Sunday, February 27, 2011
Meanwhile, I tried to race at VOS 2 weeks ago in sunny Arizona and didn't go to plan but it's all a learning experience and we definitely learned our lesson and we are all eager to get our next shot at SDSR in LA in a couple weeks. I was scheduled to race at Snelling RR in the pro/1/2 field this past Saturday but when the weather called for possible snow and frigid temperatures during the afternoon, I knew it wouldn't be the best idea to try to race in February when I'm on medications and still technically sick. My teammates David Benkoski and Kevin Metcalfe participated at the frozen tundra and didn't come up with the results they were looking for but I'm sure they are all excited and pumped for Merco Stage Race that is coming up next weekend!
I'm currently on the road to recovery and trying to get back to where I should be soon. Even though I am sick and stuck inside a lot, it gives me a lot more motivation to go ride more, which is why I can't wait to really get back on the bike and be healthy again.
Team Specialized Racing was also at Calville Stage Race just outside of Las Vegas this past weekend. They fielded Jrs in the cat 3's, 2's, and Jrs races and did an awesome job! Kyle Torres was in the leaders jersey for a day in the cat 3's race, Jack, Matt, and Diego worked very well together in the Jrs race, and to top it all off Marcus, Willy, and Jeff were able to get multiple top 5 finishes in the category 2's race throughout the stage race! Congrats to all of them!
Team Specialized Racing will be fielding at Merco Stage Race starting Thursday for the pro/1/2 guys (including Fast Freddy!!). We will also be having some Jrs in the category 3's race and masters in the masters race I believe. Should be a strong weekend of racing with some Tour of CA teams coming to participate in the pro/1/2 field. Looking forward to another great weekend for the team!
Thank you for reading.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Valley of the Sun was the first major race for the team this year and it was also a great time to get to know some of the new riders and practice working together as a team. I raced in the Cat 2 field along with David Benkoski, Dean Haas, Willy Zelmer, and Jeff Perrin.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Stage One was the TT and this race basically determines the GC for the race. The course is a 14 mile flat out and back and is fast. I didn't get the best warmup and along with being from Colorado where racing doesn't start until April, my time wasn't that fast. I did a 34:04 which put me in 48th in GC out of 85. Torey was down by about a minute with a 10th place finish, Willy was 40th, Jeff was around 60th and David got a flat tire.
Stage Two wasn't great for me either. The course is about a 16 mile loop where we did 90 miles in the cat 2 race. I put my race wheels and went through my whole pre race routine and to my misfortune, I had a mechanical problem at the very start of the race. My derailleur was malfunctioning and was actually broken and would not shift in any cog lower than my 19 tooth. I ended up getting dropped about 7 miles into the race and dropped down to near last in the GC. David however, was 3rd on the stage and had bridged a gap after crashing lap three. Torey finished with the gruppeto and Willy was not far behind. Jeff went down in a crash on lap two.
Stage Three was a great turning point for me, we raced the shortened 45 minute criterium in Downtown Phoenix. The course was kilometer long technical course with many turns and I had a lot of fun. We were down to four riders after Jeff's crash the day before. I went off the front a few times including on three laps to go which I thought might stick but didn't. I even won a $25 prime and I was chopped in the last corner but I still managed a 10th place in the final sprint.
I had a lot of fun riding and racing out in the sun with my team mates, regardless of my fitness level. I want to say thank you to everyone who made this such a fun experience, including the new equipment I received from Specialized! I can't for the next trip to San Dimas in March!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Boulevard Road Race
I rolled up to the start line in my Team Specialized Racing kit for the first time. As all 100 Cat 4 racers arrived, a rider moved over to me and said, “Hey kid, where did you get that kit?” I said, “I’m on the Junior Team.” He gave me the thumbs up and wished me a good season. This kit is so pro!
Lap One – Look Good, Feel Good…
The race started with a short climb and was followed by a bombing descent that covered about 7 miles. I didn’t have any problems staying in the front on the descent. There were no attacks at all, as all riders knew what was coming up in miles 10 through 21.
The race really took off at mile 10 with a 3 – 6+% climb. At around mile 12, the 100 member peloton split and at least 30 riders dropped off the back. The pace up the remaining 5 miles spit out twenty or more of the field. I was still in good form at mile 21 and waved to my parents as I completed the first lap in 4th position.
Lap Two – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…
After the short pitch climb we had the bombing 7 mile descent again. I felt so good that I thought maybe I should have skipped the 4’s race and gone straight to the Pro1-2 race. However, as we started the final gruesome 4 mile climb to the finish, the engine room notified me that we were losing power. I couldn’t maintain the pace and began to drop off with about 10 other racers. Now, it was every man (and one Jr.) for himself as we struggled to the finish.
I crossed the finish line in 28th place. The race was 42.11 miles long with 3,928 feet of climbing. This wasn’t the finish I wanted, but considering I was laid up for 10 days sick with the flu, I finished ok.
Red Trolley Crit
The next day was the Red Trolley Crit in San Diego. Great So Cal weather and the Cat 4 field maxed out again at 100 racers. This was a short, .6 mile fast course with a swooping climb out of the fourth corner. The last lap of the race was scary fast with bumping and banging. I lost some spots coming out of the last turn but managed to sprint for 9th place. Again, not what I wanted, but decent given this is only February and I’ve got a long season ahead of me.
All in all it was a good weekend of racing. Next up, “Valley of the Sun Stage Race” in Phoenix, AZ, where I get to spend 3 days and race with the best team in USA- Team Specialized Racing Juniors!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
I'll start with the early Valentine's Day gift... my parents (Bob and Maureen) came out to Napa yesterday to watch me race and watch me direct the juniors. They like to see me having fun and they have been a big part of my support system all of my life.
I didn't take the top step of the Cherry Pie podium yesterday. I bridged to Greg Betonte (Safeway) in the M45 race and the chase behind stalled. The pack was probably thinking that two sprinters would look at eachother and stop working. But its early season so Greg and I worked together until the last lap. Greg has a better sprint than me, he knows that, so it's my job to get away from him or take him at the line. With teammate Kevin Metcalfe gaining on us I stopped working, Greg led the whole last lap and rode a perfect razor to the line. I was 2nd and Kevin was 3rd. New 45+ teammate Steve Cassani was 7th and crit racing teammate Rob Anderson took 3rd in the M55 race (we raced together).
In the 1/2/Pro race they saw me working to keep a field sprint where Freddie Rodriguez took 2nd and 17 year old David Benkoski took 4th.
I have to admit that I'm still having fun racing on this course (21 years ago this was the District Champs course)
Jess Raphael and my mom at the 2008 Cherry Pie Crit
Thanks for coming out to the races mom and dad. I love you both! Larry
Thursday, February 3, 2011
A few thoughts come to mind when one thinks of the “off season” in cycling. One can look forward to taking anywhere between one week to one month off the bike to both physically and mentally rejuvenate, and start the following year as fresh as possible. Others might just look forward to regaining weekends to spend time with friends, family, and if you are a junior bike racer, having an opportunity to pretend you are a normal adolescent for a few months. Personally, when the thought of the off season comes to my mind, long, treacherous, cold, slow miles are what I think of. To some cyclists, this might seem like necessary dirty work that needs to be completed in order to reach the finishing line first in when it counts, but to me, it’s more than just miles.
As I got back on my bike after taking what seemed to be the longest two weeks off the bike, I began slowly revamping the training and piling on the base miles. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to talk to a great number of professionals and top level amateur cyclists. To my surprise many of them had expressed their dislike in training. It seems not all, but some seemed to view training as a requirement that needs to be fulfilled in order arrive at the starting line of a race fit. In my point of view, training can sometimes be a drag. (Usually when it is extremely cold or rainy…but considering we live in beautiful California it is usually not the case…knock on carbon…). This all led me to an epiphany; training time is reflection time, reflection on not just my day or my week, but also racing in general. These long arduous miles are a fantastic time to reflect on the previous season, reminisce on great times, re-live the sorrow of the close calls, remember the pain of the crashes, but most importantly, it is a great time to psychologically prepare yourself for the upcoming season. My thoughts tend to digress during 4+ hour rides, and spend a majority of the time getting mentally prepared for what awaits me, and in this case, it was the 2011 racing season, possibly what will be my toughest, most crucial season of my so far short racing career. I usually think of dream scenarios that would play out in order for me to win races I’ve always wanted to stand atop the podium of.
All in all, most of the preparation for racing is done during the base miles, whether it be the headwinds, climbs and just general tough times you suffer through, or the amount of hours you spend mostly by yourself, left alone to reflect on what the upcoming season will be like, and the toughness you will have to endure to persevere to a higher level. Something we all aspire to…