Thank you Team Specialized sponsors and NCCF for the amazing new kit! From the shoes to the gloves, everything is of fantastic quality and race ready. The jerseys are form-fitting, breathable, and can really pack in the food for longer rides. The bibs have have elastic grip that keeps them in place and they provide maximum comfort. The SRAM socks are very comfortable and go very nicely color wise with the rest of the kit. The Specialized racing shoes are light, stiff, and fast. The smith glasses are really nice and I wear them all the time (to the point where my brother gets jealous). The new helmets look so futuristic and and are very aerodynamic. The hats are very comfortable and fit nicely. Thank you to everyone who helped with this kit. I am very grateful to be provided with such fine race and daily wear clothing.
Towards the end of last season, I made the jump from a Cat 3 to a Cat 2. As a Cat 3, I've always tried to jump into the pro 1/2/3 races whenever I could. I never realized why the 1/2's don't like the 3's until I did my first real Pro 1/2 race at the Brentwood Grand Prix. The speed was twice as fast, fighting for position was extra aggressive and much more important, mostly everyone knew very well how to handle their bikes, and the extra 20 minutes made the race feel that much longer. It wasn't until this year til I realized the big difference. The difference was the length of the road races and the competitors that made for a stacked field. For example, at Poor College Kids big names such as Ty Magner (Hincapie), Stephen Leece (Jamis), and Tom Soladay (Optum) showed up. Being in a chase group with those guys made the race that much harder and faster. Another example could be at this years Boulevard Road Race when the entire U23 National Team showed up. It was a 96 mile race and with all of their guys at the front, the race was blistering hard when they decided to ramp up the pace. It wasn't until after this race that I learned how important nutrition really was. In my cat 3 races I was able to get away with maybe a light dinner the night before, a light breakfast, and a couple of Clif Bars during the race. In Pro 1/2 races I realized that eating is so much more important and it all starts at least 3 nights before the event. I ended up bonking at the end of the race (Blvd) when it mattered most. Eating lesson learned right away and some what the hard way. To wrap this all up, I've realized that there is a huge jump from a cat 3 race to a pro 1/2 race. There is so much more dedication, sacrifice, and pain to hang and be up at the front with the big boys, but it can be done. It's possible.
This past week California’s driest
twelve-month period in recorded history was interrupted. Rain fell almost every
day, giving me the choice to either ride the rollers, or ride outside in the
rain, or not ride at all. I choose to split my time fairly evenly between the first
two. However, this isn’t a story of the mental and physical toughness it takes
to ride in the rain or for a prolonged time on the rollers. This is testimony
to how brilliant the Sram Red brakes and Specialized S-Works Turbo tires are. Both
of these products amaze me with their ability to perform regardless of the
The newest iteration of the Sram
brakes works just as well in the wet as it does in the dry. I can brake just as
late, and have the same ability to modulate the breaking as I do in the middle
of the hot, dry summer.
The tires are just as impressive. For
a thin, low rolling resistance tire, they provide extraordinary grip that
encourages more aggressive cornering, and offer remarkable flat protection
(because no one wants to have to change a flat in the rain).
The two components combined produce
a confidence inspiring setup that will leave you prepared to ditch the trainer
and head out on a wet adventure.
Before I begin, I would really like to thank Larry Nolan, my teammates, team parents, and sponsors for a great season in 2013 and I am excited for the upcoming season. Since Cross National Championships and the Specialized San Dimas Camp, I have been off my bike for an off season to recover and focus. In being between seasons I have done some things I cannot easily do during the racing season. The day after 'Cross Nationals I went skiing and night tubing with Campus Life. It was a ton of fun hanging out with some of my friends up on the slopes. In the recent weeks I have started to consistently take flight lessons at the airport near my house. The amount of checks needed to make sure a plane is safe to fly is amazing, from checking for fractures in the plane's fuselage to making sure your seat won't move on takeoff. Overall, I've had a lot of fun during the off season, but I cant wait to get riding again starting with Valley of the Sun.
I live in Colorado. The coldest times of my life have been on my bike. I walk outside before almost every ride to check the temperature. Unfortunately I used to not account for the wind chill I would feel while riding, especially downhill. One winter in Durango, we were experiencing basically no snow. I was lucky enough to be able to ride almost every day outside. The temperatures were cold and I usually would wear three layers. I have learned that 3 is normally not enough for these winter months. I wear an under armor, a jersey, a vest, and a jacket now. My face is always the coldest part of my body however. Recently I have started wearing a bandana that covers my mouth and nose while riding. I not only feel warmer, but the bandana makes me look pretty cool if I must say. It's not just being cold while riding that I don't like, it's the experience of warming up that can be excruciating. Often I feel as though my hands and toes are being smashed under a boulder. The blood flow as your hands warm up seems to create a lot of pressure in your hands. Warming up should be a relief from the cold, instead it's almost as painful as riding in it. I bear the cold during these winter months because no matter what - it beats riding the trainer everyday. I know I'm not the only one who can't wait for summer and warm rides!!
I was pretty disappointed when I found out that I wouldn't be able to fly down to Nick's house for our second team camp. Instead I've been studying for finals. Doesn't that sound like so much fun? I thought the same. I feel like in every blog post time management seems to pop up somewhere and that's because it's incredibly challenging and sometimes you have to choose something you don't like as much over the thing you would prefer. In this case it's finals over team camp. Both these things are really important but in this case I only have two shots at finals every year whereas I'll be able to see my teammates at all the races I fly down to. Still that's not a lot and I really miss everyone when we only get to see each other once a month. Anyway, hope team camp was as fun as the last one!
Recently I went to go visit my friend Sean near Lake Forest California. I was talking to Sean's dad Mike and he was telling me he had a few tickets to go to A1 or Anaheim 1. But while this was on Saturday, he also told me that there is a couple of bike rides before A1 that he wanted me to ride with his son Sean. Mike was explaining to me who was going to be on the ride, such as Cameron Wurf and Taylor Phinney. Both of these riders are very well known pros. Cameron rides for Cannondale and Taylor rides for BMC. The ride wasn't very long but it was very cool to ride with one of your idols. Now that just leaves one day till A1. The next days ride did not include any pros but it was pretty well known ride to have lots of people. Unfortunately I got a flat and not being able to catch back on to the group. So Sean and I just ended doing our own ride getting about 70 miles in that day. Now that day is over, it's time for Anaheim. Thanks to Sean's dad Mike, he was able to get us box seats allowing us to get a better view of the race. Seeing the best Supercross in the world was just a incredible experience that won't forget it. Watching the rider Ken Roczen win A1 was amazing because he was one of the riders I was rooting for. Sunday the next day was the day I go home. After being picked up at the same gas station every time whether if it's me going to Sean's house or me going home, I realized it was a perfect week.