It's been exactly a year since I last posted. This fact is mere coincidence, but kind of neat in itself. The past year has been wonderful and at times wonderfully crazy. My life has seen lots of changes. Namely, starting a new cycling team, meeting a wonderful girlfriend, and changing jobs. Thank you to all that supported Amalgamattion through this year of silence. Whether or not you realized it, those random comments (albeit many of them in jest) about the absence of posts is what eventually drove me to re-do the layout and start posting again. Perfect transition into the two-wheeled side of things.
First, the new team. As many of you know, myself and a couple of my teammates chose to leave Spidermonkey at the end of last season and start a new team. For me personally, the decision was based on the fact that I wanted to be a part of team dedicated to racing and also get to be a bit more involved in how the team was run. Specifically, I was interested in working with sponsors. We ended up joining forces with another local team, Rhythm Racing and a few other important characters, to form the new Rhythm Racing. From the beginning I took on an "Executive Board" role as the Vice President of Sponsorship. It has been an interesting and challenging endeavor trying to find sponsors and help with the administrative duties of running an amateur cycling team. For me, the most challenging part has been keeping the "amateur" part in focus while sometime having to put in more than amateur amounts of work. Overall, the team has been a huge success both on and off the road. We are already getting started on putting together huge and awesome plans for next year. (oh and if anyone reading this wants to sponsor us, you know where to find me!)
For me personally, this road season was a bit of wash. I went through a tremendous off-season where I trained diligently, dropped 20 pounds, and was excited to crush the early season crits with my new teammates. However, in February, I decided I needed to focus a bit on real-life and chose to start studying for the GMAT in case I wanted to apply to business school this summer. I took the GMAT in June and got the score I wanted, but my training and racing suffered considerably. When I attempted to start racing in June, I realized that while my brain had been training, my legs had missed out on important training...and too much of it. I put in a couple of starts in June and July without much success even sitting in the pack. Riding off the back of Cat 4 crits on a frequent basis is not something I'm interested in.
I rolled up to the line in Elk Grove at the beginning of August feeling in pretty good shape. I knew the race would be fast as many people target it, but I felt ready to take on whatever. Unfortunately, my race didn't go so well. About half-way through the race, I was caught up behind a crash and ended up in a chase group that didn't want to chase. Feeling good enough to do the work myself I began dragging them back to the pack. This was going well until I hit the hallmark 180-degree turn of the course on the front of the group about 25 meters behind the main pack. Since every lap before I had been behind someone going into the turn, I hadn't been paying attention to the speed we were taking the (wet) corner at. When I hit the corner on the front of a group, I apparently didn't slow down enough as my front wheel washed out and I went sliding through (across?) the turn. Jesse Williams, who I presume was taking pictures of his teammate behind me caught the whole thing on camera. I jumped back in the race and ended up crashing again, this time on a wet crosswalk, but after the first crash, I was pretty much done anyways.
This was my first "real" crash. In cycling terms, I came out great. My helmet did it's job and since I was on wet pavement, I was saved a lot of road rash. Mentally, I was much worse. Even a month later, I will occasionally panic while taking a corner, even on a slow commute to work, and freak out that I am going to wash out. I had planned to race the Gateway Cup in St. Louis over labor day weekend, but after deciding to go, I spent the next few weeks dreading it. I decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to go and try to race three days when I didn't feel like racing three minutes. So I shut down the road racing for the season.
Since July I have been training with a new coach and am excited for the upcoming cross season. I used to think Cat 4's training with coaches was overkill, and it may be, but I have really enjoyed the experience and have enjoyed watching my quads grow. I will try to put together race reports during cross season assuming that my schedule allows me time. xXx's Relay Cross was this past Saturday and was a ton of fun. I will put up a quick report on it later this week or early next week. Thanks for reading!