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".
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