last race, the ING Criterium in DC, in two weeks and the team and I will be gunning for the $10,000 top prize out of a substantial $50k+ purse.

I ended on a very strong note with a good ride in the USPRO RR, making it to the final ascent of Paris Mountain in the lead group that was whittled down to less than 50 guys. Tony Cruz had a gnarly crash on the run-up to the climb, and I was gapped off a little, but the legs were basically toast after 100 super-fast miles in heat and humidity.

Then we hoped into the van after packing up and drove straight down to Atlanta to try and find some semblance of rest before a 7AM (!!!) start for the Atlanta 100k Classic circuit race. Daniel had told us that, from experience, you just don't get any rest after the USPRO RR and have to suck wheel for the first half the the 100k, which starts in darkness it is so early. However, the race is perfectly suited to tail-gunning and is basically 2.5 hours of motorpacing. Stoop made it into an excellent move of four at and was off the front for the final two laps (each lap was roughly eight kilometers). The move ended up lasting and winning, just barely ahead of the charging field in the downhill, 50mph sprint (NOT exaggerating!), but Stoop made a tactical error and was dropped from the break just a few hundred meters before the line. He was very frustrated, but he also made it into the winning move and just made an error during crunch time--it was very cool that he made the move to put himself in position for the win. I on the other hand was boxed in a little after getting a late jump on the sprint and came in with my brakes on for a random 26th place.

After a day back in Winston-Salem to pack up all of my belongings, Daniel and I headed up to Richmond for a great easy ride (Stoop has the best "tourist rides" I have ever been on!) and then pushed further northward to Philly to stay at some host housing for the Univest Grand Prix weekend, just a couple days ago. By the way, Mark and Gwen Cukierski as well as Jim and Pat Gill are some of the best hosts we have ever had the pleasure of staying with! They cooked two excellent dinners for us, and it made us feel like stars as well as comfortable and at home.

Daniel and I had been watching the weather all week, and for the first time ever, they had predicted it perfectly over five days out! This was quite unfortunate: essentially a downgraded hurricane dumped rain onto us as we traversed narrow, undulating Pennsylvania roads doing upwards of 30mph for much of the first hour.

We were present at the front to stay safe, but also not driving any breaks, just following. Usually an early break goes and then is reeled back in before final finishing circuits in the town of Souderton, PA. However, due in large part to the atrocious weather, the race basically blew apart with every man for himself, riding as hard as he could, and forming splintered groups that would become even more fractured after each nasty crash. I found myself cross-eyed moving up over the first King of the Mountain sprint, and I bridged a considerable gap up to the lead group of just 20 riders with Daniel and Tom Soladay in the group right behind. That ended up being the winning move. Yay!! But then . . .

. . . my chainring bolts came loose and disappeared, causing my chain to fall off on the 25% monster of a second KOM. Bye-bye, winning break. Stoop was a great teammate to stop and see what was wrong, but I was so cross-eyed and frustrated that I just screamed at him to keep going. Then I got in the car with Erik and pouted for a while before wanting to apologize to Stoop as well as kick myself in the behind for getting down on myself--after all, I made it into the winning move!

After Daniel flatted and the rest of the guys were dropped, we were determined to find redemption the next day. The Doylestown Criterium is a 50 mile, 1.5 mile/lap affair that is entirely on the side of a large hill--therefore, all the way up, all the way down, each lap. It is a lot like Downer's Grove in that respect, but it is a much harder race and often splinters in the end. The German, Swedish, Dutch, Italian, and Mexican teams also make it a very fast, challenging race. Luckily we had beautiful weather and an excellent crowd, and the guys and I were all feeling really fast and opened up after our previous day's nightmare.

The last ten laps were given an indelible Time Pro Cycling stamp . . . we owned it! Because we didn't have a top sprinter like Yuri Metlushenko to work for, it was up to us to make a late-race break stick. We came oh-so-close, but no cigar, and Stoop and I came in for 17th and 13th in a terribly hard uphill sprint. Check out the excellent television coverage of the race with Craig Hummer, the new announcer for the Tour on Versus, providing some decent commentary. If you want to see the exciting part, wait for the whole video to download (just pause it and go do something else for ten minutes) and then move the position-slider-dot-thing to directly above the right corner of the "G" in "BLING*BOX" (in other words, get to about 12 laps to go in the race). Daniel and Tom put in an excellent move with just a few laps remaining after Stoop was off the front and attacking for much of the second half of the race. Then Stoop and I blocked a bit, the gap grew to almost ten seconds, and then I was second or third wheel for the final few laps before getting swarmed a bit in the hectic final two laps and coming in for 13th.

I spent the rest of Sunday moving in my stuff to school (I have a SWEET single in 1903 looking over a courtyard, and I am just 100 feet from our bike room in the gym, food at our campus center, and The Street with Cap and the E-Quad in sight!). Then I had dinner with my great-aunt and uncle, my surrogate grandparents, before going out to the Cap and Gown Club to celebrate the end to a long, hard, eye-opening, and somewhat successful season!

Thanks for reading, I will keep you updated with my plans for the coming year . . . many life decisions are on the way . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

USPRO TT: out like a lion, in like a lamb

Whoever said it is better to run "negative splits" was definitely on to something! I just got done with the USPRO TT in Greenville, South Carolina, a three lap affair with three roundabouts and many turns and undulations, not to mention some considerable heat and humidity. I came in 18th, just over three minutes down on the Z-man himself, Dave Zabriskie. However, if you took my first-lap split and tripled it, I would have come in just 1:24 down and slotted in for sixth place! Let's just say I got myself a little in over my head after the first lap's blazing effort.

I really liked the course, essentially a north and a south loop with an out and back thrown in for good measure. There were some corners that could be taken at full speed, sometimes even in the aerobars, but they were quite exhilarating to say the least. There were many spectators and photographers, as well as follow vehicles, to keep one motivated, but that was definitely not my problem! It's funny, in only the third time trial I have done all year I have basically run the gamut in terms of time trial "don'ts": at Nature Valley, I dropped my chain three times on the considerable final climb to the finish and had to big-ring it, then at U23 Nationals in California I didn't push it hard enough in the middle 50% of the course while I was all alone and I also didn't hydrate well or stay cool, and now I made the most amateur yet common mistake of just going out at 105% and paying for it in the middle!

I am relaxing up in a cabin on top of a mountain at Jamie Bennette's father's vacation home with Daniel Ramsey and Mike Stoop, half-watching Constantine and trying to recover for tomorrow. We are scheduled for 110 miles, in the hottest part of the day with four trips up a considerable 10-minute climb called Paris Mountain. The climb has been made famous after two years of deciding the US Professional Champion, and George Hincapie even lives on the climb. He will have his work cutout for him tomorrow, as Slipstream is obviously the team to beat with leaders such as Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Tom Danielson, and Dave Zabriskie, not to mention Will Frischkorn, Steven Cozza, and Tom Peterson!!

Our plan tomorrow is to just do as little work as possible, conserving the legs as much as we can, until the Paris Mountain ascents. At that point, it really is every man for himself. I know that I need to see the front of the race at the base of the climb in order to mentally enter the pain cave, and I need to ride a very consistent tempo and not slow down during any hesitations. I also need to keep a very high cadence, around 100-110. However, MOST importantly, I have to make sure to stay cool. Paris Mountain is mostly concealed by trees, but feeding with plenty of Dedicated Athlete Rapidaide as well as numerous socks filled with ice is what will allow us to consistently stay in the front group for as long as possible. I don't have any illusions about tomorrow--it is at nearly the same level as Philly. However, I know I'm riding very well right now, and I want to give it my best shot and see how it works out. I know that if I can make it over the top of Paris without too much of a gap to the lead group, I can descend like a madman and make the catch!

Thanks for reading, and check back to Cyclingnews for results from the TT and maybe even some pictures of me or the Time Pro Cycling boys! I also promise to get up a report from the U23 Nationals RR, Downer's Grove USPRO Crit, and Chris Thater Invitational!!!

P.S. they are going to have LIVE coverage of the race on the USPRO website tomorrow from 1PM to 5:30PM EST!!! Also check this website if the USPRO website isn't working.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally, some good legs at the U23 Nationals!

Right now I am in the team van rocking out to some techno with my teammate Eric Barlevav and another rider, Miles, driving from Binghamton, NY to Philly then Richmond then Winston-Salem. I figured now would be just as good (read: terrible) a time as any for my latest (and very late) blog entry!

I have been traveling pretty much three weeks straight now, save for a few days of training in Winston-Salem. Young Andy Baker and I were in California at U23 Nationals with Eric Barlevav and Jackie Simes, then we flew back to NC and drove home before packing up again to fly to Chicago for one of my favorite races: the Downer’s Grove USPRO National Criterium! We had a stacked team there, but only Tom Soladay and Eric stayed with me afterwards in a far-south Chicago suburb for a few days before high-tailing it across the Northeast to NYC for a night and then up to Binghamton, NY for the Chris Thater Invitational today.

I do not profess to be a cycling coach—rather, I learn by experience, trial, and [much] error. Example: the drive from Chicago to Binghamton is only 11 hours, but we decided to save a few dollars on a hotel room and Tom wanted to see his sister in NYC, so we drove for 13 hours on Friday. Not bad . . . until we found ourselves on the road (and in a ton of traffic) for another 5 hours BACK ON THE SAME ROAD up to Binghamton on Saturday! NOT good for the legs, and I definitely felt it during the first hour of today’s race at Thater.

So, do as I say, NOT as I do! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the Cali trip . . .

Andy and I were the only two on our team slotted in for the U23 TT, and we gave up our spots at our team’s home races (Charlotte and Haynes Park). The team ripped it up at those two races, and I was very jealous that I could not take part in the glory (and the incredible dough!) . . . just more motivation to kill it at Nationals, right?

The TT course was definitely not your daddy’s run-of-the-mill flat out-and-back! To get the legs nice and seared, there was a 1000+ foot climb from the gun, then a fast but short downhill followed by mostly flat with some spikes before a turnaround and a final leg to the base of what was the downhill on the way out. I thought long and hard about how to ride my fastest race, although I knew going into it that my preparation was far from optimal or even close to what it was last year when I won. However, a time trial is just you and the clock, and you have to figure out how to get from A to B as fast as you can without worrying about where others will go faster or slower. I always have trouble with “slow” time trials, where the average speed is low and there are many areas on the course that require super-threshold efforts followed by sub-threshold recovery periods, and this course definitely favored climbing and unsteady pacing. I decided I would ride fast but steady on the hill, recover on the descent, and hold back until the turnaround because the headwind, uphill final leg would be the most crucial portion of the race.

I ended up 7th, which I was satisfied with, all things considered. It was disappointing to go into Nationals without the TT preparation that I had hoped for, but I was super happy to be right up there with small time gaps to truly standout riders in the U23 category. In retrospect, I would have only changed a few things: I needed to start out with an ice pack under my jersey and drink more water during the race, because it was super hot, and I also needed to go harder after the climb and before the turnaround because there was never any wind to make one section much harder than another. I kept telling myself that the most time would be won or lost after the turnaround during the final 8k of the TT, but it turned out to be just more of the same, coupled with intense, stifling heat.

Andy and I found respite back at our swanky hotel right next to Disneyland and then we had an excellent dinner with my parents (who FLEW TO CA FROM IOWA!) at a hole-in-the-wall home style Italian restaurant: wonderful service, an incredible beverage menu, and amazing food. We got a nice night’s sleep and then spun around the next morning with my old Hottubes teammate Spencer Beamer and his DLP teammate Scott Jackson. We checked out the criterium course and watched the finish of the U23 Women, and I also ran into Avery May, the Webcor soigneur and our savior at the Tour of PA. It was nice to catch up, although we wish she were still working for us!

After killing some time, and then twiddling our thumbs, and then people watching, we left our internet oasis at the Hilton and went to race in the middle of a gigantic asphalt parking lot. Apparently this is quite common in LA: erect a bunch of barricades in a very sketchy, snake-like configuration and watch the fireworks and carnage ensue as Lycra and skin are shredded! I had amazing legs after getting opened up in the previous day’s TT, and was very active off the front with the obviously-dominate Slipstream. I basically followed most dangerous moves, the counters to those moves, and then finished most attacks off with a solo effort in the hopes a little group would come up to me. Well, none of those three things worked by the end of the race, and our only hope was getting our sprinter, Eric Barlevav, a clear shot at the win.

Well, the last few laps were some of the most dangerous and twitchy of any race that I have done this season. Basically, the race was too short and way too easy to cause any selections, so everyone went crazy at the end, which is even worse in the U23 category because many riders do not know how to handle their bikes very well. I soft-pedaled the last lap after almost crashing three times and watching an excellent rider on Toshiba, Bobby Sweating, go down in a gnarly wreck with two to go. Eric came in for fourth in a photo-finish for the books, but he never even got the chance to get a true sprint off when the eventual winner, Justin Williams of Rock Racing, shot the gap between Jake Keough (Kelly Benefits) and the barricades. He was frustrated, as using brakes and sprinting are not supposed to happen at the same time, but I was happy with our overall result: Andy and I were in tons of moves and I felt great, Jackie was active, and Eric was in the perfect position to win—it just wasn’t his day.

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for my report on the road race, followed by Downer’s Grove and Thater in another post!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another Crossroads race and a super-smooth flight to Cali

Well, after the Mocksville race on Tuesday and a tough two rides on Wednesday with some VO2 and steady-state intervals, I was goaded into racing Thursday night! We sent most of the guys who wouldn't be racing in the big weekend races (Jon Hamblen, Tom Soladay, Andy Baker, Jackie Simes, David Duncan, and yours truly). I knew the legs were super tired, but I figured then I could take it really easy Friday and Saturday before packing up and flying out to Nationals in LA on Sunday morning.

The race was fast, but I really enjoy the figure-eight course and relatively smooth turns. I didn't enjoy the risks taken by many racers in such a "local" event, but I stayed safe and was able to go off the front and do some big efforts to help out Tom for the finish. Jon Hamblen was super active as usual, and our combined efforts meant that Tom only had to follow others in pursuit of us. He was in perfect position for the sprint, and had followed Lucca Damiani (Colavita rider who won the top-level CSC Invitational at the beginning of Philly Week this year) and they had even gapped Davide Fratini! Just as Tom was coming around Lucca in the final stretch (he said he wasn't even working that hard to come around!) Lucca swung him from the middle of the road over to the barriers. Tom unclipped and almost crashed, rolling in for third after Lucca won and Davide sprinted by.

FRUSTRATING! I felt really bad for Tom, as he hasn't had a win this season even though he has really had a breakout year in some of the biggest races on the calendar. I told him it would come, that he is lucky to be safe and going well for this weekend. I myself was very happy to get one final hard hour effort in and stay safe. I could tell that the legs are going to feel excellent after some serious recovery!

Now Andy Baker and I are chilling in a two-room suite at the Hampton Inn near Disneyland in LA. We drove to Pat Raines' house last night, then woke up at 3:45 AM EST to pack up into a cab, go to the Raleigh airport, and then fly to Charlotte and then LAX. The flights were quite nice and perfectly on time, not stressful at all, and they even checked my wheels for free after there was no coat storage on the plane! After landing in beautiful Cali, Andy and I took a friendly shuttle to the Advantage rental car agency, happily paid $830 for a week-long van rental (!!!), and then went and got some authentic Mexican at a local drive-thru! I love it here.

After we unpacked and built up our road and TT bikes, we rode the later for an hour and made sure everything worked and that our slightly modified positions were dialed in (Andy is on a completely new TT bike and has only raced a TT two other times in his life, while I just changed to the new ISM seat which I am absolutely IN LOVE with!). I think we might chill in the pool or watch the first Godfather before getting an early sleep and wrecking shop at the continental breakfast tomorrow morning (gotta get breakfast, lunch, AND dinner in the morning, after all!) and then heading out to ride the TT course and get in some good final efforts before the big morning on Wednesday.

PSYCHED FOR NATIONALS! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First race back!

Crossroad Criterium Series #4: Mocksville, NC

Last night was the Mocksville Criterium. We brought a full squad of eight guys, but the field was MUCH improved from the previous three Crossroads races: Anibal Borrajo from Colavita was there, Mark Heckman from Toshiba, and a host of other top professionals.

The race was very fast from the gun, and in the first five laps our team was very aggressive and basically shattered the front of the field. I saw Adam Meyerson, Jon Hamblen, and Tom Soladay up front in the break and the chase group just behind the break, so I sat up through some turns to let the gap open up. I also marked a move that tried to get up to the break, but when we had a good gap and I saw a teammate on the front slowing things down, I put my head down and went to bridge the gap . . . unfortunately, I didn't have that top-end race intensity after two weeks of no racing in my legs, and when the guy on my wheel jumped around me to close the final gap, I couldn't get on him. I sat out in no-man's land, coming within three seconds of the break while they played some games for a little bit, but then someone in the break attacked and my gap to them increased and I was toast!

It was quite frustrating, as having me in the break would have been great because I could do a big leadout for Adam Meyerson, as well as get another top-10 for the team no matter what (the break quickly lapped the field only 30 minutes into the race because the course was only 0.5 miles). However, our work was cut out for us after the break lapped: sit on the front and keep the pace steady and progressively increase it until the final sprint.

Daniel Ramsey, Andy Baker, Jackie Simes and I were the four guys rotating from 25 laps out, and each guy would take a pull for one lap, get off the front, and slot right back in to fourth position. Things were super smooth, and all eight guys were in a single file line at the front for most of the race . . . then Tom got to the front and got the pace about one or two mph faster, Dan took over for a MONSTROUS six or eight lap pull at the front traveling almost 30mph average, and swung off with 2.5 laps to go. I took over for exactly one lap, but I was already close to the rivet after holding Dan's wheel! I went until I couldn't go any longer, then David Guttenplan took over for one lap, Tom took over on the back side with Adam Meyerson on his wheel and Jon Hamblen sweeping people off--textbook.

Unfortunately, Adam was overtaken on the inside on the final lap by Anibal Borrajo and unclipped before almost colliding with the fencing on the outside of the course. Jon put in as good a sprint as he could and took fifth, while Adam rolled in for 10th out of 10 in the break, happy to still have his heart beating.

Overall, it was a pretty well-run race, but things got messed up in the final lap. I was disappointed in myself for not making it up to the break, but at the same time I am very happy to have good sensations from my first race back after a pretty gnarly injury! I looked at the SRM file and it was quite impressive with a 325 watt average (including coasting) for the whole race and a 360 watt normalized power. My final leadout pull for one lap was 454 watts for 1:30 after over 10 minutes of 330 watts average and 28.2mph! Also notice the first 10 minutes was mostly above my 380-watt threshold, probably why the legs locked up a bit midway between the break and the field.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back on the bike!!!

Thanks to everyone who emailed/Facebooked/sent comments to me, it has really helped me get through a rough patch. I have been back on the bike since Wednesday, and began my final 10-day build to U23 Nationals on Thursday. I think that I will have some solid training, and with the form that I had at Louisville, I think I'll have a fighting chance. I am going out to California with no expectations, I am just going to enjoy being on the West Coast, seeing my family, helping out the team, and going to the beach! Then it's on like you know what for the rest of August through USPRO Nationals and Univest!

I want to give a shout-out to Carol Blount, one of the nicest ladies I have ever met, who sat next to me on the train to Richmond. It is SUCH a small world: she knows my great aunt and uncle, gives Charlie his flu shot each year, is in the same investment club as Rosanna, and the most amazing thing is her father-in-law actually owned 20 Nassau Street where Sol Cycles is now operating! Just incredible conversation, not to mention she reminded me of Arnica, a 100% natural and homeopathic pain killer with no side-effects, and she gave me a lot of it on the train and I immediately felt like a healed man. THANK YOU SO MUCH, CAROL!

And now, I leave you with a video that should instill some serious feelings of foreboding about the coming election . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Limping through the season

Time Pro Cycling has strung together a few excellent weekends, with 2nd at the Iron Hill USA Crit, 3rd at the Louisville NRC (after lapping the field), 1st at Norton Commons, and most recently 3rd, 4th, and 6th (again, lapping the field) at the Boise NRC/USA Crit! The team is really firing on all cylinders and we are hoping to bring Adam Myerson home for the overall USA Crits win, as well as secure the Team Overall and the U-25 Overall. We have the Crossroads Criterium Series coming up this Friday through the following Friday, leading into the big-money Charlotte criterium and our own race at Haynes Park in Winston-Salem.

The U-23 guys (Eric Barlevav, Jackie Simes, Andy Baker, and yours truly) are going to pick and choose which Crossroads races to do, and Andy and I are flying out early on the Sunday before Nationals (just 12 days from now) in order to scout out the TT and road courses as well as acclimate. The guys are super motivated and ready to rock!

I found my racing legs at Louisville and Norton, where I finally felt like my old, powerful, attacking self after over two months of purgatory trying to find my form following my car accident, a broken rib at Nature Valley, and a concussion on the final monsoon-stage of the Tour of PA. Unfortunately, my bad luck and even worse timing continued . . .

My high-side crash at the tail-end of the Norton criterium has turned out to be much worse than I had anticipated. It has now been nine days since the fall, and I am still hobbling around and unable to put shorts on without leaning on something. I had been riding all last week right after the accident, putting in really hard 4+ hour rides on Thursday and Friday, but found myself out of commission after I pulled a tendon in my left knee that seems to give me some grief every winter.

I had been putting up with the stiffness and sharp pains in my hips and lower back for the past seven days by pounding five or six Advil each morning and at lunch, but after my knee flared up I decided to just ride longer and really easy to try and keep it moving . . . then Monday morning I decided to really assess the situation: no ride, no Advil, lots of ice. I came to the heart-breaking realization that my heavy dosage of pain killers had been causing me to think my maladies were mending, but in fact they were still plaguing me almost as painfully as the day after the crash!

First I called my mom and vented for 40 minutes about how frustrated I am: I have now had five crashes this season, including two broken bones, two concussions, 30+ stitches in my forehead after getting glass removed, and lots of road rash. I have struggled mentally to overcome my setbacks, as each accident occurred at perfectly spaced intervals to prevent me from really getting the ball rolling and getting my form back to previous levels. I have felt the pressure of being on a new team with new teammates and failing to come through with the success that I know I am capable of when I am 100%. I have dealt with the stereotype of being just a strong time-trial-specialist who is not able to read a race or ride at anything faster than a steady 30 mph for 30 minutes. I worked incredibly hard from October 2007 to May 2008, and put much more pressure on myself than I had realized, only to find numerous setbacks that have prevented me from reaping the rewards of my efforts.

My mom is an excellent support system, and she was incredibly understanding and helpful. She knows when to just listen, when to give me some advice, and when to tell me to quit my bitching and man-up. My dad is always there for me 110%, but he is like I am (maybe that is backwards!): he cannot help but attempt to solve problems, and most of my problems this season have no solution. My mom and I came to the realization that no matter what happens for the rest of the season, I am going to come out with incredible new experience in some of the country’s biggest and fastest races, as well as loads of training and racing at levels I have never reached previously. But most importantly, I am going to have a bunch of excellent teammates and friends who are motivated to come back out next year and just rock! It will be HUGE to know my teammates, how we race, how we live together, how we travel, and how we deal with rough patches. I want to make the most of the rest of the season, and I have some huge races coming up, even if I am dealing with some injuries and still looking for that “the-chain-is-missing” form.

After Erik Saunders came over to the house for a little visit and saw the ice bag riveted to my knee, we talked about my injuries and, always the man with the answers, he told me to call Dr. Matt. Dr. Matt is our pro-bono team doctor and a good friend of Mike Stoop’s. We talked on the phone and Matt said that if I am still having severe pains and stiffness in my pelvis and hips after over a week has passed since my crash, then there is a good chance that I have a hairline fracture or I have broken the tough outer layer of bone between my ligaments and bones. In either case, the body treats the injury like a break, and just takes weeks to come back to 100%.

In my stir-crazy cabin-fever dementia, I decided I would take a second day off the bike and travel by Amtrak up to Richmond, Virginia to pick up my Vespa from Mike Stoop’s house and drive it back down to Winston. The trip would dovetail perfectly with a visit to Dr. Matt so he could poke and prod me and give me the news, for better or for worse, as well as tell me whether a chiropractor (NOT covered by my insurance!) would be helpful or necessary.

So here I am, riding in a comfortable-but-packed train up from High Point, NC to Richmond, VA. I am looking forward to driving the Vespa over 200 miles on some beautiful back roads, through hills and small mountains, back to Winston, and I am anxiously awaiting Matt’s diagnosis. I know that, with the help of Advil, I can come back to riding (and maybe even training) tomorrow, but the knee issue is something I have had before and needs to be cared for very well or it can be a plague that lasts for weeks. I have to get back into things steadily and surely, and make the most of the next 14 days before the U23 National Time Trial (with the criterium the next day and the road race three days after).

It has been a very tough season for me, but Iron Hill and especially Louisville confirmed to me that, no, I DON’T suck, and that I am still at another level than I have ever raced at before even when I am not 100%. I just need to get healed, get healthy, and not put pressure on myself to adhere to a timeline or expect certain things from certain races in August. After all, I know that cycling is a tough sport and if it were really easy to go out and dominate I probably wouldn’t enjoy it! Perseverance pays off, I just have to stick with it through thick and thin and always remember what it is I love about racing my bike.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

3rd place in Louisville NRC, and then an unfortunate left turn

Matt Winstead and Hilton Clarke follow as I get the winning break going.

I almost took out Mark Zalewski ( in the fast Turn 3 in the break.

Here is an SRM power file overview of the Louisville Metro Police Foundation NRC criterium. I put a threshold line at 380 watts and smoothed it a bit, but notice that the first 2/3 of the race are much harder and faster--I was in the break almost from the gun! Also notice the last two laps were just balls-to-the-wall and over 30mph the whole time.

Here is where the break was initiated. Again, I took a page out of Steve Tilford's book and ramped it up from 10 back just before a turn, then put my head down and killed it for a few straightaways without looking back. Luckily the move looked good to Hilton (Toyota), Matt (Inferno), and Bergman/Albers (Roadhouse). Notice it only took 1.5 minutes to settle in and start working just above threshold--that is when you know a break is going to work! We got the gap and then settled into a pace just faster than the group, and I knew we were down for the long haul without having to burn all my matches in the beginning getting it to stick.

This is the penultimate lap . . . you can see where I almost crashed and then started to give it the stick to salvage things at 2:40:27.

The final lap was just an all-out 2-minute drill. Notice that my heart rate was just about through the roof (consider that I TT at 170-172!) and the speed was also pretty good considering there were many turns and headwind sections. For the final two minutes I averaged over 460 watts including coasting through some turns, and my 5-minute record is 460 up a climb with no coasting . . . not too shabby for the end of a 100-degree criterium!


What a weekend! The guys and I traveled up/over to Louisville, Kentucky for a $15,000 NRC criterium on Saturday and another local $5,000 criterium on Sunday. Adam Myerson had worked with the race promoter over the winter during the 'cross season, and we had been hooked up with a tight suite at the Galt House just a few miles from our races! After Tom Soladay and Adam arrived Friday afternoon at the airport after flying in from Boston, Eric Barlevav, David Duncan, Mike Stoop, and yours truly rolled in and we suited up for a nice cruise to a local park with another friend of Adam's, Brian.

We all went out to dinner Friday night, and unfortunately chose a restaurant that Brian had recommended which was more popular than EPO at the Tour. We waited, and waited, and got some beers . . . and waited some more. Finally at about 10PM we got food and a cool little magic show from a restaurant magician! We quickly headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

After sleeping in until 10AM and getting out for a nice morning spin, we all chilled out in the hotel until it was time to leave for the race that started at 4:45. The weather was quite insane, with temperatures hovering close to 100 and rumors of 70% humidity to boot! I filled two plastic Subway bags with ice and put them in a musette bag to carry to the race, and after a very short warmup I stopped in the shade and packed my bottles, jersey pockets, and a Zip-loc with ice. I learned this from Steve Tilford, who has probably done more 100+ degree races than I have raced TOTAL: bit a small hole in the corner of the Zip-loc to let it drip down your back as the ice melts, giving your evaporative cooling and also preventing the need to carry around a large bag of warm water for the majority of the race.

My cooling strategies helped a lot, but I still knew that a race this hot and this long (90 minutes) in blazing sun and wind would require a good amount of pacing--go over your threshold too much or too often and the legs will just evaporate. I also had a feeling that an early break would go because some people would do well in the heat and most would feel sluggish and paralyzed. We were aggressive in the first few laps, getting off the front for primes and during the lull just after a prime, but it was my attack on the fifth lap just before Turn 2 that initiated the winning break.

Two roadhouse guys (Kirk Albers and Adam Bergman), Hilton Clarke on Toyota-United, and Matt Winstead on Inferno all came into the break, and then things got really good just a lap later when Tom Soladay made it into the move. Two of seven ain't too shabby! However, after some tactical miscommunication, Tom had thought the move was going to get brought back and attacked the move solo, hoping some others would come up to it as the group was catching. The break never came back at all, and instead Tom sat out in the wind, solo, for a number of laps and burned himself badly, later having to drop out of the break and the race altogether. Things got even worse for us when John Puffer, an excellent sprinter, bridged up to our group solo . . . things just went from TWO in seven with a strong sprinter and a strong leadout to ONE in seven with just a strong leadout, against THREE Roadhouse guys and their top sprinter! Don't even forget about Hilton, who was pulling so hard he almost dropped the break each time he hit the wind . . .

I knew once Tom was out of the race that I had no duty to pull in the break, so I bided my time and tried to save my legs as much as possible. Sure enough, the group sat up a little when it was clear that we were gone for good, and we were quickly approaching the tail end of the field. I knew that this was a crucial moment: Hilton didn't want to take the break with him when we lapped because he was outgunned by a stacked Roadhouse team and many Inferno guys. Roadhouse didn't even want to lap at all, because three in seven is much better than being caught up in the big field. Therefore, Hilton was going to attack the move soon and try to get to the field, then work with Heath Blackgrove and Sean Sullivan to drive the field and prevent Roadhouse and our break from making it a lap up. I also knew that I couldn't wait for Hilton to attack because I probably wouldn't be able to follow his acceleration . . .

I decided I needed to get to the front and DRIVE the break up to the field to make sure Hilton didn't drop us and let Roadhouse start attacking Matt and me. I pulled us up about 10 seconds on the field in two laps, and then got to the front and found my last teammate in the race, Adam (all the other guys had dropped out due to the heat!). I made sure to rest and recover as much as possible while staying glued to Adam's wheel and keeping out of trouble. The final few laps got a bit hairy, but we could see that it was being set up as a field sprint by Roadhouse.

A large gambler's prime was laid on the line (this is a big-money prize for the winner of the penultimate lap, given to shake things up in the race even more than usual!), and the race began to detonate . . . unfortunately I almost crashed after getting my handlebars clipped by an Inferno guy and dropped from the top-15 to outside the top-30 with just 1.5 laps to go! Thus began a frantic solo chase at eyes-bleeding-pace to try and salvage my sprint for the line.

Roadhouse guys were strewn across the road like a tornado had hit their leadout train, and I was just dodging guys right and left as I blazed though the shattered field to get to the front. With just two turns to go, I saw Adam on Matt Winstead's wheel, and I kept drilling it and reached them in the final turn. Adam had planned to sprint Matt and take 8th, first in the field, but saw me coming from behind and swung wide. I hit the turn hot and carried my momentum through to just barely edge Matt out at the line for the last podium spot!

It was an excellent race for me, and really boosted my confidence after a tough first season on the pro circuit and confirmed to me that I am actually coming back from my car accident on May 5th. It also salvaged the race for Time Pro Cycling, as I know most of the guys were really bummed about dropping out. Third is our top result in an NRC race to date!

Adam, BBQ and I went out looking for some dinner and some nice quality brews (Adam is a learned connoisseur, so it's always fun drinking $10 beers with him), then hung out a bit at the Third Street Dive after our cute waitress said it was a fun place and that she was interested in meeting up with us after work! Things didn't pan out, but we still had a good time and got to relax a bit after a tough day on the bike.


The next day's criterium was a more laid-back affair, with 1/3 the prize money and no NRC status, but most of the same guys from Saturday (save for Hilton) showed up. We knew that it would be a battle of the teams, Inferno vs. Roadhouse vs. Time. From the gun, the entire team was up near the front, guys swapping off being in moves and initiating moves and getting primes. I knew it was going to be a good race.

It was only 60 minutes, and not as hot nor as challenging a course as the day before, so getting a break to stick was going to be pure luck of the draw and timing. It didn't stop me from trying, though. At 45 minutes into the race, I had just sat up a little after being off the front and seeing a mad Roadhouse chase behind me. I noticed the Tom had been sitting on them, ready to pounce and counter my move, so I swung wide in the left Turn 3 to let him come in on the inside before I closed the door. This was the perfect place to go, as Turns 4, 5, and 6 came in quick progression and were very tight, so it was very easy to get a big gap and carry your speed while the group bunched up. Unfortunately--and I still don't know exactly what happened--I high-sided after clipping a pedal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it comes from motorcycle racing and happens when the rear brake is applied in a turn, locking the rear wheel for a second and sliding the bike a little, before being released and hooking up again. When the rear wheel regains traction, the bike is out of line and actually flicks the rider upright and over to the outside of the turn. This is a very serious problem, and often leads to the death of the rider on twisty mountain roads as he is thrown into or over the guardrail down into a ditch or down the mountain.

Luckily I was only going 24mph when it happened, but nonetheless I landed really hard on my right hip and the back of the head. I started screaming from the pain, and had to stay down in the road for three laps while the pack maneuvered around me. I thought my pelvis was broken . . .

I finally got helped off the course, had my slight road rash attended to, and then tried to walk around a little. The good news: no breaks or fractures. The bad news: incredibly stiff, painful to move, and painful to walk. However, Mike Stoop and Tom Soladay setup an excellent leadout for Adam and we won the race! I was very happy that the team was successful, and it definitely capped off an excellent weekend.

I am now trying to heal up and get ready for a final 15-day training block leading into U23 Nationals. The pelvis is getting better each day, but it is still very stiff. I can ride--it actually feels better to ride than to get up and walk around!--and I have just taken the past three days pretty easy. I don't think me preparation will be compromised too much, and I have the confidence from the past couple of weekends to take with me into my training block and Nationals.

BBQ and I have been hanging out at Jamie Bennette's house (our team's main sponsor) and dying of boredom . . . I am really looking forward to getting in some good rides and then doing a sweet racing schedule in August: Crossroads criteriums in late July, the U23 Nationals August 6-10, Downer's Grove USPRO Criterium the following weekend on the 16-17, Chris Thater and a couple other local NY races August 21-24, then the big show with USPRO RR and TT in South Carolina followed by the 100k Classic and the Univest RR and criterium!

Thanks a lot for reading, I'll try to post some updates on my injury and my training in the next week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An up-and-down Tour of PA and a podium at Iron Hill

Eric Barlevav taking 3rd in a slip-and-slide final Tour of Pennsylvania criterium, Pittsburgh

Well, Tour of PA came and went . . . we did very well on Stages 1a and 1b, with 7th, 8th, and 15th in the prologue (Andy Baker became Best Young Rider, then Stoop, and then me) followed by a good showing in the technical, sketchy criterium with our sprinter Eric Barlevav getting boxed in for 5th and me following with the leadout for 20th.

Stage 2 went even better, as Eric and I made it into the winning move of the day and I helped drive it to get over 2 minutes on the shattered field. I lead out the strongman-sprint, but BBQ's legs were sapped and he managed 7th behind a super-strong Kevin Lacombe and Kelly Team. I rolled in for 12th, moving up into 8th overall.

Then Stage 3 broke us! The plan was to be aggressive and get into the early move, because there was a huge KOM 65 miles into the 105 mile stage. Unfortunately, there was a considerable headwind and we killed ourselves to get the move to stick. Andy made it into the break, but BBQ and I were shot from the previous day's efforts and everyone pretty much got shelled on the climb. From there, we just had some damage control in the grupetto, but basically the general classification goals for the team went out the window.

Stage 4 was shorter, only 60 miles, but with some serious climbing, and we just went out to make the time cut so that we could perform on Stages 5 and 6.

And perform we did: Stage 5 was a nasty saw-tooth profile with dozens of leg-breaking one-minute steep hills and some serious crosswind sections to boot. We all managed to make it into the final circuits, and The Gutt said he was feeling fantastic so we decided to setup the sprint for him. Things started to break apart on the run-in to the circuits, and we made sure a guy was in every move . . . unfortunately, our efforts were in vain and probably sapped us a bit for the final 5k. I was on the front through most of the final 9k of circuits (3 laps of 3k), and put in some serious pulls, but misjudged where we were on the course in the final lap and was not ready for the insane Kelly Train when they came over the top at over 35mph! Stoop tried valiantly to latch on, but a 10 foot gap to David Veilluex's wheel was impossible to close, and The Gutt's sprint never really happened.

The team's moral was bolstered after seriously disappointing Stages 3 and 4, and we were once again confident that we were one of the strongest teams and could ride the front at the end of a killer stage. Things didn't work out right, but we were all looking forward to the final criterium in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Unfortunately the rain started pouring after about 30 minutes of racing. The whole team had been on the front controlling things and neutralizing attacks at 30mph, hoping to setup Eric Barlevav for a final stage-winning sprint. The plans went out the window when my front wheel slid out in the first brick-laden turn and I hit my head pretty hard . . . the race was neutralized do to threats of a tornado, but then restarted (at the behest of the entire peloton!) because it was being covered live on Versus nationwide. We raced hard, but my legs locked up from the gun and I couldn't get the confidence to stay at the front through the corners. My race was over, along with most of the peloton, as the race was being run as a one-day race with no overall consequences for the Tour. Stoop, Andy, and The Gutt worked hard for Barlevav, but in the end only The Gutt was left at the front to work with Slipstream-VMG in the final laps. Barlevav was on Daniel Holloway's wheel in third position into the final turn, but a gap opened and that was all she wrote. Barlevav got on the podium with 3rd place, which was a nice consolation after a very tough week.

We got back in the van and jetted on Monday morning, leaving at 8AM and arriving in Winston-Salem at 2AM after making multiple stops to drop guys (and girls, our souigneurs!) off along the way. The Gutt and I got in some good training before heading 10 hours BACK UP TO PHILLY (!!!) for the Iron Hill twilight criterium . . .

We knew before the race that we were the largest team, but also that Toshiba was a force to be reckoned with. From the gun the race was super fast with constant attacks. I got a $100 prime, but shortly after Heckman got away from us solo. We didn't have all of our guys up front at that point, and the two laps that were required for us to organize and chase him down were just enough for him to get out of sight and start building his gap--and build it he did! Every lap the gap went up a second or two, with me, Tom Soladay, Mike Stoop, and David Guttenplan chasing our hearts out. Toshiba just sat on us and messed up the rotation a few times, but none of the other teams (read Batley-Harley Davidson and Inferno) helped out much at all.

We were definitely behind the 8-ball, especially after Travieso attacked our chase at the front and started to ride away. Guttenplan pulled through strongly through the final uphill turn, and I let the gap open up just enough for him to get away solo. I didn't think this was wise, as I have never seen The Gutt bridge any type of a gap before, but I was pretty blown anyway and thought it might be nice to get another couple riders to do some work for a little while. However, The Gutt rolled away doing 30+mph and bridged up to Travieso! Those two were up the road racing for second place when Heckman lapped the field and came to the front. In the final minutes of the race, Stoop got off the front with some hangers-on and ended up taking 7th, while The Gutt edged out Travieso in an excellent sprint for 2nd place!

I was proud to have enough left in the legs to do the leadout for Adam in the field (Barlevav took a nasty spill in the infamous third corner earlier in the race) and I rode from 3-to-do to 1-to-go before Heckman and Yosvany (both on Toshiba) came over the top, Adam right on board in third wheel. He got a little boxed in at the end, but managed 12th place, while I completely blew on the last lap and rolled in dead last of the 40 guys who finished the race.

It was great to have the team up on the podium in a tough race, and confirmed our abilities in the USA Crits series with Adam moving up into 3rd overall and Time Pro Cycling 2nd in the team overall classification, nipping at the heels of Toshiba! Our main goals for the rest of the season include the USA Crits series, U23 Nationals in Los Angeles, CA, USPRO Criterium Nationals in Downers Grove, IL, and the Univest Grand Prix in eastern Pennsylvania.

Early on in the race, first corner . . .

Stoop tries a move without much help.

Sitting in the front 15 early on.

Later on it got dark, and the chase began.

Boy did it begin!

I think I was going after a prime or something . . . it is all a blur.

In the heat of the chase now.

A Time among Toshibas . . .

It felt like I never really got OFF the front the entire race. Here below is a nice leadout sequence with 2 laps to go . . .

Then with one to go Heckman came over the top with Yosvany and Myerson on third wheel . . .

I was definitely hurting a little here.

The Gutt definitely earned his 2nd place and put Time in a good spot!

What a sprint!

The Gutt up there in 2nd with the big boys (and me admiring the scenery :-)

All in all, a good showing by Time Pro Cycling. This coming weekend we are traveling to Louisville, Kentucky for the Metro Police Force NRC race on Saturday and another big-money criterium on Sunday. It is not on the USA Crits series, but only 7 hours away, so we are going to RIP!

Thanks for reading.