Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving my blog

In order to get a more relevant URL I have decided to move my blog to MaxProRacer.blogspot.com

I feel this change makes the url easier to remember and associate with me, especially now since I am no longer racing out of Denmark.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I am still alive...

Despite what my lack or recent updates may have you believe, I am in fact still alive and doing ok. I am a bit sick at the moment, but its nothing too major and should be over pretty soon hopefully. I'm living in Davis now and have been taking it pretty easy the last month since the last race. I've already started to get back on the bike a little bit, but nothing too structured or serious.

I did do a 30 min cross race practice this Tuesday, which was pretty fun. I had a good time and got "2nd" although I probably didn't deserve it since I skipped a dismount a couple of times during the race. Here is a photo of the podium courtesy of Phil Mooney

I other news, I have signed a contract for a big US based Continental team, but since they haven't returned the counter-signed contract yet, I don't really want to talk too much about it. But assuming everything does work out like it should I will be in a great place next year. Europe was fun but its also going to be nice to be home a bit more this year. Either way, I am expecting some good things this year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Its a wrap on the season

The last race of the season was the Münsterland Giro last Saturday, and it was the biggest race of the year for our team with a start list that included teams such as Columbia, Saxo Bank, Milram, Cervélo Test Team, Vacansoleil, Skil Shimano, among others. It was run on the windy but flat roads around the western German city of Münster.

I am somewhere in that mess with 5km to go

The defending champion from Columbia, Andre Greipel, was the clear favorite after his win in the points classification in the Vuelta and strong ride at the world championships the week before. The home team, Milram also had a strong sprinter in Gerald Ciolek. So everyone basically knew the game plan, someone would attack early, Columbia and Milram would set tempo and probably bring them back with a few km to go setting up a bunch sprint.

The action started from the gun, with my team mate Ricky attacking and getting into a small break, however a lot of teams weren't satisfied so they got brought back quickly. There were a bunch more attacks and I got into a decent group of 6 but then another small group came up with Greipel in tow so our group was doomed. I drifted back way too far after we got caught because my legs were still pretty loaded up from going so hard only 15minutes into the race and I found myself 70 riders back when the real break of 6 riders went. Ricky was also a bit back from his earlier efforts and my other 3 team mates were no where to be seen so we missed the break. So much for that.

We then settled in with Milram and Columbia setting tempo as expected. It was still very nervous in the peleton because the wind made the chance for a crosswind split quite high so everyone was battling to stay near the front. Still they kept it pretty mellow in the wind except for one time at about 80km to go which was one of the few times I found myself in the back half of the group. Milram successfully split the group but there were still about 50 riders and most of the favorites in the front so the rest of us had no problem getting back when they sat up. But sitting up really cost them dearly because when they started chasing again, the gap to the break didn't come down very quickly and they actually managed to stay away by a few seconds. Quite a shame we didn't have anyone in there, it would have been a great result for our team.

I tried to lead out a team mate in the closing kilometers but he couldn't hold the pace and drifted back. I still tried to stay near the front but I am not exactly a field sprinter and I didn't get very far. I ended up finishing in the middle of the front group which was reduced to about 80 riders at this point and sadly I was the first guy from our team. So the result wasn't great, but it was a good experience, because I learned that I can race with the big teams and be mildly competitive, I'm not dying just to stay in the peleton. It gives me good hope for the future.

I'm back in CA now and enjoying a nice break. Its been a long year and I definitely need it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last Danish races

Weekend summary: flat, crosswind fun!

This past weekend we did the last two races of the Danish season, both in the southern part of Denmark, right on the German border.

On Saturday we raced in Tønder on a pretty exposed 28km course for a total of 140km. 12km into the lap we made a right turn from a headwind into a cross tailwind and after about 2km of that the peleton exploded. I came around the turn back in about 40th wheel but realizing the danger I managed to get to the front when there was still a bit of shelter from some houses and made the split. I had a team mate right next to me when we came through the corner and I told him to get on my wheel when I moved up on the windy side of the group, but once the split happened he was no where to be found. However, Berling and Jacob both used their experience to make the group, so that we had three riders out of 18. Concordia had 4 riders as well as Capinordic. Once the split happened everyone put their heads down and worked to make sure the gap stuck. The peleton was chasing behind and got back to about 25 seconds 30 km later, but then they cracked and the race was over for them. Still, because of the wind, our break kept the pressure on and it wasn't easy. We worked pretty well together until the start of the last lap when the attacks started. A group of 7 ended up getting away and I missed it because of a bad hesitation.
Me hesitating instead of following Morten from Blue Water

I attacked on my own a few km later to try to get back up to them, but I only got to within 10 seconds of them and 40 seconds in front of the rest of the group before I cracked. I ended up getting caught by the rest of the group again. I still wanted to race a bit so I attacked again with 1.5 km to go and took two riders with me who sat on my wheel and then sprinted around me so I got 10th. Jacob couldn't get away from the front 7 and finished 6th.
Loosing the sprint for 8th

That night most of the guys from Concordia, Energi Fyn, and Capinordic, as well as Berling, Linde and I went to the German border city of Flensbourg and partied. It was a good time, but probably not the best thing to do before another race on Sunday morning. I didn't feel too bad about it though since all of the good guys in the peleton were out doing it too. Still I got home at 3am and had to wake up at 7 for a 10 am start which was a bit rough. Its just practice for Boggs later in the winter....

The legs were definitely a bit heavy the next morning, but I still managed to make the 12 rider break that went after 15 km. Only me and one other rider from Concordia who had been in the front group on Saturday made that group on Sunday. It was pretty obvious that the peleton didn't want to race and we soon had a 4 minute gap without working too hard for it. The attacks didn't start until the last lap with 25km to go, but once they did it was full on. I tried to keep pretty cool for a while but then I got away with one other rider with 12km to go. We got a 1o second gap and I was killing myself trying to make it bigger. The other guy wasn't as strong so I was doing most of the work. Sadly we got caught after 4 or 5km but my legs were starting to get a bit cooked. I tried again a few times, once coming from the back before a turn with one rider on my wheel, but I drilled the corner so hard that he got dropped and ended up just towing the group back up to my wheel. By the time the actual finish came up I was completely cooked and couldn't even contest the sprint so I got 12th. The rider from Concordia who had been in the group yesterday finished 11th, so I think T
ønder took a good edge off both our legs.

Still it was a spirited end to my season in Denmark. This coming Saturday we are racing the UCI 1.1 ranked M
ünsterland Giro in western Germany. Its a big race with lots of Pro teams so its going to be pretty hard. Still, its the last race of the season and I don't have much to loose so I'll go what I can to get off the front. Last year Griepel won in a field sprint so I'm not expecting much, but I can't go to a race and not even try to win, what would be the point?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Well I guess I've been a little MIA for the last two weeks. I put it down to laziness and a general lack of motivation. The motivation I still do have is being used to convince myself to go out every day and ride my bike. Yes, unlike most bike racers in the US who don't do cross, my season is not yet over. I am still in Denmark and I have two more weekends of racing. This coming weekend we are doing two basically flat races in south western Denmark, and then next week we do the UCI 1.1 ranked Münsterland Giro. This is going to be only my second 1.1 race ever and I hope it goes better then my first, which was the Hel van het Mergelland where I crashed and broke my bike after about 20km. So if I make it 21km, it will be better.

After USPro I went back to Denmark and spend a whole three days there getting used to the time zone before we left to do the 2.2 Tour of Hokkaido in Japan. It was a pretty sweet trip, got to see some beautiful landscapes, experience a bit of a new culture, stay at hotels with spas, oh and do a bike race too.
The race itself was a bit strange. First of all, I could see over the whole peleton without really trying to look up. Second, although there were some good climbs in the race no one but me and some guys who weren't very good wanted to really race up them, and they weren't steep enough that I could just ride away from everyone. Thirdly, although we went around an island, we somehow managed to have a headwind for the last 80km of every stage. All of this meant that every day was a field sprint, despite our team's best efforts.

Although I got the closest of anyone got to beating the peleton. On the third day I got off with a tiny Japanese guy about 110km into a 180km stage. We were given about 2 minutes after 20km of riding and then we basically stayed there. There was a really annoying climb from 30 to 25km to go that wasn't steep but had a massive headwind blowing. So we were just crawling up it and our gap fell to only 30 seconds. Still we didn't give up and we kept that 30 second gap from 25 km to go until a hill that wasn't on the profile with 5km to go. If it hadn't been for that hill, we still may have stayed away, apparently the guys working in the peleton were starting to crack.

Although I am generally really bad at taking photos, I did take some and I posted them to facebook, which can be found here.

We came back last Monday and I spent most of the next week trying to get over the jet lag. I did manage to do an SFR workout on Thursday, but since my SRM was getting its battery replaced I did it by feel and went way too hard. This managed to completely trash my legs for the next three days. So we did a Danish race on Sunday and my legs were still complete garbage. But my teammate Chris won, so it was a good day for the team. Although I didn't really do much to help them.
Life is easy in the laughing group.
After a million attacks in the first hour, 18 riders got up the road in small groups and then came together to form a new peleton. Five of our 8 riders were up there so the three of us who were left basically did nothing, and after a few people tried to chase for a little while, the rest of our group did nothing too. Out of boredom and a desire to be finished, I pulled most of the last 30km so we only finished 7 minutes behind the winner, not 15 or more.

Well I guess that about sums up the last two weeks. Perhaps I should do shorter posts more often, instead of these long ones every couple of weeks... hm....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Welcome to the big time I guess. My first Pro nationals. I was racing by myself and had no idea of how the race was going to play out. I did manage to get together a follow vehicle for myself, Andrew Talansky from Amore & Vita, and three Land Rover riders. Thanks to Andrew for finding the driver. So at least I wasn't behind the 8-ball before the start even took place. And what a start it was. It was completely nutty, groups of 30 kept going off the front and we were doing like 45 km/hour on a really technical circuit. I panicked a few times and jumped across to a few of these groups, inevitably right before the peleton caught them. Eventually the race settled down and we let Zabriskie fry out there on his own. After the climb the first time another break of about 13 went but no one too prominent was there and Kelly and BMC both missed it so I wasn't worried. Lewis from Columbia then set a wicked tempo up the climb the second time up and probably shredded a bunch of guys. I was still feeling pretty comfortable though and had to problems. The pace did bring back the 13 riders and Dave Z though.

Again right after the descent a break of 4 went, with Chris Jones of Type 1, Howes of Garmin, Stewart of BMC, and Ben King from Livestrong. They were given a bit of leeway but again we went hard up the climb. This time Lewis took it half way and then Hincapie attacked himself. This really destroyed the group and we came over the top in a group of about 18 with me hurting but not in danger of getting dropped. However, we messed around on the descent and another group of about 25 came back again. Then there were the usual attacks on the flats after the climb with everyone taking a go, Hincapie and myself included.

Nothing stuck though and eventually teams got organized to do a legitimate lead-out to the bottom of the final time up the hill. Again Lewis took the first kilometer on the front and then Hincapie put in a massive attack. I started the climb too far back and didn't move up quickly enough at the bottom so I got stuck behind a wall of Garmin riders moving backwards. Once I got around them the gap up to the front group of 7 was too big for me to close on my own. I strongly believe that if I had been on the right side of the split, that I wouldn't have gotten dropped and made that front group. Next time.

So over the top there were 10 of us. Two riders from Garmin, two from Kelly, two from Type 1, Burke from BISSELL, McCarthy from Saxo Bank, White from OUCH, and me. The Kelly guys weren't working since they had Bowman and Bajadali in the front group. Type 1 had Jones who managed to not get caught until right after the climb so could hang on to the front group, but they weren't too happy with it so they were helping us chase. Garmin missed the front group completely so they were pretty motivated. Personally I helped a lot for the first 10 km, but then I got some wicked cramping in all of the muscles in both of my legs.

I'm cramping badly here, but at least its hard to tell... trying to develop my Scott Moninger look

It meant that I couldn't pull that much on the three 7km long flat finishing circuits. We got to within 10 seconds of the front group, but we couldn't close that extra distance. Maybe if I hadn't gotten those cramps we could have, one more guy taking strong pulls may have been enough.

Either way we rode fast hoping that they would start messing around in the front but they never did. Then there were a lot of attacks in the final to 2km, that really made it a drawn out sprint. I came in the middle of the group for 14th place. I am pretty satisfied with it, but I am left wondering what might have been if I hadn't started the last climb too far back, or if I hadn't started cramping in the finishing circuits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tour of Utah

Well what can I say, this race was a mixed bag. I had a mediocre prologue, partly because I spent the whole afternoon before the race taking care of team business, the stuff that a manager was supposed to do, but our composite team didn't actually have a manager so I had to do it. But at least we had a caravan car and a driver, and although he was pretty inexperienced, he figured it out pretty quickly. The first stage was pretty mellow until I flatted right at the base of the final 10km climb. So instead of starting the climb in the top 20, I started it at the very back of the caravan. I worked my way back up to the peleton but I was too gassed to make the front split when Sevilla and Mancebo attacked with 4km to go. I still made the second group and only lost 1 min to the main group which was ok considering the circumstances. The third group lost 5 minutes and then it just went up from there.

Putting the frustrations of the first stage behind me I focused on Mt. Nebo. It is a gruelling 36km climb that goes about 4800ft vertically and ends up at 9300ft. The first 90km of the stage were basically flat and a break went that everyone knew was going to come back. I started the climb a bit further back then I wanted since I was out of water and hunting for a bottle in the feedzone right at the base. I had to work my way back through the peleton to make several splits as OUCH was drilling it at the front. Near the bottom Lill from Type 1 attacked and split the rest of the group to pieces. I was again in the second group but in the company of some good climbers. We could see the front group basically the whole way up the climb and we caught some of them as they started cracking towards the top. There was actually a slight downhill to the finish and thinking that I could still get a top 10 on the stage I sprinted out of our group and won the sprint in a bike throw over Brent Brookwalter of BMC. Sadly there were still 10 riders up the road so I was 11th, but it was still a good day.

The next stage was the 15km ITT and I had another mid pack ride. I haven't really spent any time on my TT bike since March and I think it showed here. But we've done so few TTs in Europe that it didn't really make sense to train on that bike too much. This Utah TT was actually only the second non-prologue TT that I have done all season, so I guess I can put my mediocrity down to lack of practice. I really need to strengthen this part of my racing to be a real GC threat.

The final road stage ended up being the only really hot day of the tour, and the heat definitely took a toll on my body. I barely made the front group of 25 over the top of the first climb over Alpine Loop and then suffered through the rest of the stage until the bottom of the finishing climb up Little Cottonwood. I held on as long as I could, but I really didn't have good legs and ended up finishing the stage in 19th place. But due to other guys crashing going down Alpine Loop and others cracking harder then me I ended up moving up from 23rd to 15th overall. I then rode pretty conservatively in the crit, just staying in the top 30 but out of the wind to keep my place and the prize money that comes with it.

So now the plan is to rest a lot this week and hopefully this race will give me great legs for the USPro road nationals in Greenville this coming weekend. I am already in South Carolina and enjoying the abundance of oxygen.