Friday, July 31, 2009

Time to get fired UP for TT/Post TT

This starts my day on a roll. French Press and Pierre
is gone so I can drink it all. YUM!!!!!
Off to the TT - I am excited today - good hard course. Post results after.

Post TT - the boys did well. I know this is something I have to spend lot more time in coaching - steady state. Doesn't work except for indoors in NVA. I don't know if an uninterrupted 20' stretch where I live - unless I drive. Has to happen. SKendall 10th, Nate 9th, and Steven Bk 28th. I know they all can TT. Bike adjustments, more SS training.
Tomorrow I am doing a big ride getting up early - before SKendalls crit. I am looking forward to it. This afternoon we went to the Deschutes Brewery for tastings - did this yesterday too. GOOD stuff.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Nationals, Bend, OR

Good times. Jenette always said this to me - on some crazy road trips. I like the phrase. This has been a road trip - my 2nd time in OR. The first time I brought the women's team I had out for the Mt Hood stage race. Getting athletes/people to events - to give them experience, is something I do. I was lucky in my life to travel alot - and the adventures enabled me to grow in so many ways.
I am here with the juniors I coach and today was a BIG day. I don't think I have ever seen Steven Black SO happy. Ever. His smile was like he smile I saw from Kevin Gottlieb in KY - when we brought him a birthday cake - and everyone in the cafeteria sang him happy Birthday. It is these moments you are just so amazed to be a part of. To be alive and to witness the sheer joy of life being lived. To say I am proud of my boys is not enough. Man am I ever. We went to the Cascade Lakes Brewery and celebrated. I have determined the Deschutes brewery is the best beer in Bend. More coasters for my collection.
Congratulations Nate Wilson on 2nd and Steven Black on 3rd. To the parents, the support staff of the many sponsors - thanks!! It feels good. And I know there is so much more to come. This may be the most exciting. Tomorrow is the time trials - they start @ 11:04, Nate goes last @ 12:32. It is a hard time trial course - UP hill and then down. I rode it with Steven Kendall today - taking it easy - and we were doing about 50kmph all the way in - hitting 70km for parts of it. So hard on the way out. Good course for all my guys really.
I also met Pierre's parents for the first time - Sandy and Romeo. I was scared!! and I am almost 50 - to meet the parents. They are fantastic people. I am spending all next week post Nats up in Mt Hood - maybe learn how to windsurf - with Pierre's family. Pierre's family all of them are QUITE the athletes. Should be fun. I know there is one ice cream stand I will be back at in downtown Mt Hood.
Really super day and I cannot wait for it to begin tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nationals Day 1 HOT

Day 1 National RR 15/16 yr old - 75 km road race. I think I told Steven about 100x about the heat and drinking. He did Everything right - it was just HOT and too short of time in heat to acclimate. He finished about 15th which is awesome - out of 77 guys I think maybe 30 finished. It was SO hot. Steven is a sprinter all rounder - and has muscle mass. Hard to deal with when not used to heat. I am psyched coz I know his legs will come good - the more days he is here in this weather.
Pizza time celebration, later. Coach Hef. Those chow hounds will eat all the pizza if I don't leave - we have to RIDE bikes UP hill about 3 miles....Proud of you Steven K. Tomorrow rest day, Thursday 17/18 RR

Good times

Greetings from Bend, OR. Home of JR/SR Nationals for 2009. Bend is awesome! I have been many many places - but Bend is homey and low key and gorgeous and the people are real. I like it. I checking out for training camps - very very good roads here. I wanna find another place besides Tucson. Though not many places warm/sunny enough in Dec/Jan cept S CA and AZ. Pics are of the homies I train and my dog who REALLY wanted to come - funny how smart dogs are. Even BIG ones. He looked all sad and kills me when I see him like this. He sure knows how to work me with those eyes of his....He is in the great care of the Wilson's - Avery and Carolyn - whom he loves. I am focused on the boys bringing home some hardware. Steven Kendalls' RR is today @ 4PM. He does 15 laps of a 5 km loop - it is going to be hard. Not any big climbs but enough leg breaker stuff what is going to break the field cept for the strong men. Finish is very good for him - good flat sprint. I think the hills in the course are definitely going to be a factor + heat + so dry out here. Plus 76 other guys who want the hardware as well. Humm......
Jenette would lov it here - there are SO many Great coffee shops. I really like the feel of this town. It is gorgeous - when I have more time I will take some pics. The travel day on Sunday turned out to be about 16hrs and I was tired from that. Had a nice spin yesterday and hope to have more energy today. We going to go check Nates' RR course. About Nate - I didn't add in our final GC results from TRRG, KY - Nate finished 8th GC, Robin 10th GC and Andrew Barker 11th GC. For a composite team, to come together for a race, for those that know how hard it is to just meet up and race as a team - this is sensational. There are SO many factors involved in a stage race to start, and then to put a team together and have them ride as a TEAM...hat's off to ALL of us - the riders, the staff, the sponsors. I think Andrew may have won the overall at LaBitibi last week. I saw Robin and met his younger brother Yannick who I hear is a beast and likely one of Steven's main threats. Robin "I will get da bottles" Eckmann was crazy fast in KY - so I am sure his brother be one to handle as well. We are going to have a TRRG reunion at the Taco Stand and Steven Black is going for the Boswell Challenge. I will take pics. It is a 5lb burrito and you have to eat it under 4min. Steven Black gave it a go yesterday but just a trial run. He needs the support of his TRRG team to cheer him on - so we will have this on the agenda.

I am happy to be here - as I said before to actually get the chance to SEE my work in action at races is the greatest reward for me, as a coach. All the tuesday rides and 100 of repeats and 3 mile and 5 mile and 10 mile time trials - all that work, is worth it. Always been my motto. Then to see the riders I coach go for it - most incredible feeling for me. Win or lose. Just going for it. Back home I know is the Va State TT this weekend, Tour of Lancaster Cty, Blair gets his wires off and so can start traning again hurray!, the building hopefully is underway - for my training center. I have about 10 plans I have to get out now - then go for a bike ride with my friends. Last week was really cool coz I got to do 2!!!! bike rides with my mates from home. Jeff A, Kay, Rob Urbach, twice in one WEEK!! I haven't been able to do this in what seems like yrs. There is NOT much better than a ride with friends. Well being able to sqeeze a coffee stop in the ride IS the ultimate. Only thing about my juniors - they don't drink coffee....... that is a good thing I am sure. Ciao for now - will update post Steven's race today. Nate and S Bk race RR on Thursday, TT's are on Friday, then crits on Sunday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Catching up on July 09

Last time I blogged was right after Fitchburg - and now a whole month has passed - I don't know HOW so much time passes between blogs for me. Just busy. I am always impressed by those who can keep up their blogs. Like Nate. Who is racing the big boys @ Cascade - but he just chilling after racing - lotta time. I got back from Fitchburg and working like crazy to get caught up and get training plans out; so I could head off to Kentucky for the Tour of the Red River Gorge race with a 17/18 JR team I entered in the UCI invitational race. I decided to do this after being support for Nate and Blair out at the Gila. It felt good and along the journies of life you hit upon what you wanna spend your life doing. This always changes - but I knew that I wanted to get a team to the TRRG race. So I started asking for sponsorships - what I needed came in (thanks to vmware, Jim Strang, Juergen Eckmann/Pearl Izumi, Kirk Otteson/Veloworks Cycling Development, Len Forkas/ Hopecam, KBS - Nate's team). And as always many parents throwing in extra money for making it happen. Thanks to ALL of you that allowed me to get a team to KY. I feel giving people the opportunities in life for them to grow is one of the best things I can do, with my life - and I happen to do much of this through the sport of cycling. I don't know why it came to be cycling - it just did.

It is such a team effort to even GET a team to a race - we had Pierre's brothers in Oregon working the jersey design (thanks Renee and Franc) with Alvin Chang/east coast getting it to Champion on the east coast; the riders (from CO, NY, VA) and their parents and directors getting it to all come together for a week in Kentucky. The staff - me, Pierre, Carolyn Wilson, and Reed Black - taking a week of "vacation time" to go make sure the whole system operates smoothly. Carolyn spent both her birthday and Mother's day being in a car 8-9 hrs - okay crazy. We all in this sport coz of one thing - we love it. It is what we DO. But the process of what it takes to make even ONE single race happen - is crazy. So many logistics. This particular race - the UCI 17/18 jr event was a frst year event - and as such, it had its' share of glitches also. The worse being the road race courses were TERRIBLY marked and roads were wrong and what shoulda taken 1-1.5 hr to predrive took us about 4 hrs - we did this 2x for both road race courses - and that meant missing dinners in the cafeteria (wait a minute was this planned guys????? I know that UKY food was not the best......)(slowly coach is catching on to the ways of the riders humm.......) and massage being done too late at nite.
BUT - it was sensational adventure. Just about everything went great. The team, the staff, the race itself for the most part; it went super. No crashes in the caravan thank God coz I was driving the Wilson's car and yes the first stage WAS hairbrained with many new caravan drivers and oh yeah - NO, yup I did say NO communication between officials, motos, comm cars - the radios weren't working. That was in the 2nd stage - the first RR stage. I heard they had 3 repeaters but NO communication. That was HELL. We had 2 guys up in the break and we couldn't get across. Nate came unglued and all I kept thinking was I shoulda have been there. Somehow. Whether that meant getting a fine - who cares. These are the factors I don't like about racing - some things simply are NOT fair. I know life is such - some things are not fair and you just deal. But there has to be a line. As I was talking to Jeff Anderson this morning about drugs in the sport - that Greg Lemond is still on a mission to prove Lance not legit. I think can't Greg find another mission in life besides trying to bring down a sport and its' heros?? IF they can be called that. But let it go. Isn't there karma - what goes round comes round? I think this is enough. Like I said earlier we all decide on how we want to spend our life and time on this planet.

I want to work with athletes - create them, believe in them, support them, and myself - always be an athlete. I haven't been able to ride much - extremely busy trying to open my life long dream - a training center. I finally found the space - and now hope in about 2 mos I am ready to open the doors. Being great on the bike and reaching goals in the sport of cycling pretty much comes down to one thing - hard work. On this I agree with Lance 200%. I always wanted to have a training center. I been doing it at Spokes for the last 5 yrs - cannot believe 5 yrs!!!! and decided that I was going to try - try and make a center happen. I started looking for space last fall but got kinda freaked about all the economy stuff. So waited it out and I also didn't come across THE building, that I wanted to work out of. So kept looking and renewed the search this spring - finally found 2 good places - settled for the one in Herndon next to Great Harvest Bakery. Good location, not quite as big as I would like - but got the right vibe from it. Jim Strang told me don't take any space unless you feel it is right. Jim has been an incredible mentor to me along the way - my adventure of going from bike racer to a business person. He has always supported what I am doing - and I owe him training lessons for life. I used to be in Spokes with ripped clothes and cycling shoes duck taped together so they would stay on my feet (oh gosh I hope Steven Black doesn't read this......) - Jim always kept me up and running. Many people have been there. I wanna have a grand opening for the shop and will mention all the people that allowed the shop to actually happen. They are the people that kept giving me confidence. Allowing me to grow.

Now - back to the race - I will write a brief:
Our team was Nate Wilson, Steven Black, Kevin Gottlieb, Ben Salibra, Andrew Barker (who is leading the LaAbitibi up in Canada right now!), and Robin Eckmann. Day 1 was a 2 stager - a 1.0 mile prologue in the AM and a RR in the afternoon. Robin ride a fast 1.0 mile - he was flying when he came in. Andrew also rode well for someone who said he cannot ride prologues! Day 2 saw fairly aggressive race - we had some mehcanicals. Ben flatted and chased back on so hard - got on in the feed zone only to come off again coz the sec he got on it really heated up. I hated watching him so close but not quite on. Hincapie Steve Baker helped us out alot - trying to get Ben back on. The dude rode the original race course - which was 5 miles longer than anyone else (yes they changed the course without telling any of us) and still made the time cut. Steven Black went rolling in the mud - Pierre and I saw a rider covered in black and mud and realize oh NO it is one of OURS'!!!!!! He looked like he was half porcine and man it was kinda funny - he really was completely covered in mud. You realize it is YOUR rider and you are like OH NO. He chased his mud butt back on - was pretty damn hard chase back on - made it on and into the BREAK and finished 7th on the day. Like I have heard some say - once you make Steven Black mad - watch out. Nate was also in the move of the day, didn't get enough fueling, got popped on the last climb - rolled in 9th or 10thon the day. I was very bummed this day - coz none of the radios were working, we spent 4 hrs + previewing the road course the day before, and then they change it without letting us know.

Day 2 - was a 14 mile TT. We had some very fast TT boys. Robin took 6th, Andrew Barker 5th, and Nate 11th. I followed Nate in the car and it was the best TT I have ever seen Nate ride. All I thought about was how many damn 3 mile beginner TT's I have made him ride in the Computrainer classes - and he wasn't losing time over the tops going down the other sides. His limiter in the past. You gotta make it hurt when it is easy to ride. When going up a hill - easy to generate power, but when go over the tops - easy to coast and go fast. Must work the downhills and the tailwinds.

Day 3 - last RR - was going to be a hard day - had 2 very tough climbs - one in the beautiful Daniel Boone Nat Forest. Gorgeous but one bear of a climb - the 2nd KOM. We pre drove the course and decided since we were 10' behind Hot Tubes and not likely going to claim the top position in GC - we were going to go for stage win. It was SO cool seeing the team come together and ride as a TEAM. I did receive some ?? about the strategy we employed that day - but sometimes you have to go AFTER it. Win or lose. We decided to race as a team - and see what we were capable of. We lost our 2nd place in GC this day by 7 secs - but had one last day to go for it - the crit and it had 4 time bonuses. It was very hard for me to tell 3 of the boys who were loer in GC to work their butts off - but this is bike racing. The GC riders were selected at this point in time - and we had one day left to use the course for our advantage. The course had some very dangerous spots - and in the first 15 miles there was a 30 person pileup which took our an entire team. We kept all our riders safe - and went into the first KOM ready. You cannot sit back and settle - when some of the cards are on the table. Look at the TdF - there are 4 guys within 30sec for the 3rd place podium. Tomorrow is going to be a war between these 4 guys. You can bet their teams are going to help. The non GC guys will work their asses off. I was so PROUD of the team on this last RR stage - I was proud of what they were doing for themselves - but also for bike racing in general. They spoke - and even though we lost 7 secs - the were heard long after the race was over. And - what is really important - you only get stronger from standing up to fight.

Day 4 - last day - a twilight crit. We the staff were ready to have some fine Kentucky bourbon - we had MADE it!!! It was SO hard - the support of 6 riders in a very serious stage race. These were the best juniors in the US - and these guys go for it. Carolyn, Reed, and Pierre - were miraculous. If it had been just me and Pierre- scary to think. Carolyn and Reed did pretty much ALL the bottles and prep and cleaning and laundry. It seemed like all of us worked from the time we got up til we collapsed into bed. Ben - who had the worse luck all week - 2 flats and chasing for maybe 100 miles all up - was out go to guy for the crit. He was amazing! he took 2nd in the field sprint to Nate Brown - ending up 6th overall. Kevin Gottlieb was so active on the front when he needed to be (when everyone else was trying to get some air). Kevin had been sick and didn't know if he could even race - the form he will get from last week going into Nationals will be outstanding.

It was really a race - and took all of us inside and outside the race - to make it happen. Thanks to all the people who had a hand in this. I cannot wait til the next one. I am off to JR Nationals in a few days - Steven Kendall, S Black and Nate really have a shot at a podium. I wanna be there. One of the greatest things for me as a coach is seeing my athletes LIVE. Showcase the work - that we work so hard on for yrs, together.

Til the next time ciao

Monday, July 6, 2009

catching up, Lost River, Kay Tsui once again 3 peats at Masters Nationals, Nate getting his Cat 1, Fitchburg, here we come Tour Red River Gorge!!

It has again been forever since I blogged. Nate is right. Seems like mos have passed since last time I blogged and only 1 month! This time of season for me is always so busy - racing in full swing, wanting to spend time with my family - half of which live on the west coast = harder, and then expanding the biz. I have found the space to open up - not done til it is done so I don't like to say anything - but looking close - I be in Herndon right next to the Great Harvest Bakery......hope biz isn't slow or I be at the bread shop too much and......

June startedout with our annual family vacation - which we did in Holden Beach, NC. Great as always to see and have some TIME with my fam. We did lot work (my brothers did) on my Dad's house - I got bitten to bits by fire ants - if anyone knows about fire ants - it hurts like hell. They basically eat the cells away - the venom and gets all pussy gross. I took a pic of my toe but not going to show it. I countered this with lotta salt ocean water and margs.
Back from vacation - always sad coz I never know when I see my fam again - but it was that next weekend - my brother came up for his Birthday with his fam and we did the DC thing - museums and the zoo. I attached a video of the orang atan. They pretty damn cool. I saw a bald eagle which was also super cool. I always get kinda sad the animals behind "bars" - but they are safe and get fed - and try to look at it this way. Saw the pandas and gorillas and all in all - good weekend.
I think it was the next week - took a group out to pre ride the Lost River RR course - that was "okay". They had just paved the roads and covered in the chip seal loose gravel, so the descents were hairbrained. Sucked in that Ben Mingo lost his Garmin and Nate ? locked his keys in his Mini (another Nate from NCVC). Thank God we ended the day on a high with Splunkers!! We all waiting for the Steven Black/ Zack Allison showdown - at Splunkers. I hope Steven is in top form for this one.
That next weekend was the 12 hr of Cranky Monkey - which I did - yes Susan. I loved it - it was my favorite of all my mtn bike courses - outside of Moab. Hard - really hard - which is better for me coz I don't have great technical skills. I trying to figure out why on a road bike I can descend 60mph but on a mtn bike - all those damn tree roots???But I love it - so challenging - the skill level so unknown to me and this why I love it. My team got 5th out of either 11 or 12 teams, and the other team I had in of Chris McMillan and Kat Hansen got 2nd fastest duo time of ALL the duo teams. They were smoking fast. The mtn bike scene is FUN. It is hard core but people are people. The road scene super more intense and the level of athletes the same. The fast mtn bikers are sick fit. Unreal. I am doing Moab again this year - which I already pumped for.
After this came the preride of Poolesville - which did about nothing, par for the course - as most everyone flatted. NO WHEEL VAN???? for a race that has a well known gravel road and an entry fee which isn't cheap? I don't wanna be the big mouth - but come on. This is crazy. So we spent a day detailing the course for the race - and then I think 95% my guys flatted - super. Get a wheel van for EVERY category for this race okay?!
Next day was Reston - super fun race to watch and it so close to where I live so sweet! My juniors kicked ASS in the cat 4 race - the video of Chris Abbey well seen by now - nice rolling and back up to finish. Not sure what Chris has for falling yet? I think he is getting the next 3 yrs of crashing outta the way......Nate and Blair raced great there - I been working hard with Blair on the crits and the work well paying off. He was flying this past weekend in Fitchburg - if you can handle that you can handle of them. The big crits are fun - once you figure them out. Lotta adrenaline.
Post Reston time to write training plans!!!! and I have to get this done today as well.
Masters nationals came next - Kay Tsui again got down to business and won all 3 events. I think she is now a 7 time National Champion. Unreal. I want to race again, one day. I want to get in shape first. I raced many yrs past 2000 not in shape and it isn't fun. So as soon as the day comes where I can focus - for my own plan - I be back. I miss it, everyday. Just other things going on right now.
Mike Fawell and Mimi Newcastle traveled to Nats - hard to get on that podium - but we going back 2010.
Next stop was Fitchburg - where I traveled up on the worse day ever - Thursday - took us about 12 hrs SUCKED!!!!!!!! We did the 95 rt - hell. But the next day sun was up and coffee in hand - went to see the juniors smoke it - Nate in a break all day and Steven Kendall top 10 - what a monster sprint this dude has. Unreal. Abbey had a bad start which cost big, Blair managed that 75 mile pro race well - think that pro race one of the hardest. Russ Brown also came in well - 1st or 2nd in the first sprint. Stage 3 the RR - Nate again in a break which went on the first lap. Okay - picture this - Nate with NO teammates against Hot Tubes with 6 or 7 guys and they know how to race. Oh boy. I was in the SRAM car and saw the break go off - 3 hot tubes and 1 Nate. UGH. Not pretty. I know fate has a way - one of the hot tubes got his chain stuck - so made it 2 hot tubes 1 nate. They were FLYING. OMG. They actually worked together and didn't start any games til about 3 km from the finish. Not much you can do when it 2 against 1. So Nate settled for 3rd but gained the pts jersey and moved into 2nd GC. The last stage was a crit - and again picture this - they call up the top 10 - Nate in 2nd and next to him 7 HOT TUBES unis. Man - I didn't even want to watch. Was going to be UGLY. How he managed to get 2nd GC - says it all. A break did get off but did not gain that much time. Steven Kendall was taking monster pulls - to maintain a lower gap - and he was on fire for the finish, hooked bars with Nate Brown and down. Damnit. I am confident he woulda won the field sprint. I hope I can find the cash to launch the U23 team for 2010.
We traveled back yesterday - I wanted to stay an extra day to ride. But we came back. Didn't want to travel today. I am behind in work - have to get plans out ASAP. Then hope to go for a mtn bike ride.
OH yeah and THE tour is on - that happening too!!! How can you not love summer??!!
Next up is Tour Red River Gorge - the UCI 17/18 event. All I thought when I saw Nate lined up with a team of Hot Tubes is wait for one week - it be different game. We have 2 Slipstream guys racing with us - Andrew Barker and Robin Eckmann. Robin I saw race @ the Gila - he finished 4th GC in the cat 2 race. Plus Kevin Gottlieb, Steven Black, and Stephen Koelbl. I am EXCITED!!!! I support and believe in athletes/ cyclists/ but all athletes. Working with these juniors is some of the most inspiring work I do. They are so results oriented - whether they have sponsorship is secondary. Which makes you wanna sponsor them MORE. They just wanna RACE. Nate tried as hard as he could to get the leaders jersey - but the odds were stacked against him. How hard he fought for 2nd GC was on his face many many times. The work ethic they have is some of the best I see - and the lessons they learn just from racing a bike transform to life. I have always believed you have to be a winner OFF the bike to win on a bike.
Nate Wilson got his upgrade. I started with him when he was a cat 5. I wanna put a before and after pic of him - waiting for him to send me the pics he wants to use. :-) He only turned 18 in March of this year. Sensational. He has the most incredible parents, as are all the parents of the juniors I work with. I so wanna find the $$$ to build an HPC U23 team. My kids are as good if not better than Hot Tubes - for sure. I am confident writing this. Guess we will find out this next week as well. The race starts July 14 - goes through July 17. I will try and post daily updates but SO much to do and we will have 6 kids to looks after.
After TRRG is one week home and WORK!!!! then off to Cascade and Nationals in Bend, OR. Whew. Hoping to open shop around Sept 1st. I don't get to ride much anymore - cannot wait til I can. I wanna go to Masters Nats with Mimi one day and see her win the crit. Until later, ciao