Monday, March 29, 2010

Rest Week

I think to myself "man I am excited tomorrow I have nothing to do I will sleep in and relax to the utmost." Yet I know before my head hits the pillow I will be up before 7 am twiddling my figures looking for a way to preoccupy myself. No bike ride sounds like a good idea until the sounds of stillness whisper in my ear...
This is day one of my rest week...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SDSR Reply

This is my reply to Sean's Race Report:

There was one common word that got thrown around a lot during the endless banter while we shared team meals, watched Milan San Remo, sipped pre-race coffee, stretched out in the evening, argued about how arm warmers should be warn, filled water bottles, discussed the up coming stage etc… and that was “PRO”.

There was one common theme to the way we fought for wheels, closed gaps, lead our G.C. contender out, dropped back to tow in dropped teammates, out sprinted the field numerous times, trusted each others ability, turned ourselves inside out to get over the climb, demanded respect from the peloton etc… and that was “PRO”.

I woke up this morning to an empty feeling now that the house is void of bikes laying all over the place, racers preparing for another day of battle, and friends making silly comments to avoid the nervous feelings for the up and coming stage. But I also woke up feeling accomplished, feeling that we finished what we started with vigor and excellence.

So here it goes one more time…
Thanks to the team!

Thanks to Jim for developing the team, and for hustling behind the scenes to receive sponsors, design kits, and put in orders. Also for delivering nutrition, hollering at us during races and being our number one supporter and fan! In case you didn’t already know it’s noticed.

Also thanks for the on going support from Greg and Sarah. You skipped your own rides on very rare days off of work to come out and cheer us on. Greg said something really simple to me the morning of the road race that stuck with me all the way to the start line that was something along the lines of “Wes, every time I have seen you race you do well.” Thanks for building the confidence it truly put my mind at ease during warm up and at the start line.

Now for the SDSR line up.

Ben and Pat: Thanks for making the trek down South and back. You took time away from jobs, a wife and child, and your normal lives to completely burry yourselves for a teammate that you had never even met. Seriously there is no way we could have accomplished what we did without the two of you. Ben, I always look forward to kicking it with you I think our personalities just click. Pat it was great to meet you and there is no easier way to form a strong bond with someone other than going to battle together and that we did, its great to come out of this with a new friend. Your guy’s robust riding styles up the climbs and relentless thrusts on the flats were nothing short of inspiring. All kidding aside you guys are amazing cyclist and have a great understanding of the complexity of the sport.

John: What can I say… The guy who didn’t get a chance to ride for a week after a tough race where he got dropped comes out and crushes it. You put up a super solid time on the TT, never seized to go flying by me on the cannon climb only to recover and lead Sean on the most successful sprint lap! And there was probably nothing more that exemplified “pro” more than when you dropped out of the group to come pace me back on lap 6. So much more than a teammate a true friend!

Sean (last for the first time in his career): I knew when you came aboard that our team was for lack of better words “strong”. Of course I have to mention your riding, which is not just plain fast. You’re a hella strong rider with an amazing kick but also you are a smart rider who knows when to apply that strength and kick. The fact that you could do everything we did during the race and than sprint 3 times during it is absolutely amazing! Your bike handling skills are pretty F’n amazing too, way to stay upright when you’re hands slipped of the bars and when you slammed your seat down (that could have been a simple way to loose everything we worked for this weekend). It should also be mentioned that your humility made us only want to work for you more. Off the bike you never let our hard work go unmentioned and for that we thank you. On the bike you finished unbelievably strong with heart and speed, again never letting our hard work go to waste.

One last thing… Since our team training camp I have taken the title as “captain” with a few grains of salt due to being coupled with such amazing talent and knowledge of racing. But the trust you guys put into me on analyzing scenarios and building some loose plans during the three stages did not go unnoticed, and for that I thank you.

GREAT JOB TEAM!!

From Races (Feb. 2010)


From Races (Feb. 2010)


From Races (Feb. 2010)


From Races (Feb. 2010)

Monday, March 22, 2010

SDSR

Here is the Race Report from Sean Neilson

TEAMWORK-noun-work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence for the efficiency of the whole.

What can I say about this weekend? It was hard, fun, and inspiring. For this being the first race of the year where Becher+ had a team riding together we worked very well. Wes, Ben, John, and Pat were the best teammates that I or anyone could ask for. They gave absolutely everything they had in their bodies to help me this weekend. I could never thank them enough or ever give them enough to repay them. I must also commend the efforts of our DS, Sarah, and Greg for standing in the blazing sun and swelling heat. They were there cheer us on, feed us, and support us. As a whole Team Becher+ is pretty KICK ASS!

Now to the racing and action! Friday was stage 1 with a tough time trial up Glendora Mountain Road. The road is twisty, 3.8 miles in length, and an elevation gain of about 1400 feet. John was first to go up from our team with Pat, myself, Ben, Wes, then Mike. Wes i believe broke the record for a time trial up GMR with a solid 23 minute effort! Completely sacrificing his GC position to help me. I was able to put down a 16:11 good enough for 13th position, about 50 seconds down. Pat threw down a 16:46 putting him in 26th, Ben put down a 16:57, John laid down a 17:13, and Mike put in a 19:55. Mike and Wes were having a competition to see who could lay down the slowest time, Wes clearly won that battle! Ha ha!

Stage 2 was a road race around and through Bonelli Park. The course has rolling hills and a wall of a climb called the Cannon Climb, which kicks to about a 13% grade. The Cannon Climb is where the KOM points would be won and the Green Jersey Sprint Points would be given at the Start/Finish line. We wanted to get the sprint points to possibly take the green jersey but also because they carry VERY important time bonuses. The point laps were the 3rd, 5th, and final(6th) laps. The race began with a hair raising moment with Wes and I almost being taken out by one of the motorcycles that unexpectedly stopped in our path. From there the first lap was relatively easy with Wes giving a good effort across the dam to get me good position for the KOM climb. The first climb wasn't tough but there was a crash in the middle of the park that sent down the polka dot jersey and caused a huge split in the group. The split was shut down fairly quickly and that began the second lap. The pace picked up a bit and field would begin line up a bit more. The 3rd lap is where the action really began, I had Wes and Ben work with me on the dam and up the KOM climb. I was in the top three at the top of the KOM and the group was lined up on the descent, and onto the flats. We began to swell at the front and next thing I hear is "Sean! Let's go!" John comes flying by us and helps string out the group and gives me a chance. He burnt up and fell back a bit and a train came rolling by me. I jumped to try and integrate in line by the guy next to me would not let me in so I, being a smartass, rode right next him with teeth gritted and when I decided to go I jumped the train and held it to the line to win the first hot spot sprint and 10 bonus seconds on gc. I burnt a match in that one. The next half lap it was hard for me to recover but eventually my HR came down on lap 4. Lap 4 was fairly easy as I rode with Wes and Pat protecting me in the pack with Ben, 86% of the time, hammering the front of the field making sure nothing got away and that the pace would be kept up. On the 5th lap Wes and I had a talk whether or not we go for the bonus and finish, or just the finish. We ended up going for the bonus. Wes did a great job of taking me to the front on the dam where I would then hook up with Ben and Pat. Ben took me up as far as he could until i had to get around him and hear him say, "get 'em boy." When I needed to be at the front the guys would take me there. I again crested in the top 5. Again after the descent and onto the flats the field would bunch and again I heard "Sean!" There was El Capitano Wes burying himself to string out the field. I latched onto his wheel and when another line came rolling past I had to jump into that line. This time someone else jumped me and I launched the effort. I thought I had crossed the line 3rd which would have given a 3 second bonus, but unfortunately that's not what the video shows. Wes with his massive effort was a bit cooked and a gap formed, he was just about back on the group but got cut off and slowed by a follow vehicle. I was also cooked after the sprint but I knew I couldn't give into the pain as I had another sprint to contest at the finish. This lap was critical as it had bigger bonuses for time and big sprint points. Ben worked the front of the field for me keeping pace fast and turning the screws in everybody's legs. John ended up falling back to Wes to make sure he was gonna be inside the time cut. On the last lap coming across the dam our race was neutralized and 2 riders were able to slip off the front and were not forced to slow giving them a huge advantage over the field. Ben led me for the final time up the Cannon Climb and got me good position in the top 10. Coming down the descent onto the flat into the finish the field began to bunch up again with lines of people trying to move forward. I was squeezed on the left side against the fencing blocked by 2 guys in front of me too. Ben had a bit of a scare coming into the finish when his rear wheel suddenly popped out of the dropouts. Wes, Ben, Pat, and John were all able to make it into the finish with the group. Unfortunately Mike didn't make the time cut and was forced to withdraw.

Stage 3 is a crit in downtown San Dimas. The course has a small climb in it, a fast downhill, and some fast corners. The race is ALWAYS hard. Last day of a 3 day race and what started as 100+ riders was now whittled to 59 riders. After giving so much effort on the road race and standing around at work from 5 to 9 Saturday night I decided for an ice bath. I didn't know how my legs would feel or react but I needed it as my legs were on fire. The crit was only 35 minutes long so its pretty much like a time trial effort; sprinting out of every corner and hanging on for dear life. Wes said he felt great and everyone else felt tight. At the beginning of the race I was riding with Ben and the pain was high, we weren't comfortable cornering where we were and this position just wasn't gonna work. Ben tried to take me forwards but I think he was just a bit too cooked from Saturday and crit riding doesn't seem like his riding style. So i had to jump and move. I knew Wes was at the front so I had to be there with him. As soon as I got there he let me in and let me recover a bit. Wes looked at me and said, "how you feeling?" I could not even talk. I just shook my head and looked down. At that point Wes took care of me for a lap and I began to warm up as the front of the group began to string out and boom I was comfortable again. Wes and I stayed at the front the whole time, he never let me see wind but also kept me in great position. The plan for today was to go for the hot spot sprint and the final sprint. unfortunately there were so many bells and whistles going off I could never tell which lap was the important one. Since I know I didn't get the time bonus I was gonna have to pull one out of the hat and get good position for the sprint. With 3 laps to go someone took a flier and nobody wanted to chase so Wes went to the front and drilled it to bring it back and on the last lap the solo rider was caught. I was sitting about 10th going into the downhill and found the right wheels to follow. Heading into the last turn I was third wheel and coming around the corner I hit something with my rear wheel sending me in the air and I landed hard on my saddle. I was able to recover and kick for the line. I had enough to cover the guys behind me and jump the guys in front of me for the victory! John, Ben, Wes, and Pat were all able to finish as well.

In the end we ended up with 6th on gc, a stage win, and we tied for the green jersey; on points, stage wins and hot spot wins, tie breaker was gc.

The announcer on Sunday was even announcing about our work as a team. I am sorry that we didn't get the green jersey, I gave my all and so did the guys. We worked really hard this weekend and bonded really well as a team. A BIG THANKS goes out to everybody! Wes was cool to let everyone and their momma stay at his place, and bury himself. Ben and Pat came down to play with us for the weekend and suffered like hell for the team. John for taking care of me in the group and also turning some nasty screws. Becher for letting us wear these kick ass kits and supporting us Saturday and Sunday. Sarah and Greg coming to cheer us on and hang out with us both days as well.

Cycling is as much a team sport as hockey or baseball. We worked very well together. I could not ask for anything more than what I was given by the team this weekend. I just hope we can keep this up. Again, thanks to Wes, Ben, Pat, John, Mike, Jim, Sarah, and Greg.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shitty start

For the first time in awhile the bike lead me to a shitty day. I raced at Dominguez Hills and raced shitty! The first race was the cat 4 and i simply stuck my nose in the wind wayyyy too much. The pace was so slow until me and brad? i think his name is kept taking turns lifting the pace and making it an actual race rather than a stroll around the industrial park. If I wasn't in front than I was 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wheel at the deepest for the entire race. Well until 25 minutes deep they announced a prime of 5 cbr points and with the pace dull I decided to jump and solo for half a lap to be followed by one rider who overtook me to nab the points. Than the shittiest thing happened they shortened our race and the lap of the prime they went to lap cards announcing 4 to go. Therefore instead of having 20 min. to recover from the solo attempt I now had 10 max. I jumped into the middle of the field and held on with my legs just screaming in pain now that the pace had lifted. I weezled my way up to about 15th. Than during the last lap I made a huge mistake!! We were fucking hauling ass into turn 2 doing about 37mph and I was on the outside of the turn with no possible way to take the turn with an apex so going into that hot I slungshot straight towards the curb and had no fucking chance at making the turn so I was forced to slam on my breaks and fall out of the draft and therefore out of the race. The rider behind me was fucking pissed which I totally understand but hey it was either that or lay my bike down. The peloton simply fanned out too much on the turn leaving no line to take coming from the outside. Oh well sorry dude! Next time ride in the top 5 I would have if it wasn't for the attempt at the prime. So I rolled in at the back of the group with no way of contending for any position.

The second race I just sat in. It was an hour after the first and I was just not into it. My legs hurt and my head was a case for fucking up the last race. Not to mention I was late and jumped into the race at turn one ha ha. Nothing to report here other than that race was slow and I jumped with 2 to go thinking it was the last lap (told you my head wasn't in it) and actually thought I caught the peloton off guard and thought I was going to solo to victory until I saw in the distance the lap card being changed from 2 to 1 meaning there was going to be one lap left. Fuck what an idiot. I don't think anyone noticed though ha ha I hope not.

So now for the reflective section. I am really bummed with how my season has started. I know of all the excuses I have such as I was sick last week at Ontario and I simply did too much work at D.H. but the fact is I am not racing as good as I should be. I should be in the top 10 by now, my legs need more work and I understand I have just started build 2 but worst off I am not racing smart. Oh well I'll try and figure it out but I am just in a shitty mood these past 2 days. I'm over this post.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Race

Last Sunday was Ontario which was my first two races of the season. I raced the 30+4/5 and the 4/5. I don't want to write a race report so I really sum it up by saying the first race was bad. My legs felt like cement blocks and my lungs were absolutely on fire. Did I mention I was and still am suffering from a really bad cold that is causing me to cough up my lungs and my body to feel weak. Oh well fuck it I had one more race. The 4/5 was different, the first race really woke my legs up and they felt good, wish I could say the same about my lungs. I stuck in the top 10 the whole race which is always my game plan. Last lap I was in perfect position sitting about 10-12th wheel and than some asshole from SDBC chopped my wheel in turn 5 causing me to slam on my breaks at 27 mph which lost me about 20 positions. After that I didn't have the lungs to get back into it so I simply sat up and coasted to the finish line. I call the fucker out for being a dangerous rider and than calmed down because I know that shit happens and getting too upset about it wasn't going to put me on the podium.

All in all I am happy with how I raced especially with the given circumstances. I am fast enough to be where I want in the pack, after that its just learning who are the fast guys this season to follow and who are the slow guys to stay away from. I still have a full build period to gain strenght and speed and about 1 million more races this season to get my win and upgrade to 3's! Ill be in Dominguez Hills Sunday racing, I am hoping it will be kinda dry!