Monday, January 2, 2012

Brief year in review.

2011 was hard and crazy. I started the year with a back injury sustained on a January training ride. At one point I seriously considered quitting bike racing because my back was so messed up. Dr. Noel Snodgrass at Portland Chiropractic spent months getting me back into good mental and physical shape.


Shortly after that was the Fixed Gear Classic in Blaine, MN in early June. Since we are real smart, we decided to drive. Well, Brent did most of the driving since i haven't really driven since i was 15. Two gnarly days in the car did wonders for my still if-y back. The racing was fun and we got to hang out with everybodies favorite six day racer Franco Marvulli. Dan Harm and I won the Madison and then a preposterous amount of pizza was consumed.
The next big race was the Tesstarosa Velodrome Challenge in San Jose. Always a hotly contested weekend with a lot of fast folks and this year was no exception. I managed to have some decent results aside from still being very behind on fitness and strength including 2nd in the points race behind Dan Holloway.

Next up was my home turf battle. The Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge. I was going through some crazy drama in my life and was having a hard time keeping my head on straight. I was able to block it out long enough win FINALLY win the points race just ahead of old man Jame Carney. I still don't have pictures from this race and we got rained out for the 2nd day. I was really hoping to double up with a scratch race win.

The next week was the always fast and fun Marymoor Grand Prix in Redmond, WA. Unfortunately some drama still had a stranglehold on my head and i didn't have much of a good time. Not even holding hands with Jame was making things much better. We finished 2nd in the madison to Kit Karzen and Holloway.

After Marymoor, there is a lull in big track races unless you can get out of the NW, so its time to throw a leg over a road bike and get you crit on! Now you may know that my Dolan road bike was stolen in Tasmania in late December and I had being logging all my road miles (and occational PIR) on my beloved Cannondale rain bike. So I the late summer I finally got my new custom TiCycles Fabrication road bike. The ultimate crit machine! It was a match to my track bike with big steel tubes, ultra stiff and designed my the mastermind, Dean Reed at Bike Central.
The first race I did was the Vancouver (WA) Crit. Every turn I was learning just how amazing my new ride was. The hard I pushed it the more it wanted. Admittedly I am still figuring out crits and road racing. The sprints are different and people pass you on both sides, and lets not even get into the shifting thing, but fun!

A couple weeks later, Mid-August, Brent and I went up to Olympia WA to do a 50 mile circuit race. Saw a lot of folks that I knew and endured more than a few "you know this isn't a track race" and " you own a bike with gears?" comments and then we we off. After spending 30 miles in a break, we are pulled back and I somehow miss the counter attack. 3 miles from the end the field is 40 seconds up the road and well represented team wise, aka it's not coming back. So instead of being bored, I drill it, channel my inner Cameron Meyer, and at 1k to go make it up solo. At this point it I take a few deep breaths, fake some people into sprinting early, grab a wheel, run that wheel up the left side and before i know it i think I have it in the bag. I almost post up (something I've never done in a road race) and then i see someone squeezing by on my left. Right, check both sides. It was a really close 2nd tho.

Now that I am getting slightly more comfortable on the road bike, it is time for the Portland Twilight Crit. Always fast and a little hairy with good crowds. I love a crowd. I waited a little late to position for the sprint and only ended up 9th, but cut a hole in someones shoe with my spokes when they hooked me at the line!
Next was the Giro di Portland, a fun and crazy 8 corner crit with 2 blocks of cobblestones. Just surviving it was a task and I won the field sprint for 4th.
The next day I left for a two week PA adventure. Dan and I got 2nd at the Madison Cup at T-Town.Then it was time for track nationals. Didn't have the best results but the "Fun Boyz" getting 3rd in the team pursuit was awesome.

This is the first winter that I am both injury free AND taking an off season. Getting strong and fit. Putting together an awesome team. 2012 is shaping up to be a good year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Track Nationals and Beyond

The trip to LA for nationals super fun as is always is. The flight down was nice because Erin and Al were both on my flight. We were met at the airport by our always amazing hosts, Jack and Megan and the eating of good vegan food commenced almost immediately. The second night in town, Jack organized an eating competition between him and me at Doomie's Home Cookin'. First to quit without releiving themselves would be the winner. Missing from the photos is the opening round which was 2lbs of salad followed by hot fires w/ ranch, okra, chimichangas, deep fried oreos, fresh baked cookie ala mode, and I finally threw in the towel 2/3 of the way through the chili dog with deep fried hotdog and tempeh bacon and resigned. I didn't want to risk throwing up and loosing all of the valuable nutrition that I would need for the week.



Over all I was a little disappointed with my results at nationals. The schedule was terrible so I had to choose between the omnium and the scratch race. Since the omnium cost about a million dollars i choose the scratch race. I felt really good in the final 10 laps and was hanging midpack keeping an eye on things. I must have been in one hell of a "zone" or something becuase when i thought there were about 6 laps left i looked at the lap board and it said 3. At the moment things got crazy and i was lucky to close as much ground as i did to manage 5th. I've never managed to lose track of laps that bad before.

Team pursuit would have gone a lot better if we had done any race paced practice before hand. All things considered the squad of Al Urbanski, Jake Hanson, Austin Carroll and myself did pretty well. We had a plan going into the ride with how many and how long of pulls people would take. It when a little haywire but worked out pretty good and we qualified 3rd to make the bronze medal ride off. We stuck with the same pull structure that we did in the qualifying ride and went 3 seconds faster and secured 3rd. We were on the fastest pace at 1k and were were on a better place than the team that ended up 2nd. Too bad we didn't get to do a ride like that in qualifying or we could been at least 2nd.


Points race was a cluster as usual and I got caught behind the wrong people at the wrong time and gapped off for a good amount to the end of the race. I had enough points from the first half to get 6th. There was also some drama with whether some people had gotten a lap or not. It didn't seem like it to me but what is bike racing without a little drama.

The madison was hard, as it usually is. Some of the riding was dirty and the racing negative. But one thing is for sure, Jame and Ian killed it. Dan and I got gapped off and a bad time and I had to chase back, which pretty much fried me after having to sprint as well. We managed 5th place and i got to wear this itty bitty short short skin suit.

I took two weeks off after nationals and I'm not totally sure when racing is going to start again. It will be nice to get some good strength training and core work in, since I didn't get to last winter due to a back injury. There are some definite changes on the horizon so stay tuned.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cmmonweath of PA

After a two year absence, I finally made it back to PA to see friends, family and do some bike racing. The day before I left I raced a gnarly crit in Portland put on by Steven Beardsley. The Giro di Portland was a 6 corner loop in the Pearl district as part of the Festa Italiana. Of the ten blocks that we traversed in the 50 min race, the vast majority were fast and smooth, but turns 1 and 2 and the blocks of rutted cobblestones between them proved treacherous for many racers. I had a good time dodging flying bodies and bikes in what seemed like a crit of attrition. I also think my crit skill level increased by at least two hit points. Toward the end of the race 3 people were off the front and I wont the field sprint for 4th, stoked to be in one piece. Looking forward to this next year. Definitely a good one for spectators.


Dave Roth Cycling Photos

The next morning I embarked on my marathon travel day to Philadelphia, leaving my house in Portland at 8am and arriving at my friend Blakslee's apartment in south Philly at about 2am. My arranged ride from the airport got sick so Dan had to wake up borrow a car and come get me. We woke up the next day, went for a quick spin, survived an earthquake and were then picked up by our ride to the track for Tuesday night racing in T-town.

Basically just there to spin our legs and get ready for the big show on Friday, Dan and I were in small gears and planning on racing on the conservative side. Despite that, some good scratch race sprints and monster lead outs from Dan got me the win. That was enough money to put gas in the beater minivan that Marty loaned us for the week. That thing is possibly the loudest most ghetto fab minivan ever.

Wednesday Dan and I had a Motorpaced madison workout with the awesome Jack Simes III driving us around the track. All was going well until a miscommunication at 40 mph, mid-madison exchange behind the motor but us on our butts and claimed a decent amount of our skin. We were able to get up and finish the workout before hitting the showers to lick our wounds.

After a day of downtime, recovery and all you can eat dim sum, it was time for Friday's Madison Cup. We left the city at 3.30 and promptly encountered insane traffic. As we lurched forward the traffic seemed endless. Probably due to the impending Hurricane Irene that was threatening the East Coast for the weekend. Contantly checking traffic updates, we weren't sure we were going to make it on time. I phoned Marty and had him get my bike out. Dan and I pinned numbers and changed into kit in the car. With a prompt start time of 7.30, we rolled into the parking lot and 7.00, didn't bother putting the van in a proper parking spot and dashed over the bridge into the infield.

Stress and bike racing are not a good combo for me and the first couple races were not good. The first 50 lap madison was so bad that Dan and I were arguing about it afterwards and I actually yelled "I'm not yelling" at him. But we were there to have fun and kick ass and eventually calmed down and did just that. Our racing got better a the night went on. We had a decent showing in the miss n out and now it was about laying it all out there for the 120 lap final madison.

Finally feeling settled, stoked that my Mom and little sister were there watching me race for the first time it was go time. Unfortunately Bobby and Jackie got away for a lap some where in the middle of the race and everyone seemed content with that so it became a race for 2nd place. Going into the final sprint we were tied on points for 2nd with another team. We missed an exchange as the race was getting chaotic near the end and I ended up being in the race for the last few laps. I had the team we were tied with watching me and with one to go i ramped it up and then jumped hard. One person managed to come around me at the finish but not the one that mattered, i dropped them. So Dan and I were pretty happy to get a come from behind underdog 2nd at Madison Cup.


Anthony Skorochod CyclingCaptured.com

My mom, sister and i grabbed a hotel for the night then drove back towards Pittsburgh. My bike box didnt fit in the trunk too well so it hung half way out for the 300 mile journey. It was awesome visiting family and friends, riding around Pittsburgh and out the burbs, eating at The Zenith Cafe for the best Sunday brunch in the World! I really love Pittsburgh and can't wait until I can live there again, but I think that might be a while from now. In the meantime, someone should buy me this shirt.



My last full day in town i got to race at the 1/2 mile Washington Blvd. oval. It was just a 18m mile training crit but some friends that had never seen me race come out and it was pretty awesome. In the final few laps someone with lots of teammates tooka flyer while everyone else blocked. It seemed like he was going to stay away but at the sprint began winding up the guy off the front was fading fast. In the sprint i pulled away from the field and got the off the front riding by half a wheel.

Now I'm back in Portland and it's time to starting ramping up for track nationals at the end of the month. YEE-HAW!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Long overdue. Still turning left. Sometimes right.

I am not very good at the internet. I dont own a computer save for my iphone and that is a drag to type on for more than telling my roommates were out of TP.

What has happen since I made my last attempt at entertaining you? Well, we found a house. Brent, Amy, Al and I live in a sweet mostly vegan bike racer house in NE Portland. Its pretty far north but central so it doesn't seem to out of the way. It has a huge basement that doesn't flood too bad or often.

I managed to screw up my back pretty bad in January. On a group ride i was following my teammate Daryl down a hill when he took off for a sign sprint of something. I slammed it in the biggest gear, only a 12 on the rain bike, and jumped hard to stick his wheel. Unfortunately the drive train on that bike was a little worn and in need of love and as soon as i got all force into my pedals the chain skipped, or jumped off. At well over 40mph I nearly catapulted over the bars, rubbed my nose on the front wheel, SLAMMED my knee in the bars, swerved 10 feet in both directions in a matter of .2 seconds, but managed to keep it upright. ! I DID however manage to not break, but unseat a non drive side spoke on my rear Ksyrium.

I limped home after the charlie horse in my knee subsided. Over the proceeding days my back decided it was done playing along. I could barely move. I went to see my massage therapist Laura Green and she realized something was seriously wrong and and sent me to Dr. Noel Snograss at Portland Chiropratic. Over the course of the next few months Dr. Noel figured out that my entire lower back gave up all at once. Torn between L4 and L5 and both SI's twisted, or something like that. He talked me out of quitting bike racing and gave me the confidence and therapy i needed to try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Miss all over the early season road racing and valuable gym time i once again had to scramble to find track fitness.

Into May my back was still giving me grief but Dr. Noel assured me that i was time to start ramping it up. Did most of my racing in small gear and avoided jumping too hard, which made Fast Twitch Friday sprint nights interesting. I also made a fun trip up to the indoor Burnaby velodrome, which i love. Slowly (ha) but surely i started to feel better as I worked thru the scar tissue.

By the time summer camp (San Jose, Portland and Seattle AVC track races) was approaching i was feeling quite a bit better, but concerned about my fitness. Afew weeks before all that tho, Brent, Al and I drove all the way to Minneapolis for the Fixed Gear Classic. I was very excited to catch up and race with one of my favorite bike racers, Franco Marvulli. I had pretty mixed rasults. I felt pretty fast but my head wasn't always there. My better results over the two day event were 2nd in the miss & out, 2nd in the scratch race and Dan Harm and I teamed up to win the madison. Unfortunately messing upa few other events pretty bad meant that i was just off the podium for the over all omnium, but Dan got 2nd. The two day drive on both ends of the racing was pretty brutal, aided slightly by the elecro-stim kit i borrowed and also helped keep me awake as i served as the world's best passenger. After racing, Al's dad treated us to amazing vegan pizza and we each ate well over a pizza each. It ruled.


Oh, and I won the trackstand competition on BOTH days.


Next up was the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge. Dan and i were pretty bummed that they decided to not have a madison at this event this year. It was replaced instead by a weird 25+ lap win and out. I continued to have decent form and results. 4th in the miss n out, 3rd in the scratch, and 2nd in the points. Totally got 3rd in the win n out as well but was relegated for drifting a few inches out of the lane after leading this one out for more than a lap.


The following weekend was the much anticipated Portland AVC. I really wanted a good result at my home race. i only managed 4th in the miss n out, again so i set my sights on the points race. I rode a little conservative at the beginning but then decided to take control and make shit happen. Jame also waited to start digging his heels in and coming into the last two sprints he was gaining on me. Four point spread going into the final sprint and I manged to keep close enough to hold on for the win two points ahead. Jake Hanson was only 1 point behind Jame. It was an exciting race and unfortunately the final race of the weekend as we got rained out the 2nd day, so Dan and I didn't have a chance to destroy the madison.

Around the week of the Alpenrose AVC i felt like the world was out to crush my soul. A lot of this were going on that were amazing unwarranted, ridiculous and frustrating. I decided to keep my head up and stay positive and i did for the most part but the stress must have started to take its toll by the time of the Marymoor Grand Prix. That's the only way i can explain the way i raced that weekend. Much like some of the races in MN, i felt strong but slightly disconnected. The last race of the weekend was the madison that i did with Jame Carney. I got my head on a little straighter for that one, but Karzen and Hollowway rode a gutsy race and just edged us out of the win. It was fun to finally hold hands with Jame in a race.


After summer camp trackstravaganza 2011, I took a good weeks rest and started planning my attack on the world for the foreseeable future. Did some racing on the road (read: circuit races and crits) on my SWEEET new TiCycles road bike. Designed by Dean Reed at Bike Central and built with the same tubing as my track bike, this thing flys! Managed a 2nd place at the Boston Harbor Circuit Race in Olympia, WA and top tens at the Portland Twilight and Vancouver crits.


I have also started working at a sweet local business called BicyclingHub.com with rad people and a very wonderful atmosphere. It is wonderfully conducive to my self centered bike racer lifestyle and i can't thank the owner, Doug, enough for his support.

Next week Dan and i are off to Pennsylvania to race the Madison Cup at The Valley Preferred Cycling Center (T-town.) Then I may head to the PA state crit in Wilkes Barre, PA before I head to Pittsburgh to see friends and family for the first time in over 2 years. Still short on money for this trip, so if you want to buy some records to help fund it, please refer to the records for sale post on this blog. Thankx

Friday, January 14, 2011

The rest of tassie.

I continued fighting this cold for the rest of my stay in Tasmania. Final race was in Hobart, the capital and biggest city in tassie. Most of the out of towners are gone at this point and it's mostly Tasmanians but Marcel Barth was still around as well as fast locals, Luke Ockerby, Aaron 'AJ' Jones, Simon Elliot and Stephen 'Rossi' Rossendale. The track here was a little dicey. Flat, bumpy, narrow, drain ditches inches from he measurement line, up and down hill sections and odd shaped with abrupt turns in strange places.

I was feeling like crap but it was the last day so that helped. It was a fast moving schedule with lots of racing so I never really cooled down or had to stay warm. Just race, sit a minute race again 20 mins later. Unfortunately the weather was becoming increasingly threatening.

Racing was fun and more laid back. Had fun in the miss n out playing the devil on too big of a gear and only getting 4th. Was looking forward to the derby final after winning my heat, basically a 5 up 2 lap match sprint but the weather continued to look ominous. The organizers decided to move the wheel final up immediately. As everyone is being held and the gun is about to be fired, it starts to absolutely dump rain and the race is called. Glad it wasn't a second later or that could have been a messy race.

Post race we to Rossi's parents for a BBQ. I ordered my self a vegan pizza and ate the entire thing. Had plenty of beers and played some pool. After that we went to find Marcel at a club downtown. The spot was a bit bourgeois and square but it was packed and Marcel had facebooked me that there were a lot of hot chicks there. The bouncers outside were not impressed with me. Apparently my rat tail made me look like a 'bogan' (white trash) and he BRIHOP shirt under my unbuttoned Ben Sherman wasn't helping the case with the skull. But when I gave them my passport and asked them if they were kidding, with my American accent, they told me to maybe button my shirt and tuck my hair into my collar. "This might be cool where you come from but here you look like a bogan." I laughed and walked in. We hung out there for a bit then went to a smaller, radder spot where they were playing sweet 80s and 90s jams. Everyone there was busted but having a real good time. Stayed there till hey kicked us out. About 4 am. Then we tried to get into any other club that was still going but everyone was closing down. Marcel harassed a bunch of doorguys and eventually were gave in and went home. In bed (couch) around 6 at rossi's and Rick Martin, athlete coordinator picked me up a 9 to take Marcel to the airport and me to Launceston for my last two days in tassie.

I crashed at the house of Laura McCaughey and her boyfriend Andrew for 2 nights. Laura was on the mainland somewhere being badass and Andrew was a great host. I went swimming at a sweet spot in the Cataract Gorge with sweet rocks to jump off of and NO SAND! I've always liked rivers more than the beach. I am from Pittsburgh.

Pretty low key til I left on tuesday morning for my 24hr travel day, which compared to 36hrs on the way out was gonna be a breeze. Was stoked when I got to the Melbourne terminal to check in and saw they had an arcade with 6 pinball tables but I had an hour and a half wait to haggle for cheap baggage fees. I won getting off with just $67 but at the expense of having to go straight to my gate without pinball. I thought that I was running super late and hurried to my gate but gate but they were running a bit behind and on the other side of the wing there was a lone simpsons pinball party. Not the best table but it had a low replay and I got a few games in before I had to board. I was the last one on the plane.

Free movies and tv series and music videos and radio make he long trip quite easy. Also the seemingly endless free booze and decent vegan meals. Lady gaga music videos. Can of VB beer. Whiskey on the rocks. Spicy veggie stir fry. Yup.

When I got to LAX after i got my suitcase, I waited for an hour for my bike stuff to come up the over size lift. Then they closed he lift for maintenance. I was told to check the other lift. And there were some things there from my fight but not my stuff. After another 30+ mins I asked around and was told to file a baggage claim. I headed to the desk and someone informed me that they knee my bags hadn't made it and I would get some papers and talk to Alaska airlines when I got home. They knew but didn't bother telling me as I waited for almost 2 hours. Kinda lame, but I still wasn't in a hurry and at least they hadn't lost my stuff just forgot to load it in Launceston. Now I didn't have to lug it around and it would be delivered to my house.

Now I am back in Portland. I'm sort of homeless. Well roomless. Brent, Amy and my new transplant roommate Al Urbanski didn't get into a new house while I was gone and we're still looking but my old room is already rented out and Al and I and sharing small space in the polo haus til were find a new spot. Can't wait to get into a spot so I can actually stretch my legs and decompress from my trip. 1.5 week off season! Woo!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crazy week recap.

So the after I got to Tasmania I went to the Silverdome, the indoor track to spin my legs a bit. The air seemed a little dry, like it generally is in tassie, and a bit dusty, like an indoor track. So naturally I was experiencing a bit of 'track hack.' Unfortunately as I continued my workouts my coughing continued to get worse and worse. Towards the end of the big racing week my throat and body was wrecked from my seemingly endless coughing fits. Rest and eating well are definitely important for getting better but one thing that never helps is stress.

On the first night of the Devonport carnival someone decided to steal my road bike. The scratch race was the last event of the night and a lot of the spectators were leaving after the final running race. Most of the cyclists were either packed up and watching the race or racing and someone saw the opportunity to grab my bike. I didn't know it was gone until about 22 laps later. I guess now I know what travel insurance is for, not that I had any.

The next day, after getting no sleep thinking about my missing baby, I was borrowing a mtn bike to ride down to the track for day 2 of Devonport. A block from the house I was trying to figure out how to shift this modern beast and my lapse of attention caused me to crash and bang the crap out of my knee and shoulder. I then found the secret brake lever shifting mechanism. Fancy. I managed to have some ok rides that day apart from feeling terrible and my knee swelling up and hurting to pedal but all of them out of the money.

The day off between Devonport and Burnie there was a crit that I couldn't do now but I couldn't even get outta bed I was feeling so sick. I didn't even manage to go out for a NYE drink.

The next day was the Burnie carnival. Where the track has a up hill and down hill stretch. Also a killer headwind on the up hill and tailwind on the down hill. This made choosing a gear quite interesting. I took it easy most of the day just putting in some efforts and staying loose and warm. I figured I only had so much racing left me so I saved it for the evening wheel race. I made it to the final but didn't quite have the kick in the final 100m when I got put on the outside in the wind by some crafty team tactics. In the scratch race I found myself off the front with one and eventually two others right off the gun. 2/3 of the way thru my knee gave me more grief so I pulled the plug. The break got caught with about 200m to go.
During the carnival at Burnie a bunch of the junior riders took up a collection for me for my bike. They managed to raise over $2000 which will definitely help me on my way to getting a new bike.

I was hoping my week of down time in January would be spent going on killer road rides, to beautiful beaches, out to raunchy dance clubs and generally leaving my mark on Tasmania but instead I have been staying in bed and watching 'I dream of Jeanie' and 'Bewitched' hoping I magically get better.