Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tour of Tuscaloosa

The Tour of Tuscaloosa started Saturday after noon for Nathan and I with a junior criterium in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The junior field had some good riders but Nathan and I had not problem finishing 1-2. After our short junior race it was time to start thinking about the nights big event, a 50 minute pro ½ twilight criterium. I have watched twilight criterium before, however this was more than a twilight crit. The course was a long 1.2 mile loop that passed through downtown which was lit well, however the course then descended a steep hill to the river which lead to a series of dark streets that were not lighted. I’d ridden the course earlier in the junior race so I knew how to take all the turns, but on lap one of the pro ½ race I felt as I was on a course I’d never ridden.
Despite the dark streets as strong winds the race went on and turned out well for our team (Hot Tubes). Nathan got in an early group of the front which happened to hold off the chasing pack until the end. He was under geared in his small junior gears for the final sprint but still took 3rd. Ben and I both finished in the pack behind, and road in a supporting role of Nathan.
The road race the following morning started less than 11 hours after the finish of the twilight criterium, so we didn’t have much time to rest. We woke the next morning to cold humid air, we arrived at the start and were ready to race. Ben, Nathan and I covered every move for the first three laps thinking that something would stay away off the front. However nothing did and after 4 laps Ben called it quits and Nathan followed on lap 6. I managed to finish in the pack. It was a hard race and good training as well.
Now I’m at Ben’s house outside of Jackson Mississippi where I will be for a few weeks until our team training camp in Georgia April 18th .


From the Wild West to the Dirty South.

Training camp in Arizona finished last Sunday and it was time for the long haul from Phoenix back to the Browns’ house north of Memphis, Tennessee. Although most of the drive looked the same (dry desert or grass plains) we were kept entertained by the high winds that blew with such force that we saw numerous fifth wheelers tipped in their side. Thankfully Nathans dad (Mr. Brown) is an airplane pilot, so the strong winds didn’t faze him. As we got deeper into the South the more I could start to hear the accent and see the difference. In the South the people live with more tradition, which is far different from the West Coast and its progressiveness and modern way of life. It’s almost as the south is more relaxed than out west, people don’t worry as much about what car they drive or what street they live on, and surprising to me the people are much more friendly. On our rides the past few days I’ve noticed that every car that passes us the driver waves, we haven’t been honked at once. I’ve already become accustom to the friendliness out on the road by waving to every oncoming car.

The roads around here are also all in excellent condition, even the back roads that don’t have cars are smooth and newly paved.

This weekend I will travel further into the South and participate in a criterium and road race in Tuscaloosa Alabama, before I meet up with my other teammate Ben and stay with him in Jackson, Mississippi for a few weeks before team camp in Georgia.

So far at Nate’s I’ve drove a riding lawnmower and been bass fishing. I’ll post more after the race.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Mt. Lemmon

It’s by far the longest climb I’ve ever done, a 27 mile epic that took us from the desert floor through cool rock formations, then into alpine trees and finishing with snow. A.J. Myer and I rode the climb together at a steady but quick pace and summited in a little under two hours. After we summited it was time for the long fast downhill to the heat of the valley, which was so quick the we were catching and passing cars the entire way down. The other riders followed, however most found that 13.5 miles of climbing was enough and turned around at the half way point. Lemmon is not a climb I would want to do all the time, but I definetly want to come back again and see if I can climb it faster.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two hundreds

Tortilla flats was all it was made out to be. An easy ride for the first fifty but an all out race the last fifty. Not only did we ride one hundred miles it was also one hundred degrees out on the tarmac. The ride was beautiful winding through canyons which are rivaled only by the great Grand Canyon itself. When the riding got fast my legs felt good, in fact I set five new watt average bests on my 1,5,10,30 and 120 minute power records. However, the long day didn’t come without damage to the pack, three riders called it quits before the fifty mile mark and on the final climb things blew apart. It was another great day on the bike, but tomorrow will be another death ride up the slopes of Mt. Lemmon.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

climbing high

It was another hot and great day of riding in Arizona. Today was for the climbers with lots of three and four mile climbs and a hard ten miler which took us above the altitude where the famous saguaro cactus grows and where deep breathing is a common sound. The camp is run very professionally and every ride is followed by Jose the camp mechanic and his Sram neutral support car. However, the best part of the follow car is the water, on a day like today I drank 8 bottles of water and loaded up on sunscreen twice.
Tomorrow we have a century planned and by the sounds of the others who have been here before it may turn into a race over the last 20 miles. My legs have been feeling good up to this point, but tomorrow might be another story.


Monday, March 16, 2009


Arizona Camp

I’m now down under the hot sun of Arizona at a training camp in Scottsdale. The day before I left I did my first road race of the year outside of Olympia Washington, in the cold wet weather of the North West, and now I’m in Arizona riding with my biggest worry being trying not to get sunburned.

Today we did an awesome ride in the 85 degree heart, and yes I got sunburned. The week ahead is going to be full of long hard rides, which one of the days will be Mt. Lemmon, a two plus hour climb that reaches over 9,000. More post and pictures will come in the following days.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Miles in Chico

After three weeks of training in Chico I'm back in Bend for a two weeks before I'm off to somewhere else, but where I don’t know yet.
The riding in Chico was amazing, there are dead flat roads in the valley that you could ride forever and see few cars. However just east of Chico are the foothills of the Sierras' which offers all sorts of different and great climbing. We all know that riding in the hills is hard, but I never before realized that long flat rides can be just as hard. Riding on the flats you never get a chance to stop peddling, you are applying pressure to the peddles the entire ride and that starts to catch up with you after a few hours.
Here are some photos from a few of my rides.

Enjoy Ian