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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bike Racing Family

Being on a team and surrounded with a community of like-minded people has been a fantastic experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.

For years, I've been training by myself in the Berkshires. For all of January, February, and March I was putting in long base miles by myself. No one out here is crazy enough to spend 3-5 hours a day, participating in a summer sport in 25 degree weather. From having our team camp in March, to meeting up at races, to having an online forum for all of the JAM members to meet up and share training tips, setting up travel plans, and breaking down races, it's been a wonderful experience so far. We've only been racing for a bit over a month now and our fitness is starting to get good.

Brad, Dan, Anthony, Al, Mike, Stephen, Jackson, Mukunda, and Ben are some of the coolest guys out there in the racing scene. We all get along really well and have a ton of fun in the parking lots before and after races.

I have been spending a bunch of time out in the Valley and hanging out with the team. We're not only a team, but a family. We have frequent community dinners at Al's house and talk about racing and riding as well as other passions we have. The biggest thing for me is having things outside of bike racing. I strive for balance in all areas of my life and that means getting off the bike on my easy days or rest days and doing other things. Like spending the day rock-climbing with my awesome girlfriend, jumping in the lake when it's way too cold out, or aimlessly riding around on my motorcycle and writing blogs at cafe's deep in rural NY.

Being in a community of like-minded people that are striving for the same goals has been super inspiring and rewarding. Having guys like Al Donahue, Jeremy Powers, Mukunda Feldman, and Mike Busa as the leadership on the team has been great. They're all super busy, but always willing to listen to whatever it is that's on our minds. I had some fit issues after the Ninigrit criterium and Mike and Al dropped what they were doing and helped me tweak my bike. When it comes to analyzing how we're racing they're great as well. They have been doing this bike racing thing for a long time and know how a race will play out and how to make decisions during a race. This is all stuff I'm still learning, but we have some of the best leadership and mentors out there. I feel like in only a couple short months of racing I have learned more than the 2 years I've been training and racing.

On a side note, this is basically my last week as an undergraduate student! I just finished up writing a few 5 page finals and I had my thesis/degree project bound and it's ready to be handed in, 60 pages later!!!!!!

I will be graduating on May 18th, then going straight into grad school 2 weeks later!!! Craziness.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Hate Ninigret

A fitting title for my most highly loathed bike race in the world. What's the reason I hate this race so much? Is it the the 3 hour drive from the Berkshires on the most despotic highways in the Northeast? Is it the 40 mph, relentless winds that drop kick you in the face after that corner where I always strike my pedal? Is it Ben Wolfe putting everyone in the gutter on every lap whilst expelling a million watts? Or is the fact that I have terrible, stupid legs every time I show up for this race?  I had a terrible race at Ninigret on Saturday. I had just come off a rest week and thought my legs would feel great. I quickly realized they did not. I only lasted about 30 minutes of the race, got dropped, went in the woods, cried, and screamed to the bicycle contest gods. My teammate Stephen Hyde got into the break and finished second behind Luchiano Pavan, Nice W Luch!!!!!

Ok, lets bag that race in the past. Every year I swear I won't race Ninigret and every year I show up, get crushed, and cry for 3 hours on the drive home. Sunday went MUCH better. I actually had my big boy legs on. It was just me and Hyde on Sunday, we showed up ready to be agressive, B, E, agressive.
and agressive we were. From the gun we were trying to get something to go. The problem with a 1,2,3 race is that whenever anyone tries making a move happen, all the 3's go berserk and pull the move back but then won't pull through to make anything stick.
So after this nonsense, something finally went and neither me or Hyde were in it. We knew it was going to stick and we had to be in that move. On the next lap we attacked HARD and made a split from the group and eventually bridged up to the break. With ten laps to go we started attacking the break and making people hurt, it was awesome. I would throw down an attack at the top of the hill and make the group chase me while Hyde sat in, and when they caught me Hyde would attack and I would sit in. We did this a few times and hurt peoples legs a bit. We ended up 8th and 9th which I'm happy with, but we could have played it smarter and finished a bit stronger. I learned a LOT about bicycle contests and had a solid finish in a pro/1/2/3 race, so I'm content with it.

Next week is Quabbin road race and it will be quite painful!

Check out our awesome new matching team shorts!!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tis The Season!

Three weeks ago marked the beginning of racing season here in New England.
I am very stoked to be racing on, as Anthony Clark would say a "legitified" elite racing team.

Three weeks ago we had team camp. We all gathered at the JAM FUND headquarters in Easthampton and had an amazing weekend of racing and training. We began on Friday night with a team director meeting. Jeremy Powers, Mukunda Feldman, and Alec Donahue gave us the skinny about our job as JAM FUND/NCC elite racers.

Saturday early morning we were off to the races. The whole team packed up into 4 cars and headed out into NY state for our first race together. We lined up, the whistle blew and we started. A few attacks happened right from the beginning but nothing got away. There were 40mph winds that were holding off every attack that anyone put in. We raced well and had a couple guys in the top 10.
Next weeks race would pan out much better. The wind held off for a beautiful 50 degree sunny day of racing. Anthony, Stephen, Brad and I were off the front covering moves and chasing down breaks throughout the race. No breaks formed and the race was super fast. We averaged 25mph for over 60 miles of racing. In the last lap my legs felt completely gassed, as everyone else's did, I'm sure. The JAM Fund train set up perfectly into the last 1km of the course. Al and I led a hard surge into the last corner, setting our sprinter, Mike Busa up perfectly for the straight away. Al put in a million watt surge and slingshotted me and Busa around him. Busa then carried his million watt sprint across the finish line in 3rd. My sprint was sub-par and landed me in 11th.

Overall the team is working well together and our first three races of the season have been successful.

We are all looking forward to an amazing season of racing and hope to see you all out there in the NE circuits.

A huge thank you to our amazing sponsors this season.

SRAM components

FOCUS bikes

EASTON wheels

RUDY PROJECT helmets and glasses

VO MAX kits

CLIF nutrition

FIZIK saddles

Northampton Cycling Club

Northeast Solar

Valley Bike

Stony Brook Valley

Tart Bakery

Mystic Artists Film Production