Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Negative split racing, Texas style

Where to start, I'm so tired I really can't think straight so let's go with what happened after last Saturdays race. To start off you may wonder, what is Negative Split Racing? It's when you have a number of races in a row and the time between them gets progressively shorter with every race. Recovery is big in endurance sports and the less time between races can become an issue pretty quick. Luck for us that it wasn't as short after Friday night for the rest of the races. That said, I never recovered from the hospital run on Friday night. Two hours of sleep effectively ended any hope of a stellar weekend. Anyway, that's how it goes, you just have to roll with it and do the best that you can. So on to the races.....

Sundays race was on the other side of Dallas so we had to get up bright and early and head for the race. In Texas the Pro-1 and 2-3 are not the featured or final race on the schedule like in the Midwest, but the 2nd or 3rd event of the day, hence the 6am wake up call. I was watching the Pro-1 race warming up before our race and by time we got ready to race it was getting hot. Once again it was really windy so it felt a little like having your blow dryer turned on high and blowing into your face. The course was a mile circuit with a roundabout and featured 2 corners that had some raised lane markers in them. Overall not a bad course. In the race our guys rode well but in the end we just missed getting the top result we were looking for.

Monday we were up early again and this time the 2-3 race was the 2nd race of the day and the Pro-1 race after. The race course was in the Texas State fairgrounds right next to the Cotton Bowl. Kinda nice to see the place since I've seen it so many times on TV following Nebraska football. The course was a mile long rectangular 4 corner crit. Not very exciting unless you were in the Masters race when the sprinklers went off and soaked the last corner during the race. Once again the team was aggressive in the races with someone in every break. In the 2-3 race it was Jason, Jack Funk, and I. It was our best race of the weekend as we covered every break and made sure we were represented every time guys went up the road. In the end it worked out with Jason getting away in a break of 5. He ended up 4th in the end with Jack taking 2nd in the field sprint for 7th. I ended up somewhere in the top 15. I wish I could say that I had more information on the Pro-1 race but we left early. As we left Colton was off the front in a 5 rider group that included 2 Elbowz guys, ouch.

Jason and I made good time and got home pretty early Monday night so on Tuesday I figured I would do the the Tue Worlds training crit since it was going to be my only chance to ride. After 4 days of racing I was pretty tired but since it was a recovery day I was planning to just sit in all night. That plan went out the window when Shadd went off the front halfway through the race. I decided to try and bridge up to him. I was a bit sluggish on the jump but got a gap and started to close pretty fast. It was about then that I remembered that I had been racing and had tired legs and went back to the field. The rest of the night I just goofed around just testing the legs and then shutting it down.

I had Jobro and Curly with me and when they called out 3 laps to go JoBro was yelling something at me. In my mind it was 3 to go, 2 to go. In reality he thought his guitar lesson was at 7pm and was freaking out, was 7pm. So he was yelling that it was 7pm and we needed to go. I finally figured it out at 2 to go so I punched it and tried to get the race over as soon as possible. It was funny to see the look of relief on his face when I told him the his lesson was at 7:30. Then it was my turn to be concerned as I now had 20 minutes to strip down and drive to his lesson. In the end it all worked out and we arrived with 3 minutes to spare.

Today I am just crushed. Another sleepless night due to storms  and I'm a zombie. To add to my exhausted state is the fact that this week is the time where school is out and summer camp has not begun. I'm trying to get into the shop early so I can knock out my work and get home by lunch time. So far it's been good but I'll need to get to bed while it's still light out to have any hope of catching up on my sleep. Fat chance of that happening. Enough of the whining.

Let's see what I have for pictures from the weekend.....

Super sweet host housing last weekend. I can't say thank you enough to Adam's mom and husband for everything they did for us. Fabulous cooking with space to spread out and even a pool. I'll spare you any pictures of skinny fishbelly bike racers, not a pretty sight. Instead I'll give you the gang hanging out watching tv.

Our host housing was near this lake and we drove by it everyday. It's called Lake Ray Hubbard and I just could not get over how big it is. That's a 8 lane interstate running down one part of the lake.

The lighting at the Bike the Bricks left the course just a bit dark. The lights looked like spaceships instead of the stadium lights you usually see at a night race.

Team meeting before the race, kind of funny to have a meeting for 2 different races at once.

Colton drilling it. He worked hard all weekend to try and get into breaks. A few times it worked and resulted in top 10 finishes. He's getting faster all the time. Can't wait for Tulsa Tough when we get Nemo back from his injuries and the whole team will be there.

So now it's time for a rest week. While most of the team is heading to Oklahoma City next weekend. I'm going to be hanging out at home while Mathgeek heads for Lincoln to hang out with some friends. Next up for me is Tulsa Tough in 2 weeks!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bike the Bricks

What a weird race. The day started off OK with Jason and I heading out for the 8 hr drive from KC to McKinney Texas. The drive went by pretty fast and we arrived in plenty of time to get ready to race. Our first issue was that there really wasn't any place to get food before we raced. Plenty of restaurants around, just nothing we could eat before race time. So we got some coffee and muffins and got ready to race. The race it self is set up different from what we are used to. For whatever reason the Pro-1 race was run before the 2-3 race. On top of that the start time was 10:10pm, I think that is the latest I've ever started a race in all the years I've been racing. So we get started and I was pretty far back in the field. It took a few laps but the pace slowed and I started to work my way to the front. Unfortunately, there was a crash near the front of the race and as I skirted around the pile of bikes and bodies  I see Logan trying to get up. I asked him if he was OK and he nodded so I kept going. A few laps later I was near the front when the bell rang for a prime lap and I heard Logan say that he was on my wheel. With a half a lap to go I hit the front and led him out for the sprint. He won it and we were off and running.

This is where it gets a little strange. I was floating around the field and occasionally I would see Jack(Jack Funk is guest riding for Mercy this weekend) but Logan had disappeared. With about 8 laps to go there were 2 riders aray and I thought Adam told me Logan was up the road. In the end it was actually Jack but in any case I spent 3 laps blocking at the front and was totally gassed for the end of the race. It was a bummer but that's the way it goes. After the race Jason and I rolled around a lap or 2 before we went back to the van.

To my surprise when I got there the van was gone. I figured it got towed but instead it had been used to take Logan to the hospital. I guess he hit his head in the crash and started to get dizzy later in the race. They said that he was totally disoriented when he got to the car so they took him to the medics on site and then decided to transport him to the hospital.

So here I am, sitting in the waiting room at the hospital while the necessary tests are done. It's currently 1:30 in the morning and I doubt we will be leaving any time soon. Sure glad we race early tomorrow. Looks like I'll be switching from the 2-3  to the Pro 1-2 race tomorrow so I can race a few hours later.

I am sooooooo tired right now.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tour de Grove, Day 2

The Dutchtown Classic was the last stop on the 3 day race series in St. Louis last weekend. After so good results in the last 2 days the cat-2 part of the team was looking for another top 5 result. Going in both Jason and I were riding pretty well but Logan was peaking at just the right time. The boy was going fast and it was time to get him some more upgrade points and move him up to a cat-1. Race time came and the race started off well. I was patrolling the front of the field looking to pull back any break that looked dangerous while Logan hung back to save energy. Most of the race went according to plan and in the end the field was all together with 3 laps to go. Unfortunately this is where our plan began to unravel. With 3 to go I was in the top 10 looking for my teammates and specifically Logan. He is our sprinter and it was time to go to work. Problem was I didn't know where he was so with 1 lap to go I was holding my position in the top 10 while waiting for him to show up. The part that really irritates me is that for the last half a lap Logan was on my wheel and I just didn't know it. Just a simple miscommunication but that was all it took, a few seconds of hesitation and I got caught behind a rider as the group swarmed around the outside. Lucky for us Logan got to the front just in time to ride the swarm to the front of the group. At that point I was trapped somewhere in the top 20 and all I could do is watch as Logan fought it out the last half lap at the front. Bad went to worse when I came around the last corner and saw bodies and bikes on the ground in front of me. So much for a good finish for me but Logan stilled pulled out a 4th.

Overall it was a great weekend for the crew that was racing the 2-3 race. Good results and and great teamwork. Good Times!

We left before the Pro-1 race started but the thought that it was going to resemble a Nascar race was somewhat true. I heard that there were a few crashes once again. Zach may of actually made it through a race and finished in the top 20.

Ben from Tradewind and I trying to get away early in the race.

Logan and I on the line, Someone looks a little stressed, the other one, not so much.

Not feeling great but not too bad for the last day of 3.

This week is a week off for training and then it's off to Texas for 4 days of racing over Memorial day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

MoPro Weekend Day 1-2

What a difference a year makes. Last year we came to this race and it rained all weekend, the roads the courses were on were terrible, and it was cold!This year it's been great. The weather could not be better and the city had repaved some of the roads so the courses are much better this year as well.

As for the races, This weekend is on of those times the team is split between two races. Half of the team is racing the 2-3 race and the rest in the Pro-1. It's kind of nice to watch the Pro-1 race for a change since I'm usually in it. But since these races are pulling in the best crit guys in the country I'm fine with watching. The tweet of the day yesterday was, "Watching the Pro-1 race is like watching Nascar at Daytona, everybody is just waiting for the big crash to happen". So far that's the way it's gone, 150 guys in the group with a few laps to go means something is going to happen. Friday night it started with 6 to go and yesterday it was on 1 lap to go.

Friday night we had Jason, Logan, and I in the 2-3 race. Personally I had a terrible race but Jason and Logan were riding well. Near the end of the race Jason got away with a group and I got to the front to block the chase but he was caught with less than 1 lap to go. But the chase strung out the field and Logan was in the perfect spot to sprint and won the race. In the Pro-1 race the guys were looking pretty good near the end of the race when the crashing began. First Colton got held up by a crash with 6 to go and then Zach got caught in a pile-up with 1 lap to go. It's a bummer but none of our guys ended up with any damage bikes or bodies.

Saturday was the Tour de Grove. In the 2-3 race we worked well together and I actually had a pretty good race. Since Logan is sprinting well and trying to get upgrade points we figured it would be best to keep the field together and go for the sprint. So I spent a good portion of the race chasing down breakaway attempts and in the end tried to lead out Logan in the sprint. I got him to the last turn in front of the group but just ran out of gas a little to far out from the finish. He ended up 5th which is still pretty good. In the Pro-1 race both Zach and Colton were active going in break attempts and riding near the front but it was going to come down to a field sprint in the end. With 4 laps to go there was a crash the held up Colton so he took a free lap but was then too far back to move up for the sprint. Zach was in the top 20 with 1 lap to go when the big crash happened. When the group started the last lap there were 100 guys, when they came around for the finish there were around 30, the rest either went down or were held up by the crash. Once again our guys were  lucky and didn't hit the ground but their races were over at that point.

So today is the Dutchtown Classic. Hopefully we will have a little better luck at this one.

here's some Pic's from yesterdays races,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What a weekend

What a crazy weekend. With a week off from racing and traveling we decided that it was a good time to have JoBro's birthday party. His birthday was Wednesday but the real party was Saturday night sleepover. In the  morning I got up with one mission on my mind. Clean the house! Mathgeek was off to do something with a girlfriend for the morning so I figured I would work around the house for a while so the boys would not be home alone for too long. They can handle it but I'm a nervous dad so I can't, at least not yet. Any way..... got a bunch of cleaning done and headed off for a ride. My time frame was a little shorter that what was on my training plan so I ramped up my intensity a bit and got home to start the party. First up was taking JoBro and 3 of his buddies to see the new Avengers movie. They actually let me sit with them so I guess I'm not a geeky dad yet...... After that it was back home for burgers on the grill, cake, and all the rest of the birthday goodies. Then they were pretty much on their own, yep, ever listen to 4, 13 year old boys talk? I did, what a bunch of goof balls, stayed up till 3am alternating between basketball outside and Playstation2 inside. The only thing that stopped them from staying up all night was mathgeek getting tired of them keeping her up all night.

So Sunday I got up and figured I would get out early for a ride. Read the paper, had some coffee, and got my kit the sound of thunder????? Darn, where did that come from? Shortly after that the rain started and the kit came off. The rain started coming down harder and harder so I just waited for the boys to wake up and then helped make breakfast. It was quickly sliding into early afternoon when the rain stopped and I had a chance to get out for a ride. JoBro had a soccer game @6pm so the plan was for me to get out and ride meeting Mathgeek and the boys at the game. Once again the time I had was shorter than my planned ride but I rode a bit harder to get done in time. The whole time I was riding I kept my eye on the weather and it was looking nasty all around me from time to time. I managed to dodge all the rain and rolled into the soccer complex a half hour before game time. Unfortunately they were under a lightning delay and shortly after I arrived they called the game. I thought it was kind of overkill, there was no lightning or rain at the moment, why call the game? Whatever, I debated riding the rest of the way home but it would of been another 30 min and I was baked. So I loaded up my bike in the van and hitched a ride home. Once we got rolling I could see some lightning to the east and the sky was getting darker. At home the rain had started and I thought I could hear the faint sound of a tornado siren!

Flipped on the TV and YIKES! There was a tornado and it actually was not that far away. Watching on the TV we could see the tornado but it didn't last long and soon after the threat was over. Pretty weird that I rode my bike through the same spot where the tornado was about 30 minutes earlier. Pretty crazy. So now I'm sitting here listening to the thunder rumble and watching the lightning flash. Pretty busy weekend that's for sure.

JoBro has grand plans to become a rock star, Should be fun to watch him learn to play.

Next weekend the Mercy boys will be at it again at the Tour de Grove in St. Louis. 3 days of racing and we will have most of the crew together again. Yahoo!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Joe Martin, Stage 4

Last day of the stage race and since Nick and I are out of the race we decided to ride up to Fayettville again. I think we both figured that since we were out of the race we needed to get in some decent training miles and then help the guys at the race. So off we went, we had a sweet route mapped out using Google maps. Training in Arkansas is great and we were having fun riding on back roads with no cars, and well, no houses or much of anything else. Along the way we hit some long descents that reminded me of Colorado and of course long climbs as well. It was all good until we his a super long, fun descent and then rolled up a long climb to find a pavement ends sign. Uh Oh, it was probably 10-20 miles back to any kind of cross road. Lucky for us a car came by just as we entered the gravel, we stopped the car and asked for directions but they were locals and everything they said made no sense at all. I figured the gist of it was that we had about 10 miles of what the locals called gravel roads. To me it looked like they just took a bulldozer and scraped a flat surface through the mountains. Pretty much dirt, a little bit of gravel and tons of small boulders. Kinda challenging to keep on schedule dodging big rocks on skinny tired road bikes. Gotta love my Michelin tires, not a flat between us! Any way, I wish I had taken pictures of some of the stuff we rode because it would of been a challenge on a mountain bike, but in the end we popped out of the gravel on the TT course at Devils Den State Park.

Yea!!!! but now we were way behind schedule and it was time to get on the gas. I finally got reception on my phone and could devise a route that would put us on Highway 71 which is part of the Fridays road race course. This is where something clicked in Nick. He was worried that we wouldn't get back in time to help the guys and after I heard him say,"now I know where we are" it was game on. We blew through a small town at 45mph(in a 25mph zone)and then hit the highway. With the wind at our backs we ramped it up to 30-35mph for the remaining 25 miles in to Fayettville. It was painfull but in the end we made it to the race in plenty of time to help the guys so it was all good.

As for the race, the team rode great and it all looked good for Zach to sprint it out for the win until 3 laps to go. With 4 laps to go there was a crash the split the field but Zach was still in good position and then the next lap only Colton was left in the field. I thought there was a crash but what actually happened is that Zach flatted and the guys stopped to give him a wheel and then help him to the finish. What nobody thought of is that stage race rules were in effect, not criterium rules. If Zach had gone to the wheel pit and gotten a wheel we would of received the same time as the field and retained 2nd place overall. Instead he took Adams wheel and chased losing major time and ended up 14th overall. It's a bummer but I think as riders who primarily race criteriums it gets pounded into us that you will not get a wheel after free laps end in a race. It's a bummer but a learning experience for all of us and especially the young guys who will probably see this again down the road. In the end we ended up with Colton in 6th as our best rider but we had 2 others in the top 15 as well. Overall it was a impressive race for the team, super aggressive riding with guys in all the breaks and 2 near wins.

Actual photo proof that yes, I was actually in the race!

Mercy alum Joe Schmalz wearing the white jersey of the Best young Rider (U-25)

Jason and Adam in the break in Saturdays road race. Great rides by both of these guys all weekend long. That's Brian from Tradewind behind Jason. Rough weekend for that team but they'll be back as strong as ever.

So that's it for Joe Martin, this week is a training week and JoBro's birthday so the next races for myself and the team is Tour de Grove in St.Louis. 3 days of criterium racing, Yahooooo!!!!!!