Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nationals Road Race.

Not easy to write.

Saturday= Day off for Kennett, Jon, Logan, Gabe and myself. We went riding. I drank San Pelly. Stylish. Steve/Danny/Marcel raced u23 and Steve stomped it, getting on the podium with a 5th place finish.

Sunday= Road Race. 7 laps of a 24 k loop.

Racing aggressive pays off. Kennett went in the early ~9 rider move on the first lap. They got three minutes quickly. Awhile later Gabe bridged up with two other riders. Soon after that, I followed a move and crossed the gap relatively quickly. Fifty percent of our team is now in the breakaway at the National Championships.

Please go re-read the part about Gabe from my post from the crit. He selflessly took the role of work horse, and single-handily drove the break of 15 or so for the next 70 miles. Actually. At one point our break had 22 riders. Maybe 5 people were actively working. Gabe did 80 percent of the work to keep this break off the front. He rode so hard that he got a nosebleed. He fixed that problem, then went right back to work. I sat on the ENTIRE day. Kennett did a mixture of sitting on and rolling through. Things got hard with 3 to go and our group became 15. Then things got harder with 2 to go and our group was 12. Both Kennett and I were still in the selection. Gabe came off probably 14 times during the attacks, and kept crawling back on, going directly back to the front to set the pace to keep our move off the front. He finally got popped for good, and I'm sure the only reason he didn't get back on is because he was getting a Medal of Honor as well as a leg massage from supermodels while relaxing on a beach- because he deserved it.

With about 40 k to go, the two riders who I'd pegged as the strongest in the move took off. I knew that this was the final selection so I went as soon as I could to try and get to the two solo. I got within ten bike lengths before the road went downhill, and I started to go backwards. Luckily, another guy bridged up to me and closed the rest of the gap, and the front of the race was us four.

We soon got 30 seconds, then almost a minute. Over the next 20k it stayed at about that time gap. Heading into the finish hill, I knew I was in trouble. I got gapped a bit on the 1k finish hill, and got 1 lap to go a couple bike lengths off the rest of the group, but still in contact. About two k later I was in more than trouble. We hit the biggest hill on the course and I couldn't match the pace.

No excuses whatsoever, I just wasn't good enough.

I went as hard as I could alone until I blew completely. The first chase group passed me and I couldn't even consider getting on. The second group came past and I stayed in for roughly 12 seconds before dying a fourth death on the day.

The three guys I was with stayed away to the line and fought it out for the jersey. Congratulations to Julian Kyer- often times in bike racing the strongest guy doesn't win, but on this day, Kyer was definitely the strongest.

This race brought a pretty strong range of emotions. I was unbelievably bummed to straight up get dropped out of the winning move at the National Championships. I was upset that I couldn't capitalize on the efforts of my teammates, notably Gabe and Kennett. I was mad at myself for not being able to push myself more- just that little bit extra. Mad at myself for going from the very front of the race to the back of the race instantly.

However, I was happy that we took the race into our own hands. We were the best represented team in the break, and until my lights went out things were falling into place. I got a text from Lang that I think helped clear things up to me. He said "You've got to make the break before you can win from the break". Bike racing is full of small improvements and huge disappointments. I am sure that no-one can find success in this sport without first feeling those disappointments. One of the best things about racing bikes is that there are more races soon. More chances to make that break, because eventually, I will win out of that break.

I am extremely bummed that I could not close out the race on Sunday. That is definitely a taste that is going to stick around in my mouth for awhile. Not in a bitter way, but it will serve as training motivation for quite awhile. I may not have left Georgia with what I came for, but I am not leaving empty handed. Well, technically empty handed since I'm not carrying anything. But although I am not leaving with a new jersey or a medal in my bag, I do think that I am leaving Georgia a better bike racer.

I've used this quote before. I think actually with my nationals post last year. But it's bloody brilliant so I'm putting it up again.

“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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crit Nationals- A Story

Welcome back to Augusta. What a terrible idea. Welcome BACK? I am quite pleased to report that when not staying in a downright terrible and disgusting extended stay motel, Georgia was better. Slightly. Did you know that if you stop at a stoplight for too long while practicing bicycle riding, your tires melt into the pavement? I guess more appropriately, the pavement melts onto your tires. This is trouble because lava is a known killer in 37 states and 14 municipalities. Other known killers are mosquitoes, flies, and John McClane from the Die Hard movies. Yippie Kay Yay.

There are many bugs on this side of the country, and what's bugging me the most is that I never was able to catch any fireflies. If I had, I would have leashed it like a wild stallion and worn it around my neck on a chain. Sort of depressing for the firefly, but I would have some actual bling. No LED ish here, straight flashing lights.

We came back to Nationals for one reason. Waffle House. That might have actually been Alan's reason for coming to Augusta: He loooves the waffles. The rest of us came to this village for bike racing. Racing the kids race: Logan. Racing the young adults (U23): Steve, Dannyswag & Marcel-land. Finally, racing in the adult category: Jon BroCal, Kennett, Gabe, and myself. Steve and Dannyswag would double up on the road races, making them tougher than the rest of us.

Friday we raced our crits. The course was 1 mile long, 6 corners, and rough pavement. During the course of the race I hit several bumps hard enough to drop my chain onto the little ring. What I mean by that is that since I was riding in the little ring all race (cadence,bro) it just jumped around there. The finish line led into 3 corners in quick succession, followed by a very long straightaway that somehow, unexplainably (is there a real word for this?) had wind coming from every direction except behind. Not sure how this happens, but I heard there was a strange weather front coming in from the Augusta Masters Golf thing that people like but I don't understand. I didn't get a call up, but snagged my way directly onto the front row. Our race was 80 K, which is a long time to do a crit. On this course, it was 50 laps. Most NCC and NRC crits that I've been doing this year have been 60-90 minutes. I was prepared for this to be a 110 minute race, which I was pretty G'd about. I started the race with 4 bottles, and most definitely drank every single last drop from each bottle. I brought a gel flask, but forgot about that after I used it once. My bad.

A slight Garmin under-exaggeration. It was closer to 125deg F

I missed my pedal terribly at the start. Really outrageously bad. 98 percent of the time if I miss the pedal, I keep my foot on it and pedal normally, dealing with the clipping in thing later. Obvious, right? Well, I must have had some pent-up motivation or energy because when I missed my pedal, I hit it SO hard that my pedal was spinning so rapidly that it pushed my foot away. The pedal body was spinning so vigorously on the pedal that there was a legitimate chance that the bearings were going to start smoking, causing a fire that would spread from my pedal to who knows where. Probably nowhere because lava-cement can't catch fire. I was able to get going soon enough that I still went into the first corner in the top ten riders. Poor Kennettron lined up right behind me and he went into the first corner in 182nd wheel. Sorry, man. I swear that wasn't retaliation for you stealing my granola. Or maybe it was.

To summarize the first 48 laps of our race, I'd like to introduce you to Gabe Varela. Pay CLOSE attention to this name, because when I talk about the road race later you should refer back to this photo.

In the approximately 10 different substantial breakaways during the course of the race, Honest Gabe was in 9 of them. I do not joke about this. Gabe rode in every serious break the first 45 minutes. He would get away, his move would come back and I would go in the counter that got no daylight, then Gabe would cover the next set of moves, getting in another serious group. Over the 50 laps, Gabe probably spent 7 in the group. After the half way point, Gabe got to take a break when Kennett got in a BIG move and was away till 8ish to go. Gabe the Babe had enough of this whole sitting in the pack thing, and attacked again. He got away with four other riders, and then dropped all but one based on his strong country-boy pulls. Gabe and his last breakaway partner rode well and stayed away until just under two laps to go.

I found myself the furthest back I'd been all race with 3 laps to go, and was in the process of moving up. I was passing on the outside down the finish stretch as we were about to be getting the bell with 1 to go, and someone attacked on the left side of the course. I jumped on the right, with the goal of getting on the attackers wheel and getting some draft. I jumped WAY TOO HARD and slingshotted off of him with suddenly a decent enough gap to not sit up and kept going. 1 mile to go. I knew that I could open up the gap through the first three corners on the course, and it was a matter of getting that gap large enough that the long straightaway wouldn't be too deadly. Sad story, it turned out to be. I got caught right at the end of the long straight leading into the second to last corner of the race. Two corners and 300 meters from standing on the podium, and instead I got I think 93rd. I'm definitely ok with losing trying to win. However, I'd like to lose less and win more, so I must work on that.

Props to stage racer Jon HorndawgBroCalSupPlaya Hornbeck for doing a one day crit. The first 20 minutes this little skinny guy with legs the size of my forearms and a torso equivalent to my leg was riding the front of a National Championship criterium. Then he and 50 of his closest friends crashed around the mid-point and his race was over. He was the real winner though, because his main goal in coming to Augusta was to get famous. He achieved this when the local paper threw this photo of him all over the internet. Internet fame is the most real type of fame.

I'm pretty sure the tattoo says "Only God Can Judge Me".

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thoughts Based out of my Mind in Georgia

This is a story about how I tried to get into my teammates minds as much as possible. Everyone knows the teammate race is the most important and I always choose to start the assault as early as possible.

Rewind to the day before the bicycle race tournament. It was a Thursday. Of the month of June, in the year 2012. As I started riding at more than a walking pace, Logan screamed at me to slow down. I shifted one gear harder and started to ride tempo. Once I had dropped those measly hooligans I settled into my workout for the day: 1 hour of tempo. Since we are in Georgia after all, we haven't found great riding. So we ride to South Carolina where the riding is mint and I'm keen to do loops of little roads.  I was informed by GPSteve that they would be turning on a road and then looping, so I turned on that road also. As I rode down the road in Rhode Island (code name for S.C), I knew it's not new news to anyone that at some point I'd need to kneed my leg muscles and turn around soon. I flipped a U-turn and started heading back in the direction I came from, now expecting the rest of my team to be making their way towards me.

This is when my mind starts working. Side notes, this happens quite frequently. Most often while doing tempo because it's that annoying pace that is just on the cusp between riding hard and riding easy, so it's the cycling equivalent of a mosquito that flies around your ears while you are trying to sleep, buzzing like an alarm clock droning on in the morning. Which is something that I can't relate too because I sleep in. Until at least 8 am every morning. Which leaves me with roughly 3-4 hours until either of my housemates wakes up. To research things. Let's take a quick U-turn to discuss what I've learned:

There is indeed a difference in the Keurig coffees. Same with Starbucks Via. They offer up regular pre-packaged coffee mixes as well as their special "Iced Coffee" pre-packaged blends. This is as confusing as trying to figure out the best blend of granola to buy at the grocery store. There are so many choices!

Coffee is coffee, right? WRONG. These are special iced-only pods. Green Mountain coffee explains that it "makes adjustment to the recipe" to brew better at colder temperatures. Also, "A technological innovation enables Iced Coffee K-Cup® packs to be packed with more coffee in order to deliver optimal flavor when brewed over ice". Ohhhhhh, nice one technology! Now you know that this type of iced coffee is technological and you can feel smart while drinking it.

Back to my bike ride. I pulled a U-turn and started thinking. First I thought about Ironman triathlons then promptly crashed myself out as punishment for letting my mind think about that. My thoughts were that it must be very strenuous to do the out-and-back loops like they do in the runs and the rides and sometimes the swims. By strenuous, I mean mentally strenuous. This is because you must keep your game face at ALL TIMES. You do not want to let your competition see you suffer- if you are heading back after a turnaround and you see your next closest competitor, you can't show any strain on your face. This must be so stressful!

So as I prepared to intersect with my teammates, I locked my face in the most neutral look possible. I held my breath for twenty minutes, my eyes staring lifelessly straight ahead. My arms relaxed. Also important, I was flexing my legs as hard as I could with each pedal stroke. It is important to be extra veiny and yoked when intimidating your teammates on a training ride. I bit my cheeks inwards to make my face look as sunken and skinny as possible. I stopped to fill up my bottles so it looked as if I hadn't drank anything over the course of the one hour tempo interval. I showered in some bayou campsite. I gelled my hair so that as soon as the ride was over I could take my helmet off and the intimidation would increase. I kept riding. I never found my teammates?

What does it mean when in attempts at intimidation you get lost? It must mean that you are so intimidating that you weren't actually the one that got lost, but it was your teammates who got lost because they were so intimidated by your future intimidatedness. That must be it.

Eventually I found my friend-nemesi and finished the ride with them. This included another slurpee stop. Unfortunately, Kennett and I didn't bring wallets because we have been heat acclimating and everyone knows that carrying cash in your pockets cools you down.

Cash=Diamonds=Ice=Vanilla Ice=White Rapper=Danny Heeley

Logan bravely stepped up. He's only 15 you know, and he is always searching for ways to prove himself as an adult. He volunteered to buy KP and my slurpees. What a hero. He then proceeded to get to the register and realize that he also didn't bring a wallet. So thanks Jon for buying me a slurpee!

I'll talk about bike racing at some point, but I'll leave you with my last way of intimidating my friends before bike racing.

Please note. Me front row. Very calm. Kennett Pete behind me, touching himself all weird. No composure. I had to get in his head somehow. So I missed clipping into my pedal. I went into the first corner about 8th wheel or so. Kennett went into the first corner about 90th wheel. Take that!

I'll talk about bike racing when I do another bike race tomorrow. I'll ruin it for you, I didn't win the crit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

Cold showers, red flavored slurpees, and Cajun turkey breast slices. I like these things. They are nice and while using those things together you have a really messy experience. Don't get me wrong- I'm a huge proponent of consuming beverages in the shower. So that part is ok. But have you ever tried eating sliced turkey from Krogers in the shower? The seasoning falls off the ends and instead of Cajun turkey breast slices you have Cajun seasoned bath water. Not to get too descriptive, but Kennett then cooked soup in the Cajun water. Something is seriously wrong with _____________.

Let me change the subject.

Today Kennett got his bike ran over in the garage. It was ok though because the wheel that was ran over was a COLE Rollen clincher which are the strongest wheels that Cole has made. They are so strong (temporary side note. Kennett just started writing a blog so I'm not sure if we are racing yet to post, but let's just assume that we aren't) that a car hit them and they were not even out of true! Some of you less aware readers might assume that those last sentences were a major sponsor plug. Well you are WRONG. Let me introduce you to our new ish-

Mercury Wheels. Slurpees. Speed.

You might be wondering "Ian, why did you need a slurpee?'. Because it was hot and I always need a slurpee. Here are some photos from our ride today. We accidentally rode on gravel for some of it. (Perhaps extreme foreshadowing? A trend? I had good legs at Battenkill after doing pre-race rides on gravel roads....) Following trends of our lives, I flatted, Steve attacked because he has "cross skills", and Kennett broke his bike in half. One of those things is a joke. Here are some more jokes!
  • Ian Crane
    35 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • yes
    • i'm on a diet
  • Kennett Peterson
    35 minutes ago
    Kennett Peterson
    • if I go in there with loose shoes do you think they'll take care of the laces for me??
    • as in tie them
    • because they're a thai food place
    • get it
  • Ian Crane
    34 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • if your shoes are food
    • they only Thai food
  • Kennett Peterson
    34 minutes ago
    Kennett Peterson
    • I'll buyu some water mockans at the buyu
  • Ian Crane
    34 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • steve your turn
  • Kennett Peterson
    34 minutes ago
    Kennett Peterson
    • mockasens
  • Ian Crane
    33 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • steve's shoes are Thai-knee
  • Kennett Peterson
    33 minutes ago
    Kennett Peterson
    • lol
    • col
  • Ian Crane
    33 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • Steve you need to thai harder with your comebacks
  • Steve Fisher
    32 minutes ago
    Steve Fisher
    • sorry, a man was talking to me with a southern accent
    • i had to focus
  • Ian Crane
    31 minutes ago
    Ian Crane
    • you were all Thai'd up you could say?
  • Steve Fisher
    31 minutes ago
    Steve Fisher
    • haha yes
  • Kennett Peterson
    31 minutes ago
    Kennett Peterson
    • yeah, i think mike thaison must have bit steve's ear off so he couldn't hear the joke

We're still waiting for Steve to play along also. You might be wondering if Kennett and I are sitting next to each other, facebook chatting Steve who is at another house. I'll let you keep wondering.

Here are those pictures I was talking about-

Part of the "Making Steve look extra little" novel that I'm writing. This is page 58
Page 59

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE GARMIN %)) (CAN"T BE BOTHERED TO LET GO OF THE SHIFT BUTTON BECAUSE I"M TRYING TO SOUND EXCITED BUT NOW I"M SOUNDING ANGRY THIS IS NOT MY INTENT BUT FOR THE SAKE OF UNDERSTANDING THE GARMIN FIVE HUNDRED ) can be used for maps also??? Who knew? Certainly not me. So KPburritos mapped a ride on mapmyride and I garmind a ride on garminmyride and we were off. This is new territory for me and I wish that I had this knowledge while in California this winter or when I tried to get lost in Bellingham. Once again proving that I learn more on the streets than in the classroom.

Speaking of the streets, I'd like to end by doing an analysis of the lyrics of a song that encompasses the heart of the airport that we flew into.

The song is called "Welcome to Atlanta" and it's by Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, and some other dudes probably. Another side note, the TSA lady in Seattle was and elderly Grandma looking lady named Dood and I laughed. There is a small chance that her name was Dodd and the d's just looked like o's but this is only speculation. Back to rap music. Here are my favorite stanzas and couplets:

"Back to the mackin' and jackin' the clothes, adolescent packin a fo'
A knock on the do', who is it?
I would happen to know, the one with the flow
Who did it?, it was me I suppose"

Here, Ludacris eloquently describes how he steals clothing from stores while trying to acquire women. He does this by carrying a gun. He knocks on the door to someone who doesn't recognize his appearance, but he is willing to share his identity because, well, he's got flow.

"Im allergic to 'doc prescribed antihistamines"

This is quite straight-forward. Thanks to Luda's honesty, we now know of his unfortunate allergies to medicines used to treat common colds and allergies.

"Oink Oink, Pig Pig, do away with the pork"

Uh. Luda' references pig twice. By doing so, he suggests that the first definition is the "police", while the second is a delicious food that you might find at a fast-food chain in Georgia. Welcome to Atlanta. He doesn't like the police, but he loves ham! Happy Holidayz.

"Im the MBP, Most Ballernous Player
Make my own rules, b**ch call me the mayor"

Thankfully, Jermaine Dupri takes over to bring a little more clarity to the town of Atlanta. He takes a commonly used and known phrase (MVP) and adds his own unique flare to it. Thanks to his creation of an Acronym, he also has the power to create words. He introduces us to "ballernous" then makes it quite clear that as Mayor of Atlanta, he can do what he wants. As you can see in this picture, actual Mayor Shirley Franklin is somewhat confused by the thought of J-D running the town. Oh well.

"Saturday, is off the heezy fo' sheezy, you can find me up in one-tweezy
Sunday, is when i get my sleepin'
Cause on Monday we be at it again, Holla!"

Saturday's are great! But because Dupri hangs out in room 120 often, he needs to sleep for much of Sunday. But hellooooooo, Monday is party day again!

Unfortunately I can't relate too much, because I race the Nationals crit on Friday and the road race on Sunday.  So I won't be sleeping in Sunday.

I WON THE RACE AGAINST KENNETT. The one that wasn't actually happening. But really was.  

Wait, nevermind. While typing that Kennett posted his blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Georgia Countdown

Hello my charming friends-

Let me start with the basics. In 1732 James Oglethorpe had enough. He made Georgia into a state. And then in 1861 the Civil War happened, in 1906 San Francisco had a huge earthquake, and in 2000 one of James Oglethorpe's distant relatives (Ian Thorpe) was the most successful athlete at the Olympic Games. The Thorpedo won everything he could get his flippers on and was quite successful. I'm convinced that this was extreme foreshadowing, let me explain:

     - James Oglethorpe founds GEORGIA
     - Stuff happens
     - James Oglethorpe's sons daughters son son changes the family name to fit in at poker night
     - Ian Thorpe wins lots
     - My name is IAN and I am racing in GEORGIA


For those of you who have been my friends longer, you'll remember that Georgia last year was an interesting trip for all of us. The bike races were decent, the life was warm, and our accommodations were homely. Since I have all of this Georgia experience, I had a better idea on how I could prepare for Nationals. Which I have not told you yet is this weekend. In Augusta, Georgia. Here is the weather forecast!

When I said here is the weather forecast, I meant here is the weather forecast from Afghanistan. But Georgia weather is pretty close to that! Meanwhile, Sammamish gives me 58 and cloudy.

So far you have learned that it is warm in Georgia, I've been there before, and my namestealer's distant relative founded Georgia. Maybe you also learned about when the San Fran earthquake was. You're welcome students.

Ways That I Prepared for Nationals
By Ian Crane

-Heat training! Science proves lots of things. Like the density of Mercury and the boiling point of  orange juice. It also proves that people who live in cold climates like Alaska, Greenland, and Washington get confused when they try and practice biking in warm/humid climates like Georgia and the Gobi Desert. Science also proves that you can trick your body into thinking you live in warm places by wearing more clothes. So all week I've been training in leg warmers, undershirt, longsleeve jersey, vest, and wool gloves. It was even 80 at one point during my training week and I was quite warm.

-Training training- I got lots of practice in this week. I had some good rides with David, Steve, and Zach. They all have cross skillz which is lame but I won every single town sign sprint, ever. So there. I also did something shocking with King Lang, and that is ride around on these hills that I didn't know existed. Lang tried to front, but I tied weights onto his bike to slow him down a bit. He then tried to pay for snacks with a 2 dollar bill. So I said danggg you're wily.

-Rihanna- I've been listening to Rihanna while riding because, yeah. Her Caribbean vocal tones make me think that I'm in a warmer environment than I really am so that I can adapt. She also helps me remember that sticks and stones can break my bones, but heat and humidity excite me.

-Denzel Washington movies- In the past two days I've watched two Denzel movies. Inside Man and Safe House. I've seen Inside Man about 15 times and it's my favorite, and Safe House was a first time viewing for me. I've categorized these activities as Nationals preparation because I learn how to wrap my mind around things. ALSO these activities mean I am sitting on the couch resting.


-Watching this guy-


Just saying. HEY YOOOUUUU GUYSSSSSSSSSS. (If that went right past your head, I'm saying that Peter Sagan looks like Sloth from the Goonies which explains his strength. Break the chains like Sloth reaching for a Baby Ruth). Man, the Goonies is such a good movie.

Tomorrow I leave on an aero-plane. I haven't forgotten to start packing, I just haven't started. But when I do, I'll remember my tank tops to keep in my bag while I walk around shirtless.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hey Other Races- Get on Tulsa Tough's Level

Last year Tulsa Tough was the best promoted race that I had ever been to. This year was better. Tim and the crew at Tulsa Tough do an incredible job of putting on a truly under-attended event. All fields should sell out for this race- it should be on everyone's calendars. What separates Tulsa Tough from other races? Why is it so good?

-Prize list: Of course a huge draw for this race is its huge prize list. There is A LOT of money for each day of racing, but that's not really unique. What really separates Tulsa Tough from other races is focus on the overall weekend as well as just daily results. After three races, an omnium winner is crowned. Here is where it gets really cool. Within that overall, there is also a U-23 overall.

-Three great races: Often times races happen in random towns that are unpopulated. It makes sense: Those roads are much easier to close (less traffic). Directly proportionate to ease of road closure comes lack of spectator support. The further you are away from people, the less people that come to your race. Weird, right? Tulsa Tough has two races in the heart of downtown and one course at a popular city park.  Each day is unique in its own sense: Day 1 has lots of corners and a "random" firework show. Day 2 has less corners, flows well, and is a HARD course. Day 3 has Crybaby Hill. More on that later.

-Huge crowds: I think that this year had two times as many spectators as last year. Very enthusiastic and very loud. I broke a spoke on day 2 and was slowly making my way to the pit when I got to ride quite slowly through the 4-deep crowd on the far back side of the course. Things were not quiet. Throughout the course of the weekend there were lots of post-race high-fives given and David even got to sign his first autograph for a kid. Apologies to the kid who asked me for an autograph after finishing day 3 when I was dripping with a combination of sweat, water, and beer (crybaby hill...)- I'm sorry that your binder has a huge hand shaped wet spot on it now.

-Crybaby Hill: The best and most unique feature of Tulsa Tough. This is reason alone to come race. Pictures say it better, so here you go. I grabbed four $1 bills over the course of the race and the saddest moment for me was when I missed the $5 bill four consecutive laps in a row.

                       (photos from Cycling Illustrated- a newer website that is really good. Obviously)

-Good website: Simple- but course maps, race times, previous years results, etc.

-Prompt: Races never delayed, races exact length advertised. Almost to the second.

-Little things: Swimming pools of bottles of ice water; helpful volunteers and police officers; Tulsa Tough custom banners clearly marking registration, prize pick up, medical, etc ; 50% off at local coffee house (do you realize how good of a deal %50 off is??) ; registration bag with useful things (Free t-shirt, toothbrush [which Danny really, really needed], NOW bars etc) ; A large fold-out section in the paper advertising the race and each course ; Welcome signs at airport.

- Genuine desire to improve: After day 3, we were asked by three different people what we thought of the race and what we thought needed to be improved. A lot of effort goes into the party on Crybaby Hill and they want to make sure that the racers appreciate it. I couldn't say it enough- We do.

-Money on site: Our checks are in our hands. Today. I'm not waiting for anything to come in the mail in anywhere from 1 week to 8 months.

- Huge primes for women: This applies to me in no way whatsoever. Not at all. The women had primes for $1,700 , $1,600, and $1,000. Our biggest prime was $500. The women had a much smaller purse, but the race advertised so well for the crowd primes that their primes were huge. By advertised, I mean that they even had a paypal option on the website to donate to those primes. The equal payout argument (That men and women's races should have the same payout) is a pretty regularly debated topic. I'm not going to go into my opinions, but I think that the large primes for the women are a really strong addition to this race. That I in no way can win. NO FAIR!

- Live streaming / jumbo screens: Most NCC crits have some form of live streaming on the web. Tulsa steps it up a notch with several Jumbotron screens spread out throughout the course. That means that those drunk people on the far back corner of the course can see what is happening at the front of the course- therefore being especially prepared for heckling. The video feed was somewhat good and somewhat bad for me this weekend.


       OR, you do good, you get announced on the feed. You go in breakaway, you get announced.
       Then people watching can be like "Dang, that guy is chill".

       Bad: I went way too deep in the early half of the race Sunday. Payed for it dearly as I spent the
    rest  of the race as the last guy in the group. 30+ minutes of being one of the last guys in the    
    pack and then getting dropped with 2 laps to go means that you are VERY VISIBLE. My mom
    said she got to see me lots! This is the equivalent of the walk of shame.

So everyone go race Tulsa next year. I did not think that it was possible to be better than last year, and it was. Who knows what next year will bring, but I am expecting that it will involve Polar bears serving us chilled cokes in bottles after every race.

Brief Race reports:

Day 1: Eight corners, fireworks the last ten minutes, and I held down 50th wheel with lots of very failed attempts to move up. That is all. Danny and Steve rode well, and David was unfortunately taken out (probably by Steve) and couldn't finish. We then rode rapidly trying to find food at a late hour. Turns out that not much is open at 10:38 at night in Tulsa, but we found a build your own stir-fry place. Here is where things get fun- you get to choose your quantities on everything.  Kennett would have loved this place. David made a chicken mountain that we all admired. Much like with my race, I also yearned for more with my meal. I just did not build or season well. I felt like this guy in the race:

Day 2: Six corners, and a small rise that required some hard pedaling. Much better day for me. Rode hard, made sure Danny rode in the wind as much as possible, and found Steve in the last 10 laps. He was towing me up near the front and once again on the last lap of the crit I got to dodge crashing people. Then I got 63rd! Danny had another good finish. Because of this, I stopped shaving immediately and will have a mustache by nationals. A blonde invisible one. We got back to our house at 10:40. Borrowed our hosts car and lasered in on the same stir-fry restaurant. We got there three minutes before close and.... MADE PERFECT MEALS!

Day 3: Four corners, Crybaby hill. During the day so very hot. I drank four bottles plus whatever didn't get poured on me after I stole bottles from random feeders. Bridged to an early really large significant looking breakaway and rode hard in it for many stacks of laps. Then for some reason I was very tired and dangled the rest of the race.