Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Europe

After a little over three weeks in Europe, I'm now home having thinking about school tomorrow. The past month was the best part of my summer. Four of us Specialized 15/16s were selected and we had a lot of fun in a world away from our separate lives at home and became better teammates. The racing is different than anything you'll see in the U.S and we learned a lot from it.

I spent six days with Christian Williams and his group on the West side of Belgium before heading to Sittard, Netherlands to meet USA cycling. I was able to do two races in the time there, where I finished 2nd then 1st. It was a nice head start and I was able to adjust to being in Europe before the camp started. We had 4 kermesses before the start of the West Flanders Tour at the end of the trip. We won 3 of them, with Sean wining two and Gage winning one, Us Specialized kids have worked well together all season, and that carried over to Belgium. In one race all 4 of us were in the winning breakaway with one other Belgium rider, and we finished 1, 2, and 4.  We had great results going in to West Flanders Tour, one of the hardest races for 15/16s in Belgium. We rode well as a team and helped Gage finish 2nd overall. The racing was hectic with 150+ riders on narrow roads. You had to stay attentive all the time, and moving up in the pack was a difficult task. We did a great job as far as results, and we all rode our hearts out.

Going over to Europe as a junior racer gives us a taste of what being a pro in Europe is like, both on and off the bike. I'm really glad USA cycling gives us the opportunity to do this, and I'm happy I was able to go over with some of my Specialized teammates. Thanks to my my buddies Simon Jones, Cameron Beard, Gage, Sean, Grant, our coach John Heidemann, and everybody else who helped make this trip happen. I'm looking forward to next time.

-Christopher




Monday, August 25, 2014

Time Management

Throughout the summer, time has not been an issue. No deadlines to worry about, no stress that occurs during the school year; just me, my bikes, and fun times. But, all good things must come to an end. School is right around the corner and all the responsibilities are starting to flood back. Through the actual hours spent in school, homework given, and tests to study for, school takes up a lot of time. Juggling that and cycling can be a very tough thing to accomplish. On top of it all, I decided to join marching band this year, which is something I had wanted to do last year but thought I would have to sacrifice too much cycling and racing time to join it. However, this year I looked at the marching band schedule more thoroughly and found that it ends mid-November, well before road racing season begins. However, through joining, I have committed myself to an even more intense schedule at school and have given myself less time to cycle until it ends.That means time management is key if I want to accomplish my cycling and school goals right now. It will take an efficient and focused mind to do it all, but after I wade through the thick of it, I will look back and think, wow, I done good; then, I will know how realistic the struggle is. I will have to plan my days and time to cycle with just a bit more precision and maybe even have to prioritize my activities and decide which ones are most important. It will be difficult, but I will become stronger after I am done. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "There are no gains without pains."

Thank you for your TIME,
Jules Gilliam

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Driven by goals


Goal: noun
1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Goals offer motivation during hard training rides, tangible measuring points, and a constant reminder of why we put so much time and effort into the sport of cycling. Goals are benchmarks set by the rider (sometimes with input from others) that drive the rider to challenge him or herself. A goal can be as easy to quantify as losing a pound or two, or as complex as developing the ability to ride off the front of P12 races.

One of my goals for this season was to earn enough upgrade points to become a category 1. I wanted to challenge myself to not only race in P12 races, but to be competitive. I started the season as a brand new category 2 rider with 0 points and never having raced a P12 race. My goal was to develop as a rider and achieve the ability to place in everything from flat, industrial park crits, to long hilly races and stage races. Having this goal constantly in the back of my head helped me push through the hardest workouts and races. Now, with two races left on my race calendar this year, I can proudly say (and show you the email from USAC) that I achieved my goal and am a category 1.

Achieving goals is always easier with support from others. Much of this support came from Team Specialized and its sponsors. I would like to thank Larry, my teammates, the NCCF, and Specialized for all of their help.

As the season winds down, and I reflect on my year of racing, I am beginning to think of the challenges I want to set for myself next year. A big part of my motivation to upgrade was to challenge myself to always race the hardest races with the strongest fields.

What goals will drive me during training and racing next season? What goals drive you?

An email to culminate a season’s worth of work

Thanks for reading,
Jason S.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thank you

I have been racing bikes for eight years now and every year as I grow in my experience and achievements, I receive more and more support. And like many other sports or even job positions, people tend not to notice all of what goes into getting me to races and finishing well. Because we are about to cap off the 2014 road season I would really like to send out a thank you to everyone who has helped me thus far.

To begin with, I have been on ICCC (International Christian Cycling Club) since my first race. They have provided me with great coaching, and race support at most of my local races for the past eight years.

Another group I would love to thank is the NCCF/Team Specialized Racing. Since I joined a couple of years ago, the team has helped better my racing career by providing support for me to travel to larger races which has given me more experience than I could afford to get otherwise.

The final people I want to thank, are my parents and my sister. Even before I started racing they have been there for me. Throughout my racing career they have been there to help me along. I can't imagine being where I am today without their support and encouragement.

Gage Hecht

After looking back at all of the support I have received throughout the years, I want to make sure and thank all of you that have encouraged me and showed your support whether in person or via social media.

You all are why I'm here today!  Thank you!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Emotionally driven!

While riding around Lake Tahoe twenty four years ago a triple trailer clobbered me and took triathlon away from me.  A year after that accident I won my first NCNCA state championship in the criterium.  It was a good day and I remember it well, including crying in my car because it had been a long journey back to health. 

Three weeks before 2013 masters track world championships I crashed.  I cancelled my trip due to injuries (fractured pelvis and four ribs).  Today, eleven months later, I won my 125th NCNCA state championship.  I just finished a good cry. 

60 days out from 2014 masters world track championships and I very much want to take that top step of the podium.... and, then go off and have a good cry.

Yes, I am weird and proud of it!  Larry Nolan, Team Specialized

photo by world record holder Jim Turner
oh, and I want to be drug tested too!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Heers Kermesse - A Belgian Drought

        After a few days living the dream of an American Cyclist in Europe, we finally packed up and drove to our first race. All day the team was checking the weather on phones and looking up at the dark grey sky. Around fifteen minutes into our car ride it started to rain, then it got harder and then you could feel it shaking the door of the van. When we got to the race the roads were deep in water, the rain jackets were on, and the tire pressure was low. We then registered and went out for a lap around the course. The lap started with a climb averaging around 4% for about 1km. Then it flattened and it was tight corners and wet streets all the way back. The race started with bang and we were immediately shedding riders on the first climb. I launched a few attacks and so did the rest of the team. We were just trying to break them down. The rain wasn't quitting on our third lap and the race was picking up speed through the streets. On the second to last corner of the third lap Chris was second wheel and I was third, we took the corner too hot and he went down hard in front of me, I managed to jump over my bars and land on my feet, but when I picked up my bike the field was gone and my chain was twisted around itself. When I got back on the bike I rode really hard to chase back to the main field. By the time I made it back this was no longer the main field. I attacked to get to the break but it was me versus every one in the field. They would all work to chase me and then attack me. Sean made the break and finished 8th.
Overall a very hard race for the team and a great learning experience,
Grant McElroy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Love me some white handlebar tape

Yep, I hate that I have white handlebar tape when I flat and/ or have greasy hands.  But, I love white handlebar for the way it looks on my bike and because its a telling sign of how much time I spend in various positions.  Tops, hoods, drops... over time the grime and dirt just pop out on white handlebar tape. 

Better yet, as a coach I find myself checking out other riders handlebar tape all of the time.  It's like they left some clues for me.  Where do they spend the majority of their riding time?  hmmmm, let's have a look!  Not judging, just being observant...

Larry Nolan, Team Specialized Juniors Director