Sunday, June 28, 2009

Audrey's First Singletrack

Introduced Audrey to singletrack one night last week. Then we did some fun slight downhills with root filled drop-offs. Attack position, arms bent and no brakes to carry momentum down or up and over roots and a "Whoo Hoooo" from her everytime she cleared a section. She even started to say "That wasnt that big of a drop dad."

She gets totally bugged out by the single track anywhere near a ledge and I dont blame her!! They probably look like a big gorge drop-off to her. I dont want to scare her, but open her eyes to new experiences and if her young brain can make those precious synapse connections so riding technical stuff later in her life maybe comes a bit easier, then great too. I know I wish I could ride offroad with more confidence and not be such a struggle.

We also walked a good section of very technical trails,up and down steep narrow paths and took some time to look for tadpoles and fish in the brook and I hopped logs on my cyclocross bike. I showed her how to walk her bike while using the brakes to help her maintain control down steep sections. We tried to avoid poison ivy. Hope we were successful on that one.

She was understandably concerned when I showed her the crazy descents I do when I ride these trails and happy when I showed her the ones I was WAY too scared to even try (though secretly I am hoping to master them this fall).

It was a great afternoon. She rode/hiked almost 8 miles. Way to go Audge Podge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

sheez, why bother.....

That is the exact "little voice" that keeps ringing in my head as I think about Time trialing and that I squash within milliseconds of hearing it. Its not that I didnt have a great TT at Groveport and States. I went fast both days, just not fast enough...please read on.

Its a very complicated thing. On the one hand I have a month shy of 3 years of riding a bike (after a long time not riding) and I am going faster than I ever imagined I could go. 3 years ago my goal to my new coach was to not get dropped on the Tuesday and Thursday Square Wheels club rides (I was getting dropped at first)and try and see if I could break an hour in the 40k TT. So why do I let negative thoughts enter my head?

Heck, I guess its because its hard to imagine making the leap in power, drag, pacing?? required to go a minute and a half faster or more to compete with Paul, Matt, Brian, John Card, etc. So is it worth all of this specific training and stupidly expensive TT equipment? Luckily for me I am normally a very positive person, which by itself is just amazing (but thats a long story too).

So I have spun this around in two major ways in my crazy brain. First of all I am taking the somewhat patient approach. I am not saying I cannot make the power to move up another minute or so with another couple years of hard work and I am willing to keep working. And another positive twist is I have sort of made the decision that I am not spending money on new wheels or a carbon TT frame till I take care of the power and drag (fit). And saving money these days is so important (more lacking the urge to spend money by justifying time gains with cash).

At States I changed my position on the bike WHILE racing and its faster for sure. That was very cool. On the one hand its lower drag, but on the other I cannot ride straight to save my life, but that will go away with practice. I am not swerving 3 or 4', but any thing but smooth and straight as an arrow is drag on the tires. This is a game of details. I also tried a team mates bike that fit like a glove, but uses a different (and still UCI legal) position and it feels like it could work for me.

So this testing and what I call using myself as my own personal human test dummy also adds to the love of time trialing. And yes, I did try new things during the biggest TT race fr me this season. All this will decrease my time deficit to Ohio's best time trialers. I know I am leaving something on the table and I suppose always will. Thats motivation to me to get everything right. I also chnaged my warm-up and That made me feel really ready when I took off down the start ramp.

At States I averaged 27.7mph for 19.1 miles (what some of us think is the correct distance). It was actually fun in a sick way to hammer into the wind and up the rollers and flase flats on the way home. It was so competitive this year that even with that average speed I was 9th overall (about 6th in our State). 3 fast time trialers out of Indiana were ahead of me. And the top 5 were all within 21 seconds.

If your taking this as sour grapes, then your getting my very hard to describe point wrong and I dont blame you. I am happy on so many levels, but I am a competitor. I want to podium at States and Nationals simply because its so painful and requires so much work to achieve. Some are just happy doing their best. If thats the only barometer that I gauge my performance by then I am 100% happy with Groveport and States. I gave it my all and went fast. I just didnt go Furious Fast!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tour of Ohio Updates

Dan Quinlan takes the yellow jersey!!

Read updates on Shawn Adam's blog.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

8 Intervals

The worst thing about 8 intervals is thinking about doing 8 intervals. The best thing about 8 intervals is when you do 9 and your still killing it, but holding back for the State TT in three days!!

Bicyclist Harassment Ordinance Passed

OHio so needs this Bicyclist Harassment Ordinance. Wait, the entire world needs this law to be passed.

also, got passed twice in blind corners on two lane roads today with the drivers squeezing ME just in case a car was coming the other way. What do you want to guess this very day they bitch about someone doing something thoughtless to them?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Keep abreast of Richard Waugh from our areas as his team tackles RAAM in a few days.
Best of luck and a everlasting tailwind for The Reaching Heights team.

Monday, June 15, 2009

State Road Race - Sufferfest extroidinare

It really didnt seem that hot or humid on Sunday. or maybe its all the cool weather weve had for racing this year. Heck last month we started a race in the rain and 40 deg temps. So I actually thought it was a gorgeous day to head out for the 83 mile State Road Race Championship at Ceasars Creek (Waynesville, Ohio). We had our whole Cat.1,2 team in our new livery so that was sweet.

I slept a lot of Saturday so I didnt get a ride in. So I got a nice 40 minute easy warm up and the race started as we expected sedate untill Matt attacked or countered. A few other moves went and a guy I am behind sits up!! I go around to see a big gap and have to drill it to close it. One thing about cat1,2, races they might not always have the highest ave speed (though they often do too), but when its fast, its really fast.

Then the first time to the wild and fun descent. For me it was sight unseen, but some others new it and drilled it. This was also my first time racing with carbon hoops and carbon brake pads in a road race so I took it easy and when we hit the bottom of fast 45mph descent the front groupo was drilling it leaving 3/4 of the field chasing hard for what seemed WAY too long.

As usual Brian was very active as was Dan and Matt opening up opportunities for the rest of us to catch on to fast moving trains. But the first real move came from Tris who attacked past the feedzone up the hill and got away with a couple others. I am a bit sketchy, but Kirk Albers, Dan Quinlan and Brian from Carbon Racing bridged up and the break was established.

On the third lap of 8 10.4 mile loops we were grouppo compacto so at the top of the feedzone I finally felt alright (I was really hurting the first 30 miles anytime anyone lit the afterburners). I rolled off after Brian opened up a few attacks to tire everyone out. At first I hovered about 20 seconds up the road and the field was content to let me hang there. But the field slowed dramatically and then I kept hammering along pretending I was in a 50 mile TT!

Eventually I was so far ahead that I could not see the field even looking back across the fields after making a 90 degree turn. I felt really comfortable and was hoping when I got caught that please, please, please don't let it be by the entire pack. I knew staying away wasnt an option with some of the riders whom I knew were in the race and the length of it too.

I had a scare when coming down the descent I got held up by a driver who was driving so slowly and nearly stopped for the turn even though the marshalls were yelling, I was screaming bloody murder to keep going and the lead car was honking. Some people have the mental capacity of a chunk of rock I got to tell you. or maybe we all scared the piss out of the guy. I didnt dare pass, one because it was too narrow and two I was afraid of being DQ'd. But I lost some time there for sure.

After 20 miles solo I finally saw some guys coming up fast and they caught me right at the top of the feedzone. I made a HUGE mistake and didnt take a bottle from Erin thinking I had a full bottle on my frame. Turns out it was half full and the previous lap my right leg let me know in no uncertain terms that it was cramping solid up the climb. I got 4 good laps where I felt like I could have attacked the field up the climb, but sadly I had 4 miserable laps up the climb too.

The group was now John from Huntington (Two John's Podcast), Kirk Albers and Greg Strock of Texas Roadhouse, Matt Weeks and Dan from Carbon and Josh Halvex of National Engineering.

I can tell you I got dropped a few times and clawed my way back each time. Matt and Kirk and Greg were pulling so hard that it was hard to stay on just in the paceline. Unlike some rotating pacelines where you could remain shaded in the draft, guys were taking longer pulls so fading back you were face to the wind. It was brutal. In fact the entire end of the race was brutal.

This wasnt just your usual pain from the effort. I was in pain all over. Back, muscles, mental tiredness and fighting the urge to quit was foremost in my mind and the cramping up the climb-boy did that hurt. I was lucky to hang on up the climb 2 more times and even got dropped on lap 6, but accelerated over the top and caught back on again. But on lap 7 I cramped so hard at the bottom that I was barely moving forward and I was too tired to chase back on at the top. I tried really hard for a bit on the rollers, but it was not to be. Thats a sick feeling. Watching the break go. But we had Dan and Matt in there and they looked strong.

And since I didnt have a bottle on lap 6 and 7 I was probably (definitely) dehydrating. I watched as the break motored away slowly up the false flat and down the finish straight and then I kept looking back and didnt see anyone. And although we got gaps in the field for the breaks (from the moto and fans on the road) We didnt get too many in the breaks till the end when Andys Burns came up (thanks Andys).

I kept telling myself to keep going as fast as I could maintain and recover and spin the legs out before the climb after the right hand turn. Hopefully I'd have the gap still to crawl p the climb one last time. It wasnt till I started all of the s-turns before the hill that I saw the familiar Grey helmet and our colors of Brian Batke coming up with Jeff Braumberger of Inferno. And it didnt look like anyone was behind them. Brian and Jeff came by and said I should just sit on and I had one word to say to them. "CANT".

So once again quitting or sitting up was not an option because I had such a damn big gap. I was previous to being caught racing for 7th and now 9th. I felt it was worth fighting for. We had 4 Carbon guys racing in the top 10 in break aways. And as expected I was in severe pain up the climb and like every lap the cramps ended just as the road leveled out and turned left. Back in the big chain ring and kept pressure on the pdals as best as i could.

When I was going up the false flat I finally saw what remained of the group coming out of the corner. Andys rode up and said 15 to 17 seconds and faded back. I made the corner for the final stretch and knew I only had that short, fast stretch to the line. I went pretty hard and the group got closer. I went a bit harder and with 200m to go I knew I had it. I crossed the line in 9th and not a second after going past the line the field sprinters flew by on each side.

Quite possibly the most miserable Ive ever been racing a bike. I started off feleling sluggish in attacks and after 6 laps I wanted to pull into the parking lot so many times. I was passing riders from other fields all race long and I must say thanks to all who yelled out some encouragement. It really helped me keep going.

Sadly we didnt take a podium, but we did race aggressive and did put 4 of our guys in the top 10!! Sam got 2nd in the Women's race as well. I think I learned about how deep I can go mentally and physically too. And its not a pretty place that deep into your psyche. One more State Championship on Sunday then i think I need a little break. But boy am I pumped up for the State TT now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the News!!

We were on the wkbn Mahoning news with great racing clips from Chris Anthony (who also shot other cycling videos on the Carbon Racing Website

Please watch Sam say "Furious Fast" in this news clip!!

Tour of the Valley Press Conference

A quick note about the Press Conference held only feet from the last corner of Sunday's Finale Criterium Course. The energy coming from everyone in Mahoning Valley government and local businesses and the Quinlan's was infectious and I am so very hopeful that this race will grow bigger and bigger each year.

But what a start!! I got to speak about Time trial bikes and no I didnt bore everyone to sleep. It will come as no surprise I like speaking in front of a group.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Groveport Grand Prix 2009

The State TT course from the last two years is now a stand alone event with a Merckx class and 2-man (or man and woman or women). Turnout looked quite good to me and the weather was to put it lightly -perfect.

Maybe I'll write more, but I just wanted to say I did some experimenting with pacing and I think I did a bit better job than the last two years on this course. Although I only improved slightly in the first 11 miles, I believe that it allowed me to carry a lot more speed in the last 12 miles. I averaged 29mph for the last 12 miles.

Just like last year that was a blast and sure makes the torture of a 38km TT race a lot more bearable. But the confidence from some hard cat1,2 racing this spring and tough TT workouts designed by Sean Gilbert really made the difference. I knew I could hammer hard into the wind and rollers Sunday.

But the headwinds remain my Achilles heal. I just dont put out enough raw power to hold any more speed right now. A little more aero work and more training (of course)and maybe I can bump it up a bit more. But its the same for everyone. No one feels like they are laying it down after making the first right hander on this course.

Then as if one long TT isnt enough I partnered with Brian Batke for a 2-man TT. We hammered it out and came in 3rd. I have finally done enough long TT's that they dont seem to go on forever (all at Groveport btw). I feel like I know how to pace the whole event rather than feeling like the end seems hours of pain away. I mean it feels like the race is now more compact and I can see it in shorter increments. The next mile, hill, corner, downhill come and go so quickly.

Great pics of all of us here including two man team pics.

In the single TT I ended up with 5th overall behind Paul Martin, Matt Weeks, Andrew Clark and Brian Batke. I turned in a personal best of 51:22 at 27.6mph ave speed!! I am very happy with that. Hopefully I can go just a tick faster at States in two weeks. Two 38k TT's in less than 2.5 hours ought to be some good training!! Matt and Paul nailed 49 minute runs. Way to go guys. Its hard to imagine going that fast for me, but at the same time I am only 1:32 away.

Monday, June 1, 2009

One Small Step

It seems forever ago that I was riding on the roads after a cyclorcross race when I was verbally and physically assaulted by a motorist. Luckily for me there were witnesses and Matt Weeks instructed me as my impromptu attorney. We called the police and made a report. I followed through as did Matt. Thank you so much Matt.

I wont go into the many extroidinary details about the driver I discovered in the process, but suffice it so say that it was not his first, 2nd, 3rd or possibly even his 4th rub with the local law. One other side note was the officer in charge of my case truly fought for this conviction.

The driver was convicted of an assault charge, but was given Diversion meaning I THINK that if he does things like anger management classes he may get a reduced sentence? Again, I dont know and I honestly think the anger management is what a lot of humans need, but him for certain. And I mean a LOT!!

Since i am not divulging a lot of details why am I even talking about this? Well a rider familiar with his make and color of his vintage car and location he lives in had a much different experience with him over the weekend.

He waited patiently in his driveway for him to pass on his bicycle and when he came to overtake he moved to the other side of the road and passed him without an issue. I have had many near misses that I wish I had gone straight to the police station or pulled over and called the police, but I easily dismissed them due to thinking of what a waste of time it would be for me and facing the usual anti bicycle bias.

But I hope my story and my taking action for once shows that it is worth your time. And not for getting EVEN or REVENGE. But because there are very dangerous people out there with serious anger management issues or just plain old lack of morals and maturity. And it doesnt matter if the guy or gal is driving a rusty beater in Rocky River or a $150,000 Mercedes in Chagrin Falls. They are out there and they are one thin, taughtly strung thread away from snapping and hitting you with their car or jumping out of their car and assaulting you.

But I hope my friends experience with this driver shows that it is worth the time to make that police report and follow through. I can tell you I never had to face this driver after the incident and I believe he has no idea who I am. Anonimity in my case was very important to protect my family. So its one small step for cyclists, but I hope an even bigger step for the driver.

Sam at Snake Alley

Originally uploaded by iowapix
A quick pic from the Snake alley Race. I hope to do this race some day.