Thursday, November 9, 2017

Catch up

Good Neighbor Meeting House, COS

I don't entirely know where to start with this post. So much has happened between my last post and now. Instead of getting really in depth with everything that has happened I'll just briefly go over the major events.

There has been multiple drafts that I wrote up and deleted right after the accident but realistically I never felt all that great posting about what had happened. After getting back from Europe I was gearing up for our world championship qualifier. I was riding really well and training was going excellent. I did start to develop some back problems after racing in Italy but overall things were manageable and our sports med department did a great job keeping me healthy. Two days before I was supposed to race I was out going for an easy spin down by Colorado College. Going at a good clip down a false flat a car didn't stop coming out of an alley way until they were right in front of me. Unable to slow down in time I smoked the side of there car flipping onto their hood and then rolling off. As I came to a stop I heard the car peel off and they left me on the side of the road a bloody mess. Thankfully nothing was broken just a lot of missing skin and a bit in shock. Picked myself up and brought myself into sports med. I was in no shape to race in two days. I could hardly move and was shell shocked. 

I was gonna go everything that happened with some detail but I really don't have the mental capacity to even attempt that right now. Prepare for what is most likely gonna be a run on sentence, call the grammar police. In chronological order, went home for three weeks saw people I missed and rode a ton, got back kept training got a sinus infection that turned into bronchitis, crashed out of a twilight crit, two days later crashed at the velodrome donating lots of skin to the ground and got another concussion, two days after that I fell in the shower and tore a muscle in my shoulder. After all that chaos I went and did some of the best road and mountain biking I've ever done up in Copper Mountain with Hayley, Isaac, and Garrett. The mountain biking was super painful with how rough shape my shoulder was in. No regrets had too much fun to even care. Came back down and continued to train aimlessly with no real goal in sight. To keep myself motivated I signed up for a MTB race back home that I really started to gun for. Other bike riding occurred and eventually went back home for another three weeks. Hid up north in Crosby hanging out up at the Red Raven Bike Cafe which is the coolest bike shop/coffee shop I've ever seen with some of the raddest MTBing to be had in Cuyuna. Pretended I was still a bike mechanic and did some guest wrenching for Patrick. Bike race day came, felt good, and 20 miles in the bike decided to fall apart underneath me (kinda not really was a freak thing). That killed my aspirations of doing well at that race and resulted in a DNF.

Now I'm back in the good ole Colorado Springs.  Things have been changing here a bit and I would be lying if I didn't say it has really taken a toll on my stress levels. Luckily I have such an amazing support group here. I really don't know where I would be without them.

Time to get back to updating this on more of a regular basis. Anywho here are some photos since the last update.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

Well as we all know I am a bit of a liar on when I will post. It's been more than a day but I think that's a good thing. It has given me more time to reflect on the second half of the trip.

Belgium had a significantly more modern feel with English being extraordinarily more prevalent. This made day to day communication way easier. Our hotel wasn't stuck in the 1960s, not that it was a bad thing but being at a facility that was modern just took a bit of stress off from the trip. Mixed with everything we needed for the week being based out of our hotel there was no need for transportation and everything went very smoothly. Just like the week before all our riding consisted of pre-riding the courses. There wasn't anything overly technical about the TT course. Just an out and back that we had to do multiple laps on. Boring would probably be the best word to describe it. The road race course was at least decently interesting. Not as technical as previous years I've been told not that it was very tricky this year either. There was just a U turn every lap and when we came into town the road narrowed and became a type of pseudo cobble.

The racing went a lot better than it did in Italy. We had my position dialed on my TT bike thanks to the handy work of our rock star mechanics Steve, Peter, and Gianni. The course suited a bigger more powerful rider (not me) considering how flat it was and the need to get up to speed quickly from almost a stand still every turn around. The wind didn't help my case. It was a dead on headwind on the way out and a tail wind on the way back. I just had to look at it as an extended over under work out and hold as high of power as I could into the wind and try and recover when the wind was at my back. I did it to the best of my ability, set a new 20 and 30 min power, and worked my way up the result sheet.

Side note, I did start this blog right after the last entry but managed to get distracted right about here and am continuing on...

Saturday we had the day off from racing so several teammates and I rode from Oostende to Brugge. The ride was beautiful along this tiny little river pretty much all the way along the countryside. Brugge looked as if it was out of a Disney movie. The buildings were amazing, all the roads were cobbled, and simply put I felt like I was in a fairy tale. I had to make up for not having any gelato in Italy so we found a place to have a Belgium Waffle. Fun fact, not the best thing to eat for lunch. There isn't an abundance of nutrition in those.

I like to think I have the ability to be a quick learner and wanted to utilize that ability in the road race on Sunday. Honestly I think I lack of my legs feeling well and my back being wrecked from Italy is the main factor that kept me from doing anything stupid instead of self control. From the gun I just raced defensively, I knew this would be the only way I would be able to manage to stay in the race. The course wasn't as fast as Italy but we managed to go just as fast. Every turn the people on the front would smash the brakes and accelerate hard out of the corners. These efforts are absolutely my weakness but I managed to race smart and stayed mostly towards the front and tried to stay out of the yoyo effect that occurs from this kind of racing. The last lap everyone was jockeying for position. I was surprised a break wasn't established and it wasn't from a lack of effort. Coming into the finish it was hectic and fast, ending in a bunch sprint. I didn't have the power I had in Italy but was very content with my improvement in the results.

Overall this trip was such a great learning experience and I look forward to future opportunities to improve.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chicago O'hare, IL

A couple planes, several countries, and too many hours later I am finally back in the good ole
U S of A. Still have one more flight to go but that will seem like nothing after all the traveling I have done so far. The races were a major learning experience with valuable lessons learned in each race.

Maniago started off with a time trial on Friday. The weather all week had been overcast, gloomy, and wet. Friday was no exception, the drive there was the equivalent of a monsoon and I was not mentally prepared to go race in that. Thankfully once we got to the venue the rain had died down but everything was pretty saturated. The staff did a great job setting up the pit and were very supportive the entire trip. As I was warming up for my race one of the mechanics came up to tell me my bike hadn't passed the jig. Which all that means is there was something about my position that was off. You get one exemption and I always took the saddle one but somehow both were off. For the time being the easiest one to change was my saddle so I would have to make due. I kept falling off the front of my saddle the entire race and could never settle into a position I felt strong in. For the duration my power was still good but not what it should of been. I was frustrated but knew for the given situation I should be happy.

Saturday we had an off day while others were racing. The off days were much needed because it gave us a chance to ride else where and explore instead of just pre riding the course. A small group of us rode the country roads into the base of the mountains and went around a beautiful lake. Riding in a different country is nice but it wasn't until that day I really had the chance to appreciate what Italy had to offer for riding.

Early Sunday was our road race, the weather was shaping up to be rather nice. The sun was out, there wasn't any noticeable wind and it was the warmest it had been all week. Even before the start it was a fight for starting position to the line. Our field was rather large, the course didn't have anything super selective in it except for coming through town it was all cobble stones with a couple turns that I think had people a little worried. The race started and from the gun I raced like an idiot. Without knowing which wheels were strong ones to follow or who to watch out for I managed to follow the first move that went off the front. Then I spent the first 4-5 laps marking almost every move and just dug myself into a major hole until I was just hanging on and missed the moves that ended up going off the road. Even being a couple groups down we still averaged 26mph and I had done some power I had never seen before. I knew these guys were gonna be stronger than me and I should of just sat in and followed wheels and never touched wind. Now I know and think I can go forward with a better game plan I do better.

I'll update on Belgium once I get back to the Springs just to keep this post from running on too much longer.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spilimberg, Italy

I'm shocked I have found enough internet here in this small town to even access the world wide web. The journey over the pond was a long 25 hours with several connecting flights. From what I have heard from back home I have missed a good amount of nasty weather not that it is much better here. Damp and cool has been the theme of the trip thus far. It seems to suit the smaller Italian towns well. The sun has been gracious enough to grace us with its presence on multiple occasions.

Each day we have gone out to preview the courses, they are about a 20 mins drive from our hotel and the drive there is beautiful along the countryside. In general it has been a wonderful trip so far. The staff have been amazing and the crew of athletes are a solid bunch of humans. Thankfully my stress levels have seemed to be relatively under control. One of the first nights I found myself laying in bed and I couldn't relax my shoulders. It took awhile but finally the tension was able to release and I fell asleep. After that all seemed to be well until today I had a little heart palpitation and my anxiety levels have been increasing all day. I've done my best to stay relaxed but realistically I don't think I will be until I can fall asleep.

Tomorrow is the first race of the trip. My legs have been feeling really good each day we have ridden. I think I'll put out some of the best power I ever have but I don't really have any expectations on myself with this being my first international race. The experience will really be the most beneficial part of this trip. Saturday I will have a break and get back to racing on Sunday. The courses share some roads, in particular some cobbled roads.

Internet depending I probably won't update till I get to Belgium, I would like to do an update about the TT and road race. Hopefully my connection is a little better once I am there so I can keep this up to date.

Off to bed,


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

I really should just stop lying to you. I will update this when I update it. I started updating it while I was sitting in a random basement in Grand Junction, Colorado and started having a panic attack and that put a quick end to that plan. It may seem like I talk about that a lot, the anxiety that is but it's no cause for alarm. I am working on it and seeing someone for it. It just helps me to write about it from time to time and really this blog is to help me not you. 

It's the week after nationals and I haven't really taken the chance to go back and reflect on how everything went. For those whom are less informed this past week was road nationals out in Grand Junction, CO. Finally a nationals I was able to drive to! At the same time was collegiate nats so I was able to see some friends from MN and I was able to bum a place to stay from a couple friends who are on the Colorado College cycling team. 

I got out there on Tuesday to pick up my buddy Sam from the airport and we stayed the next two nights in a random basement. This seems to be the theme to many of my trips....basements. While we were together we spent most of our time pre riding the TT course. The weather was just awful, cold, and windy. We both were glad we spent our time getting a feel for that course. It wasn't overly technical but knowing the profile was very helpful. His parents came into town and he went to stay with them. The next several nights I was fortunate enough to bum a place off some new friends. Yes that's right I have managed to make some friends off the OTC while being out here. Friday was the time trial, which for us is the most important race as far as being selected for World Cup events. Thankfully my start time was a little later in the day. The weather never really warmed up tho and the wind was something brutal. This was the first time I had ever wore leg warmers in a TT. I knew pacing was going to be key to a good performance. Five km's out I was starting to fade heavily and 3km to the finish was a 10% kicker that was gonna be a spot that could put the nail in the coffin for those trying to win. Coming across the line I was convinced I was 2nd, I thought for sure Cody had beaten me and I was whimpering in pain from the effort I just put out. I came back to the start finish to a crowd of people congratulating me on my win. I don't know if I was just out of it mentally and it wasn't registering with me what was going on or if I still had myself convinced I had lost. Partially it was a little bit of both and I didn't want to accept the result until I actually had the stars and strips jersey on whilst on the top step of the podium. It still hasn't entirely sunk in and I don't know if it ever will. I have a hard time accepting and giving myself credit when I accomplish something. 

The other races went well and I managed a good result in the road race. Cody who got second and I went off the front from the gun and managed a 2 man break. He made a really smart move and got away from me and I was able to hold off the chase group for second. I really wanted that win but gotta give credit when credit is due and he did a great job that day and is a deserving winner. Someone who I am really happy for is one of the people from CC that I was staying with. Two weeks ago she was in a really bad crash that sent her to the hospital. Seeing how quickly she has recovered from such an awful crash and then manages to get on the podium in the road race I think is absolutely phenomenal. I am more happy for her result than my own especially considering the circumstances she was under.

Overall the trip went really well. I'm happy I got to see familiar faces from back home and stay with some really fun people. I did have my own mental battles I had to deal with. I had this overall sense of stress lingering and felt like I was on the verge of loosing control the entire time. The nights between all the races was really bad. It kept me up for what felt like hours. When my anxiety is really bad I get hypnic jerks which happen when I start to fall asleep and it does a great job adding to the anxiety and keeps me up for a while. 

Now that that is out of the way let's get onto some more exciting news! So I am leaving this upcoming Sunday to go spend two weeks in Europe pretending to race bikes. The first week will be in Italy and the second will be in Belgium. I will be there racing the first two world cup events which I am super excited for. I will make sure to actually update the blog plenty while I am over there to keep everyone in the know and more importantly so I can reflect on it once I am elderly.

As always I really wanna give a shot out to my family back at Revolution Cycle and Ski, you guys are the best and I can't wait to come back and harass all of you. Also Timmer at HED thanks for all the support you have given me throughout the years. I am a firm believer that HED makes the best product out there and I wouldn't wanna ride anything else even if it was given to me. The confidence those wheels gave me this weekend was just what I needed.

Individual Time Trial Podium

 Big thanks to Simon, it's only been a short time but I am excited to see
 future results working with him

Dog I found

Off the front in the Crit

Hardware from the weekend

Mittlestadt vs Middlestaedt

Sam and I not amused by our one bed basement

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

Well updating this is going downhill really quickly. It's not like I am even that busy but more so just wrecked from training at night and don't have the energy to think clearly enough to process my thoughts and type them out. Which is kind of funny that I am updating this now because I just got done with one of the hardest weeks of training. I could easily do this tomorrow on my recovery day where I am mentally fresher but what fun would that be?

Well that first paragraph was when I started updating this about a week and a half ago and ended up passing out. Now that it's been three weeks I don't think I can properly condense all that has happened into a format that will make it interesting to read without typing half a book. So maybe I will just touch on some things that have been going on in my head and see how that goes.

First I do wanna touch on training. For the most part it has been going really well. Working with Simon is very confidence inspiring and he is very adaptable to what needs I have. The past couple weeks the load has increased I felt pretty significantly and I started to notice a decrease in performance and mental clarity. We took a couple days easy and jumped back on track this Tuesday. The first day back after a little recovery always seems to be a little difficult for me. It didn't help that yesterday I spent two sessions on the track mixed with a lifting session in between. It was a pretty big wake up for the legs. It didn't help that I raced the Tuesday night racing at the velodrome last night. I was expecting to jump into the B race due to it being really my first experience doing able bodied track racing let alone just track racing in general. No, that was not meant to be. Simon graciously signed me up to do the A race where I managed to get my teeth kicked in. Realistically I am glad he did that. It was better training and really helped me learn how to race on the track very quickly.

After that my night didn't go so hot. I couldn't fall asleep and was having a lot of anxiety. It had been pretty bad throughout the day and even today was always lingering. Laying in bed last night it drove me to the point of wanting to start to take medication for it. I have always been against medicating but it's to the point where it is really impacting everyday life and my ability to function. I can feel all the tension in my muscles and it is hard to just relax and calm down. In my head I have this idea that something is wrong physically even though I know it's all in my head. Last night pushed me over the edge and I am starting to look into what my options are.

Why don't we end this on more of a happy note. I brought my mountain bike out here with the intention of getting some good riding in on it out here every once in a while. Fortunately/unfortunately there is so many trails out here I didn't know which trails to go to let alone where to go once I got there. Nothing seems to be very marked and unless you have a tour guide you seem to be S O L. Thankfully Mike Durner took me and another resident athlete out. All I can say is WOW! The trails were amazing and didn't seem to end. I can't wait to get more miles out there this summer and explore more. The views were amazing and it just reminded me how grateful I am to be here with this opportunity.

I promise I will really try to update this more often just to keep it a little shorter and more detailed. Hopefully more interesting as well.

Mandy says hi, no, not that Mandy..... and LOL means something else now.

Almost forgot to thank Timmer at HED for getting these wheels out so quickly. Best company ever and seriously have the best customer support. 11 out of 10 would recommend!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO

Wow, either I am really bad at tracking how many days it has been since I updated this or time keeps going by quicker as I get older. It's mildly ironic I say as I get older, today in the recovery center I was told I look 15. Jokes on them, when I am 40 I will still look 30. I think I get that from my mom. She looks really young for her age and I must get that too. The lack of facial hair probably doesn't help my case.

I am trying to figure out where to start this post at. I don't really remember where I left off. Let's start with the anxiety. I don't remember if I said I had an impromptu meeting with the psychologist. Before she left to be with the cycling team to go to the World Championships she offered to meet with me on a Sunday night at the training center to help address the problems I had been having. The fact she went above and beyond to help me out on such a short notice and on a weekend night meant a lot. We went over some things and have another meeting tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well, I have been doing a lot of thinking and have some things I want to address. Once it is out of the way I will feel a lot better.

Training has been going very well, the weather the previous week was less than ideal and we were forced inside a couple days and I ventured out on some chillier days to escape the OTC. One day I gave myself a little treat, I had been out riding and it was colder than I would of like and the motivation was low. I knew of a coffee shop down by Cheyenne Canyon and wanted to visit it. I told myself if I kept riding I could head over there and get a cup of coffee and a brownie. It doesn't really sound that exciting but at the time it was such perfect pick me up for the overcast day.

This weekend mark the start of road season here in Colorado. I ventured up to Fort Collins for a time trial and then on Sunday I jumped into my first crit of the year in Denver. Up till the day I left to go race I had already been regretting my decision to go race. I don't know why I get that way but I always seem to do that in the beginning of the year. Now that the weekend is over I have reflected on the experience, mistakes, and what I have learn and am content with the outcome. There were plenty of foolish mistakes that were had in the TT. From rushing my warm up, starting in too easy of a gear, and going out way to hot these are things easily remedied and next time I hope for a much better result. Not to say I did bad, I managed 2nd in the CAT 2s and am very happy with my set up. Saturday was the first time of the year putting on my race wheels. A HED Jet 6 front and a Jet Disc rear was my weapons of choice for the day. By the time I went off the wind had picked up and those wheels felt stable and fast. I couldn't be happier with the set up. I really need to thank Tim Mulrooney at HED cycling for always helping me out. He has done more than he needs to and I am in debt to him. Besides being happy with the equipment I was happy with my personal performance, the power is really coming along nicely and by the time it's nationals I think I will be going the fastest I have ever gone.

Sunday was crit day and I was ungodly nervous. I had already been second guessing myself and questioning how much faster the 1/2s were in Colorado than back home. It got even worse once I saw the handful of pros that showed up. I went from not wanting to get dropped to not wanting to get dropped in the first 5 minutes. Against better judgement I still lined up. The course was one of the more technical I have ever done. It was a little bit longer course with fast turns through roundabouts and hairpin turns out of them. The pavement made you second guess you were on a road bike in places and brought the idea that a mountain bike would of been a better choice. Once the race took off I just went into race mode and I did what I had to do. To say it was a confidence booster would be an understatement. On paper I didn't put up a result but the fact I was able to be playful, go with a couple moves, out handle most of the other racers in the corners, and still be there in the end really was a personal win and I can take that into the next race.

Looking forward to getting back to training these upcoming weeks. Today my Garmin battery died and I wasn't able to see the power I was putting out. Luckily Anthony joined us and him and I were able to stomp up Gold Camp next to each other and really made the most of the workout. It was a little colder but the rest of the week should be nice and warm here.

One thing I wanted to add before I wrap this up, I am super excited for my friend Chris Murphy. He is the guy I traveled to LA with. Yesterday he just got back from the 2017 Track Cycling World Championships and he took home the Rainbow Strips in both the 1k TT and in the Team Sprint. Those titles couldn't go to a more deserving guy and I am really happy for him. He has put in more work than anyone I have ever seen and I am excited to train with him this summer and to see how well he does.

Hopefully I update sooner next time so these aren't chapters in a book each time I post. Off to bed soon.