Lindsey Wilson

Oh man, first race report of the year, I’m getting all giddy inside.

Ok, well… now that VeloNews is covering the collegiate scene, It seems somewhat useless to spell out every excruciating detail of the race. So in the morning there was this race, but you didn’t race against any one, you just went out and had to ride by yourself for like 10 minutes and call it a day. That before a 75 miler, no thank you.
So on to the RR, I’ll just say that Lindsey Wilson provided possibly the coolest race course the Midwest has seen for a while (and I mean a while, this is my 5th year of collegiate racing). Not only is the area around Columbia, KY very scenic, it also has some hills! I don’t mean the kind of hills you see in the rest of the Midwest that you can hold your breath going up, real hills more than a mile long that really make you hurt.
The race started out pretty easy, second lap of three I managed into a breakaway that worked pretty much flawlessly together. After initially getting away we rode pretty steady.
Once we hit the final lap though, we heard the breakaway up the road still had 4 minutes. Our group suddenly got a little quicker, dropping off a few riders who were just tagging along for the ride. We picked up all but two of the breakaway riders by the finish. My race was pretty much over after mile 60, which is about the longest ride I’d done prior to the race. I rolled in a pretty slow 6th. Here’s my super sweet Garmin file:

Unfortunately this might be the last I see of my location, accurate to 50 ft, for a while because as of today my Garmin mysteriously stopped working. Surely it had nothing to do with the spill it took off my bike in the Crit on Sunday.
We got to the crit very early on Sunday, so we all decided to try out for the Adair High School football team:

Needless to say we should stick to cycling (we actually did move it!). So after that quick warm up Andrew Otte and I went for a little stroll about the countryside north of the Crit course. Our ride went from really sweet to epic. First of all, for whatever reason, as soon as you get off state highways in southern Kentucky the roads turn into paved roller coasters. Twisting about a zillion times, with bunny hills that you zip down, sprint a few pedal strokes, and are over. It’s a lot of fun. Additionally, all these roads are super narrow, think bike path size.

On our way back into town we were riding one of these bike paths and it started getting narrower, and narrower, and narrower. Then it turned to dirt. Then it crossed a river:That’s literally what we rolled up to. I also forgot to mention that the road by this point had turned to dirt, which gave me a flat front tire. So here we were, about a mile from the Crit course, so close yet so far. So we just decided to take off the shoes and wade across all 3 feet of the raging torrent, which was really cold. After watching the Egyptians drown trying to chase us across the river, we rolled back to the course.

Again, you can check Velonews for the details of the crit, but let me first describe how wise I’ve become in my years of cycling. Before the race we had a little team meeting, what do you think we should do? “It’s a pretty tight and short course, It’ll probably be a breakaway,” said Hogan. And I replied “No way in Hell is it going to be a breakaway, I’ve been racing collegiate for 5 F–king years, I know a thing or two, etc, etc” I said.
So about 20 minutes into the race I saw a five man group with about 10 seconds that looked pretty promising. I got across and we lap the field in a matter of ten minutes.
After getting back to the field I was sort of fried, one: from going off into the grass and having to chase back on at one point, and another from losing my water bottle in while in the grass.
The race was winding down and Hogan was positioning to lead me out, Joey went for the late race flyer, everything looked good. Then Joey got caught in a lap, I lost Hogan’s wheel, and then proceed to bump elbows with someone mid pack on the last lap and pretty much lose all my steam. Thankfully Hogan didn’t wait up for me and killed it in the field sprint to come in 9th (3rd out of the field). I managed to get dead last in the breakaway, which was still good for 6th!
So racing is pretty much a learning experience every time for me…otherwise I’d be wasting my money. So here is what I learned from the Lindsey Wilson weekend.
1 – I need more long rides
2 – You actually have to be at the front of a pack if you want to sprint (very important fact I forgot over the off season)
3 – I really don’t know as much as I thought I knew
4 – Always bring a spare tube, no matter how short and simple your ride seams
5 – McDonald’s is still the best breakfast in town
Yes there’s only one, and she lives in the sewer.

Thank God January is Over

I’m pretty sure I’ll never really be a winter person. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I’ve realized that I’ve completely wasted the past 22 winters of my life.

In honor of the upcoming winter Olympics (which I ultimately hate every aspect of, but that’s a blog post in itself), I’ve extended my foray into wintertime sports going to Indiana’s Perfect North ski resort. Yup, in a mere 10 days you will see Chris Uberti tearing up the Alpine downhill ski slopes.
Alright, probably not. But my first crack as skiing went surprisingly well. Given my past experiences with sports (Baseball, Tennis, Soccer) I don’t consider myself a coordinated person by any means, and my ability to stay upright on a bike should be considered a miracle. Heading to the Midwest’s premier ski resort with the Purdue Cycling Club I sincerely believed that I would be shredding the gnar on the bunny hills all day long. When we actually pulled up to the hills and I saw first hand how steep the hills were and how fast everyone was going, I nearly wet myself. I’m used to the gradual switch back climbs of cycling…that and the biggest snow covers hill I’ve ever been down is the massive 100 foot Slayter Hill here at Purdue.
So we all get booted up (by the way, cycling shoes are a piece of cake to walk in compared to ski boots) and head over to the “Learning Area” full of people going down something that could barely be considered a downhill at a speed that makes snails feel fast.
So after some coaxing from Brian and his friends (all of whom have been skiing a few times before), I followed them to the chairlift to one of the blue runs, which seems like an easy color. Besides, I was feeling confidant. I had, the day before, watched a whole five minutes of instructional YouTube videos, on how to ski: Pizza and French Fries are all you need to know.

After a full three runs, I decided to hit up a black/blue hill, which in the Midwest the increased difficulty apparently means just a slightly steeper hill. Skiing, as I found from each crash, is really about some simple rules, In addition to junk food. First, you don’t corner with your inside ski, you just end up on your ass. Bend at the knees. Don’t lean too far back. Look where your going. Use your knees to turn. Going fast is really a lot of fun…but someone like me has absolutely no control at those speeds. And finally it is really hard to stand up after you’ve fallen down, especially on steep hills.
We even hit up the “Terrain Park” to hit some sick jumps. Here’s a video I expertly took of Brian shredding some gnar:
Once the sun went down the resorts lights came on and you automatically felt like you were going a lot faster. Plus, after 7 pm the place cleared out. We were able to ski from the run right onto the chairlift, making it so the only time we spent off the skis were when we were going up the mountain. By the end of the night I was able to hit the black diamonds, and only crash spectacularly once each time down. This was a great improvement over the five times I crashed the first time I tried a black diamond. I didn’t feel too bad at that attempt because between my third and fourth crash on the run, I saw a snowboarder eat it on the same hill and slide nearly a half mile on his back.
I never really mastered the art of skiing in one day but I did really start getting the hang of it towards the end of the night. The absolute fear I felt at the beginning of the day was down to a mild adrenaline high, and I was really have a lot of fun. So much so that everyone from our group left a whole hour before and the people who I gave a ride down had to call me to tell me they had been waiting in the lodge for half an hour for me to finish.
This might sound cheesy and like a South Park episode, but I really learned something from this trip. With school and cycling I’ve really been doing the same thing over and over for a while: mainly just school and cycling. While both of these things are fun and all, they are very familiar to me by now, and with familiarity comes comfort. I know exactly what to expect and have some confidence in myself in both areas. Because of this, I’ve really forgotten how much fun it can be to do something that is really foreign and outside my comfort zone.
That is part of the reason I got into cycling in the first place, because it wasn’t your suburban Baseball or Soccer. It was something completely weird and I seemed to be good at it, and the reason it was fun was because it was so challenging and when I put effort into it and I was able to get better. That’s not how everything goes, I know. I spent a lot of time playing sports like Baseball and Tennis and never got very good, which was frustrating. I guess I realized that because of this fear of failure I haven’t been going outside my comfort zone for quite a while in many ways. Things like my job search and school have been progressing a tectonic plate velocities pretty much for this reason.
Insert generic ‘sports teach you life’s most important lessons’ analogy here.
I applaud anyone for making it through the cheesiest two paragraphs in this blog’s history.