Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brief race report from Salt Lake City

I raced in the pro-am event where there were over 70 starters and there was quite a few good riders present, ones that had missed the cut for the Tour of Utah, and they were keen to impress for both resume and sponsorship purposes. My form in the race felt reasonably good and bodes well for the upcoming Deaflympic Games in Taipei. I started at the back of the field but pretty soon moved into mid-pack and at the 10 minute mark I nabbed a cash prime with some good positioning in the pack and then charging down the rider who had done a flyer half way into the prime lap. I suffered three punctures in this race, falling victim to the big pot-hole at the first turn. I was able to get back into the race for two of the punctures and about 10 minutes out from the finish I snared a perfect prime ($350 pair of Edge Carbon handle-bars). Why was it perfect? I had just attacked out of the final corner to see what would happen. I only succeeded in creating a single file of riders, as they were all quick to get onto my attack. I kept going hard for a few moments and saw the bell ring for the prime lap, I then checked on my progress and started soft-pedalling to try and get riders to come past me. No one was keen to take over and the everyone was bunching up. I sensed that now was the perfect time to attack again, so I reaccelarated away and established a big enough gap that I knew I was in for a chance if I could keep my power up. I started to fade slightly just before turn three but my gap was still good enough to win the Carbon handle-bars comfortably. I had moved up into prime position (4th wheel) going into the final lap but I punctured in the first turn and that was the end of my race. Great speed work though.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Break laps field at Driveway

I had come late to Driveway and litarally just rolled up to the start-line without a warm-up and still putting on my gloves when the whistle went for the start of the New York Life Pro race. A Bryan Fawley first lap attack had the 40 strong field strung out, with about 10 riders off the front and some of the weaker riders losing wheels down near the back. I had started near the back and had to close a few gaps to maintain contact with the main bunch.

There were numerous attacks, but nothing was getting away. After about 10minutes of racing, I found myself launching an attack and bridging across to John Korioth, Ian Dille and a Team Hotel San Jose rider. I thought that this might be a break that would work, given that Dille had not won a race or overall recently and Super Squadra would have liked to give him the chance. They had been very good at rotating their riders each month to share the winning spoils. Also, College (Korioth) was in the break which also boded well. But after a couple of laps, we were bought back. A flurry of attacks went and somehow I missed the winning breakaway that College still had the legs to get into along with Dave Wenger of Super Squadra and Jed Rogers of GCCA. There were numerous attempts by people to bridge across but none could make it across and were swallowed by the bunch.

Eventually, the breakway lapped the field it the pace was back on again in the last 15minutes. I went for a prime that I thought was the Gamblers, I can't hear anything out there so just rely on visual cues. I was on Trujillo's wheel going into the prime lap, but I knew I needed at least one or two others to pass me so I could try using their draft to conserve my sprint. In order to make this happen, I deliberately went wide at the sharp turn at the top side of the course and Jen McRae came through and then tried to make a jump on everyone. However I was quick enough to make the jump with her and latched onto her wheel. She is quite a formidable sprinter (top 3 in the US) and beats most of the guys here in Austin. Coming out of the final turn, I was still on her rear wheel and only just managed to come around her at the line to get the prime. I was blown, I thought that I potentially could get dropped. But I dug deep and maintained contact with the very back end of the field, last man in the line! I could never really recover but I was able to ride steady and ended up passing people in the final two laps, people that were blown and had given up for the final sprint. I was happy to finish just behind Andrew Hill (THJS) in 8th place.

I found out that I had won the 6 pounds of Nacho Cheese, and not the gamblers prime of $50 that went to John Trujillo! I thought, crikey, I have less than four weeks till I compete at the Deaf Olympics in Taiwan and here I am awarded this big thing of Nacho Cheese. I'm just going to gain a further 20 pounds for the competition! I did not realise that it was a joke, no body takes the Nacho cheese home as it is 2 years old and its just for fun and photo purposes. So I duly got my photo taken with the old tin.

Another funny note: I had ditched my bottle during the race and went back to pick it up before leaving. There was still some REV 3 inside it, so I drank some. Immediately I gagged, spluttered and coughed multipled times while bent over in two! The lid was covered with those aggressive fire ants and they had swarmed onto my mouth and I even swallowed a couple of those buggers!

2 week countdown!

I got married on July 4th at Round Rock, Texas and then had a quick 3 day honey-moon in Georgetown before flying out to race and report Superweek in the Chicago area. Since I have the Deaf Olympic Games coming up in four weeks time, Superweek was perfect timing for me to get in some decent speed-work training. However, I suffered some set-backs in crashing and totaling my Orbea Opal frame. I did get a Sram road bike for two days of racing, but could not keep borrowing it and had to get my K2 frame shipped up to me from Austin. Jose from the Sram Nuetral Race Support kindly built my bike up and I was able to continue racing. The unfortunate thing was that the bike set-up was not right and this contributed in me not finishing a number of races. I was also busy with race reporting for Cycling News and that took up a large portion of my time.

This is my second week back in Austin, first week was basically a rest one (only did 3hrs of riding including a Driveway race). This week has me embarking upon a 4 -week training program provided by Nick Flyger to help me gain more speed and taper for my events in Taiwan. I have seen some encouraging signs this week, including good power outputs in the Driveway race yesterday. I had some good 20min and 5min power figures that bode well.

It is also my last two weeks here in Austin as Jennifer and I will be flying out on August 18th for Reno where we are visiting family in Winnemucca for four days. I'll be doing some altitude training. We'll be heading down to Salt Lake City to attend the USANA International Convention and there is a down-town city criterium race on the 23rd August which is perfect timing to brush up race skills and keep the legs on the razor edge before the Games.