Retirement

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30-34 Points Race 2009, 35+ Team Pursuit 2009, Elite Team Pursuit 2013, and 35-39 Individual Pursuit 2016.

 

It’s been a little over a year since I last posted an update which is a bit nuts when I think back to a time when I would update my blog on a daily basis. Times have changed!

After 22 years of racing I’ve decided to “retire” from racing. There are a few reasons behind the decision, but the main ones are that I’ve pretty much achieved everything in cycling that I wanted to. In some instances, I’ve exceeded my own expectations; I’ve won 4 US national champion titles; ~20 state championships; won mountain bike, road, time trial, criterium, hillclimbs, track (grass, concrete, and wood), and BMX races; finished ahead of World Champions, Olympians, and riders that went on to win stages of the Tour de France; held a US national record for a few months; broken a few course records; traveled to places I’d like never have considered if it wasn’t for cycling; beaten riders that I later learned were doped up (Note: You CAN race and win clean!); survived two stage races in Mexico; and survived being hit by cars three times. One of the biggest things for me is that I never resorted to doping yet still achieved everything that I have.

I’ve had asthma since my age was in the single digits. I can recall times when I was barely able to walk as a kid and had to be carried around. Times spent on a ventilator (both as a kid and at a MTB race)… To be leading a race and have to pull out with an asthma attack was pretty frustrating… At least I won the MTB race following that incident. I had some pretty crappy knee problems in the late 90’s which doctors reckoned was Juvenile Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis. Doctors were doing a great job at writing me off doing any sports seriously. Maybe without those challenges I’d never have pushed myself as hard physically and achieved what I have.

There were a few moments of “That’s it, I’m done!” (Master Track Nationals 2010) followed by “Just one more crack at it” (Elite Nationals 2013… Then Master Track Worlds in Manchester in 2015 where I narrowly missed getting bronze in the individual pursuit… I had serious thoughts of Master Track Worlds in Los Angeles in 2017, but winning the Individual Pursuit at Master Track Nationals (Stage 2 aka Make Up Event) on one of my “home” tracks is a pretty sweet bookend to years of flogging myself in the pursuit of the top step of the podium. Having my 4yr old and wife there to see me win was also about as good as it gets. They were there in 2013 when I got to pull on an elite national champion jersey (Something I never imagined I’d achieve) but my daughter was only 1yr old and the memory is likely limited to photos. Now, hopefully she will remember being on the podium with me on November 19, 2016 as well as her sneaking into the team pursuit podium photo the following day.

If it wasn’t for cycling I’d almost definitely never had flown in a Blue Angels F18, surfed with a world champion (Sunny Garcia), or ridden around O’ahu (Hawaii) with a Formula 1 World Champion (Jenson Button). Cycling can be the source of amazing opportunities!

I’ve had some amazing support over the years from family, friends, coaches, and some fantastic sponsors (too many to list) – Thank you everyone!

To steal and modify a quote I read recently “You come to cycling with dreams, you leave it with lifelong friends, sore legs, and some great memories!” – Mike

First race of the season

2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.
2013 Cannondale Slice RS Black Inc.

Almost 2 years ago I finished a time trial back in Hawaii and told myself I would never do a TT again. As of yesterday, I’m back at it. Funny how time has the ability to erase memories of pain :)

Just getting to the start line was a challenge in itself. For the past 6 weeks or so, I had plans to build up a TT bike from a particular brand. As such, I procured the various parts needed to get it up and running – This included Di2 with an internal battery. Fast forward to a week ago and the whole deal for the originally planned bike crumbled. I’ll spare you the details. I’m 5′-10″ which would usually put me on a 54cm bike; however, I’m the lucky recipient of legs that were meant for someone that’s 5′-3″. Looking at the available TT bikes with the criteria of:

– Compatible with Di2
– Low stack height to match up with my short legs, resulting in a bike that doesn’t look like I’m sitting on the top tube thanks to 2″ of visible seatpost.
– Proven (data to back up the claims) to be fast, not just “fast to the eye”.

Plan B was a Shiv TT. The deal breaker was that a small would fit me more like a 54, and an XS (only slightly smaller) are just as hard to find (used) as a unicorn.

The final result was that a Cannondale Slice RS meets all of the above. I saw a few but most were 54’s and the occasional 52. I saw a 50cm Black Inc. posted on Craigslist and Ebay and ended up emailing the seller, negotiated a great deal, and took it home 1 day later!

The bike came with SRAM Red, so that was the first thing to go. Off with the ugly vision aerobar setup (Kind of well thought out design, but curved bullhorns and a chunky basebar were the deal breaker). The hurdle I came up against was that there’s nowhere to stash an internal Di2 battery – Mostly thanks to the seatpost (and the bike in general) having a very skinny front profile. Thus, a frantic search for a Di2 short mount and external battery ensued. Nothing to be found locally so I had to overnight those items from California and got them mere hours before yesterday’s TT! Thankfully, the Di2 fired up first time and worked. PHEW!

As for the race… Most things that could go wrong did:

– Thunder, lightning, hail, rain, wind – Check, check, check, check, and check!
– Took my rollers to warm up and quickly realized they had inadequate resistance to warm-up properly.
– Rear brake stuck dragging on the disc for the whole race. I don’t think this did my any favors!
– The road is hands down the worst I’ve ever raced a TT on. That combined with my basebar coming lose was not good. Lots of time spend riding upright trying to not fall off the front of my bike.
– Started a little too hot… Pace yourself man!

Despite all of the above, I managed to get 5th place not too far off the top 3 guys who were all within a hair of each other. I can’t wait until the next TT on April 8 when I can hopefully have a more solid run at a top 3 result.

Gluing

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When life serves you a dose of sickness, why not turn that into an opportunity to get your pre-season tubular gluing done! I broke out my trusty can of Continental Rim cement and completed the mission… Well, the first thin layers.