Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TDK- Stage 9

Stage 9- 24 April 2011-

Well all good things must come to an end sooner or later, it is just a fact of life. The one good thing about today is that the race started and finished in Seoul which meant a lot of people showed up to support us. It was a huge event and started in downtown seoul, right across from the US Embassy. The US Ambassador came down and met the Americans that were racing, she even showed up on a mountain bike and had a patriotic jersey on. She was really nice and was interested to hear about our stories from the race and why we were in Korea. A few people from the Seoul Flyers, the running group I race with, showed up at both the start and finish which was nice to see some familiar faces. The race was the shortest one of the whole TDK and was only 47K total. It was neutral though for 8K so we really only "raced" for 39K. But man was it a fast 39K, we averaged 27.5 miles an hour, and had some stiff head winds at times. There was a bad crash on the freeway that was right next to me and luckily I just missed it, going down at 35mph would not have been fun. I was riding strong and up front for the most of the ride. At about 5K out I knew I needed to be up towards the front but the pace just kept increasing and I couldn't get in good position. I was able to pick off a few people in the last 2K, due to some sharp corners and they couldn't accelerate out as fast as I did, but I still wasn't up front like I wanted to be. I ended up in the top 40 and was pleased with that as this was a Stage a lot of people were gunning for. The day ended well and I was just happy to still be on 2 wheels after 9 days. Here are some pictures from throughout the day.


The Pink Panther was tired come Stage 9

The Flying Ostrich and myself on an awesome Sunday morning!

The guys trying to stay warm.....

The honey badger, Shin Shin, and myself!

The foreigners, minus Alex, and Shin...

TDK- Stage 8

Stage 8- 16 April 2011-

Today was the one day that I was really looking forward to as I knew the course was going to be amazing. We finished in the town of Chuncheon, which is where I have ran 2 marathons and it is a special place to me. It is a really nice town and has some amazing scenery. The cool part was that waking up this morning we were right on the beach and the weather wasn't too bad at all. Today had a tough climb and I knew my legs were feeling good as yesterday on the first climb they felt great, so I figured I would have a good go at it. I know I am not a pure climber but was hoping to get over the climb with a good group so that we could try and get back to the main group.

I got myself over the climb in good position but took the descent very careful as I would rather make it down the mountain 30 seconds back than 30 second up but in 5 pieces and a few broken bones. So I lost some ground on the descent but we had a good sized group to work with. There ended up being about 10 of us in our group and another group up the road with about 8 riders. I was leading our group to try and catch the other group and wanting them to work to catch the group. It is hard to get the koreans to work up front but it seemed after a few choice words of motivation they started putting in some hard efforts. We worked our tails off but were never able to catch the other group. All in all it was a beautiful day and I got in some good work on the bike and ended up in the top 50, which I felt was a solid result.


Waking up on the ocean is quite the way to start out the day!

The good ol morning picture......

The pros with 3K to go....

Had dinner in Seoul with the "other" Brad from the Seoul Flyers. He has an awesome place with a great view.

And the day comes to an end with the sunset in Seoul!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stage 7- Cold Miserable and a DNF

Stage 7-

So woke up today to rain and cold weather. I tried my darnest to bundle up. I wrapped my knees in plastic wrap, my shoes in plastic wrap along with shoe covers, had plastic gloves on then warm winter gloves. I then had on Under Armour Cold top, a jersey, a long sleeve jersey, and a jacket, all covered up by a rain jacket. The first climb started at about 15K into the race. It was a steep hill with a bunch of switch backs, the picture is below. I made it to the top and my legs felt great, it was still part of the neutral zone (all the riders have to stay behind a pace car). They made us wait at the top to descend until everyone made it up. Once everyone was at the top we started to head down. It was a steep downhill and then once to the bottom it was gradual until the next climb. Well about 30K into the 100K ride I did a self check to see how the body was doing, it wasn't in a good state. My feet were really cold and wet, my fingers were numb and my legs were cold. My upper body was in good condition and warm. I decided to call it a day and get in the van. The TDK isn't my "A" race of the year and I figured packing it in was the best choice I could make to stay healthy and not get sick. We still have two more stages left so I figured I can come back strong tomorrow. The biggest disappointment was coming up to the top of the climb in the van to find out that they stopped the race at the top of the mountain, 50K in. All I would of had to do was make it another 20K, which I believe I could of done, as climbing would of warmed the body and the wind chill wouldn't of been so bad.

I still believe I made the right decision as the race could of went on. So I will start tomorrow stage 8 and hope for a good day. We are staying right on the beach tonight, as I type I can look out the window and see the waves crashing. I am still so grateful to be blessed with this opportunity and am so thankful to have made it through this race in one piece, so far. This is an amazing experience and all of the people that I have been able to meet and interact with has been awesome. I am kind of sad there is only 2 days left, but at the same time I am ready to embark on the next 5 weeks in preparation for IM China. Thanks again for all of the support and the amount of people following the blog and on FB means a lot.

Below is a video from today and the elevation chart and shot of the first climb.


video
Coming up the mountain after myself and Elmer got in the van. Thanks to Rich for helping us out and making sure we got warm right away. He experienced the horrible conditions last year and decided not to race today and was a great support person in the van!

The first climb was awesome, the legs felt great and it had some great switch backs. If you click on the picture, the first pause sign is where they stopped us and was at the top, the rest is the descent.
The first climb was the neutral one. My garmin stayed on when it was on the bike on the top of the roof so you can see the second climb as well. The peak is where the race stopped.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TDK- A Much Needed Rest Day

TDK Day 7, Rest Day-

Well today was our first rest day since the TDK started. After riding for 6 straight days the body was definitely read for a break. We still had to travel to our next race location, so that was a 2 hour trip. It was nice to finally get to sleep in, still woke up at 6am but was able to fall back asleep and didn't get up till 8. The Pink Panther had us come over to his room for breakfast, and he got us bread, cheese, donuts, and chocolate. It was nice to not be hurried for breakfast and just relax and BS with the guys. After breakfast we packed up everything and made the journey to our next hotel. It took 2 hours and it is up at a ski resort. I went out for a short run to loosen up the legs and it felt good. After that Pablo, The Pink Panther, had his wife come and meet up with us. She was kind enough to bring us pasta, salad, cheese, and bread. It was a good change to the typical day to day buffets we had been having.

After dinner we had our team meeting and then we headed down to get some ice cream from Baskin Robins. While down there we found a bowling alley and decided to bowl a game. It was nice to just mess around and not think cycling and just have a good time. Now we are just back at the condo relaxing. The foreigners are all sharing a 2 bedroom condo and the koreans have their own.

Well I am off to bed now, here are a few pics from today...........

Running through the countryside.

Some interesting little huts along the run route.
A better shot of the little huts...

The indoor pool zone at the resort. No lap pool :( So no swimming today.

At the bowling alley with the guys. I won with a crappy 109, they thought that was good hahaha

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TDK Stage 6-2nd Group

TDK Stage 6-2nd Group

Well today was a pretty tough day, once again I got dropped from the main group. The neutral zone ended and the race started on a slight uphill and the pace picked right up. I couldn't get my butt up the small hill and found myself playing chase until the climb. The main group of about 40 riders just went up the hill at a very fast pace and I just tried to get up the hill picking off as many people as possible along the way. I made up some ground on some people along the way but on the descent I gave up all of that time and made my way down the mountain with just one other guy. We hit the flat and about 800M up the road was a group of 5 riders. It took us about 10K to pull them in and by that point we only had 8K to go. Behind us was a chase group that I figured would catch us if we didn't pick up the pace, so I took my fair amount of time up front pulling the group. If I can just get my butt over these climbs I would be in a lot better situation, it seems I am always playing catch now and working my tail off on the flats. The chase group never caught us and they were about 15 seconds back. I finally made a good decision when it came to the finish and I sat 3rd wheel in our group of 7 and with about 200m to go I came out of the saddle and sprinted away. It felt good to finally get the sprint down and know where I can go from, I think with a bigger group I would have to go from about 400m and see what happens. Although it was for a top 50 finish it was still good to out sprint some people.

It was not a great day for our team, well it had some positives and some negatives. We gave up quite a bit of time to the 2nd place team and now only lead by 41 seconds. But the positive thing was that we got our lead, Mr. Lee, into the Yellow Jersey and he has a 4 second lead. So we have been busting our tail to cover our overall team position, but now we will have to continue to do that and then cover for Mr. Lee and the Yellow Jersey. The next 3 days are going to be extremely tough, luckily tomorrow is a rest day!

Here are some pics from today:

Headed to the bus....

Mr. Lee takes the Yellow!

That little hill before the big one is where I got separated.

Yeah I think I might actually be gaining weight...........

The buffet line, it was long!

And then the famous Pink Panther singing to us on the way to the hotel, it was a 3K ride from the finish.

video

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TDK Stage 5- DROPPED

19 April 2011- Stage 5-

Well after 4 hard days of riding my body finally decided to break down. I got dropped on the second small climb and couldn't bridge the gap back up. I stayed out in no mans land for quite some time and with about 5K to go the second group caught me. I ended up a little bit over 3 minutes down, so hopefully my body can recover and come back strong tomorrow. We have a 8K climb tomorrow that starts 13K after the neutral zone, so it will be a brutal day, to say the least. We were able to maintain our team lead today and only lost 5 seconds. Going in tomorrow we should have a good day as it is in the mountains and we have a stacked team of climbers. We also have a chance to get Mr. Lee into the Yellow Jersey, so we will see what happens.

A big breakfast today before the race
The "Honey Badger" (Peter) is wide awake and consuming food as alw

The "Flying Ostrich" (Elmer) and Alex, who have been my 2 roomies, were looking over todays results.


Where is Elmer at? Well Elmer loves his bike so much he decided to take a nap on it and is using the towel as a blanket!

Our mechanic has been busting his butt so he decided to take a mid day nap on the floor. It is actually common for the hotels to not have beds and you have to sleep on the floor. He was out cold!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stage 4- TDK....Crappy Weather.......Still better than WORKING!

18 April 2011-

So today was another good day for the Team. The weather was pretty shitty, it drizzled/rained and was pretty cold. The neutral zone was 60K long today of the 97K, so we really only raced for 37K. 5K after the neutral zone one of our "A" team riders flatted and someone on our team gave them a wheel. I stopped to pull him back to the peloton, well attempt to pull him back. Once the wheel was changed we took off and I thought we were going to be able to bring the peloton back, but they were really flying. The guy I was pulling was struggling to hang on so it was frustrating to be a team player yet again and not be able to benefit the team in the end. It has been really rewarding to be a team player, although yesterday was the most rewarding day by helping Elmer get a good finish in the sprint. I hope to be up at the front tomorrow and cover more attacks from Biclo and then lead out our sprinter or any of our guys to a top finish. We will see what tomorrow brings, should be a great day weather wise and I look forward to logging some more miles on the bike. O and as crappy as the weather was today, it was still a lot better than WORKING ;)

Team standings and Individual Standings below, as of stage 4:

Indvidual-http://www.tourdekorea.or.kr/tdk2011/images/sub_result/special_s4_1.pdf
Team- http://www.tourdekorea.or.kr/tdk2011/images/sub_result/special_s4_4.pdf

There are always a lot of "what if's" in life. But doing some quick math, I could be sitting in 11th right now in individual G.C. if it weren't for giving up my wheel or today's attempt to pull the teammate back. But then again, if I were in that situation I may have done something stupid and crashed. Just good to know that I can compete in the cycling world, well here in Korea at least ;)

Here are some pics from today:

Dinner round #1!
A little sampler plate of some Korean food.....
Jeremy, the team manager/keeping the foreigners under control....
Sporting our PINK Harley shirts at dinner. Gotta make the sponsors proud.......

Then came desert!
Kaiden is getting in on the "Where is Elmer" daily photos......Elmer is actually inside the bag and Kaiden is in shock that he is hiding in there.

Stage Results from Stage 4.....

TDK- Stage 3

17 April 2011- TDK Stage 3-

Well another day is down and the blog was delayed due to a little post race drinking, and an early morning wake up. It is hard to really remember yesterday, not because of the 3 beers, but more because this is just becoming one big blur. The only reason I knew yesterday was Sunday was because that some of the guys still had their girlfriends here. If it wasn't for that I wouldn't of known what day it was. It was a long day out in the wind across a long bridge. There was a short climb right after the neutral zone ended and I made it up with the second group. After the long descent we merged back up with the first group. We had a communication breakdown and the 2nd place team got 2 guys up the road before everyone merged up together. We let the 4 guys get up the road thinking we had 1 guy and they had 1 guy. Myself and the 2nd place team kept the peloton in tact and didn't let anyone else get away, but come to find out we should of been pulling the break back in. It was quite disappointing to come to the finish line and find out they got 2 guys up the road and we only had 1. They ended up gaining 3 minutes, which puts them still behind us but only by 3 minutes now. The big advantage we gained with the breakaway though was that Mr. Lee is now within 5 seconds of the Individual G.C. So we sacrificed 3 minutes on the team time but got our lead guy within 5 seconds of the G.C. Overall it was a good day and I was happy to be with the main group that finished. I tried to attack with 1K to go and that went pretty good pulling one of my team mates with me. I got pulled back in with about 500M to go and then my teammate, Elmer, "The Flying Ostrich" finished 7th in that group which put him 12th overall for the stage.

Here are a few pics from Day 2, since I didn't have many from Day 3.

Coming back up from the piss break on day 2.......
Where is Elmer? You mean you can't see him behind the tree?
Rich is having a tough TDK so we tried to get him in a better mood by getting him drunk. 15 beers between 6 cyclist= 6 drunk guys..........Man I am a light weight now!

Sporting our Harley Davidson PINK shirts...........The "Pink Panther" (AKA Pablo) owns the Storck store and all the HD shops in Korea, so they are a partial sponsor of the team. All of us have HD shirts or HD hats. With Rapha having pink as one of their main colors, they got us pink HD shirts............
Results after day 3......

Saturday, April 16, 2011

TDK Day 2

16 April 2011-

Well day 2 is complete............We had a long team meeting so this is going to be a short blog as it is getting late and I would like to get some decent sleep tonight. All in all it was a good day, we held on to our lead and didn't lose anytime in the Team G.C. My role today was to cover the attacks and make sure no one got away on the second place team. I put in some hard efforts and team "Bicyclo" was not happy that I kept on hanging on. They had 3 or 4 guys that would just attack after attack, and then I wouldn't pull as we wanted the peloton to come back, so they would yell at me in Korean and I would just laugh and smile back. I also called another rider a not so nice of name in english after he tried putting me in the gutter and well he understood english so I got a nasty look. Lesson learned, don't swear at the Koreans as they typically understand at a minimum the english cuss words. I ended up staying with the first group and gave one go at a break away with 2K to go and it lasted all of about 30 seconds, I put about 100M into them and then they reeled me back in. The final stretch got really sketchy so I just hung in the back of the group and let the sprinters go at it. No need to get tangled up and go down when you just take the same finishing time as the group...........Results still aren't up, so I will post some pics and possibly update the results in the morning depending on what time I get up.

The view from the hotel in the morning.........

White Lightning looking good as always ;)
Where is Elmer??? He is hiding behind the jacket changing into his cycling clothes........

Coming back to get waters and use the bathroom......John "The Water Buffalo" brought 6 back up and I was only able to get one or two.
Post race talks........
Didn't realize we were right outside of the "doping control" RV, but I needed a quick recovery ;)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 1- TDK

15 Apr 2011- TDK Day 1-

Well today ended up being an interesting day to say the least. I completed objective number 1 of keeping it on two wheels and not going down. So this is my first official road race and I felt pretty good to say the least. The neutral zone was about 30 miles long, we were cruising around 20-23mph. I played gutter patrol and kept people from coming up the side during the neutral side. After the neutral zone we had 3K till the first climb. It was 3.6K long with average of 8% incline. I made it up to the top of the KOM about 2m40secs down from the leader and then bridged up to some of our "A" team riders. We are split into two teams Storck and Rapha, as only each team can have 8 riders. So the "B" team role has been too support the A team riders. I came down the descent and our climber had went down, so I stopped and gave him my rear wheel as he had flatter/jacked up his rear tire/wheel. This is one of the hardest things I have done, but with cycling and this being a team sport I helped out the team. So un like being the typical selfish triathlete I am and everything about me, I had an eye opening experience today and the benefits of helping other teammates. The one thing about TDK is that our support vehicle can only go as fast as the last rider, so I had to wait 15 minutes for them to arrive. I sat there and had to watch 6 people go down, and they didn't go down easy, they crashed HARD. One of our team members broke his arm and is having surgery on it. Another guy slid 15 feet on his face, it was like a train wreck you don't want to watch but you just can't look away.

So after the wait I got back on the bike and another one of our teammates double flatted and we rode for awhile together. I am training for China still and with that being my A race I wanted to just finish out the stage and get the miles in, plus it was a beautiful day!

We are back at the motel now just relaxing and BSing about life, racing, girls and then of course all the crashes. We just got the results, and WOW our guys took it to the other teams today. Our Team(The A Team) has a 5min55sec lead over the other teams, they take the top 3 guys times from each stage. Our first 3 finished 3rd,4th,11th. We also had 2 guys in the top 3 of the KOM, so all in all a great day! Well other than I am in 116th

Tomorrow is 129K and it is quite flat, so hopefully we can manage the peloton and keep the teams 6 minute lead.

Below are some pics from today and of the stage tomorrow.........And a video from the KOM...I am at 3min20secs in the video:
http://tvpot.daum.net/v/31943776?lu=flvPlayer_out


We are doing a daily series of "Where is Elmer??", so today Elmer "The Flying Ostrich" was hiding behind the foam roller on his bike. Stay tuned for more "Where is Elmer??"
Myself and Mr. Jin Ok Lee (The prior Olympian)
Day 1 Tan Line

The Flying Ostrich's rear wheel, he came out in good shape, but his wheel on the under hand............
Dante our Mechanic........And the awesome Korean Food!
Richard the Rabbit's elbow, he got taken out with 7K to go.....

Elevation Chart from Today w/ heart rate.

Results from the TDK page.
Stage 2 Elevation Chart and Map