Monday, April 23, 2012

April on the Road

We're already in the final week of April, and the bicycle racing is in full swing. The Spring Classics of the European ProTour are over, and the first long stage race of the year, Giro d'Italia, will start the first week of May. The racing has been ramping-up here in the Appalachian Mountains of North America, too, as I'm sure you've noticed with the numerous race reports being posted to our team blog. The team has had a great Spring season so far, with many podiums and several wins scattered throughout the categories. The team has really come together since our training camp, and I am proud to be part of such an amazing and talented group of bike enthusiasts!

The past month or so has been a roller coaster of a ride for me off the bike, but I'm happy to say that things are headed in a positive direction. Also, I've managed to ride and race a bit, which has been therapeutic at the very least. The results don't ever tell the whole story (and coincidentally, I have none worth revisiting):

  • Southern Cross: MEDIOCRE
  • ABRA Training Race: BAD
  • Morgantown Road Race: TERRIBLE
  • Greene County Road Race: NOT GOOD

Bike Riding Tip: Eat when you are feeling good, not when you are feeling bad. When you are feeling good, it's easy to eat, get a drink, etc. When you are feeling bad, eating is tough - if you remember to eat at all.

Grrr...attack with a smile! (Fred Jordan photo)

Example: Morgantown Road Race - felt okay, if not pretty darn good. Attacked hard on the first major climb, got a gap, eased up as others bridged, and went over the top with a small group. Worked in the top 10 until the end of the penultimate climb, where it became clear that I had forgotten to eat for a long, long, oh-it-felt-like-such-a-long-time, time. I ended up bonking harder than I ever had before. I love how I try to give it one last (ALL OUT = ZONE 3) effort in the finale before completely blowing up and coasting home - LOL - (see graph below).

Notice how the red line just refuses to do any real work after the 4th climb...WEIRD!

Moving on - we've had great weather, but just as I was getting back into riding the bike regularly last week, the rain started. I was in central Pennsylvania, and after two days of arriving home, post-ride - looking like a drowned rat - I managed to stealthily bag a glorious 100k sunny day in Michaux State Forest on my way back to Morgantown. 

Stealth tip: Michaux hosts the American Ultracross Championship Series Finale!

I'm glad that I stopped in Michaux, because at the Greene County Road Race the next day, the skies opened once again, and I decided to do the 3/4 race for the first time...which meant two laps in the weather. I managed to flat a very good Kenda tubular (not the tyres fault - tore a sidewall on 2" crusher run/pothole fill), chase back on just before the second climb on the first lap, and then get gapped before the top. 

On the first climb of the day and already soaked.. (Fred Jordan photo)

On the second lap, I broke a spoke on the spare (which was also my wheel) descending after the first climb on Oak Forest Road to catch on with my teammate Brian. I eventually stopped to pull out the broken spoke, chased back to Brian, tried to help him as much as possible (descending cautiously on a very wobbly front wheel), and then finally caught back on and attacked the now two-man group in an effort to set him up for the best of those off-the-back. 

It worked, so that was good. 

Thanks for reading!