BELGIUM

I rode easy today with Luke and Tony. It felt good to have an off day because my legs are trash right now. But I want to ride tomorrow and Gilad won’t let me. F. Maybe I’ll do a short little 5 hour spin and I won’t tell him about it. hahahaha

Other news. Tony and I will be going to Europe this summer to get our asses kicked for two months. We’ll be racing with the Israeli national team guys. I am excited beyond excitement. We’ll be racing 3 or 4 times a week from July through August, and I will get to test my legs against some other guys my age in the U23 Tour de Antwerp. Fuck yeah!!! Let the burnination begin. The only hold up is the financing of this trip. If anyone has an extra 2,500 euro sitting around and wants to donate it, let me know. Belgium is going to be awesome; I’ve always wanted to visit the Appalachians.

Yesterday’s intense ride and today’s suffering

4 hours. 20 miles of TT work with 15 second all out sprints every minute. 5 mile TT, 10 mile TT, 5 mile TT. Tony and I went out to Coburg to do this, and we killed ourselves. I didn’t have my power tap, but Tony averaged 393 on the 10 mile TT. I didn’t complete the 10 mile TT because I got a flat. To make matters worse, my co2 inflator wouldn’t work. After I finally got it fixed when Tony came back around, the weather took a turn for the worse. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees and it began pouring and hailing on us during our 10 mile recovery. We still had another 5 mile TT to do, but I got another flat. It was pouring and we were freezing at this point. So we decided to warm up in the Dairy Mart in Coburg. A 24 oz hi rev mocha and a handful of joe-joes latter, we were good to go. We did our our last TT back into Eugene. One of us would sprint passed the other, and then the next guy would sprint passed him. Our legs were incredibly tired, but we kept it up for at least 5 miles. Afterwards, we were completely covered in mud and exhausted. We took the bike path and practiced some bumper bikes in the grass for 5 minute, then headed back onto cement. As we passed under an overpass on the bike path near the Willamette, I noticed a guy standing right next to a duck in the grass. He waved us down for help. Apparently the duck had flown straight into the cement overpass and had fallen 20 feet down right next to the guy as he was walking on the bike path. We tried calling animal control, but they wouldn’t pick up. At this point, the duck was coughing up blood and spasming around in the last moments of its life, so Tony put his redneck skills to use and put the bird out of its misery by grabbing it by the neck and spinning it around in a circle and tossing it into a bramble of blackberries. Good way to end the ride.

We went directly from the ride to the monday night workout. Tony was destroyed and I found a lot of humor in his suffering. I was tired too, but mainly just giddy from all of the exercise. I’m a bit tired now.

Ok, I wrote all that earlier today (Tuesday) and put it in the present tense, which isn’t accurate obviously. So now I will talk about today (Tuesday) in the present tense, but remember: today is a different day than yesterday (Monday).

After riding with Tony yesterday and the monday night workout, I was feeling decently OK today, considering how many muscle fibers I’ve torn in the last week. I met Will and Mike at LifeCycle and we rode over to the crit course as it began to sprinkle lightly. The workout: 27mph 5,4,3,2,1 minutes with 1 minute rests in 53×17. It was windy. And hard. I was able to do the 5 minute interval, barely. But the 4 and 3 were not even close to 27mph. After that we had 5 minutes off, then 4,3,2,1 minute intervals. After sprinting up to 30mph, I went down to 24mph into my 39×15. I got up to 30 each time on the non wind side of the course, but didn’t quite hold 24 for the rest of the time. 5 minutes off again. Then the regular 24mph workout, which I did. But it was quite hard considering the freakin wind was blowing at like 20 mph on the back stretch. Later today I was riding my fixie commuter back from campus and had a hard time turning the pedals over going 15 mph. My legs are tired. Very tired. It feels GOOD. I feel much better than I did last Tuesday when I quit the ride early. I was mentally and physically tired, plus unmotivated then, and although my legs are torn to bits right now, I only want to ride more. After finishing the Willamette SR strong, plus getting into another journalism class that will allow me to graduate this spring instead of next fall, I feel like a great weight has been lifted from me. I want to ride. I want to tear shit up! Bring on the pain mother fucker!!!

Willamette Stage 4: Wolf Creek RR

This last day proved to by the hardest race by far. 84 miles of rainy, cold weather. And some big hills too. After today I finished 20th overall and 9th for the stage. If I hadn’t gotten penaltied today and dropped in the crit, I would have been in the top 10 GC. But, of course, what I COULD have gotten doesn’t mean a thing.

Mike, Tony, and I rode over to King Estates this morning, cramped in the front bench seat of Tony’s truck with our wheels in the back seat–we weren’t going to have a repeat of Friday.

I started near the front today, afraid of making the same mistake as yesterday and getting caught in the back. I held my position in the top 20 or so, nervously making bar and hip contact with the other riders as we sped down the road at 30 mph, tightly packed together. Breaks kept going off but everything was covered by CMG, Hagens Berman, or other anxious riders.

There are three hills on wolf creek. The first is very small and short, but it is important to finish up in the first 15 or 20 because immediately after summating it, there is a quick decent with a 170 degree turn that leads straight up to the second climb, which hurts real good. I found myself near the front after the first easy climb, but I was passed by at least 15 riders on the decent. Fortunately, I was able to regain my position during the climb and get back into the top 15 or 20.

The next part of the race is the hardest: the main wolf creek climb, which lasts for 10 or 15 minutes. Or maybe it’s more like an hour. I’m not sure, because each time my mind melted into a soup of pain. The burning in my legs was almost overpowered by the burning in my lungs and stomach. But not quite.

In a considerable amount of agony, I made it over the hill with the main group. I think we dropped about 2/3 of the field. The rest of the lap up until that first little climb I was just talking about was uneventful and a blur. I just ate and rested while CMG (I think) pulled at the front like dogs to catch a one man break that had gotten 2.5 minutes on us. He was eventually caught.

So, back to that little hill before the two big climbs on Wolf Creek. I was in the top 5 of our group of 30 (or however many people were still left) and I was feeling good. Then my chain derailed. This was the second or third time it had happened today, and this was not a good spot for it to happen. I managed to get it back on, right as the last guy in the pack passed me. I quickly jumped back on to the pack and began passing people, fearing that the field would split on the next climb and I would be left with the stragglers. In my pursuit to get back up there, I passed a struggling rider on the left. He moved slightly to the left while I passed–forcing me to cross the double yellow line and go into the left lane. The follow car honked its horn at me and I was penaltied 30 seconds, not that it mattered because after yesterday I was awarded something like 3 or 4 minutes for getting lapped in the crit.

I got back into the pack and sprinted up the beginning part of the next hill after taking the 170 degree turn very hard. In almost no time, I was back in the top 10. But starting to suffer. All of a sudden, a CMG rider got a flat and the entire CMG squad stopped. A red truck racing guy also had a mechanical and if I remember correctly, Hagen’s Berman also stopped because of a mechanical. Im not sure though. But all of this meant that the dominating teams were behind us and would have to catch up. We crested the hill and began the decent, unsure of what was going on. A few of us took some pulls down hill and on the flat section, but nothing too serious. There were 2 guys off the front about 15 seconds or so. I decided to attack on a slight riser, and got away. I went on my own for a few minutes, but kept an I behind me to see what was going on. The dropped teams had caught back on and the pack was gaining on me. So I gave up my bridge attempt and let them catch me. I didn’t want to waste too much energy before the main and final climb. The other two guys were quickly caught as well.

A few minutes more and we reached the base of the big climb. I felt slightly better on this climb, but it still hurt more than any ride or race that I have done so far this year. A break of 2 guys went on the hill. And another break of 5 guys went off after them. When we got to the top, there were only 15 or fewer of us left. The decent was fast, but by the time we reached the false flat section after the decent, the 5 man break already had a minute on us. There were only 2 CMG guys left at this point, one being Seth Hosmer, still in contention for overall GC. He and his teammate pulled in desperation, trying to pull the break back. But there were only two of them, and 5 of the other guys in that break, so their efforts were futile. None of us were going to help out.

But after watching those two suffer at the front for a good 15 minutes, I felt guilty and decided to give them a hand. I had been sitting 4th wheel for a while, and pulled off to the right to get up to the front and take a pull. But as I started to speed up, my benevolence deserted me and I decided to attack instead. I got away by myself and killed my body in the wind for the next 15 miles to the finish. My legs were so tired at the end, I was worried that the cat 1/2/3 women that I had recently passed were going to catch me going up the final 1KM climb. I grinded as hard as I could, afraid to shift down to my 39 ring with the unthinkable thought of it derailing again. I did anyways, very carefully. As I slowly made my way to the top, legs searing in agony, one cat 1/2 guy passed me. Then another. I don’t know where they came from, but I guess the “peloton” of 14 guys had caught up to me. The two guys who passed did so at an incredibly slow speed. I hung onto the second guy, willing my legs to continue their death march for another 1 minute. They succeeded, and I passed him right before the finish. I didn’t catch the other guy though, who finished about 20 feet in front of me. Judging by the slow speed at which they passed, I am positive that I would have beat them up the hill if I had been with the pack like them instead of destroying myself in my solo attempt. But I was glad to take the chance anyways. I have never been more tired after a race.

I met Tony and Mike in the parking lot and we went home. But made a great decision to hit Muchas Gracias for some burritos first. Later that day Tony and I took an hour recovery ride. It was a great weekend. The things I learned and need to work on (other than just getting faster): be more aggressive. Get used to making contact and being an ass hole and not letting people take my spot. Don’t go too hard in the beginning of a TT. Line up first for crits. Know the course and how far it is to the finish.

Willamette Stage 3: crit

I had a terrible race today; and was the maddest I have ever been after a race. I hope I didn’t upset any of the spectators.

After a good warm up, I was feeling terrific. I lined up as quickly as I could at the start, but somehow managed to still be stuck in the back quarter of the pack. The 5 corner race course was narrow, and it included a 180 degree boulevard turn that required rolling through at about 3 miles an hour. So when I looked around at my position at the start, I knew that I was going to have to work hard to move up once the race began. We started. I clipped in. The guy in front of me did not. It was too tight to get around him. As 20 people went around me on all sides, the guy in front struggled to clip in, and when he finally did, I found myself at the very back of the pack. 2 laps in and I had barely moved up. And gaps were forming. I began passing people and bridging gaps, but the main field kept increasing their lead on the broken tail end of the peloton. By now we were 15 minutes into the crit and a 2 man break had formed. They had already opened up 30 or 40 seconds on the main pack, and were closing in on me and the other couple guys that were desperately trying to catch back on. We did not work together very well. One of us would pull for a half lap or so, then the next guy in line would sprint ahead, trying to bridge the ever increasing gap himself. We were 25 seconds behind the main field when we were pulled off the course; the two break away was almost a full minute ahead of the main pack at this point, and they were about to lap us. I don’t know how the race ended because I didn’t stay to watch.

Stage 2 Willamette: Alpine Road Race

Today was wet and cold. But mainly fast.

In the still-dark morning, Tony, Mike, and myself drove to the race course in Tony’s tiny red Toyota truck. The bed was packed with wheels, bikes, and backpacks, which left only a tiny space in the rear seat for Mike to cram himself into. As we approached the race course, which is situated about half way from Corvallis and Eugene, it began to rain. In the period of 20 minutes, the temperature dropped at least 15 degrees. Rumors of snow on the finish climb began circling the covered basketball court where about 40 people sat on trainers, protected from the increasing rain.

Luckily enough, it stopped raining for the start of the cat 1/2 race.

Right from the beginning, the pace was high. Feeble attempts at breaks went and were reeled back in by the power house teams–Hagen Berman’s, CMG, Livestrong, and others. For the most part, the roads out there were clean and had few potholes. Trees lined the wet road. I can’t really explain the scenery in more detail than that because during the hilly, 43 mile, hour and 45 minute race, my eyes were glued to whatever wheel was in front of me.

The first true pain came at the middle climb. 1000 feet at a very high speed. We tore around the sharp corners and riders began dropping off in groups of five and ten. I had made the mistake of starting the climb near the back of the peloton, and paid for it by the end of the climb. As I passed struggling riders–myself struggling as well–I glanced down at my computer and saw 23mph. At one point I looked down again while I was “soft pedaling” during a slight decline in the gradient and saw 350 watts. I was well above 400 watts for the majority of the climb. A gap formed and I watched, helplessly, as about 15+ riders began the decent without me. But I was in a small group of other guys and we caught back on with a few minutes of work.

By then it was getting very windy and it began raining and sleeting. A break got away with about 10 guys. All were eventually caught.

The next half hour was a blur. I was in pain during the short climbs and sucking wheels like Hoover vacuum cleaner. We approached the final climb and the pace went up through the roof. I managed to stay with the pack though, and eventually began passing people. I thought there were 2 or 3 miles left in the race, and was making progress on the lead guys. The speed was fast, but not super fast. I was at about HR 185, around my threshold, and figured I could hold that pace for at least 2 miles. As I rounded a bend, I was shocked and very disappointed to see the finish line 50 meters ahead. I sprinted past a couple more guys and finished in 21st place–13 seconds behind the lead guys. There were no 3k or 200M to go markers, and it messed me up big time. Now I am sitting in 16th overall, 49 seconds behind the leader. Whatever.

I rode down to the start, freezing my ass off, and got the truck back up to the finish line for Mike and Tony. Mike had been dropped after being in a break away in the 3 field and Tony had been dropped from the cat 4/5 field during the 1000 foot climb.

We began the long trip home. It was a loooonnnnngggg car ride back to Eugene–3+ hours. On HWY 99, just leaving Junction city, we noticed a polite elderly redneck in a white truck (redneck according to Tony) pointing to the back of our pickup. We soon realized that something had fallen out. Tony pulled to the side of the highway, along with the elderly man in the truck, and he said, “you boys lost a wheel.” Each of our stomaches sank, praying that it wasn’t OUR wheel that flew out the back of the pickup on highway 99 at 70 miles an hour. It was my wheel. I let out a calm, but angry “FUCK.” I started running back down the highway as the other two guys got back in the truck and headed down the other side of the highway. It began to rain harder.

After running for a good 15 minutes, I caught up with Mike and Tony. Apparently Mike’s brand new Zipp had flown out also, but they found it in perfect condition. My wheel was nowhere in sight. Now I was getting worried. The wheel wasn’t exceptionally expensive. Just a cheap, factory built open pro. But there was an SL 2.4 power tap hub in the middle of that wheel. I let out a somewhat louder “FUCK!” I was very mad.

We spent the next 3 hours driving up and down the road, going all the way back to the race start. No luck. We stopped at Arby’s for an overpriced sandwich. We were bonking at this point in the drive. Tony and Mike had long since given up hope, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer. Because there is no way I could afford a new hub. We got out and began walking in the grass and garbage along the side of the road. Tony headed back to the car. Mike turned back to the car. I kept going, and saw a cool piece of rubber pipe that looked like it would make a good blackberry whacking stick. I went over to it and there, sitting in plain view on a slightly raised clump of grass, was my wheel. Victory. I grabbed it and ran with it along the highway, holding it above my head, yelling for joy as cars blared their horns.

The wheel was destroyed, but the hub was fine. Finally the long day seemed to be over. We could now go back and EAT. And rest. Coming back into Eugene, we were following a big, black SUV. The driver rolled down their window and threw a piece of trash out. We all gave a, “oh come on! WTF mate?” Deciding it was our one chance to catch up to a litterer (being in a car as aposed to riding bikes) we thought it would be a good idea to flip the driver off. As we pulled up next to him and gave him the finger, he rolled his window down to have a word. I rolled my window down and we argued for a few seconds, while still driving. I noticed that he had a big wad of spit saved up in his mouth and was pretty sure that he was about to spit at me, so I saved up a bit of my own and when he did spit, I let fly as well. He drove off and we all had a little chuckle. A few minutes later, when we came to a stop light, we saw him across from us a couple lanes over. We waved at him, which provoked him to get out of his SUV, walk across two lanes of traffic, and attempt to open Tony’s diver side door. I got out, thinking he was going to hit Tony, and we “got all up in each other’s face’s.” He was a big guy, about 6’4″ and 250+ pounds and looked like a linebacker. He said, “nobody spits on my car.” To which I replied, “uhhh, YOU actually spit at US first…after littering.” The guy didn’t care to hear my logic and attempted to shove me. I stepped to the side slightly and gave him a shove back, not really believing this was happening because of a small piece of litter. The light turned green and he returned to his car. Maybe next time he’ll think twice before littering. Probably not.

We stopped at Life Cycle to get a replacement wheel and Gild (my coach) heard what had happened and was furious that I would risk getting in a fight, especially in the midst of a stage race. I guess it was a bad idea.

Anyways, Geoff gave me a wheel off his bike and did a tune up on my shifting (thanks Geoff) before we finally got home and ate. And ate. And ate.

Kennett

PS I didn’t proof read so sorry for the gramatiical erors.

Willamette Prologue 6.6K

This morning I went out and did some 24mph intervals in the 39×15. It was sunny and I felt good, finally. The intervals felt easy and my legs felt fresh. Later in the day, I went into the shop one last time to make some more changes on my 5 speed TT bike. It’s called the 5 speed because it has 5 speeds. Big gear, bigger gear, bigger gear, bigger gear, and biggest gear. The front derailuer doesn’t work and the rear deraileur only shifts 5 of the back 10 gears. But none of that mattered during the race because it was completely flat and the only gears I needed were the big ones.

After a good warm up in the humid and comfortable late afternoon air, I rolled up to the line, prepared to enter the pain cave. I glanced down at my legs, somewhat shaking with nerves, and noticed the teaming number of small bugs plastered onto my legs. They were dead on impact and stuck in the oily stuff I had smeared on my legs for “protection against cooling down”–whatever that means. I took 15 big breaths of air, gulping it down like a free diver in preparation for an 8 minute and 48 second dive. I let out a slight grunt as I sprinted off into the wind.

I started out too hard, averaging about 650 watts for the first 45 seconds. Then, I didn’t go hard enough during the next 5 minutes while I recovered from my initial excitement. I watched, helplessly, as I saw my average watts go dwindle down. 630. 615. 599. 587. 545. 520. 490. 470. They got all the way down to 410 by the time I got to the final minute and a half of the course. As I entered the last of the 6 kilometers, I passed my 1 minute guy, but not my 30 second guy. By now I could see a neon yellow school sign, which I had remembered was very close to the end. I stood up and began sprinting, and without even having to reach down and shift up, my 5 speed shifted for me, somehow realizing that I needed that one extra gear.

My sprint lasted way too long, signifying that I hadn’t gone hard enough earlier on in the TT. I looked down at my AV watts after I crossed the finish line and saw 420. 10 shy of what I thought I wanted and 70 shy of what Gilad wanted. Realistically, I think I could have done 445 or 450 today, but messed it up in the beginning by going too hard and then not going hard enough when it counted. It was painful nonetheless. I took 24th out of about 75 riders.

I went on a 40 minute cool down ride later in the night and ate a feast of chicken and pasta at Tony’s.

Time to go to sleep; tomorrow’s going to be brutal!

Kennett

Yesterday’s shit ride.

Yesterday was a shit ride. To be more accurate, I was shit yesterday ON the ride. It was one all out effort up Mcbeth, some intervals, and then a 5 mile all out TT with 15 second sprints every minute. I rode with Will and he kicked my ass during the intervals. I was feeling like crap, and my mind was not in it. So, for the first time in over a year, I quit the workout early. I was very upset with myself when I got home. A word of advice: NEVER quit a workout early. That advice is mainly for myself when I read this blog later this year.

I went back out to finish the workout after taking a nap and going to class. It felt good to finish it. I got about 9 hours of sleep last night. And today I took a 2.5 hour nap. I think my grogginess and spaghetti doughnut legs are gone now. Just in time to burninate tomorrow’s prologue.

Today Tony, Aaron, and I went for an easy hour spin. We previewed the crit course for the Willamette SR and zig-zagged in and out of traffic and parking lots playing a game of hide and seek with Aaron. He’s just too easy to tease.

Tomorrow is burnination. 6.6k all out. 430 watts here I come, bitch.

Kennett

Monday

After my one class today I went for an easy ride for an hour. It was sunny, which was a nice change from the snow and hail, and rain of last week. The most eventful thing that occurred during the ride was that when I was waiting at a stop light, my heart rate got down to 52 in a matter of seconds. After the ride I went to Life Cycle and began putting together my new bike: a Cervelo R3. Yeah, you heard me right. Cervelo R3. Now I have NO excuses for bad races.

The Monday night workout–which is comprised of running, plyometrics, and a lot of core work–was easy today. Although, I had to fight pretty hard to hold back the tears when Gilad and everyone started making fun of my stick-like calves. Apparently I have tiny tiny girly calves, which was made apparent because this was the first day it has been warm enough to wear shorts during the Monday nighter. In my opinion, having small calves just means less rotational weight.