Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's Been Awhile . . .

These last few weeks have been busy, all over the place, to say the least. Race after race. New Jersey to Pennsylvania to West Virginia to New York and Maryland. It's all still such a blur for me. I really haven't gotten the chance to take it all in yet. It's insane how much has happened in the last 7 months for me with cycling.

I should probably recap the last few races I've had and mention my recent upgrade to the 3's. After Ronde Van Mullica I got my upgrade and went on to race my first Cat3 at Battenkill the next week. That was a good result (21st overall/243 Cat3's). I must say, hands down, that race was the hardest thing I've ever done on the bike, but I loved it.

This weekend I manned up and Reg'd for two double-ups for today and yesterday. I did the Pro 1/2/3 race yesterday at the Chantilly RGS Title Crit with some horrendous conditions. I was happy and rather surprised with the outcome here. I place a respectful 14th with the 1/2's in a tough field sprint. The intention was to do the 3 race later that day to attempt some upgrade points but the 3 race was cancelled due to severe thunder and tornado warnings.

Today's beautiful race in Columbia, MD started off with the 3/4 race. After leading my teammate Jose Nunez, out for the win, I managed a 2nd place finish and my first 4 points towards my Cat2 upgrade. I participated in the Pro 1/2/3 race an hour later as well, partially. 5 laps in and my shifting went. I stopped to fix it, which was mostly successful but there was no way I was catching back onto that group. And because this was not a crit, jumping in was not allowed. So, I had to suck it up and head back to the car. Regardless, I still managed to add another shade onto my tan line.

The next month will be filled with me hectically racing everything I can, trying to gather 25 points for my Cat2 upgrade which I need before the U23 Elite U.S. Nationals in June.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ronde Van Mullica: The "Bounce Back"

Ronde Van Mullica Road Race @ Garmin Connect

I want to talk about being able to "bounce back" in cycling or any competitive sport. This weekend was filled with many mixed feelings. On Saturday I participated in the salisbury Cat3/4 Road Race in Gap, PA. The field was crushed by constant attacks which I made myself a part of every time. The field sprint was a total crap shoot, winning this race was all about positioning. Unfortunately, this is where I faltered. I got stuck in the 40 man pack sprinting it out in the last 200 meters and there was no possible way of moving up. I had plenty of energy for that sprint and I am quite disappointed that I wasn't in a better position to let it out.

Thanks to Bike Line for holding the Salisbury Road Race this Saturday.

I'm beginning to learn that a major part of cycling is being able to "bounce back" after a disappointing finish. This weekend I had a disappointing loss in PA, but then stepped up the next day to win what I think was the hardest finish I have ever had. The same thing happened to me last weekend when I lost Black Hills and came back the next day to win in Richmond. It comes down to how well you can recover, mentally. You've got to teach yourself how to put the past out of your head and focus on the present and the future. In my opinion this is much more important than how strong or talented you are at your sport. If you can't do will not succeed.

This is an example of just how flat these roads were in Elwood, NJ.

The second race of the weekend was Ronde Van Mullica in Elwood, NJ. We woke at 5am to get breakfast and head out for the race which started at 7:55. I put yesterday behind me and focused on the 40 mile flat road race. There were 65 guys here that all wanted the win just as badly as I did. I'm 100% confident to say that this was absolutely the hardest race I have ever done, simply because of the finish. 600 meters left and we were hitting over 30mph on the flat straight towards the finish line. This wasn't even our sprint, no, that started 400 meters out. I was up front the whole time, taking a lot of wind, but it was the only thing I could do to put myself in the right position to win outside of the 60 man pack.

It was the most satisfying finish I have ever had and I couldn't be happier with the result. Oh and by the way...HELLO CAT 3!!!