Sunday, September 20, 2009

Overcoming Challenges

Another addition of Beat this Caption:

When life presents challenges some people defy all odds and common sense to overcome them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

That Race Sucked

That race sucked...not the race or the racers, but me. The fourth edition of the Bare Bones Crit at the VA Beach Sportsplex occurred last night. I was actually feeling pretty good and was confident I could do something. I told my teammate, John, that I was going to try and keep myself back a little at the beginning of the race unless I saw a move that looked really promising.

Well not too far into the race Keith Johnson had made a move off the front followed my Art Marks. I decided to go to it for fun. It wasn't far away and it was a simple bridge to get my legs moving. I made the move and we were caught a lap later. I was happy.

Then a simple innocent move went off the front. To be honest I didn't give it much thought. It contained 3 riders, Chad Holm, a rider from Team Fitness Together and a rider from Hilton Cycling Club (that's the other Conte's Jerseys out there, right?). It seemed like a weak move just for the fact the they just rode off the front. There wasn't much of an attack, but the next thing I know they have a quarter of lap and they are moving fast. I got to the front of the pack, turned around and said "I'm going to catch this, let's go." I did not attack, I simply, and slowly picked up the pace. Only too riders went with me, Fat Frog's rider and I think it was Harlan Ward from Atlantic Velo. Within a lap we had caught them. I had done all the pulling until they were in very close reach and then the Fat Frogs racer finished closing the gap.

This is not what I wanted. The lap board still didn't have our laps-to-go yet. It was way early for me to be in a break. But I recovered and worked in. It actually worked well with 6 of us. Everyone took good pulls and kept it steady. Then more riders started to bridge up. The more we got the less fluid the break was. Some riders would get to the front and kill it, others wouldn't take a pull and one rider was all over the place and almost caused a couple of crashes. I was starting to get tired and my legs were not recovering between pulls.

After 2 or 3 laps in the break the lap board finally said 20 to go. By the time it reached 15 I was spent. And when it reached 13 I was off the back. I am pissed at myself for letting this happen. Part of it was probably mental, I should have been able to stay on. Part of it was bad luck. I had pulled into the wind, two riders came around me but the others didn't. So I had to work to try and get on the wheel of the two other riders. I couldn't do it at first, Chad had to come around me which was good because he had the pull just before mine. So when I finally got on someone's wheel I was spent and we still had to close the gaps. That is what did me in. I think that if the gaps had formed when I was drafting then I would have been okay. But I just didn't recover in enough time to get back together. On that lap another 3 riders joined the break and with fresh legs the pace went up and I went off the back.

I tried to sprint for a good place in the field, but that didn't happen. I did manage to piss someone off because they thought I was stealing their wheel. I say bullshit to that. I was riding the outside on no one's wheel taking all the wind. Granted I stayed behind a rider that I wanted to follow to the line with the hopes of him moving over to the left, then I had his wheel. Well that's what happened. A rider slowed in the middle of the pack and he moved to the left to avoid him, I grabbed his wheel. The rider that was riding his wheel had no where to go...not my problem, that's what happens when you are in the middle of the pack. I don't think I did anything wrong or unsafe. If someone else saw it and thought I was riding recklessly, let me know so I don't do it again. Well it didn't matter I only got 7th in the field sprint. 10 riders were up the road.

Oh well, its a training race and I got some good training. And its a good sign that I was pissed about the outcome. There was a time that I would have bragged about just being in the break for 10 laps and it would have been a successful race. Not anymore. My confidence is higher and I truly believe I have what it takes to just hasn't happened yet.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A workout worth blogging about.

It starts with deadlifts. Start with a set of 10 and then a set of 9, then 8....then 1, you get the point. Not that big of a deal. Total of 55 deadlifts. The tough part is what we did in between the sets.

Deadlifts then 300 feet on the Versa Climber.
Then 300 feet on the Jacob's Ladder

That cycle get repeated until we completed the set that only included 1 dead lift. So it totals 55 deadlifts, 3,000 feet on the Versa Climber and 3,000 feet on the Jacob's Ladder.

And if you've never tried the Versa Climber or Jacob's Ladder you have no idea. The V-Climber takes less then 2 minutes to get to the 300 feet and the Jacob's Ladder takes around 3 minutes to get 300 feet. So these short, intense efforts are great for cyclocross training or just simply off-season conditioning.

A Cyclist Falls from the Pungo Ferry Bridge

Many people have already heard the news that Elliot Craddock fell from the Pungo Ferry Bridge yesterday during a training ride. Watch this video of the rescue made by the Virginia Beach Fire Department. Also keep in mind a couple of things. Elliot's dad, Jeff was there and watched the whole thing. What kind of feeling is that to see your son fall from a bridge. Also the Battalion Chief in charge of the rescue was non other then Chief Dennis Keane. That's right Fat Frog's own Matt Keane's dad. You don't think for a minute Chief Keane related to this incident at all do you? I think everyone was relieved to find out that Elliot suffered only a broken shoulder. Heal quickly young Elliot.

Also interesting to note is the negativity and anger that cyclists in the news tend to bring. I read the article about the crash on the Virginia Pilot on-line. Following the article were numerous, negative comments referring to cyclists not having rights to the road and how irresponsible we are. I still can't believe that this is the majority, it is just the handful of angry citizens who have nothing better to do than make comments like that. That being said, just be careful out there. If a car makes you mad, just remember, it could be one of those crazy assholes who left comments about Elliot getting what he deserved just because he was on a bike on "their" roads. We probably don't want to piss those people off any more than they all ready are.

By the way, similar comments were made about Jeff Lawson when he crashed and broke his neck in the Smithfield TTT. I just don't understand some people.

Get well soon Elliot, and good job to the VBFD for the technical rescue.

Video shot by retired Virginia Beach Master Firefighter Martin Grube.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Cross Racer is Born

He did it. John Gray bought a cyclocross bike. John got his start in cycling as mountain biker. Got into road racing and sold his mountain bike last year so he could buy a TT bike. We've been trying to tell him that the next logical step would be to by a CX bike. With his mountain bike skills and his desire to be in pain (hence the purchase of a TT bike) John would be good at this discipline, or at least really enjoy it.

So he purchased the Gary Fisher Steel Cyclocross bike from All About Bikes in Chesapeake. The bike is pretty sweet. Its been a little while since I have seen a steel bike, and for cyclocross it works for sure. He said it was responsive and handled well, he just has to get use to the difference in that and his old mountain bike.

We left my house early and headed out for a 3 hour tour. We hit the trails at Damn Neck, the ocean front, Seashore trails and then finished with a steady road effort down Great Neck. Awesome chance for him to get a good feel for cyclocross. Now we just need to get out and practice some CX specific skills.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen are officially making the transition to the cyclocross world.

  • Joshua Goyet--has a CX bike and plans on racing most of the VACX series
  • John Gray--just got a new CX bike and plans on racing at least the local races
  • Jon Nisbet--has a CX bike and skipped the road season but is getting into shape for CX.
  • Tim Shockley--same as Nisbet, getting in shape for road season.
  • Mike Tamayo--has a CX bike and plans on racing at least the local races.
  • Kyle O'brien-doesn't want to have to get off his bike to race. Still trying to convince him.
  • Undisclosed new member--Races Cyclocross
  • Undisclosed new member--Just told me that he is going to buy a CX bike. Because he has been a few years without a racing license (because of racing Tri's) he may or may not get a late season license to race CX.
  • Still trying to convince new member--races cyclocross but hasn't agreed to race with the Wheelmen yet, still working.
We may be all wearing 757cx gear during CX races, but we are looking for something to distinguish us as Wheelmen. Look for us out there.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beat this Caption.

I always like those stupid pictures in magazines that ask you to come up with a better caption then they did. Well there are plenty of those stupid pictures around the internet that I always seem to find. So I'll do my best to put a caption to it, but I am sure I will be out done. Here's the first one:

"What do you mean that I'm too into video games?"

The off-season plan is here. Check it out!

Feel free to contact me through comments, email or call Performance Point at the number listed below.



The Plan:

The off-season is a perfect opportunity to develop strength, power, flexibility and balance through cross training. Join the Performance Point team from November through the end of March in this program that specifically targets the needs of cyclist and multisport athletes. The program focuses on the following:

  • Movement and flexibility
  • Strength building
  • Energy system development
  • Power and core

The Cyclist and Multisport Athlete Conditioning Program is fully integrated and works all aspects of off-season conditioning throughout the five months. This includes work with Smartbells, small balls, weights, kettle bells, Versa Climbers, Concept 2 Rowers, Jacob’s Ladders and much more including your own bike and indoor trainer.

The Schedule:

The program will begin on November 3, 2009. The final class will be held on March 30, 2010. There is a total of 40 sessions in this program. Class will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 6 pm. Most classes will last an hour. (There will be no class on Thursday, November 26, 2009 for Thanksgiving, Thursday, December 24, 2009 for Christmas and Thursday, December 31 for New Years.)

Cost and Payment Options:

The program cost is $500 for non-members of Performance Point. If a Program Commitment Contract is signed, the athlete may make five (5) payments of $100 due on the first Tuesday of each month.

The athlete may choose not to sign a Program Commitment Contract and pay per session. Price per session is $15.

The athlete may also choose to join Performance Point as a member. Members of Performance Point receive unlimited classes for a monthly fee of $59. A year contract is required.

Performance Point

2644 Barrett Street

Virginia Beach, VA 23452

(757) 306-4050

Train to win. That’s the Point.

Also Available is the Performance IQ packages:



Muscoskeletal Screening

Strength test

Running Gait Analysis

Swim Stroke Video Analysis

Computrainer Cycling Analysis



Muscoskeletal Screening

Strength test

Computrainer Cycling Analysis

These Performance IQ are offered at a discounted price to anyone who joins the program. You do not need to be part of the program to purchase these Performance IQs.

A Good Sign

I am really enjoying these late season Bare Bones Crits at the Sportsplex. I feel like I am working hard in them. I attack and bridge, but haven't made the winning break yet. I know one thing I am going to work on this off-season is the sustained effort required to work hard in a break once I've made it. I tend to blow up a little and don't have much left to contribute.

Last week I found myself in a three man break with Bill Collins and Harlan Ward. I bridged solo to the the two man break and tried to work in as well as I could. Keith Johnson bridged up a few laps later and suddenly the pace picked up more than I could handle. The break broke up and we were all caught by the pack. A few laps later the winning break formed.

Now here's the part that is the "good sign". I feel like I can sprint, I just don't sprint. I have a mental block of being in the front or near the front in the final lap, unless I am on the front leading out my sprinter. So typically I just ride the final lap in and try to get in the top 15 maybe. Well in this race, on the final lap I found myself on Bill Collins' wheel. Then I gave up his wheel to allow Hosang to have it and I took Hosang's wheel. We rode to the front and I found myself sprinting for the field finish. I got second in the field and 6th overall (4 man break).

This last week played out much the same. I bridged to an early break that destroyed me to stay on. We got caught and soon later a large "split" occurred. At the point I realized the split was going away, I had just started to recover. I went at the same time Hosang and Tim Shockley went. Hosang pulled hard and dragged us there quickly. Unfortunately Tim had to drop back just as we were getting close. Mike was pulling hard and fast and it exhausted me just to stay on his wheel. We got to break and there was no sitting in. I got dropped from it. But so did nearly everyone else. This 10 man plus break ended up being a break of 3 riders with a second chase of just 3 more that nearly got picked off at the line.

So on the final lap, I once again found myself near the front of the field. Tim Shockley rode up beside me and I immediately jumped on his wheel with my other teammate Nisbet on my wheel. Tim sprinted to the front of the pack and we had ourselves a Virginia Beach Wheelmen leadout. Tim gave an awesome effort through the strong head wind. I was behind him yelling to just keep it up a little longer. Just before the final turn I had to go. Nisbet yelled "G0" and I went. As a second stage of the lead out it was the perfect place to go. But Nisbet, who took this season off, didn't have his sprinting legs and I actually separated from him. So I had a long sprint ahead of me. I was passed by only one rider...Brent from Atlantic Velo. As I discovered later, he was the same rider that beat me in the field sprint the week before.

So in 2 weeks I got 2nd in the field twice. But my confidence as a sprinter has drastically increase. Its a good sign for next year.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Off Season Conditioning Training

Who is doing what this year? Last year I know some groups did CrossFit, others simply ride their bikes all year. How about running? Do you have a plan?

I do. I also have a plan for anyone who wants to join in. I am continuing my training at Performance Point this off season. I am putting together a plan for a cyclist and multisport athlete specific off-season conditioning program. Once I get the details together I will post them. Stay tuned.

Who might be interested?