Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I'm going to Tarantino this for you. (Mom, that means that I am going to share the ENDING before the beginning)

We are standing in the tunnel to get on the plane in Chicago, to fly home to Seattle. There was a small light in the chaos that is plane boarding, and that light was the conversation that I was able to overhear between a father and his roughly 4 year old son.

    Father, explaining why his son shouldn't be running around and bumping into people in the line:  
    "Buddy, people have their personal bubble, you need to respect that."

    Son: "Well can I STARE at people??"

    Father: "No! That counts as personal boundaries too little man! People don't like being stared at"

    Son: "But I realllllllly like to stare at people"

    Father: "Well you better get some really dark sunglasses".

Also of importance, the dad was wearing dark sunglasses.

Anyways, that leads in well for the last couple pictures I took in our hotel-

I'llll creeeep creeeep creeep. I'lllll creep - Lil Jon
Following me

But continuing with the Tarantino-ing before getting to the actual races, spending time at this hotel in Georgia somewhat changed us. Not only did all my things smell like cigarettes when I returned home, but our actions and lifestyles started to morph while we were there.

Example A-
just 4 dudes and we're having a good time having a good time, having a good time
Example B-

Then we locked Steve in a pika pak. I'm not to sure what this has to do with staying in the hotel but it had to be related to that somehow.

There's a Steve in that bag
U23 Crit: The crit was pinting HOT. Downtown Augusta is allright, but sunny. And humid. Our race was 60K, 50 laps on the rectangular course. People started staging 40 minutes before our race, so Steve and I hung out and "chilled" (LOL) in the shade while all those suckers got really warm in the sun. Then we chopped everyone and lined up second row. The plan was to not do anything for 40-50 minutes. But I just couldn't help myself and was in the first breakaway. Oops. Then I sat 20th wheel for 1 hour. Drank two whole bottles and still had 40 minutes left in the race. Threw up 4 separate times as I got thirstier and thirstier. Pulled a Kennett and bit my cheeks. And then everything turned off with 3 laps to go and I came off the front group of ~40, pretty disappointed but 100 percent busted up. It took 20 minutes of sitting on a cooler in the shade to be able to unbuckle my shoes.

On Friday Night, Lang and I did laundry while wearing tanktop undershirts. We fit in at the hotel. However, we didn't participate in the pickup truck party that was happening in the parking lot, or the army party that was happening on the third floor balcony.

 Here are some pictures of myself and Lang doing laundry. Lang is the one on the ....

U23 Road Race: Early on little groups of 2 and 3 kept getting up the road. I had my mind set on climbing fast up the finish hill the last lap and making a sprint against ~20 guys. I didn't want to go in a move of 2 and spend an hour pinning it, only to get caught and end up attacking myself off the back. I was ready to go in a bigger break, but for some reason I didn't even consider the idea that all those little groups could become 1-2 BIG groups!

All of a sudden I was in a group of around 50 with still 60 miles to race in the 100 degree temperature. Because we raced at 1 pm (WTF). We were considered the peleton, but there were 30+ people up the road. Which meant that no one in my group was really racing anymore. At one point, we were 12 minutes down, and I thought I was on a coffee shop ride. The plus side of this is that it was like I was on a long bike ride with my BFF4Lyfe Benny. It got to the point where the "peleton" had no lead or follow car, and we were instructed to obey traffic laws. Then people started to pull, and we started to bring people back, one cracked, heat-broken soul at a time. After another hour or so we caught the 2nd big group on the road, which both Steve and Jordan were in. They had been in various forms of breakaways ALL DAY and I had been riding easy. Suckaaaas. We had no idea how many guys were up the road, the officials had no idea, and we heard everything from we were racing for 11th to that there were still 40 guys up the road.

Turns out there was 20 guys up the road. Then after one guy got away from our group, Steve got away with 3 other guys in the last couple of K's, and some other guys got away with 1 k to go, Benny and I picked up the pieces in the finish climb/sprint. So I was 32nd in the Road Race.
Why does this happen everywhere I go?
Elite Road Race: It was advertised as 217 starters, but if I believed that I would also believe that Steve was 5'6". So yeah, there was maybe 180 starters. Probably because the heat was pretty extreme on Sunday at noon when we started (WTF!).

I had a job in this race, and that was to help out Lang and Dan-Land as much as I possibly could. So that meant I was to try and get in the early breakaway, and if I couldn't do that, I was on bottle duty until I couldn't retrieve one more Hammer Nutrition bottle. I was in the first 2 moves, then got really tired. I then tried to keep Lang from getting thirsty.
Dan killing it in the break
Dan-Land made the breakaway and crushed it alllllll day in the heat. Dan Harm was riding like a thug, and was always in the top 15 guys in the group. I know this because it was a loooooooooooonnnnnnnnggggggggg way up through the pack everytime that I had bottles for him. Steve and I then got more bottles. Then I started to get dropped, ALOT. I would get dropped, and then think to myself that if I caught up, I could at least get bottles for the guys one more time. So I did that a total of 4 times. I also had to do a wheel change in there, and after a power bottle that almost broke my arm when I ran into the mirror, I was able to catch back up. I got dropped for good on lap 4 of 7, and then got a milkshake.
Me and Steve riding at the back to you know, get bottles
So a disappointing weekend results wise, but it was good racing and I learned things in every event. And in bike racing school, if you're not learning, you might as well not show up.

“As humans we’ve gotten so far from what we were supposed to do that we’re always searching for something that makes us real again, that gives us that feeling of doing what we’re meant to do. For me, bike racing is that.”

-Svein Tuft

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ways to Make Your Hotel a Home

When faced with an other than optimal hotel room situation, you are forced to adapt, improvise, and edit said room until it fits your needs.

Now don't get me wrong about the place we are staying- its a bed, a roof, a bathroom, a shower, a stove, sink, etc, so I can't complain too much. Unfortunately, the extended stay hotel doesn't have any sort of dishes, pots and pans, large towels, good scents, non-broken beds, Jordan found a cockroach, there are stray animals, AND you are explicitly forbidden from working on your car in the parking lot.

So to make this bedroom liveable for the next several days, we've been doing some improvising and making-do.

First, the towels provided in our room were awful small! I thought that they were hand towels, so I went to the front desk and said "We only got small towels in our room, they're about this big (made hand gesture)". She then gave me two more small towels.

The biggest towels provided!
Next, our room has some really nice decorations. The painting was so nice, they thought they'd use it twice in the room!

Laundry rack!

Our hotel has a cat. And it wanders around. And it knows how I feel about cats. It taunts me

Unfortunately, our room smelled pretty badly of cigarette smoke. The hotel suggests that it is non-smoking, but our room came with an ash-tray! Nice!

 Lang doesn't like eye masks, but it's bright! So pillows suffice.

To deal with the lack of dishes, I bought some nice tupperware that I plan on bringing home. And I plan on doing that because they are nice, and have matching lids. But now only 2/3 have matching lids because I used one lid to help glue a tire, and then lost it.

We thought our room lacked a little personality. We're always having friends over and entertaining, but its a bit awkward to hang out all on beds. So we got a sofa! Balllllin 

 Just entertaining guests.

Check who's creepin under the towel!
And after a long day of hotel life, just go ahead and creep.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ways To Stay Cool In Augusta

The weather forecast for wherever I am headed right now is slightly frightening. I’ll be honest, my fair skin prefers 55 and cloudy over 100 and soupy humid. I’ve really been throwing my body for a loop recently, never being in one climate long enough to really adapt. If only I was able to spend time training with my body wrapped in garbage bags or I lived in Montana with Alan Adams I’d be comfortable coming into the Georgia heat.
First, Bellingham set a city-record for longest number ofdays without reaching 70 degrees. Then I went to Tulsa, where it was indeed warm. I had just gotten a hang of swimming through the air while walking when I boarded a plane and headed to the State of Milwaukee. Just kidding, but really, Logan asked us if Milwaukee was a State.  Wisconsin was pretty ideal temperature, mid 70s and just darn pleasant. Now I am on a plane headed towards somewhere where I will take some sort of vehicle to Augusta. Luckily I am traveling with some people this time so they can help me find a pay-phone if needed.

This plane flight has allowed me to really brainstorm ways to stay cool while racing and living in Sauna-like conditions. Here is what I’ve come up with so far. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment and share!

-Ice Socks: This is when it’s ok for me to buy women’s pantyhose. Ice socks are a norm for hot races, and it makes a huge difference to be able to have one on your neck or in your jersey pocket to help cool you down a bit. Fill the pantyhose up with ice, cut and tie ‘em off, and you’re good to go.

-T-shirt Time: Just you and the bros, wearing the fresh tees, neck V’s, glasses are Versace, married to the mob but I’m a bachelor, baby.

-Frozen Bottles: Pretty much any time in this climate that you start a ride or race with water in the bottles it will be warm in 5 minutes, and hot in 10. There is nothing more refreshing then taking a big sip of warm water, or pouring said warm water onto your head during a race. And by nothing more refreshing, I mean that most things are actually more refreshing. It is pretty anti-climactic to pour water down your back and instead of feeling briefly cooler, you just feel let-down. Much like how Kennett just pees all over himself in races, feeling warm liquid run down your body isn’t refreshing. To somewhat solve this; starting all bike events with frozen bottles might be a game changer. First let me explain how ice works. It melts. Now that we have that figured out, as the ice melts you get colder water, later into the race. Cool!

-Frozen jersey: Spencer tried this out in Tulsa, and I think with some technique adjustment it could revolutionize hot weather races forever. As science started to become more and more prevalent in cycling, various innovations became popular. Allen Lim was the first person to incorporate ice-vests into Garmin’s time trial warmups, citing how the body reacts better if the core stays cool. So before every time trial, riders would be on the trainer wearing ice-vests that are so packed down with ice that they resemble life-vests. But the problem is riders can’t race in these vests! So in Tulsa, Spencer soaked his jersey in water and then froze it. Pretty creative, but the problem was the crispy-ness when removed from the freezer. Frozen things aren’t very malleable, so in order to make this work successfully, I will need to soak the jersey in an alcohol/water mix because that doesn’t freeze solid. But not too much of that, because I don’t want to smell like a City bus.

-Cool Sunglasses / Leather Jacket: Pretty self-explanatory, all the above are how to stay cool, but how do you REALLY stay cool?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tour of America's Dairyland days 3 4

The best thing about Crit-School is the amount of chances you have to try new things, get things right, or get things horribly wrong. Races 1 and 2 of crit-school proved how quickly the tide can turn and for days 3 and 4 I was pretty set on making the right choices, putting myself in the right places, and finally have a crack at getting a result.

Race number three, in Grafton, was the only USA Crits series race of T.O.A.D. . The USA crit series races are more valuable then the TOAD races, so money went 30 deep, the field was stronger, and more bad-assery would ensue. Steve, Logan, Dan and I all spent the first 35 minutes going ape-loco like normal, and then all got tired like normal right about the time when the winning break went away. But luckily, my homie Clay from Tazzy won out of the break. And if I can't win, or my teammates can't win, it might as well be someone cool that you like, right?

The positioning plan for this day was to slowly make my way up, and show up at the front with around 2 to go instead of 5,6 to go like in the races in the past. My thinking is that by showing up later, you avoid all the fighting and save some energy not having to fight for wheels for several laps at a time. Well, it took me longer then expected to get to the front, but thanks to Joe Holmes yelling "POSITIONING" every lap, I was able to wake up and eventually move into the right place. Getting the bell I was coming up the side around ten back and then cornered my way into 5th wheel. Then I promptly almost ran into the follow car that had stopped to look after riders who had crashed the lap before. Positioning lost. However, I still sprinted for 19th on the day, which was 13th in the bunch sprint.

I like this sequence of pictures because I had just bridged up to the Cat and one other guy. Went to the front right away because I was going faster and didn't want to brake, and then got yelled at.

Later, attacking all over my teammates
I made $165 dollars for 19th! That is more then I made for #winning at THREE different races last year! For 19th place!
Our final crit of this years TOAD took place in Wau-Ke$ha. Strategy for all of us for this race was to try and hang out the first 45 minutes, and instead of going ape-loco in the first 1/2, do that same thing, but in the second 1/2 of the race! I think Logan got confused though, because I am pretty sure he was in the first move of the day. It's ok, we are still trying to teach him about how to be a human being.

Unfortunately, my location of hanging out was quite hectic, and I was forced to go into the pit two times in the first half an hour of the race. Fast forward to 4 laps to go. I find myself near the front as Daniel Hollaway (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is attacking to try and win the big preme of the night. He wins the preme, crosses the line solo with 3 to go with a gap. I am sitting 4th wheel. We catch him on the back side of the course with 2.5 to go and TWO of his teammates counter, and get a gap. Coming down the homestraightaway they have a pretty significant gap and are seeing two-to-go.
Making the bridge with 2 to go. The other guy didn't get up there
So two KBS guys OTF, looking like they are working HARD together, and the gap is growing. I jump across down the finish straight and bridge solo to the two KBS guys and with 1.5 to go it is the three of us off the front with a sizeable gap. The KBS guy in the middle sits up, and his teammate attacks. I followed the attack, he sees that is just me, and sits up, I attack him and go into the last corner with a small gap. He catches up down the home straight, as do 2 other guys and I pull my brains out getting the bell with 1 to go. Then we get caught sometime with 1/2 a lap to go and I get close to last place. 
Getting the bell
Steve has a pretty good description on his blog of our place in these races. I know that I can sprint, but I also know that when I sprint against people like Jonny Cantwell, I might as well be riding an ironic hipster-fixy, because Cantwell will outsprint me 100 percent of the time. And yes, I would be thrilled to sprint for a top 10 in a race like this, but I would not be an athlete if I didn't want to win the races I enter. Sure, I got close to last place in Wau-Ke$ha, but I put myself in a position to WIN the race, not just maybe sprint for top 10. And that is allright by me.

And for anyone following closely, Steve and I decided to set our pool tournament to be first person to win 15 games. I was up 14 games to 11, and true to my poor tactics, went and put the black ball in the pocket when I wasn't supposed to 4 games in a row, therefore losing the tournament. I believe that out of 15 games, Steve won 4 by himself, and I helped him in all the other ones. I guess I won't pursue a career in conning people at pool-halls.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dairyland Day 2- Thiensville

Another fun course, with a sharp chicane and narrow roads through neighborhoods. I'm struggling with the whole positioning thing in the last couple laps, and luckily since there are races every day I'm able to try some new tactics.

This race I went with the follow the leadout man tactic. Usually, my mind tells me to follow the big guns- Jon Cantwell, Bahati, Keough, Isaac Howe, etc. I know that those guys will be there at the end, so it should be good to follow them, right? The problem is that EVERYONE wants these guys wheels, so it is hectic and full of swarm to try and stay near the front. The thoughts for today were to follow a key leadout guy, for he, although not the one who will be sprinting for the win, sure as heck will be where he needs to be when he needs to be.

Temporarily following Cantwell
So with ~15 to go I found Luca Damiani's wheel, he won Athens Twilight crit this year and plays a key role in setting up Isaac Howe (yesterdays winner) for the sprint. I started following Luca from around 50th wheel, and as I got more and more ancy to move up I had to remind myself my tactics for the days. Luca calmly started to move up, 5, 10 , 20 spots, and I stayed firmly glued to his wheel. We got 4 to go and we were well into the top 20.
Me and Luca
Then people started crashing 15 guys back, and the road became cluttered with bodies. I swerved left, through someones front yard, around their nice tree in the yard, back around through the grass and back up onto the road, now off the back. Since free laps were over, I rode in for a super 70th-something place.

I uploaded my Garmin file to Strava to see if I made any front yard dodging KOMs and I did! Here is the file of me dodging the crash-
So another 2 nights of crit racin to put allllll the pieces together. Perhaps I find the breakaway??

But in more important news, I am really really good at billiards. Way better then Steve. But unfortunately, he cheats, and somehow makes it so I always put the black ball in the pocket when I am not supposed to. We've now played 9 games, I have won 4, and Steve has "won" 3 by default. Which means he has actually only won two in my thinking. Luckily, our host told us that the table was slanted, so that explains some of my struggles.

Also, I think the pleasant town of Port Washington is home to some sinister motives. While riding today, I think I saw a velociraptor.  I've been seeing a lot of turkeys lately, and I am pretty sure that down by the port they are mutating turkeys with velociraptor DNA, and then letting them free to roam around town, attacking farm animals and lost children. Seriously, beware the tall grass. And if you think I'm making this up, I just heard a townwide alarm go off- And it is wailing. I think that means the laboratory has been overtaken by the smarter-then-expected raptors, the people are panicking, and now I am supposed to run around the town looting and protecting some damsels. BRB!

And the threat is real. And this is the place it is happening. Check it out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

T.O.A.D day 1- Shorewood

Tour of America's Dairyland kicked off yesterday with the Shorewood Crit. It was a 4.8 corner course that was 1.4 miles. I say .8 because it was basically a big box, with one chicane that wasn't anything crazy. The crazyness came from the Pave that was the second straightaway. It was unbelievably bumpy, with huge holes, big gaps in the pavement, and several jumps that if you weren't ready for were quick to try and buck you off the bike.

The race itself went fairly well. Dan raced like a thug, and won 2 premes, spending many-a-laps off the front. Steve also won a preme, and lil Logan was 14th. Joe Holmes raced with us and made sure to tell us "I'm too old for this har har har". I was 21st, and was second on THREE premes. Which means absolutely nothing! I'm still struggling with positioning. With 4 to go I was on Jon Cantwells wheel, with 3 to go, I was on the guys wheel who got third, and with 2 to go I was somewhere around 6th wheel. Then once again I went to the left when I should've went right or something like that and all of a sudden with 1-to go I was in ~40th spot. I'm making it pretty hard on myself to get a result, but the great thing about crit school is that there is a race today, and one tomorrow, and so on. So practice makes perfect?
I'm highlighted. And this was with 2 to go. hmmm
After the race, being in Dairyworld and all, there was chocolate milk off the yin-yang. Logan was apparently the best cat 2, which means he got a special cow jersey to wear today!

In other events, Joe Holmes managed to destroy two mailboxes backing out of our driveway. That was fun. This morning, Steve and I did really manly things like play Billiards, Lift weights, and pee outside. In case you are curious, Steve and I are tied 3-3 in billiards wins. But 2 of my losses involved me- A) accidentally getting the 8 ball in a pocket, and B) Having no balls left to get in, with Steve having like 5 left, and then I got the 8 ball, AND the cue ball in the pocket. Therefore losing.

But I'm a pool shark. Sometimes. Sort of.

Silly Joe Holmes
Logan and his Cat 2 jersey

If I go crazy then would you still call me supermannnn
Steve getting YOKED
So strong. So so strong
Steve couldn't reach the leg press setting the normal way, so this was the answer
Red Beret of Courage

Quite the sticky situation

So that is that. Only a couple more hours of down time before we go race again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Port Washington

Our host housing for TOAD is in Port Washington. It is a pretty cool little town and I was able to look around this morning while doing my pre-race spin.

Stairs to walk up to the lighthouse. Luckily I found a road

The lighthouse

Turkey on the bike path!

Port Washington is right on the shores of Lake Michigan, and as our host said "most people think the lake is an Ocean har har har har" , yes it is pretty big. I rode around the port and checked out all the waterfront parks. I followed some signs to the "historic 1860 lighthouse" which ended up being fairly underwhelming, but luckily I didn't walk up those stairs to get there.

Tonight we race in Shorewood- a 90 minute criterium. Time to get jiggy wit it.