Monday, June 28, 2010

waiting for an email

Sitting in Bend, OR; we take off tomorrow. We did an early AM ride up to Mt Bachelor - beautiful ride via a bicycle. Drive too I guess; which we plan on doing as soon as Pierre gets back from FedEx dropping bikes. Things would be so much easier without a bike - i.e. flying. But who likes simple? My mind if filled with a thousand thoughts. Way too cluttered to make much sense at the moment or draw conclusions. I seem to just be in a mode where I am taking alot in. Post JR Nats and pre Fitchburg and pre 2nd big half of the season always causes me to contemplate. It is near July and we have been training for the 2010 season for 8 mos now. Actually training 5; then race prep and taper and peak and about time for a rest after Fitchburg for many.
But I get locked away thinking did I do everything I possibly could, for my athletes? This Nationals I have a group of newbies whereas last year I had 2 "seniors". I have new cat 3's, a 14 yr old at his first Nats, and then of course Nate who, gosh damn when is that phone going to ring? Riding first year U23 and going for it. Yeah he was beaten, but this kid. I was fortunate enough to meet Jim Miller who is USAC Athlete Dirctor and I asked him "what do we have to do?" How can we get Nate on the National team. He answered with "we are doing it". Maybe I will figure out what this means one day.

This sport is ?, so much is crazy. These athletes work so hard, I mean I was one of them, you work so hard just to be in a break one day and ride your butt off. Of course it has taught me much great of life, how to work hard of course; but there is more to it than working hard.
I hope I can get my ideas together so that I can move forward. Something else is there. I am so tired of trying to get my jrs on a U23 I just wanna start my own. Stop begging. This sport seems to be about begging and I cannot stand it anymore. Rather have the $ and do what I want. When I think of the companies where 150K really isn't that much - makes me think I can do it. Just how? That what I have to figure out. If it were easy we all be doing it.

Of course then I have the struggles inside, again, whenever I visit the west and witness the rhythm of life out here. I have been checking out real estate and being someone who started making money later in life, I have been thinking alot where will I own a house. There is something to the simpliness of living, as in Bend. I grew up on 160 acres of farm and I was never bored and I never needed the internet. I don't think I need it now, cept to help the athletes I coach in viewing power files all day and giving them advice as to what to do next. I don't know, I don't think I fit in with this age of technology. I mean I could, but I don't want to. I see people rush out to buy a new i-phone and I would rather be snowshoeing up a mtn where there is no signal. What is wrong with me? is that why I am writing on my blog?
actually I am trying to sort my feelings and not sure why I doing it here as this is public and I am very private person. I started to try and figure out what the hell is a blog... I mean yeah one writes... but do we care about others reading it.... okay I guess it is sharing knowledge in which case this blog is a disaster coz I am not sharing much. now Avery - that dude can write. as can Jim, must be a Wilson thing.

I am driven almost possessed to see the athletes that I think deserve recognition, succeed. I wanna know the game inside and out. maybe this is what I am thinking about. right now I need write a few training plans, rest I will write on the plane. Big time of the season right now and maybe this is what I am feeling. when you coach athletes and you know what each of them need and you are trying to deliver it, searching for the proper tools so they understand. I told Avery to race like he cooks, without a recipe. I liked this one; coz you can't think TOO much in racing, you have to just see it and feel it and know when it is time to suffer and then suffer some more and when to rest and when to eat etc etc. It isn't a book you read and know how to "race". I listen to these guys (the jrs) out here talk about racing to each other - they are masters in some ways, not old but with wisdom. Yeah of course they make simple mistakes, which this is what 2010 Nationals was about this year for the most part and now they know for Fitchburg.

I am going to sign out coz I cannot get my thoughts organized and don't like scatterbrain. Miss everyone, Jim and Nate and Kevin took off and it is way too quiet in this house. All I hear is that crazy sprinkler.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Frustration at Nats

Day 2 Criterium 13/14 Shane Scoggin. I a going to blog about it coz it is going to take me some time to get over and I have to figure out how to apply my frustration in a creative and logical fashion. Shane is at his first National Championship here in Bend, OR with his family and the NCVC support crew. This support system is awesome. Parents, coaches, other parents, fellow teammates. We are all from DC so yeah, it is a trek getting out here. This is "the show", national championships. USA Cycling is the federation behind putting on these events.

Shane was nervous day 1, so the RR was a learning experience. Lining up with 90+ kids was a first for him, seeing the big National Championship banner is WOW, they have a real stage and real annoucers. Yeah Nationals are big. So you would expect many details to be taken care of. Like having a good technical director on board for having the courses approved.
Shane and I went to try and figure out the crit course after he rested up from the RR. We talked about how he is a big fish back in Mabra but out here, there are big fish from all over the country. So in this form of race, we need look after all the details and handling nerves is one step, in many, of learning how to bike race. He realized he needed to get some chow down pre race and work on calming his mind. For a 14 yr old, this is alot to figure out.
The course on paper was wrong, god knows how many national championships I have been to and the courses have been wrong on paper. But I kinda figured out the course - and we rode it a few times. It had some very tight turns, turn 2 and turn 5 especially were very tight. I was not happy thinking about how 90 kids were going to navigate that course and I thought maybe I have the course wrong. Well turned out I had the course right. My stomach was very upset, thinking about Shane on that course with kids half his size - trying to "race" a course this technical with kids of all different size and putting out maybe a max watts of 300 vs max watts of 1200+. It was not going to be a good situation. I of course pushed all this way back in my mind and was ++; I told Shane he had to get good start and he had to go like hell from the gun. It was going to break up into million pieces and if he didn't get out in front, it would be over. He had a good lineup before the callups, 2nd in line. There were 2 tiny kids in front of him (who crashed as soon as the gun went off). I told him he had to get to the start line as soon as they were called up; he wasn't aggressive enough and ended up about 4th row. Not good.
Race started and there was a crash 20m from the line, even before turn 1. Turn 2 - about 50m from the start, 2nd big crash. Shane was in this one but took a free lap and got back in. They put him in way back, and he chased all the way back to a group going for 7th place. There was a kid # 656 I told him to get on from the gun, but 656 and the guy who eventually won (who won the day before and got a call up) jumped from the gun and these 2 were never seen again; they lapped the field. So there were 2 up front, a chase of 4, then a group of about 7 which included Shane. Half way through Shane left his group and tried to bridge across. He was going very well but the group of 4 was working very well together. Shane gave it an all or nothing effort, but when the leaders lapped the group Shane was originally in, this group >> in pace and Shane was brought back. He was out there about 5 laps on his own. He as brought back and for 3 laps he was 200% in the hurt locker. Wasn't good and all I thought was what will I say to him post race if he gets popped. Will I be able to make him understand how GREAT it is to actually RACE and not settle for less. Shane is a Champion. I coach lotta people, have for years now, and all of them are different. This kid has heart. A big one who likely also has a big stroke volume, but he has a heart that goes for the W. He was suffering like a dog and long last, with 3 to go th pressure came off; the 2 guys who lapped the field decided to let the chase group of 4 stay clear. It was 3 to go and Shane had just made contact again with the group he had originally been in (he had been slightly dropped, after he had put in his move to bridge across). I thought okay is he smart enough to rest for 2 laps and go for it?? Answer is HELL YES he knows. Coming into one lap to go, he jumped again! and had a clear gap. This woulda given him 7th. The 5th turn on this course is really tight and we had talked about this corner; he could win it or lose it here. Well, he was after it. But he went into the turn hot and didn't make it out. Suzanne and I were waiting, waiting, and we realized Shane musta had a problem. Then we heard Larry and Justin yelling Shane was down and it wasn't good. Man, the emotions - I am not very good at dealing with this part of racing. My heart sunk; I could tell from his eyes, when he went through that last lap off the front he was determined. The day before he was sad, he was very bummed out about the RR and I knew he was ready for revenge. That was what I saw in his eyes and I held my breathe, knowing that last turn and knowing the possibility of disaster. When you have + in bike racing, it is magic. When you don't, well very sad. This is always the way.
We got down to that corner and Shane was down. I saw his legs all banged up and thank God Jim Wilson was there, who always calms me down. There was a great medic there and Shane was responding very good, so I could at least sign a +. He got up and walked, and whereas I shoulda been filled with joy, I was really angry. There was a USA official there and I was angry, this course shoulda have NEVER been a course for the 10-14 kids. Never. Just the site of anything USA Cycling made me angry at that moment. I may be completely wrong; but I don't think the federation is cutting it right now. I haven't thought this for years actually. Maybe it started with Sue Haywood getting screwed yrs ago. And Sue is class.
When I saw the course and then knew it was the course I had thought; I knew the corners were going to coz major chaous. They did; as Shane was getting cleaned up (he is banged up just about everywhere but nothing major major - just serious ouch covering his body), I asked the medics how many kids had been in there..... more than 25. I heard in the 10-12 most every kid was pulled.
Why do you approve a course, that anyone with 1% of cyling racing brains and technical experience, knows will coz nothing but disaster? The amount of money they charge just to race at Nationals, the fact it is Nationals and people come from all across the USA with bike transport costs alone outrageous, the fact this is Nationals and kids come expecting to race (racing 1 km of a 20km race after traveling halfway cross the country or more is not racing), parents taking this as their vacation etc etc etc etc. Okay - unacceptable. Unacceptable.
That course should never have been approved for these kids. I feel all those kids and parents have been robbbed. What kinda experience did they take home? Bend has a great downtown crit course they use for the other cats (15/16, 17/18, U23) - use some of the profits USA Cycling is reaping in and make it happen. US is trying to grow JR cycling; by last nite??
I don't have the answer but I do know that anyone with any experience in racing, knowing kids even slightly; would conclude that course was unjust. I don't know if I can do anything to remedy this or improve but I am invested in JR cycling and what happened to Shane last nite was absolute bullshit. He shoulda not been racing on that course. He is one of the strongest kids, all the way from DC, racing out here in OR. Paid a fortune to get his bikes out here. Had both parents come out. He is supposed to be taking off on his TT in 17 minutes but instead he is here giving all his TT stuff to the others so they can race. Breaks my heart. He is up walking and this is great. But he should be taking his last pee right now before his start. I know he woulda set one of the fastest times today.
If I can find a video of the start; which shows the crash right off the line and the discrepancy of kids in this race - which USA Cycling should be able to predcit by now??, I will post. Kids 70 lbs vs 160 lbs on a course as technical as it gets. And this is the "show". Gives the kids a great experience, one which they will of course take home and dream about, training even harder. That was a joke. When can we do it again..

What I also need to get an answer to - does an athlete have to pay to protest a result? For example, when the officials screwed up Russ Brown's time this last weekend at TWC, did he have to pay the officials so they would possibly correct their mistake? If this is true, I am going to go even more insane. Where else do you get paid for up??? If this is the rule I am waging a war. Getting paid for screwing up. Now that's why we pay more every year to get a license. Awesome.

I only had one cup of coffee. What do I know; I am only a coach and raced for most of my life. I will be long dead to see IF the day ever happens where we as a nation think Preventive instead of Corrective. Preventive takes in much less profit.... greed and ego drive the corrective version.

Today is time trial day; off to the races. Let's think ++. That who I am.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Racin'

Well here we are in full on racing season - if you are a roadie. Mountain biking is on as well; CX later. But for me, who coaches mostly roadies - the season is in full motion. I am in Bend, OR once again for JR Nationals. LOVE this place and very very high on the list for where we will end up in a few years time. Makes me ? when all my juniors say the same thing.... " I don't wanna go home". What they seeing and understanding is kinda obvious. The peace, the quiet, the environment and air quality and so many, many stimuli which lead to and produce a creative soul. Last nite one of them said this to me again, I don't want to go back to NVA. Makes me think, wow, these guys feel it too. What the wild west does for ones' soul. This is a struggle for me, I know you have to be where the work is BUT feeding ones soul, may be on top the "must have" list for me.

Now - where do I start, as once again it has been some time since I caught up on what is going on for me. Getting the athletes into results mode. Kinda comes down to this as a coach, who is winning and do I have a hand in their training. I am pretty pleased with the juniors are going (the juniors being one of my great joys of coaching) - had to see 3 of them cat up to cat 3 in order to get here and they all did it: David Brookes who is racing 17/18, Avery Wilson and Justin Mauch who are racing 15/16. Nate is racing his first year as U23 and Shane Scoggin first time racing Nationals in the 13/14. Fantastic legs of future talent. I don't know if I just end up with genetically gifted kids or maybe combo of good genes and some good coaching. I think both. End result is what matters and they all flying right now. Of course I know Nate pretty well by now, we been working together many yrs so I expect alot out of myself getting him 100% prepared. I can say with confidence, he is peaking right now on target. He had a fall out at the Gila and we lost about a week, which I was abit worried about but we managed to get on top of this one. I was pretty confident at the Gila everything was on track. But then he had to go on some strong antiB which take some time to recover from. But all engines ready and tomorrow he has the TT. He is VERY confident and so I think of all the work I have done with him, seeing him mentally able to conquer is perhaps the greatest work yet done. It isn't physical at a certain point; everyone is strong. Comes down to who owns the day. Going into an event, owning it in ones mind. If you can do that you have a good shot at it.
This past weekend I had some great success with athletes at the Tour of Washington County. Had 3 good shots of podiums cross 3 categories. Mike Fawell is one of my guys who was ready to break through this year, and I think he has won his last 3 races. The guy is a TT machine, so in the cat 3 category he set the board. He was only 7 sec behind Russ Langley, who appears to be getting some form again. I think Mike can cat up now; so one 2010 goal accomplished. I have several cat 3 racers right now, from all different teams, so very fun me as coach in trying to get them all to win. They all have their specific strengths and limiters, but it does seems that a big hurdle in cat 3 is just getting that confidence thing. Drew Armstrong rode brilliant this weekend - best I ever saw him race in a crit. The light went off. Kinda what I wait and wait and wait for, that switch to go on. Then I can take a huge breathe coz I know they have some wings.
In the Masters race Andreas Gutzeit came oh so close to taking the Masters 3/4 overall - he ended up just 2 sec shy.

Now Coach is usually not one to bitch, but some of the officiating in the last few races starting to be irritating. If it is a GC race and IF the results from the previous stage are wrong > the riders go to ask the official and are told it doesn't matter > when the next stage has 4 time bonuses.... and the win is going to come down to seconds ...... well, this is really super frustrating. Oh I know, we all make mistakes and this is only bike racing, but at $90/pop - but very frustrating for me to see athletes working so hard, doing everything right, to get screwed by officials who won't get it right. I know Mimi very well, this wasn't Mimi; I am saying sometimes I think the officials need own up they are NOT the almighty and not always right. In this particular case it cost my athlete the overall. But not taking the time to get the results Correctly posted prior to the last stage. The rider brought it clearly to attention; it was critical going into the last stage how much the rider was behind. It changed the ENTIRE last stage of how it was raced. I am not always right and I now have the faith in myself to own up. I think we all need keep this in mind. I think some of the officials take the power thing too far and forget to remember "racing dynamics". There is a big difference between how a race will be played out, if there are 6", 13", or 25".
Nough said.

Pro race - think it coulda played in many ways - Nate played a major support role. While I am sure he coulda won the overall, I don't go into team politics. I only am concerned did I do my job and is Nate ready for Nats - June 26th a day I have been thinking about for the last 362 days. Nate took 2nd last year in Nationals for those that don't know and he has vowed to one day win Nationals. I am absolutely sure he can. He is a first year U23 rider this year at Nationals - against some very tough competition. He is going into it physically on top and mentally strongest Nate Wilson I have ever worked with. Sweet. Blair, my other 1,2 rider in the race, rode well and I am targeting Fitchburg and Cascade for him. He took 3rd in the TT and now rides crits with confidence. Todd Hesel took the overall from KBS, their team rode superb from what I saw in the crit. Rick Norton is a true Bad Ass. I remember riding his wheel home to Charlottesville once, a big group was out for a ride and Rick was coming back in. I was kinda too scared to ask if I could ride home with him but I guess I was feeling brave and I did it. Rick was bigtime already and for me, being a complete gumbie - well I was NOT going to get dropped from his wheel. I can still, to this day, the hills we climbed and remember how hard I tried, not to get dropped. I don't think we said more than 2 words the entire ride; I was just in awe riding with Rick Norton. I was a total cycling nerd; couldn't believe how fast the pros were. But he is 40+ now and still king of the bad ass in the peloton. Gets alot harder when you get older. I know when I was looking for a team for Nate, talked to Rick a long time. I knew he would be in good hands, next best step for his development. Thanks Rick, for looking after him. Now I have to find the next step for Nate. He is ready. But first we will get through the next 3 days.....

David Brookes, Justin Mauch, and Shane Scoggin are my newbie National racers here this year. Shane raced yesterday in the 13/14 RR - but he was so nervous at the start, couldn't get anything in his belly, as a result had a rough bonk 1/2 way through. Lesson learned, he is going to have a MUCH better race tonite I already know. He races at 7:30PM tonite.

So - who else, well I have so many other great athletes riding well and training hard >>> I think any HPC athlete does coz I don't really last long with people who aren't willing to do the work. I know, coz I have heard, I work people too hard. But this is what it requires of you wanna do BIKE racing. It isn't an easy game. If you aren't willing to get humbled over and over and over, you may as well get out. Coz it is too damn hard.
Okay - our bikes are in; I am out to ride the TT course with the Avery TT animal machine. Damn he looks good on that TT bike.
I forgot to bring my camera charger and my battery is dead, so not sure what I going to do now. No pics for now