Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank you Tracy Rankin!

Dear donald brew,
The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:
djbrew21 - 2009-08-20 10:57
Member: donald brew
License: Road RacerRequest to change category from Cat 3 to Cat 2

Goal number one of the 2009 season has been accomplished!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thank You Marion, Indiana!

I went to Indianapolis this weekend to visit some relatives. Before I left I checked the area to see if there were going to be any races and there were. About an hour away they were having the Marion Classic, which is an NRC race, so I figured I could get in some racing this weekend as well.

I signed up for the 3/4 and the 2/3. I figured going out to the Midwest would be a welcomed change since no one knew me out there and I didn't know anyone out there, I could just do my own thing. I've also wondered what it would be like racing in a whole different area. The course was a 10 corner crit that crossed to bridges, with two slight rises between turn 4 and 5, and 8 and 9. I was really looking forward to this course because I like going through turns. My first race was the 3/4. Since people weren't really going to assume I was a threat my strategy was just to stay at the front and not make any moves until the last lap. There were a couple crashes in the race but since I stayed at the front none of them affected me. To make a long story short, on the last lap coming into turn 8, I started my sprint up the little rise around turn 9 and held it all the way to the finish for first place. I made it onto the podium and got to get interview by Robbie Ventura, which was pretty kewl.

Next up was the 2/3. I figured after winning the 3/4 and the interview I would be a marked man, but my strategy was going to be the same no matter what. I ended up finishing in 2nd though. Coming into turn 8 on the last lap, a guy came past me so I jumped on his wheel. In turn 10 we both took different lines and that gave him just enough of a gap to hold me off. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to win both races. I never like getting 2nd, but I guess I can't feel to bad about it and to make me feel better we all got a nice big bag of sweet corn for getting on the podium.

So it was a good weekend going to Indy, having a nice time with the family, taking their money and their corn.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thank you Millersburg!

First I will echo the sentiments felt by not only myself but other races who've attended the Tour of Millersburg by saying that it was an awesome race, held by an awesome community. You definitely felt welcomed and it was like they really wanted you there and not like they were doing us a favor. You could also tell that the citizens there would been over backwards to make sure that us racers were comfortable and have everything we needed. This was my first time there and already I have a place to stay, for free, next year when I go back, which I definitely will do. On to the racing...
The time trial was first, which I was not excited about since the only time I've ever time trialed was at Tour of Washington Co., and that was the first time. I thought I was rolling along pretty good. I was the second person to go off after Lance Anderson. Before I took off I could see Lance disappear off into the fog and I wouldn't see him again until we crossed paths at the turn around. I knew I wouldn't catch him and I could only hope that I wouldn't get caught but I did. The TT wasn't hard, I just have no skills and very little motivation when it comes to something like that. By the posting of the results I finished in 40th place. There goes my GC hopes. The sad thing was I was actually kind of trying on the TT because I thought I could do well in the crit and road race so I wanted to at least be mid-pack after the time trial.
Later on was the criterium. After getting my result for the TT, I wanted to win the crit. I started gearing up and trying to get motivated for the race. I had never done this course before and I heard that it was different from last year so I wanted to warm up by taking a few laps. After my first lap of the course, I thought there was no way I could win because of that stupid hill. I took another lap thinking my legs just needed to wake up or something but that didn't help. I remember telling my wife after those couple laps that I was unsure that I could do well because of the hill and that this race would be about survival. I continued to warm up until the start completely avoiding going up that hill anymore extra times. The race started and Whole Wheel, with 2 guys in the top 3 overall, got on the front and just started drilling it. I tried to stay up front because I figured as long as I could keep contact with the wheel in front of me I wouldn't get dropped. In the first third of the race I felt like I was on the ropes, just playing defense. At about half way through the race I didn't really feel any better but I also noticed that I didn't feel any worse. I was starting to read the race and I noticed that if you were close to the front up the hill then there was some valuable recovery seconds waiting for you at the top while everyone kinda caught their breath. My strategy would be to hang on until the top of the hill and spend the whole front side of the course recovering and pedaling as little as possible. I can corner well and that made all the difference in allowing me to recover. I also noticed that if you attacked on the hill you would die by the time we got to the top. It was that same rhythm the whole race. Coming in to the last lap was no different. There was a guy who attacked early and was off the front. I was sitting about top ten coming up the hill and about 20 meters from the top I just gunned it out of the saddle, up and around the corner and got a gap at the spot where we had been taking it easy. Another guy jumped to my wheel and let me know we had a gap, and right behind him was my teammate Jorge. We bridge across to the early attacker and I was sitting in second coming out of the final turn and knew I had the win. I was extremely happy. Knowing that my GC hopes were dashed, I was happy that I would come out of the weekend with at least one win. What I hadn't noticed during the race was that this course and the pace was shredding the field. The guy who held the yellow jersey after the TT was even pulled. With and lot of the guys who were in the top spots after the TT not finishing or not earning any points, I shot up on the GC from 40th to 4th. It was at that point that I figured I would have a shot at the podium.

(Thanks Jim Wilson)

I was hearing that the road race would be a sprinters delight and my inner Mark Cavendish was over joyed. Going into the road race I wasn't really paying too much attention to where the other riders that were close to me on GC were. I wanted to win the road race. I figured that if I could win then the GC would take care of itself. The first couple laps were really uneventful. People tried to break away but nothing stayed. My job was just staying vigilant and hoping for a field sprint, which is what the race came down to. The run in to the finish was extremely fast. We would be blasting down the hill that tortured us the day before in the crit. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp right hander, and after doing this turn twice on the two previous laps, I knew it was crucial to get to through that corner on a good wheel. I unfortunately lost my nerve coming through that turn on the last lap and was on the brakes too much and lost a couple positions. I was in the front but got swarmed coming down the hill and I just knew that someone would go down so I got on the brakes, but everyone made it through clean. After we exited out the turn to a long straight the speed was so high it was difficult getting on a wheel and I had to burn a match trying to catch back on. We hit the last right hander and I already knew I was too far back to take the win but fortunately I had enough to pass a couple people and hold on to 7th.

I was nervous after the finish because I didn't know if finishing in 7th would give me enough point over the other top people to finish on the podium. After trying to do calculations in my head, the results were finally posted and my 7th in the road race gave me enough points to put me in 3rd overall. I was pumped. My first podium in a stage race. My teammate finished in 4th on GC right off the podium. If either one of us had of known what was going on we probably would've got both of us up there.

It was a good weekend, in a great town, holding an excellent race, run by wonderful people, capped off by a visit to Chocolate World with my wife.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Socks of Choice

Hincapie Sportswear Merino Wool socks. Super high cuff! I wear these socks year-round and the fact that they are wool does not bother me one bit. Since they are wool, I find they don't really get funky either so I can get a couple or more wears out of them before they need to go in the wash. They are extremely comfortable and I wear them everywhere, from church to the club and all stops inbetween.