Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A quick 2009 season in review

Well, where do I start. First off, these pictures are in no particular order and thanks to those of you who took them. Every year I have to start of with a team camp or a solo camp somewhere. Over the past few year I have either lived or visited Tucson and pounded out some miles there. A&F would meet in Macon, Ga, and luckily, I have a great team now in Grandstay that enjoys emptying the closet at my step-father's lake home every spring. This past spring was no exception. Doug was missing understandbly with the birth of his and Anne's daughter, Stella, and Casper was on his whirlwind tour of the southwest and west coast, but everyone else made it. Good times, cleaned them out in poker, and didn't even attempt to play basketball against some of these MJ's.

I was very lucky to get my season started with an invitation from Steve Hed and Dino to go to the A2 windtunnel in February. Hey, that is a tough time for a winter climate cyclist to go do 1 1/2 hours of intervals in a tunnel. But, it was an incredible learning experience in learning what these two aero gurus know about going fast. Put into the equation Mike Giraud and Boone Lennon at the tunnel as well, well you won't leave slower that is for sure.
These race season started with our typical "spring classics" in the Midwest. Over the year since I stopped getting down to Joe Martin, I have used these races to get my season going. Knowing that Doug craves these races it is an excellent time to use what I got to help him in anyway get to the line first. Casper is usually flying too so Mean Dawg and I put to the grindstone and wait to see if Danno, Doug, or Casper can slip away. The season started of right with a win at Durand for Doug and the team. From there, we kept it going through the season. We managed all the State titles on the road. It was all too familiar to our Nature Valley Days. A good mix of guys who seem to have a good read on each others. A team.
Of course, my focus was time trials this year as it will be next year. Hitting a couple more this year was especially important to get more familiar with them along with getting used to the new Trek TTX. St. Peter sttod out this year due to the rain and shivering cold. Ask Jens. It was a brutal TT and I still have dead spots on my fingers from where my TT levers froze my skin to death. But, a great course where I have won the State TT three times before. This year is was a stand alone race and fun. Great turnout for the weather.
Synergy TT was a windy mofo. After calling Dino on wheel advice, I put on the Hed Stinger 6 on the front. Holy hell did I have a fast set-up. A good win despite almost getting levelled by a motorist who did not stop for a course marshall. I am sure there is still orange paint on the side of that SUV.

We managed to sneak 4 guys into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, which is no small feat considering the odd requirements for "local" guys to race it. I mean, fellow Minnesotans to race it. Unfortunately, I got sick prior to the TT start. While some thought I had a great TT I can assure you, that was not a good one for me. Jens completed his first NVGP and looked good, Mean Dawg was tried and true, and Micah did exceptionally well for his first big NRC. It was fun especially after I said I would never dot it again in 2008.

Masters TT with Casper and Timmer was a good time. Unfortuantely, I had read the course wrong on Google Earth mistaking the meters for feet. We got to the course and I was a wee bit surprised and lacking a 56T. I felt great and put in a great TT but was simply outgeared on the downhills. 2nd in age group but never really had the upper-end I am used too. Perhaps just a little too exhausted going into it. Fun though and great crew to travel with. No one got shot at the Quality Inn either.
A couple local Stage Races worked out well for the team and myself. We won both the overall's in Duluth and Granite Country. I love stage racing and the teams worked hard. Casper, Lance, and Schueller killed it for me in Duluth, and Danno, Doug, Mean Dawg, Schueller, Micah, and Lance in Granite.
Elite Nats TT was spent with a long drive to Oregon, hanging out with my old coach-new coach again for 2010, Frank Overton. After previewing the course over and over, talking about it with the IS Corp crew and now Radioman, Matt Busche, and hitting Zirbel up for course ideas, gearing was picked. Ice clothes and staying cool was the call of the day of the race. 106 degrees on the start block made for a tough one. All in all I had a good race. I forgot a couple key components to the aero aspect of time trialing but I hope I made up for them with my mind. Good race and snuck onto the podium for 5th against some tough dudes.

The rest of the year was TT's in Wisport, having Bjorn (another damn Radioman) school me, and getting sick the Monday prior to Chequamegon. Chequamegon was a bust for me personally. I felt something coming on Monday, and knew the day before the race that I was in trouble. In the end though, it was fun. All was definitely not lost since Cam scored a 2nd place in the Short and Fat in her very first mountain bike race ever. Amazingly strong she is. A few beers that night, and riding some new trails the next day. That is why I am there, for some damn fun.
Next season starts for me next week. Back to the weights and some specialized training prescribed by Frank. Last year I planned everything by myself based on past experience with FasCat Coaching. This year, Frank is back to fine tune those things I am going to need to win these National events. Plus, adding in World Master's in Austria for 2010 will require the top-of-the-game approach to all of this. Frank will get my ass moving. Matt Williams and Grandstay will be my team again for 2010. Matt has been nothing more that completely supportive of what I am doing and has given me some more freewill to focus on the TT events next year, plus the guys on the team are top notch to hang with. Like Matt and Grandstay, without sponsors like Hed, Trek, Specialized, Rudy Project, and my own wallet (Discover, Mastercard, Visa, and Franklin) this just wouldn't get done. Yes, I will be 38 next year. But, you know, I quote from Lance in "The Race Across the Sky" hit it on the nose. "I feel just like I did ten years ago...." Just like Lance, the upper end is not there, but the mind is. Seasoned? Experience? Mind? Body? Hey, I am more now than ever satisfied with them. The focus only becomes that much greater. I just wished this would have happened at 22 years old. Ha ha. Thanks for the read, the words over 2009, and see you all in 2010! Ciao

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