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