Total Pageviews

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Bittersweet End

It's been an amazing season full of soul crushing defeats and a few little triumphs sprinkled in among the smashings.
My big boy legs started coming around at the end of the season. After getting destroyed at the big UCI races and becoming accustomed to racing for 60 minutes instead of 45, my legs feel monumentally stronger. I am very happy to end the season on a very good note.
I just took 2nd place at New England Regional Championships yesterday in the single speed race behind Nick Keough. The weekend before at Das cross I had a great finish as well. I have been consistently moving up the ranks in the big UCI races. My goal for next CX season, after a full elite season on the road is to be racing towards the front of the UCI races and earn some UCI points.

I am happy to announce that I will be racing for the JAM Fund elite squad on the road next season. This is a very good step for me. I will learn to race on a real team and learn the tactics necessary to excel at the elite/pro level.

I started my CX season in August this year and raced a total of 27 CX races. Making my total number of races this year 58. It's amazing the amount of work needed to become a good bike racer. I'm at a point in my racing career where I feel I know my body very well. The countless hours that go into training have become an integral part of my life. I love it, I enjoy every aspect of being out on my bike and pushing my body to it's physical limits on a daily basis.
Although the physical practice is a constant reminder that my body is adapting and becoming faster with every passing week, the mental practice of cycling is equally important. The bike has always been there for me, a meditation practice helping me flow through all the happy, sad, depressing, and confusing times in my life. Cycling is a way to see the world that most people never get to see. When I'm stressed out from school work or relationships I can hop on my bike and escape for a few hours, focusing on my body and connecting to nature as the world flows by. For me, cycling has become a lifestyle, a way to see the world that most (unless you ride) wil never understand.

I am very happy to go into an unstructured block of riding for the next couple weeks, catch up with people I haven't ridden with in a while and tie up some loose ends for school. I have one more semester until I finish my BA in Psychology and I'm also in the process of applying to graduate schools. I am headed to Colorado to see a friend and spend 10 days back-country splitboarding, doing yoga, hiking, and mtnbiking in Moab. I am very excited I've never been to CO and have been trying to get out there for years.

I just want to thank everyone who has been there for me this past year and really helped me excel in this sport and lifestyle. Al Donahue for being an awesome coach and helping me understand training, equipment, racing, and recovery. My brother Jeremy who has been an enormous influence. He just signed a legit pro contract and will be racing all over the world this season and next. The entire New England cyclocross community, we have the best racing scene in the country and some of the most amazing and talented riders in the world. Team NYCROSS for helping me out with race support and being the overall best CX team out there! We throw an amazing party at every NYCROSS event, if you didn't make it to the NYCROSS series this year, make sure you're there next year! Berkshire Bike and Board for always helping me out on the drop of a dime and being an awesome crew of guys (and gal).

Monday, November 12, 2012

New bike and Amazing results

It's Sunday night, and I'm laying here in a food coma. I just destroyed an entire order of mango chicken korma and 2 giant things of naan bread. My body feels like it got hit by a truck. But I have a smile on my face. I took 6th place yesterday at Paradise cx frenzy and then 3rd today at the Bethlehem cup. These are the first two Elite races that I've actually gotten results at. I've been getting my face smashed at every UCI race I do, so it feels good to actually win some money and stand on a podium.

The course yesterday was awesome, the guys out at Paradise cx put on a really great event. The race takes place on a brewery, so theres a bunch of random people that have no idea what CX is, watching the shenanigans. The KMS kids were out in full force controlling the front of the race. They're so young and so fast.

The course today was even better! A huge thank you to Chuck Quackenbush (the greatest last name ever) for setting up the venue. Fast flowy corners, steep descents, corners you can drift both tires through, log crossings, a brutal run up, and a super grindingly steep ride up.

The race started super fast and Wayne Bray and Cory Burns took off like bats out of hell and ripped the first lap like lightning. I stayed with them and turned myself inside out to stay up front and focused. After 2 laps I looked back and saw no one. Wayne, Corey, and I had opened up a huge gap and were taking turns at the front going berserk. After 4 laps Cory broke off and Wayne eventually dropped me on the steep ride up. I held off 4th place and finished for my first podium in an elite race!!!! This is a big milestone for me. I have been getting stronger and faster and have been racing smarter every week. There's an incredible amount to learn about this sport and it's a long process.

Another big thank you to my team NYCROSS Presented by: VOmax! We have an amazing family of funny, ridiculously awesome people.

I just started riding a new cx bike. Thanks to Nate Lachance! The Felt FX3. What an amazing ride! Since I started pedaling this thing my ability to drive a bike has increased 10 fold. Super lightweight carbon frame equipped with Sram components. I built up an extra set of Major Tom wheels to XT disc break hubs and BAM you got yourself a super supple tubular ride. Now, on to the disc brakes. In my opinion, they are the single best improvement you can put on your bike. Through the whole race I'm breaking with one finger, even on steep descents. I can fly into corners and modulate my speed much better.

Overall, this has been an amazing season for me. My goal for next year is to snag some UCI points and be racing toward the front groups at bigger UCI events. A full season in the elite fieldf on the road will help me get there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2 Crazy Months and CYCLOCROSS!!!

This is my first blog post since the end of July. I have been insane busy. I will recap Aug and Sep and get to what's really on my mind, CYCLOCROSS!!!!
I spent the first few weeks of August in Alaska. I had a film crew following me around for the first 5 days geting tons of footage. It was so amazing to spend time with all of my family up there. Ceremonies with uncle and grandfather, fishing and 4 wheeling with my cousin Randy, smoked salmon with Tabitha, County fair with Jocelyn, Jenn, and Terrance, Tanning hides traditionally with my uncle.

I came home from Alaska and went straight to a 7 day intensive high ropes course training in Vermont. Camped for a week Brattleboro and self-belayed from 60 feet to perform cut away rescues.

The tail end of August and all of September brought about my last year of school. I'm taking a full course load, 5 classes. While still training and racing every weekend and trying to work enough to eat food and pay rent on a regular basis I've had 0 time to blog. So I'm cranking this out right now while I feel motivated to. Sorry about all the typos and horrible sentence structure but I don't have the time!

CYCLOCROSS!!!! Ahhhhhh I'm so stoked its cx time. I was so excited that I started racing in mid August. The first few races were a good test of my legs. I felt great on the bike. My fitness level is still way above my technical riding skills but I am hopeful they will come around. I've already raced Monson, Blunt Park, BOB cross, Quad cross, Blandford cross, White park, Suckerbrook, Midnight ride, and both days of Gloucester. I won Blandford cross and took podium at 2 others. Gloucester was my first shot at a UCI Elite race and it was by far the hardest bike race I have ever experienced, especially day 2. I have never ridden in mud like that before, the entire course was a mixture of peanut-butter textured and sloppy wet mud. I beat the predictor both days and didn't finish last. I think with a bit more technical skills I will (somewhat) competitive in this field.

Check out this video from day 1, You can see me at 1:10, I'm the guy in the black kit with the bright green helmet. Then, if you look very closely you can actually see Colin Reuter's hand fly back and karate chop me in the throat and send me into the fence, almost making me crash at 1:40

I hope to do more race and life reports over this CX season. I'm stoked to see everyone at the races and around !!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cat 2

I thought to myself it's getting late in the road racing season and I only have a couple months left to really up my game and reach my goal of getting my category 2 upgrade. I knew what I had to do and I only had 3 races left before I took off to Alaska. I had to kill it at all three and get points to ensure I wouldn't be fighting for the few races left in the season when I returned from the frontier. I geared up and headed to Naugatuck Ct. this weekend. I opted out of the the Tour of the Hilltowns race on Saturday because last year my legs cramped up real bad and I ended up laying in the river about 4 miles from the finish. Hahahah ahhhhh that's a race I will never forget. I knew arriving at Naugatuck I had a good chance at doing well because there was only 25 people pre registered and I wasn't too worried about any of them. After getting to the race I started seeing some really fast dudes that hadn't pre registered online that were registering day of. I started sweating a little bit and knew I would have my work cut out for me in the race. 

Right from the start of the race people were attacking. Two guys broke off the front on the first lap and stayed away for 4 laps. I knew not to follow them cause they couldn't hold it. After they returned into the pack a couple guys launched another brutal attack off the front. This happened time and time again and always got pulled back. It was a super fast and hard course to make a break on. With 20 laps to go I saw a break happen that I knew I had to be in, so I stood up, gritted my teeth and bridged up to the group pulling one other guy with me, all of a sudden we had a 100 foot gap on the field and 5 dudes in our break all working together. We held the break the entire race and with 5 laps to go another 3 guys bridged up to us and it was a brutal sprint for the finish. One guy started sprinting with about 400 meters to go so I knew I had to act now or I wouldn't make it, so I hit it hard and started sprinting and there it was, a long drawn out sprint. I had a strong finish and only 2 dudes just barely made it past me and I took 3rd, scoring me enough points in one race to get my upgrade!!!! 

So, I'm really happy and I have a great sense of accomplishment. I have been training my ass off all year to make it to this level of racing. I went from cat 4 to cat 2 in less than a year so I know I have potential at this sport even at the old man age of 27. Hahahah, so I am heading to Alaska on Monday with a renewed sense of self worth and happiness. I can relax and ride bikes in the beautiful mountains of Alaska and not worry about getting enough points to get my upgrade when I get home. I have my first races this weekend in the pro field at New London criterium on Saturday and then I'm doing the bike leg of the Pedal and Plod duathalon which is a 25 mile Time Trial on Sunday morning and then I'm racing the pro 1/2 crit at Limerock at 5 in the evening. So my legs are basically going to be destroyed for a long couple days of travel to Alaska. Then they will heal up and I'll start hanging out with my amazing family up north!!!!!!! I will write another blog after this weekend when I'm waiting at the airport! 

I know I have my eyes closed in both of these pictures. I planned it that way, I swear. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

PTSD sucks

Yesterday was a day of fireworks and barbecues all over the country. While out on a bike ride I could smell a BBQ on every corner. It was not only a day of eating, watching people get drunk and light stuff on fire for me. I was eating dinner at Kripalu when my friend Carly asked me if I was going to hang out and watch the fireworks tonight. My reply has been the same for the last 8 years, since I came home from Iraq. I can't watch the fireworks because if I do, I usually end up freaking out. Theres few things that trigger my PTSD and bring me back to that vivid reality of mortars landing all around us, whether on a convoy through the Urban chaos or simply laying in bed trying to fall asleep. For years I would go to fireworks shows on the 4th of July and end up feeling isolated from everyone I was hanging out with. So now, when asked if I'm going to watch the fireworks show I simply tell people why I don't partake in the festivities. I'm self aware enough to know what what my triggers are around my experiences in Iraq. Also the 4th of July for me is a time of reflection on my time at war. A day of remembrance for the friends I lost to suicide and I.E.D. explosions. While the majority of people are having a good time, getting wasted and listening to James Taylor there are veterans all over the country in pain and remembering their experiences at war.

I am torn between many lives. Yes I did join the military when I was very young and I do not regret any of my time on active duty while stationed at Ft. Campbell and deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Today I am very much against war and any type of violence. Then there's Independence day from a Native American view point. I could go on and on all day long about politics, government and Native rights but when I start getting in my head about all this stuff it just makes for so much negativity. Sooooo that's when I go for a bike ride!!!!

I spent last weekend out in Northhampton with the J.A.M. team riding bikes!! It was a ton of fun. Saturday we were out on the bikes for over 8 hours!!! We didn't plan it that way but people flatted and had mechanicals. We rode over 5.5 hours, 100 miles, climbed 7,500 ft., burned over 4,000 cal. and had an amazing time. Then on Sunday we rode 5 hours again, climbed 5,500, burned over 3,000 cal and did the fundo loop. It was a hard weekend of training with an amazing group of bike racers. I learned a lot about my mental ability to ride really hard when my legs hurt really bad and just keep going. A lot of the pain in cycling is a mental thing and if you can push through that mental barrier your legs will open up and you will be attacking off the front!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bike Racer by Day Magical Wizard by Night

The scrambling and rearranging of riders in the last lap of a criterium is something both beautiful and extremely dangerous. Everyone trying to position themselves in the perfect line into that last corner. Lungs pumping as hard as they can, heart rate at 200 and legs feeling like they're going to explode. I was sticking to Mike Nortons wheel cause he was pulling me in for the finish. Whack! he pushes a rider out of the way on the 2nd to last corner, takes the last 90 degree corner around 30mph and lays it all out, putting me in perfect position for the final sprint. I grit my teeth, stand up and give it everything I have, the actin and myosin begin the craziest cross-bridge cycle and every motor neuron in my legs goes crazy, I keep my head down and just goooooo I cross the finish line to see 3 other dudes in front of me !!!! Nooooo!!!! I should have won this race. I was set up in the most perfect way for the sprint but I just couldn't catch the other 3 dudes that were positioned just a bit better than I was. Criteriums have historically been harder for me, I am a little guy and crits, especially flat crits like today cater to big muscular sprinter types so 4th place was a really good finish for me!!!! I am stoked, I won some money and snagged some upgrade points. So I am one step closer to racing in the elite/pro races!!! Later in the afternoon I raced in the category 1/2/3 pro race and did some racing with the BIG BOYS. It was a crazy fast race averaging just under 29mph, I was moving around through the pack and holding my own against the big boys, I ended up finishing 28th out of about 100 guys, so I was very happy with that finish as well. It was a very good day of bike racing especially when last weekend was the most horrible 2 days of bike racing I have ever experienced!

Ok now that I have explained the bike racer by day part, I wanted to touch on a part of my life that most of you didn't know. I'm pretty much a nerd at heart. I started playing a trading card game called Magic The Gathering when I was about 12 years old and I have never stopped. I don't know what it is about the game that keeps drawing me in. I usually only play in the dead of the winter when there's nothing else to do but a good friend of mine called me up yesterday and came over and we had a dork fest for about 3 hours. Picture dungeons and dragons mixed with lots of strategy and really cool playing cards and thats how Magic goes down! Some of the cards I collected when I was a kid are worth hundreds of dollars now! I had no idea these things were going to be worth so much money later on in my life! Anyways, I just wanted to share one of my weird secrets with the world. I have MANY more, so stay tuned.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

No More Caffeine???

Thinking back on the last couple years I can't think of a single day I went without that delicious caffeinated morning beverage that we all hold so dear to our hearts. I decided that it was time to take a break from that harmless substance I have grown so fond of.
This past weekend I was in Maryland racing a big stage race out in the heartland. It was probably the worst weekend so far this year of bike racing for me. Everything that could have gone wrong did. After driving 6 hours to get there early Saturday morning I hopped out of my car and warmed up for a while and went right into the race. I was feeling pretty good until the last 10 miles of the race where I felt a tiny twinge in my hamstring and my calf and we all know what come after that little twinge. The seizing off all muscular performance. On the last steep climb I stood up to move up in the pack and position myself for the sprint and not one, but both of my hamstrings completely locked on every rotation of the pedal stroke. It was horrible, I was able to downshift and spin my legs and stay with the pack but I finished 14 seconds off the leader and knew I had to work very hard in the time trial the next day. 

My buddy Travis and I headed to our hotel and proceeded to fill every receptacle we could with ice, we emptied the hotels ice machine and dumped it all in our tub and we each took a 10 minute ice bath to help recover our legs. I went to set up my TT bike for Sunday morning and realized I forgot my TT helmet at home!!!! DOHH!!! and as I was setting up my bike I realized that the rear de-railer cable was all frayed and chewed up so my TT bike was useless. I ended up doing the TT on my road bike and I got beat by a lot of dudes. Then in the  evening crit I was giving it everything I had just to stay in the pack. About 100 dudes started and only half of them finished so it was a super fast race and my hamstrings were sore to the touch and not working properly. It was a horrible weekend of bike racing and I am going to take it as a learning experience and move on. Theres always next weekend!!!! I'll be racing the category 3 and the pro race this weekend in Hartford on Sunday.
After this weekend of terrible bike racing I am giving up caffeine and dairy for the week to cleanse my body and get it up to par for this weekend. I felt like poop on Monday morning and only had one decaf coffee in the morning. I had a dull headache all day and felt horrible, hahahah I didn't realize how dependent my body had become on caffeine. Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit better, and today I feel much better and just had a cup of tea. 
Yesterday the film crew came to my place to get some footage of me and my parents hanging out, it was a really nice day. I don't get to see my folks too much so it was nice that they got to come spend the day at my new place. We went swimming in the green river later in the afternoon, a much need reprieve from the crazy hot day we had.

Also, congrats to my buddy Travis Kroot for cleaning up this weekend at the race! He finished 2nd GC at the stage race. While I had the worst weekend of bike racing he was at his best!!! Well played sir!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quarter Life Crisis

Returning from a 3 day trip on the mountain I am a bit fatigued from the emotional availability I must call upon during these trips. I love my job and I am always inspired by how being in nature gives permission to small groups of men to open up in a natural setting. But being emotionally tired has never stopped me from going on a bike ride!!!! I hopped on my bike and reflected over the past few days and about life in general. Last week was one of those "what am I doing with my life weeks." You know, the days that all of us get periodically no matter how well our lives are going. Anyways, I was talking with two dear friends of mine Justin and Tim this week and they were huge inspirations and fueled my creative drive to turn the things I love into a career/lifestyle. "Make your vocation your vacation and you will never work a day in your life" a good friend once said to me. So this is what I have been thinking about over the last week. How can I create meaningful work that I enjoy doing??

Now I've been thinking, there is a documentary in the works that will feature me as one of the main roles and I have been thinking a lot about the opportunities that being in a documentary directed by an Academy Award winning documentarist (is that a word?) will bring my way. I have NO idea what this means, if it means anything at all. I met up with 2 good friends of mine and marketing genius's Jonathan   and Nicole to brainstorm ideas. They gave me some amazing advice and I think I am going to make a website. I will probably move my blog and link it with the website and other than that I have no idea!!!! I had so many creative ideas pop into my head over the last couple days as to where I would like to see myself a year or even 5 years down the road career wise. It's still very unclear but I have a creative drive and the energy to follow through on it. All I will say is I want to do something with cycling, psychology, the natural environment and helping people. Other than that I am wide open to any suggestions or what people think I would be good at doing. I just felt like I had to write about all of this and put it out into the world. 

This past weekend I raced The Nutmeg series criterium in New Britain Ct. and the Massachusetts state road race championships in Taunton on Sunday. The whole previous week I was sick with a horrible cold and missed a whole week of training. The most I rode was an hour each day during the week. I was very grateful for rest and having the week off to actively recover. I don't think our place has even been as clean as it was, I am horrible at laying around and doing nothing!!!! Come Saturday I was still congested and coughing but I was sick of laying around and resting and wanted to see where my legs were at. I started the race and about 10 laps in my legs were feeling amazing and I was following moves and got into a break after a preem, it only stuck for 2 laps then the pack swallowed us up. The race was fast at 26 mph and people were being very agressive and sketchy. I was 5th wheel coming around the last corner and I knew I had it in my legs to be in contention for the sprint and as we flew through the final corner my bike was leaning so far and as I went to stand up and sprint my shoe popped right out of my pedal and 10 dudes flew right past me. It was horrible and I was so bummed for a while. I accepted it pretty quickly and stored it in my mind so I don't ever make that mistake again. 

Sunday went much better. As soon as the race started a break of 10 dudes went and I was hanging out in the back of the pack talking to friends, I didn't even see them ride away!!!!! We raced for about 3 hours and the break stuck and stayed away for the whole race. On the last lap, on the climb to the finish we saw the break, the pack went crazy and started riding really fast so we could catch them and we did!!!! It was insane, I though they were gone. I hit the climb and went as hard as I could, passing almost all 10 of the dudes in the break. I snagged 8th place and I'm very content

I am heading to Maryland for the weekend to rock a stage race out there. Should be very interesting. I have been racing against the same faces every weekend all around New England and will be racing against 100 new guys this weekend. Saturday is a road race and Sunday is a Time trial int he morning and a criterium race in the evening. Should be........ interesting!!!! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shenanigans at Killington

It's 1pm on Thursday afternoon and I am completely burnt out from this past week. Driving up to Killington Friday night to race Sat, Sun, and Mon then rushing home Monday night to pass out and wake up to take a group of 11 men on a 3 day therapeutic camping trip has left me worthless on this perfectly beautiful afternoon. So I will write this blog in a relieved daze from my couch with the window open.
           Let's start with Killington Mountain Stage Race. It was my second ever stage race and first 3 day race. I met up with my buddies Krystian, Luciano, Dan, Brad, Braedin, and Uri up in Killington, we rented a 2 bedroom condo to fit all 7 of us for the long weekend. The first day of racing was a 72 mile circuit race. On the 2nd lap the pack was descending a mountain at around 45mph and all of a sudden a big group of people were crashing in front of me and I knew right away I could do nothing about this because I was in the middle of the pack and the crash was happening directly in front of me. So I grabbed both breaks as hard as I could and braced myself, sure enough I slammed right into somebody, went over my bars and landed right on top of Hot Tubes rider Curtis White, then someone crashed on top of me and drove their front wheel into my lower abdomen, right where I had a hernia operation about 3 years ago. Everything happened so fast and as soon as we all came to a stop I jumped up, grabbed my bike, put my chain back on, realized my bike was ok and hopped on. I was the only rider in that crash to get up and immediately start chasing the pack down. The group was about 100 yards away and I knew I had my work cut out for me to chase them back. My heart-rate sky-rocketed and my legs were burning so badly I just could not clear the lactic acid from them. I rode so hard that I saw stars and got tunnel vision. It took me about 20 minutes of going as hard as I could to catch back onto the group and when I finally caught the back I proceeded to throw up all over myself. It felt so good to know I was in contention again. We rocked a couple more laps of very agressive riding and I made the right move at the end and was in the clear for the sprint, so I went for it and took 3rd in the field sprint grabbing some upgrade points for the weekend!!!
                 The second day was an 11 mile time trial and I have only done a handfull of practice time trials and this would only be my second official one. I am borrowing a bike from a local guy Peter Greer, here in the Berkshires and the bike is a bit small for me with an integrated seat-post so I didn't have the option of making the post higher. So I took things into my own hands and got creative. I took an extra saddle I had lying around and duct taped it to the original saddle. Now this looks ridiculous but is very effective and it made the bike a perfect fit for my long femurs. I took 24th in the Time Trial and I was content with my time of 26:50 for the 11 miles.
              The third day was a brutal 62 mile road race through the mountains of central Vt. The race started on a 25 mile descent over some of the worst condition roads I have raced on. People's bottles were flying out and it was just very sketchy riding. After the long descent there was a brutal climb up this steep hill and I ended up in a group of about 25 guys for the rest of the race. About 5 miles before the final climb to the top of Killington the larger group we had dropped caught us and all 80 of us were together for the start of the giant climb. This climb was super brutal, I have never raced up something so steep before. Picture the steepest part of the north side of Greylock and make that 5 miles long, it was horrible. I don't think I have suffered that much on a bike ever (I say this about every race). Anyways, I ended up in 21st place in this race which got me 20th place overall for the GC.
          I learned a lot about how I race this past weekend and I know I have a lot to work on. But hey, anything worth doing is worth doing right, same goes with anything in life.
        So this weekend was a total success, I am happy I didn't get horribly hurt in that high speed crash and I wish a speedy recovery to the 7 or so dudes who were taken to the hospital and sustained injuries.
     My next big race is the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic!!!! Hometown race. This will be my first time doing the Longsjo and should be a really fun weekend. The whole family will be there watching and hopefully my fitness will be peaking and I can do really well at this one!
       I just spent the last 3 days on the mountain with an amazing group of men in early recovery. We had some musicians and all of them really wanted to be there which made for a really great trip. I was able to teach them some nature therapy stuff and get them out having direct experiences in nature, I love my job and my co-worker Jeremy Lombard rocks as well.

      That's all for now!!! See ya'll soon!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's pouring outside on this beautiful Berkshire morning, any time it's raining and I don't feel like riding bikes I become productive. In this case my productivity is taking the form of blogging. The semester just ended and I've been insane busy writing papers for weeks straight. I finally have some time to breathe in the morning, enjoy some french press coffee, and reflect on where my life has gone in the last few months since my previous blog. 
               School has been crazy this semester, I just finished up over 100 pages of writing. I have been racing bikes and training like a mad man this season! I have been racing every weekend since mid March and becoming consistently faster and stronger. I took 2nd place at the Wayne Elliot memorial race when Dan Ouellette made a super hard hard move on the last lap when everyone was tired (including me) I jumped up, sprinted as hard as I could and followed him, we stayed away on a long straight away, took a hard right into a long climb and just took turns on the front hammering as hard as we could. It felt amazing to see the group behind us getting smaller and smaller. I was so excited when I realized we broke away, I was yelling YES YES!!! Dan yelled at me to calm down and I did. We caught 2 guys who had broken away and we worked together till the end where Dan took me in the sprint, but I took the other 2 guys and rolled away with 2nd place and some cash in my pocket. It felt good to make money doing something I love!!! 
              Since Wayne Elliot I have done a handful of other really fun and painful sufferfests of races. I did my first stage race ever up in Vt. at the Tour of the Dragons and finished 15th overall and snagged a couple upgrade points. I was content with this finish but I know I can finish stronger in a long stage race. I have another coming up this weekend in Killington Vt. It's a 3 day stage race. I will blog about that next week. 
             I am being featured in a documentary called "A Small Good Thing" directed by Academy Award winning Pamela Boll. She approached me a few months ago and when I heard from her I was very skeptical. After doing some research I found out Pam won an Academy award for the movie "Born Into Brothels" so this was no joke. After meeting with Pam, Kerthy, and Paula I knew right away I wanted to be a part of this project. All three of them are amazing people who are really trying to tell peoples stories and shine a light on the things this country needs more of. Anyways we have done a few filming sessions and Pam and her crew are legit! I thought it was going to be her and maybe one other person working on it. The morning of filming at my place she rolls up with 3 vehicles and an entire crew rolls out!!! It was insane, huge cameras and sound and lighting equipment! They have been following me around riding bikes and filmed me dancing with my family at a powwow. This summer they're flying me and the crew to Alaska to film me, my uncle and grandfather in ceremony and my uncle is teaching me the traditional way of brain-tanning hides. I have been trying to get out there for the last few years and now I have my chance!! Awesome stuff. 
                That's all for now, I will be updating my blog this summer until classes start up again and I have no time!!!!! As usual I am super grateful for the people in my life and for living a simple life of bike riding and community! 

Heres a link to an article that Mary Arata wrote for Nashoba Publishing about the powwow this past weekend.

Oh and on another note I chopped all my hair off. I hadn't cut it in a year and a half and it was about 14 inches long!!!! The dirty hippie look has (somewhat) disappeared.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I am bringing the blogging action back!!! My last post was in August 2011. I have plenty of reason to get back to it now! I left Tuesday night and drove back to Fitchburg and got there around 7pm, I checked my email and Jeremy had sent me an email telling me he broke his shifter in the world cup in France that day. So unless I brought a sram shifter with me to Granada I would be S.O.L. and have to buy a brand new shifter at around $100. So I called every person I could in the Fitchburg area and NOONE had an extra sram shifter. I finally called Al Donahue in East Hampton and he hooked me up! I had to drive a few extra hours to get the shifter though. So the mission was successful and I left for Spain the next morning. It took me about 36 hours of traveling to get to Granada. My flight from Boston to Philly was horrible, we got on the plane and had a wind delay and then after we landed there was no terminal to park in and then when we finally found one, there was a luggage cart stuck in front of it. So I had to run to my next terminal which was of course on the other side of the airport, like a mile away. I made it just in time to be the last person to board the plane. When I landed in Madrid, I learned my brother had missed his flight in Brussels and I had to sit in the Madrid airport for 5.5 hours waiting for him. So I tried to sleep and nothing happened. He finally showed up with these 2 huge bike bags and we had to drag all of our luggage to the shuttle which dropped us off in downtown Madrid and we continued to drag all our crap into the train terminal which took us to the bus station. It was a lot of work and we were finally south bound on the bus. It was so good to catch up with him and hear all about his Euro racing adventures.
After a 5.5 hour bus ride we
finally arrived in Granada. The bus ride from Madrid was long and when we left, the landscape was not that beautiful, and the further south we drove, the more epic the landscape turned. Field after open field of hilly olive tree orchards, beautiful mountain ranges that seemed to grow with each hill we passed.
My friend from the Berkshires was waiting for us at the bus station and helped us get a taxi and brought us to his friends place near downtown Granada, I am staying with Christina and her boyfriend in one apartment and Jeremy is staying with this guy names Jonas right across the hall, we both have our own bedrooms and we are totally hooked up.
We had a nice pasta dinner with our hosts and got to know them a bit and joked around all evening with good food and drinks and I passed out and ended up sleeping for 13 hours!!!! I was soooooo tired and Jeremy came and knocked on my door at noon and told me to get my ass out of bed. We chilled and made coffee and breakfast and got our bikes all put together and ready to go. We couldn't wait to hit the road and ride these epic, epic roads around Granada. Marc came and got us and we hit the countryside for a nice 2 hour easy spin. I can't even descride how beautiful the landscape here is. In the backdrop is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, with peaks around 10,000 feet and every other direction you look are beautiful mountains. The roads , once you get out of town are small and wind through olive tree fields, there are people on bicycles everywhere, and after one ride in the countryside I can see why there are so many cyclists. A group of roadies were with us leaving town for the first 30 minutes of our ride, and they didn't speak a word of English. It was pretty awesome.
After our ride, we headed into downtown to meet up with some friends. Barcelona was playing Madrid in a soccer match, so we headed into a local bar for drinks and tapas to watch the game. It was totally crazy, Spanish people LOVE soccer, the whole bar erupted with cheering and screaming when Madrid scored a touchdown :-).
Anyways, I'm being long winded. It's Thursday now and we just got back from an amazing 4 hour ride through the bost beautiful scenery. I am so tired and will write more later!