Friday, May 22, 2009

Electric pace at Driveway

Almost 70 riders took to the start-line on the fast twisty curvy one mile circuit at the Kenny Hill Autowerks criterium powered by Pure Austin Fitness. The first real attack came from Scott Veggeburg (GS Tenzing) who was drilling hard of the front going into the second lap of the race, stringing out the whole field. It was a hard race to move up when everyone was on the single-file rivet, it was a game of patience to move up towards the front during brief lulls in the speed. Everyone was attentive and did not let any serious breakaways get up the road, even the heavy hitters in Stefan Rothe (Rothe Training) and David Wenger (Super Squadra) and various others were seen to be attacking of the front but the pace that was required to stay away and break-up the field needed to be sustained at 31mph or higher. For this reason they were all claimed back by the hungry pack that were hunting the wolves down. A number of the heavy-hitters had to drift close to the back before recovering and making their moves towards the front again.

Super agressive Stefan Rothe, was awarded the New York Life Brad Houston Law Most Aggressive Jersey on the night, went out full tick for a prime and also was one of the late instigators of break that eased off the front with about 5 laps to go. The break contained most of the top riders including Phil Wikoff (Super Squadra), Steven Wheeler (Super Squadra), Jonathon McCarty (OUCH), Heath Blackgrove (THSJ), Erick Benz (Team AT&T), Matt Gordon (Team Six), Zach Bergh (THSJ), Scott Henry (Team AT&T) and Colton Jarisch (Vellossimo Racing).

The chase was on, like a single file spear trying to find the target that was dissappearing up the road. This late injection of pace broke up the field into pieces and with two to go, Wenger of Super Squadra was the only one to make it across to the break after Daniel Carruthers (Hansaton Hearing Systems) tried to bridge. With one lap to go, there was still a chance that the break might be caught and Jed Rodgers (Gulf Coast Cycling Association), Bryan Fawley (Park Place Lexus), John Korioth (Team Six), Tyler Jewell (Texas Tough) and Daniel Carruthers (Hansaton Hearing Systems) and others were all on front drilling. Rodgers had more snap in his legs to jump into the top 10, passing the remnants of the break to place 9th.

Phil Wikoff (Super Squadra) was going full-bore and looked to have the win in the bag when he overcooked the sharp corner 300metres from the finish line. He slid his bike out and ended up on the pavement. But his team-mate Steven Wheeler, who has been showing grand form lately, notched up his third consecutive win over strong German man Stefan Rothe (Rothe Training/Texas Tough). Erick Benz (Team at&t-Brain and Spine Cycling) showed that he can mix it up with the big boys of the break with his third place.

Top US female sprinter, Jen McRae (Team Type 1) showed she can follow the sprinters train in the finale and she ended up passing Carruthers (Hansaton) and Fawley (Park Place Lexus) in the final straight to the finish to take a very respectible 11th placing with her near perfect positioning in the train.

The average speed was just under 28mph and there was very little bunching up during the race, the places it would bunch up was after the down-hill when people were lining up for the corner and trying to recover before the next hit-out. It would also bunch up on the hill-climb but then string out again after the corner at the top of the hill.

Steven Wheeler has taken an unassailable lead in this month's points standings with 30 points, 22 points ahead of second placed John Korioth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hansaton's new invention

I just received my new hearing aids in the post today from Germany! They look so small - the battery case takes up half the hearing aid and the receiver is in the tubing and custom-made mould. I am pretty excited about trying this new state of the art hearing aid that has already won some design awards and setting the standard for innovation and excellence. This hearing aid comes with blue-tooth technology and this means I can listen to the MP3 player, mobile phones, TVs without wires. Best of all, the hearing aid is the smallest I have ever owned and is likely to be very discreet. Once I get my hearing aid set up and using daily, I will post a product review about it.

New: VELVET X-mini:

the first choice for design and function.

First class technology with a sophisticated appearance provided by the smallest design housing from HANSATON.

Naturally good hearing is a valuable gift – and HANSATON is now able to provide a unique, technological version:

velvet X-Mini is the new HANSATON external receiver system with technology that impresses on an international scale. Its tiny, sophisticated mini casing coated in stylish two-colour special paint is also convincing.

  1. Tiny housing thanks to state-of-the-art technology and outsourcing of the receiver.
  2. Selection of different receivers for individual hearing requirements.
  3. Easily pliable, transparent cable: pleasant and almost invisible. - Modern openness: natural sound enjoyment without closed ears.
  4. For simple handling: right/left marking and on/off function with the battery insert.
  5. Environmentally friendly: designed for notably low energy use and, therefore, reduced battery consumption.

First choice for form and function – velvet X-Mini is made for people with a distinctive flair for design and high technical standards. The perfected Natural Sound that imitates natural hearing and the further developed Situation Optimizer that ensures greater clarity of sound and improved understanding of speech are just two of its highlights.

From the outset, you can enjoy an excellent hearing sensation and first-rate comfort – by choosing velvet X-Mini you have decided on a first-class hearing experience.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

USA Speedweek

I've arrived back in the deep South of Austin, TX after spending most of the month of April on the road for a couple of major cycling events, first being racing over in California. I was back in Austin for a couple of days before going down to San Antonio for one day of the Usana Regional Convention. I flew out of the San Antonio airport with my bike packed away nicely in the new Sci'Con bike bag (still had to pay bike fees of $94!). Arrived in Atlanta on Saturday 25th April, jumped into a shuttle for Athens. I arrived in Athens with about 2hrs to spare before the start of the PRO mens twilight criterium. Since I had not done the "qualifier" my starting position was near the back of the field of 140 riders. I clipped in perfectly when the gun went off in front of 40,000 spectators, but unfortunately I was stuck behind several slow starters and I had no where to go but wait for them to speed up, I was like "what the..." because by the time I reached the first corner, I was already very close to the back and it was strung out immediatley down the back side. I was holding fine in single file but was panicking a little by trying to sprint to move up at every opportunity and then on second lap on second turn there was a pile up in mid-bunch. I still have not programmed it in my head that I need to stop and take the free lap when this happens, as the effort of trying to bridge back the gap is just too much when you are already riding at break-neck speeds. So, after a mere 13 minutes, my race was over and I was confined to watching the race action un-fold from the side-lines. My worse performance in a criterium race in two years of racing, my last shocking performance (s) was the BC Superweek in 06 when I had just started riding. At least now, I cannot blame my fitness for letting me down.

I also happened to be the "official" reporter for the USA Speedweek series, so I interviewed the podium place getters from the Mens and womens PRO races and wrote articles for, Daily Peloton, Spoke News and various other prominent cycling websites. This proved to be a fun and interesting experience, plus it helped improved my writing abilities and get my name out there in the Cycling world.

The second day of Speedweek racing was held at Roswell and this was a much better criterium for me, however I still did not go the distance as I got pulled with 8 laps left to go. The third day was at Beaufort and I was really looking forward to doing the super technical fast course at the seaside quaint little town, but my loaned 303 Zip front carbon wheel flatted on me on the back straight just before the third turn. As I tried to stop safely, I went through the corner and the front wheel just wiped out from under me and I almost saved myself from falling by dragging my left foot (wearing my cleats down) but I landed heavily on my back. This caused excrutiating pain in my hip/tail-bone area so that I was paraylsed on the middle of the road. I then realized that if I did not get off the road, they would have to stop the race so I used my arms to try and wriggle off the roadside and then struggled to my feet. Had to sit down for a few moments to re-collect my thoughts and stop the pain. I told the official that I wanted to get back in, so I limped back to the Sram pit and then was put back into the race, but I could only go for another 15minutes before I was gapped out the back.

This crash practically ruined the rest of my week, although I did start all the races and did manage to finish Spartanburg despite coming behind massive pile-ups. My consolation for this week was the reporting I did for the series and getting to interview all the top place-getters. It is going to take a while for my injury to heal up and this week I have have not touched my bike. I plan on getting back on it this weekend for some easy spins and getting back into it. Have a Texas Premier Cup next weekend at the Houston Grand Prix. So, at least I need to get the legs turning again so I wont be completely out of touch despite a really sore butt!!