Monday, July 23, 2012

Cascade Cycling Classic

20 July-

Well I made the flight up to Portland on Wednesday to meet up with a teammate and then head down here to Cascade on Thursday.  It was about a 3 hour drive and we had a homestay all lined up.  We arrived into town around 1pm and then grabbed some lunch prior to heading over to the homestay.  We are staying in a town house with a guy named Jim, who happens to have 2 black labs.  The house is beautiful and about 1 block from the river.  Racing kicks off on Friday with a Road Race, then a TT on Saturday morning followed by a Crit that evening.  Then Sunday there is a brutal circuit race that is 4 laps with 2 climbs on it, we pre rode the course today and it is going to be tough.

Stage 1- 70 mile Road Race

We got a heads up on the way to the race with a Facebook post stating that it was 40*F and raining up at the start of the race, which was at Mt. Bachelor ski resort.  Luckily I had packed some cold weather gear into my race bag and I ended up starting the race with a vest and arm warmers on.  Luckily for us the rain had stopped prior to us arriving but it was still windy and cold, but right before the race it started warming up.  The race started at 1140 and it was downhill for about the first 10 miles.  The pace wasn't too crazy but it was fast since we were going downhill.

I was told to just sit in for this race and just get use to racing with the CAT2's.  I listened for a majority of the race and then tried to bridge a few times and then went back to sitting in.  When we got to the climb I was positioned poorly and lost ground on the lead group but was slowly moving up along the climb.  It was about a 20 minute climb and I ended up losing 1'56" to the race leader, which wasn't bad but wasn't great.  Looking back on the Stage my position was a key factor to why I lost so much time as the legs felt pretty decent and I didn't climb all that bad.  For my first CAT2 race, I was pretty pleased with how the race went and definitely learned a few things.

Category: CAT2-
Results: 50th out of 110 (
Link to ride on Strava:
GC Placing: 50th out of 109, 1'56" down

Stage 2- 12.5 mile TT

I was looking forward to the TT as that is my strong point, but the day was just not going to be my day.  It started out with forgetting my Garmin 800 at the homestay and then having to go around to find one to borrow.  I ended up finding a 500 to borrow so luckily I was able to look at my power during the ride and try and stay within my zone.  Unfortunately yesterdays ride was taking a toll on my legs and my power was a little lower than expected.  However, the TT did move me up a few places in GC and I was happy with how it went considering all of the circumstances.

Category: CAT2-
Results: 38th out of 108 (
Link to ride on Strava: Awaiting File
GC Placing: 42nd out of 108, 3'27" down

Stage 3- 40min Downtown Crit

 Going into the Crit I knew it was going to be fast, but I had a feeling nothing would get a way.  After a few laps I found it really really hard to move up.  It was a 4 corner Crit all right hand turns.  Corner 3 was really sketchy and had some rubber stuff in the road, the stuff that fills the cracks, and it was super slippery.  After about 10mins I decided that I was just going to hand onto the back to avoid any craziness and just finish with the main group so that I wouldn't lose anytime.  With Kona being 11 short weeks away I wanted to make sure I wasn't caught up in anything.  Riding off the back was definitely more difficult but it was a lot safer in my opinion.  I ended up not losing anytime and finished with the main group, I was actually the last person to not lose time.

Category: CAT2-
Results: 93rd out of 107 (
Link to ride on Strava:

GC Placing: 42nd out of 105, 3'27" down

Stage 4- 68 Mile Circuit Race

After pre riding the course on Thursday I knew today was going to be tough.  To make matters worse I had to big days in the legs and it was really going to depend on how the legs felt on how I did.  I was told by my coach to sit in the first 2 laps and I made sure I did that to save up some energy.  On the start of lap 3 I threw some attacks and just couldn't make anything stick.  There was a break up the road that I was trying to bridge to and the best chance we had was with a group of 5 guys and the most we gained was 10 seconds on the main pack.  They just weren't letting anything go.  I tried several times to make it happen but it just didn't happen.  I went back to sitting in and figured half way through the final lap I would make some more attempts.

I ended up falling off the back after the feed zone towards the end of lap 3 and had to catch back on which took a lot of energy.  I ended up catching back on right before the steep climb and I just couldn't hang on to the group.   I ended up falling off the back with about 4 other guys and we just finished the race together.  It was a pretty big surprise to me, but looking back on it, it came to positioning once again.  I definitely learned a lot in this race and think it was a great experience to just watch the group ride away from me.  Not that I was arrogant going into this race, but I was riding a pretty big streak going into this race so I was pretty high on life, and this definitely showed me how the "big boys" ride and put things into perspective for me.

Category: CAT2-
Results: 87th out of 107 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Final GC Placing: 79th out of 92 (110 starters on Stage 1), 14'52" down
( )

Overall I was happy with how the whole weekend went.  It was an awesome opportunity to learn and get some great racing experience under my belt.  A special Thanks to Dwayne and Shelby Farr for picking me up from the airport and taking care of me while in the Portland area, as well as providing transportation for me.  Big congrats to Dwayne on an awesome race at Cascade.  Also a huge thanks to our homestay Jim, amazing hospitality and an awesome house!  Thanks again to everyone that supports me along this amazing journey, the past 11 weeks of racing have truly been amazing with so many highs and a few lows.

Sorry for the lack of photos but here are a few:

We woke up Friday morning to Jim making coffee and laying out fresh fruit, simply amazing!

Before the start of Stage 1, all bundled up from the cold weather.
 Prepping for the TT with my skinsuit as a parachute.  Good times in Bend!

 The freshly painted P3 already for the TT with some awesome HED6 wheels and a wheelbuilder cover!

 And that is the last that I saw of the race....................

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Little City Stage Race

7-8 July-

Not going to Superweek opened up some other opportunities, one of which was this weekends Little City Stage Race.  It was the first year of the race so the turn out was pretty small.  They had put a lot of focus on the Masters and Juniors Categories though with some decent prize money, total through all the Categories was $11,000 and for the CAT3 field it was $1,000.  The race was going to be held in Woodfords, CA and Minden, NV.  Some of the Categories started out with the Time Trial while others started out with the Crit.  For my Category we started out with a 9am TT followed by a 1215 Crit.  I really was hoping the Crit would be first for us and then the TT, as then I wouldn't of been marked in the Crit from having a good TT.  The race was points based (Omnium) instead of time based like a normal Stage Race.

Stage 1- 9.5 mile TT Woodfords, CA

I had one of the last start times of 0937 which was fine with me.  It would put guys in front of me to try and chase down, which I like, gives me something to aim for and try and catch.  The TT course started out on a gradual down hill and then went up a small hill prior to turning around and returning.  The last 2 miles was brutal up a false flat that just seemed to take forever.  I went out and tried to take it a little bit easier on the way out and then hammer back the return trip.  I didn't feel all that great on the second half but still had a decent Time Trial.

Category: Elite 3-
Results: 2nd out of 37 (
Link to ride on Strava:
GC Placing: 2nd out of 37

Stage 2- 60min Criterium Minden, NV

Having a good TT and putting me in 2nd in the GC was going to make for a tough Crit.  I was going to have to be on defense for the whole 60mins and really keep my eye on the Yellow Jersey and the 3rd, 4th, 5th place guys.  To make things even tougher they announced at the start of the race that there would be 3 "hot laps" right off the bat with cash primes the first 3 laps.  Then there would be 2 points primes at random points throughout the race and then there would be 11 other merchandise primes.  This would make for a tough race.  I held back and didn't go after the cash primes and just sat in for the first few laps.  When the first points prime came I went for it and ended up 3rd across the line with the 3rd and 4th place guys in the GC taking 2nd and 1st in the prime respectively.  Half way through the race I started attacking and couldn't manage to get away.  I don't think it helped that the USAC Official let everyone in the field know that I had just come off winning the Davis Crit, not the kind of announcement you want prior to a race.  I couldn't manage to get away but was able to win a few primes, which included a bike pump (that was a good one since I don't have a pump at home while I am on leave) and then a bottle of win etched with the race name and date, which was cool.

Once I couldn't get away I just went back to the top 10 and managed to recover a bit to get ready for the final few laps.  With about 10mins to go the GC Leader started moving up quite fast and went pretty hot into the tightest corner on the course and pedal hoped and slid out taking himself and almost taking out a few other riders.  A few laps later I was sitting 3rd wheel and when we went through the chicane another guy pedal hoped and took the guy out right in front of me and I barely missed the crash.  At that point there was only 3 laps left so I made sure to keep my position up front.  With 1 lap to go I was still up towards the front and picked it up on the back stretch to keep things strung out.  Going into the final 2 corners which happened to be a chicane I was sitting 2nd wheel, just where I wanted to be.  With about 200m to go I started to come around the guy and sprinted for the line.  With about 100m to go another guy came around me who I found out was the 4th place GC guy and we ended up side by side at the line and I managed to get him by less than an inch.  Probably the best sprint of the year that I have been it, it was even closer than the sprint a few weeks back in Korea.

Category: Elite 3-
Results: 1st out of 37 (
Link to ride on Strava:
GC Placing: 1st out of 37

Stage 3- 66 Mile Road Race

With having a solid TT and winning the Crit I went into the road race with a pretty solid lead.  The problem was I had to defend the yellow and do that without a "team".  Fortunately a team from Reno came over after the crit and offered to help me out as much as they could during the race as none of them were in GC contention.  I was relieved to have some help but knew it would still be a hard day.  The race was on a 11 mile loop that was going to be a tough because we had to cover it 6 times and it had 2 small climbs and then a 2 mile false flat back to the start finish line.  The other half of the course was a gradual down hill.

The first lap stayed together and then the start of the 2nd lap is when some guys got away.  None of them were GC contenders so myself and the 2nd place guy just let them go and had each other marked.  I tried attacking a few times over the next 2 laps but couldn't get away.  After that I just sat in the group and then when we would get to the climb I would just make sure I was around the other top GC guys and make sure none of them got away.  On the last lap we saw a few guys up the road and they ended up coming back to the peloton which left 4 guys up the road.  There was no way we were going to catch them so one of the guys from the Reno based team that was going to help me came up to the front and I asked him to just sit up front a keep the pace high for the last 3 miles.  When we got to about 1K out I attacked and got a small gap, but the group pulled me back with about 700m to go.  I sat about 3rd wheel of the main group and just kept my eye on the 2nd place GC guy, he was just sitting back so at 400m I attacked again but couldn't make it stick and got out sprinted by a few guys including the 2nd place GC guy.  Luckily there was only 2 or 3 people between us which wasn't enough for him to take the GC from me.  Overall I was happy with how the road race played out, even though I didn't finish that high, with a 9th place finish.

Category: Elite 3-
Results: 9th out of 37 (
Link to ride on Strava:
Final GC Placing: 1st out of 37

Overall I was really happy with how the race went and I feel that I learned quite a bit over the 2 days and 3 races.  It was a great opportunity to get some upgrade points which was why I stacked the schedule so heavy over the past few weeks and this weekend should give me enough points to upgrade.  I will submit my upgrade after next weekend and hopefully be racing Cascade Cycling Classic as a CAT2!

A big Thanks to my Dad and step mom Brenda for coming all the way out to watch the Crit on Saturday.  We then went out to a nice steak dinner with Brenda's brother and I managed to play a little black jack, which always makes for a fun night.  Also a huge thanks to all of the support that I have been getting over the past few weeks while home.  It is always hard to just show up to the local rides and not know anyone, but over the last 12 months I have been around enough to get to know these guys and gals, and we truly have a great group of local riders here at "home"!

Also for anyone that is interested in doing a great stage race, check out  For a first year event they did a great job and put up some big money and great primes for the crit.  I am looking forward to hopefully being able to come back and race next year, hopefully they have a CAT2 field, as I am not in the masters category yet and that is all they have for 1/2's this year.

Here are some pics from the weekend:

Right before the start of the crit, right after I finished my can of FRS!
Coming out of the chicane and onto the front stretch

The sprint for the win in the crit, yeah it was that close

Picking up my primes after the Crit, bottle of wind and the pump!

Putting on Yellow after the Crit
 Up the final climb of the road race course, sitting back to the left in yellow
 Talking with Todd after the race, he was one of the guys that helped me out during the road race.

 The top 8 for the overall GC
Top 3 for the Overall GC

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Leesville/Atwater/Davis 4th of July Race Reports

30 June / 1 July / 4 July-

Busy weekend to say the least along with yesterdays mid week 4th of July race, so I will wrap them all up in one race report.  As many of you know I have a pretty stacked schedule while home chasing upgrade points, so a lot of racing means a lot of traveling and a lot of rest.  I am putting in some big training while home and also putting in some quality rest time.  But lets get to the point of this blog and catch everyone up on how the past races went.

Leesville Gap Road Race, 30 June-

I had put this race on the schedule as I thought the course would suit me well.  I had heard rumors of how rough portions of the road were but never thought it would be as bad as it was.  We had a full field of 60 riders and I felt comfortable along the opening stretch and was looking forward to the first climb which came around mile 22 of 66.  Well before that climb was the first dirt/gravel section and off the back I went.  I was just kind of hanging on, barely and the peloton was like a carrot I was chasing.  I almost went down a couple times in the gravel section but managed to make it to the climb.  This is where I started catching people and passing people but on the descent I wasn't willing to take risks like others were.  The roads were described by Chuck Hutcheson as "white-trash redneck cobbles" and I would have to say that is pretty spot on.

Of the 66 miles I would say 20 of it was really rough and sketchy and I just didn't feel comfortable at all through this section.  Once I got out of the rough stuff I started putting in a solid effort to catch the group.  It took me quite a while to catch the group and once I caught them I found out they were the chase group and there was a break of about 8 up the road.  There were 12 riders in the chase group and of those 12 about 8 of them had teammates up the road, so I had 4 guys that were actually working.  I recovered for about 3 or so minutes then went straight to the front to tried to get the group to start chasing the break.  We had 1'30" deficit that we had to make up and we worked hard, but with only 4 of us working we just couldn't make it happen.  I didn't know the course all that well and all of the sudden the 1K sign came up.  I was up towards the front so I just kind of slowed and waited for some others to come around and then I sat in about 3rd wheel.  At about 400m I went and it was just a bit to early as the other guys that hadn't been working came around me at 150m to go and I ended up getting passed by about 6 of those guys and crossed the line 14th.  Not the results I was looking for but it let me know that I was in good form compared to the other riders in my Category (CAT3), minus my handling skills through the rough section.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 14th out of 60 (
Link to ride on Strava:

 Atwater Big Creek Crit-

After having such a big showing at Leesville I was looking forward to a big crowd down at Atwater.  I showed up to find out the CAT3 field was only going to have 10 or so guys in it which was quite disappointing.  I also heard that the P1/2 race only had 2 guys registered, so I asked the question if they would let CAT3's double up and do both.  They were fine with that so I was able to get 2 races in back to back which made the trip worth while.  They actually gave us free entry to the 2nd race which was nice.

I had already talked to my coach prior to the race about a plan for the race, but with the small field I threw that out the window and re adjusted.  The CAT3 race was the first race and we had 9 starters.  I waited till about 5 laps in of the 25 laps and then attacked out of the 2 corners and opened up a small gap.  I just slowly kept opening the gap up and gaining time.  I ended up lapping the field with about 5 laps to go and just sat in at that time.  There was 2 guys in the field that I knew from the local rides so I tried to set them up with a lead out, but one guy from another team went super early and I wasn't able to close the gap for the guys and ended up pulling one of the guys to a 3rd place finish.  I wasn't sure what to do once I had lapped the field but knew if I had teammates in the field I would have helped them out, and the local guys were the closest thing I had to teammates so I just helped them.  I was glad to get a win even though it was a small field, it was a confidence boost after the previous days race.

Next up was the P1/2 race, which included 3 CAT3's and 2 CAT2's, for a total of 5 people.  Really small race to say the least.  All of us but 1 guy had already raced a race previous in the day so when the race started we just talked and kept it very casual.  Then the officials got tired of us going slow and they rang the bell for a prime.  2 guys went hard for it and actually opened up a small gap and after the prime we figured they would sit up but they kept going, so once we caught them I countered and opened up a gap.  I ended up holding that gap for a while and slowly built it up.  I lapped the field with about 8 laps to go and took another win.

Overall I was happy to pull off 2 wins in back to back races but was really disappointed in the small fields.  It was also great to have my family there cheering me on and keeping me motivated to keep riding hard while I was solo.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 1st out of 9 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Category: P1/2 + CAT3's
Results: 1st out of 5 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Davis 4th of July Crit-

Not necessarily the "biggest" race on the calendar while I am home, but it was an important one to me.  I really wanted to put the stars and stripes on the podium on this special day.  I had talked to quite a few people and they talked about how big of a race this was and how it brings a big tough field and a lot of fans.  I was really excited about the race but also nervous about it as it was a technical tight course and I would also have a lot of family there watching.

I got up to Davis a bit early and met up with my Aunt Renee, Uncle Kevin, and my Cousin Kyle who was the birthday boy and then my other cousin Todd and his fiance Dede.  We all had lunch together and then I went about my normal pre race routine and got in a short warmup as I was feeling really hot on the trainer and didn't want to get my body temperature up to high as it was going to be a hot race.  I got off the trainer and found a bathroom and then just spun around lightly in a small warmup area.  The race started at 1415, so I made my way to the start line around 1410.

I didn't get all that great of a start and just hung out for the first couple of laps.  I had a game plan that I was going to use at Atwater and myself and my Coach Zach had decided to use the same plan.  There was a pretty nasty crash right on the front stretch about 8 minutes into the race and that is when I decided I better move up a little closer to the front.  There was a solo rider that was off the front and then 2 other guys behind him but ahead of the main group.  I decided around 15 minutes to make my move and started to go.  It took me a bit to move up to the front but once I got there I went hard and bridged up to the 2 riders.  I then had my work cut out to make it to the next guy but made sure to not bring the other 2 with me.  I finally made it to the solo guy and the 2 others were back to the pack.  Once I got to him we got a split of an 8 second gap.

We worked really well together and worked the gap from 8 seconds to 12 seconds, which it seemed to stay at for a while.  Then it went from 12 seconds to 25 seconds in a matter of a few laps, not sure what happened there, but it just kind of hovered at 25 seconds all the way to the finish.  With 2 laps to go I looked over to the other guy and told him my situation of only being home for the few weeks and how I needed the upgrade points.  I offered him the 1st place prize in exchange for the 2nd place prize which was a difference of $60, so that I could take the win.  He had no problem with it, and I honestly think he would of given it to me anyways so that I could put the stars and striped on top of the podium on the 4th of July.  It was a great effort on both of our parts to make the 2 man break stick, half way through the race he thought he was going to "blow up" and I just looked over at him and told him to dig deep and believe because we were pulling it off.

It was amazing to have so many fans packed in the downtown streets of Davis and to have a lot of family there.  My Dad said he wanted an early Bday Present so that win was for him.  It was a heck of a day and honestly it still hasn't really set in, I put it up there with crossing the finish line in Kona, only thing I was missing yesterday was an American Flag to carry across the line or around the course, that would of made it extra special.

Category: Elite CAT3-
Results: 1st out of 58 (
Link to ride on Strava:

Video of Race (3:20 for finish video):

Thanks again for all of the support and as always a special Thanks to all the great supporters out there.  Thanks to FRS, Honey Stinger, HED Wheels, Chamois Butt'r, Primal Wear and of course all of my family and friends and fellow military service members!

Here are some pictures from the Atwater Crit:

Here are some pics from the Davis 4th of July Crit:

 Thanks to Alex Chiu Photography for the great photos!