Friday, November 25, 2011

Recovering From Injury--The Good Side of Getting Hurt

I have thought about writing this post for a little while but I was hesitant for a couple of reasons.  First, I didn't want to make it absolute public knowledge that I was still trying to recover from an injury.  Secondly, I wanted to wait long enough to actually have results to share.

When I was first thinking of a title for this post I thought about "The Good Side of Being Hurt".  I changed it from "Being" to "Getting" because being hurt sucks regardless how you look at it, however after you recover from an injury, many times you could look back and say that getting hurt was one of the best things that could have happened to you.

There are really two types in injuries in sports--traumatic and overuse.  Traumatic injuries are the result of an acute stress that causes injury.  These injuries are usually unpredictable and tough to prevent.  The recovery form them tends to be quick (relatively speaking) and may even give the athlete a much needed break from the sport (no pun intended).  Overuse injuries on the other hand are caused from a chronic stress that causes injuries.  These are usually pretty simple to predict and can be prevented if caught in enough time.  The recovery from these are long and many times extremely frustrating.  These are the injuries that I want to talk about.

Overuse or chronic injuries are usually the result of a muscle imbalance or improper training (usually leading to a muscle imbalance).  These imbalances are, in most cases, tough to recognize until they start to hurt.  I am going to use my injury and time line as an example.

In February of last year, on my 35th birthday, I was doing a plyometric strength workout.  I woke up that morning with a little ache in my lower back.  I had the "I'm not old and this is not going to stop me" attitude.  Near the end of that workout I was in a lot of pain.  By the end of the day I couldn't stand up straight or move very well.

In the next couple of months, I stretched out a lot and felt like I was making progress.  I also, at home, installed new flooring in my entire downstairs and built a deck in my backyard.  Both of these projects seem to reset my pain.

Well into the racing season, I was not willing to take time off the bike to work this injury out.  It seemed not to bother me much riding (so I thought).  What it did do was flair up every couple of weeks and force a week off of training.  My season was very inconsistent.  I finally went to the doctor in which they said I had a bulging disc in L5/S1.  This was diagnosed by a specialist but not confirmed by an MRI.  I was given physical therapy which helped tremendously.

After physical therapy, many of my symptoms were gone, but not all of them.  I decided to take the CX season off and really work on recovery.  This is when I was able to really take a look at myself and find out what was wrong.  My body was not properly aligned.  I decided to try a chiropractor just to see what that was about.  It was not bad.  He definitely had an understanding of the body and was able to really point out my imbalances.  I went for a couple of weeks but really did not feel much different.  My problem was really due to a muscle imbalance, and I felt that until I corrected that, the chiropractic adjustments wouldn't hold.

I had a colleague of mine at the gym help me evaluate myself (its tough to find imbalances on yourself).  We determined that I had a forward rotation of my pelvis probably a result of weak hamstring muscles in compared with my quads.  The numbness that I feel is probably the result of a pinched nerve (sciatic) due to piriformis syndrome.

Over the past few weeks I have really focused on posture.  Changing your posture is tough and could feel a little goofy at times.  I told my wife her job was to evaluate me and remind me to tilt my pelvis back and have everything aligned.  Then for my training, I have pretty much stayed off the bike because it bothers me a little.  Since I am aware of my weaknesses I can fix them.  My strength training this year has included a large variety of work that I have not done in the past few years.  Most of the things that I dislike (which is probably why I was weak in them).

Currently I still have my good and bad days, but there are starting to be more good days than bad ones.  I think I will be ready for the racing season.  Without this injury, my weaknesses would have gone unnoticed.  The strength training and cross training that I have done has put me remarkable shape.  The only thing I am missing is miles on the bike.  I will get those.  Just remember that out of injuries comes a better more rounded athlete.  Stay positive and stay motivated.  Fighting through these issues have made me a better athlete, a better coach and has really improved my mental toughness.  That is the good part of getting hurt.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Hunt: Redemption

Went hunting again. After my first experience with hunting I had to go out and redeem myself. Last year I didn't get a shot. This year was my first attempt with a crossbow. Here was the result:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It is Either on the Trainer or in the Rain

My plan this morning was a group ride but the chilly wet roads deterred me from that. Then I thought how about the trainer? Final decision was Mike and I on CX at First Landing.

Now Mike just showed up and said he forgot his shoes. Intentional? Maybe but we are going back for them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank You East Coast Bikes

I just wanted to say thank you to East Coast Bikes for their support over the last year.  When we were in need of a bike shop, they stepped up and really full filled our need.  They are also sponsoring the Cyclocross race we are holding in November.  Look them up the next time you need something.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Coach: American Pride Crit and Sprint into Spring Crit

Its been a little while since I have blogged.  I could point to many excuses but I think the item to blame most is my new iPhone.  The iPhone has kept me off my computer a lot and thus less chance to write on my blog.

A lot has occurred since the Richmond Raceway Crit.  I got hurt and so have been fighting a nagging injury.  This injury has reduced the amount of time I can train and at the level I can train at.  It seems to have zapped a fair amount of my power.  I didn't want to give up racing and relied on just experience to get me through some of these races.  Competing at the Roanoke Twilight race and Meadows Farm race required power and speed, neither of which I was able to produce.

After two consecutive drops, I needed a mental win.  My injury is improving and my training was getting better.  I was still very nervous entering into this weekends racing.  If I didn't do well, it could effect me the rest of the season.

American Pride Crit on Saturday, May 14th at Todd Stadium
I have always liked this course and it always brings good racing.  The forecast of rain may have kept people away, but the rain held out and the Cat 3 race had 20 or more participants.

Photo by Dan Gibson
Myself, Mike Tamayo and Jon Gray lined up representing the Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  The race played out pretty predictable, a few attacks that were chased down followed by a few more attacks.  Two back to back primes prompted a break of two riders, Byran Hoy and Kevin Horvath.  The Virginia Beach Wheelmen gave an effort to pull them in.  Kevin dropped from the break and as he was caught, I pulled off the front to find no one willing or able to pull through.  The pack sat up and Bryan road away with the victory and left everyone else fighting for second place.

There was a little confusion.  Two of Bryan's teammates had dropped from the pack and had been lapped.  At one point most of us in the field thought that one of those riders was Byran being pulled back in.  There was even rumors going on that the riders had dropped from the pack to help Bryan in the break.  I did not see any of that and I even asked my wife who was watching the race if she had seen it and she did not (of course she also said after the race "oh, was that the last lap").  The officials didn't see it, so I assume the rumors were just that, rumors.

Photo by Dan Gibson
Fast forward to the final lap.  I feel my strength lies in lead outs.  My team has racers that can sprint well but since Jon Nisbet, our primary sprinter is a Cat 2, sometimes my leadouts results in simply high placing for our team and not necessarily a win.  My top finishes have been from leading the pack out whether or not one of my teammates come around.  I guess that has been my "safe" finish.  The bell lap I was on the wheel of Mike Tamayo when I saw on opening.  I rode past him and told him to get on my wheel.  I made a shot for hole through the gate in turn number one and found myself on Terry Turners wheel in second position.  My thought was that I didn't know if my teammates were on my wheel or not but me being in the front would give the best shot a high finish.  If I stayed on Terry's wheel, I felt he would slow down the pace because he can sprint and someone else would attack.  So I got on the front and led out the sprint for the last lap.  I was first out of the final turn but didn't have it in my to finish my sprint.  My teammates were not on my wheel.  We finished with me in 5th place and John and Mike in 9 and 10th place.

Here comes the Monday Coach.  Since I didn't here from my teammate that he was on my wheel, I should have assumed he was not.  Instead of just leading out the pack, I should have attacked and tried to get some separation.  If it didn't work, I would have been in no worse position than I was, right?  Also, I hate the fact that we let a rider just ride away from the pack, we should have organized and brought him back.  These are all things I say sitting at the computer, but my legs and lungs dictated my decision on race day. 

Sprint into Spring.  Sunday, May 15th at Fort Lee
On Sunday John Gray and myself represented the Virginia Beach Wheelmen at Fort Lee in the Cat 3-4 Race.  We were both pretty active.  I had it in my mind to try and get in a break for this race.  John rode very well on the front of the race the whole time and covered a lot of attacks.  Nothing worked although I thought I was in a few that had potential.  So I will fast forward to the final few laps.  Once again a double prime with just 5 and 4 to go sparked a little activity.  A Richmond Velo rider took off and everyone just watched.  Since Richmond Velo had the majority of the racers, I knew they were not going to chase.  Then Terry Turner attacked.  Still everyone watched.  Terry caught and dropped the Richmond rider.  With two laps to go I decided I needed to bring him back.  I chased him down and caught him before the bell lap.  However, I fried my legs so I told John he was on his own.  The sprint didn't play out for us and John finished in the pack as I rolled in at the back of the pack.  We raced well but didn't finish well.

The Monday Coach in me is pissed about this one.  I absolutely should have attacked and bridged up to Terry.  I obviously had the fire power to catch him.  I kicked it a little out of the turn but I didn't attack.  Would I we have been caught, or would the pack had reacted?  I don't know, and if they had, the results would have been no different.  It boiled down to again doing the "safe" finish.  I chased a flier down to give my teammate the best chance of a win.  It seems though that maybe I am using sacrifices for the team to get away from putting myself on the line.  I have to get into my head that I want the win more than I fear the loss.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Richond International Raceway Crit: March 20, 2011

I was very pleased to see this race return this year.  I registered for the CAT 3/4 race which had 93 racers in it.  We managed this year to go crash free.  I heard a few people say that they wish the organizers had broken up the fields into separate CAT 4 and 3 races.  For me, part of the draw is the huge field.  We don't get many opportunities to race in fields this size and I think it is good practice for moving through the field.  Ideally I would like it to have been a 100 racer field with all CAT 3's, but that is just not realistic.
(Here are a few pictures I found on Kevin Horvath's Facebook site)
Large field spread out.

Before the race trying to locate my spare wheels placed in the pit by my wife.

An attempt at a break.  Bridged up to a group of 4 and only 1 was willing to continue.  We got caught pretty quickly.

I started on the front and stayed at the front of the race for most of the time.  There were occasions, when a surge would happen on the opposite side that I would move back and then work my way back up.  I was the only one from Virginia Beach Wheelmen racing on this day so my plan was to stay attentive and maybe try to go with a break.  With average speeds around 26.5 mph, I knew it would be tough for a break to succeed, but you got to try anyway.

My second plan was going to be to simply try and make a move to the outside on the final lap.  I really didn't want to get mixed up to much with a field sprint, but I also didn't want to not try.  I thought I may have a really good chance at a high place if I made a move to lead things out on the final lap.  I was in good position, top 20 racers when we came to the bell lap.  I made a move going around the first bend, but the pack speed was already too fast.  Then a faster move come from the inside, which surprised me a little because of how tight it was to the inside of the track.  Those of us that attempted to use the outside of the track pretty much got overtaken by the move on the inside because they were more protected from the wind.  When I realized my move had failed, I just kept up my speed and rode safely in.

For me this race was not about a win, although I wanted it.  This race was about moving through racers and staying safe.  I am racing Jeff Cup next weekend with a large field and this race will help me feel that much more comfortable.

On another note, after the race I noticed what might be a crack in my stem:

I really can't tell if it is a chip in the paint or a crack but I think its time to get rid of it.  I have contacted FSA to see if I can send it in for them to look at and give me advise.  The only other stem I had at home was another FSA stem, aluminum nice one, probably even lighter than the carbon.  When I went to go put it on I noticed a crack in the carbon face plate of that stem.  Wouldn't you know the two face plates are different.  I originally used a torque wrench to install them, but I don't own one so I think I have taken them on/off without the use of a torque wrench.  I always felt though that I may have been under tightening them and not over tightening them.  Anyway, I think I'll swing by Sears and buy a torque wrench.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Results are posted for the 2011 Sleepyhole Smackdown

Thank you to everyone who came out to open up the VCA BAR racing.  It was a good day with fast racers and a very clean and fast course.  We only had one crash in which everyone ended up being okay even though there was an ambulance trip.  

I want to thank my team for all the help in making this race a success.  A very special thanks goes out to my wife, Jenni, who manages registration and all the race day admin work.

Men's Cat 5 1 Immeker Dan Tripower
2 Guerra Elias Hilton Cycling Club
3 Vann Andrew Celerity Cycling p/b Brooks Systems
4 Tempest Nicholas TriPower
5 Kent Roland Team Kainer Cycling
6 Crandell Eric Fat Frogs Racing
7 Stockdill Hilton Cycling Club
8 Burbey Ryan
9 Northup Adam Richmond Velo Sport
10 Callam Brian College of William and Mary
11 Clarke Ryan Richmond Velo Sport
12 Baldwin Michael Tripower
13 Sumrell Kenneth Fat Frogs Racing Team
14 Reichelderfer Jeff Fat Frogs Racing
15 Murray Ben
16 Clarke Taylor Team Whole Foods
17 Kennedy Samuel Hilton Cycling Club
18 Callery Bryan Christian Cycling / Hammer Nutrition
19 Eanes Sterling Team Three Sports
20 Bream Anthony
Women Cat 4/40+ 1 nicholson Sharon tripower 40+
2 winters leslie va asset 40+
3 Craddock Glenda Fat Frogs Racing 40+
4 Hill Marci Walt Racing Cat 4
5 McNelis Mallory Team Nature's Path/3Sports Cat 4
6 Schutz Morgan Fat Frogs Racing Cat 4
7 Schaefer kristin Rostello p/b Fiorucci/Cycor Cat 4
8 Leary Sharon Rostello p/b Fiorucci 40+
9 Fink Julie Fat Frogs Racing Cat 4
10 Hunter Julie VA Asset Group p/b Trek Cat 4
11 Peacock Amy Red Hammer Racing 40+
12 Wood Denise Red Hammer Racing 40+
13 Gonzales Megan Fat Frogs Racing Cat 4
Women 1/2/3 1 joyner emily va asset 1
2 Ingram Ali Vanderkitten Racing 2
3 Cook Laura Vanderkitten Racing 2
4 winters leslie va asset 1
5 Pope Jennifer Vanderkitten Racing 2
6 schmitz avanell va asset 3
7 Macdonald Brittany Vanderkitten Racing 3
8 Eichert Amanda Fat Frogs Racing 3
9 Seymour Jane Fat Frogs Racing 3
10 Craddock Glenda Fat Frogs Racing 3
Juniors 10-14 1 Clarke Taylor Team Whole Foods 14 - M
2 Carey Thomas Team Portsmouth 13 - M
3 Lloyd Chris Fat Frogs Racing 13 - M
4 mcnelis mallory 14 - F
5 Dujua Matthew Richmond Velo Sport / 3Sports 14 - M
6 Brookfield Grant Richmond Velo Sport / 3 Sports 12 - M
7 Craddock Dane Fat Frogs Racing 11 - M
8 Fitzgerald William Hilton Cycling Club 12 - M
9 schaubach Micah Walt Racing 13 - M
10 Pounder alastair Raleigh Allstars 10 - M
11 Warner Jacob Team Natures Path 13 - M
12 Dujua Leigh Richmond Velo Sport / 3Sports 11 - M
14 Horvath Judy Fat Frogs 10 - F
15 Carey Christopher Team Portsmouth 11 - M
Juniors 15-18 1 King Jake hot tubes development 16 - M
2 Keeling Chris Miller School of Albemarle 17 - M
3 Brookfield Parker Richmond Velo Sport / 3 Sports 15 - M
4 Schaefer Kristin Rostello p/b Fiorucci/Cycor 15 - F
5 Clarke Taylor Team Whole Foods 14 - M
Men's Cat 3 1 Mull Stephen Richmond Velo Sport
2 Grosicki Gregory College of William and Mary
3 Turner terry Hefler Performance Coaching/CBC
4 Gray John Virginia Beach Wheelmen
5 Netzer Dan Celerity Cycling p/b Brooks Systems
6 Tamayo Mike Virginia Beach Wheelmen
7 Harville Lucas Triangle Velo
8 Schwartz Dan NCVC/UnitedHealthcare
9 horvath kevin Fat Frogs Racing
10 King Jake hot tubes development
11 hunt mitch Fat Frogs Racing
12 Cundiff Frank Celerity Cycling p/b Brooks Systems
13 Pope Timothy Fat Frogs Racing
14 Sheridan Christian CRC
15 McNelis Edward Richmond Velo Sport
16 Goyet Joshua Virginia Beach Wheelmen
17 yengling michael Richmond Velo Sport
18 deaton jimmy Team Tripower
19 Blend Nick Richmond Velo Sport
20 Marques Joseph Charlottesville Racing Club
21 Pope Jennifer Vanderkitten Racing
22 Glasscock Robson Carytown Bicycle Company
23 Cook Laura Vanderkitten Racing
24 Ingram Ali Vanderkitten Racing
25 Macdonald Brittany Vanderkitten Racing
Men's Cat 4 1 Hoy Bryan JRVS/American Pride Auto
2 Keeling Christofer Miller School of Albemarle p/b CBC
3 Kyle Charles Freshbikes p/b SKANSKA
4 Dujua Oliver Richmond Velo Sport / 3Sports
5 Hale Wilson JRVS/American Pride
6 Levesque Rick Richmond Velo Sport
7 Clevinger Noah JRVS/American Pride
8 Younkin Joe Southside Tri & Cycle
9 Hadley Jerry Tripower
10 Smith Brandon VCU Cycling
11 Mitchel Brian Richmond Velo Sport
12 Hendricks Steven Fat Frogs Racing
13 Magnussen David
14 Baumgartner Ed Richmond Velo Sport
15 Skinner Ron Hilton Cycling Club
16 Kunz Brian JRVS/American Pride
17 Benjamin Steve Richmond Velo Sport
18 Zarate Jorge fat frogs racing team
19 Altomare Joe Hilton Cycling Club p/b Walt Racing
20 bozarth anthony hilton cycling club
21 Iannuzzi Mark JRVS/American Pride
22 Wang Junjie Team Tripower
23 Poteat Ivan Carytown Bicycle Company
24 Marks arthur TriPower
25 nalls jeffrey BikeWorks Racing
26 Brookfield Tom Richmond Velo Sport / 3 Sports
27 Moore Andrew William and Mary Cycling Team
28 Kidd Vince JRVS/American Pride
Men Pro 1/2/3 1 king daniel CRC/Wired
2 carithers sean team whole foods
3 Scanlon Bill CRC p/b Wired Bike
4 king mark CRC
5 Fabiato Francois 3sports/RVS
6 greco marc tripower
7 Custer Pete North Tek-Aria
8 huss terry raleigh all stars
9 Clarke David Team Whole Foods
10 Kendall Steven Kelly Benefit Strategies / LSV
11 Evans William BikeWorks Racing
12 Craft Daniel Fat Frogs Racing
13 Mull Stephen Richmond Velo Sport
14 ward paul atlantic velo
15 Warner Mark CRC/Tridim
16 warren ben
17 mullins timothy team whole foods
18 Schaefer James Rostello p/b Fiorucci/Cycor
19 Hosang Michael Tripower
20 Winck Adam CRC
Master 40+/50+/60+ 1 Clarke David Team Whole Foods 50+
2 king mark CRC 50+
3 Warner Mark CRC/Tridim 40+
4 king daniel CRC/Wired 40+
5 mullins timothy Team Whole Foods 40+
6 Fabiato Francois 3sports/RVS 40+
7 Schaefer James Rostello p/b Fiorucci/Cycor 50+
8 Scanlon Bill CRC p/b Wired Bike 40+
9 ward harlan atlantic velo 50+
10 King Wesley Richmond Velo Sport 50+
11 Marks arthur TriPower 40+
12 Netsch Robert TriPower 40+
13 Fletcher Eric CRC/Wired Bike 40+
14 McNelis Edward Richmond Velo Sport 40+
15 Blend Nick Richmond Velo Sport 50+
16 nalls jeffrey BikeWorks Racing 40+
17 sheridan christian CRC 40+
18 brown greg 50+
19 Bond William Fat Frogs Racing 50+
20 Fitzgerald II Thomas Hilton Cycling Club 40+

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sleepy Hole Smackdown. March 12, 2011

Photo by Kevin Horvath
The official beginning of the racing season started on a gorgeous day in Suffolk, VA at the Sleepy Hole Park.  VA BAR racing started today and racers came out to race.  My team, the Virginia Beach Wheelmen, put on this race like we have over the past 4 years.  Beside promoting the race, we had a chance to put 3 racers in the CAT 3 race and 1 into the Pro/1/2/3 race.  Here is how the CAT 3 race went.

Like most of the racing of the day, the CAT 3 started fast.  With 25 starters, all wanting to make an early mark on the season, the pack got stretched out fast.  My teammates stayed near the front and covered attacks.  At one point it really started to stretch out.  An attack was put in by Stephen Mull from Richmond Velo Sport (who is flying through the ranks, he was a CAT 5 last year) matched by Gregory Grosicki from the College of William and Mary.  Just a little behind them were John Gray of the Virginia Beach Wheelmen and Dan Netzer of Celerity Cycling.  Behind them were 3 or 4 more riders just dangling in front of the pack.  With a teammate up the road, myself and especially Mike Tamayo controlled the pack and covered attacks.  This allowed these breaks to get further away.

We chose to reel in the small group just ahead of the pack.  Then, unfortunately, John was hurting up the road and got dropped by Dan.  That put us in a chase mode.  We chased hard for many laps and finally caught Dan, but the other two riders had built a huge lead and looked like they could lap the field.

For the rest of the race, everyone put in little attacks but nothing more got away.  With 5 laps to go I got to the front of the pack in 4th or 5th position with Mike and John on my wheel.  I fought to keep the front to make sure they were protected.  On the final lap we were in good position.  Terry Turner of Carytown had attacked and put himself out on a lone flyer for the line.  I kept moving up and creating holes for Mike and John.  After the 3rd turn we were in good position.  Mike then went around me with John on his wheel and took him around the final turn.  The sprint was on and our leadout worked perfectly.  With the exception of Terry not being caught, John got the sprint.  He ended up 4th overall and Mike was able to hold on for 6th place.  I coasted across the line in 16th.

Overall it was a good race for the team.  I think it is always good to come home with a top 5, especially when your whole team was out all day setting up the course.

Thanks for everyone who came out.  There was some extremely fast racing in all categories out there.  Good job and I am already looking forward to the next one.

Now its time to prepare myself for the Dismal Dash TT tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snowball Crit #2 March 6, 2011

The weather was not going to be nice for the second Snowball race of the year.  It wasn't going to be too cold, so a little wet roads and rain would simply make it a classic fall race.  For me, racing in the rain is tough.  Drafting is pretty much out, and there are always attacks and the race breaks up quickly.

The CAT 3/4 race started out with a solo flyer who was dangling out front.  He wasn't going anywhere and it was actually nice just to let him hang out for a while.  I think he lasted 3-5 laps.  Then my teammate, John Gray, initiated an attack to bridge to the solo break.  The break was covered and it strung the field out.  Then in corner number 2, someone decided to go straight and caused a crash.  The crash created a little chaos and the pressure was still on at the front.  This allowed John, Tim Pope and another rider to form a gap.  I decided that I could probably bridge up to them without pulling anyone with me.  That is what I did.  One really hard lap effort and I was on the back without bringing anyone with me.  The problem at that point was that I was not feeling comfortable in the turns.  I think I had too much pressure in my tires (110 psi on clinchers).  I was getting a lot of skipping of my tires through the turns.   Every turn I was allowing a bike length gap to form and them having to close it was burning my matches quickly.

I ended up getting dropped from the break leaving my teammate and two other riders.  I went back to the next chase group of 4 riders ( I made number 5).  This group was led by Dan Netzer who was chasing hard.  I had a teammate up the road and just sat on.  At this time I started to get a lot more comfortable on the turns and was able to reduce the skipping of my wheels.  Dan, with not much help, was starting to bring back the break.  I took a couple of rotations to slow them and to break up the momentum.  That solidified the breaks lead and ensured they would be caught.  By the time we came to the finish, the break was 2 riders (John and Tim) and the chase was 4 riders.  I led out the final lap and gave it all I had for a strong finish.  John ended up with a 2nd place finish being out sprinted by Tim and I got 4th.

It was a good race for us, 2 riders in the top 5 is always a good thing.  The rain really started to come down and we both chose not to start the 1/2/3 race.

Photo by Kevin Horvath
Photo by Kevin Horvath

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Rude: Cyclist Doing it Again

The Virginia Pilot at times has a section titled "how rude!"  Readers send in their stories of how others have mistreated them or just acted like complete asses.  Monday's paper had a little story about cyclists in it.  Here is what is says:
Valerie Jones of Virginia Beach was driving down Atlantic Avenue when she slowed down to let two racing bikers have the full lane where the road narrows (because of construction) to one lane each way at 60th Street.  It was safer, she figured, to let the bikers go ahead of her despite the growing line of traffic behind her.  One biker even waved a "thank you."  When the road switched back to two lanes, Jones eased into the left lane as the bikers stayed in the right.  Suddenly, one biker veered into her lane to turn left without signaling.  She swerved and missed him, but he cussed her out- after she had gone out of her way to be courteous on the roadway.
There are always two sides to every story, but in this case only one was published in the newspaper.  Cycling is supposed to ease our stresses and give us an outlet to vent and release our troubles.  I know if I'm having a bad day, a hard ride eases me and gives me a constructive way to vent.  I know this is true for many people, yet cyclist still hold onto a "road rage" style of anger toward everyone we are supposed to be sharing the road with. 

I'm not saying I'm perfect in this manner.  There are times I get startled by a car passing too close, or blowing their horn and my initial reflex is one of anger.  Just remember the next time you cuss at someone or flip them the finger, your story could end up in the paper and give the rest of us bad names.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snowball Crit #1 February 20, 2011

The racing season is underway.  In Virginia the season has started with the Snowball training series for the past 14 years.  Although this is a training race, riders don't treat it like that.  Nerves are high and anticipation is great.  Sometimes it could set the tone for the season.  It is a great place to gain some confidence for the year, but it is also a place you could lose all you worked for.  A high place or an aggressive showing with validate your winter training.  A fall or crash could easily get in your head and cause unnecessary nerves for the remainder of the season.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen had something to prove:
The Virginia Beach Wheelmen (VBW) really came together as a team this winter.  We have also considered ourselves a team and not a club, but we are still amateurs with life that tends to get in the way.  In the past we have had a few racers stay focus all year while others allow silly things like new babies, new homes, weddings, new jobs and opening new businesses to get in the way of cycling (I know crazy isn't it?)  This year it looked like it was all coming together.
  • Mike Tamayo decided cold or not, there was nothing to keep him off the bike this season.  He religiously followed a winter training program I provided to him.  
  • John Gray got very motivated early.  He took the CX season to take time off the bike.  I coached him with weekly plans, strength and cross training.  I have never seen him ride so well.  
  • Tim Shockley opened up his Shockley Sweet Shoppe store at the beginning of the year.  This actually allowed him to quit his landscaping job and concentrate solely on his business.  This change in duel concentration has allowed him to get in a good solid month of training and the promise of more miles to come.  Tim was quickly riding himself back into top form.
  • Zach Kyler has done his best to follow the training plan provided for him by me.  He, however has battled the flu throughout the winter, especially last month.  This illness has kept him from being consistent.  He is a strong and motivated racer and it will not take him long to regain his form.
  • Jon Nisbet, currently our only Cat 2 racer, has been busy with work and a new baby.  Anyone who saw him during CX season knows that it doesn't take much for him to regain form.  Jon is a natural talent and will get hungry for racing again.
  • Then there is me.  As the coach of the team I am just as concerned with everyone's form as I am with my own.  I am exactly where I wanted to be.  I put in a lot of time and feel I need to just work on race speed and I will be right there.  That is what the early races are all about.
That is the VBW racing team.  We worked hard this winter and feel like we deserve success.

CAT 3/4 Race
All of us with the exception of Jon Nisbet lined up for the 3/4 race.  We had our new, bright green helmets which received a lot of attention.  We were ready.  The plan:  Have at least two riders at all times at the front.  Make sure nothing escaped without us.  We would rotate the riders through taking turns to cover.  More importantly though, test out our legs by making some attacks of our own.  Use this as a training race and see what we could do.  If at the end it was a group sprint, we would form a leadout and try to get at least 2 racers in the top 5.

2011 Snowball 1 Criterium
Photo courtesy of Team Traveller
Everything went as planned except that Zach ended up getting dropped.  That was okay, he didn't quit and continued to use the race as another step to getting his fitness back.  The team was all very pleased to see him stay in.  Mike and John did the majority of the work with attacks and chases.  At all times you could see the aggressiveness of the bright green Rudy Project helmets.  Tim and I both did a fair amount of work covering attacks, making attacks and just creating an aggressive presence in the pack.  With just a few laps to go we started to get into position to create a leadout.  Coming up to the bell lap, Mike, John and myself were right near each other with Tim just behind us.  Then the crash happened.  It separated the field.  Mike barely managed to stay up and it really took him out.  John wasn't prepared at this time for a big sprint because he had just launched an attack.  Tim was a little too far back and got separated.  I kicked it, yelled to John to get on my wheel.  He said "keep it going".  In other words he couldn't get on.  I couldn't slow if I had any chance on catching the lead.  So I kept going hard and caught the group just before the second turn.  As we rounded the turn I gunned it again to pass the line and I got on the wheel of the two riders creating the leadout.  The big effort left very little in my legs for a sprint and I ended up with 4th place.  Not bad, but we had hoped for better.  The other guys finished well, at least no one went down with the crash.

CAT 1/2/3
All of the VBW racers with the exception of Zach decided to double up.  What a great way to get speed in your legs.  Jon Nisbet didn't race at all because he was battling an illness.  The race started with the idea that we were going to sit in and survive.  The problem is that we are bike racers and a lot of times finishing in a pack with a large break up the road is not surviving.  Once again we did our fair share of work with Mike and John pulling the most weight for the team.  A four man break did get up the road and there was a lot of effort to catch them for a while.  As far as us, Tim was the first to go.  He got some good speed in his legs and some great training but it was a little too much for the miles he had under his belt.  I was the next one.  This actually surprised me.  At no point during this race did I think I was going to drop.  With about 14 laps to go, just before turn number 2, my legs cramped.  It was a sudden cramp, both legs, quads, hamstrings and calves.  I actually almost lost control of my bike.  Luckily I was on the outside and was able to go outside the cones and just go straight.  I couldn't pedal and I couldn't sit down.  It took a long time to go away.  That had never happened that bad before.  Mike was next.  With fewer than 5 laps to go his legs started to cramp and he couldn't work them out.  John did very well and stayed in for the final sprint.

I am very excited about how the team did.  It makes for a very promising season.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 Sleepy Hole Smackdown

Register on Bike Reg:  Click Here

PRESENTED BY   The Virginia Beach Wheelmen   and City of Suffolk Parks and Recs           

at SLEEPY HOLE PARK IN SUFFOLK, VA on March 12, 2011
Held under USA Cycling Permit, Pending
30 minutes
Women CAT 4 / 40+
30 minutes
Women 1/2/3
40 minutes
Junior 10-14
15 minutes
Junior 15-18
30 minutes
45 minutes
Kid’s Race

1 lap
40 minutes
60 minutes
Masters 40+/50+/60+
45 minutes
              Entry fee includes a $3.00 USAC Insurance fee and $1 BAR fee.  All entrants must have a current USCF license or must purchase a            One-day license at registration.  Riders under 18 requires a parent’s signature to race.  All USAC rules apply.  On line registration is            available on BikeReg .  BikeReg Service fee will be charged for online registration. Race day registration will be available for a $5           late fee.  (no late fee for Juniors, Women and CAT 5)..Helmets are required for all races; no aero bars.
Course Description:  Flat, fast 0.5 mile loop with two 90-degree bends and two nice left sweepers.  Bring the family, plenty of room for kids to            play.   
              Directions:  Google Map or GPS address is 4700 Sleepy Hole Rd, Suffolk VA 23435 (Sleepy Hole Park).
Parking will be available in designated parking areas.  Please do not park on the road leading to the course.
For additional information contact: Joshua Goyet at (757) 515-5940, Email: