Europe update 2

I have been in Europe for two weeks now, and I have one week left. On one hand I really don’t want to go home because of school (and i’m racing my bike in Europe which isn’t too bad), but on the other hand, I miss everyone. I’ll make this last week count.

On Tuesday, we did a light spin in the morning, then in the afternoon we rode the 30km to the Tuesday night practice race. It was a combination of a group ride and a race that we don’t see much of in Tucson. It cost 5 Euro, and you got a race number, but it was still called a practice race. It was held on an old horse racing track that was paved over, about 1.3km in length. We rode in circles for an hour and a half. We had a race the next day, so I didn’t want to completely wreck myself. It was a lot like the shootout, except there were about 100 riders, and there were a lot more strong guys, and consequently the group stayed as a whole and went really fast. The pace wasn’t necessarily really high, but the speed was. We just kept gaining more and more momentum. On the finishing sprint I somehow went 39mph on my 52×16 gearing. After the race we were supposed to get a ride home in the van, but it broke down so we had to ride home. That turned it into a 100km day.

The next day was our 3rd kermis. It was a pretty big deal, with a massive stage and lots of spectators. My teammate Brandon was off from the gun with a few others. Soon him and a very strong Danish guy went clear of that group. I was still in the main group, where my other teammate Matteo went with another small group. They made it up to Chase 1, and formed a large chase group. At this point the Danish kid attacked Brandon as if he was standing still, and he was gone. Brandon waited for the chase group. I was still in the main group, and I was covering some moves and one stayed away. I was with two other guys. One of them was working well with me, but the other one was saying “you work, you win” every time I tried to make him work. So he was just going to sit on, but he was going to supposedly let me beat him if we made it to the finish. At this point we were nearing the start/finish, and I think we had about 3 laps to go, and they both started attacking hard. Really hard. Too hard. I followed them, but then they crossed the line and started coasting. My coach yelled to me that the race was over. I pulled over, and he explained that the solo Danish kid was about to lap us. They pulled us and the entire pack, and all that was left was the chase group and the solo Dane. Since so many people don’t finish Kermis’s, you still get a placing, even if you get pulled. In this case, only 13 people finished the race. I ended up 16th. Brandon attacked the chase group on the last lap and captured 2nd.

On Thursday, we did a long, easy 4 hour ride through Belgium. We rode with a few locals who knew the roads really well.

Today was Sunday, and we raced our 4th Kermis, the Geel Kermis. Right from the gun, Brandon went solo. A few laps later, Matteo bridged with one other guy, who soon fell apart and dropped back to us. We now had two USA guys up the road with nothing between them and a 1-2 finish, but we had a job to do. We had to control the race, and cover all of the moves and keep anything from getting away. Soon, the gap climbed over two minutes. A group of six guys went up the road, without a USA jersey in it. The pace was also pretty high in the group, but I knew I had to bridge. Bridging in and of itself can be difficult, but trying to go 30mph with a 52×16 gearing in a tailwind is killer. I barely made it up to that group, thanks to a corner and the fact that the Belgians don’t corner. Once in the group, I recovered and assessed the situation. My legs didn’t hurt too much, and my stomachache that I had most of the race was gone. I started working, but I had no idea how many laps were left because I don’t understand their gibberish and there are no lap counters. Our group was gaining ground quickly. Lap after lap went by. Finally, an official held out his finger as we went through the start/finish. One lap to go. We promptly began the cat-and-mouse game. Nobody wants to work anymore, because they want to be the most fresh for the sprint. This is a very dangerous game, though, and the group can often get caught by the pack. I decided to attack. Maybe nobody would want to chase, and we could walk away with a 1-2-3 finish. I look back, nope, they definitely waned to chase. I was caught soon later, and decided to rely on my sprint. We closed in on the finish. It was a long, wide, straight finish with a tailwind. One guy attacked, the guy I’m on followed, and I followed him. The finish line appeared in the distance, and I go early. 300 meters out, at least. I force myself to keep sprinting, even though I shouldn’t be able to sprint that long. I see a wheel creeping up on the right, but there is the line. I got it by probably half-a-wheel. So team USA goes 1-2-3, and everyone is happy.

Of all of the things I have learned so far on this trip, I would say the most important is that most races don’t go your way. As my coach said, Eddy Merckx was arguably the best bike racer of all time, but he only won about 30% of the races he started. For the rest of us, the percentage is much lower. Sometimes your legs will feel really good, but it won’t be your day and you don’t do well. Then the next race you are sure you can win, you feel so good. But you miss the winning move. But you need to remember, that if you just keep trying, eventually you are successful.

Sunday – La Course by Tour de France – LIVE!!

https://www.facebook.com/LaCoursebyLeTour

 

Sunday July 27th

Practice will be watching the women race at the tour de France.

Meet at 7am.

Race starts at 7:30am.

Should be approx. 2.5- 3hours long.

 

Monday– Mountain ride 6am start – PLUS Post ride cross training workout – roughly 9am

Tuesday– Morning road ride 6am start - PLUS Post ride cross training workout – roughly 9am

Wednesday- Morning road ride 6am start - PLUS Post ride cross training workout – roughly 9am

 

Thursday and Friday No practice.

Bike Camp, L’Abitibi and Tyler

Bike Camp starts tomorrow. 

 

Please arrive sharp at 7am, ready to go.

 

Bring a good lunch with you.

 

Post work, strength work out will commence at the end of the work day.

 

We will do strength training Monday- Thursday this week.

 

We should be done by 3pm, everyday.

 

The Tour de L’Abitibi starts tomorrow and if possible e everyone should try and watch. The video feed is poor, but worth it. It can be found here: www.tourabitibi.com  From there just follow the links to the live video.

 

Everyone of the kids at this race is a pure El Grupo team product. They all rode their first road bikes, got their first shoes, first shorts, first jerseys, with El Grupo. If you think what they are doing is special and cool, then dream the same dream. It is not beyond you. I believe that many of you can do the same. I hope this is not the greatest team that we ever put together.

Also Tyler as you all now know is at a camp in Holland. He is living his dream as well, mostly because he was not afraid to dream this dream. He has been laser focused on this for years and it is paying off big.

 

These are opportunities in front of all of you. It may take you longer, or your road to it might be different, but it is possible. Every one of your teammates racing internationally came to this team not as the greatest athletes, but as dreamers. Some of them started with no dreams at all, they just wanted to have fun. Thats how it starts. Be consistent, have fun, then lets see where your dreams take you.

 

ReducedFullRes-3052

 

09/11/11 AZ State Individual Time Trial

 

web-1898

 

DSon

 

 

Europe update 1

Well, as you might know I’ve been in Europeland for the last week. If you haven’t been here before, you should think about checking it out. I’ll tell you some about my experience so far, because you may be interested, or, some of you should be aiming at going next year. Anyways, after arriving in… Read more »

Training plan for the week of July 14th

Welcome back everyone. I hope you all had a great week, I for sure did.   We have an exciting fall race season before us and we hit the go button tomorrow.   If you are in high school we have the mountain bike league to look forward to and I am shooting to win… Read more »

Week of July 7th

Rest week. NO structured training. Ride if you like.   Tyler and the L’Abitibi boys of course this is not your plan.   Please try and watch the Tour de France as much as possible. Why not watch the best ride at the biggest race?   When we start up again during the week of… Read more »

The start of July – this week & next

Apologies for the delayed post, and thanks for your patience. This past month (June) has by far been the busiest for El Grupo in our history, hands down. Lots of good stuff going on and great energy from you all – in spite of the overbearing heat. So much for slowing down as the temperature… Read more »

Week of June 23rd

I love the Durango trips and really any travel trips that we go on. They allow us to come together in a special way that is only possible when we get out of our comfort zones and home and have to rely on each other. The future of El Grupo looks very bright, the crew… Read more »

Perseverance and Commitment

As you all know Logan, Christian, Keenan, Ben, Nick and Daniel are all up in Flagstaff right now trying to make it to the biggest race in the Americas. The camp started yesterday and I have the first report from them.   The camp is essentially a stage race consisting of 4 time trials and 2… Read more »

Morning workouts this week!!

As promised, we will have morning workouts this week to gain back and/or keep up some fitness to be ready to have some fun in Durango next week! These are optional but HIGHLY ENCOURAGED. You will feel SO MUCH BETTER doing a workout with Elke and Steve Ilg in Durango if you come to these… Read more »