Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cycling Through My Thoughts #2; Hop, Skip, and a Smile Away.

Welcome to the second post in my new weekly writing series. This post was supposed to be out yesterday, but between packing and pig chores I didn't have the time. However, now I'm glad it waited another day because I have a good story to tell. Today I flew to Boulder, CO. It feels great to get out of cold, snowy Minnesota for some good altitude training, and I met someone extraordinary in the Denver Airport of all places.

After my flight from Minneapolis I got my bags and went looking for a place to eat in the airport before I headed towards my final destination, since it was about two hours past my normal lunch time. There was only one restaurant on the first floor of the wing I was on, so I went there. I picked a seat where I could pull up my bike box close by and sat down. Sitting at the table across from me was an older couple and they asked me what the box was for. I told them I was a Cyclist and we started chit-chatting for a half hour or so while I ate. The husband said he used to be a Football player, which didn't surprise me since he was about 6ft 4inch tall. After a very nice conservation, I officially introduced myself and asked him what his name was. "Winston Hill", he said. Only then while I was shaking his hand did I notice a NFL pin on his suit and a Superbowl ring on his hand! I asked him how long he played for, and he pointed up to a plaque on the wall and said "sixteen years". "Wow that's a long time for that sport!" I said. Just goes to show, with a smile on your face and a friendly disposition who knows who you'll meet. Maybe a NFL Superstar will buy you dinner...

I'm all settled in at Boulder and rode today. Man there is nothing quite like the first ride of the year in Shorts and Jersey! Keep an eye out on my twitter (@bikerboy_weiker), I'll be posting plenty of updates and pictures. Expect another Cycling Through My Thoughts next Tuesday, Cheers!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hashtag Transformation Tuesday

Hello everyone, hope all is well with you. I have been training away, doing base work in preparation for the coming season in which I have some very exciting news I should be able to share with you soon. Other than riding there has not been much going on so I have little to write about, partially due to this and partially due to a need for regular content on here I have three things to announce. First off, thanks to a friend I now have the domain Right now it just directs to my blog but I do have plans for that in the future. Secondly, I know have the specifications of my equipment on my blog. Thirdly, I have started a new weekly series (every Tuesday) on my blog. In it I will write a few paragraphs on a video, picture, quote, or idea. This may be cycling related, or it might not be. Also at the end of each of these I will include a picture of were I am that week. Right now I'm calling it "Musings from the Mind" but that sounds a little cheesy, so if any of you have suggestions please feel free to tell me. Check out my first post here. No this is not a April fools joke!

Cycling Through My Thoughts #1

This is my first post in my new series. Today I'm writing about a remarkable video by a Youtuber called Zefrank1 which illustrates on average how many days you have and what you will do with them in a very peculiar medium, Jelly Beans. I'll ask you to watch the video before reading any further.

The first time I watched this video, I almost felt panicky. Seeing how many days you'll likely have is eye opening and scary. The second time I watched it I felt sad, how many people go through their life just getting by? Or worse, suffering. The third time however, I realized something.
What if for the 8,477 days you're asleep you're looking forward to a great day? What if the 1,635 days you spend preparing and eating food cheers you up because you're eating healthy, wholesome food? What if the 3,302 days you spend working are making a difference or doing something you are passionate about? What if the 1,099 days you spend commuting are exciting because hey, who knows what you'll see where ever you're going? What if the 2,676 days you spend watching some form of television are educating you, or just don't exist because what a waste of time, right? What if the 1,576 days you spend taking care of household chores are... okay, I can't spin that one positively. What if the 564 days you spend taking care of loved ones completes you as a person, because you care about them? What if the 671 days washing, grooming, and other bathroom related activities are seen as taking care of yourself, not as a chore? What if the 720 days you spend doing communal activities brings you closer to other people?

Well then the 2,740 days you have left doesn't seem so small anymore does it? Let this remind you that our days on this planet are limited. We should strive to spend as few of those days as we can being bored, sad, angry, vindictive, whining, or hating. We should remember each time we linger on each of these emotions that in the words of musician Todd Snider; "Life's too short to worry, Life's too long to hate. Life's too short not to love everybody and Life's too long to wait!". Carpe Diem.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 Wrap Up

Yesterday, the selection for the CX Junior World Championships team was made... I received an email letting me know I am not on the team. That was a huge blow. I am a last year Junior and one of my biggest goals last year (after narrowly missing the team selection for Worlds) was to make it this year. I didn't think it would be an issue, after all, I was going to be way stronger and a bunch of people would graduate out of the Junior ranks. The competition this year however was, while not as fast with Logan and Curtis gone, much tighter. There was 8 Juniors who could all beat each other on any given day! When it's so tight, any mistake made is compounded a thousand-fold. I can tell you exactly what my "deadly mistake" moment in time where I did something almost insignificantly wrong.

It was at 7:30 or so in the morning, dark, wet, and in Belgium (Namur specifically). The last World Cup I attended and the only one where I raced with a full team of Americans. Also, arguably the best race course for me. It was a very high pressure scenario, I was nervous and excited to prove myself. While getting dressed for pre-riding the still dark race course, I placed my race gloves (since the ones I used to pre-ride would be wet and unusable) on my chair, and then set my back pack on top of them, distracted by getting my bike, and dialing the pressure. When I returned to warm up, I could NOT find my gloves for the life of me! It was frustrating, but I thought little of it. The temp was relatively warm, besides, my priority was to get on my bike and warm up.

 "Okay" you might say, "You forgot your gloves and your hands got a little cold for 40 minutes. What's the big deal?" the race on the first lap, I had someone take out my front wheel in a slow corner and I caught myself on my hands. No big deal, just a small bobble, it was a slow section so I wasn't losing places...but wait, now my hands are muddy and I keep slipping off the bars! I try to fling the mud of my hands or wipe it off but a slimy film remains. If I had gloves on my grip would be just fine but without my hands were ready to slip out. A few minutes later am going down the steepest, gnarliest drop off on the course when my hands slip out, I flip over the bars, land on my shoulder and...well you know the rest.

Not only did that ruin the best opportunity I had to get a qualifying result (top fifteen would be an automatic, I had been closing in on that result at Koksijde 21st and this course was far better for me). It was such a nasty injury that my back was out of place for the next few days, even with the help of a really good Physical Therapist, so my immune system was really weak. After two good races at Beernem and Loenhout (I had good days there but Beernem was a small race with only a handful of the Americans present and Loenhout was a pure power course with almost nothing technical) I started to feel a little sick. I woke up the morning of Diegem full on sick. I opted not to race, hoping to get better for Baal. Still sick. I came home doing everything possible to get better for Nationals. Still sick.

So yeah, there is my three paragraph long rant on how a tiny little mistake during the important part of the season can blow out of proportion and cause real damage. Now that I have gotten my frustrations out of the way, I've been doing a lot of reflecting. It's amazing how easy it is to get caught up in that final objective. Win the race, make the team, get the time gap...You can't be an elite level cyclist without a very high objective-based drive. The ability to put it all on the line when it counts. The self destructive paradox of that requirement that plays one of the biggest factors in weeding out potential professionals is that you become so emotionally attached to that outcome. However you don't always achieve it! In fact, most of the time you fail. So somehow, you have to care so much that you sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears to work for that high goal and improve yourself, but if you don't make it you have to keep going like it didn't even phase you. As if you had some type of short term memory loss. Charge like a Berserker, get knocked down, get right back up again. And again. And again. And again. And again. So a very common syndrome is to not see what you've done, only what you couldn't do. Now past that, I can see I've gotten do so much!

I've trained in Arizona

 Raced in New York

Photo Cred; Antoine B├ęcotte

Raced in New Mexico

Raced in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado

 Finally won State TT champions

Snake Alley Photo credit Kevin O'Neill

Raced in New Mexico

Photo Cred; Matthew Pastick

Wisconsin, and Illinois.

 Spent a lot of time with my great friend and team mate Gavin in a couple different Countries.

we got to ride the KoppenBurg and a bunch of the Tour of Flanders route...

Maybe a little to much time...
And even got to win a race together!
 Trained in Montana at the USA Devo Camp
 Podium-ed at the Short and Fat and a MN Highschool MTB race...

Raced in Rhode Island...

I did two trips to Europe and raced three world Cups, (Valkenburg, Koksijde, and Namur)

Three SuperPrestiges, Four Bposts, Two Soudal Classics, and a Race in Germany!

I got to Race on the Koppenburg!
I endured Jaarmarketcross, the muddiest, wettest, slogfest of a race I have ever done.
Rode the sand dunes of Zonhoven

I had the best host family, the Segers!
EuroCxCamp Xl
 I had a great time going to EuroCross Camp again and got to meet Sven Nys!
Making new friends in other countries...

 ... and exploring a different world with Dad. 
 Ultimately, I did more than I could express here. Many of my experiences will live on in my memory, not through photos. One thing is for sure, I have a lot of stories to tell my grandchildren some day!
... and the best is yet to come.
 It really had been a spectacular year full of amazing experiences. I can't believe I received  enough support from everyone to do these incredible things... From the bottom of my heart, thank you to EVERYONE who bought a T-shirt, donated, and donated on my GoFundMe.  
Thank you so much to my parents for being my biggest supporters!
Thank you John Haley for putting everything together and making it an amazing 'Cross season!
Met dank aan Tom voor het houden van ons van te verdwalen en het helpen in de pitlane en Inne, Britt en Tim Segers omdat hij een geweldige gastgezin!
Dank u Britt en Sharon Debeyne voor het zijn mijn soigneur!
Dank u Sylvie Eckhout en Sharon Debeyne voor juichen me op de race!
  Thank you HED Cycling, Apex Physical Therapy, Challenge tires, Enzo's Cycling Products, Lazer Helmets, Cuore of Switzerland, Honey Stinger the Thirsty Pagan, the Skihut, Twin ports bike shop, Focus Bikes, The Bonebell, BeRealSports. Vo2 Multisport, and Dakota Valley Oral. 
I'm looking forward to next year already, but for now it's time to rest up for a few days and then start training! 

Post for cycling news

Diary for CyclingNews

Read it at CyclingNews or here on my blog!

Josey Weik on his second year at the EuroCrossCamp
For me, this year's EuroCrossCamp was about doing Belgian races, where I knew what to expect. Until now, every course I had done on my past two trips was a brand new experience. I didn't know what to expect around the next corner. This time, I knew Namur would be crazy technical, Loenhout would be a tractor pull and Beernem has a dangerously tight start. Now I could apply what I had learned last year to both the races and the lifestyle in general.
When I arrived, I was greeted by a warm and sunny Belgium. I had come from temperatures of around -20 degrees F, so it was practically tropical and riding outside felt great. The first few days in Belgium were relaxing.
Three days into the trip was the Namur World Cup. This was my favorite race last year. With its insane drops and brutal uphills, it really is a primal course that favors a rider who can handle their bike and the pain that comes along with such an intense race. I made sure everything was in line for me to have a perfect race. Pre-race meal, check. Pre-ride, check. Warm up, check.
The thing with 'cross, though, is that any control you think you have over the outcome of a race is usually an illusion. Immediately off the start there was a large crash that I got caught behind and, just as I was starting to recover from it, I went over the bars and crashed really hard on my shoulder. I had to ride the rest of the race with one arm until I was pulled.
A few days later, all the EuroCrossCamp kids and I had the honor of a Q & A session with the world champion Sven Nys. Meeting him in person was a great experience and we all got to ask, arguably, the greatest cyclo-cross racer of all time any question we wanted. He is the embodiment of a true champion. Confident, Humble, and disciplined. I learned a lot from him in just half an hour. A big thanks goes out to Geoff for arranging this and Sven for taking the time out of a very busy schedule to talk to a bunch of aspiring American kids.
It didn't take me long to recover from my Namur crash and, just a few days later, I was ready to go at it again in Beernem. It's a local race, smaller and not UCI registered, so it's not limited by any safety constraints. As a result, the course is dangerous. Right after a really long and fast start, you are constricted into a two-meter wide alleyway. There are several high speed corners where you will go into the creek if you don't make the corner, and various rocks and roots strewn about the course just waiting to give you a flat. It's a fun race though, and I had a good time placing 11th.
The next race on the schedule was Loenhout or, as I like to call it, the tractor pull with whoops thrown in. I feel like this adequately sums up the entire course. It's not a well suited race for me, but I still had a decent day and pulled a 23rd.
I was supposed to race Diegem, one of my favorites. It's a super cool course with lots of climbing and unique features. Alas, I woke with a sore throat. I went to the race course to see if I could still race, but could barely breathe in the pre-ride. I decided to opt out and try to get healthy for the last race in Baal.
Despite some disappointments, EuroCrossCamp has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience. It's an honor to attend this camp once again. Thank you so much to all the staff for making it smooth and hitch free. Thank you also goes to each and every person who made it possible for me to attend.
From around the web

Sunday, December 29, 2013

'Cross the Pond VII: Namur World Cup & Meeting Sven!

Here is my article for CycloCross Magazine published on Tuesday, December 24th 2013.

This is my 3rd trip in Belgium to race Cyclocross, and this place continues to throw curve balls at me. Last year I attended EuroCrossCamp as a rookie to the ways of Belgian racing and the camp taught me more than can be expressed in this post. My most recent trip was much longer and the opportunities to learn were even more so. As I said however, Belgium Cyclcross will always throw you a curve ball whether or not you're prepared.

I've been looking forward to Namur all season, especially since it was a Wold Cup for juniors this year and out of all the 'Cross courses I have done this is my favorite. Almost all Belgian courses are infamously brutal but Namur is, to quote Sven Nys himself, "Something special". It is a course so hard Sven regards it with wary respect, so hard that it pushes the limits of a sport that is about pushing limits. Why? well for one it only has two directions, straight up or straight down. Second there is very few places on the course where you aren't going all out. Thirdly the mud takes away what little control you have on the sheer drop-offs and off-cambers. And finally Namur boasts one of the longest and steepest run ups in 'Cross just to makes sure you're hurting enough. Doing EuroCamp for the second time is a great opportunity for me to do Belgian courses that I am familiar with. It is a big difference jumping on a course knowing what to expect, especially when what you expect is insanity on and off the bike.

The morning of Namur Geoff woke Gavin, Lance, Cooper, Peter, Austin, and myself up at 5:15 in order to make the half hour drive over to the course in time for pre-riding and warm up for our 10:00 race. Of course in Belgium, the sun doesn't rise until about 8:00, so we were pre-riding in the dark. Other than a few switch-backs added in and thinner, more slippery mud the course was pretty much the same as last year. It was really fun doing the course and being able to feel how much I have improved. both technically and physically from last year.

There was a rather large pile up just 100 meters into the race that affected all of the American juniors, some worse than others with Cooper getting the worst of it, breaking his front wheel. After being delayed for an agonizingly long ten seconds, I started to work my way back up through the ranks, going back and forth with my team mate Gavin. Two and a half laps in I was getting back in my groove other and picking off riders bit by bit when I made that one tiny mistake. A rider swept out my front wheel and I caught myself on my hands for a nice covering of slick mud... instead of wiping it off on my shorts, I shook the bulk of it off and resumed racing normally, leaving a slippery film on my hands. a few minutes later I took the same risky line down an already steep and dangerous hill that I had both laps before, only this time my hands slipped off my drops, throwing my weight forward violently and catapulting me into a front flip from which I land my left shoulder blade straight onto a root. I rolled several times down the hill bruising and cutting up my legs.

After the initial shock of the pain, my first thought was to grab my bike and pull it out any oncoming riders who might hit it and crash as well. Then I moved my shoulder and felt that something was definitely out of place. I moved my arm around to make sure that nothing was broken, jumped on my bike, and started riding the course with one arm on the bars and the other on my chest. It was one of the more painful races of my life and I'll be the first one to admit I cried a bit... but dropping out of a World cup willingly was out of the question. I made it till one to go before the officials pulled me.

On a much brighter note, today all the EuroCrossCamp kids and I had the honor of getting a Q & A session with the world champion Sven Nys. Meeting him in person was a great experience and all of of got to ask arguably the greatest 'Cross racer of all time any question we wanted. He is the embodiment of a true champion. Confident, Humble, and disciplined... I learned a lot from him in just half an hour. Big thanks goes out to Geoff for arranging this and Sven for taking the time out of a very busy schedule to talk to a bunch of aspiring American kids.

Despite the nasty crash (which I am healing up from very fast) ruining what would have been a great race for me, I feel more motivated than ever and very happy to be here. I will return to the next race, hungry for more...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Look Back, Koksijde 'Cross the pond VI

It's a beautiful, snowy day here in Minnesota. As I reflect on my trip to Europe, my 6 week stay in Europe was concluded by staying a week longer than Gavin and Dad, and attending the Koksijde World Cup.

Set on a air force base hugging the North Sea coast, this course boasts long stretches of deep, beach-quality sand dunes spread across climbs, descents, endless off-cambers and 180 degree turns. When the weather is dry the sand is loose and deep, causing ruts that change without notice, stopping wheels cold and bucking riders. When it’s wet, the sand clumps together, sucking energy out of your legs. Regardless, Koksijde provides racers with one of the most technically difficult courses on the world circuit. There is nothing like this in the US, it's a Belgian centric course that is often described as a "specialist course" so I was happy about having one of my better races at 21st. It must be all the snow riding I do in Minnesota. 

Now I'm back in home training in the sub zero temperatures. Gearing up for my next adventure in Belgium, as I have received the honor of being selected for the prestigious eurocrosscamp. This is a very expensive trip, so any help by donating or buying a T-shirt is really appreciated!

Thanks so much to the Segers family for being my everything over in Europe and hosting me for two weeks. You guys are the best! Thanks to RedZone Cycling for all the support this year, and huge thanks to the sponsors who have made this trip possible for Gavin and I. Lastly, thanks to all those who have and are yet to donate.
Descending the dunes Photo credit Jack Chevell
Not everything was sand, the rest of the course was dry and fast Photo credit Patricia Cristens