Monday, June 11, 2012

Coaching + River City Bicycle Classic

Where it’s due: Credit

The last year and a half of racing has been my best so far.  Certainly when I started riding my bike I did not expect these types of results.  My first trip to the Cobb Park Crit (as a cat 5) in Kankakee had me saying: “Wow, those cat 4’s look soooo fast!” (without irony or sarcasm)  But I steadily got better (a lot smarter, a little faster) and got some results in the cat 4’s, even some decent results in the cat 3’s.  But 2011 was a breakthrough year for me on the bike and it is due in large part to the investment in me by my coach, Sean Walker.

Since working with Sean I’ve won Hillsboro-Roubaix (in the 3’s, and finished in the P/1/2’s!), silver medaled in the IL state RR and crit (cat 3’s), won a few cat 3 races, podium’d in a 1/2/3 race, and won the cat 2 IL state crit title.  These results are well beyond what I expected when I started racing. Sean has helped me tremendously with every aspect of racing – from fitness, to equipment choices, to race strategy, to cycling/life balance.  He has coached me with and without a powermeter.  I do not think I would have achieved (even this modest success) without his help.

I say all this as my recommendation of his coaching services to you.  If you’re interested in working with someone who has quite a bit of experience going fast and several years of experience helping others go fast (including people who are much faster than I), feel free to contact him at the following email:” wsean(three)at g mail dot com.  Take out the parentheses + three and just use the numeral.  Tell him Frenchy sent you.  ;)

River City Bicycle Classic

Last weekend was Tulsa Tough, and the Tour of Galena, and Le Tour de Sainte Geneveive.  I would like to race all those great events but had other plans.  Flying out Sunday for another work week in Cali I chose to go to Evansville, IN to visit the inlaws and race the River City Bicycle Classic.

Temps were lower 90’s and patchy clouds were present, but every once in a while you just cooked in the sun.  Fortunately the 0.7mi course in Garvin Park was lined with trees providing shade for us fattys to stay cool.  Oh, and they also made it really comfy for family and locals to watch the race!

Speaking of family, the bounce house, playground, and public pool in the park made for a nice backdrop to the race.  It was definitely a nice family-friendly atmosphere.  While I would expect that to be a draw next year, the bicentennial* airshow (or maybe it’s just an annual airshow which coincided with the bicentennial?) which wowed my kids may not be present next year and was a first-race-year treat.

The 1/2/3 field had a sprinkling of solo racers, 3 or 4 duos, two 4 man cat 3 squads doubling up after the cat 3’s, and the 800lb gorilla: 8 Texas Roadhouse racers.  (No, I don’t think they were each 100lbs.)  I knew of Curtis Tolson, but made it a point to introduce myself before the race to get a good look at him.  I had heard that Greg Strock and John “Puff Daddy” Puffer were to be in attendance but no dice.  

JJ, a local in Evansville who knows a thing or two about racing, was there to support the event.  He’s an easy guy to get along with, and that hasn’t changed despite a real bummer of a crash resulting in a broken wrist.  Anyway, he gave me some pointers as we lined up.  Seems he has some experience flying solo and racing against teams.

Besides George (Guitar Lab) who was doubling up (and therefore I figured would probably suffer in the heat), I only knew Hayden Warner (OTF) in the field.  We talked a little beforehand, mainly about how out of shape we both were and how little training we had accomplished this year.  I just have to smile and shake my head at the two of us.  We both believe our own BS.  

Well the race was a series of attacks from TXR.  THE move had to have been the 1005th little break in the race.  I had grown tired of jumping into moves after about 2 or 3 and sure enough four TXR riders "snuck" away with one Scholars Inn Bakehouse rider.  Plenty of firepower in the break (including one junior par excellance), and I knew it was the race, so of course I try a “no guts no glory” solo bridge across their 25 second gap.  And I make it about halfway across before the engine room calls out “Lolz” and a group of four (including Tolson and another Roadhauser) catch me (or just kind of scoop me up like a street urchin).  You can imagine how the rest of the race went: small group starts working together and TXR shuts er down.  By the way, I have no bitterness in that statement.  They were just racing, and clean, and smart.  I can’t fault them for having numbers!

Anyway, I missed the move du jour and then I missed the 3 man jail break with 3-4 laps to go.  I was pretty tired of closing gaps near the front of the race so I left it to somebody else, and of course, that’s the time that nobody else would do it.  So now 8 guys are up the road and the pack has been whittled down to about 15 guys anyway, but I find Hayden and bug him about how he’s feeling, etc.  We both play doormat about the other getting a leadout from us.  I tell him I’m going to work for him and start moving up the outside coming into the s/f with 1.25 laps to go.  Three TXR guys swing right (and unknowingly) box me in.  Hayden uses the confusion to drill it up the left side in what I will henceforth call “A Warner” (I mean c’mon, he does it every race!) and buries himself for the lap.  He nabs 9th, second to last place in the $$.  Good on ya Hayden!

After Hayden departs for 9th place glory I reassess and see Tolson motion to a teammate to get on his wheel.  Not one to turn down a ride to well, anywhere, I hop on after he looks forward.  After a little tow he looks over his shoulder and is visibly upset that his teammate lost the wheel.  By now we’re going into the final turn and I slide back a place to see if the leadout will continue.  It does and I’m on the sprinter’s wheel.  Clearly this is a teaching opportunity for the gent in front of me. Fortunately for me the gentleman was fast but made a few mistakes which I took advantage of and will not detail here for the simple fact that I do not wish them to be used against me.  And besides, this whole thing is like “kiss and tell” anyway.  But I pipped him at the line (or in the words of Jeff Yeilding: "pimped him at the line".  Though I must say that this might be a cyclocross term and besides, winning a sprint for last money spot is not pimping, as it should be quite clear, the only ones pimping were Texas Roadhouse.)

Crossers be pimpin.

So there it is.  Playas gonna play and sprinters gonna sprint.  Don’t hate.  And give a thought to Team Guitar Lab and their efforts at race promoting.  It was a swell time and 10th place got me $85.  Not too shabby!

*Does anybody have tickets to "Red, White, and Blaine?"

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