Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: April 2011

Friday, 29 April 2011

SpeedWeek 2011 (NRC)

Summer it up with the Wetblog:(Davali): DL

CRANK THE VOLUME cause it is time for the Biggest Show in U.S. Biking. It's time for Athens Twilight! This race is insane!
LIVE VIDEO FEED (Racing starts 8.45pm EST)



This week Carlos and I traveled to Speedweek in Georgia. On our way, we stopped in Sayre, Arkansas and saw some Zebras. Then to Huntsville to dodge some tornadoes, now we are here in Athens, GA for one of the biggest races of the year.

The saying "Full Gas" usually means....absolutely everything you have....ride totally unsustainably. Go until you blow! And now it is time to do just that!


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Traveling with the Wind


Since our altitude training camp in Santa Fe, NM, my teammate Carlos Alzate and I drove across the southern United States to the Southeast Criterium series opener in Athens Twilight. We traveled through Arkansas and stayed two nights in Huntsville, Alabama with former professional cyclist Matt Winstead; little did we know that the 2nd most deadly bout of tornadoes the Southeast United States has experienced in the last 100 years was following highway travels.

I wrote my thoughts in reflection the night after that traumatic day. I wrote by candlelight in a small notebook that I found in the house. I’ve left it mostly in its unedited form, mind you some sections of the original notes were completely indecipherable as I scribbled the story down late in the evening. In retrospect, writing my experience helped me come to grips with the experience and I send my condolences to all of the victims.

Traveling with the Wind

Where to begin? Today has been a long, interesting experience that will most likely stay fresh in my thoughts for a long while. I write this now by candlelight at our homestay in Huntsville, Alabama. For now, it appears that the worst has past however after multiple tornado systems trampled the entire state...(gibberish).

I first awoke to the familiar tone of my cell phone alarm clock, and scrambling to find it before I reached the “awake-point-of-no-return” a flash of lightning illuminated the interior of my room. Lying on a camping insulate in a borrowed sleeping bag, I awaited the thunder. The roar was immense. However following the second flash was a sound that I have only heard in the movie theatre and that of my nightmares. The siren, fading in, around and back again like that of a fog horn, announced the city wide alert. In knowing that storms had troubled neighbouring states only the day before, I assumed their sound meant tornadoes were on the way.

Out of bed, I gathered my clothes. Sweeping my pants off the floor and slipping them overtop of my compression tights, my polo over a synthetic undershirt. Once in the living room, I cautiously approached the window as flashes of light announced the arrival of the day. The siren seemed louder.

Should I awake our homestay? What should I do? As I approached his bedroom door to knock I heard the crackling ring tone of the telephone following closely by the sound of a worried conversation. Only key words made it to my ears: tornado, how soon? Okay, we are coming. When Matt came into the living room, our morning “hello” was brief. He said that his house is too light and the trees in his yard too big for it to be safe here. We were headed to his parent’s house ten minutes away for shelter. I knocked on my teammate, Carlos’ door. “Vamanos! Vamanos!” I don’t know many words in Spanish so instead of trying to explain I just repeated the message with urgency. “Training?” he replied. “NO! Tornado! Uno momento...Vamanos!”

Diving into the car shirtless, Carlos got it. Matt tore out of the neighbourhood as sheets of water blurred the windscreen. The road became a mirrored plane concealing all colors of road paint. The path ahead thus took upon the ominous shade as that of the sky above. Lightning crackled overhead and red brakes lights darted in and around the edges of our peripheral view.

Once at the house, we sat patiently for updates from the television. Our hosts politely offered us a cup of tea as if it were a pleasant summer’s afternoon. I appreciated the gesture and watched the TV in angst. Without warning the picture of the news coverage would switch to a black and white dialog box accompanied with a ear-blasting buzz. The mechanical tone announced that there was an active tornado warning for Madison, Lawrence & Morgan counties. I asked which county Huntsville was and Matt’s father replied “Madison”.

Although the linear red mass on the weather radar, which represents the height of the cell (also most commonly the front edge of the cell and the area which will mostly likely create funnels) had already passed over our town, the cell had yet to pass many communities to the south. The news person on the television were quickly describing the movements of the cell, estimating its path and its arrival time for each town downwind of the storm.

Thirty minutes later we were served a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal and raisins providing much needed familiarity after such a nervous start to the day. It was even sunny out when we arrived home, robins and squirrels scavenged the yard for worms and nuts as water continuously dripped from the roof line.

Being a rest day off the bike, I feel asleep during the first movie of the morning and laughed through the second. Still groggy from two long days of driving, we agreed to head out to a coffee shop for some internet and caffeine. Once there I checked the weather once more as a second cell was expected in the early afternoon. No riding today. At noon, I saw another string of warnings on the radar. I called our homestay Matt, who was now at work. He said to come over. Now!
As we threw our computers in our bags and walked outside the siren started again. Rain fell from the sky. Hard. A wall of black cloud appeared off to the southwest; the flag above strained in terror, pointing straight out to the northeast. Once in the car, I noticed that the other vehicles on the road were not acting normally. You could feel the impending danger amongst the other cars. Once on the highway, cars ripped past us with no concern for the speed limit, dare I say that I also drove very fast. I had the names of four streets in my mind, now I just had to make all the right turns. One missed left but I saw a big landmark and corrected; the golden arcs of a McDonalds. Peeling off the main road and through a suburb, I popped into the McDonalds parking lot where customers were still ordering from the drive-through!

The black wall, the leading edge of the cell was almost overhead. I ran to the front door of the four story glass office building in the lot adjacent of the McDonalds. The front doors were locked and the windows heavily tinted. I called Matt who said to come around to the side. Leading Carlos, we took off around the building, backpacks swaying left right left. It too was locked! Running back to the front, the sky above opened up and sheets of rain dropped upon us. The smooth cement became slippery underneath our team-issued street shoes. Thankfully the door was open upon our arrival and entered the glass house.

Inside I met more and more people as I ventured around the many corners leading to the core of the building. The entire office was gathered in the cafeteria and the furnace room, both on the first floor; there was no basement. Those in the cafeteria watched the red wave approach on the television screen, in the furnace room many texted their family members and only a few brave individuals looked out the southwest-facing windows, noses pressed up against the glass to block out the interior reflections created by the dark clouds outside.

After a while, we started to hear reports of damage in town. Trees down, telephone poles down. Apparently there was wind damage at a local high school and a few of the parents had children there. They were very worried.

As the cell passed, we were moved into the board room to check our emails and relax. Employees went out for lunch or headed back to their respective tasks. FEDEX deliverymen arrived and the flow of business resumed.

An hour later, once emails and sports highlights could no longer distract us from our hungry stomachs, Matt returned suggesting we go out for lunch before the next cell arrived in 3hrs.
The drive to lunch included police controlled intersections and downed trees but no significant roof damage. Unknowingly, we both ordered a salad; inferring that we both figured there wouldn’t be any time for bike riding that afternoon.

After lunch we returned to the coffee shop for faster internet and better coffee than at the office. Usually I have enough trouble falling asleep after just one coffee and as such I am still up writing this reflection. I emailed my coaching clients and finally got to watch the entire recap of my hometown hockey team’s playoff success the night before; all the while I kept a watchful eye on the weather. All wrath of red hazard zones were fast approaching from the southwest so once close, we again decided to leave for the office building. Although the drive was much more relaxed the second time, we arrived to a swath of spectators outside the main floor watching funnels drop from the clouds to the east. The cloud now dropping funnels had traveled over the coffee shop just as we left.

Back into the boardroom or was it straight to the furnace room, I forget. As people began to travel home around 5pm, reports began to stream in. A hospital, entire towns; trees falling and trapped residents; homes crushed. At 5.15pm the lights went out, apparently half the state. Another cell was approaching according the radio so I moved into the furnace room, organizing photos from the Santa Fe training camp to distract myself. When I entered a woman was in tears. She had just been in touch with her young family via cellphone (her oldest daughter babysitting the younger ones) when the storm passed her home. Now she could no longer reach them. She eventually got in touch with her neighbours, her son’s phone battery had stopped working and her daughter plugged her phone into the car outside as the power was off in the house. Nevertheless, people in her neighbourhood were hiding underneath the porches of their homes. More storms were forecast until 10.30pm, it was going to be a long night.

I stayed in the furnace room for above an hour, until my computer battery died. Then I moved back over the conference room for a snack of peanut butter and crackers. All we had now was one smart phone which was quickly dying, which we used to listen to the weatherman on the radio.

Despite the lack of power, the office building’s work day was still far from over. There had been troubles with the couriers late in the afternoon and certain packages needed to make it to South Carolina the next day. As the daylight faded (making it difficult to see new cells arrive overhead) and the lack of electricity turned the city streets into dangerous arteries of congestion, Matt left with his father (the owner of the company) to find an open courier office. One more cell was now on its way, 21minutes. We had to decide if we wanted to stay at the office building or travel back to Matt’s folk’s home. I opted to stay, I felt safer at the bigger building despite the prospect of missing dinner.

The ambient light faded, only lightning brightened the lobby. Without power, the building could not be locked as if it did return, a worker would have to turn on the AC cooling towers otherwise the presses and ovens used to create dental appliances would overheat. Matt’s mother (the company’s 2nd in charge) and I chatted in the lobby, staying on the lookout for people wandering around for shelter who we did not know. One of the loyal company mechanics soon arrived and to find a manual solution for the unlocked electronic door locks.

At 9pm the stars appeared overhead, the final cell had only been thunderous as opposed to tornadic. We decided to head home and prepare for tomorrow’s training. Walking from the glass house to the team Volvo, the lightning show to the east brightened our path. The air was now still, almost silent; but I still did not feel safe.

I am now at the homestay but I still do not feel safe. We have enough gasoline to make it to Atlanta tomorrow afternoon or at least enough to get outside of the power outage area. However flooding and fallen trees will now be our largest obstacles. Without power, traffic lights will also be slow going. Apparently a total of eight power towers were knocked out and some think the National Guard may arrive in the morning.

Many people lost their lives today. I feel it is difficult for me to write this. I usually only blog about cycling news, tossing in a sponsor friendly twist or a supporting plug; today is different though. The locals say this is the most tornadic cells ever seen in one day. In ‘74 it was one big cell that blew up the Ford dealership and that burger joint with the rollerskaters. In ’89 a single F6 funnel (the biggest category) rampaged through town, nearly claiming the life of Matt & his mother. Today’s large number of storm equals the intensity of those historical events. It’s figured that this was the most active weather day the area has experienced in recent history.

As I waited in the lobby earlier in the evening, lying prone over the carpet-covered cement floor, I listened to the owners discuss how to solve the cooling tower problem. Trying to stay distanced, I did not engage in the conversation, just zoned out. I just tried to distance myself from the situation. I have never been good with dealing with death; in fact, I seem to be unnervingly good at separating myself from a lot of things. Maybe that helps me do my job on the bike, I don’t know. But what I do know is that today I felt myself fall into survival mode.

Despite remaining calm throughout the day, the stress placed upon my shoulders is now pent up inside. Now in reflection, I feel that it has greatly affected me. My mind now races. I am not hungry, I cannot sleep and I do not know what we will find during our drive tomorrow. The candlelight is fading and I have almost run out of pages. I do not know if I have said what I was hoping, planning or thought there was to say; however one interesting note for the day is when I arrived here at the house and tried to find a task to occupy my time before bed I opened one of the many religious texts on our homestay’s bookself to the page titled: Continual Repentance (Book of Puritan Prayers & Derivations). Although I do not subscribe to any one faith, I thought that this was an interesting end to the day.

So may the spirit that leads you through life, also protect you.

Good night.

April 28th: Huntsville damage (Article)
May4th: Power back on for 97% of Huntsville (Article)

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Reflections upon Moving Forward

One of the hardest parts of the pro athlete life that I have recently experienced is the battled against just simply going a little nuts. During "recovery" time (ie: lying down as much as possible), there is a lot of time to think, a lot of time that you need to fill. Our the past two weeks on the road, after a birthday present from my brother, I have been able to get back to reading the Wall Street Journal consistently. I think it is important to stay current, no matter where in the world you are, or whatever you are doing.

I guess this is the Environmental Economic major in me looking for some fulfillment, so take a moment if you haven't been able to recently and check it. This article does a nice job of summing up some of the big issues with complete explanations. Enjoy!

"Some big countries had a housing bubble that burst, provoking the biggest financial crisis in half a century. To avoid a depression, they flooded the world with credit. And that credit threatens to create new housing bubbles in other countries. No one ever said globalization was easy." See Entire Article.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Santa Fe Camp: EXHALE!!!!!!

The Plaza! @ Santa Fe (360' click to expand!)

Training at altitude has been pretty wicked hard but the legs are coming around. Even on the easy days it has been hard to breath but that's all part of it, 7,000 ft is high! After a rest day on Thursday, we ventured up the local climb on Friday (4,000 ft) to the ski resort. If you ever visit Santa Fe, it is definitely a road that you'll need to conquer (13miles, averaging 5% with a large section at 10%). It takes about an hour to climb and is very twisty and exciting on the way down! Take an extra layer for the descent!

On Saturday we went out with a bunch of riders from the community to absolutely trash ourselves. Actually it was easier than Wednesday's "I almost got off my bike at one point" ride, with some tough combinations of 3-6 minutes ascents, twisty descents, viscous crosswinds on the way home (great echelon pacelining practice) and a flurry of pedestrians as the locals celebrated Easter with the Pilgrimage to the Church of Chimayo (For an brief but insightful article on the interesting history of this special place, see here). We passed hundreds off people during our ride, often passing the same groups twice since we looped around the town. Our ride map is below and if you travel to Santa fe, it is also a great ride to check out.

Our last day in Santa Fe finished up with a 2hr session with both of our homestays Tove and Jerry on the motorbikes. They motorpaced Carlos, Andres and I; well we tried but the 30mph winds made it a bit difficult. Nonetheless, I got some great leg-speed out of the ride and am just stoked to be training in sunny conditions!

Below are the photos of the week, including moonrise, local downtown, scenic shots of the rides and group shots from our new TeamExergy fans; thanks again Sam for setting up this training camp.

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Santa Fe Camp: INHALE!!!!!!

Check this out!

We just showed up in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Monday. The rest of the Exergy crew is arriving tomorrow and I can already feel the elevation.

Training tips for moving to elevation:

1) Sleep: sleep as much as you can. Sleep is very important in managing your hormone balances which promote healthy weight management.

2) Hydration: your body will dry out, thickening your blood. You may even lose weight, however it will mostly be water weight. Drink as much as you can during travel and especially during the first five days.

3) Avoid extremely intense intervals. Give your body time to adjust to the elevation and remember that recovery times (post-intervals and overnight) will be longer than usual, especially in the first 5 days

4) Enjoy the good days, enjoy the bad days. Sometimes it is better to just ride.

Also a shout out to my coaching clients at Whitman College who all pushed it to the max at last weekend's Tour of Walla Walla (Check out their reactions from the spring's racing here!). Next up Conference finals in Pullman with 2 of 4 PMC clients qualifying for Collegiate Nationals in Madison, Wisconsin in early May! Time for the final workouts before their taper. Great work Molly Blust, who has been working hard since October 1st and will be joining the A women's squad for the Team Time Trail; and also Chelsea Momany who has worked very hard during her senior year to find success both on the road and on the chalkboard! Look for Chelsea in the Nationals Road Race!

Moonrise (big harvest moon!) during our travel day today!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Old Pueblo Grand Prix

Kolombo - NYE djset by kolombo

BAM! A real cactus! Had never seen one before, they are tall.

We arrived in Tucson last night after a long but comfortable drive from Moab. Our homestay is amazing, with a pool and everything so I'm looking forward to many
ice baths/cannonballs as it looks like the 95 degree forecast will make for a warm weekend.

This morning we showed up in town early for one of the best known group rides in North America....THE SHOOTOUT! Although not as fast as it can be (January-February a lot of WorldTour riders show up....with teammates!), the pace was pretty damn quick (officially considered a “medium” speed by the locals). Fortunately I felt great after six days of elevation training and was able to spin a high gear as the 110+ rider field ramped it up leading into the 200m uphill sprint point. Scoring the sprint victory was fun!

On the way back into town I met the Old Pueblo Grand Prix race director Kurt Rosenquist who owns and operates the primo fitness and bike fitting studio Fitworks. He showed us the race course and his shop, finishing with a round of homemade bran muffins! It was a beautiful morning and by the time we got back to the car (10am) it was already 80+ degrees.

A dip in the pool to cool off and an afternoon of rest prepped us for the evening event the following day.

The Race: 4 TEAM EXERGY riders (Quinn Keogh, Chris Hong, Eric Barlevav and myself), 1 TEAM SKY rider (Jeremy Hunt, fresh off the Paris-Roubaix), 6 Fly V Australia, 12 RIDE CLEAN (including National Track Champion Jamey Carney), 6 PISTA PALACE riders (including 2008 National Criterium Champion Rashoon Bahati) and a handful of other amateurs from around the southwest, totalling 97 vicious competitors vying for the evening’s $2000 prize.

The surprising number of fans lining the narrow streets of the old town course created a claustrophobic feel as the field quickly unravelled, like a coiled snake in attack. Within half a lap its winding torso stretched around the stone corners ahead, hiding the actions of the head of the race if misplaced in the torso of the pack. The route included cobbled crosswalks and manhole-sized pot holes, ready to fatally bite any who misjudged their potency. A strong wind rushed through the surrounding stone buildings, protecting those of the breakaway in the tailwind sections and rewarding those coasting near the front of the peloton in the headwind sections. The rattle of the announcer's bell warned of a $200 prime prize only moments in. In contesting, a small four man breakaway formed and rode away from the peloton including TEAM EXERGY rider Eric Barlevav. Soon the break hovered beyond the group, dangling before the slithering mass behind. Quinn moved to the front of the peloton to cover bridge attempts and seize peloton prime sprints. With Barley using his legs in the break, I moved back to tenth wheel to take my place behind Ricky Escaula, Rahsoon Bahati and Ben Kersten presuming the duty as our squad’s sprinter for the day.

With twenty minutes remaining in the 1.5 hr event, the breakaway finally gave in. Shortly thereafter a second 2man break formed without TEAM EXERGY representation. The peloton allowed the gap to open as it felt that the breakaway would not last however due to the small amount of riders from each team, a concentrated chase did not occur. As a result one Specialized rider launched a successful bridge attempt to the group 15 seconds up the road and in the closing laps the break stayed strong despite 3 FLY V AUSTRALIA and Jeremy Hunt (TEAM SKY) working at the front. Chris Hong, after snagged by an early crash returned to the front to work hard to reel in the break.

Ultimately however, it became evident with 2 laps remaining that our race would be that for 3rd place and a $1000 dollar prize. It was at that point that Quinn (despite working tirelessly all day), Barley (who’d been in the day’s major break) and I found one another, forming a trio near the front of the pack. But the bunching and chaos of the finale complicated our plans and after biting into the brakes on both of the final two corners to avoid other riders, my third sprint of the lap along the bumpy start-finish straight only proved good enough for 5th in the bunch and 7th overall. Barley, with more luck despite his tired legs, squeezed through and finished 2nd in the bunch behind World Champion track rider Ben Kersten (FlyV Australia). Quinn, after totally detonating himself to claim two of the five prime sprints (and missing the crowd prime by only an inch), launching his own bridge attempt in the closing 7 laps and then summoning the courage to ride cross-eyed during the finale to secure a front position for Barley and I, crossed the line safely in 25th.

All in all we did a good race as our efforts at the front secured many announcements by the race commentators as well as a healthy dose of prizes for our efforts.

Our homestays for the week, the Peterson family, were amazing. Not only did they come to the race and cheer us on, they opened their home to us two days before the event, fed us wonderful meals and welcomed us back for winter training this upcoming January. Thank you very much and we all look forward to visiting Tucson again soon!

Evening ride upon our arrival from Moab
Great spot for moon rise in the evening and sunrise in the morning
King Kong and Billy Bob

Photostream from our homestay! Thank you Petersons!


Friday, 15 April 2011


The drive to Moab was quick and awesome! I have never been to this part of the world. Lots of very very cool mountains, felt like I was in a Playmobil set. Quinn’s mom welcomed us into her amazing home and treated us to some very delicious meals. Of course we took advantage of our trip for a stop at the local Brewery. It’s world renown status was very accurate! The Dead Horse is a sure bet!

Hong and I ventured out the Colorado River and then flipped it in time to make it up to the plateau near the airport (couldn't sneak into the Arches National Park without paying). There were bike trails everywhere, not only that, they were brand new! It seemed like we had a tail wind all day. Amazing!

That afternoon Quinn stayed with the kids (his mom runs a pre-school and kindergarten school). They practiced their riding skills, helmet wearing and and gravel turns. The highlight was Quinn helping his cousin's daughter take her first trip down the driveway without training she learned to ride on gravel! Can you say Mountain biking future!

The next day Quinn joined us for an epic ride up into the mountains to check out some real dinosaur tracks. YES! Through the canyon, past the fort and into the Castle Valley. Past the Pastor & Nuns (big rocks), we started climbing along a false flat 5% grade, then the mountain started! 45 minutes at 7.7% average gradient with a lot of 11%. Fortunately the snow at the top didn't cover all the dino tracks and we found some awesome views. The descent however was so cold that we all got brain freeze...I guess we had a pretty stiff wind pushing us up the mountain. Then we decided to complete the loop with another 2,000 foot climb to drop us into Moab from the south. All in all, 9,000 feet of climb starting from 5,200 feet over 4.5 hrs riding and 4.75 hrs total. Epic! No bears, no crazy gun-touting locals but lots of watts!

As Bubbles would say....”sleepy times”.

Videos from the Colorado River ride on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011


After scoping the dino museum near our homestay on our drive last Friday, a trip to check out some bones stacked up there at #1 on the list of things to do post race. I’ve seen dino mock-ups before but never a full skeleton so I wasn’t going to waste this chance, besides we are going to Moab later in the week so I might as well get ready to see lots of dinos!

Lesson 1) Dino poop is heavy.
Lesson 2) Dino DNA is hard to find.
Lesson 3) The supersaurus is orange & has a hip bone the size of 7 Chris Hongs!
Lesson 4) The sandpit with dino bones in it is for kids only...apparently my creeper mustache gives away my age.
Lesson 5) The guy cleaning dino bones behind the glass wall is real, but the guys cleaning dino bones not behind glass walls aren’t.
Lesson 6) Flying dinos were better at the “bulleye’s game” than their grounded comrades.
Lesson 7) Easter eggs are filled with chocolate and dino eggs are not very paintable.

Our SLC itinerary also included a trip to the Temple of Mormon. We found some fuzzy hats, a big shiny glass thing called a chandelier and took a bunch of photos of a building that is a bit too white for its own good. See if you can find my hand-standing teammate Quinn.

We also ventured out for a training criterium at the Rocky Mountain Raceway on Tuesday night. Day 4 at elevation really made the legs useless but the efforts were great. Those racers up there really go nuts! I jumped in a four man breakaway, although Reid Mumford and Chase Pinkham leapt off in a two-man charge. So my chase-mates included Leadville 100 winner Bryson Perry (Life Time Fitness), Michael Booth (Ski Utah) & Aaron Olsen (FFRC SBO). With 1 lap remaining and Chase/Mumford way off in the distance, Bryson, who had been pulling 75% of the race (that guy is flying!....I've heard that he is preparing to comeback to Leadville this year so look out), took a flyer. So I figured it was as good a time as any to practice my leadout for my chase-mates. The sensations were good!

A few more days of elevation in Moab then it’s down to Tucson!

Bryson Perry's wins at Leadville:

2001 Bryson Perry Utah 7:30:01
2002 Bryson Perry (2) Utah 7:32:27
2003 David Wiens Colorado 7:07:44
2004 David Wiens (2) Colorado 7:05:51
2005 David Wiens (3) Colorado 7:17:47
2006 David Wiens (4) Colorado 7:13:14
2007 David Wiens (5) Colorado 6:58:46
2008 David Wiens (6) Colorado 6:45:45
2009 Lance Armstrong Texas 6:28:50
2010 Levi Leipheimer California 6:16:37*

The Terrible TWOS!


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Tour de Depot

Highbloo - Time To Change Pt 2 (Surfing Leons Remix) preview by lektroluvrecords

Wetblog: Highblood - Time To Change Pt 2 (Surfing Leons Remix) preview bylektroluvrecords

The OMEGA HIT SQUAD convened this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. With most of the team heading down to Laguna Seca for the Sea Otter Classic next weekend, Quinn, Chris and I traveled to Utah to represent Exergy at the Tour of the Depot. Kai Applequist, our Team Exergy teammate won the 2009 rendition and we were traveling with the hopes of a stage win and some great training. But Utah’s higher altitude and well represented teams had other plans. The Canyon Cycle team, SLC top local team, were shooting for the overall win as the weekend’s top GC amateur earned a spot on a composite squad for Minneapolis' Nature Valley Grand Prix event in June.

The first day started bright and early. A 9am start with a few inches of snow on the ground welcomed us three amigos as we ventured an hour west of SLC to Stocton, Utah. The course was changed and start delayed as snow over the pass forced a reroute but fortunately the temperatures were just warm enough to melt the big white flakes before they iced up the roads. So amidst a snow storm, a 30 man pack (with 7 Canyon riders) took off into the rolling flatlands of Stockton. We planned to be aggressive from the start as the early break usually sticks but perhaps I was a bit too early when I countered over Quinn’s opening attack to launch into a 15 minute solo break accumulating a maximum advantage of 50 seconds.

Although the field was slow to react in a show of confusing tactics, I was brought back as the field turned into a block headwind, leaving Quinn and Hong to cover the front. After the first turn-around at 50km, a small three man break had formed without Exergy representation so in classic 101 bike tactics, I stretched the field out just enough to launch Quinn across. Now six strong, the break rode 60-90 seconds in front of the cold peleton.

After the second turn-around, the second largest team in the race, SportsBaseOnline, got organized at the front and starting chasing with their five man squad. Chris and I, along with a few Canyon riders, rode just behind the rotating SBO riders. However the gap to the front remained 90seconds strong. After a third turn-around and we rolled back towards the finish line, a strong tailwind and false flat uphill made the pain in the legs equal for all in the peloton. Near the crest of the single hill of the day with 15 miles remaining, Chris and I, along with 1 Canyon rider (Tyler Riedesel), rode away from the pack, eventually finishing 80 seconds behind Quinn, who after slowly shedding the rest of the breakaway, attacked at 500 metres only to lose out to local 42 year old legend David Harward (Canyon) in the sprint.

Stage 1:

1) Harward (Canyon): 2:57:00

2) Keogh (Exergy): +0:08

After the race we all got a chance to shower and nap in the trailer camper of our wonderful homestay Andre. Andre also had a pretty good day in the snow as he won his Master’s +45 race. The time trial was set for late in the afternoon on a course featuring a 3 mile 3-5% uphill followed by a 6 mile descent...which means Quinn and I were both very excited to ride the brand new KASK time trial helmets and our Williams disc wheels. Unfortunately race organizers cancelled the event due to a road washout.

Day 2 was much more pleasant. Sunny skies welcomed us as we returned to the location of the time trial course to race 8laps of an 8km circuit over slightly inclined terrain (nothing over 3%). We were aggressive when appropriate and controlled the race when appropriate but it was very difficult to go for the win due to the amount of riders in the race and the team’s represented. With only 19 riders toeing the line Sunday, Canyon’s six riders made escaping into the breakaway very difficult. Unfortunately we lost Chris very early and despite controlling the race through the second of two intermediate sprints (Lap 2: three man breakaway claimed the time; Lap 5: Quinn claimed a 1 second time bonus to move only 7 seconds adrift of Harward. However unfortunately a late move slipped away and Canyon lost the GC overall to a rider representing Tulsa Tough.

So the weekend didn’t go to plan but we still came away with some great VO2 max training at elevation. Looking forward to a few days of training in Salt Lake before our trip to Tucson.


Saturday, 9 April 2011

Sponsorship Appreciation

Earlier this week, my 2011 audio sponsors released their latest mix, just in time for my 26th birthday and the Tour of the Depot today! Thanks for the rad set guys....bringing back the good memories from 2010. See whats all up here! Download free here NOW!

In other sponsor news, sometimes they ask us to wear sweet gear and ride the best equipment in the world.

Which is pretty much quite fantastic!

Other times they ask us to model the gear in other ways.

Such is life....

Thanks to all the sponsors of Team Exergy. Supporting the new team on the block is always tough but with all the gear, you're making it easy to look good! AND GO WAY FAST!

Photos Courtesy of Veloimages & McManus Photography

Monday, 4 April 2011

Redlands 2011

It was hard!

Team Exergy rode really well and scared people.

We are not a bunch of push-overs.

We are here to stay.

Rock on Garth......

TT Prologue Recon
Josh (Williams Cycling), our super mechanic who knows nothing other than how to work really hard
Inside the team tent at the TT Prologue...and so it begins!
95'F and 5km uphill makes for some discomfort...especially after a late winter up North. Good thing Kai showed us good technique for recovery. Amateurs...take note of how he curls his toes to help direct his trajectory!
Stage 1: Cooke 13th, Andres 17th (Mancebo wins....Tour de France KOM competition winner)
Stage 2: Andres bridge to breakway almost stealing yellow jersey (200km stage, team drank 80 bottles)
Stage 3: Good representation in early breakaway, maintained Andres 4th GC and Cooke's 10th GC place despite many crashes in the field
Stage 4: Andres, Cooke, Carlos work tirelessly in the front group to get time bonuses, Carlos flats in last 3km. No sprint for stage but we maintained our GC positions.

Party on Wayne!