Wednesday, June 25, 2008

German Bratwurst beats Turkish Kebap 3:2

...wish I could have been one of the half million folks celebrating tonight in Berlin.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good times at home...

Went to pick up Marshall from the ATX airport around noon. Rolled out of the garage at 6 pm heading towards the Driveway. Met Mills and Sol + gang on the way and got on time to the Crit - which was frickin' crowded! 76 starters and some really good ones. Colavita + TIME dominated and I was the lucky 4th in the 4-man move. Wamsley (pic above) towed us around the course tonight and I could only hold on to 3rd place. That hurt, but was a good warm-up. Afterwards: Dinner Burrito "as big as your face" at the new Chuy's at W. Cannon & Mopac with Sheri and Marshall.
(Photos © Dave McLaughlin)

A spin at noon at 100°F...then Sheri's home-cooked Italian for lunch, and LOTS of sleep. After that: Game Time! Maybe not the hardest or fastest, but definitely the coolest, spectator-friendliest, and most exciting Crit I've done. Mat Stephens joined in for the fun and the three of us did our best to make make the sprinters work for their money. Knowing that it will end up w/ a 99% chance of a field sprint I tried to get in a move or two but they wouldn't let any group go so I just went hard a few times in order to collect some cash primes. Finished off the pack, but definitely left everything I had on the course this evening. Post-Race? Mhhh, dinner at Sullivan's, a Shiner at SIX where a Asian guy paid us $60 (!) to give him our prime-spot table on the upstairs patio...Got home late, with one man M.I.A....:-)
(Photos © Dave McLaughlin)

Water, the wife's homemade waffles, more water, and lots of sleep again. Hot as always these days in Austin. Andrew Willis invited Michael Ball & RockRacing to his super-cool venue at the State Hospital on 41st and Guadalupe - that was already "rock" enough! Technical course, small uphill, 100°F, and a couple of strong teams make the race pretty easy to read: Get in an early move and it will stick to the end. And it did. Tyler Hamilton, Dille, Jittery Joe's guy, and me were off the front after 20minutes and the race was decided by that point. R&R was happy, Super Squadra, too and I thought it was the right combo also.
Okay, gotta say it: Hamilton is a bad-ass bike racer! Races with broken wrist, flats in our crit, gets back on, overcooks the right-hand downhill-turn (I got the unfortunate chance to watch it), and is back in the break two laps later. No matter what, that was simply a bold achievement by him and I'm not sure if anybody else would have kept racing after those happenings.
With 5 to go we all start the cat & mouse game, I try to go on the hill but Jittery Joe Superman and Dille cover. Later Hamilton goes but Dille and me are right on his wheel. Jitter Joe attacks at the start finish twice but that place was too flat to make any selection. Finally Jittery Joe attacks last time up the little hilly part and we all follow and I was just barely able to throw my bike in front of Dille coming into the last turn and held it to the line. Ouch, that hurt!

(Photos © Dan Norton, David de LaFuente, Doug Miller)

Thanks to Marshall and Mat for making it such a cool team of 3, who finished 20th and 19th, respectively on Sunday. And of course to workaholic Barry, who can put on a NRC race, race the P/1, and take down barricades in his chamois one minute after the race finishes. Oh yeah, Andrew Willis should promote races on a bigger scale. If Ball & Co. show up with 4 Escalades, a Team RV, and Truck/Trailer to a Texas Cup Div. 2 eRacing Stigma Crit I'm sure he can work any race in the US :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

More Matrix Crits

Without a teammates I had to race a bit different in Day 2's crit and focused on going for some primes. Got in a move with Barry, Vargas and strong-man from Jittery Joe's. That went allright and I got a prime but this break wouldn't last long as the teams in the field had other plans. Once we got caught I punched it hard and - as other say - attacked myself. Since I was on a solo-mission and the big teams in the field I stayed away for maybe 25-30minutes, made some gas money and some extra before getting caught with 25minutes to go. Only 17 (!) guys finished the crit today, others struggled with the heat, the corners and the pace.

Thanks goes to David Adams a.k.a. DKA who hosted a superb race in the Wilson Block Historic District just west of Downtown Dallas. Great course, great prize-money, great neutral support and a well-run event in general.

Speedy recovery wishes go to Farang Ghadiali who went down hard in the Cat 3 race and is on "trainer-duty" for now after breaking collarbone.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Team Play pays out big at Matrix Challenge '08

Today's Matrix Crit (Day 1) was all about one thing: Making sure Chad was in the right spot at the end to secure him a free lane to sprint victory. He's riding very well these days so my + Kolt's duty was easy: Help to keep the pack together and chase stuff down to get him to the line safely.

It worked great, next to winning two $$ primes we also won the race! A dozen THSJ guys and a super strong Jittery Joe's one-man team was not enough today to crack Chad Cagle. I didn't had the 'snap' to go with a lot of moves so I found myself chasing the various breaks and went into the 'red zone' multiple times in order to keep the stuff together. With 4 laps to go Chad found himself in a perfect group of 8 guys 10 seconds ahead of the field and I slowly drifted back, being exhausted from the day's work and just watched him do his thing from the back of the group.

That's the 2nd win for the team in 7 days, I can't be more proud if the guys I'm racing with.


...Chad in the "passenger seat"...

...Chad finishes off a hot and hard day with the 'V'!

(Photo courtesy of Tom Craddock)

Monday, June 9, 2008

1-2 at Copperas Cove

Raced the Age-based State Championships this past weekend in Copperas Cove, TX. Saturday Kolt and me finished off a perfect team-effort to finish 1st and 2nd. After a 1lap double/solo time trial we were in a break of 5 guys and once I was going to the finish solo, he comes up to me (solo) and we hold it to the line. One U23 jersey for him, one 23-29 jersey for me. Sweet!

Sunday's P/1/2/3 race was a bit better attended and as always on this course - you make the early move, your in the mix for the win. I worked hard to and jumped a lot to make that early break and finally a group of 10 rolled off the front and I was in the driver's seat again. Riders got dropped due to the heat + winds, cramps and exhaustion in the last 10 miles. John Trujillo, Wikoff and me almost did some track stands 1 mle out from the finish but in the end I had to settle for 3rd place.

Two 85mile road races, two times in the Top 3, I can't complain. Legs are sore!

Check out the local newspaper at

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chad Cagle is Tulsa Tough

This past weekend I headed up to Dallas to pick up Kolt + Mat S. and we headed to Tulsa for the 3rd annual Tulsa Tough. I did those crits the 2 years before and I always love to go back. It seems like the entire city is in "bike fever" for those 2 1/2 days at the end of May. The Tulsa Sports Commission and the Tulsa Wheelmen along with guys like Chris Zenthoefer are making that race bigger and better every year. Our Pro/1 field raced for a total prize list of $75K (excluding primes)!

Friday night started with a bang: My friend & fellow co-worker Joseph LaFico won the 1/2 race with a bold last-lap solo move. So that was the 2nd win for Texans that night as Jed Rogers beat all the 3's to win yet another Cat 3 race.

My team did what we could in order to animate our race; trying to make the right breaks, going for primes but most importantly keeping local strongman Chad Cagle out of trouble so he can do "his thing" in the sprint. An we did. Toyota-United showed up with 9 guys, putting them in the favorite spot with >10% of the field wearing blue, red, and white Toyota colors. But we still gave it a shot and at one point Alex and me found ourselves in a break w/ 2 Toyota guys + TX Roadhouse but it didn't last for more than 3 laps. 3 or 4 Toyotas ended up lapping the field along with Hopkins + Halloway so we just raced for a Top 10 from there on for Chad. Somehow, I timed my attacks always a bit off the "prime-bell" so no extra $$$ for me. Nevertheless, I was happy how we raced together as a team and all of us were in moves all night. Chad pulled of 10th in a star-studded field.

Day 2 was the Brady Crit just north of Downtown and on a really cool, fast, and challenging course. Going on a training ride up the small little rise on the back side you'd probably chose your small chainring but in the race it was pretty much always full-throttle, sometimes single-file in the 53x13-15. There was only one corner where you kind of had to break other than that it was full speed for most of the race. We did "our thing" again and were trying to get into the right breakaways and it worked out - until, well until Chad got "kicked out" of the break by the Toyota dummies. 4 Toyotas + TX Roadhouse were up the road so Mat S., Alex and I nearly killed ourselves by bringing down the gap in "jumping"-distance. Chad executed the plan and found himself in the break two laps later. Well, Toyota showed its "true face" when they played cat&mouse with him and basically told him "to leave" since they don't wanna share any of the prize money with an amateur who - by the way - picked them up from the airport the day before...
Chad still had the legs to pull off a nice 9th place but we rode back to the house with a little sour taste...

I woke up around 9am the next day and saw it was raining. "Well, not so bad" I thought since it probably will be gone in a couple of hours but the weather decided differently. LOTS of rain, 60mph winds and broken down trees all over the neighborhood made for an quite interesting breakfast-run (no power in the restaurant meant no breakfast). The race course on Riverside got trashed pretty bad by the flooding and winds. They only had to cancel a couple of early morning races and our race was still on. The course is pretty rough: you either go up- or downhill and there's not a whole lot of recovery time per lap. On the backside of the course, the locals go wild with beer, megaphones, whistles, and all kinds of costumes (I hope I can find some pics and post them here). Definitely the BEST crit I do all year in terms of fans + support along the race course.
Again, we had Chad as our team-leader who we tried to keep near the front so he can mix it up in the sprint. The climb is not too bad and you can power it up in the 53x19 if you wanna go fast or take the 39x17 if you like save your legs. There were lots of early moves and I did my thing but 1/3 into the race I realized that I can't really go anywhere today and focused on doing as much as possible to help the team. Halfway through the race a break of 8 was off the front and we simply couldn't respond to it. A THSJ was dangling off the front of the field at that point and I come up to Alex and tell him "Dude, you need to counter as soon he comes back!". Well, Alex did and 2 laps later he was still solo off the front of the pack and won a $500 prime! With the field being now lapped they wouldn't let anything get away so it didn't make sense to blow my legs with silly solo-moves :-) Mat Stephens did a fine piece of work today when he shot past the Toyotas the last time up the hill having Chad in tow. Although they got caught that made things easier for him and he finished 3rd or so in the field sprint to take 12th on the day.

Overall, Chad finished 6th in the Omnium of the Pro/1 race and as a team we got a small share of the total $75K but it was a lot of fun racing over the last 3 days.