Saturday, November 26, 2011

Race Day

Saturday, 6:00am,
Making Breakfast, Making post race sandwiches, Preparing bottles, Packing clothes
Cold, Rainy, Belgium...
We are off to the races.

A little pre-ride of the course shows that not much has really changed. There is still plenty of sand and if anything it has become harder to ride than when we rode out there yesterday. The course layout flyer was quick to point out the fact that there was only 500m of pavement and 1200m of sand with some grass sections along the way. That's a large chunk of running... and those who know, know how much I hate running. I think it's time to change that thought!!

The race started out well, moved into the top 30 through the first sections and then at the base of one of the fly-overs there was a large pile-up that I was caught behind. I was feeling comfortable on the shorter sand climbs that I was able to ride while others weren't. The only problem is that I would find myself running into the back of them as they jumped off and then I would get stalled out...

I ended up catching a few and getting dropped by a few, others were dropping like flies, while I just tried to settle in. I ended up 52nd. It was a serious learning experience. I know what I have to do to be ready come January, both in training and how to read the race and how to tackle the race. Where to go hard and where to conserve. Oh, and I have a new outlook on all of the minute sandpits in the US races(not a dis but just a realization).

Friday, November 25, 2011


It's 2011 and we're back, across the great Atlantic Ocean, in the little country they call Belgium. back to do a little bit of riding around in circles and we are here for only 72 hours. Wait, what???
Yeah thats right we are hear for a short 3 day trip and it is already the end of Day 1. The best part, is that I made this trip with all of luggage and everything accounted for. Winning!!! On Saturay we are racing the World Cup in Koksijde. The source is full of sand, and more sand and some more sand. It won't be like anything I have ever raced before.

This trip I'm the lone Cal Giant'r, but I have a few of my USA teammates. I'm over here with Drew Dillman (Junior), Luke Keough (U23) and Katie Antonneau (Elite Women). It's an easy crew and so far it has been fun. Tomorrow we are going to be out at the course to get a feel for it and learn to the ride sand just a little bit more! Stay tuned because there is plenty to come!!
Kid Kaiser

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Over The River and Through The Woods

This afternoon we had an awesome ride through a rather large forest just outside of Kalmthout near the Belgian/Netherlands Border. We meet up with a local coach Paul van Loon as well as Katie Compton and a few others and we rode some of the sweetest trails I have ever encountered in the Belgian Region. They can't compare to those in the States, but there were rippin' on a cross bike and had some really good flow to them. We ended up killing about 2.5 hours out there which made the day fly by.
We drove to the USA National house in Izegem later in the afternoon where we meet up with the rest of the team before we drive to Germany tomorrow morning. The days on this trip are flying by and I cannot wait to race Worlds on Saturday. This is when it really counts.
Thanks for following.

Countdown to Worlds

Yesterday was the typical Belgian, rainy day that you would think of. It was cold and windy and practically raining sideways. So all three of us decided to ride the rollers. It made it a bit more enjoyable to have company in the garage but at the same time they were still rollers and you were still staring at the same wall for an hour. At least it was an easy day for me which meant only an hour ride just spinning.
The countdown to worlds has official begun. Three Days until race day. Training today is going to be in the forest near Kalmthout with a local who has put together a little training course as well and Mark and Katie Compton. Then we will be driving to Izegem to stay overnight at the national house, because tomorrow morning we are up early and on our way to Germany. Today our team director, Anthony flies into Frankfurt and on Friday my dad is arriving in Frankfurt. They will both be heading down and meeting us in Saint Wendel before the racing begins. We are getting to the good part and this is going to be fun!

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 Days

Today was a completely lazy day. None of us rode, and for the first few hours after we got up we just sat at the table on our computers. We hung out some and we went to the grocery store to get things to make for dinner and that is about it. I cannot believe how lazy the day was but at the same time it was so nice. There was nowhere to be, nothing that had to be done. I haven't had time like that at home in a long time either, although I do have a feeling that I will once I get back from this trip.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Monday Morning

It is now official Monday Morning, the 24th 12:04 and I'm not tired, wow. I also just realized that I have got 1 week left, like 7 days here or 168 hours or 10,080 hours or 604,800 minutes or 36,288,000 seconds... Okay thats too much, I'm going to bed.

Race Day

Today was the final round of the World Cup series for the 2010-2011 season. The race was in the Netherlands and the weather was like where were in Belgium. HAHA It was already going to be a better race and day because I wouldn't have to get up at 5 to be on the road from the USA National house to our destination. From where we are staying, here in Brecht it is about 35 minutes to the course. So we were out the door by 8:30 and to the venue.
We jump in a hot tub time machine and we are now at 11:10, on the start line and the gun goes off (actually the light turned green). The start was a bit hairball, I started fifth row and was able to have a clean start but the guys in front of me we bouncing around and jockeying for position before we made the hard right turn and into this little drop in, onto the mud. The conditons were not super muddy but muddy enough to pit and I ended up pitting every lap because the pit exit set you up better for the corner. I had a great race, stayed upright and was able to ride impressively well on the course for my standards. I ended up being 2nd American in 40th position. With a race like today's I am feeling confident and looking forward to next weekends race.
Tomorrow is a nice easy day so let's hope the weather is go so we can go for a spin outside.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

World Cup Pre-Ride

The theme this trip has been doing and seeing things that are completely different from the usually Europe. Today was another new exciting day. In the morning we woke up to somewhat of some warm weather and we headed over the the town of Kalmthout which is were Katie Compton lives with their host family. That part of the country is nothing like Izegem. Granted it is still cold and grey but they have green grass and big trees and nice parts of town...
We rolled with her over to the World Cup course in Hoogerheide, Holland where we got to get a feel for the course. It's a fun course, super similar to last years. It is mostly hard packed sticky mud and some fun sandy stuff in the trees. It is super fun. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes. Hopefully it all goes well. Stay tuned for race results.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Smooth Sailing

I am back across the pond for round two of european racing. This trip will include one World Cup in Hoogerheide, Holland and the World Championships in Saint Wendel, Germany. The trip this time is a little different, for one, it's a short trip, over here for only eleven day and this time I am staying with my teammate Meredith Miller and Danny Summerhill in a house in Brecht. Usually Danny and I always stay at the USA National House in Izegem but we decided to try a new spin on Belgium.
The flight over was the best I have had and was one of the easiest even though I flew United which has the worst customer service available. I am curious if any of the employees even want to be there?? Since I have yet to receive my bags from the last incident I decided to pack as lightly as possible and just use a carry on. I still had to check my bikes but I was luckily enough to get those over here on the first round. The travel day started off great when the lady behind the ticket counter forgot to ask me to pay for the bag so I got my bikes on for free!!! The trip took me from Sac to Denver where I met up with Danny and Meredith and then onto Washington Dulles and then to Brussels.
I got into Brussels around 7:15 this morning and we had some running around to do. First we went to the house and pick up Meredith's bikes that she had left from the last trip. Then we headed over to the USA National house and pick up Danny's bike that he had left there and then up to Brecht which is about 1.5 hour drive from Izegem. We got in and went to the store to grab food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We cooked up a good dinner and hung out. Then I crashed and slept for about 11 hours!!
Alright the trip has begun, stay tuned for all the details of the trip.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back Home

After a bit of time over seas and long day of travel I am very glad to be home. The travel day started at 3:45 am and got to Brussels airport. Checked in nice and easy and on my way to London again. I had a 5 hour layover so I decided to try and find my lost bag somewhere in Heathrow. I really thought I was going to be lucky and find it. But nothing, I found the same Oakley bag but in the smaller carry-on size and not mine. Bummer. So I found a nice bagel shop and sat down with my computer and watched the time pass. Next thing I know I am boarding the mothership, 777 airline and on a 10 hour plane flight to Denver. I got into Denver around 3 and had a quick turn around time to make a southwest flight at 6. The Southwest flight ended up being delay 40 minutes but nothing other than that and I'm on my way to Phoenix, then up to Sac o Tomatoes (Sacramento). All in all it was a 27 hour travel day and I was looking forward to getting a good night of sleep, that didn't happen. I went to bed around midnight and was wide awake bye 5 due to jet lag. Oh well, I am glad to be home and get back to everyday life. I am still keeping my fingers crossed on the worlds team selection. Let's hope we can go to Germany in a few weeks.
Thanks for following throughout the camp. I will post a bunch of assorted photos from throughout the trip today.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Camp Is Over

I was a little bummed this morning when I boarded the 3:45 shuttle to the airport, man the camp is over. I had a blast this year. It has been different from previous years; the first year at camp I was a first year junior and wasn't really into being away from home, I was just trying to get through everyday, and counting down the days to get back in my comfort zone. Last year I didn't come to the camp, just the two world cups prior to the World Championships, and that was fun but a different experience and atmosphere at the house (smaller staff and smaller number of riders). This year I was the young gun in the U23 category but I was stoked to be there. I knew the run around of the house, how things worked and where to go and ride. I was still counting down the days to get home this year but not so much because I wasn't having fun, but more because I missed the fam and the daily living at home.
This year at the camp we saw every condition a race can be held in, snow, ice, mud, hard pack, oh but we didn't see any dust. I had so much fun, and staying hopeful on making the worlds team and continuing the season over in St. Wendel, Germany.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Baal Race Report

It is now a new year and a new day of racing. Today was the GP Sven Nys in the hometown of the legend, Baal. The course is on Sven's "Secret Training Grounds" and is always known as one of THE races of the year. The course is basically along this ridge and you descend down one side and then back up and over to the other side and then back up and across to the other side. Back and forth for the entire race, in some of the craziest conditions ever imaginable. Today the mud was either frozen or in some spots a foot deep.
So I assumed my usually back row position and got off to an okay start, there was a bit of human pinball going on once the gun went of but pretty quickly we hit the mud and immediately off of our bikes, running. I shoulder the bike and ran the barriers and while everyone else decided to remount before this flyover, I decided to run to the top then remount and I ended up picking off about 6 guys and moving my way up. I settled into a rhythm and tried to just ride my own race. The course and conditions were so physically draining that you were better off to ride at your own pace for the entire race rather than chase wheels. I would see a group of guys come barreling past me on the wide open road sections then I would catch them on the long tractor pull mud sections and all of the techy sections. So I ended up finishing ahead of a bunch of dudes who just went out too hard. There were about 60 starters and only about 40 finishers, I ended up in 33 so it was was a pretty good way to end the trip and start off the new year.
I hope everyone back home and here in Belgium had a safe and Happy New Year and man am I excited to be heading home tomorrow.

All of the gear waiting to be cleaned after the races and then get packed for home.

The bikes on the USA Car post race in Baal.