Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016/17 NEOH Winter Group Rides

Winter is coming, and for some of us the off-season is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean it is too early to look ahead to 2017! It has been a few years, at least as far back as 2012 from what I can remember, since we had an organized, recurring group ride during the bitter cold months. I blame all of you, Strava, Zwift, and Facebook, but mainly I blame the frigidly cold winter we had 2 years ago. Looking back I didn’t ride outside much that winter, and last year, while there was ample opportunity I don’t think I hit up 1 big group ride. So after too much explaining here is the plan. 
  • Two-ish Saturday group rides per month starting in December 2016 and running through March 2017.

  • If the weather is too bad we will opt to do our group ride indoors via Zwift (maybe). Check Twitter (@atc134) for updates. 

  • Will post GPS/Map of the upcoming ride on Tuesdays

  • Swag items on par with any good MTB race will be awarded to the winner of the final town sprint (think used tires, useless pump, or worn out single speed cog)

Tentative Schedule (subject to modification due to foul weather)

Dec 3, 2016-Season Opener ------- 3 hours/50 miles
Note: Chill first ride of the season, let’s be friends J

Dec 17, 2016-Brecky ------- 4 hours /70 miles
Note: Group will meet Northerners at corner of Riverview Rd  and Chippewa Creek Dr 

Dec 31, 2016-Festive Finish---------- 4 hours (or more)/Amount needed to finish F500

Jan 14, 2017------ More info to follow

Jan 28, 2017

Feb 11, 2017

Feb 25, 2017

Mar 11, 2017

Mar 18, 2017

Probably not necessary, but I am going to say the following anyway.  These rides a meant to be a non-drop ride, but be prepared in case you are having a bad day, or the group is in a foul mood.  If you follow these simple guidelines, all should be well J

  • Ride two abreast at all times, especially when first departing. This is one of the most important guidelines. Obey all rules of the road. (Red lights and stop signs).

  • Bring money, food, drink, spare tubes, adequate clothing, a cell phone, and fenders if ya got em. Load the map into your GPS, know the route or buddy-up. 

  •  We are NOT out in hunt of KOM’s or QOM’s, so don’t attack the group on the hill or downhill. The point is to ride together at a nice tempo, and save the race efforts for…….the race

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Training Race Problem

Training…..not every local has one. In fact during my time in State College instead of a training race, there was the “Speed Ride”.  The group ride followed the same route every week, annoyed the same drivers with its side by side riding style, and was a DROP ride. Essentially each pair took turns on the front as the pace was slowly increased. As the pace increased, riders were dropped until the sprint point. In many ways it is similar to the Shootout in Tucson, except there really isn’t attacking… least as I remember it.

State College Speed Ride

Now that I have lived the big city for a couple of years the Speed Ride has been replaced by Westlake or Westlake Worlds. This pay to play event is somewhat like a criterium, pancake flat, and can vary in length from 20-50 miles. Now in years past I have made an attempt to make it to every week’s edition and compete for the overall.  In other words I was treating it almost like a race. In more recent years, I have shifted to treating this more like training. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nursery to learn how to race. The tactics can be somewhat off the wall at times, but the point being is that there is a finish line and money on the line every week. 

Westlake Worlds

 There are of course a number of factors why one should or should not attend an organized training event, but how do you decide. I know for one, the back and forth emails between teammates, girlfriends, wives, and friends with radar updates, training requirements, and “how I am feeling” can be nearly as exhausting as the ride itself SO I have gone to  the trouble to putting together a nice calculator for you. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ding Dong it might be Dead

Source: Ben Thompson

Blogs are dead! Blogs are dead! In a lot of ways I sort of believe this. The time investment required in order to create user-engaging content on a somewhat outdated platform such as a blog pales in comparison to modern day social media. It is somewhat ironic to think that most of my day is spend reading either digital or print media, yet somehow the a quick Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram post is more engaging? Perhaps it is the cellphone phenomenon, or the fact that on average we all have about 30 seconds to make an impression on a reader before they swipe right, scroll down, or otherwise move on. Now I am a bit of a slow reader, so in my world my time might already be up, BUT as I have said many times before I am going to make an effort to recreate the blog if nothing else for the cathartic benefit. Looking back over some of the posts from my beginnings in riding bikes still make me smile just a bit, and while the seasons, races, race reports, and beer drinking is repetitive at best, the continued story of highs and lows are always worth reflecting on.

We have a few important races coming up. Dash for Cash and Hyde Park, not to mention Nationals. 

What to EXPECT: 
Less race report, and more of the “fun” of being a working bike racer, beer drinker, dog owner, cat tolerator…….

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tucson....Again Really??

It is that time of year again. You know when I pretend to maintain this blog and you pretend to be a reader. Anyways Tucson again. You all know the story by now. If not read some posts from 2014. Essentially the same thing minus our fearless leader SA. I am going to take a little different approach this year to keep things fresh. More pictures and video less typing, because let’s be honest…..also make sure to checkout the team page. Updates there will also be happening starting Saturday (Shootout)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

South Chicago "Hot Dog' Criterium

First 20 minutes or so of the Men's P/1/2 South Chicago Criterium. Guessed wrong a few times and missed the winning break, but fun to watch everyone work on their 180-game. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Intelligentsia Pipe Dreams?

On Friday I am heading out to the Chicago-land area for the 2015 Intelligentsia Cup. It runs from 7/18 – 7/26. Some might now it as Speed Week or some other Prairie dog moniker, but all this critting got me thinking...

I am not making any crazy promises, but I hope get some in-race video from each day an post it here the following morning. Keep in mind I still have my real job to attend to so timeliness might be a pipe dream, but make sure to check out the blog/twitter/Facebook for links to either the entire race, or at least a few laps. 

As a preview here are the final few laps of the BTR Criterium from this past weekend. At this point David Williams of Jamis had already flown the coop, so you can watch we launch my sprint way to early and settle for 5th. Happy Tuesday!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Weary Wednesday?

Le Tour de Mount Pleasant is a rarity these days. In a cycling world dominated by large $$ criteriums in random Midwest city centers, true road races over 100 miles have slowly died off. In many ways I understand why….It is hard enough to get the required number of police officers to keep pissed off motorists off the 4 corner crit or park crit in Monroe Falls, let alone working out a rolling enclosure of sorts over 110 miles long all while offeringa payout that would even make a crit monkey drool. In other words props to everyone involved in keeping this race going. It is why I started racing bikes.

Anyways, to the race report! Drove up after work to my teammate Adam’s house. He lives about an hour south of the race, so it was worth getting up a bit earlier and staying with him rather than springing for a hotel. As we loaded up the car it was feeling more like early April than June….mid 50’s and a light rain. The man who guesses at the weather had indicated that it might clear up later, but as we drove north, the temperature dropped a few more digits and the rain increased. “Let’s hope it does this for the entire race” damn internal monologue.

Despite the excellent payout, attendance was pretty light. That said all the big guns where there. A breakaway of about 10 riders rolled off the front almost as soon as the gun went off. In all honesty, I didn’t really even see them go. My teammate Tom put in an attack and was able to bridge the gap dragging along a passenger. In the back of the my mind I didn’t think that this would be the winning move so early in the race, but when a chance arose to work with a group of 3 to get across, I jumped at it….literally. It took us a bit longer than I would have like to get across, but we certainly had let the gap go. Once we made contact that made 14-15 riders in the group (2 WASlabs, 2 Netherland, 4 Bissell and some solo riders). We rolled it pretty wide open for the first hour, averaging about 28-mph. If things had kept rolling, this might be the one, or at least the winning break would come from this group. Two riders rolled off the front in search of some KOM points. As we rolled to the climb I made an ill-fated attempt to bridge. I got it close enough for my Bissell passenger to jump across. The group of 3 now included 2 strong Bissell riders and they quickly shed their tagalong. He and I rolled it pretty easy until being reabsorbed by the chase group, only to be caught by the field at about mile 50. Not long after we brought back the 2-man Bissell train. 

Some confusion, another small break, and a nature break were all to follow before we all settled back in to racing. Again groups were allowed a short leash until the field decided that the compilation of riders was not to their liking and tasked themselves with bringing it back. Each attack, strung the field out, and then we would slinky back. After about the 4th or 5th hard attack in succession, it became apparent that something was going to snap. People were both beginning to tire of the constant change of pace, but we were also getting close to the 90 mile mark. 

Netherland Rubber riders were closely marked, but it wasn’t until Martin Vecchio attacked with about 12 miles to go that we were able to make things stick. For some reason I seemed to remember being in a small group in that same section last year, only to be pulled back, but the combination of Martin, Nate Williams, and myself was enough to placate the field. We rolled the three-man time trial for a couple of miles before getting our first time check. We had a scant 25 seconds on the group! This had the effect of slowing us down at first, but also strengthening our resolve. We doubled our efforts until the next time check which came in at 1:45! At this point we were about 6-km from the finish. Unless things got really crazy behind us, we were the winning break. Martin and Nate took turns attacking each other. I followed only, trying to save the legs for one big attack closer to the finish. With about 2 km to go I launched my attempt. It was quickly brought back, and the three of use settled in for a 3-up sprint. 

Once we turned right on the finishing straight, we could see the line for nearly 900 meters. Nate launched first at what seemed like 500 to go? Martin tagged on, I stood up but was unable to hold it. Nate may have gone early, but apparently it was the perfect time. He held off Martin to take the win on what was essentially a drag race after 110-miles of racing. I rolled home in 3rd. As with every race that you don’t win…you always want more, but being on the podium is never bad. Tom surfed the field sprint for 9th insuring we didn’t run out of gas money for the trip home. 

Again thanks to all the sponsors, CycleSmart, WASlabs, Raleigh and of course the volunteers who make institutions like Mt Pleasant happen. Up next Sylvannia?