Monday, March 30, 2009

Break, Philly Phyler/Spiderman, Going Back to As?

Lots to cover today, but don't fret it's not much more that you are studying in that ever so difficult English class.  Today I'll be covering Spring Break, the Philly Phyler and my Future in the Men's B field.

As those of you who follow the blog, and other random associates know I spent Spring Break in DC and PA travelling, riding and racing. All of it spent with the one and only Josh from Colby. Bythe end of the trip we had spent a total of 21 hours riding together and another 23 hours trapped in a car together. Needless to say it was a bit much. There were fears before we started the endeavor that we may not even make it down to Delaware, as a fight to the death would have ensued within the confines of his SAAB.  But I survived to tell some tales and recall a few quotes that have made an impact on my life:

  • "Joe Kopena confirmed me as a facebook friend, my life is now complete"
  • Josh put in new cables 2 hours before the Delaware road race, he spent 3 hours the night before trying to do it. He said "I knew it was a bad idea" We also MacGuyvered a way for the chain to stay in the big ring just to be safe. 
(I used the cable end, and used it as a stop in the barrel adjuster so he could at least use the big ring)

(No Bar Tape or Front Derailleur Cable 12 Hours before the Delaware Road Race)

  • "I just want you to know I'm not wearing any pants right now." As he climbs into a sleeping bag on the bed I'm laying in. 
  • "You're a terrible person, I'm going to pee in your mouth. While you sleep!"
  • "I need to watch my stories!" - Referring to American Dad.
  • "It's not the wheels it's the woman" 
  • "Keep that up and I'm going to beat you with my frame pump."

In addition to riding outside DC, Josh and I also went up to PA for a couple days before the PhillyPhlyer race weekend. Thanks to host housing by Dan's (Colby) Parents, I had an awesome place to stay, good food and some good riding the Thursday and Friday. 

After a leisurely morning Dan, Josh and Andy (Colby) all got suited up for a nice wet ride out of Dan's house in Sellersville PA. It was great, about 49 degrees and wet, the whole time. We rode to New Jersey, and had lunch too, and managed to survive the ride back. I took the camera to document the occasion. 

(Andy doing her best George Washington impression as we crossed the Delaware River)
(Josh Loved the Conditions, here he is on the Delaware River)

(There were dirt roads and streams in PA. Josh Did his best to show off his 'cross skills)
(The bunch after a day in the Wet. Note: We did not bring Dan's Dogs with us)

The next day, Friday, the bunch head on up to Trexlertown and rode in that neck of the woods. We rode on the track (which was terrifying) and did a 2 hour loop with Lauren (Colby) who also lives in that neck of the woods.  It was a great ride, rolling hills, warm weather, low pace, Amish People, Cow Fields and I got to see Kutztown.  I brought the camera, but the batteries were dead. Oh well. 

Philly Phlyer/Spiderman
On Saturday Josh and I headed on down to Fairmount park to contest day 1 of the Philly Phyler. My race was only 24 miles, so I wasn't too worried about it and I had also raced this course twice before so I knew it well. 

When the B field got going I noticed immediately that we were going slow, that was a trend that continued for the rest of the race. My strategy going in was the same as I had last year, sit in until the last lap and then attack on the last small climb, which worked out well and I got tenth place, and that's exactly what I did this year.... for the most part. Until the last lap I was riding the race pretty well, I had conserved my energy, stayed out of the wind and tried to stay near the front. This of course all blew up in my face on the last lap. As we were starting to gear up for the finish on the last flat section of road I tried to make my way up in the field. I saw UVM Derek and tried to follow his wheel, but just as I was moving to my left I saw a UPenn rider go down right in front of me, I thought "Oh Shit" and prepared for impact. By some miracle I slammed the front brake, which hit this Penn guy who was on the ground and dislodged my self from my bike in Mid-Air. I then went flying over the pile up and landed like this:
After landing I quickly put my head on a swivel and looked backwards to asses the situation, I saw a  pile up of about 6 riders. After which I turned around, sprinted back to grab my bike, which was entangled in the aforementioned UPenn rider and then hopped on the saddle like in a 'cross race and clipped in. From that point onwards I desperately sprinted to catch the field, but with no success. I ended up rolling in a few seconds behind the bunch, but managed to stay away from two riders I saw catching up to me.   Dang. I was feeling good, had a plan and it didn't work out. I guess that's bike racing. 

Much like day 1 I had a strategy for the Crit on Day two. Basically it was go for a prime or two and throw a couple of attacks and then try and get good positioning for the sprint.  And that is exactly what I did. I attacked on a prime lap, but didn't do it quite right and ended up pulling the field, and gave up. Later I followed a UVM wheel into a prime sprint and managed to get some points out of it. I then recovered for a while and began to get ready for the finish. Of course I waited way to long to get back to the front and had to move up on the outside at 2 laps to go and found my self near the front. But, I had trouble finding a wheel and endued up somewhere in the bunch for the final sprint.  ... It happens.

Going Back to A's?

So I've been struggling with this decision for the last few weeks and I'd like to invite you the people to give me some input on what I should do. Basically, my B results have been mostly pack finishes, aside from a rough time at the Stevens and Delaware crits (Grant's tomb I'm counting as a pack finish, if it weren't for that stupid ore-race latte).  However, I have definitely put in the hours this winter and past week and I feel super strong. Additionally, I don't really think I have to try in the B races, the pace is chill and I am never really in difficulty, especially in the climbs during the Delaware Road Race or the Philly circuit. I've ridden somewhere around 1800 miles between the road and the trainer and feel good well into 3 or 4 hours rides. The question in my mind is should stay in B's and make attacks, or go up to A's and struggle for those pack finishes? Lastly, it's my senior year of college, so I might as well go out on top, right?  (See poll to the left)

Thanks for reading. 


  1. Way to make me sound like an total idiot/creep/oddball. Oh wait, that sounds pretty accurate. Never mind.

  2. Here's the big question: are you a NEBRA cat3? If so then perhaps you're a cat4 that our dearest friend/almighty benevolent empress of cycling Diane Fortini had sympathy for. That's why I'm a cat3 (or more accurately cat3.5)

    But, ya, give it another go in A's. It's not like you're lacking on bike-handling or knowledge. Less likely to get wiped out in A's than in the 'Killer Bs'. The best training in the week are the races, too, and you get like 3x better workout in A than B. And Bs is, like, no prep at all for's a whole new ballgame there even if you're winning B's in solo breaks (and you don't have A teammates). Bluntly: you're wasting time and ain't learning squat racing B's if you can even remotely reasonably race A's.

    What it took me to not get dropped in As at DE before sticking my hand in my wheel:
    -corner impeccably
    -go f-ing full balls out coming out of corners
    -never ever EVER be last wheel in the peloton because the guy in front of you WILL die unexpectedly and you'll get dropped too
    -go into the zombie murderer death zone to hang on during the attacks/sifting out of the first quarter of the race...eventually it will slow down. seeing cat1's with pain on their face made me realise this. it's just a cruel game UVM and Columbia play, that whole attacking thing.
    -gobble down gels/honey constantly

  3. If I could do it all over again I would go back to intro's and get myself some glory. Its all about style points, real points mean NOTHING.

  4. Make your bones. Get a kill. Win a Race. Even if it is 'wimpy' in the B field. Winning is a skill. Besides, that will be something to remember forever. Mid Pack finishes and getting dropped will fade out of your memory so fast. Guys who can win in the B's (Ross, Lee, Marshall) are all happily integrated into the A's. Guys who have made the leap after a top five or two seem to have a pretty hard time.

    Whatever you choose I will be cheering/heckling you

  5. I've already got the back of the A field covered, but thanks for offering.