Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's early morning and Roy and I are just hanging out and starting our day. I'm all ready packed up and ready to start my journey home. Duty calls and I have to take care of business early Monday morning. It's a bummer as I'd really like to be able to see the final stage of the race and be there for the team. But, that's life and the race has gone well up to this point. 

I'll give you a quick recap of yesterdays stage. The Menonomie Road race is 101 hilly miles of back country roads in Wisconsin. Temps were around 76 and it was humid. The race started and Adam and Colton got in the first move of the day. 12 riders were in the break and they soon rolled out to a significant gap. From my view point this is where the day started getting a little crazy. Since we had riders in the break and the field we were jumping back and forth between the two feeding and relaying information. Pushing the limits of our little Ford rental car became the order of the day. 

About the 50 mile mark the field suddenly made a move to bring the break back and soon the field was all back together. It didn't take long before another break formed and this time Heath was in it and this one looked like it was going to stick. The time gap kept growing and soon I got a lesson on calculating where the other riders were on the GC in relation to Heath. All while filling bottles, feeding riders, and listening to a barely functioning race radio (that's a whole story in itself).

In the end the break stuck and Heath was 12th. He made a big jump up the GC.

Time to get moving. I have to finish prepping the bikes before I load them back into the trailer. Here's the results from yesterday and where the guys stand overall. I think there's a link to today's live coverage on

12th Heath
29th Alberto
30th Nate
80th Colton
81st Adam

6th  Heath @:37
48th Nate  @13:43
50th Alberto @14:28
74th Colton @39:23
80th Adam @57:36

Photos courtesy of Matthew Moses/ Moses Images

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Up early today after another late night getting back to the house. Yesterdays race, the Uptown Criterium start time was 7:50PM so by time we pack up, eat, and drive......well you get the picture. From my point of view the race went pretty well. Even though 4 of our 6 riders got caught up in a crash nobody got hurt and there was no damage to the bikes. I does make your heart skip a beat when you hear there was a big crash on the back side of the course. You just have to wait for the field to come around and see who's left. I started prepping for wheel/bike changes as the field came into sight but everybody went to pit 2 and our guys were OK. The rest of the race was clean for us with no other incidents.

Uptown Results:
Alberto 17th
Zach      22nd
Nate      43rd
Heath    46th
Adam    74th
Colton    79th

Heath 19th @:51
Zach   21st @1:00
Nate    56th@4:23
Alberto 59th@5:08
Colton   64th@5:38
Adam    80th@23:42

So today is a much earlier start for the 101 mile Menomonie Road Race. Leaving the house at 10:30am for a 1:30pm race. This is traditionally where the General Classification really shakes out the contenders for the win. At the moment it raining but it's supposed to clear off for the race. Hope so, rain makes for a pretty hectic day in the caravan. Here's some pictures from yesterday.

Loaded a ready to roll

Gus and Kansas native/cycling legend Scott Moninger

I using this super cool chain guide from Park Tool. the roller can move as shift the derailleur.

Zach was making friends with some the local kids before the race.

Sometimes it's tough to find food at 10pm. We ended up in a Fusion Bar/restaurant.

Zach attempting to bridge up to the break. So close.....

Alberto is so excited to race.
That's it for today, time to get to work!

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's a nice quiet morning here in Minneapolis. It's just Roy the dog and myself sipping coffee (Roy chose not to partake) and catching up on the computer. Today is going to start out slow and then finish with a rush. The plan is to get the team out for a ride this morning at 10:30 and then race tonight at 7:50PM. That means it will be another late night by time we race, feed the guys, and drive back home. The race is 40 laps so it will be fast and furious the whole time.

Today my job is to get the bikes out this morning and wash/inspect the bikes before they ride(I get to ride too!!!). After the ride there a few mechanical issues I need to look at before we load the trailer up and leave for the race. Once we arrive at the race I'll set up the tent and chairs, unload and prep bikes, get spare bikes and wheels to the wheel pit, and then it's race time! Once the race is over I load it all up and look for food!

Heath attacking with 2 to go on the finishing circuits.

One of my jobs during a road stage is to write down information as it comes over race radio. I have a rider list so I can tell  our director who's scoring points in the KOM or Sprint competitions. We also get the numbers of riders in the break so we can relay information to our riders when they come back to the car for bottles.

Alberto was right on the front of the group on the finishing circuits. Elevate is in the red helmets with blue/black kits.

My friend Joe Schmalz is racing here for his team Hincapie Racing. He crashed in yesterdays criterium and lost a ton of time so his only goal is to win a stage. He made a valiant effort today but came up short.

My view from the back seat of the car rolling along in the caravan.

Gus studying the course pre-meeting

Gustavo Carrillo is our Director for the race. He's been in the bike racing world as long as myself. We can talk about the old days when I first started racing. He's been directing teams for quite a while and works with USA Cycling, the Columbian National team, and many others. Needless to say, I'm learning a few new tricks.

Well that's what I have for today, time to get to work. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

 It's been a while since I've posted but I've been lacking in material so what can I say. The road season has been a bust so I took a little time off before prep for the cross season starts. I'm finishing up my break from riding by wrenching for the @ElevateCycling Team at the North Star Grand Prix. Yesterday was Day 1, a double stage day with a TT in the morning and a criterium in the evening. It was a long day with a 6am wake up call, race and go back to the house. Then the Criterium start time was 7:45,  so we had to reload, reset, and race. After the race we had to find some food, finally arriving back home at the host house around 11pm. Overall it was a good day as the guys all rode well and we came home with skin and bikes intact.

Today is the Cannon Falls Road Race. 95 hilly miles for the guys and 3 hours or so for me riding in the caravan. If you've watched the Tour deFrance you've seen the race caravan. For the mechanic it can be hours of boredom rolling down the road at 25-30 mph, followed by 30 second of chaos when your car gets a call over race radio. Hopefully we won't have much action but who knows, I'll let you know tomorrow. Gotta go now. Time to look over the bikes and prep bottles for today's stage.
Sweet service course at our host house

Pre-race TT Meeting

Hanging with Roy

Heath and Gus discussing strategy for the criterium.

Pre-race team meeting

Post race meeting, need food!

Time to get to work!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I've got a huge cross hangover!

The cross season is over and as I sit at home this morning I finally have time to reflect on what's happened. After breaking my leg/ankle last cross season the spring and summer was spent rebuilding my leg and working to regain fitness. Working with my coach, Adam Mills from Source Endurance we came up with a plan to slowly build up to cross season. There were plenty of doubts but by late summer there were signs that the rebuilding process was working.

After a few races on the road to test the legs I rolled into cross season with no clue as to what would happen. To say that I was a little nervous going to the 1st cross race of the season was a understatement. Would the leg/ankle/knee hold up? What happens if I fall? Those questions were answered in warm up for the 1st race where, as ususal, I crashed. No damage done and I was good to go. That 1st race was a challenge after being off the bike for so long but it proved that I was ready.

The season rolled on with good results and fun trips. Trek CXC Cup was a highlight as we were racing at could be considered our home course right at the Trek headquarters(no pressure there;).

The biggest trip was the Cinci3/Derby City Cup/Jingle Cross trifecta. We raced 3 consecutive weekends with 8 days of racing between the three. Cinci3 was crazy with large, mixed fields. Starting buried in the start grid was a new experience for me and it was pretty fun. Every day I had no idea how I placed in my category until they posted results. Derby City Cup was awesome as usual, course design is second to none there. Jingle Cross was crazy, Friday nights race/party was wild and the with course changes every day the racing was great.
After Jingle Cross I took a few weeks to just train and then drove up to Des Moines for the Iowa State Championships. The race was going pretty well until a late race crash injured my knee. I got up and finished but the swelling started immediately after the race. A few days rest and it was time to test the knee out at the Missouri State Championships. The knee was working OK so it was time to train for the final push for the end of the season.

The Christmas week races here in Kansas City are pretty low key but are still good prep for Nationals. It was even better for me as the Elite race was at 2:30, the same time as my race at Nationals. Doing the elite race helped me fine tune my body to race later in the day as opposed to racing the earlier Masters race. Crashing in all 3 races and hurting my good knee didn't help the confidence but I could tell I was fit.

All the preparation was done and it was time for Cross Nationals in Austin, TX. All the excitement to race in warn weather was immediately crushed by the extended forecast of  rain and cold. When we arrived at the course we found a pretty balanced course but one that favored my style of riding.     Pre-riding the course was going well until I crashed on a hot lap. I hit a bermed corner fast only to have the berm blow out slamming me to the ground head first. Arriving back at the truck looking a little stunned and with a broken helmet and shifter had the guys a little worried. The headache faded pretty quickly and SRAM took my bike and replaced the shifter so it was all good.

Race day came and after riding the course it was a waiting game till race time. It's kind of funny that I climbed into the sprinter, cranked up the heater, and dozed off for a while before I started warming up. It didn't take long to get into race mode once I started warming up and I was ready to go.

The plan for the race was to start in the top 5, but half way to the first turn I was sitting 3 wheel and felt the leaders slow down. Rather than chance getting swarmed I took the lead. To my surprise I had a small gap over the rest of the field by pit 1 so I hit the gas. After 2 laps the lead was up to 30 sec or so when I crashed bending the derailleur hanger and pushing the shifter in. I was up quick and carefully rode to the pit to change bikes. A perfect exchange from Mark and MattO had me on my way and the rest of the race was smooth but hardly mistake free. I'm not one back off the pace until the end but by the last lap  I was still riding my pace but making sure I made it to the finish.

I really can't describe the feeling of winning a National Championship. I had confidence that I could do it before the race, but after the race it's really hard to believe that it actually happened. By far the best part was getting back to van and calling Nancy to tell her I won! I've replayed the race a million times in my head and while it wasn't the perfect race it was pretty close. There are a few things that really stand out from that day.

The number of people cheering me on was astounding! Everywhere on the course people were cheering me on and for that I will be eternally grateful.

The TREK family is the best and our support is second to none. From the CXC crew, the factory guys, and MattO, John from Trek Factory Racing, and of course Mark and Katie. We all race but there is all ways somebody there to help from the start line, to the pits, and at the finish.

The traveling circus that follows the cyclocross circuit across the country is family. I know people from all over the county and even though we don't see each other for 7 months, when cross season rolls around we are one again. Thanks for the cheers and encouragement.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to three guys that make it possible to do what I do. Matt Shriver and Mark Savery handle so many details that I would miss just to get to the races. I would not of won without your support, Adam Mills from Source Endurance has been my coach for a number of years and knows me well. He had a year long plan to bring me to Nationals in peak form. To say the plan worked would be an understatement. Thanks guys!

A huge that Thank you to my sponsors, Trek, Sram, Bontager, Honey Stinger and Oakley.

So that's a wrap on the cross season, I can't wait for August when we start it all over again!

***Photo Credits: I've got none except Nikki Cyp from one2go. If you see one of your pictures, thank you , it's awesome. Let me know and I can slip a credit in there!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March snow

Today is March 2nd as I look outside it's snowing like crazy. Normally that would bum me out but since I can't ride outside it's not so bad. We can you use the moisture around here anyway since Kansas City is still behind on precipitation for the year. Even though the weather is up and down the spring races have started both here and in Europe. I watched Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussel Kuurne this weekend and the races were great. The streaming video quality was good and racing outstanding. After that I watched the Mellow Johhnys MTB race from Austin, TX. Unforunately that coverage was not so good but the commentary was pretty good. I know a few people racing but I only saw them a few times and I kinda bugged out after a while. I hope they get it together for the next race in a few weeks. In KC the Spring Fling went off Saturday before the weather went totally away. No snow but from the pictures I've seen it looks like it was really cold. Hopefully the weather will start to get better once we get past this block of cold weather.

Emily Batty at the Mellow Johnny's race. Cold was not a problem there, nearly 90 degrees. 

This is probably my favorite picture from the cross season. I think the moto berm action makes me wish I could ride that course.

The Bissel Develepoment Team at the start of their training Camp. Nice looking bikes and kits.

My friend Logan wrote a little something about bike racers on his blog. It's pretty good, you should read it. In gist of it is, as bike racers we are really all just a bunch of folks out riding bikes. Some are better at it than others but no matter how fast you are, there will come a point when someone will come along that is faster. What it takes to be the best involves so many factors that have to come together all at the same time. And that time never lasts that long. I know, I've been there in motocross and cycling. A time when you are fast, smooth, and nearly unbeatable. It's awesome, and then "poof", it's gone. As Logan said, the great ones figure it out. They are driven and they have the ability to simplify their lives to the basics and get the job done.

That's not my life and that's ok. I'm happy to compete with the guys my age and if I can hold my own in a Pro 1-2 field and help out my teammates that's even better. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Time really flies when your not on any type of training plan. It seems like yesterday that I was out in Boulder for Cross Nationals but it was really over a month ago. Between Nationals and now the weathers been a little rough, super cold with a fair amount of snow. Not that it mattered to me. I'm still not cleared to ride outside so I've been driving the van everywhere. Two more weeks until I see the Doc and see how the bones are looking. The last visit the breaks in the ankle bones were looking pretty good, the tibia, not so good. It's healing but it's a long slow process due to the location of the break and how it was broken. Until then I'll keep riding the trainer and trying to get more strength back.

In the past month I've been checking out how spring training camps have become the big thing for amature teams. I can see how it would work for the Pro's and some elite amature teams but for most of us it's more like having fun riding with your buddies at a cool location. Right about now I'd love to go just about anywhere that's warm.

The Velotek guys did a camp in Arkansas
Sven on the Boone

Tons of Pro's go to Arizona
Katie finishing off her season in Japan.

Eli got the chance to go to the Kansas State Capitol on be a legislative page for a day. Cool experience for the kids.

Had the joy to hang with Eli's 6th grade Valentines Day party. Since it's their last year in elementary school they got to have it in a bowling alley!

Love this video, so funny!

Well, Cyclocross season is officially over. Supercross, NHRA, and Nascar seasons have all started so at least I have something to watch while the weather is crappy. Now to get my legs back so I can do a little mtb/road racing this summer.