Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Back

Winning by a bikethrow in the Masters 1/2/3 Summit Crit

My training and racing has been taking a back seat this year to allow me to focus more on supporting Jordan. By the time we got back from Junior Nationals, I was feeling pretty unmotivated. Poor performances at the Fairgrounds Crit, and Northfield had me ready to throw in the towel.

Then Carla helped me realize that I need to get back to my normal training volume. It started with riding home from the Northfield Crit to Hudson.

I sandbagged the Synergy TT, opting for the 20K instead of facing the fasties in the 40K. I won the Men's open division, and finished a mere 7 seconds faster than Jordan. Confidence building...

I had much better legs in the Hopkins Crit, getting in a short lived break with Chris Smith, winning a prime, and helping reel in a late solo break by Brian Koeneman. Feeling even better...

Then came my first Dakota Tech Crit since 2004. In the Masters 1/2/3 race, I stayed up front, to cover moves. After covering a few, I jumped on one initiated by Jason Snider and Charlie Townsend. I was so gassed covering them, that I just sat on for a lap before being able to pull through. Brent Binkowski bridged across the gap to make us 4 strong. Our gap was tenuous, with Charlie and Jason driving the break. Brent was pitching in too, and I pulled through as best I could. I was absolutely on the rivet for the entire time.

I knew my teammates were behind protecting the break, so getting dropped back to the pack was NOT an option. The laps ticked by, and with 2 to go, it looked like we would stay away. Snider attacked half way through the penultimate lap. Townsend was ready, but myself and Binkowski had to work to get back on. As we maneuvered for position on the last lap, the field was quickly closing in.

Eventually, Brent lead us into the 180 on the far side of the course, where Sinde, Townsend, and I jumped around on the outside. A small chase group, just in front of the field, caught us exiting the corner. I looked back to see Scott Flanders on my wheel, so I jumped, figuring he'd be on my wheel for the finish. I dug hard from about 300m out, seeing his shadow just behind. With 150m to go, I look back to see it isn't Scott, but Townsend who has my wheel.

At first I figure I've blown it, but I'm not going to give up when I'm this close. I dig as deep as I can remember to resume my sprint. Charlie draws along side me in the final straight, but I won't give up. I'm always telling Jordan never stop sprinting until you cross that line. I dug all the way to the line, and thought I had it, but it was too close to call. The photo above shows I prevailed by a very narrow margin. My first non TT victory since the 2009 MN State Crit. I was thrilled, and surprised, to say the least.

I was so wasted after the finish, I nearly blacked out. It took me a full cool down lap to catch my breath. I tried starting the Cat 1/2/3 race which immediately followed, but my legs were toast. By the time I finished the first lap, the field was almost done with 2.

I plan to formally celebrate my victory by joining my Flanders teammates in a 200mile ride up to Duluth tomorrow. The furthest I have previously ridden in one day is 140mi. It will be enjoyable and epic...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Junior 15/16 European Race Camp

One of Jordan's biggest goals for this season was to qualify for the USA Cycling Junior 15/16 European Race Camp. Only 6 riders are selected to go to Belgium for 3 weeks of racing in August. Selection is based on performance at national level events, and testing results from the USA Cycling Development Camps. The competition for this camp is very tough, and Jordan is on the younger side of the group.

Jordan found out yesterday, that he is an alternate for the camp. While he is understandably disappointed, he knows he has another opportunity to go next year. There is also a slim chance he may still go, if a spot opens up. The trip is not cheap, at $4200 all in.

Instead, Jordan will apply to attend the regional USA Cycling Development Camp in Lacrosse, WI, held the 1st week in August.

Congratulations to the 6 riders who were selected for the Camp (4 or which are past or current Junior National Champions):
Michael Dessau - 2009 Junior 13/14 National Road Race & Time Trial Champion
Dean Haas
Colin Joyce - 2010 Junior 15/16 National Time Trial Champion
Jonathon Schilling - 2009 Junior 13/14 National Criterium Champion
Marcus Smith
Erik Volotzky - 2010 Junior 15/16 National Criterium Champion

Nationals Trip Recap

Our trip out west to US Road Nationals was every bit as fun as last year. This year, Dave Hackworthy joined us for the drive. We also flew Carla, Maren, and boyfriend Charlie out to meet us in Bend.

We rented the same house we stayed in for Cross Nationals last December with Planet Bike. We shared the house with Kaitie Antonneau's family and Sarah Huang's family. There were a total of 15 of us! Surprisingly it wasn't that cramped, and we all had a great time sharing in the fun together.

On the way out, Jordan and Dave got to ride in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, SD. The terrain and scenery was incredible!

Both Jordan and Dave did the Elkhorn Classic Stage Race in Baker City, OR. Jordan finished 9th in the RR, and 2nd in the TT for the Cat 3's. Dave finished 12th in the Cat 1/2 TT.

The weather in Bend was amazing! Sunny every day, light winds, a little hot late in the week, but nothing like last year. Bend is such a cool place, Old Mill, Dechutes River, Tumulo Falls, Downtown, etc. The snow capped mountains to the West drew our attention all week.

A huge congrats to all the success of the 5 racers who stayed in our house:

Skylar Schneider (Travelling with the Huang's - Samantha Schneider's (Team Tibco) sister)
National Champion - Junior Women 10-12 Road Race
National Champion - Junior Women 10-12 Criterium
4th Place - Junior Women 10-12 Time Trial

Sarah Huang
5th Place - Junior Women 15-16 Road Race
7th Place - Junior Women 15-16 Criterium
11th Place - Junior Women 15-16 Time Trial

Kaitie Antonneau
2nd Place - Junior Women 17-18 Road Race
5th Place - Junior Women 17-18 Criterium
5th Place - Junior Women 17-18 Time Trial

Jordan Cullen
4th Place - Junior Men 15-16 Time Trial

Dave Hackworthy
19th Place - U23 Men Time Trial

Already looking forward to next year.