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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!!!!