Sunday, June 29, 2008

Last Race in VA. Field Sprint

Today was the Reston Town Center GP, a MABRA and VAcycling points event with something like 73 guys starting the 3 race. I honestly haven't been riding that much except for Tuesday night's great bridge worlds and a couple hours just outside chillin. Plus I have a love/hate with reston. I won last year's 4 race via a 14 lap solo counter of a preme that stuck. That was cool. But I specifically remember seeing guys drive their bikes into the curb on the very fast two lanes to a single lane downhill left hander that has eaten many bikes and given many ambulance rides.

Its funny how that kind of mental picture stays with you. Thats the hate part of reston. I am terrified of the course. If one person does something stupid into that corner, its bad news for the 35 guys behind him. Keeping this in mind, I went right from the gun. I took a guy with me for about 2 laps then he drifted back. The gentleman below (excuse me for not knowing all the MD guys) bridged across and we put in a good effort. However, guys like Bryan Vaughan weren't having any breakaways stick. Thats a good and bad thing. I would much rather have been in a group of 5 guys up the road. But if I was gassed, it was nice to know others were motivated to reel everything in. I like Bryan because I think he's bigger than me. He's definitely taller and races somewhat like I do. But most of the time when I am out of town, I am a lone teammate and that gives me freedom to do what I want. I like that when I am strong. I guess my legs are good lately.

First attempt to get away.

The 3 race had some decent premes. I wasnt hunting for any. Specifically, I was interested in countering hoping to draw out some of the stronger guys willing to work. I went after the 1st preme and spent another 3 laps by myself.

After getting caught, I rested in the back enjoying the draft. Of course, some more premes made me think that if it were going to be a field sprint, I had to come away with something. I got second in a preme that paid two deep and easily took the 3rd preme by myself.

The race starts to get interesting here. Those who have raced Reston see this kind of thing all the time. A guy takes a flyer with 3 laps to go. He got 100yds and looked pretty good by himself. But he ends up gassed and just couldn't hold it. I was 6th wheel going into the bell lap. BIke Doctor looked good leading the train but wasnt interested in pulling down the back stretch. At this point, I was thinking two things. First, I didnt want to crash and I was terrified of the back downhill sweeping left hand turn. Second, if I went this early, I would likely be caught. However, because most people think I am crazy for being off the front so much and being pulled back, they might just give me some room. So I went to the front and put in some hard pedal strokes into the couple turns before hell corner. I took a peek over my shoulder and it was working. THe field was single file stretched out. At this point, I was happy to let my 199lbs of momentum carry me up the backside stretch after hell corner. Smaller guys do not enjoy this advantage. I rode high tempo for another 200 yds and 2 turns. I was 1st coming out of the last turn and just put my head down. I was only able to manage 34mph up the hill to the finish but it was enough to hold everyone off. My 1st field sprint win this year! It was great.

Me explaining my strategy post race!

Wick trying to decide if the plastic he sees is hot or not. This guy is going to be fast next year! I said it first. Watch out for wick-nasty! All he needs is a little motivation and one good result and he'll be on fire. I have inside knowledge that a blog is coming soon. Stay tuned! Thanks for all the great travels and riding pal!

Who is this hottie checking out my team kit?

The best water-bottle hander-outter ever! Thanks for all the support annie!

Kyle Jones gets the t-shirt of the summer award! Click any pic to make it bigger (and read kyle's shirt).

Last but not least, Happy 29th B-day to Cindy Winder. Cin-balls is responsible for all photos seen in this post. Thanks for the ice cold after-race refreshment!

AND, watch out Fitchburg. T-kranes is headin up. Elliot, Lucas, and myself are driving north. I cant help myself. I dont want to leave this fitness without really testing myself against some great riders.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Last Day in the Navy slash hernia's suck

If any of you read velonews, kblog, joker, and any other sites as often as I do, you would have read the article on velonews about the coach with the hernia. Well, I am in the same damn situation. When I was at the boat school, my bunk was level at 7 feet. I would step on my desk chair and vault myself up there shooting one leg up on the bed. As a youngster (sophomore), I tore the muscle between my leg and abdomen. Gross. Thanks to Mary's recoup house, I got it fixed and was back on the bike in 8 days. Well, somehow, the mesh used to repair broke. So I can push my intestines out through my stomach. Its kinda awesome, yet sick gross barf.

On top of that, the Navy decided that I had two bad roots. Double root canal followed. The only good thing is that they paid for everything and I got molds for whitening. I had a dead tooth in the front bottom that was a little darker than my other teeths. So the doc today (on my last day in the navy mind you) hooked me up with my final filling and some awesome molds for whitening. 10 trips to the dentist in the past month might now sound cool--it wasnt. But I was happy to get the molds and the whitening business. All in all, 6 grand worth of dental care complete. I've never even had a cavity! Doc thinks boxing at that Academy and a fall off my bike when I was 8 resulted in root damage. I think its just because I am the hardest man alive and my roots couldnt manage it. Or it might be because in feb I rode behind danny glover and had to stare at his disgusting hairy legs--this made me grit my teeth in near dispair and disgust.

I spoke with drew today about the past 10 years. They have been good. BJB, rest in peace. Some people today were talking about legacies and what we leave behind. I am not certain that I will leave much behind, but I know I gained immeasureable experience(s) while serving. I am most proud of being the 1st pilot to respond to the tsunami in Banda Ache. I hold most valuable the relationships I have developed. I know there are people who will always help me whenever I need it, no matter what. I will absolutely do the same for them. No questions asked. I have brothers in the Navy that I never had growing up. I have people who understand parts of my life and who I am more than anyone else. Knowing there are people like that, friends that close, really makes me feel like my time was valuable and well spent. I know I had an influence on many people, good or bad. I would like to think its positive. And I would like to think that any student who was intimidated understands that the next flight could be their last and the philosophy of decision making needs to constantly be evaluated. Wear sunscreen.

Funny, my truck is more or less packed, I plan on racing reston and picking up some norcal racing (after hernia surgery), but I still feel really good about yesterday and today's rider events. Yesterday was the tuesday night great bridge ride. I remember last year when paul ward, gener, keith, and harlan would allow me to hang on. I had never ridden that hard in my life--ever. Rod D and I would always start rides by just chillin and talking in the back. Then we would have to crush ourselves to bridge up to the guys who went way to early. This year was different. I was never in a position where I felt I was in trouble. I was always there at the end and never got dropped. I attribute that to HTFU (see CSC's wristbands), february in FL training, and lots of miles with wick nasty (your results will come pal). I learned how to suffer early this year and just never really have in races. Sure, there were times when I got dropped (CSC), but I felt good this year and raced beyond what I thought I would. I appreciate all the friends along the way and the great times. Stratton told me that at state crit kids from Richmond were talking about me. At the start line, no one would really talk to me and I thought that was weird. Stratton said he actually saw people pointing at me making sure I was known. Learning this at the WMC just last week really made me think about how far I'd come. I was so happy to win that race. After gettign dropped in the 4 race last year at langley, I put in the work. It really is satisfying to get a result after the miles I logged.

Being a rider is so much a part of my life. I feel like I have always been a rider before a pilot or naval officer. I am very curious to journey these next two years and mark how my self image changes. I'll learn about some job that I really want and I'll put work in to be amazing at that job. But in the end, I'll always daydream about being able to get on my bike (dirt or road). Funny, my last day in the navy was spent packing, enjoying the dentist, and most importantly, building up my intense 5.5 that I just had repainted. Check it. Absolutely beautiful. Pure joy.

The last Super. Thanks everyone for supporting me! I'll miss you all.

Kieth and I share a special bond. Both riders and both naval aviators.

Kevin, thanks for being huge support and just a good friend. I appreciate all my tri-power friends. Gilmer, Starkey, Dinsmore, I'll miss you guys!

LeBleu. There just isnt a faster group of riders in the area. No dispute.
Great Bridge Wonderment. Rob D!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2nd in State TT!

Today I managed to log my 7th! second place of the year. Only 1 win (not counting a training crit win) this year but I was seriously pleased with today's ride. Craddock Sr was ribbing me about winning state crit but not being able to time trial to save my life. I told him that my only goal for the day was to beat him! He started 1 min ahead of me and I was absolutely stoked to catch him by about mile 8. He and terry were far enough ahead where I could see them well enough, but really had to put in an effort to catch the two of them.

Passing them gave me wings. Geno told me to just take it easy for the 1st 3 mins. I did. Then I droped into the 54x13 or 12 and just pounded out an 80 rpm cadence. It worked. Ted Micheals (known tt specialist) passed me in the last k or so, but I was happy to pass Gilmore and some other notably fast people. Let the record show that Micheals would have medaled in the Cat1,2 race with his time! Geno seems to think the course today was long. I am still waiting to pour over the results, but I am happy to post the 2nd best time of the 3s with some stiff competition.
I want to thank Mike at east coast for hooking me up with my bike, a felt B2. And I want to thank danny and jerry at Final Kick for setting all LeBlue riders up with Zipp. I am pretty sure we were the only riders with 1080s and sub9 discs! Without question, part of my ride can be attributed to gear.

Terry getting it!

Jeff Craddock hurtin! Nice bike guy.

Thanks to BJ for the fabulous photos!

Only a couple more feet to go. TT helmets look stupid.

A tired crew.

Geno gettin it

What the????????

So while I was riding the best TT of my life, something was amiss back at the start line. Looks like Elliot moved in on my woman. Normally I am a confident man, but look at the smile on her face!?! whatsup??!!!???

Friday, June 20, 2008


Next wed is my last day in the navy. As I look back on my career,
there are a million memories, but every time I flew, I can honestly
say my decision making coincided with the statement pictured here. I
make no apologies in saying that I was the best c2 pilot during my
years in the navy--I had to be, each and every day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Working Man's Classic

Wick and I drove up to Richmond for two (of 3) nights racing. I had some work come up so we can to bolt home late last night. Nonetheless, there were some silly fast people there. I was happy to be as active as I was and able to ride with people who already are at a level I know I will never race at.

Baker Ellett of Blue Dog Properties took all the photos you see.

I rode the independent fabrication kit on day two because my team kit was smelly. I liked the green bar tape!

Buckles is one fast rider. thanks for the air mattress hotel. I went with buckles and gera on a prime counter. As soon as gera saw that I was on his wheel, he sat up and made me finish the bridge. As soon as I caught up to buckles and stoop, gera went again. Buckles and stoop followed, I was stuck in no man's land. Gera flatted, stoop won, buckles got 2nd, I got 28th-ish.

Green kit time!

I love looking at race photos. You can tell who is hurting just by checking out pain faces!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oompa loompa

Robert and buckles are awesome enough to let wick and I crash at their
place while trying to hang on at richmond working mans classic 3 day
bike race. Wick keeps hitting his head on the bathroom door frame.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Marissa Miller is #1

Wick and I just witnessed, while gluing some new tubular TT wheels, maxim's hot 100 on VH1. While this kind of wasting away by no means made either one of us more intelligent, it surely made us more culturally acute. I bet none of you knew that poor marissa had never even made the list previously. A damn tragedy. I think anyone (including MIA lawyer G-lover) could argue she is indeed a member of the hot 100.
This past weekend of racing went pretty well for me. I managed a 2nd place in the 3 race after having Dbo crush himself for the team and myself setting tempo for Ryan. Only problem there was that ryan was no longer in the race (I didnt know) due to a cramp. So I tried to keep the pace high so that ryan could sprint for the W. Didnt happen, but worked out with Dan Craft being the only one able to come around.
THe 123 had plenty of firepower there. Ben King of Kelly Benefit Pro decided that he didnt need to race a Pro race this weekend and showed up. This kid is only 18 and he easily the hardest working racer. He had a full team compliment including his dad, uncle, and about 5 other teamates wearing natures path gear. Ben chased down everything and then when the pace wasnt high enough, he just took a flyer on his own. So, this king of racing is an opportunist's dream. Find one of these moves and give it all you got, say a prayer. Terry, Dbo, Geno, Ryan and myself did all we could to cover every move. Dbo was relentless. Terry is easily every racer's favorite draft. Ryan raced better in the 123 than in the 3 race! Geno easily wins any sprint he contests. So we were all racing for that sprint. With 2 $100 premes, we eyed those laps and the finish.
I tried to set up Geno for the 2nd preme but he missed my wheel and Ben took it instead. Even though, he only got me by 3 feet. The only difference here was that he kept going and I sat up. Ben quickly gained 5 seconds on me and I noticed I had a quarter lap on the field. Dan craft and jeff parker quickly came with me and we worked to push out to 10 seconds. Bill Collins cleverly came accross and natures path blocked for ben up the road.
The 5 of us managed to stay away, Bill got me at the line by quite a bit and I was able to hold off jeff and dan for 3rd. This is my best result in the 123 cats.
Two more weeks and I am off to California for school. I am hoping to maintain some fitness and still race out there.
Driving the 123 break. Check out those faces!
D bo deserves every bit of that fan! What a great addition to the team!
Last but not least, all photo credits to BJ! Get well soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


All photos credit to BJ Samuels!

Yesterday was absolutely miserably hot. Most know that I am from Alaska and just dont do anything well in the heat. I once vomited 9 times in a row in the plane because it was 122 degrees in the cockpit with no AC. That makes for a challenging environment. The VA State Crit Champs would truly be a test. My boy wick nasty and annie were there to give me tons of support. This being the 11th race at the sportsplex, it was fair to say that the technicality of the course wouldnt be a factor. This race has admittedly been on my radar since the beginning of the year. If you win this race, nobody can say anything about your effort, you know the other racers and know yourself, and simply put in more work to come out on top. Knowing this would be near the end of my racing season due to a career change, I really wanted to do well here.

The race started in typical fashion with a couple early moves that just wouldnt stick. A DC guy from Evolution went off by himself for 9 or so laps and really caused me some worry. After learning he is a time trialist, I begged some of my teamates to go to the front. Terry, Ryan, and D-bo controlled the race chasing down anything up the road, not letting anything get away and keeping the pace high. Most of the year I've been racing by myself. It was a relief to have teamates specifically working. Ryan and Terry are NC residents so they couldnt medal. Dbo was just a machine and crushed himself.

With about 8 laps to go, I started from about 30th place and just ramped it up. Andy followed and we bridged up to the Evo guy. A fella from NC and VBV worked their way into the break. I was super motivated to make this work considering the double ambulance ride of the cat5 race. Some gentlemanly blocking from Dan Craft and Ryan made all the difference as we were able to put about 30 seconds into the field. Andy and the Evo guy put in some monster pulls to make sure we stayed away. After my 8th water bottle field, I was feeling great for the finish. It was clear that we would stay away with 2 to go. I was second wheel and just sat on the Evo guy's wheel while he was happy to pull 3 of us around the course. I was worried about this exact scenario as the previous weekend netted a 2nd place for me. He went way early and I happily sat on for a bit longer. I knew Andy was behind me and went hard after the last turn. Finally a win.

I owe Dbo, Ryan, and Terry a big thanks. They really made a difference!

All photos credit to BJ Samuels!

It was 101 on the tarmac. Ice bottles allowed me to live! I took a feed every 3 laps. thanks wick and annie!

Still hot in the 123 race. I chased down a break only to have my seatpost slip. Official didnt give me a free lap.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So this week has been one of severe changes. So much has happened in my life this week and I was apprehensive to share for a couple or reasons.
First, it is important to note that it has been 90 plus degrees everyday this week. Thats ok, but the wonderful may wx (wx=weather in pilot speak) had fooled me into believing Norfolk summers weren't that bad. Long story short, its too hot here already.

Second, wick and I ripped apart my 5.5 so that I could get the frame powder coated. Sweet. Had to pack up the indy and my other mtn bike to be shipped with my household goods. I sold my motorcycle and really thought about what to do about my quiver of bikes. Considering I am not going to be working for the next 2 years, I prob should take it easy with toys in general. Plus, my health insurance is going to be expensive so I determined that owning/operating a motorcycle prob wasnt the smartest thing in the world. Anyway, I sold it, got a great price and am happy to report that I acquired 3 months rent in the sale. But I seriously consider myself a rider. Thinking about the manner in which I will identify myself, I have never really considered myself a motorcyclist, but I have always considered myself a bike rider. So I am not going to divorce myself from my bikes just because I am concerned about unemployment. I really need to have some kind of identity staying power in this transformation. Long story longer, I feel good about selling the moto and keeping most of my bikes.

So, while I was tearing apart the 5.5 mountain bike, I should have been packing and sorting because the next morning the packers were coming. I needed to keep separate anything I needed in the next 2 months. This task is more difficult than one might consider. Stayed up until 3 and then getting up at 6 allowed me to complete that task. Packers were slow. Rode the Great Bridge ride and participated in the drama (read here). It was a really good ride.

The next day movers were exceedingly slow. I said goodbye to the longwood house and sat in the empty living room for a while enjoying what will surely be the last time I command that kind of square footage. It was good.

I then received an email from Columbia. After being placed on the wait list, the NewYorkers deemed that I was not qualified or special enough to enter their fall full time MBA class. No one likes rejection and I contemplated that event for quite some time. There have been these pivotal moments in my life where events like this have happened. I honestly believe that it is the manner in which you react to this kind of news that defines who you are. I was upset, not at the school, but mostly at myself feeling that I could have prepared differently. However, as most of you know, I have other irons in the fire. God works in mysterious ways, and seriously, not 6 hours later, I received a phone call from Pete Johnson, director of the Haas School of Business (Berkeley) Admissions. He informed me that I was chosen to be a Maxwell Fellow. I was elated and nearly messed my pants.

Brian and Jennifer Maxwell are the founders of PowerBar. I wrote the essays for this scholarship two days after my helicopter rescue incident in Austria. Chris and I had some serious time to kill on questionable trains to Prague. I wrote the essays considering that I was already into the school and had nothing to lose. I had recently turned down 1/2 tuition at UVA and was staring an $8K helo bill in the face. I was worried about finances. So I wrote the essays with a decent amount of passion and in a voice which would be successful, or a dismal failure. I guess the selection committee read my essays on a wed afternoon after a company catered happy lunch. I was informed that I was one of 6 finalists 2 weeks ago. So, the moving out of the house, packing my life, finding a place to live, building the new road bike, shipping off the Scott, racing, and life in general were what I was doing, but thinking about the possibility of earning/winning that scholarship were always at the forefront of my thoughts. I still cant believe I won.

And what a cool company. I'm a rider and I know that fact made a difference. I talked about how riding helps to define my ambitions and work ethic and desires. I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Now all that I have to do is teach myself advance quantitative excel analysis before summer session begins and do a whole bunch of relaxing.

I look forward to this weekend. State Crit champs and 23 mile time trial. You never know.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I should be packing, but Mom needs to hear this!

This past weekend was a great weekend of racing. Elliot, Lucas, Wick Nasty, Keith and I drove up to Annapolis to crash at Mike and Mary's house for the weekend (thanks M&M!). We woke up early sat to beautiful skies and a two hour drive to the millport RR. 50 miles for the 3 race. Keith and the boys would ride 55 miles in the 123. I really wanted some help, but the kids thought it better to race the admittedly harder race.

Anyway, the skies opened up and it rained 3 inches on us while we were there. The promoter delayed our start and it cleared up for about 20 mins. Nice, the roads actually dried out for 3 laps. Then, it got dark again, and quick. I absolutely despise crashing. So I just went off the front. I had a couple guys join me, but they were unwilling to work that hard. And the pack was ringing us in. So I just waited another lap (3 miles per lap) in the back. Just as I expected, some idiot in 65th place wanted to be in 64th place and swerved 4 feet to the left. I was lucky enough to not be overlapping his wheel. I swiftly reminded him that he wasnt racing for money in the back of the pack and to just take it easy. He was all hopped up on EPO and tattoo ink and started to yell at me like no other person in cycling ever has. I loved it. Most of you know that 99 times out of 100 I am the biggest person in a cycling race (I have never raced with maggie backstedt). And this guy was no different. He just launched into this, "I'm going to kick your ass " tirade which quickly quieted down once he looked back and saw who he was yelling at. I love being big (for a bike racer).

Anyway, that episode was enough for me to be disgusted with roadies in general, the rain, and being in the back. I marched (actually rode, not marched, but like using mil terms when possible - ode to jonic) straight to the front and attacked. One dude with me, we rode for 2 laps by ourselves and got caught. Counter from a couple guys, I waited. Then I bridged. Caught again by another counter. This time, it was a single guy. And the group was letting him go prob because he was a single. So I went again for the 4th time. I knew they would all recognize that I had been off a bunch and the pack would figure I was tired. We were joined by one other hammerhead and that was the race. It was raining so hard you could barely see. We took advantage of the technical courners in the race to keep our speed up and tempo high. It was great. I finally had my chance to win a 3 up sprint (that wasnt a training race).

The other hammerhead and I put in way more work than the 3rd hurtin fella. THat was fine. I knew I could get him in the sprint. And around the last corner, I was 3rd wheel in great position. The only problem was that I didnt realize it was only about 100 yds to the finish, definately not enough time to get up. I blew up. Punked at the line by about 6 inches. So I racked up my 5th 2nd of the year.

Keith made the break (of course) while elliot and lucas crashed out hard. The rain made the course super technical. THen Keith score a flat tire with 4 miles to go. That sucks! Good thing keith made the break the next day at CSC masters. That guy can ride his bike.

My CSC race was less than steller. The clean current guys just went to the front and pinned it. There were 8 guys up the road after 3 laps. I was 3rd wheel in the chase and just burned too many matches trying to bridge. It was by far the fasted 123 race I have ever done. So 1/2 the field was pulled and then the clean current boys took 5 of the top 10 spots. Crazy.

Wick nasty, elliot and I took in the pro race and just loved checking out all the gear. Maggie was there and that guy is HUGE!

We scored a couple pics from gamjams. Thanks Danielle!

Check out the single file here. Turn one had land mine pot holes! Speeds required a lean way beyond my comfort zone.

Lucas looks really good here. None of us made the final 30 person selection. This race was fast!