Monday, March 23, 2009

180 miles of riding this weekend

Since I had to stay in Austin for the Baha'i Faith ( New Year celebrations, I did not do the stage racing that was on down in Fayetteville. But it worked out ok as I was able to put in two back-to-back five hour rides on Saturday and Sunday to clock up over 180 miles. This is the most I have done in a long while, especially on concecutive days!

On Saturday I joined the Austin Tri-cycles group ride which still had a good group turn out despite the large numbers of people racing in Fayetteville. There was also a group of professional tri-athletes present in the group from the Cervelo Racing Team and this kept the pace pretty high once we turned off Mopac onto South-west Parkway for the "un-official" 10-12miles of racing. I made the front split over one of the hills by following one of the pro triathletes across. At the end, there was about 15 or so riders contesting the "sprint" which finished at the top of a steepish hill. The three pro tri guys were leading the way down the hill with me tucked in behind and a couple of roadies were right behind me. One roadie made his jump and I countered with my jump. Immediately I found myself in front and sprinting full tilt. Adam from Mellow Johnny's bike shop was the only one who stayed on my wheel but I dug in deeper to keep going. He popped and I was the "un-official race winner" :) I re-grouped with a dozen others and continued on 620 to do "That Dam Loop". While talking to Jen McRae (criterium strong woman) I hit a pot-hole and my bottle came flying out, so I stopped and returned to grab it. This made for a painful solo chase into head wind. I could not close the gap as the group was working well together but the gap stayed about the same. I started catching up with half of them on the final hill-climb. There was another re-group and re-fueling at the gas-station before four of us, including one Kelly Benefits rider rode through Lime Creek at a brisk pace. The Kelly Benefits rider rode away from us on the "triple pitch" climb but after this climb, we were riding at recovery pace. I rode back through the city and did another hour on my own before heading home with an epic ride under my belt fueled mostly by Usana products (REV 3, Peanut butter choc crunch bar, and the oatmeal raisin bar). I did make a stop back at the ATC shop for several tasty Tacos.

Sunday's ride was supposed to be with Austinbikes, but no-body was there so it was a solo 5hr ride for me! It was a nice sunny day out and I cycled out to the Texa's Hill Country out West. Did some nice tempo riding but mostly just steady 200watts or so pace. Tomorrow is a well-deserved day off before resuming with Training on Tuesday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New uniform design

This is the 2009 Hansaton uniform kit along with a few of my supporting sponsors.

The sleeves have the "Join the Revolution" slogan that is used to promote USANA's brilliant new energy drink, REV 3. This is one awesome drink that I drink prior races to get sustainable energy without the crash.

My principal sponsor, Hansaton Hearing Systems, is a German company based out of Hamburg and they manufacture high quality hearing aids for the whole spectrum of hearing losses. In January 2009, Hansaton has released a new advanced hearing aid that has blue-tooth technology and is the cutting-edge in the hearing aid world. I will be getting a pair of these soon and will write a review on how I find them. Hansaton has been supporting my cycling for the past 4 years and have been one of the key factors in enabling me to pursue my cycling dream.

Tunis-Roubaix race

I turned up to this race knowing about the rough section of the course, but it was not expected to be as rough as it was! About two weeks ago, the gravel/dirt road section was in ok condition, with two smooth grooves on each side of the road. However, the local roading company put down fresh gravel a week ago, many of the rocks were the size of your fist! We had to ride through this on road bikes with skinny tires. I believed that I had come prepared for this race, sporting new Michelin Krylion Carbon tires on my bike. These tires are supposed to be the ultimate weapon of choice when riding on rough roads. Other major brands that manufacture tires to withstand the roughest conditions, also failed.

The race rolled out to a neutral start, there was only 25 starters in the pro 1,2 category. Obviously most of the roadies stayed away from this course for a reason - most don't like rough courses! I come from a mountain biking back-ground so I was looking forward to testing out the new Michelin tires. Once we hit the beginning of the gravel road section, the race was on and we were doing 25-30mph through the rough stuff and people were dropping like flies, left and right due to punctures. So far my tires were holding out and I was thinking that I made the right decision, and was powering away in a three-man break that was reduced to two of us after a few more minutes. I was leading the race with the eventual race winner, Mitch Comardo and my rear wheel flatted. I rolled up to a stop and walked about 400 metres to where someone was watching the race and luckily he had a spare tube and a pump. So I quickly repaired my flat and then I was chasing hard. I was caught by a group of three riders and we shared the workload between us and when we hit the gravel section again, we rode alot more circumspect. But I unfortunately flatted my front tyre around the same spot as the previous lap. It was a blessing in disguise that I flatted really, since my CycleOps powertap had been ripped from its mount and I only found it by walking back up the road for about a kilometre. I headed back to where I fixed my tire on the previous lap, but the person was out of tubes. I waited for about 35-40mins before someone from a support car tossed me a tube. I was underway again. I was not going to give-up and score a DNF. Its not something that I give in to. I survived the next lap without puncturing, but on the 4th lap I had a big blowout when I hit a big rock and I was not even going that fast! I continued riding on the flat front tire, but at a much reduced pace. I managed to get another tube from another support car, fixed it again and I got through the rest of the gravel without problems. But while out on the sealed-road, the tube suddenly popped out of the tire and then it went boom! The previous blowout had damaged the beading of the tire and thus was weakened and when you pump up to 110psi, its under alot of pressure. So, I continued riding on the flat front tire for the last 6 miles of the race to finish in 8th position out of 10 finishers. Most of the guys who flatted multiple times gave up and quit the race. I was just determined to finish it, no matter what happened.

In fact, everyone in the field apart from the winner, flatted at least once. The winner commented that his Bontrager Hard cases were the key factor in surviving the race without puncturing and he was able to maintain the same speed going through the gravel sections like during the first lap when all the carnage happened.

Despite the fact I flatted four times, I really liked the course and it has the makings to be a very successful event in coming years.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Race reports

This will be my new blog site for future reports on my racing in my build up to the Deaf Olympic games that will be held in Taiwan later this year. Please stay tuned to this website for the up-dates.

I have a great line-up of sponsors for 2009 which include:

HANSATON HEARING SYSTEMS (my principal sponsor)








Thanks to the generous support of my sponsors and I am looking forward to working with you all during 2009 and beyond

My new uniforms will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Newly sponsored Usana athlete

Way to go Dan Carruthers!

Dan and his partner Jen Roberts are based in Austin, Texas. We met in Auckland where Jen was working for a glass company that was repairing the windscreen of one of our cars, before moving back to Jen's home town of Austin.

They are now Achievers in USANA and Dan is a semi-professional cyclist - here he is in action - you can see him with the blue/white helmet, bellowing like a tiger, coming in 7th place in this race - the biggest race of the year in Texas. In the top few cyclists in this photo are national champs & Olympians - keeping pretty good company!

Dan's a huge fan of USANA products which have made a major difference to his performance, favorite product is REV3. He's now a USANA sponsored athlete, Congratulations Dan!

Keep up the great racing and the great business building!

Chris Bolton-Jamieson
USANA Diamond Director