Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Season: A summary.

Another season gone by. Every time I begin a new one I have a long list of things that I will be better at, things to improve upon. Each time is like a fresh sheet of paper ready to be written on. When the season is over I always have a hard time keeping things in perspective and appreciating what I have accomplished. Each time I get better and better at taking a step back and seeing my season for what it was. Call it maturity, call it experience, or maybe just a result of my Dad explaining how much I accomplished each season, time after time. This year a lot has changed. I have a coach now. I bike nearly every day and race nearly every weekend. I have grown, improved, and matured in bounds and leaps. My life style has changed from merely unusual, to completly alien. Yet I know I am on the right path. Whenever I stop biking, things feel strange, unfocused, and lazy. Even after 5000 miles and 60 races I find myself longing for the feel of a bike underneath me when not even three weeks has past since my last race.

I had some really great races this year! at Tour of Americas Dairyland I got to experience a week of what my career will be like eventually. Get up in the morning, eat, go race, eat, come back... eat some more, play video games and discuss the race with team mates, sleep, and do it over again the next day (Thanks  Labecki's)!

I did midwest regional camp, where I got to stay in a college dorm with other riders and bike every day, independently, without my parents around to support me. 
(No pictures of this :P)

I was able to sit comfortably in the front of a cat 4's pack going 25-30 mph in the last few crits (a surreal experience).

I had a incredible race at short and fat, where I stayed with the front pack of all the best MTB juniors in the region for a good part of the race, and finished 17th overall out of 800 starter, first in my age class. 
I won my first cat 4 cross race.
Had all kinds of muddy races.
Madison and Fort Collins USGP.
Jinglecross rock.
National championships 15-16
And a fantastic national championships.

I started out this spring not even able to stay in a cat 4s pack for 10 miles, but by the end of my road season I was in contention to podium cat 4 criteriums. I had not even been able to place top 15 in a cat 4s race in cross, but now I am doing better than that in cat 3's, with several cat 4 podiums under my belt. I can time trial 2 mph faster, and sprint at 30 mph. I have joined a new team (ISCorp), made many friends, and been taught by experienced people. In short, I have had the best season yet.
A big thanks to: My parents, for there eternal and essential support, Andy for being the Obi-wan Kenobi in my life, Whitey, Ross, Geezer and the gang at Skihut for all the repairs, parts, and bikes. Last but not least my awesome team ISCorp for all their support!

Friday, January 13, 2012

National Cyclocross Championships 15-16 Juniors, January 2012.

National championships. The big one. The culmination of an entire season of training, how do you handle not being nervous for that? It's a hard question, but one everyone who wants to make cycling the focus of their life has to confront. For me it was perspective. No matter how I did there, I still had a great season and built my fitness. The course was perfect for me and I was peaked, ready to rip it. I did the pre-race on Wednesday to open my legs up. It's a good thing I did as I was not feeling very good for it, I need a good race to open up my legs after not racing for that long.

The morning of the race went really well. I had almost no nerves and was able to get pumped up for the race really easy.  The conditions were really muddy. It was that really thick mud that slows you down, which is ok for me, but I would have rather raced in the greasy mud the day before. I did a great warm up and lined up for the race, raring to go race in the mud. My start was a little lackluster, I lined up behind the wrong racer and got to the first corners around the middle of the 60 juniors in the race. There was a few pile ups on the first few corners and the leaders got away. I stayed calm though and moved up on the hills and technical sections. The race was rather surreal, I knew I was in a lot of pain, but my mind seemed to block all of it until after the finish. The first hill was un-ridable, but the running hurt everyone and so it did not affect me negatively. There was a slight uphill right after the hill in which I was able to gain a lot of places. I flew down the hill into the run up and managed to get some time on the group behind me before the stairs. I failed to ride the sand pit in the the first lap, which costed me a few spots.

As the race went on, my bike started to get heavy with mud. For some reason, I did not think to pit and get a clean bike. It was a mistake which probably costed me a top ten, but there is no such thing as a perfect race, right? after the first lap, I never lost a spot. In the next two laps, I managed to catch 20 some riders and move up to 18th. I gave it everything I had in the last lap to try and catch Ian Mcshane on the last lap, but a slight bobble on the last few corners made me 10 seconds shy of catching him.

In the end I managed to beat a lot of riders that normally place ahead of me and had a fantastic race. I was only a minute out of the top ten, which made my mistake about not pitting all the more painful. I did everything else perfect, which was my goal. I am going to take a few weeks off the bike now. After that I will start building for a fantastic road season in 2012!

A big thanks to Matthew Moses for all the awesome photos! You can check out other great photos of this race and more at